Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things April 6, 2016 - 7:43am

Every month, I open my inbox to find an email from Dennis (the head of the site) asking all registered columnists to throw out pitches for articles they're interested in writing for the site. If any of you have ever pitched an article before, you know that it's only easy the first three times, and then gets progressively more difficult.

So, in the spirit of inspiration, I wanted to open this thread as a sort of database of column queries that our community is interested in seeing published. We have an astonishing variety of experience in our column staff, so if there is something you'd like to see addressed in column form, chances are we have someone who can oblige. There isn't any guarantee that anyone will bite, especially for questions that are better answered in a forum post, so keep that in mind.

Have at it.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel April 6, 2016 - 9:18am

Ideas for Articles:

Are we still technically in the Post-Modern Era, or have we finally diverged into something not yet defined?

Is writing for a targeted audience merely pandering, or is there a fine gray line?

We can always do with more craft essays. Perhaps ones that are away from the minimalist style. Perhaps also better or best ways to write Act III's or the final chapters of stories, also worded as "Writing conclusions with impact and finesse."

Should writers spend more time reading the classics or contemporary writing?

The P&W ranking list of MFAs was found to be flawed. Why has no one attempted to do it right? Where are the best writers teaching, if they do teach?

How to write a critique that doesn't push your own ideas. (I find I do this and can't seem to help myself.)

How to write essays for scholarships or other funding.

What are the absolute don't do's of writing? Are there any? Or, how to to recognize the boundaries and push/shatter them. That is for people like me who believe there are boundaries. Many would disagree.

Writing atheist stories and breaking out of the religious paradigm.

How to mix and match genres with clarity and style.?

What are things that every writer should know?

Finances. I always here it is a big deal with lots of pitfalls. How to manage income from selling stories? Are there W-2's, are taxes annually or quarterly? (Perhaps the least sexy thing about being a writer, and probably one of the most important considering that failure to do it right can lead you right back into working for The Man.)

Is poetry dead and hasn't recognized its decaying corpse? Where have the epic poets gone? Where are the stories in verse?

How to properly write collaboratively?

Top Ten list of things never to say or ask a writer. Not joking, but seriously. Joking is too easy to dismiss.

Why are writing contests important? If at all.

What are the most prestigious literary journals? Top 10/50/100? We may like to say all are equal, but some are a bigger deal than others, we know it, but we may not like to say it out loud.

I have a lot more, but I guess this will do for now.

TheScrivener's picture
TheScrivener from Seattle is reading short stories April 8, 2016 - 10:19am

Sort of following up on what Jose pitched--how to write critique that does not push your own ideas--how about, stratigies for how to take a critique. Like, how do you know what type of feedback hints at problems in your work versus feedback that might just be a difference of vision, and therefore, maybe, could be ignored. "How to take criticism, but stay true to your vision." or something. 

With so many stories being published online, I wonder if there would be interest in some sort of more directed reading activity---like pairing a short craft technique article with a link to a story that illustrates that technique. 

CS's picture
CS from Biloxi, MS is reading Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity April 8, 2016 - 10:22am

More lists. I need, nay, yearn for more lists.

I'd also like to see something akin to the "How Did This Get Made" podcast, but instead of movies, books are dissected.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break April 8, 2016 - 12:11pm

@CS

To the tune of: the book is so bad how did it get made?

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal April 8, 2016 - 9:12pm

How about...

Putting It All Together. Turning your WIP manuscript full of cool scenes and good ideas into a fine-tuned, polished and publishable novel.

