AWP Day 3 — Postcard from the Ledge

That’s me, with the martini I did not get yesterday, as I missed happy hour. C’est la vie.

Alas, this place has gone a bit quiet. Last night must have been the big hoorah night out, as I think many are heading for home today. After the 40 minute Junot Diaz talk (sigh) I stayed up till one a.m. reading my Lee Child thriller. Smart thriller. And then slept in and ordered up a room service breakfast and read some more of my thriller. Heavenly.

First up. In a seminar on INTIMATE DETAIL with the divine Alice McDermott, I’m zoning in on this — add the details that make your reader feel privileged to know it, to feel that you’ve shared this specifically and secretly with them. And read (or re-read) Lorrie Moore’s short story “Agnes of Iowa” from her Birds Of America collection as a study on this topic. I know I will when I get home.

Session 2 – What Editors Love and Desire. 1) to be so engrossed in your m/s that they miss their subway stop. One guy actually did miss his train on his way here for this very reason. 2) to feel the anxiety and expectation of falling in love, the way you feel about a first kiss, perhaps. 3) to hear a fresh voice in control of their story, vision, and language, to feel like they are seeing new ART. 4) to feel a heightened sense of CURIOSITY. In memoir, for instance, there is too often am complete lack of curiosity – which kills the purpose for reading it.

Some stats: Tin House receives 1,500 – 2,000 submissions per month. Milkweed Press rec’d 6,000 manuscript submissions last year, 10-15% were agented. In the end, 80-90% of what they published was agented.

6 thoughts on “AWP Day 3 — Postcard from the Ledge

  1. Downith

    After This (McDermott) was required reading last term for my fiction class – brilliant – as is the advice you quote.

    Thanks for these posts.

      1. Downith

        Okay, make that one degree of separation. Carole Burns ? She’s head of the MA at Winchester and taught me Fiction last term and Publishing Project the term before.

      2. Teri Post author

        I knew it as soon as soon as she said the word Winchester. What are the flippin’ chances…. She was quite elegant, and looked to be pleased to be on the panel with Alice. 🙂

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