The Other Side of the Desk

I was talking to one of my fellow MFA students in the office today, and we noticed something. Almost without exception, the graduates of our program who are publishing consistently and professionally worked on the lit mag while they were students.

I’ve said repeatedly that it’s good for any writer to spend some time reading slush, if only to get a sense of what not to do. But I’m beginning to think there’s more to it than that.  Continue reading

Free Fiction: Recovering Spitzer

Every so often I have a piece of short fiction that I believe is worth sharing with the public, but which doesn’t find a home with a publisher. I will on occasion publish one of these pieces here, accompanied by a conversation on what I like about the piece and what I think its weaknesses are. You are welcome to join in the conversation in the comments section.

Recovering Spitzer

by Kyle Aisteach 

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Final Cat Update

For those who’ve been following the sick-cat saga, after a month of steadily improving, he crashed suddenly and hard Wednesday evening / Thursday morning. Total loss of appetite, followed by severe weakness, followed by withdrawal. Just two days before, he’d been excitedly dancing and begging because we made soup from a recipe we got from his previous human’s mother (I now believe that cats have sense memory, too), and seemed like a completely healthy cat again. By Friday morning, it was obvious he was slipping away, and needed to go back to the vet urgently.

Since he’d come back from the brink twice before, the vet wanted to err on the side of treating him, and we agreed, though we all knew that the odds were against him. Unfortunately, this time he wasn’t strong enough. He passed away a little after 8:00 this morning. We were fortunate enough to be with him.

Though we’re obviously very sad right now, the love he brought into our lives has been more than worth it. Please do not give up on special needs animals. Even in the saddest moments, they’re a blessing, and there are right now thousands of animals in need of loving, forever homes.

Charting the Ending

So. I’m still trying to come up with straightforward ways you can analyze a market to see if it’s right for your story or novel. And one thing I’ve found is that there are a lot of editors who have a very strong preference for certain types of endings.  But “happy” or “sad” aren’t descriptive enough to really make sense of the complexity of possible endings out there. So to that end, I’ve worked up a matrix… Continue reading

My New Market Analysis Hypothesis

Recently, I’ve been trying to think of clear, simple instructions I could give people about how to analyze a market to determine if your story is right for them (or so you can develop one that is). I figured this would make a great series of blog posts, each one dedicated to a different way you can assess what a magazine or publisher likes and how you can use that information to submit appropriately. And I thought I had a brilliant idea. Continue reading