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things April 12, 2016 - 10:03am

Dennis just sent this thread out to all our columnists with the suggestion that they take a look, so consider this the official LitReactor request line. All eyes on you, loves.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated April 16, 2016 - 5:29am

I'd love to see something on computer monitors. I know trying to write and stare at this thing can be tough on my eyes. Reviewing author's second books would be awesome.

fozia5's picture
fozia5 May 4, 2016 - 10:44pm

About writing whats coming in my mind!

just try to write ok just write focusing on the topic and forget the rest world and when you will stop it there would be hundred of lines written by you than sort them and get them ready to publish anywhere :)

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. June 24, 2016 - 7:27am

Nathan, 

I just had a strange, unsettling experience of reading a column, getting into a  stupid, argument/debate/bloodbath, feeling like an idiot and reevaluating my own critical spirit, and the things that I see posted, and that I have posted myself. It felt like a verbal sado masochist session complete with leather and whips. All good stuff I guess if somewhat confusing, and you like to be whipped. Personally being dominated mades me sad, and I try to avoid it. I might have expected it, given this is a "genre" site. I am still figuring out what that means. What "genre" means. 

I felt like I was ambushed in that scenario. It felt like one of those stupid experiments that some psychology professor might set up, to see if he could get his students to behave like Nazi's if he pressed them into certain corners and pushed certain buttons. It felt like entrapment and misuse of power. 

So. Here is the column I would like to see: What is Trolling?  and what is our responsibility in the context of a creative space to maintain a safe creative space. Is Litreactor a safe creative space. Maybe not. I never heasrd the term trolling until yesterday.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 13, 2017 - 9:40am

@Nathan. Gail here.  With respect. May we have an ongoing weekly/monthly spot, in the magazine,  written by a writer who is not afraid to talk about how writers are feeling about the present political climate. Whatever....I don't care what form it takes. Ignoring the pressure on the dam will not stop it from breaking.  Giving people a "sanctioned" safe and sage place to talk might be a good move right now. So, I ask that you discuss it up top. Please consider with the good folks who run the show, if there might be an appropriate way to channel the conversation where you want it to go, instead of waiting for the flood when the pressure will no longer be contained.

I, writer must learn to write under duress, when all wisdom and counsel tells me to shut up.  In the present climate, it might be good to open a dialogue that is mentored out of wisdom and experience, a discussion that fosters the reasonable consideration of artists in sobering times. I need to hear that conversation. I would prefer, that it come from the measured discussion of the smart people who make this community possible, than from random threads of fractured and frantic knee jerk panic. I am asking for guidance and mentoring on the specific matter of civic responsibility for artists in the face of the temperament of the times.

Finally, I would press for a written response this time. Tell me, talk to me and speak your mind. Silence is so discouraging. I have pressed the boundaries in here. It gives me no pleasure to make anyone uncomfortable, and in fact I find it excruciating. I am committed to a writing community. I appreciate the checks and balances, and I am grappling with that each day.  If a decision is made and articulated to me that what I am asking is inappropriate, I will respect that decision, whether or not I agree with it. I could use some wisdom here. Do you have some to share with me? Thanks for reading my letter and  thank you in advance for your response.

With regard, gsr.

 

 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman February 15, 2017 - 7:56pm

Hmm...this is an interesting idea. 

Are you asking for something like a regular feature where writers express themseleves regarding the current political climate?

And secondarily, for something about the "civic responsibility of artists" at this time?

I just want to make sure I'm hearing you correctly.

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman February 15, 2017 - 9:49pm

Also, I did want to direct you to our upcoming Drafting Your Dissent workshop. I swear, this isn't a hard sell, but it seems like something you might dig. 

https://litreactor.com/classes/drafting-your-dissent-with-jen-fitzgerald 

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. February 16, 2017 - 12:48am

Yes Snow. I am talking about a feature... Where do I talk and read about the TABOO stuff? On a regular basis, by a or some writer(s)  who is intrigued by  or cares enough about something , that they would be willing to take the heat for taking a stand, no matter what that stand is. It's not about the issue, per se,  it is about the muscles to talk about it. It is  likely to be  pretty controversial and  hot sometimes. Might need a proper fire pit,  tended with water hoses so we don't burn the joint down. Keeps it honest so to speak. Also keeps it within the parameters of good business and a community that respects all its members, including those who do not want to participate, and those who are checking LitReactor out as a place they might want to join. This site is, after all a business, as was pointed out to me the other day.

