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"How many millennial," says writer Laura CopelandI often romanticize turning a crucial moment in my life into the next major American essay, as defined by its acceptance in the literature New York Times Modern love Pillar."
Whether millennial or not, Copeland's first step in the process was the inevitable research into Zaub. In the rabbit hole she discovered that Modern Love Editor, Daniel Jonesis a magical wizard who uses social media to give a wealth of tips on writing personal essays.
Confident that other people would benefit from Daniel's wisdom, Copeland gathered all the tips she could find in a google document and made it public.
If personal essay is your specialty, you will devour, bookmark, and be obsessed with this document.
And although I think it's more than worth reading the entire document myself, I share the tips that have most appealed to me. (Also remember, these are amazing all-round tips for writing essays, no matter where you submit them.)
How to submit to modern love
If you are ready Submit to modern loveFurther tips are available directly from the publisher of the popular column.
When writing: Tell the story
Jones has given many tips on writing essays, but these can essentially be divided into these three categories:
- "Do not underestimate the power of a reader's curiosity" (including the publisher – do not reveal the end in your cover letter).
- "A happy ending is when the author understands something that he or she did not understand before."
- "It's more fascinating for us to get involved in the action than to get all the background information right from the start."
Remember why people read stories because we want to find out what happens.
When I read this tip, I immediately went back to my essay and cut off the first two paragraphs, moved my "what happened in the end" to the very end and added a clarification phrase in half.
It turns out we do not really need this backstory. Even if you want to attract people in the beginning, this is not a free pass to give away.
On patience: Embrace the discovery process
This is probably the most important, difficult, annoying and comforting tip in this compilation.
I began to write an essay about a fight I had with my children's treasure. It turned into a story about emotional abuse. Which then turned into a story about how my first boyfriend influenced my brand new marriage.
Writing the first draft of this story was easy. I tied it in a small loop and sent it to my first workshop. I expected showers of praise. What I got was a lot of "I do not buy it."
What followed was a hot mess. I rewrite this thing for an hour every damn day and it's still not nearly done.
I've learned that writing for modern love is not journalism or blog posting. It is a therapy. "Ideally, writing a personal essay is a discovery process," says Jones. "You understand the meaning of your essay only after you have spent much time and effort on it."
It's different than we've often learned. Do not let the pitch or sound byte come to mind first. That is not the point.
When I read that, I actually felt relieved. This ceaseless editing and revision is the work. And now, instead of being frustrated every time I did not perfect this thing, I really felt very comfortable with it. My six-month essay has gone through a memoir class, a re-write, a professional editor, another re-write, two author friends, and now a third re-write.
Jones has emphasized that modern love stories are often the most important experiences in a writer's life. These can not be flogged on a weekend. "The publisher wants to believe that this is your best story, not one of 20 essays you've ever sent to dozens of outlets," says Jones. So take your time.
What happens if you have already been submitted and have been rejected or have received a request for rework? Do not send back a few minor changes immediately. "The publisher does not want to see it again so quickly and, fair or not, he'll think you're in a hurry and do not be optimistic about the revision," Jones warns.
When editing: words to avoid
The more I read Jones's tips on submitting to Modern Love, the more I realize that he is not inundated with bad writers. Nevertheless, I love the polishing part of my job. Here are a few tips Jones gives for writing:
- Remove words like "that", adverbs, exclamation marks and double spaces by dots.
- Choose adjectives that work harder for you (no filler adjectives like "amazing" and "awful").
- Avoid overused transitions such as "time lapse".
- Get rid of the obscenity.
When submitting: Be professional and modest
Read the document before you approach me for the obviousness of this tip.
I was shocked by some of the emails Jones receives when he refuses an essay. He has received rejection answers like "your loss" and "lame".
Just because this essay was not right for one editor does not mean that the next one will not be right. Do not let a hot temper mess up a relationship with an editor.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the ambivalence with writers who state their achievements. Jones says, "When I read an essay, I hardly pay attention to the literary background, and I do not even have time to read a bill of attorney that is more than two sentences long." My eyes light up on lists of books or articles Submission solely based on the letter in front of me. "
I can not tell you how much this speaks to my soul. I'm not very successful, and the fact that Jones does not just want to release successful authors fills me with hope. But even if it was me or if I wanted to spit out the few accomplishments that I have, I hate that boasting is the only way to represent the quality of your work.
Besides, am I just or is it uncomfortable when authors list every publication they've ever written for? I want to smack Jones for being open and honest with the subject.
Other ways to be professional include telling Jones (or another publisher) immediately if your piece has sold elsewhere. And do not throw up one million places at once with the same story. This saves everyone a lot of time.
At the moment: Stop your Zauderforschung
Before devouring this amazing document, keep the following in mind: Do not let it hang with every tip.
Read and absorb what you can, but Remember to trust yourself and your writing, Copeland said it best: "With hindsight, I should have included a disclaimer at the beginning of the document:" Use your time wisely. Every minute you spend reading and writing is a minute you do not spend writing. "
Editor's note: Since the publication of this article in 2015, the author of this article has submitted her essay to Modern Love. She shares an update: "My essay on modern love was rejected, but I got an essay in the published New York Times Education Department!"
To view all Jones Tips compiled by Copeland, Look at this Google document,
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