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Thread: Welll...?

  1. #21
    Karenann Malley
    Guest

    Welll...?

    Actually, teaching pays the rent. I am more disoriented than saddened by the odd series of responses to my comments. But disoriented isn't necessarily bad. It's entertaining. I didn't want to insult anyone, however. It seems to be quite easy to misunderstand what people say in here. I think you're right--it is important not to think too hard about writing, and I remind myself often to remember that I do it above all because it's fun to tell stories and play with language. I have an MFA, and those programs tend to make one lose sight of that... My published stories are "Possum" in the December, 1990 issue of The Iowa Review; "Lost Girls" in the Winter, 1993 issue of Bottomfish; "North" in The Sonora Review in 1994; and "The Sasanoa" in the Kansas Quarterly/Arkansas Review last winter. All of those are under the name Karen Condon. So, how did you become a ghost writer?



  2. #22
    hank schlesinger
    Guest

    Welll...?

    hell, why not insult them? nobody ever got anything except free tea and scones out of polite conversation. i'm assuming you're one of those "Iowa People." lately i've re-thought my views on Iowa since Thom Jones (Pugilist at Rest/Cold Snap) made the move there. fascinating to think you sold all that short fiction. i just sold my first short story and am more thrilled than i should be about it. the whole idea of fiction in a magazine just tickles me. i started ghosting after editors realized i could turn out 35K -40k words in 3 weeks, if that answers your question.

  3. #23
    Karenann Malley
    Guest

    Welll...?

    But I love scones. I didn't want to insult anyone because when someone feels insulted, the discussion gets shut down. I definitely wanted to disagree and stir up something interesting, however. Life is short--might as well be honest. You partly answered my question...but I am wondering how they found out that you can write that much in so short a time? How did you make that connection and prove yourself? (Not at a cocktail party, I assume) If you glance at the dates of publication, you will notice that my stories were "sold" (at a price of 2 free copies--one for my mother, one for me) about once each year. Actually, though, the Kansas Quarterly/Arkansas Review just accepted another, and they actually pay $$$. Enough for a coupla pairs of jeans or something. The first one won a prize in an Associated Writing Programs contest, which meant it got published in The Iowa Review, and that was, I suppose, my "Big Break." I got rejected from Iowa, actually, and got my MFA at UMass in Amherst. "One of those Iowa people." Hmph. K.M.

  4. #24
    hank schlesinger
    Guest

    Welll...?

    karen: i began by writing westerns. i wrote one and then sold it as a series. it was odd, violent and dark enough to get "their" attention. actually, that's not true. i began by writing stories for wrestling magazines and porn. because the money wasn't a lot, i had to grind the stuff out at a phenomenal rate. something like 450,000 words a year. a lot of the people who wrote the "dirty books" with me in our early 20s went on to become editors and authors. some of them quite respectable. so, there was an informal "network" set up and we tended to help each other. however, we all had one thing in common. we were all desperate to write. absolutely possessed by it. any other questions?

  5. #25
    Karenann Malley
    Guest

    Welll...?

    No further questions. Well, okay, one more: are you still desperate to write?

  6. #26
    hank schlesinger
    Guest

    Welll...?

    yeah, we all are. of the original members of that group, we all still write everyday. the editors, who have respectable suit&tie jobs, finish their work at the publishing houses and go home and write their own stuff. this, despite families, children, etc. i have to confess,i find the group that formed over ten years ago fascinating. that dull, slow march of a job was our writing school. it's where we learned plotting, dialogue, etc. and where we learned what worked and what didn't. others in the group claim i am a romantic about it, but i don't think so. what about you? work everyday on the writing? what kind of stuff is it, exactly? also, we seem to be the only ones in here now. would you prefer to carry this conversation on via email?

  7. #27
    Karenann Malley
    Guest

    Welll...?

    Okay. Write to ramalley@student.umass.edu Yes, I write every day, right now. I'm on vacation for almost a month. During the semester, I find it very difficult to get anything done, because I use it up with teaching. It's a new job, however, and as I get used to it I am sure I will get into the habit again. I wax romantic, sometimes, about my days in the MFA program because I was single and not obliged to share my time and space with anyone. I was lonely as hell but very focused on writing, whereas now I'm quite content and less focused. There's a balance, I'm sure, and I hope to strike it someday soon. I do not, however, subscribe to the idea that creativity (productive creativity) depends on suffering. I'm not sure what kind of stuff I write, how to classify it. People have told me it's spooky and weird. I like to create characters who have lost something and are responding in an interesting way to that loss. Who channel their anger at the loss in genuinely creative ways. For example, I have a short story about a family whose oldest daughter was kidnapped, simply disappeared on the train tracks one day. In the story the family gets drunk on Christmas Eve at an aunt's house, and the narrator hallucinates her sister's return. I love gothic novels, so I suppose what I write is contemporary gothic. I'll look for you on e-mail.

  8. #28
    Bobbe Dabling
    Guest

    Welll...?

    Ahem. Excuse me, Karenann and Hank, but I was hoping you could continue your conversation here. I enjoyed it. Karenann, I suppose being published isn't the most important aspect of being a writer. Being published, I guess, is more an attitude. As for me, I'm published, but as a journalist. I've worked as a journalist for so long, that I can't write *fiction*. Hank, I'm also a prolific writer, probably from working so many years on deadline. I began working as a journalist so that I could go fulltime as a writer, as Jim McDonald has done. Instead, my work as a journalist now makes me feel guilty when I have to fudge on facts, even when writing creative essays. Arghhh. As for being a good writer, I'm not so sure. I don't *have* to write. I usually write for a living. So as a freelancer, I'm finding it hard to stay on one project until I'm done. Ah well. It's discipline, I know, I know. And that brings me to the reason I've stopped by: I need some people demanding and checking up on me--a virtual newsroom, if you will. (Doesn't that sound pretentious?) And Karenann, I now teach for a living, too. And I used to think writing for daily newspapers and wire services had pressure... Anyone want to act as my boss? I've got a great project that really does need to be finished. It's past the start stage, but bogging down now that it's in the clean up stage. I'll check back. One more thing: I can't pay this *boss* for his/her job, so it would be strictly for the thrills of beating up on some slacker hack (moi), One more thing: I, too, write daily, but when I really should be writing, I turn to diversions such as this discussion group. Which brings me back, once again, to my search for a *boss.* Cheers.

  9. #29
    Patrick O
    Guest

    Welll...?

    Bobbe Dabling: I'll help boss you around, but for a boss-in-return fee. I started a book last week . . . wrote 14 pages just like that. Finished my outline. Jotted chapter notes. And then I boarded the Internet and it's been downtime-city ever since. Your open plea to Hank and Karenann was just what I needed to spur me back to Word Perfect. As soon as I check one more writers.net folders, I'm telling everyone to leave my studio so I can get back to the business of writing. I can relate to the journalism/fiction dilemma, but in a slightly different way. I spent several years doing the political and crime beats for a large county and I can't tell you how many times I found my colleagues engaging in some fiction of their own. Now: Clean up your act by cleaning up your project. Drudgery can be good for the spirit. Self-editing is one of the toughest jobs we writers have because it means we must be ruthless to ourselves. You can do it. You will do it. And, what's more, you'll do it well.

  10. #30
    Myrina McCullough
    Guest

    Welll...?

    I came in here looking for a list of actual writer's groups in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Your discussions, though, are interesting in that the participants would probably not participate in a writer's group and cover a broader, more colorful group of writers. Still, I will keep looking for my people-to-people group.

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