Black Lawrence Press

Fiction Consultations with Merrill Feitell

During the month of August, Merrill Feitell is on board to critique your in-progress works of fiction. Merrill’s first book, Here Beneath Low-Flying Planes, was awarded the Iowa Prize for Short Fiction

This month’s program is open to a wide variety of fiction manuscripts. The fees and page length parameters are as follows:

– Flash Fiction, up to 2 pages in length, $15
– Short Stories, up to 20 pages in length, $45
– Chapbooks, 16-40 pages in length, $150
– Novellas, up to 100 pages in length $250
– Short Story Collections, up to 180 pages in length, $350
– Novels, up to 300 pages in length, $700

All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is August 31. Merrill will complete her work and respond to all participants by September 30.

Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!

Note: Please do not send manuscripts that promote hate speech, are intended to harass or bully a specific person or group of persons, or include glorified sexual violence.

Click Here to Submit

Statement of Purpose

In his short story “Sonny’s Blues,” James Baldwin describes musicians as charged with the task of “…dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air.”

As a writer, whenever I read this line my first thought is always: Lucky musicians! After all, the musician gets to harness the roar rising from the void and tame it all in the same moment of performance. Bam! It’s done.

But for the writer, dealing with the roar of the subconscious and imposing order on it rarely take place at the same time—and so I’ve come to think of fiction writing as something of a three-part process. First, we pin the roaring subconscious to the page; second, there’s the challenge of learning to really read our own drafts—shifting our focus from the story we intended to write in order to recognize the one that actually roared its way onto the page; and, third, we impose order on this roar by applying techniques and tactics that best transmit the story from the page.

Of course, this process isn’t necessarily linear and every work is its own particular creature demanding its own particular care, but, generally speaking, my feedback is intended to help you recognize or further discover the heart of the story already pulsing from the page and to call your attention to passages, techniques, strategies, and opportunities to fully and effectively harness that story and to transport your readers from the beginning to the end of it.

By Merrill Feitell

Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions and payment of the entry fee exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.

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Upcoming Consultations

September – Hybrid Consultations with Elizabeth Colen

Merrill Feitell

Merrill Feitell’s first book, Here Beneath Low-Flying Planes, was awarded the Iowa Prize for Short Fiction. Her work has appeared in such publications as Best New American Voices, Virginia Quarterly Review, Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, and McSweeney’s Quarterly. She earned her MFA at Columbia University and has gone on to teach creative writing at the graduate and undergraduate levels at such schools as Pratt Institute, Colorado College, University of Maryland-College Park, and California Institute of the Arts. She has been a fellow at Yaddo, MacDowell, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Since 2007, she has served as Fiction Editor at Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety. A native New Yorker, she now lives in Los Angeles, where she writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and mixed-media narratives.

Feitell Author page