Showing posts from August, 2011

yodelings of imminent vanishment

As you can probably tell from the sparseness of blog posts this month, INTERN has been rather distracted lately. For those of you who missed INTERN's elated tweeting a few weeks ago, here's why: INTERN and Techie Boyfriend are going to India and Nepal! On, um, Sunday. It's all very surprising and a little bewildering (Techie Boyfriend got a last-minute contract doing Incomprehensible Computer Stuff that mysteriously involves spending a few weeks in Calcutta) and INTERN has been sorting out visas and typhoid vaccines and looking for the perfect India Notebook in which to scribble her thoughts.

INTERN will not be taking a laptop, so this post might be the last you hear from her until mid-October. INTERN is not ruling out the possibility of checking in with a state-of-the-Indian/Nepalese-book-scene post or two, but you never know. Sometimes, INTERN feels the need to disappear completely for a while, if only to reconfirm that the writings she's writing and the schemes she&…

never mind the bat nests: on fixer-upper manuscripts

When INTERN was in high school, she longed for a part in the school play, Shakespeare’s As You Like It. She was awkward and graceless and made a completely ridiculous Acting Face whenever she practiced reading the script, but she cared, goddamit, and on the day of the auditions she delivered a passionate rendition of Jabberwocky to the bemused directors. INTERN’s best friend, who was listening from the hallway, declared the performance “psychotic” and suggested that perhaps acting had better be left to the regular drama kids, none of whom had a singular and unchanging Acting Face but were in fact capable of a full range of actorly expressions.

A week later, the cast list went up. INTERN was shocked to see her name at the very bottom, cast in a minor role (but a role nonetheless!) as a foppish Frenchman named Le Beau.

INTERN was thrilled but mystified. Wasn’t it ill-advised to allow such an inexperienced actress even a minor role in the production? She was well aware of how clumsy her …

too many agents, not enough gin: the truth about multiple offer situations

In the past month, INTERN had the pleasure of supporting not one but two editing clients-turned-writer friends through the strangely harrowing process of choosing between multiple offers of representation.

"Multiple offers of representation?" you say. "How delightful! Surely these writer-friends did not require much in the way of emotional support."

Multiple offers of rep are the bizarro version of rejection letters. Instead of dashing your hopes, they suddenly make them seem possible. Instead of limiting your choices, they present you with a dazzling array. For the first time, you're the Rejector. You become *responsible* for your fate—capable of making the wrong decision (whereas if you have only one offer, it is always going to seem like the right decision).

As far as INTERN can tell, multiple offer situations are not particularly rare. Before it happens to you, please be advised of the following myths surrounding the multiple offer situation, and the hard …

writing advice books INTERN would like to see

Elements of Guile by Strunk and White: Tips on tricking agents and editors into representing/buying your manuscripts.

The Forest for the Bees by Betsy Lerner: An editor's advice to—OH MY GOD BEES!

Writing the Breakout Grovel by Donald Mass: How to beg famous writer-friends to blurb your book.

Building the Breakout Hovel, also by Donald Maas: How to build yourself a wattle-and-daub shack to live in once your breakout novel fails to break out.

On Smiting by Stephen King: Sick of writing? Learn the techniques of the bestselling smiter.

Nerd by Nerd by Anne Lamott: How to write science fiction and/or programming textbooks that will seduce the brainiest of readers.

Curd by Curd, also by Anne Lamott: An extended metaphor on writing as cheesemaking.

Writing Down the Clones by Natalie Goldberg: Clones are the new zombie-vampire-angel-trolls. Zen-style tips on cashing in on this hot new trend.


Which writing advice books would YOU like to see? INTERN wants to know!

Happy, happy Wednesday…

little jars, tasty jams: thoughts on making it big

There's a delightful French expression INTERN heard once which goes "les bonnes choses viennent dans des petits pots" (or something like that). Literally translated, it means "good things come in little pots," but INTERN has always read it as "tasty jams come in little jars."

Lately, INTERN has been thinking about what it means to be successful as a writer, and how different-sized jars of success each come with their own particular brand of delights. You don't "make it big" one time, but over and over, leaving a sticky jam trail in your wake...


Jar #1: You hand sell 10 copies of your poetry book Ode to a Bolete and make out like a bandit (fifty BUCKS!), which you gleefully spend on pints for you and your poetry buddies. You can't get over your good fortune, and in the following weeks you write your best poetry yet.

Jar #2: You win a small poetry contest for your chapbook Lament for a Lactarius, and the prize is publication by a…

first draft contest winners!

Just a short post today, as Techie Boyfriend has kershwaggled the power cord to INTERN's laptop and gone to Seattle for three days. Battery life remaining: just enough to announce the winners of the International Sh*tty First Draft Week Contest!

INTERN is so proud of everyone who entered the contest and is so impressed by everyone's nerve, daring, and drafting skills.

Without further ado...

Sarah B has won the first 50 pages critique!

Kimberly Gould has won the revision survival kit!

Matthew C Wood has won the twigs and string!

Winners can e-mail their INTERN at internspills [@] gmail [dot] com to claim their prizes.

Off to INTERN's charmingly decrepit and squirrel-infested writing cabin to bang on the Smith-Corona...