THE PRACTICING WRITER
Supporting the Craft and Business of Excellent Writing
Volume 12, Number 8: September 2015
Editor: Erika Dreifus
Copyright (c) 2015 Erika Dreifus
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IN THIS ISSUE:
1. Editor’s Note: What’s New
2. Article/Lessons Learned
3. Featured Resource
4. Upcoming/Ongoing Contests, Competitions, and Other Opportunities
5. Submission Alerts!!!
6. Blog Notes
7. Newsletter Matters
1. EDITOR’S NOTE: WHAT’S NEW
Dear Practicing Writers:
Another summer ends. I hope that it brought you (and your writing practices) many refreshing, encouraging, and otherwise good things.
Lots to get to in this issue, so I’ll keep this message short. Please remember that I’m always delighted to hear about any success stories that result from a newsletter find. Tell me all about it at http://www.erikadreifus.com/contact/.
Be well, everyone,
2. ARTICLE/LESSONS LEARNED: WRITING THE MILITARY STORY
WRITING THE MILITARY STORY: AN INTERVIEW WITH TRACY CROW
by Erika Dreifus
Tracy Crow and I are graduates of the same MFA program, but we did not overlap as students there. I’m sorry that we didn’t, because I’ve been a fan of her writing for so long.
Although I’ve never served in the military, “military stories” have meant a lot to me as a reader of fiction and history–and as a writer. Two of the short stories of mine that mean the most to me are “Lebensraum,” which was inspired by my paternal grandfather’s military service (you can find it in QUIET AMERICANS and online at https://ilanot.wordpress.com/lebensraum/) and “Fidelis,” which NPR commissioned for its 2011 “Hanukkah Lights” 2011 (and re-broadcast in 2014: http://www.npr.org/2014/12/16/367259560/hanukkah-lights-2014), which evolved from a journalistic nugget I uncovered via historical research. So when I heard about Tracy’s new book, ON POINT: A GUIDE TO WRITING THE MILITARY STORY (Nebraska, 2015), I was instantly interested and reached out to the author at once.
Tracy Crow is a former assistant professor of journalism and creative writing, Marine Corps officer, and award-winning military journalist. Her essays and short stories have been published widely and been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes. She is the author of the award-winning memoir, EYES RIGHT: CONFESSIONS FROM A WOMAN MARINE (Nebraska, 2012); and the anthology RED, WHITE, AND TRUE: STORIES FROM VETERANS AND FAMILIES, WORLD WAR II TO PRESENT (Potomac Books, 2014).
Please welcome Tracy Crow!
ERIKA DREIFUS (ED): The jacket copy for ON POINT notes that it “is the guide Crow wishes she’d had when she first began writing about her military experience.” It does seem striking–almost hard to believe, in fact–that a guide like ON POINT has been missing from the literary marketplace. What do you think accounts for this longtime gap, and when did you realize that you might be able to fill it?
TRACY CROW (TC): It is hard to believe. Alongside all the writing guides out there are a number of excellent specialized texts addressing how to write about grief, loss, addiction, and so forth. One explanation for the lack of a military writing guide could be that writing instructors–and few are military veterans–lean toward teaching that the same storytelling principles apply, regardless of premise.
Another potential factor: The list of veterans who became noted authors of military literature isn’t that long. The writers who immediately come to mind are probably [Ernest] Hemingway, [Joseph] Heller, [James] Salter, [Kurt] Vonnegut, [Michael] Herr, and [Tim] O’Brien. This short list only brings us up to the Vietnam War era–before the significant launch of college creative-writing programs and before the serious onset of college studies related to war in literature and film. Today’s list of veteran-authors is growing, inclusive of women, and equally impressive. I’m thinking of work from David Abrams, Kayla Williams, Anthony Swofford, Jane Blair, Kevin Powers, and Brian Turner, to name a few.
After the publication of my memoir in 2012, I received emails and Facebook messages from veterans seeking writing advice. About the same time, a friend and former Marine journalist killed himself. The realization that we’d lost his artful storytelling voice rattled me. That’s when I walked away from my full-time academic teaching position, stopped cutting and pasting my writing encouragement and how-to advice from one veteran email or Facebook message to another, and developed ON POINT instead.
ED: Please tell us a little more about how you define “the military story.”
