I’m quite excited about the release of Issue 12 of Eleven Eleven Literary Journal. It features my short story, House on Narcissus Street.
Here’s a link to it on-line.
There are so many hurdles to cross on the path to publication. Crossing hurdles of coming up with an idea, completing a first draft, perfecting the structure, enhancing the characters, bringing a setting to life, honing the language, getting brave enough to share it, identifying potential markets, drafting query letters, waiting, developing a thick skin when rejections roll-in, celebrating at an offer for publication, more waiting… But when the issue is released with my story in print: Yippee! It feels like I won the race! — Well at least I have won a qualifying round on the road to becoming an overnight success — even if it takes me decades.
by Rebecca James
On reading my book, Beautiful Malice, several people have asked me why I wanted to write something so sad. Why would you want to even think about, let alone write about, such morbid stuff? And when asked such a question I always confidently answer:
‘Ah…oh…um. I don’t know?’
As much as I’ve pondered and wondered and strained my brain to work out why I enjoy writing about sad stuff I can’t come up with anything better than I like things that move me. Some of my favourite books have made me howl. I love nothing better than curling up on the sofa with a movie and a box of tissues. Lots of my favourite songs make my eyes well up – and I play them over and over and over.
I don’t think I’m some kind of freaky masochist. Lots of us enjoy a good weep. But I do wonder why. Psychologically healthy people don’t welcome real tragedy into their lives. We don’t usually want to cry about real life, because when we cry about real life we feel bad, deep-down-inside bad, through-to-the-bones bad. It’s not the same when we cry in response to a book or a movie. What exactly is it about fictional situations that make a good wallow so strangely enjoyable?
I even used Google to try and find an answer. (I Google everything, everything!) One article I found suggested that we like movies and books that make us cry because it helps to release some of the repressed pain that is already there within us — reading and watching as catharsis. A certain blog I happened upon suggested that sad movies and books allow us to imagine our own worst fears, face them, cry a little, and move safely back into our comfortable reality without being truly hurt.
Both ideas seem feasible to me — and I reckon the real answer would involve a mish-mash of both plus a whole lot of other stuff that I haven’t even covered. The truth is that I don’t really care enough to investigate further because the important thing to me is that when I cry over a book or a movie or a song, it means I care enough about the characters or situation to have an emotional response. And that, to me, means that the book or movie or song works as a piece of art.
I’m not a cruel person but I have to admit that when people tell me that my book made them cry it always makes me smile.
Rebecca James was born in Sydney and spent her twenties teaching English in Indonesia and Japan. She currently lives in Armidale, Australia, with her partner and their four sons.
You can visit Rebecca online at http://www.rebeccajamesbooks.com/
Using the following first line as a prompt, write the first paragraph of a story. Build on the hook provided. This is the actual first line of an unidentified novel. Extra bonus points for the first one who posts with the name of the novel I pulled this from.
“My father walked beside me to give me courage, his palm touching gently the back laces of my bodice.”
Have fun with this! Anyone who posts their paragraph here before midnight EST, Sunday, February 28, 2010 will receive a hand-crafted book charm/thong!
Best to you,
Lisa Lipkind Leibow
Author of Smart Women’s Fiction
I have reached an amazing milestone in my life as a writer. I signed my first book deal! I am so close to removing the “aspiring” from the front of “novelist” when I describe myself.
I am thrilled to announce, my debut novel, Double Out and Back will be published by Red Rose Publishing in their mainstream fiction line. It is expected to pre-release in e-book format in August 2009, with print publication to follow.
From time to time, in between my other blogging antics, I’ll post updates on the release and promotion of the novel. Keep an eye out for them.
As a related aside—I went to see Legally Blond the Musical this weekend and I can’t get the catchy tune that captures my excitement about this accomplishment out of my head. It goes, “Ohmygod! Ohmygod, you guys!”
There is madness in my method. You may think that I am merely giving you a little writing prompt or taking a poll about these little slices of life. But there is more to it than that.
My plan is to request little anecdotes and favorites from you on one topic or another a couple of times per week through the month of November. Then, I plan to take all of the little tidbits you share of favorites, fears, annoyances, and more and incorporate as many as I can into a story that I will post here.
So, check back often, have fun answering the questions, and challenge me to be creative!