Friday, August 14, 2009

Summer 2009 Issue has arrived!

So, it usually takes me a few days to shake the cobwebs out of my head after I've finished an issue. We have though, as you can tell, published another round of great fiction and an amazing interview with Stuart Dybek. Bravo. Bravo.

The winners of the Emerging Writer Award are as follows:

First Place:
Shane Kraus for the story "Negotiating the Truth"

Second Place:
Caroline Bailey Lewis for the story, "Gutter"

Runners up:
Erik Hoel for the story "Big Cats"
Cynthia Hawkins for the story "Hope before 3:15"

This year we had a number of exceptional stories that deserved honorable mention and I'm proud to list those stories here.

Donna Walker-Nixon "Other Toys"
Jennifer Lee "Cobra"
Jim Miller "Frequency of Failure"
Taylor Brown "Manatee"
David Breitkopf "No Problem"
Daryl Morazzini"When They Come"

It is my hope that these authors will think of us (as will all the rest of you who submitted during this contest) when they work on their stories through another draft and decide to send them out again.

Thanks to everyone who submitted to the contest and we look forward to another great round of fiction in a couple of months.

anthology seeking submissions

The Main Street Rag (an indie publisher) is actively seeking good stories about "Coming Home"--so if anyone has a really great story they sent to us and have edited that suits that theme, even loosely, do send it on. Be aware that this is an anthology, so the submision guidelines are very strict: read the fine print and follow the instructions. Nothing gets you rejected faster than ignoring an editor's request on font size.

Please be advised that Our Stories is not connected to Main Street Rag, nor do I personally know more than what's posted on their site:

This is just an informational post to those of you who are ready to see your names in a book. Good luck! And drop an email if you get placed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

just something interesting

A good friend of mine asked me over coffee recently what I look for in a "good" story.

"Something interesting," I said, "right from the beginning."

Without question, every story's different, since every story's meaning and purpose differ from others. Still, revising stories to ensure something of interest awaits readers in those earliest passages can sometimes guide writers to pinpoint a story's meaning and purpose and even more fluidly unfurl a story with those goals in mind.

A story we published in our recent issue, Erik Koel's Big Cats caught my interest from those opening passages. Something strange happens, and that strangeness conveys to me some emotional weight Daniel, the story's main character who walks with invisible tigers his entire life, seems to feel.

Reflecting on other stories that move me, I'd say other ways to make interesting opening passages involve tones with cunning metaphor, sardonic intellect, or vivid imagery pregnant with implicit meaning.

In the end, the best advice anyone can give is probably what Stuart Dybek just gave in the interview we did with him, which is read a lot and write every day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

great story to read

Since many readers of the blog will have read the interview we just did with Stuart Dybek, I´ve decided to praise one of the best stories I´ve read this year. Dybek recommends that writers READ, and this is a story worth studying.

Appearing in Blackbird, Molly Giles's "Ghost Dog" gives the first person p.o.v. of an abused, hopeful vagabond living on the island of Kaua’i. The hope is the man she loves, Les, will build the Center--where an ancient Asian ritual of visualizing energy will apparently heal sickness.

Check out the way the story uses metaphor indirectly, through description and modest but trenchant prose. That first scene encapsulates the meaning and purpose of the entire story without interrupting the fictive dream.