anonymous said:

I'm writing a literary fiction novel, and I believe that the ideas are really original, however I'm having trouble with pacing and making it a literary novel that isn't slow or boring.

When I first started out with literary fiction, I admit I was really lost.  All I knew about it was that it wasn’t genre fictin, but of course, lack of a trait is not in itself a trait.  So I asked a brilliant professor of mine about it, and the way she explained it: what makes fiction literary is that it focuses not on the plot, the magic, the “genre” elements so much as it focuses on the ideas and concepts embodied within the story.

For example, in a short story called “Loser” (and I’m kicking myself because I can’t remember the author’s name just now), there’s an orphan boy who develops the unnatural power of finding lost things.  Most people would consider this a superpower, yet the story is still classified as literary fiction.  Why?  Because the story’s not “about” the superpower or the events.  It’s primarily about the themes and concepts - specifically, the concept of loss.

Long story short: Literary fiction can crop up in almost any genre.  If you have a strong grasp on the core of your story, you can use genre elements to help amplify your ideas.  Which means that in no way does your literary novel have to be boring, because it could be almost anything.  There are far fewer limits than it seems.  Write the book you want to write, and then with some digging, you can figure out what the heart of your story is and bring it to the surface.  Revision will definitely be your friend here.

And speaking of revising and planning: I’m going to refer you to a tool I like to use for building stories called the snowflake method.  You can find it here:  It’s a great building-block method that has you starting small and growing from there, getting deeper and more detailed you go.  It’s particularly helpful for pacing, since it helps you build scenes in conjunction with each other and offers perspective, rather than slogging through a rough draft from beginning to end.  Try it out and see if it might work for you.  No single method is a one-size-fits-all, but this method has helped me and my critique partners countless times, so perhaps you can make some use of it!

I think I’m going to throw this one to the followers as well.  What methods do you guys like to use for planning and pacing your stories?

- Senga

Concursos Literarios

Gente libre, linda y loca.

Me topé con este sitio, alguno de ustedes ya lo deben conocer. tiene de todo un poco para ayudar a los escritores y también lectores. Echénle una miradita.

Voy a destacar la parte de Concursos, algunos vencen hoy, para los que hayan participado les deseo todo el éxito del mundo, para los que no, no desesperen aún hay más.

Ordenados por país, para su comodidad, aquí están

Para los siguientes países no información sobre concursos, si alguien sabe de algún concurso, mande con confianza.

  • Bolivia
  • Costa Rica
  • Nicaragua
  • Paraguay

Un abrazo,



Misha is hosting a contest for the best GISH-story about what happened to you during this, or a prior year’s GISHWHES Hunt. It can be funny, moving, weird, inspiring. etc…


1. Write a short narration of something that you experienced during GISHWHES that surprised you, made you feel good, was hilarious, changed you, helped you through something, shocked you, affected another individual, taught you a lesson, was an experience you shared with a loved one or friend, etc… anything you want that you think people might enjoy reading.

2. It must be emailed to before Friday, Oct 3rd at 12pm PDT. Don’t worry, that’s mountains of time. Think about all you created in GISHWHES over the course of a few days.

3. It must be 300 words or less.

4. (OPTIONAL) You may include a picture in the email if it will help your story. The picture can be your item image submission or simply a picture that you took that’s related to the story. You may also submit a digital drawing or painting that’s related to the story or the emotions in the story – but you must create it!

5. You MUST INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING IN YOUR EMAIL! “I (ENTER YOUR FULL LEGAL NAME) am the sole creator of the content I am submitting in this email (“content”). I have not plaigerized or copied this content from any other source. By submitting the content to GISHWHES LLC, I am granting the Company ALL RIGHTS related to ownership and distribution of said Content in perpetuity. Such Content may be distributed, shown, or broadcast in any medium at any time to any audience during this time period.”

6. Include your full name as you wish it to appear in a published work.

PRIZE: The top Gish-story will be published in this year’s Coffee Table Book! Yes, you will be a published author. You will also receive free Schwag (all items!) from the GISHWHES Schwag Shwop.

Good luck, Gishers!”

- If you have an opportunity to do this, we hightly suggest it, not just to get in the book but for yourself as well.