• Here’s the Story

    I wrote a book called The Forest for the Trees and it’s an advice book for writers. For four years, I blogged every day about the agony of writing and publishing, and the self loathing that afflicts most writers. A community of like-minded malcontents gathered and thus ensued a grand conversation. Now, the most popular posts are gathered in Greatest Hits ( a work in progress) Gluttons for punishment can scroll through the archives. If I've learned one thing about writers, it's this: we really are all alone. Love, Betsy
  • Archives

NO TIME FOR THE LOSERS

THE RESULTS ARE IN from  TRACY KIDDER AND RICHARD TODD for the best non-fiction advice:

The awards go to….

  1. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley for her excellent miniature anthology of cautions. One feels the force of these especially just after publishing a book—in all its awful finality—as you think of feelings you may have hurt or dares you failed to take. (On the other hand one could find a certain comfort in rea’s citation of Jeffrey Eugenides: “Write like you were dead.”)
  2. Scott Atkinson  for his jiu jitsu metaphor restating ancient wisdom of east and west: revise, revise, revise.
  3. The comedy team of Kyler and August  for their dialogue on the eternal contradiction of publishing, the quest for the book that’s entirely unique but very like lots of others.

 And special mention to Vivian Swift for the wise quotation from The Forest for the Trees,  advice with which the judges wholeheartedly agree but struck from the competition for fear of seeming corrupt; and actually, now that the judges think about it, isn’t the problem not that “people like vanilla ice cream” but that they like Chocolate Mocha Oreo Supreme?

Hey all you winners: CONGRATS. Please email me your addresses to askbetsylerner@gmail.com to collect your prizes. THANKS to everyone who participated and to our esteemed judges Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd, authors of GOOD PROSE, a book with the most superb writing advice of all.  

 

 

 

23 Responses

  1. betsy, yesterday i shared a link to the salon.com article that included a quick bit from you on memoir writing. seeing you show up in the piece was like seeing an ex who broke up with you and it breaks your heart a little bit because although you’re talking super-friendly and they’re in a good place and you’re acting like you are too, you secretly miss your late night romps, smoking roaches and watching david letterman, nude, in his bed, under a comforter stained with god knows what.

    what i’m saying is, while it was good to read your insight on memoir, i miss your late night romps here.

    (congrats sherry, scott, kyler, august and vivian.)

    • Ha! I felt a similar pang when I read it, but I love the way you describe it, Josey.

      Congrats to the winners.

      Hey, Betsy, hope it’s going.

      Love your succinct summary of the relationship (to extend Josey’s analogy) in the updated “Here’s the Story” sidebar.

      Signed,

      One of the Malcontents

    • David Letterman nude in his bed? I must have missed that show. Had to be a ratings bonanza.

  2. who you callin a loser?

    (congratulations, winners)

    • God it sucks always being a loser in Betsy’s contests. Is continuing to try the definition of insanity? I guess the take-away is it’s a pretty good bet what the result of querying her would be.

      (But yes, congratulations to the winners)

      • well, shit, mary, if i’d had enough sleep last night i could be gracious and all, but what little grace i got in store i need to save for the clients.

        so here’s this: yeah, it sucks. yeah, it’s insane. it’s just like trying to get published. sometimes it seems one would have more success standing out in a big field during a thunderstorm and hoping to get struck by lightning.

        but there’s also this, and i will tell you this also: i have it upon good information and belief that the result of querying betsy does not always hurt as much as being struck by lightning most probably would.

      • Betsy’s cool. And honest.

      • oh I never thought otherwise about Betsy. All I meant was about personal taste/preference. If there’s not a connection to writing here, there probably wouldn’t be in another format. I think that’s true of everyone here. I know the people’s comments I like the best who have blogs–those blogs I respond to much more than other commenters. (even though I rarely comment on other blogs due to time)

  3. Congratulatioins to you all.

    Sorry I missed the contest and posts; I’ve been away.

  4. About the contest…I salute the winners with my fingers forming a L and placing it firmly against my forehead.

  5. Yay to all the winners. Speech! Speech!

    By the way, Betsy, I’ve been meaning to ask you. You know how your titles always include capital letters in the most random of places? That’s because you’re typing really fast, right? It’s not some secret message, is it?

    How’s the screenplay? C’mon, admit it. You miss us, too.

  6. I was so excited to see Sherry win, and I went back to read what she posted…and couldn’t find it. Did I miss it? Or, at the risk of being a completely moron, did you mean the advice that I posted just above Sherry’s comment?

    Hey, a girl’s always on the lookout for a free book.

  7. Hooray! She’s back!

  8. I have to stop coming back to here to check. It’s so hard to let go.

  9. Same here, C.

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