Literary Roundup: Big Book Deal, Lessons from Sondheim, Popular Books By State, and Dani Shapiro

Posted on Tue, May 26 2015 8:57 am by Chris Jones

Today's roundup marvels at a book deal, finds writing lessons from a composer, explores the most popular books by state, and hears from Dani Shapiro.

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Reading Like a Writer: Memory Triggers in A Gesture Life

Posted on Mon, May 25 2015 9:00 am by Allison Wyss

I want to examine the way memories are elicited in Chang-rae Lee’s A Gesture Life. The narrator, Doc Hata, does not think freely over the events of his life. Instead, his reflections are always provoked. It seems his memories can only happen if inspired by an outside source.

There are three time-lines running through the story. The first is the present day, when Doc Hata is retired and lonely. Events of this timeline include almost burning his house down and building a relationship with his grandson. The second timeline includes the narrator’s troubles with the young version of his daughter. The third strain relates his experiences in the war.

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Revision: Taking the Pages Through Stages

Posted on Fri, May 22 2015 9:00 am by Sarah Sadie

A writer’s real muscle is tested and proved in revision.

Whether your first draft is sucky or lucky, whether your poem/story/essay/novel ends up feted by New York, published in some indie zine no one has yet heard of, or entirely ignored, what matters to us as writers is the process…and that means primarily the muck and sweat of revision.

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Silencing the Inner Critic

Posted on Thu, May 21 2015 9:00 am by Rebecca Kanner

We all have one. A little voice that sits on our shoulder whispering Whatever you do, DON’T MESS UP! My own “shoulder monster” is sometimes so loud that I forget her voice is not my own. She says:

Don’t be corny

Don’t be sentimental

Every sentence should be perfect as you put it down

DON’T MESS UP!

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Lit Chat: Meet Jen March

Posted on Wed, May 20 2015 9:00 am by Molly Fuller

It’s rare to meet someone who ends up in the Minnesota because they’ve always romanticized the Midwest, but that is exactly how Jen March came to our fair city. SoCal by birth but clearly Midwestern at heart, she’d been writing poems about snow long before she experienced her first parking restriction or had to shovel her walkway (and neither of those things sent her running for the hills!). The catalyst that brought her to Minneapolis came in the form of a friend with a predilection for storytelling, whose words about the city were grand and magical, and Jen became charmed by these tales. Storytelling is truly what brought Jen here, and in no small part is why she stays.

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Literary Roundup: Wodehouse Prize, Blogging Every Day, Avian Library, and Nikki Giovanni

Posted on Tue, May 19 2015 9:06 am by Chris Jones

Today's roundup celebrates the Wodehouse prize recipient, learns some lessons from a daily blogger, finds a library for the birds, and hears from Nikki Giovanni.

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Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood

Posted on Mon, May 18 2015 9:00 am by Jocelyn Hale

While reading Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood in prep for my upcoming three-session class I found myself laughing. I was braced for gothic and spooky but was reminded of Flannery O’Connor’s sly dry humor ...“Going around the corner he ran into something heavy and pink; it gasped and muttered, “Clumsy!”  

Last year, when Philip Bither announced Walker Art Center’s performing arts season, I realized that two of the shows were inspired by writers. I’d long been wanting the Loft to offer more classes for readers and thought it would be fun to have some short sessions where we discussed the books, saw the performance, and come together a week later with some of the performance creators to talk about the show. 

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Hope Deferred

Posted on Sat, May 16 2015 10:00 am by Lynne Jonell

Nineteen years is a long, long time to write and hope and dream and not reach one’s goal. I know, because that’s how long it took me to get a publishing contract for my first book.

Hope deferred does, indeed, make the heart sick. I knew this intimately. I knew it with every trip to the mailbox, and every rejection, and every struggling effort to drum up enough hope to send out a story yet again. It is a strange thing that writers, who of all people are perhaps the most sensitive to rejection, are the very ones who put their work out there, time and again, deliberately courting it.

Of course the answer to that is simple. The fear of rejection is strong, but the desire to write, to communicate our vision to the world, is stronger yet.

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publish.me: Exclusives—To Do or Not To Do?

Posted on Fri, May 15 2015 9:00 am by Dawn Frederick

The act of putting one’s book into the world is always quite the journey. Unfortunately, the challenge of exclusive submissions still looms in the background and is often frustrating for writers. For anyone going the traditional route in publishing, this is typically a rarity during the query process. With so many options (publishers, different ways to get published, etc.), asking for an exclusive submission feels a bit outdated. 

Most agents will assume that an author is sending out multiple queries. With the large volume any agent may receive monthly (from a few hundred to over a thousand), requiring authors to do exclusive submissions is not necessary 99% of the time.

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Best Summer Ever.

Posted on Thu, May 14 2015 9:00 am by Valerie Cabrera

School might be letting out soon, but our summer classes are only just beginning! Here at the Loft, we know better than anyone that writers wear a lot of different hats, especially during the summer. You guys are readers, comedians, enthusiasts, environmentalists, artists and more! With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few fun classes we hope will spark your varied and diverse writerly interests this summer:

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