TC: Two natural assumptions, I suppose, are that the military story is a *war* story and a story that belongs exclusively to a veteran-author. As readers will discover in ON POINT, even writers without military ties are drawn to the genre for a couple of reasons: They’re yearning for a deeper understanding of a world outside of their own life experience; or they’re mining the number of richly complicated internal and external conflicts typically associated within the military world for a compelling story.
But I developed ON POINT primarily because the military story is NOT always a war story–my memoir, for example, does not include combat–and because at the heart of all military stories lies the revelation of how one’s life has been affected by military service–by the long separations, military customs and traditions, combat or training deaths, survivor’s guilt–whether that service was rendered directly, or indirectly in the cases of spouses, significant others, parents, grandparents, friends, children, and grandchildren.
We’re just now beginning to fully comprehend the cross-generational impact of the U.S. military experience. I realized this firsthand while compiling and editing stories for my anthology. Some of the most compelling military stories in the anthology, for me anyway, are those written by the family members of veterans.
ED: Something I find especially refreshing in ON POINT is its gentle but insistent chipping away at “certain myths people have about writers.” You point out that such myths, “or stereotypes, if you will,” may be especially pernicious for new writers. What do you think explains the staying power of such myths? And if you could wave a magic wand and eliminate just one of these myths forever, which would it be (and why?)
TC: As for the staying power of myths, I’d point to the mystique that surrounds a handful of writing legends. We’re fascinated with contradictions. If Hemingway, for example, was a bipolar alcoholic but a hugely successful writer, the myth of the tortured artist appears bolstered. The truth, however, is that Hemingway, as we know, was extremely disciplined about his writing. Yes, he knew how to have a good time in Cuba or Key West, but not until after his morning writing time.
If I could wave a magic wand, I’d eliminate the myth that writing can’t be taught. Writers or writing instructors who declare this infuriate me. What, they’re the only ones anointed with talent by writing gods?
Of course, writing can be taught just as any other art–painting, music, sculpting–can be taught. Scientists aren’t born scientists. Even if we were to learn someday they’re born with a higher level of curiosity than the rest of us, they still have to master a certain skill set.
The same applies to writers. Yes, some writers are better than others, and win literary awards. But many more bestselling writers have never won literary awards. Not every scientist wins the Nobel, yet plenty others make a huge difference in this world. I’ve often wished I could write magical realism, but my imagination seems rooted in realism. This doesn’t make me a lesser writer.
ED: What is your biggest hope for ON POINT as it meets readers?
TC: My biggest hope is for ON POINT to inspire a cross-generational sharing of the military experience–and where needed, a healing.
ED: Anything else you’d like us to know? (Or parting advice to share?)
TC: For ON POINT readers: Your military story matters! Your story has meaning to those who love and support you today, and your story will have meaning to the generations who follow. Please get started. You’re never too old or too young to write your military story.
To learn more about Tracy Crow and her books, including ON POINT, please visit www.tracycrow.com.
My thanks to Tracy and her publisher for the complimentary advance reading copy.
(NB: This month’s list of opportunities includes something of possible interest to experienced writers of military stories. See the “NYC DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND MAYOR’S OFFICE OF VETERANS AFFAIRS ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE” opportunity in Part 4, below.)
3. FEATURED RESOURCE: “BEYOND YOUR BLOG”
There’s so much to appreciate about this website, which, in its simplest terms, helps writers “get published on sites beyond their own blogs.” You’ll find podcast interviews with editors. You’ll find resource-laden blog posts (a recent example: “Publications that Pay for Previously Published Work”). And you’ll find more. Do go check it out.
4. UPCOMING/ONGOING CONTESTS, COMPETITIONS, AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST
AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY FELLOWSHIPS FOR CREATIVE AND PERFORMING ARTISTS AND WRITERS
Deadline: October 5, 2015
NO APPLICATION FEE
“The American Antiquarian Society (AAS), a national research library and learned society of American history and culture, is calling for applications for visiting fellowships for historical research by creative and performing artists, writers, film makers, journalists, and other persons whose goals are to produce imaginative, non-formulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history. Successful applicants are those whose work is for the general public rather than for academic or educational audiences. The Society’s goal in sponsoring this program is to multiply and improve the ways in which an understanding of history is communicated to the American people.” Stipends of $1,850 for fellows residing off-campus; fellows who reside on campus in scholars’ housing will have the room fee deducted from the $1,850 stipend: “Room fees range from $700 to $500 per month.”
