Sunday, September 06, 2009

Fiction and the academic author

Most of us who work in the publishing-focused realms of academia are here because we love research and scholarship. We like archives, libraries dusty books, and obscure stuff. We don't think it's dry at all, we think it's tasty! However, once the academic publishing is well underway or comfortably accepted at a great university press or a journal, many academic authors confess to me that something else lurks in their computer files or desk drawers: Novels, poetry, essays, plays and more. Fiction! Yes! I said it!

The new fiction group starts this week at Booklab, and another will begin in January. Just like the scholarly book groups, this one will run for twelve weeks, meeting once a week. Some of the fiction group members will work through the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Since 2002 I have facilitated five groups based on The Artist's Way, and they're wonderful. Other group members who choose to work on their own (either because they've done AW or because it isn't quite their cup o' tea), will simply check in and let us know how their fiction progresses.

Each week we will also focus on a different literary journal, viewing examples and discussing how to learn more about a journal, and how to submit work to it. For week one beginning Wednesday, September 9, we will focus on Ploughshares, published by Emerson College.

This new season of book groups comes with a pledge to you, my readers. I commit to publishing at least one post per day for this entire book group season, beginning today and ending December 11. This means several things:

** A revival of The Journal Experiments (whoo-hoo!);
** Exploration of how each of the ten book groups is going. Participants will be anonymous, but the blog will feature real-life book publishing trials, tribulations and joys;
** More about my own day-to-day publishing process. Much has happened since I began a scholarly book last year based on research and writing from the past 15 years, and I'll include it in the third person under the name Fortuna.

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