Posts Tagged: Ploughshares
The form is far more important than the content. They don’t even really have to match. If you’re talking about an author people are a little less familiar with, you’ll want some black-and-white landscape photography or a 19th century painting, something that screams “CULTURE!” and that you don’t have to think too hard about to enjoy.
I find the threat of predation satisfying in a short story because, when done well, it solicits a visceral reaction. The etymology of the word visceral can be traced to the Latin word viscera, which was used to refer to internal organs; the plural term, viscus, refers to “flesh.” A visceral reaction refers to an instinctual reaction, as opposed to an intellectual reaction.
The inscription—the handwriting of a person to whom I’m related, but who has always been, for me, unreachable, unknowable—wrapped an additional layer of mystery around this book about mystery. I wonder if that’s part of why I loved the story so much.
Here’s why I think that Philip Roth and Cormac McCarthy are opposites: Roth is a builder, and McCarthy is a destroyer.
Over at the Ploughshares blog, Lily Meyerin tells us why she thinks that Philip Roth and Cormac McCarthy, named by Harold Bloom as two of the most important living American writers, should be considered “literary enemies.”...more
When I left the house on Pace Street and moved to Vermont, I became a writer. I became a writer because I was so broken down by early motherhood that I stopped fearing criticism long enough to throw my work out into the world.
Anyone who simplifies a nation’s discourse misreads that nation. When you’re reading the texts of a recently created nation like India, which was only founded in 1947, you must know the political, historical, and linguistic backdrop, or you will miswrite what you read.
As I continue reading Gay’s book, I can’t help but think of how my definition of myself as a feminist has evolved over the years. Looking back over the past 15 years, in particular, I can mark this evolution by the feminist texts and magazines I was reading at any given time.
How would a writer without an MFA imagine an ideal Creative Writing degree program? Over at Ploughshares, Rebecca Makkai invites you to consider her optimal 2015/2016 course catalog, warning that “the course offerings will be much more practical than “Problems in Modern Fiction.” We’ll cover the things you need to know....more
But in the grand scheme of things, immersion journalism and other forms of narrative nonfiction, such as memoir, have done more for me as a reader than as a writer, allowing me to vicariously experience things I’d be too much of a wuss to ever even try, and to consider versions of life that generally feel out of reach.
Authors aren’t the only ones facing rejection. Literary agents receive rejections after sending out their authors’ writing to editors, and they also get rejected by authors that they want to represent. Over at Plougshares, Eric Nelson reveals a few more insights into life as a literary agent....more
The stories we read as children often stick with us for a lifetime, and so children’s literature can have a far greater impact on readers than books written for adults. Writing in Plougshares, Annie Cardi explains how children’s literature influences young people at a critical life stage:
As a young reader, you’re still forming your ideas and beliefs about the world and how you function within it.
An editor’s first look at a writer’s work is in the query letter. Steph Auteri, writing in Ploughshares, explains how writers can improve their introductions, and why it matters when they try to publish.
The best way to make an editor’s life easier is to make their decision to publish or not publish a no-brainer.
I tend to think it is an ill-defined term, not a useful way to think of most fiction, and it spawns some of the worst criticism.
Objects make for excellent writing prompts, Anca Szilagyi declares on the Plougshares blog. Objects can ignite memories or serve as a simple writing exercise tool. And objects within a narrative define how characters interact in a world. But be warned, there are dangers:
Vladimir Nabokov writes of a curious condition.
Ploughshares list 14 ways to tick off a writer. Here are two:
Say this to a writer and see what kind of look you get:
“Email saying you want to be a writer too, and you notice the writer lives in the same city, and you wonder if he could spare two hours sometime soon to have coffee and fill you in on how this whole writing thing works.
The two central myths are one, that literary citizenship is all about self-promotion, and two, that it’s connected deeply to the “marketplace.”
In an interview for Ploughshares, Tasha Golden talks to “writing geek” Stephanie Vanderslice about teaching the business side of a creative writing career....more
“Perhaps what is most important is that Frangello’s characters are larger than the futuristic space they occupy, and I’m not sure that many narratives in such a setting can boast this.”
In his introduction to the issue, guest editor Jim Shepard says, “I’ve been drawn to protagonists who are geniuses at knitting together self-indictment and self-exoneration in ways that are both unconscious and calculated. Protagonists who leave us to sort through what they’ve figured out, what they can’t figure out, and what they won’t try to figure out about themselves.”...more