Archive for the ‘Non-fiction’ Tag

The One Website Every Writer Should Know   2 comments

"Writing", 22 November 2008

“Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

When people find out I’m a writer, they’re full of questions. They tell me about this one poem or story they’ve written or thought about writing, but they don’t know what they’d do with it after it’s written. Should they publish it? Isn’t that risky, especially if they publish it online? How would they find a place to send it anyway, and how would they submit it?

For all these questions and more, I send them to duotrope.com. Duotrope has a database of 4,360 publications that are currently accepting work. These include both print and online literary journals, publisher of fiction, non fiction, and poetry, paying and non paying markets. Each listing has a treasure trove of information on the guidelines of each publisher, response statistics, and a link to the website for further information.

Duotrope also provides a submissions manager to allow members to keep track of where and when they’ve submitted work. There is a community presence, offering market news, writing prompts, calendars, and in depth interviews with the editors of publications listed. Even our own Waterhouse Review is listed. You can read the interview with fiction editor Gavin Broom and me here: https://duotrope.com/interview.aspx?id=5149

Duotrope has also introduced me to a number of great markets, like Niteblade. In fact, you may be reading this post because of the Niteblade blog train. You probably came from http://idreamagain.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/niteblade-blog-train-stop-15/, and next stop is, http://www.markrigney.net/Rigney/Blog/Blog.html
So if you’re in a rut and don’t know what to write or just need a new market to send your work, please check out https://duotrope.com/index.aspx

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Gloom Cupboard, 2009   2 comments

 

A bed with canopy.

Image via Wikipedia

 

Read the issue here

I don’t often write non fiction. When I do, it tends to be a little hyper-non-fiction, exaggerating things to get a laugh or make a point. The article Gloom Cupboard printed of mine entitled “Beds I Have Known” does both.

I’d been toying with writing a poem about painting my bed when I was in my late teens, in my first apartment, and how my mother freaked when she saw it. But I could never get it right. Every time I would write it out in a poem, it seemed clunky, overblown, too gushy. So I just looked at my free write notes, started expanding on other beds, other stories, and it came together in a way I really liked. I tried taking myself out of it, making each bed a short story with fictitious characters, but it didn’t ring true. So, I just bit the bullet, kept me in there, and started sending it out as a non fiction essay. Gloom Cupboard snatched it up.

This long weekend, look around your home and view your furniture with a critical eye. What means something to you beyond a place to sit or sleep or eat? Is there a piece that has a family history? A personal history? A treasure you brought back from the flea market or dump and breathed new life into? Write an essay about it, describe it, describe your history with it.

Girls With Insurance   1 comment

Cigarette

Image by Pensiero via Flickr

http://frsh.in/60

I have worked with a number of great editors in my writing career, bu Dawn Corrigan over at GWI is one of my favorites. She saw great potential in my flash, “Breaking it Down”, but was not afraid to point out its flaws and make suggestions that made the piece even better without bruising the fragile writer‘s ego.

She was also perceptive enough to recognize that not everything in this story is fiction, and asked if I would rather have it published as non fiction. My answer was no, because then the neighbor in Breaking it Down was still my neighbor in real life, and while I seriously doubted she’d be reading the story, there was always the slim possibility that a visitor to my home might shout out to her “hey, you’re the neighbor with the fat shoulders!” if they saw her sitting out on her stoop, paperback in one hand, smoke in the other.

If the story had been published today, I might very well publish it as non fiction. There are fictitious elements to it, yes, but I’ve moved on, both physically and emotionally, from that time in my life,  and am more secure in who I am that I am willing to admit the darker sides of my life, to truly own my life, and not care as much who sees it. Rereading this story after so many months has made me realize how much I’ve changed since then. I get a little thrill of joy rereading it, not just because it’s well written, but because it’s therapeutic to look back, and appreciate what you had then, and have now.

So today, nonfiction. Put real people in your stories, without disguising them, without fear of hurt feelings or recriminations. Let your stories speak freely.

The Legendary   Leave a comment

Sunnyside Trailer park in West Miami, Florida

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.downdirtyword.com/authors/helenpeterson.html#tp

You can follow this link to every little thing I’ve ever published in the Legendary, but for today I’d just like to talk about the two poems published this year, and leave the fiction and nonfiction for another day.

A writer has to draw on everything they know, they have to listen to the language around them, both at home and away.  Both of  these poems, “What it Means to be a Whore’s Daughter”, and “Popcorn Ball Blues” reflect my own listening skills, especially as a child spending her summers in either the Southern US or out West with relatives, grandmas, uncles, that I didn’t get to see the rest of the year, and that talked in words and inflections in ways quite different from the Connecticut Yankees back home.

Not that home didn’t play a part in it as well.  My own feelings of betrayal and heartache birthed the Whore’s Daughter, using the pen and the keyboard to vent as a woman scorned causes, I hope, a lot less bloodshed than taking a sword into the trailer park. Popcorn Ball Blues on the other hand is just plain fun, one of the first flash poems I ever wrote after joining Scrawl back in 2007. They’re polar opposites, these two poems, but they work well together. It’s as if Popcorn was the hot Friday night, and Whore’s Daughter is the morning after, full of regrets.

Enjoy these, and the other work by myself and others in the Legendary. It really is a good read, every issue.