During the month of August, Merrill Feitell is on board to critique your in-progress works of fiction. Merrill's first book, Here Beneath Low-Flying Planes, was awarded the Iowa Prize for Short Fiction.
This month's program is open to a wide variety of fiction manuscripts. The fees and page length parameters are as follows:
- Flash Fiction, up to 2 pages in length, $15
- Short Stories, up to 20 pages in length, $45
- Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $150
- Novellas, up to 100 pages in length $250
- Short Story Collections, up to 180 pages in length, $350
- Novels, up to 300 pages in length, $700
All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font.
The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is August 31. Tom will complete his work and respond to all participants by September 30.
Merrill Feitell's Statement of Purpose
In his short story “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin describes musicians as charged with the task of “…dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air.”
As a writer, whenever I read this line my first thought is always: Lucky musicians! After all, the musician gets to harness the roar rising from the void and tame it all in the same moment of performance. Bam! It's done.
But for the writer, dealing with the roar of the subconscious and imposing order on it rarely take place at the same time—and so I’ve come to think of fiction writing as something of a three-part process. First, we pin the roaring subconscious to the page; second, there’s the challenge of learning to really read our own drafts—shifting our focus from the story we intended to write in order to recognize the one that actually roared its way onto the page; and, third, we impose order on this roar by applying techniques and tactics that best transmit the story from the page.
Of course, this process isn’t necessarily linear and every work is its own particular creature demanding its own particular care, but, generally speaking, my feedback is intended to help you recognize or further discover the heart of the story already pulsing from the page and to call your attention to passages, techniques, strategies, and opportunities to fully and effectively harness that story and to transport your readers from the beginning to the end of it.