Category Archives: Roundups

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why You Should Plan Experiences

It’s mid-October, and some of us are gearing up for NaNoWriMo, or NaNonWriMo. Some of us are just inspired by the changing seasons, and want to finally try some new thing we keep putting off. Or maybe we just want to actually read one of … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round Down: Short Stories as a Path to Literary Success

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about the submissions in my slush pile. When one comes in, the first thing I do–before I have even read the first sentence of the letter–is skim it for the … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Stop Fearing the Business of Writing

Last week, Guernica published an interview with art critic Ben Davis, which begins with Davis questioning the premise that “the central tension of the art empire is that between creativity and money.” Davis says there can obviously be tension between what sells and what an … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why Lena Dunham’s New Book is Worth $3.5 Million

When I talk to a new potential client, one of the things we go over is potential advances. Most nonfiction writers get between $25,000 and $75,000; fiction writers, a fraction of that. Everyone who gets more than that did something remarkable … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: We’re Over-Reliant on the Bucket List

Having long hated the term “bucket list,” and having nevertheless thought about making one for myself (#MomentsOfWeakness), I was a complete sucker for Rebecca Mead’s recent New Yorker essay in which she questions its merits. In “Kicking the Bucket List,”  Mead asks whether such a list actually helps … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Never Tell Me the Demographics

I’ll read anything if it’s great. A romance novel, or a soldier’s tale; a book about Zsa Zsa Gabor, or one about Obama. I know what kinds of books dorky, urban-literary type of guys are supposed to be reading–those by Jonathan … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: The Calvary Film and the Purpose of Art

“[T]he barrier between one’s self and one’s knowledge of oneself is high indeed. There are so many things we would rather not know! – James Baldwin John Michael McDonagh’s film Calvary begins with priest Father James (played by Brendan Gleeson) preparing to … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: What NYC Publishing REALLY Thinks About Self-Publishing

Last week, I had an author ask me the earliest his publisher could have his book out. I told him January 2016. Even if he turned it in this week. “And, they wonder why big publishers are dying,” he said. … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round Down: 10 Times in Life When Writers Have the Upper Hand

I’ve interviewed a lot of entry level job candidates. I’ve had plenty of recent college graduates sent to a conference room to meet me with a strong thumbs-up from Human Resources. Bright, well-dressed, great resumes, and eager. This impresses the … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-down: The Problem with Literary Doomsday Laments

We who love literature face an urgent crisis: a gruesome epidemic of articles worrying over the demise of literature, reading, English Departments, and apparently (along with them) culture, art, morality, humanity, and ALL KNOWLEDGE AND CIVILIZATION. We’re in dire need of an antidote for this … Continue reading

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