Sunday, September 26, 2010

Anne Lamott "On Being a 'Tough' Writer"

Known by many writers for her wonderful book on writing, Bird by Bird, author Anne Lamott speaks about what makes a writer tough and how to keep writing until you get there.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thoughts From The Editors: What's your dream fiction submission?

Brandon says...

My dream submission would be Catch-22/Blood Meridian/Slaughterhouse Five sprinkled with Kate Braverman, Patrick McCabe and Flann O'Brien. This changes daily. Mainly it should be a story, and not just a bunch of words mashed together because they sound good.

Lately I'm seeing way too much unjustified first-person and quirkiness for the sake of quirk. Perhaps it's time for some third person, past tense stories that take advantage of retrospection and happen in a world I believe? There can be quirkiness, weirdness and insanity. Just make sure I believe the narrator.

Brevity is your friend. Taking endless pages to describe pointless interactions that lead to the result hinted at on page one does not help your cause. Get in there and tell me a story. Make it intense and make it matter. This doesn't mean bombs and gun shots in the first sentence. It means tell me a story that compels me to read on. Don't make me search for a reason to care.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thoughts From The Editors: What's your dream nonfiction submission?

Eileen says...

I love braided narratives, and I'm not seeing a lot of them in the in-box lately.  If you don't know what I mean by braided essay, there's a great article/essay on it called "A Braided heart: Shaping the Lyric Essay," by Brenda Miller, in the book Writing Creative Nonfiction put out by the AWP in 2001.

Even if it's written in a more traditional narrative form than braided sections, my dream submission would weave together the writer's experience with history or statistics related to the subject.  And if you can teach me something in the process, all the better!  It's rare that I can be taught something about childhood by an essay--after all, that's something I've done, something we've all done--so the weirder topics or niche topics tend to fair better.

When I was asked to write this post, I was also asked what I had been seeing a lot of lately.  The answer is sex and dead babies.  Teenage sex, married sex, masturbation, prostitution, production of porn, rape, child molestation and abuse ... the list goes on.  If this is what you're writing about, I'm glad you've come to a point where you can talk (write) about it openly.  But unless you're doing something interesting with the narrative form, sex in literature is old hat.  There was one essay that crossed my desk about rape and the aftermath, and the only reason it stuck out was that the write had experimented with form in a way that was both engaging and fresh.

Then there's the dead babies.  Miscarriages and shaken baby syndrome.  I'm seeing a lot of them lately.  I'm okay with essays on grief; I'm am publishing an essay on grief this spring--and I cried the first two times I read it--but it's not about a dead baby.  As far as essays on grief go, these have the least sense of redemption and a tendency to be written before the author has gained enough distance.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fiction and Poetry Contest Announced

The 2011 Third Coast Fiction & Poetry Contests are now OPEN for submissions. Postmark Deadline: December 1, 2010. Fiction and Poetry winners will receive $1000 and publication in the Fall 2011 issue. Final judges are Brad Watson (Fiction) and Natasha Trethewey (Poetry).

Please visit our Contests page for complete guidelines.

About the Judges:

Brad Watson won the Sue Kauffman Award for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts & Letters for his first collection, Last Days of the Dog-Men. His first novel, The Heaven of Mercury, was a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award. Watson’s most recent collection of stories is Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives (2010).

Natasha Trethewey is the winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her book Native Guard. Her first poetry collection, Domestic Work, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and her second collection, Bellocq’s Ophelia, was named a Notable Book for 2003. Trethewey’s most recent work is a book of creative non-fiction, titled Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf (2010).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Open to Submissions

Third Coast is currently accepting submissions! Our reading period opened August 1, 2010 and will close April 30, 2011. Third Coast only accepts online submissions through our online submissions manager. Please see our submission guidelines.