Grants & Awards

Over 110 up­com­ing dead­lines, plus 6 new awards, and 221 re­cent win­ners.

Poets and Writers - - Departments -

process than the first, many of the chal­lenges I en­coun­tered felt fa­mil­iar to me,” she says. “Things like a char­ac­ter fall­ing flat or the plot stalling or the bru­tal help­less­ness of feel­ing stuck in the mid­dle of the story—it’s not that they were eas­ier to nav­i­gate, but at least this time, I knew that get­ting past them wasn’t im­pos­si­ble, be­cause I’d done it once be­fore. As for know­ing that your readers and re­view­ers are out there? I found that the crit­i­cal re­views and reader com­ments that hurt the most were the ones that I agreed with. Ul­ti­mately, the best thing you can hope for as you write the sec­ond book and be­yond is that you’ll grow and im­prove with each one.”

That growth re­quires pa­tience from ev­ery­one. “For pub­lish­ers,” says Karch­mar, “this means un­der­stand­ing that writ­ers aren’t foot­ball play­ers: They sel­dom peak at twen­ty­five, and a cou­ple of side­lined sea­sons don’t have to add up to ca­reer sui­cide. For writ­ers, it means broad­en­ing and deep­en­ing their work, keep­ing the faith in the face of a con­tracted mar­ket­place, and rec­og­niz­ing their role in pro­mot­ing them­selves and their books—be­ing ac­tively en­gaged in the cul­tural con­ver­sa­tion, and con­nected to the broader lit­er­ary com­mu­nity.”

Af­ter all, the nar­ra­tives around sec­ond nov­els be­lie the fact that even pub­lish­ers don’t know the fate of a book in ad­vance. High-pro­file ti­tles flop; word of mouth turns low-bud­get books into best-sell­ers. The in­dus­try’s un­pre­dictabil­ity can be free­ing, a re­minder that a writer’s sphere of con­trol rarely ex­tends be­yond the page.

“You’ve writ­ten a novel,” my agent told me be­fore we sub­mit­ted The Im­mor­tal­ists. “Let me do this part.”

In urg­ing me to trust her—and, okay, to be a lit­tle bit less con­trol­ling—she was also giv­ing me per­mis­sion to trust my­self.

As Sylvester puts it, ex­pe­ri­ence is em­pow­er­ing. “For once,” she says, “I could face doubts head-on and say, ‘Oh, I re­mem­ber you. I re­mem­ber how you work.’”

The nar­ra­tives around sec­ond nov­els be­lie the fact

that even pub­lish­ers don’t know the fate of a book in ad­vance.

High-pro­file ti­tles flop; word of mouth turns low-bud­get

books into best-sell­ers. The in­dus­try’s un­pre­dictabil­ity

can be free­ing, a re­minder that a writer’s sphere of

con­trol rarely ex­tends be­yond the page.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.