IN NO PLACE LIKE HOME: A Memoir in 39 Apartments, author Brooke Berman—who struggled both as a playwright and as a room-renter, sub-letter, and couch-surfer—shapes her story around the 39 spaces in which she lived during her early New-York-City years. Brilliant!
But if we haven’t occupied 39 places? What imaginative boxes could we use to divvy up and examine our lives? How about 39 cats? 12 breakups? 7 toaster ovens? 100 trips to IKEA? 17 head shots? 10,000 journal entries? 99 bottles of beer on the wall?
Make your own list! What organizing principle would best serve your memoir?
DANA SUMMERS IS A POLITICAL CARTOONIST . . . and a thriller writer! He wrote, Jamie, I thought I’d let you know that [Dana’s first thriller] DRAWN AND BURIED won [Mystery Writers of America’s] Freddie Award at Sleuthfest. Pretty excited. Your help was instrumental in getting this thing into shape. Thanks!
Political cartoons are supposed to tick people off, not drive them to murder. Tim Ryder is trying to bury the past, but it’s a stubborn corpse. Seven years ago he drew a cartoon series that earned him a Pulitzer—and drove a presidential candidate to put a bullet in his head. After drinking himself out of the profession, Ryder moves to Florida to draw for a small daily, but now a politician has been murdered, and the scene’s been arranged to resemble a cartoon Ryder drew.
DRAWN AND BURIED also won a 2013 Royal Palm Award and the 2013 Writers Type First Chapter contest. Dana is currently seeking representation.
IT’S (SORT OF) SPRING! TIME TO SHOVE YOUR WORK OUT OF the nest. Here are some resources that will help your stories, poems, and essays fly in the right direction:
NEW PAGES lists literary magazines, alternative periodicals, contests, and more. Visit their classifieds for submissions calls.
POETS & WRITERS has an excellent classifieds section, too, with calls for anthologies, books, chapbooks, and work for magazines.
Finally, THE REVIEW REVIEW helps writers identify appropriate markets—and also provides a way for writers to keep in contact with editors! As site creator Becky Tuch says, A story might not be right for a magazine, but [writing] a thoughtful review will be sure to make editors aware of your writing skills. Great classifieds, too!
ONCE UPON A TIME, JOHN LENNON walked into avant-art gallery Indica, where Yoko Ono had a show. There, he climbed a ladder, found a magnifying glass, and peered through it at the single, tiny word Ono had inscribed on the ceiling: “Yes”
If the word Ono had written had been, “No,” so the story goes, Lennon would have left the gallery without ever meeting Yoko. But it wasn’t. And that single word changed the course of rock-n-roll history.
From Yoko Ono to you: List words that could (or did) alter a situation. (Yes? No? Evidence? Surprise!? Listen? Run!?) Now pick one and write the story of how that single word changes everything.