Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Link Corral: ISO Poems About Bourbon; Lee Child on Creating Suspense; New on Redux

This week is really "hello—goodbye," as I’ll be away from the blog for the rest of the week.  But there may be some food-related posts in the future….


Who can resist a call for poems about bourbon?

Winged City Press and Two of Cups Press announce a call for submissions for the forthcoming anthology tentatively titled BOURBON FOR BLOOD, due out in July 2013.

We are looking for well-crafted, full-bodied poems that mention bourbon. A passing reference or a traditional ode to your favorite distillery, we have no stylistic preferences other than to demand that your work is top shelf.

Submission guidelines

Send up to three bourbon-related poems to
twoofcupspress@gmail.com by Jan 1, 2013
Previously published poems are accepted for consideration as long as all the required information is provided in the submission. Contributors will receive one copy with the option to buy additional copies at cost. Bios will be requested if your poem is selected.

For more information: 


I thought this was a terrific article about creating suspense in your writing, by Lee Child:

How do you create suspense? I’m asked that question often, and it seems that every writers’ symposium has a class with that title. It’s an important technical issue, and not just for so-called suspense novels. Every novel needs a narrative engine, a reason for people to keep reading to the end, whatever the subject, style, genre or approach.

But it’s a bad question. Its very form misleads writers and pushes them onto an unhelpful and overcomplicated track.

Because “How do you create suspense?” has the same interrogatory shape as “How do you bake a cake?” And we all know — in theory or practice — how to bake a cake. We need ingredients, and we infer that the better quality those ingredients are, the better quality the cake will be. We know that we have to mix and stir those ingredients, and we’re led to believe that the more thoroughly and conscientiously we combine them, the better the cake will taste. We know we have to cook the cake in an oven, and we figure that the more exact the temperature and timing, the better the cake will look.

So writers are taught to focus on ingredients and their combination. They’re told they should create attractive, sympathetic characters, so that readers will care about them deeply, and then to plunge those characters into situations of continuing peril, the descent into which is the mixing and stirring, and the duration and horrors of which are the timing and temperature.

But it’s really much simpler than that. “How do you bake a cake?” has the wrong structure. It’s too indirect. The right structure and the right question is: “How do you make your family hungry?”

And the answer is: You make them wait four hours for dinner.

As novelists, we should ask or imply a question at the beginning of the story, and then we should delay the answer. (Which is what I did here, and you’re still reading, right?)


New on Redux:  Former advisory editor Anna Leahy’s wonderful poems:

From “Anatomy Class”

We halved sheep’s eyes and hearts,
sliced frogs and pinned their skins down--
female frogs with tiny, black eggs
scooped gently from their bellies

and males frogs--and animal parts
with no sex, no attachment
to a particular body. Remember the walk
to the boys’ school, the blood taken

from fingers, our cat spread on the slate table,
its eyes closed and its mouth open,
teeth exposed and tongue rippled slightly,
curled up at the tip as if to pant. …


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.