DRAKE EMERGING WRITER AWARD
Deadline: September 15, 2015
NO ENTRY FEE
“The Susan Glaspell Writers & Critics Series at Drake University is accepting submissions for its seventh annual Drake Emerging Writer Award. The faculty and students of Drake University’s English Department select one outstanding first book from among the entries: the author receives an honorarium of $1000 plus travel and lodging expenses to read at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Each year, the award rotates among genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and graphic forms). We are currently accepting submissions of first books of Poetry for consideration for the Drake University Emerging Writer Reading, which will be held in April of 2016.”
KATHY FISH FELLOWSHIP
Deadline: October 15, 2015
NO APPLICATION FEE “but a $5 donation is suggested. No priority will be given to applications that submit with a donation.”
“SmokeLong Quarterly will be accepting submissions August 15 through October 15, 2015 for its 2016 Kathy Fish Fellowship for new and emerging writers. The fellowship honors Kathy Fish, a former editor here at SmokeLong, a fantastic writer and a continuing champion of new and emerging writers. The winner of the 2016 Kathy Fish Fellowship will be considered a “writer in residence” at SmokeLong (note: position is virtual) for four quarterly issues (March, June, September, and December 2016). Each issue will include one flash by the Fellowship winner. The winner of the Fellowship will also receive $500.00, to be paid as follows: $100.00 on announcement of the winner, and $100.00 upon publication of each of the four issues in 2016. Fellows will have the opportunity to work with SmokeLong staff and participate in online writing workshops. All writers previously unpublished in SmokeLong Quarterly and who do not have a published chapbook or book length work (or are not under contract for such) are eligible to apply.”
KEY WEST LITERARY SEMINAR EMERGING WRITER AWARDS
Deadline: September 30, 2015 (received)
NO APPLICATION FEE
“Three Emerging Writer Awards are presented each year. The Scotti Merrill Memorial Award, the Cecelia Joyce Horton Johnson Fiction Award, and the Marianne Russo Award recognize and support writers who possess exceptional talent and demonstrate potential for lasting literary careers. Winners receive full tuition support for our January Seminar and Workshop Program, round-trip airfare, lodging, a $500 honorarium, and the opportunity to appear on stage during the Seminar. Poets and writers living in the United States who have not yet published a book with a major publisher are eligible to apply. Runners-up for each award will also receive financial assistance.” NB: “We define ’emerging writer’ as someone of any age who has not yet published a book with a major publisher. If you have published a book with a small press that has a print run of 500 or so copies, you are still eligible. We reserve the right to make final decisions regarding eligibility.”
NYC DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND MAYOR’S OFFICE OF VETERANS AFFAIRS ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE OPPORTUNITY
Deadline: September 8, 2015
NO APPLICATION FEE INDICATED
“The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) are partnering in an effort to provide enhanced resources and support for the City’s population of military veterans. Specifically, the agencies are seeking an artist-in-residence at the Harlem Vet Center to use his/her art practice to reach more women veterans and bring them closer to the services and resources available at the Center.” Pays: “In exchange for the production and implementation of the art project, the artist(s) will be awarded an honorarium in the amount of $20,000 provided by public funds from DCLA, as well as private funds from the David Rockefeller Fund. The artist will also have access to materials/supplies of their choosing from Materials for the Arts.” NB: Applicants need not reside in NYC; “we will not, however, pay for relocating costs.”
RESTLESS BOOKS PRIZE FOR NEW IMMIGRANT WRITING
Submissions: September 1-December 31, 2015
NO ENTRY FEE INDICATED
Judges: Maaza Meginste, Javier Molea, Ilan Stavans
“The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing [hereafter referred to as ‘the Prize’] will alternate yearly between accepting unpublished fiction and nonfiction submissions, beginning with fiction in 2015. Fiction submissions can take the form of a novel or a collection of short stories. Nonfiction submissions can take the form of a memoir, a collection of essays, or a book-length work of narrative nonfiction. Manuscripts must be complete and submitted in English (translations welcome). Candidates must be first-generation residents of the United States. ‘First-generation’ can refer either to people born in another country who relocated to the U.S., or to American-born residents whose parents were born elsewhere.” Additionally: “Candidates must not have previously published a book in English.” Agented submissions welcome. Prize: “The winner will receive a $10,000 advance and publication by Restless Books in print and digital editions no sooner than the Fall of 2016. We expect to work closely with the winner and provide editorial guidance. Five finalists will have selections of their work included in a digital chapbook published by Restless Books in conjunction with the Prize.The winner and finalists will be honored at an award ceremony in the Summer of 2016.”
