Daily Archives for: March 20th, 2017

The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O’ Connor (1960)

Excerpted from review of The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O’Connor in The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri), March, 1960: Flannery O’Connor, a comparatively young Southern woman, writes with such skill and control that to praise her novel to excess would come easily and willingly.

Suffice it to say that The Violent Bear It Away is the best of her three books and that a comparison between this neo-Gothic tale and the novels written by William Faulkner at the height of his literary powers, could in no way harm Miss O’Connor. Read More→


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Is it better to be a modest success than to risk failure?

Dear Literary Ladies,
I’m plugging away at a modest but steady writing career, but sometimes I think about aiming higher. I admit that I’m afraid to fail— and then look foolish to myself and others. What about you? Do you think it’s better to stick with what you do best, rather than stick your neck out and possibly fail?

Is it better to be extremely ambitious, or rather modest? Probably the latter is safer; but I hate safety, and would rather fail gloriously than dingily succeed.

Vita Sackville-West, from a letter to Virginia Woolf, August, 1928 Read More→


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The Literary Traditions of Self-Publishing

As a way to avoid or recover from rejection or after having given up on finding a publisher or agent, writers have increasingly turned to self-publishing. Here’s a bit of surprising self-publishing history by some classic authors.

Gone are the days of having to store copious numbers of cartons of unsold books in the garage or under the bed. User-friendly print-on-demand or e-book services allow writers to create books on an as-needed basis, avoiding the pitfalls of overprinting.

Whether the product ends up only in the hands of the author’s mom and cousins or becomes one of the rare successes that sells like wildfire, it’s good to have options. Read More→


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5 Valuable Writing Tips from Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007) conducted a writing life that can best be described as one of perseverance. Best known for her award-winning young adult science fiction, particularly A Wrinkle in Time, L’Engle offered much wisdom on writing and the writing life in her memoirs.

L’Engle often wrote of the struggles of what the called the triad of “mother-wife-writer.” When she was writing, she felt guilty that she wasn’t doing enough for her children, and when she was mothering, she felt awful that she wasn’t writing. It was typical angst of midcentury mothers, who took on the lion’s share of childrearing.

Famously she wrote of her struggles with literary rejection, especially of A Wrinkle in Time, which ultimately became her most successful work. “You can’t name a major publisher who didn’t reject it. When we’d run through forty-odd publishers, my agent sent it back. We gave up.” Read More→


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