Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday's Pre-Publication Post: Get Ready for the Launch!

It has been a crazy week, my friends, but if all goes according to plan, the new website will launch this evening. By this time tomorrow, you should be able to find Practicing Writing over at its new home on (Please click here to go directly to the relocated Practicing Writing.)

As I've mentioned before, the forthcoming publication of my story collection, Quiet Americans, seemed to present an opportune moment to move ahead with the consolidation of my multi-sited online presence into one brand-new hub. I'm excited, because I think that the new site is beautiful, well-organized, and informative (what a trifecta!). But I'm also a little nervous.

I hope that you'll bear with me as I work with the web designer to adjust the blogs' feeds (both of my blogs will be transferred from Blogger to their new pages on the Wordpress-based site) and do everything else that's necessary to make the transition happen. I thank you in advance for your patience!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Wednesday Web Browser

After Deadline is back with another grab bag of items on grammar, usage, and style. (I always learn/relearn something from After Deadline, although it hasn't managed to sway me on the serial comma yet, as you can see.)

The latest issue of The Atlantic contains an article about one of my guilty pleasures: soap operas. Which reminds me of a review (of a soap-focused book) that I wrote several years ago that you might enjoy.

Congrats to Chloe' Yelena Miller, whose poem, "Estate Sale," is the current Narrative poem of the week!

Anne Fernald tries to figure out what's wrong with that book?

I'll be on vacation next week (more about that in a day or two--you have no idea how much I need a vacation!), so I'll share this job lead with you now instead of waiting for the usual Monday post: Princeton University (N.J.) is seeking Lecturers. "The Creative Writing Program at the Lewis Center for the Arts, Princeton University is seeking distinguished writers for openings in fiction, poetry, and translation. These positions are one or two semester appointments. The positions begin September 2011 and/or February 2012."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quotation of the Week: Billy Collins

You don’t read to discover the poet, you read to discover yourself.

--Billy Collins
Source: AdvicetoWriters

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Morning Markets/Jobs/Opportunities

Gotham Writers' Workshop is running a "Hint Fiction Contest": "For this contest, Gotham welcomes the expertise of Robert Swartwood, editor of Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories of 25 Words or Fewer (to be published in November by W.W. Norton). Mr. Swartwood will select the winner from the finalists in this competition." There's no entry fee, and your submission should run no longer than 25 words. Prizes: a 10-week writing workshop, $100, a one-year subscription to The Writer, publication on Gotham's 2011 course catalog, and, of course, "bragging rights." Deadline: October 11, 2010.

From the Matador Network ("both an online travel magazine and a thriving social network. Or, more simply put, it’s a community"): a Transparent Narrative Writing Contest. "Over the last few weeks we’ve been seeing some really interesting new travel narratives, and we decided to to run a contest. The winner gets $300 plus free enrollment to the travel writing program at MatadorU [worth $350]. The winning story, along with honorable mentions will be published here at the Traveler’s Notebook. Even if you’re a professional writer who doesn’t necessarily need classes, consider this about the U: you get lifetime access to our forums and Market Blog, with leads and writing opportunities researched and curated by Matador editors, along with all future Pro Modules we publish on new media strategies, branding, SEO, and other areas of continuing education." Note that "part of the focus of this contest is to encourage “transparent” writing. This is a prose style where the narrator narrates events / scenes as he or she perceived them at ground-level." For examples and additional information, visit the site. There's no entry fee, and you have until 5 p.m. (EST) on September 10, 2010, to submit.

Crab Orchard Review has announced its next special issue theme: "Crab Orchard Review is seeking work for our Summer/Fall 2011 issue focusing on writing exploring the people, places, history, and new directions that have shaped and are reshaping the American South. All submissions should be original, unpublished poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction in English or unpublished translations in English (we do run bilingual, facing-page translations whenever possible). Please query before submitting any interview. The submission period for this issue is August 10 through November 1, 2010. We will be reading submissions throughout this period and hope to complete the editorial work on the issue by the end of March 2011. Writers whose work is selected will receive $25 (US) per magazine page ($50 minimum for poetry; $100 minimum for prose) and two copies of the issue."