Deadline: October 15, 2015
NO ENTRY FEE
For an unpublished short story, this prize confers $500 cash, a trophy, and announcement and publication on anderbo.com. Not open to writers who have been previously published on Anderbo.
Deadline: October 1, 2015
NO APPLICATION FEE
“Initiated in 1998, Stadler Fellowships offer a recent MFA (or creative writing MA) graduate in poetry the opportunity to receive professional training in arts administration and literary editing. Stadler Fellowships are designed to balance the development of professional skills with time to complete a first book of poems. Stadler Fellows assist for twenty hours each week in the administration of the Stadler Center for Poetry and/or in the editing of West Branch, Bucknell’s nationally distinguished literary journal. Fellows also work as staff members and instructors in the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets in June. The Fellowship stipend is $20,000. In addition, each Fellow is provided health insurance, office space in the Stadler Center, and housing. Depending on circumstances, Fellows are either housed in a furnished apartment in the Poet’s Cottage or provided with a stipend to seek housing on their own in Lewisburg.” NB: “This year, the Stadler Center will select one Fellow for the 2016-17 academic year. The Fellowship will extend from August 2016 through June 2017.”
TRANSITIONSABROAD.COM STUDENT WRITING CONTEST
Deadline: September 30, 2015 (received)
NO ENTRY FEE
“TransitionsAbroad.com hosts an annual student writing contest for all currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, students who have graduated within the past year, and students currently on leave from school are eligible.” Awards cash prizes of $500/$150/$100/$50 and publication on TransitionsAbroad.com
WRITERS OMI AT LEDIG HOUSE
Deadline: October 20, 2015 (received)
NO APPLICATION FEE
“Since its founding in 1992, Writers Omi at Ledig House has hosted hundreds of authors and translators, representing more than fifty countries. We welcome published writers and translators of every type of literature. International, cultural and creative exchange is a foundation of our mission, and a wide distribution of national background is an important part of our selection process. Guests may select a residency of one week to two months; about ten at a time gather to live and work in a rural setting overlooking the Catskill Mountains. Ledig House provides all meals, and each night a local chef prepares dinner. Daytime is reserved for writing and quiet activities, while evenings are more communal. A program of weekly visits bring guests from the New York publishing community. Noted editors, agents and book scouts are invited to share dinner and conversation on both creative and practical subjects, offering insight into the workings of the publishing industry, and introductions to some of its key professionals.”
5. SUBMISSION ALERTS!!!
Open for submissions until September 10: LIMINOID, which “has its origins in the word liminal, which means: ‘Occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.’ The boundaries between genre and literary fiction are slipping and reforming. We’re here to explore the faultlines.” Pays: $20/piece. http://www.liminoidmagazine.com/
GLIMMER TRAIN is open to standard submissions during the month of September. Payment for accepted short stories is $700 (plus 10 copies of the issue in which the story appears). Stories should not exceed 12,000 words. See http://www.glimmertrain.com/standard.html for more information.
“NASHVILLE REVIEW seeks to publish the best work we can get our hands on, period. From expansive to minimalist, narrative to lyric, epiphanic to subtle–if it’s a moving work of art, we want it. We hope to provide a venue for both distinguished and emerging artists.” Next reading period runs September 1 to October 1: “You may submit fiction and poetry three times a year: January, May and September. We opt for shorter, more frequent reading periods so that we can provide quicker responses to our submitters. Submissions in all other genres are open year-round.” Pays: “We pay $25 per poem and song selection; $100 per selection for all other categories, including featured artwork.” See https://as.vanderbilt.edu/nashvillereview/contact/submit for more info.
THE SOUTHERN REVIEW welcomes “fiction, poetry, and essays, including creative nonfiction and literary essays. Only previously unpublished work will be considered. We accept simultaneous submissions but ask that you notify us promptly if your work is accepted elsewhere.” Fiction and nonfiction should be postmarked September 1 through December 1; poetry may be sent postmarked September 1 through February 1. Pays: “The Southern Review pays $25 per printed page with a maximum payment of $200 for prose and $125 for poetry, plus two copies of the issue in which the work appears and a one-year subscription.” More info: http://thesouthernreview.org/submissions/.
