Tuesday, May 18, 2010

“Don't Let Sixty Rejection Letters Get You Down”

Interview and News from Lindsay Tigue

Join LWN member Lindsay Tigue for her reading at the StoryStudio Chicago Writers Read Showcase! The reading is Thursday, May, 20, 7:00 p.m., at 42 North Latitude, in Chicago (4500 N. Lincoln in the Lincoln Square neighborhood).

Lindsay is a recent recipient of a partial scholarship to the Bear River Writers' Conference, sponsored by the University of Michigan from June 3-7, 2010, on Walloon Lake in Northern Michigan. Lindsay will have a chance to learn from some of the very best literary teachers today. The conference will feature faculty members Peter Ho Davies, Laura Kaschiske, Thomas Lynch, Elizabeth Kostova, special guest Jane Hirschfield, and more.

Lindsay most recently had her short story, “Collection of Lines” accepted for publication by The Vermont Literary Review, an annual literary journal founded in 1994. The publication is edited by English Department faculty at Castleton State College. “Collection of Lines” will appear in the 2010 issue, which will be available in late summer.

Lindsay is a marketing and editorial associate at the Great Books Foundation, a Chicago-based non-profit publisher and educational organization. She helped edit the anthology Even Deadlier and is on the editorial board for the Foundation's quarterly magazine, The Common Review. Her fiction has appeared in the online literary publication Monkeybicycle. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2007, where she received a second-place Glendon and Kathryn Swarthout Literary Prize for fiction.

Lindsay shared with us some insights on writing and editing.

Anne Unger for LWN: When did you first know you were a writer?

Lindsay Tigue: Ever since I learned to read, I have had a thing for words. In third and fourth grade, this interest intensified due to some really great teachers. I remember my fourth grade teacher set a candle in the front of the classroom, turned off the lights and asked the class to describe it. I don't know if that's when I knew, but I think it's significant that I remember that particular assignment and the act of describing something so simple.

LWN: When and where do you like to write? In other words, do you have a writing schedule or a specific place that inspires you, or can you write anywhere, anytime?

LT: I don't have a set schedule. Sometimes I squeeze writing into mornings before work, sometimes nights, sometimes weekend marathon sessions. I write in all sorts of places—my apartment, at my kitchen table, at cafes. This is what everybody says not to do, but I have done some of my best writing in my pajamas, flopped on my bed.

LWN: What is your writing process like?

LT: I revise a lot. It usually takes me several months to a year to get a short story where I want it. To start a story, I find myself making little notes about images or brief phrases in my notebook. Eventually, one of these is the germ of a story. I usually write out the scenes I know and after I have the skeleton, I fill it in from there. I don't outline, but as I go, if I know a scene is coming (but am not ready to write it out), I will put a reminder or a sentence farther down the document. That way I have something to write toward.

LWN: Do you find it challenging to turn the editor off in you while writing? Is also being an editor more helpful or more of a hindrance when writing?

LT: I do find it challenging, but I don't know if this always a bad thing for me. I edit a lot as I go and this seems to work for me.

LWN: What advice can you share with young writers?

LT: What advice can people give me? I am still very much in the advice-collecting stage myself. I guess, based on my experience in the last year, my advice is: don't let rejection get under your skin; it's inevitable. I submitted one of my stories to practically every journal under the sun and was met with countless rejection letters. One day, lo and behold, that little reject story is responsible for my partial scholarship to the Bear River Writers' Conference and was accepted for publication by The Vermont Literary Review. I found out about both pieces of news on the same day. (It was a good day.) I guess, what I am saying is, don't let sixty rejection letters get you down.

To hear Lindsay read Thursday night and to learn more about the line-up, visit StoryStudio Chicago for details. Hope to see you there!