Posts tagged ‘Jennifer Egan’

May 26, 2012

Jennifer Egan Using Twitter to Pen “Black Box”

Jennifer Egan is mixing it up in the literary world by tweeting a short story on Twitter. The story, Black Box, is a thriller set in the future. Egan is tweeting the short story in ten nightly installments from 8 to 9 P.M. E.T. via the New Yorker’s Fiction Twitter account – @NYerFiction. About her decision to tweet a story, Egan told the New Yorker:

“I’d also been wondering about how to write fiction whose structure would lend itself to serialization on Twitter. This is not a new idea, of course, but it’s a rich one-because of the intimacy of reaching people through their phones, and because of the odd poetry that can happen in a hundred and forty characters. I found myself imagining a series of terse mental dispatches from a female spy of the future, working undercover by the Mediterranean Sea.” 

Egan isn’t the first to delve into this sort of experiment. Neil Gaiman and Melvin Burgess have also written fiction on Twitter in the past. The idea is reminiscent of serialized radio shows before there was TV. Reading a story on Twitter must be like having a TV show to read on your phone. It’s definitely an intriguing idea and I imagine could become a trend in the future. I’m not sure exactly how it will feel to read anything in real time on my phone. I guess I’d better finally open a damned Twitter account to find out.

If you’ve missed Egan’s tweets and want to catch up on the story or you’re just not a tweeter, you can read what she’s penned so far here.

Jennifer Egan is all atwitter

January 28, 2012

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Read “The Success of Failure”

We’ve all heard it before: You have to fail to succeed. It’s a sentiment that’s true, but often daunting. As a writer, how many rejection slips do you collect before you throw up your hands? How many drafts do you write before you decide the piece just plain stinks?

Before you toss that story away forever, there’s good news, fellow failurephobes!  CNN has posted an inspiring piece called The Success of Failure in their ongoing series on creativity. The piece mentions many successes who have endured their fair share of failure including Abe Lincoln, George Clooney, J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, and Conan O’Brien. But the piece centers on writer Jennifer Egan (remember her from two posts ago?)

In the piece, Egan reveals that her novels go through about 50 or 60 drafts, and she has abandoned writing projects altogether. Knowing when to abandon projects can prove to be tricky. Egan says she struggled with this conundrum when writing The Keep.

A lot of it is trying to understand what kind of dead end it is, because they aren’t all the same,” she says. “With ‘The Keep,’ I was essentially at a dead end for the first many months of working on it, because I couldn’t find a voice for it. And if you don’t have a voice, you’ve got nothin’. You can try every bell and whistle and good idea in the world, but if the book doesn’t have a voice, you don’t have a book.”

But for some reason I kept hammering away at it, which certainly in retrospect could have been a terrible waste of time if I hadn’t found a way,” she said.

In the end, the article focuses on soldiering through, even when you’ve given up on something, or refuse to give up on a project even though it’s looking grim. As Egan says during the interview: “The key is struggling a lot.

January 25, 2012

Jennifer Egan Gets Shout Out on Gossip Girl

Last night on Gossip Girl (yes, I watch Gossip Girl), Jennifer Egan got a shout-out. For those who don’t know, Jennifer Egan is a  fiction writer whose novel A Visit From the Goon Squad won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. She’s also a former student of the Writer’s Studio where I take classes.

The scene went like this: Dan Humphry, the young literary virtuoso whose novel just came out as a smashing success, is walking down the street with his agent. She’s telling him to break off his relationship with Serena whose blog isn’t literary enough for him to be associated with. She says, “Publishers see you as Jennifer Egan or Chad Harbach.”

Ten points for Gossip Girl.

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