Michael K. Brantley

Writer of Creative Nonfiction & Fiction

Category: Uncategorized (page 5 of 5)

For Writers: Picking where you submit

So, in the last year, I have a new hobby. I do it almost as much as I write. Maybe because it is easier, maybe because it is fun.

I am a serial submitter.

As I complete essays, or short stories, or poems, and as quickly as I can revise, I hit Duotrope or a journal’s website and I start submitting. It is kind of like sending off for that prize in the cereal box – you hope you won’t be disappointed with what comes back.

My first submission was part of a graduate class assignment. And it was accepted. Easy enough, right? Well, let’s just say the rejections since then could wallpaper a bathroom. Rejections alone could be a separate thing to write about.

But last week, I sat in on a panel discussion at Queens University of Charlotte about getting published in journals. While there was some credence given to getting some credits under your belt, the concentration was to be selective, study the journals you want to be published in, and concentrate on sending polished, refined work to those journals. Editors of The Gettysburg Review, The Paris Review and Tin House were present.

This sounds great, but also, like more work. I was thinking about all this, and then I ran across an interesting article by the editor of Bartleby Snopes. You can read it here https://nathanieltower.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/choose-your-publications-wisely/ (just come back to my site when you’re done).

Anyway, good food for thought in 2013 … raise the bar. And maybe a glass, in the end.

Read, then Write – A case study

My advisor in my MFA program uses this as his mantra. I liked it when he first mentioned it, thought it was catchy, but as the semester comes to an end, I’ve come to appreciate it more.

One of my assigned texts for the spring is “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” This book was written by the editor of the French edition of Elle Magazine. He had a stroke at age 43, and became a victim of locked in syndrome — he was completely paralyzed except for being able to blink one of his eyes. His brain continued to function perfectly. So, he began to dictate a memoir from his bed, with the help of an assistant, one letter at the time.

In addition to making me re-imagine what a nightmare really is, the book is beautifully written and has a wonderful economy of words and nice use of language. It seems like in every place, the right word is chosen, carefully considered and then recorded on the page. And so it goes with revision.

This book will stick with me as one of those “Read, then Write” examples. I have two CNF essays to complete in the next week, and I’ll be carefully organizing and constructing both of them. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Christmas Adam

I don’t know exactly how it got started, but a few years ago, we started a new tradition at my house.

Unable to wait two more days to give my kids (now 12, 7 and 5) a Christmas gift, I bought them a little something at the drugstore on my home from work. It was amazing how excited they got over a $2 toy and how much fun they had that afternoon. Since we did that on December 23, we called the “holiday” Christmas Adam (you know, the night before Christmas Eve).

So, today we did it again. There was also a new twist added – ice cold Coca-Colas in glass bottles. The kids swore they’d never had a soft drink in a glass bottle, and swore it was the best thing they’d ever had to drink.

I never thought much about about this little silly thing until I went to school right before Christmas break and visited my middle child’s room. Each student had written a favorite Christmas tradition in a one-paragraph story on a construction paper stocking. His story was about Christmas Adam.


Thanks for visiting my website. I’ll be updating and blogging here regularly, it just might be a little slow to start as I get the hang of things. Please look around, check out the links, read some work and leave comments or send me emails. I’d love to hear from you.

And, if there is particular content you’d like to see here, be sure to let me know.

I’ve been building a Twitter feed that is heavy on writers, publications and writing websites. You can follow by simply clicking the button to the right. Be sure to check out the website and the Twitter feed for the literary journal I started in 2011, What The Fiction. The next issue will be out in the first quarter of 2013.

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