Sunday, October 17, 2010
a radically different concept of success
I've had Jane Delury for a couple of classes, so I know her and her tutorial on submitting to journals pretty well. I started submitting to online journals right after I graduated from college, so I know the process, but I still learned something from Jane's lecture. I also appreciate her honesty about literary journals, how they're edited, and how, shall we say, tight their readership is.
She also gave the class a chance to interact in small groups, which was a neat idea. Given that this is a lecture series, we don't often get to do that, and it's nice, speaking as a writer, to commune with designers every so often and see things with their eyes. I'm still very much a novice when it comes to determining how things look, and there's a whole vocabulary to design that I'm missing. Besides, picking apart the numerous layout and typeface errors in literary journals is fun! There's definitely a "look" to lit. journals that I've never liked, but I'm learning to explain what it is I don't like, and how I would change it if given the chance. Hopefully the designers in the class won't roll their eyes at my obvious questions too much.
The writing exercise was also fun - I generally give stories more of a chance than the first paragraph (in fact, when I edited a journal in undergrad I read everything all the way through), but Jane's right about grabbing people from the beginning. And pooling minds to rewrite opening paragraphs badly is both a great way to bond with classmates and a reverse-osmosis method of learning what makes a good sentence and a good paragraph.
Like I said, I learned a lot. Jane's a good representative of the CWPA program, and I'm glad she was able to share her time and knowledge with us.