Magazine Gold: July and August

7 Aug

I’ve promised to summarize these issues for you and so far, I’m following through! Thanks again to Gus on Out Where the Buses Don’t Run for a free 1-Year subscription to Poets & Writers magazine! Here’s a summary of the July/August edition.

A New Home for Defunct Journals by Christie Taylor. “…the Rookery, a new digital archive that will house previously published content from defunct print and digital magazines…” So now I’m not as nervous to submit to some little magazine that might fail because it’s possible my work can be saved in this database. This is great news for writers who want their resume to be backed up in (digital) print!

Why We Write by Wendy Brown-Baez. Wendy discusses her time volunteering for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop where she’s work with inmates. She loved that they were able to connect as writers despite the drastically different paths their lives had taken.

Familiar Stranger by Benjamin Percy. Percy spent time with writer James Lee Burke, who I hadn’t heard of before this article. Truthfully, I’m not sure how I missed him. There were some great quotes in this one including this one about Burke from his daughter, “Every day, it seemed he would return from the mailbox with a heap of rejection letters. ‘He would sometimes read them aloud to us, then smile and shrug and say, “Guess they didn’t like it.”‘” As someone who got a rejection letter today, this is really great to hear. Percy talks later about how Burk draws a lot of parallels between his most famous character, Dave Robicheaux, and himself. They share a lot of the same characteristics. I think this can be dangerous to do as a writer, but can also help when you’re stuck in plot. You can always ask yourself what you would do in the situation.

2014 First Fiction Sampler by various authors. You can read excerpts from the various books here. The magazine article had some great little interviews. The first I’ll mention is between Courtney Maum, author of I Am Having So Much Fun Without You and Maggie Shipstead. Shipstead asked what Maum does when she gets stuck and I loved her response; turn on cheesy pop music and dance or go for a run. I love both of these things. The cheesy dance music reminds me of the dance party Cath had in Fangirl but the running sounds a bit more like me.

The second interview was between Yelena Akhtiorskaya, author of Panic in a Suitcase and Chad Harbach, who’s The Art of Fielding I read and loved earlier this year. Yelena talks about the book she write during her MFA program and how she had to trash the whole project. She said she was devastated because she really thought it could be published. But she realized that the book in her head, which has turned into her first release, really was the story she needed to tell. She just had to get past her devotion to it and move on to the better project.

The final debut author I’ll point out is Mira Jacob, author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing and her interview with Amanda Eyre Ward. Jacob took ten years to finish this novel and was asked to comment on that. She notes that this might make her seem lazy, but that she’s proud that she kept at writing it for so long. She wants other writers to know that they’re not crazy for keeping at their story and they’re not alone.

The main article in this issue is called How I Found My Agent and has writers talk about how they found the agent that they’ve loved working with. I’ll share some nuggets I took from writer Karen Russell, who  followed the advice of querying agents who represented authors she loved and whose stories reminded her of her own. She also suggests to avoid any pressure to find an agent before you’re ready for one. She defines this time as having a book near the final draft that you feel strongly about.

The following article was called How I Found My Writer which is the flip of the previous article; why did an agent respond? Agent Emma Sweeney represents Sara Gruen, whose book Water For Elephants sold over ten million copies and was turned into a film. The query letter she sent Sweeney went to 129 other agents. Talk about persistence!

Writing Contests with little or no entry fee
Gemini Magazine ($4), Good Housekeeping, Literal Latte ($10), PEN USA Fellowship ($10), Sixfold ($3), Mind Magazine ($10), Third Coast.

Calls for Submissions
Changes in Life, East End Elements, The Evening Street Review, Front Range Review, Mount Hope, Referential Magazine, Rhino.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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