“NINTH LETTER is accepting submissions of fiction, poetry, and essays from September 1 to February 28 (postmark dates). NINTH LETTER is a published semi-annually at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. We are interested in prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and nontraditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work.” Pays: “$25 per printed page, upon publication, for accepted material, as well as two complimentary copies of the issue in which the work appears.” http://www.ninthletter.com/journal/submit
Another journal that begins receiving new submissions on September 1: SOUTHERN INDIANA REVIEW, which “presents a cross-section of emerging and established artists and writers whose work is both regional and national in scope and degree of recognition….The editors invite submissions of drama, fiction, interviews, nonfiction, and poetry.” Pays: “SIR pays at two rates: $75 (for up to five layout pages) and $150 (six or more layout pages). Contributors also receive two complimentary copies of ‘their’ issue (with the option to buy additional copies at a reduced rate) and a year’s subscription to the magazine.” Check the journal’s website for more information: http://www.usi.edu/sir/submission-guidelines.
ONE STORY also reopens for submissions on September 1. Seeks stories “between 3,000 and 8,000 words. They can be any style and on any subject as long as they are good. We are looking for stories that leave readers feeling satisfied and are strong enough to stand alone.” Pays: “$500 and 25 contributors copies for First Serial North American rights.” See http://www.one-story.com/index.php?page=submit for further info.
From THE KENYON REVIEW: “During the 2015 reading period, we will be accepting submissions from September 15th through December 15th, 2015. All submissions received during the reading period will be read. The response time will vary according to the number of submissions. We make every effort to respond to all submissions within four months of receipt. Please note that all submissions are considered for both The Kenyon Review and KROnline. We publish the best work we can find—this is the case for both KR and KROnline. The two are aesthetically distinct spaces. We urge our submitters to read and become familiar with both.” Pays: “upon publication.” Visit http://www.kenyonreview.org/submission/ for more information.
“We at A RIVER & SOUND REVIEW are proud to publish an online literary journal that features the best in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and humor. We ask that you accept our invitation to submit your work.” NB: “Literature in translation is welcome, too.” Pays: “We pay $25 upon publication.” Current submissions window closes November 30. Visit http://www.riverandsoundreview.org/Submissions/Submit.htm for more info.
THE CINCINNATI REVIEW reopened for submissions on August 15. Pays: $25/page for prose, $30/page for poetry. NB: “If you’d like to be considered for our stable of reviewers, feel free to send a sample review of a book of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. We encourage longer, single-book reviews of around 1500 words.” See http://www.cincinnatireview.com/#/submissions/guidelines for more information.
6. BLOG NOTES
The newsletter is published just once each month, but there’s *always* something new at our Practicing Writing blog: fresh market news, current contest and job listings, links to writing-related articles, newly-discovered craft and business resources, and so much more. Regular blog features include:
–Monday Markets for Writers
–Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer (formerly “Wednesday’s Work-in-Progress”)
–Friday Finds for Writers
Please visit, and comment! http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/practicing-writing/
And for those of you practicing writers who are interested in matters of specifically Jewish cultural interest, please also visit My Machberet (http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/my-machberet). For the curious, “machberet” is the Hebrew word for “notebook”.
7. NEWSLETTER MATTERS
Information contained in THE PRACTICING WRITER is collected from many sources, with the purpose of providing general references. It is researched to the best of our ability but readers should verify information when necessary and appropriate. THE PRACTICING WRITER and its editor/publisher disclaim any liability for the use of information contained within. Thank you for subscribing.
For updates and additional opportunity listings between newsletters, please check in with our “Practicing Writing” blog, http://www.erikadreifus.com/blogs/practicing-writing.
ABOUT THE EDITOR: Based in New York City, Erika Dreifus is the author of QUIET AMERICANS: STORIES, which is an American Library Association Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. A member of the advisory board for J JOURNAL: NEW WRITING ON JUSTICE, she has taught for Harvard University, the Cambridge (Mass.) Center for Adult Education, and the low-residency MFA programs in creative writing at Lesley University and the Northwest Institute for Literary Arts. In August 2014, Erika joined Fig Tree Books as Media Editor. Please visit http://www.erikadreifus.com to learn more about Erika’s work, and go directly to http://www.erikadreifus.com/quiet-americans/book-clubs/ to arrange for her to visit your book club!
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