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Friday Faves: Prizes, Bestseller Lists and 1 Star Reviews

September 19, 2014 Writing No Comments

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by Juliette Fay

Our favorite links this Friday are here for your edification, entertainment and possible monetary enhancement. (Wouldn’t that be nice!)

The Most Highlighted Passages From Classic Books (Huffpo Blog)

Earlier this year, Amazon’s Kindle team revealed which passages are highlighted most frequently across all of their ebooks. Unsurprisingly, lines from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy topped off the list of most-highlighted quotes, followed by passages from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Mellor Book Prize
“The Suzanne and James Mellor Prize of $50,000 is awarded annually to the author of the best proposal for a scholarly book on an individual woman artist or subject related to the mission of NMWA. The deadline for the 2014 Mellor Prize is January 1, 2015.”

If you happen to be writing a biography of a woman, you might not mind getting $50k in the process, right?

The New York Times Book Review Revamps Best Sellers Lists (New York Times)
“Entirely new lists to The Times include: Travel; Humor; Family; Relationships; Animals; Religion, Spirituality and Faith; and Celebrities with more rolling out in 2015.”

It will probably become a publishing industry sport to predict which book will make which lists. For instance, does Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You fall under Humor, Family or Relationships?

Salem (Massachusetts) Literary Festival Nov. 6 – 9
“There are events for both readers and writers plus some fun events (a cocktail party and a live storytelling event at PEM) so we’re hoping you’ll find something to your liking.”

Great line-up of authors and events!

6 Pieces of Writing Advice from First Time Writers Over 40 (Huffpo Blog)

My personal favorite: “Read lots of 1 star reviews of books you liked.” But the other 5 are pretty good, too.

Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write (Arts.Mic)
“No matter the quality of your prose, the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms.”

Interesting in that it refutes a long-held stereotype of writers: that we are all depressed!

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Your Lit Mag Starter Kit, Part 1: Hearty, High-Quality, Aesthetically Traditional Lit Mags

September 18, 2014 Journals/Magazines, Writing 3 Comments

By Becky Tuch

Remember when you didn’t know how to cook? When you were in your teens or twenties (or your thirties, maybe even forties) and you didn’t know the first thing about what should fill your kitchen cupboards and pantry shelves?

I have a distinct memory of being twenty-two years old, just out of school, excited to cook my first big meal in my first big-city apartment. There I am, stocking up on groceries, feeling proud of all my responsible vegetable choices, eager to hurry home and start cooking. Only, when I get back to my apartment, I discover that I’m missing something crucial: pots and pans. Also, silverware. How could I eat beans without a can-opener? Or eat anything at all without a plate?

In good time, I learned how to fill a kitchen with basic supplies. I’ve also relished those cookbooks that have little sections at the beginning explaining what one should always have in the kitchen: olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic. Certain basic spices should also be at hand: basil, curry, bay leaves, cinnamon. And of course, if you like to eat soup, it’s probably good to own a pot. And a ladel.

All of this came to mind recently as I looked at my bookshelves full of lit mags. Through The Review Review, my website that reviews lit mags, I’ve come in contact with hundreds of literary magazines over the years. Like a trained chef working quickly in the hot kitchen of literature, I know exactly which magazines to turn to if I need a great essay for a writing prompt or if I want stories emphasizing strong characterization. If I want to find a voice from abroad or from right around the corner, feel politically riled up or chucklingly entertained, certain lit mags will do just the trick. I know where these flavors are and I generally know what proportions I want to add to my literary diet.

But let’s say you’re brand new to lit mags. You want to subscribe to a few (as you’ve been told time and time again that reading lit mags is the key to publishing in them), but you’re not sure where to begin. You may know what you like…or you may not. You may have a clear sense of your own writing style or you might have no idea what you’re doing at all. You know you like to write. Or perhaps you simply like to read. You want to learn more about what’s being done today, by modern writers, both heavyweights and those brand new to the scene. But what are the basics? Where is the lit mag starter kit? With what lit mags should you begin to stock your literary kitchen?

I think I can help. Below is the first part of a series I will be doing featuring lists of  lit mags grouped into aesthetic categories. Today’s installment features hearty, high-quality, not necessarily experimental print journals. If you like straightforward narratives, moving accounts, clear prose, evocative imagery, stories that take emotional risks but tend to stick to a beginning-middle-end format, stories that perhaps focus more on character and plot than experimentation with language and syntax, these are the lit mags for you. … Continue Reading

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