How To Get Published

What does it take to get published?

In her book, Anybody Can Write, Author Jean Bryant suggests that a manuscript needs something beyond being well written and interesting.  It needs transcendencetranscendence.

Transcendence usually arises out of personal conviction or passion: the essential being of the writer is invested in the work.  A clear intention, plus a sense of your audience, coupled with a sense of necessity that you, the writer, share this in written form, set the stage for transcendence.  It is a quality which evolves from interaction with the subject.  It can seldom be plotted or planned, or it will feel contrived to editors and readers alike.

She goes on to quote the New Yorker:

One of the characteristics of transcendence is care without which high quality is unattainable.  Care is itself an artistic statement that expresses love.  For example, a novelist who chooses compassion for his subject but then draws his characters sloppily really expresses contempt.  On the other hand, a novelist who writes about underworld violence but takes the time and expends the Sopranosenergy to bring his characters, good and bad, into being performs an act of love, a gratuitous act of caring, which stirs love in the reader as well and becomes the true statement — one could even say action — of the novel.

The ability of the novel to uncover the sanctity of every person, no matter how debased, and also to reveal the miraculousness, the preciousness of the humblest details of life is what makes the writing and reading of novels a humanistic enterprise of great importance….(The New Yorker, March 15, 1982)

Transcendence – you won’t find that in the how-to-sell-your-novel books.

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2 responses to “How To Get Published

  1. This is lovely, Ed. You hardly ever hear anyone these days talking about transcendence, yet, to me, it’s the great gulf between most fiction and those special books that go on being great year after year. Thanks for the reminder.

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