Franklin & Marshall College (Penn.) is looking for an Assistant Director for its Philadelphia Alumni Writers House: "Full-time, year-round position responsible for providing all programmatic, curricular, and some administrative coordination for all aspects of this literary performance space and writing collective at Franklin & Marshall College. The Assistant Director works in collaboration with the Director of the Writers House to identify, produce, and support all Writers House programs, co-sponsorships, and curricular, public relations, administrative, and advancement initiatives."

"Penn State Shenango invites applications for a faculty position in English, Assistant Professor, (tenure-track, 36 weeks) to begin August 2011, or as negotiated. Responsibilities: Teach three courses (9 credits) each semester using traditional and hybrid delivery modes. Teaching assignments will be based on the successful candidate's areas of expertise, but will include some combination of English composition, literature, creative writing, or poetry, and may require teaching day, evening and/or Saturday classes as needed. Publish in refereed journals. Participate in course, curriculum, and program development. Advise students and provide career guidance. Participate in campus, university, and community service activities and in professional organizations."

Goucher College (Md.) seeks an Assistant Editor, Northeastern University (Mass.) is looking for a Senior Writer/Communications Coordinator, and California State University-Stanislaus seeks a Public Affairs/Communications Specialist (Writer).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Find: AWP's 2009-2010 Survey Results, MFA in Creative Writing Programs in the United States

From the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP):
This past year, AWP asked Program Directors dozens of questions pertaining to their creative writing programs. Thanks to the Program Directors, AWP was able to assemble information on issues ranging from financial aid to class size, tuition, and budget and salary figures. With the downturn in the national economy, many programs and departments are competing for resources likely to become more constrained. Our hope is that the information gathered here will help faculty, students, and administrators make the best possible case for continued investment in their programs.

This information can help programs advocate for more administrative support, course reductions, and additional teaching assistantships or scholarships for students. In addition, the expenditure information in our survey can help programs advocate for adjunct and faculty salary adjustments as well as additional resources towards an affiliated reading series or literary magazine.

For many students and faculty, it is helpful to know how their school's size and acceptance rates compare to the average program. Statistics on admission, class size, and program size will help you understand where your program stands among its peers. AWP thanks all the schools that participated in our most recent survey. Individual survey responses are confidential, but we hope that the aggregate totals listed here are helpful to your program and your creative writing community.
You can download the full report at the website. NB: Information was solicited this year from 145 full-residency MFA programs. The report may be even more interesting when we're able to compare some of the data with corresponding results from low-residency programs.

Have a great weekend, all. See you back here on Monday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday's Pre-Publication Post: Read an Excerpt from Quiet Americans!

So, as I continue preparing the new website for its debut, I've been trying to figure out the best way to present there an excerpt from my forthcoming story collection, Quiet Americans. To that end, this week, I've been experimenting with some free services provided by

It was easy enough to paste code into a blog post to share the above "widget" with you, and as the book begins to appear on more distribution channels, I can embed relevant purchase info. (Right now, pre-orders are available only via

What's most exciting, though, is that this techno-gizmo gives you a glimpse into the actual book. Including the entire opening story.

At least, it provides the entire opening story for now. I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps the excerpt should be more limited. Like the story's opening page?

What do you think? Would (much) less be more? Or in this case, would it be far too little?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Wednesday Web Browser

Advice for freelancers from Linda Formichelli: "Diversifying is good to a point, but you shouldn’t just add new products and services willy-nilly."

Amusing (and, based on my admittedly limited and long-ago experience, true!) take from Writer Abroad on being "Ameropean."

Monday night I finished reading Allegra Goodman's aforementioned new novel, The Cookbook Collector. A wonderful read! As I wrote in a note to the author, it's such a smart book, while being unassuming. That is to say, it's about as far from "in-your-face" with its own smartness as it can possibly be. I highly recommend it!

Over on my other blog, last week's Shabbat link list of Jewish literary news was especially extensive. If you're interested, please do check it out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Quotation of the Week: Maxwell Perkins

"If you are not discouraged about your writing on a regular basis, you may not be trying hard enough. Any challenging pursuit will encounter frequent patches of frustration. Writing is nothing if not challenging."

--Maxwell Perkins
Source: Chip Scanlan's "'And I Quote': A Collection of Advice, Inspiration and Other Words of Wisdom on the Craft of Writing."