 

A column  could be funny, in the way that Jon Stewart is funny, or Stephen Colbert, or Bill Maher or any number of outspoken people who know how to entertain and make people think at the same time. It could be serious in the way that Bill Moyers is serious. It could be irreverant and maybe even slapstick sarcastic at times. All depends upon the talent at the top of the ticket and what they decide to do with the space. There is a lot of stuff that  is not cool to discuss here. Why?. I just don't get it. That's where the good stuff gets made, from the stuff that's not okay to talk about. That's the bread and butter of writers. The secret stuff, the messy stuff, the interesting stuff.

How does good comedy get generated? People sitting around chewing the fat and shooting the breeze...You know the old pot bellied stove....LitReactor doesn't have a pot bellied stove... A place to talk about stuff, where you can shoot your mouth off but you still have to behave. You know...civil discourse...And if you behave badly someone tells you to go home before you emabarrass yourself, and we'll see you tomorrow....you see? If...your magazine got hot, and people actually started reading and commenting on the articles, you would have authors stumbling over themselves to do a feature.

Maybe all I am asking is that you open up the Magazine just a tiny bit to let in something that rises a few degress above tepid. If you want no readership and no comment then you are doing a fine job. My question would be, are there writers that want to write about stuff,  and editors who don't want to open that can of worms? That can of worms is probably what we are dying to read and talk about...do you see my point? Have you had this conversation before? How do you decide on an article. What's the criteria....has to be non controversial and only about writing craft? Is there a criteria, and it just so happens that no one ever wants to write about the world we live in? No one ever wants to write about actual events? No one wants to talk about waht is happening?

"Civic responsibility" is a trigger. All I mean by it is,  the willingness to write about the things that are taboo. That is my definition of civic responsibility. Could be very different for every writer. It is really hard to bring up the stuff that is taboo. Because it is taboo. There are lots of taboos in this site, conveniently labeled politics. Everybody hates politics. Don't talk politics. Anything that is shocking is politics. Anything that is inhumane is politics. Anything that is controverisal is politics. Anything that is painful or unjust is politics.

LitReactor does a good job of talking about the nuts and bolts of writing, not so hot when it comes to talking about "being" writers.. Some writers have paid with their lives to leave their work for us. We are so spoiled we cannot even conjure the notion that we might be silenced. I think that is called complacency. I love complacency. It comforts me. But, it is not the most creative state in which to dwell. Nor is it a good place to call home if you are an artist. This place, this experiment that you have going here is hot stuff. It could be cutting edge . You could have an archive of magazine articles on the most important things we face in our time...or not....just saying...you already have the talent up top to pull it off...and the diversity of viewpoint to keep it honest. 

Okay Snow....the conversation is everything. The conversation draws the parameters for the work that exists wtihin. I am trying to understand the parameters of this site. What can I talk about and where? I know where to talk about my work...in the Workshop. ...very clear...where do I talk about the taboo stuff?

Thanks for the heads up on drafting dissent. I am considering a course on political writing that is opening up, by a writer I admire on another site. But, I did see this class and am considering it. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break February 16, 2017 - 2:33pm

 May we have an ongoing weekly/monthly spot, in the magazine,  written by a writer who is not afraid to talk about how writers are feeling about the present political climate.

Do you not follow authors on social media? All I see these days are authors discussing their politics. If anything, I'm seeing too much of it.

You don't need a column. Just get on Twitter and start clicking that "follow" button if you want a political fix.

smithreynolds's picture
smithreynolds from Spokane, WA USA is reading The writing on the wall. March 16, 2017 - 7:33am

Okay. 

larry w. glover's picture
larry w. glover April 6, 2017 - 6:21pm

: 6 -Fozia 5 and Thuggish: Just write
focusing on the subject. Afterwards,
you put it all together for publishing.

Thank you

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated April 15, 2017 - 4:22pm

It might be a little more complicated. Maybe a column about things you should expect but don't know?