Everything Unfinished

Everything Unfinished is a literary blog out of San Francisco, by James Warner.

Is "Literary Blog" An Oxymoron?

In my last post I denied that the Internet is making you dumber. The works of Henry James are online — if you’re looking at pet videos instead, how’s that the Internet’s fault?Scott Brown thinks the Internet is making you funnier, which I also doubt.A 2007 post by Adam Kirsch contains another version of the […]

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Internet Make Us Stupid?

Complaints about the Internet remind me of complaints about America. In First Things, Last Things, the admirable Eric Hoffer responded to laments by intellectuals about the quality of American life:“What is there in America that prevents an educated person from shaping his life, from making the most of his in-born endowments? With all its faults […]

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My Favorite Anecdote About the Short Story Submission Process

I heard this from someone who heard it from the writer involved. Since I haven’t independently verified the story, I won’t use their real names.Just think of this as a koan.A writer who’d just published a dazzling short story collection met the editor of a top literary magazine. The editor said, “I loved your story […]

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How To Read Rejection Letters

A rejection letter means “I have many stories to choose from, and my gut feeling is that I don’t want this one.”

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The Act of Submission, The Act of Rejection

I’m going to juxtapose a couple of links here. First, here’s an excerpt from an interview with Steve Almond, in which he talks about a story of his that received forty rejections, but finally won a Pushcart. As Steve Almond comments, “You just have to go, ‘Okay, fine, I’m going to ignore that rejection,’ because […]

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The Business Section

Some months back, I was talking to a business consultant I know. This guy provides advice to retail businesses for a living, wanted to publish a book about the future of retailing, and asked me some of those “how do I find a publisher?” type questions. After giving him some basic answers, I must have […]

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Andrew Sullivan versus the Publishing Industry

Andrew Sullivan recently blogged, “If any industry deserves to go under, it’s the publishing industry.” See here.From an earlier Sullivan blog post — “The future is obviously print-on-demand, and writers in the future will make their names first on the web. With e-distribution and e-books, writers will soon be able to put this incompetent and […]

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Other Things Agents Don’t Like

Here’s a post from Miss Snark’s now-discontinued blog, with comments about what people are least likely to want to read about. The consensus reached: nobody will read a book where a child gets raped.I’ve attended convention panels that came to the same conclusion, one panel member after another insisting that the topic of child rape […]

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The End of Multiple Points of View

The same agent who said “Male point of view doesn’t sell” also refuses to consider novels that have multiple points of view. Oh well, I’m guessing Roberto BolaƱo probably never considered submitting The Savage Detectives to this individual anyway…My gut response is to say, “If it doesn’t have multiple points of view, it isn’t really […]

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The End of Male Point of View

“Male point of view doesn’t sell.” This is an actual quote from the literary agent of someone I know.Even when Charles Dickens was at the top of the bestseller lists, most readers were women. But as publishing comes to be more and more about the bottom line, Chris Goldberg reports that “… it’s gotten to […]

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Barriers to Hedonic Trade

Here’s a beautiful discussion from a few years back — some classical economists debating why it is that people don’t spend all their time having sex.I would be interested to see a similar analysis of why people don’t read all the time. Perhaps one could move on from there to determine what exactly is wrong […]

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