Leaps & unfolding: a writing update

Over a year ago, I wrote the first draft of my next book ( S.C.). I loved writing it. It’s different from The Silence of Trees, a whole new world and new characters who came rushing into life onto the page. What a joy it is to learn about them, to write about them.

But then…

We moved back to the US from Germany soon after I wrote it, and I had to put S.C. aside to take care of life. After moving, remodeling, putting out the 2010 issue of Conclave, publishing The Silence of Trees, and organizing the induction ceremony for the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, it was time to get back to it.

I knew that when I eventually delved back into the story, I would have to do some heavy editing, and in the beginning, that’s all it was: nits and edits. Then I came to an important scene that needed to be rewritten. It could have gone a few different ways, and I mulled over my options, listened to my characters, and jumped.

I rewrote the scene and another whole section of the world opened up, more of the backstory unfolded, and there were ripples out into the rest of the book! The ripples changed so much more than I had intended. For the better (I hope), but resulting in more work to be done.

During our holiday in Minneapolis, I had some chunks of time to work on the book, and I finally admitted to myself that most of the end needed to be written. I couldn’t use bandaids. It’s more work, but it’s better. I think the story is stronger and more interesting. The characters continue to evolve and become more real. Although it’s taking longer to revise, I hope the book will hopefully be better for the revisions.

So I’m hoping to finish up soon and send it off to my readers (whom I thank for their patience).  There are so many exciting projects on the horizon, and I need to finish S.C. first!

I’ll keep you posted.


Notes on Character and Conclave on NewPages

NewPages Blog recently listed an entry about the editorials in Conclave: A Journal of Character and American Short Fiction:

Some Notes on Character

“I ran across a couple of great editorials in the most recent issues of American Short Fiction and Conclave. Both speak the the nature of character in writing as well as, for Conclave, in photography. Below are some excerpted portions which create a kind of conversation between them.

From Editor Stacey Swann of American Short Fiction (44, Summer 2009):

Like most writers, I grew up reading books—loving the characters and their stories. But I also loved learning about the world. While I understood that Narnia was not a real place or Tom Sawyer a real person, I still invested a great deal of authority in authors: the way they viewed the world was correct on a fundamental level. This explains why studying John Keats’s "Ode on a Grecian Urn" in high school remains a vivid memory for me. It was the first time I strongly disagreed with what an author was espousing. No matter what Keats thought, no matter what my English teacher echoed, I was certain that beauty was not truth and truth was not beauty. It wasn’t just that many fundamental truths about the world were ugly; beauty wasn’t important enough to equate with truth.”

Click here to read more.

(To read the complete Foreword and Introduction, as well as other works from our inaugural issue, go to the Conclave: A Journal of Character website.)

Conclave: A Journal of Character to Launch at The Book Cellar in Chicago

New Characters Arrive on the Literary Scene

CHICAGO, Illinois – On Saturday, October 18, 2008, Wolfsword Press will launch its literary magazine, Conclave: A Journal of Character, with a party from 7-9 pm at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago’s Lincoln Square.  The character-focused journal showcases the work of 36 writers and 15 photographers from around the world.
“Conclave is a different kind of literary magazine because of its character focus,” says founding editor Valya Dudycz Lupescu. “It has a less academic texture than many literary magazines put out by university presses. The black and white photography and bold cover art evoke a more accessible and artistic sensibility.”

Dudycz Lupescu, who divides her time between Chicago and Frankfurt, Germany, met most of her editorial team during their participation in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest. The Amazon online forum became a conclave for writers looking to find camaraderie and support during the competition. 

After the contest ended, Dudycz Lupescu and her husband, Mark, founded ABNABooks.com, an online showcase and networking site for writers.  Recognizing the high quality of talent in their ranks, the couple also created a small nonprofit publishing company, Wolfsword Press to publish Conclave, as well as future fiction, nonfiction, and poetry titles.

Dudycz Lupescu assembled an international advisory board that includes Nahid Rachlin, Maureen Seaton, Roy Kesey, Altaf Qadri, and 12 other renowned writers and photographers. The editorial staff then set out to find strong character-driven poetry, fiction, nonfiction, dramatic excerpts, flash fiction, and photography.

“The writing in Conclave is compelling,” said Dudycz Lupescu. “Kathy Coudle King’s dramatic piece, ‘A Couple of Boobs’ is a bittersweet and believable snippet of a mother-daughter relationship; award-winning author of Darkroom: A Family Exposure,  Jill Christman’s ‘Burned’ is poignant and elegant; and Richard Rutherford’s ‘Mongo Hits the Mark’ is an unsettling naturalistic glimpse into fear and aggression.”

In addition to the launch, Conclave is participating in this year’s Around the Coyote Festival held in Chicago. Several of Conclave’s pieces were recorded by writers or performers and will be played in the festival hall to complement the visual arts being displayed over the October 18th weekend. Conclave Journal is also one of many locally based books and magazines to be featured in the new Publishers Gallery located in the Chicago Cultural Center.

“Conclave has generated an exciting discussion among our editors and contributors on what character really is,” said Scott Markwell, managing editor of Conclave and a Chicago-based writer, educator, and performer. “We’ve asked ourselves what character looks like and why it’s important. Fundamentally, we believe character is core to good story-telling, rather than simply relying on the novelty of a narrative.”

The premiere issue of Conclave:  A Journal of Character will be available on Amazon.com, as well as on the Conclave Journal website. The inaugural issue includes the work of Denise Duhamel, Michael S. Glaser, Mark Neely, Gérard Lavalette, Thomas Weschta, Sebastián Utreras Lizana, and many others. In addition to the Chicago Launch for Conclave, there are plans for a San Francisco Launch, and possibly a New York Launch as well.

Conclave will open for online submissions in April for its 2009 issue. Authors wishing to submit their work can visit the Conclave: a Journal of Character website at http://www.conclavejournal.com for submission guidelines.


About Conclave: A Journal of Character:
Conclave is an annual print journal that focuses on character-driven writing in contemporary literary fiction and character-focused black and white photography. Conclave is published by Wolfsword Press, a nonprofit independent publisher based in Chicago.