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Category Archives: guest post
There’s this common misconception that the world of editing (in the sense of submitting your story to a magazine or contest) is an absolute puzzle constantly being shifted around by angry and jaded editors. In classes, writing groups, and even among non-writers, I hear it repeated that you have to have this unknowable combination of luck and talent to land a spot in a magazine, and it isn’t worth trying or learning. You got it or you don’t.
But that type of thinking leaves most people without it.
I want to say that in my years as a reader, judge, and developmental editor none of that is true. Especially about editors. We’re not shadowed goblins lying in wait to crush every writers’ dream. The reason we got into this line of work is because we want to hear a good story, a new story. We want to be entertained.
Things are tense these days. I hope I’m not shocking anyone by saying that. There’s a lot of negative emotions going around, and people deal with them in different ways. One of the healthier ways is to engage with a good movie, game, book, or other form of media and get lost in a story. As a person empathizes with characters, they achieve catharsis as they experience their emotional journey together with the characters they empathize with. People enjoy dramas to release their sadness, they enjoy action to feel power over a world which often shows them to be powerless. Some enjoy horror for the endorphin rush, or to release pent up negative emotions in a more healthy way than going to the hardware store and looking for a chainsaw that’s light enough to chase someone with, yet not so light that it can’t get the job done.
Um, for example.
Literature is the best medium for horror, and comics are the worst. Literature succeeds because of the power of words to suggest, to take you ninety percent there, and leave that final ten percent up to you. The horror we … Continue reading
Ask many writers what got them to the next level, what separates great writers from good writers, sparkling writing from the merely competent, and they’ll often give the same answer: voice. A voice that stands out, that grabs the reader and … Continue reading
I don’t know about other writers. For one thing, I’ve never been another writer. For another, although I’ve observed practically all the interviews, or as in this case requested from writers, are about how the writing is done, creative tricks, recipes and such. I can’t listen to, view, or read that stuff…not that it isn’t full of useful information, just that my attention wanders, or I fall asleep. So, the nice guy who works for the publisher and arranges this kind of thing told me it would be a good idea if I wrote something about writing. And I just told you that I really don’t know anything about how other writers do it.
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by… everything right now. Climate change, the rise of authoritarianism, the economy, systemic racism, a global pandemic. Social media (which arguably has never been a showcase for the best humanity has on offer) has … Continue reading
Writing is inherently frustrating, because it’s a process of condensing imagination into prose–taking countless colours and dimensions of dreaming and stripping them down to a few crude black and white stick drawings that readers can expand back in their own … Continue reading
Last week, Argentina’s largest literary prize, sponsored by the government through the National Arts Fund, announced that it would only accept science fiction, fantasy and horror entries this year. All hell broke loose immediately. In some cases, there were people … Continue reading
In my prohibition-era, urban fantasy novelette, Water of Life, investigator Sean Joye searches the Southern Illinois hill country for Caleb, a missing moonshiner. His trek, beyond a flooded river and through a forest bristling with ice and fae ill intent, leads him … Continue reading