Thursday, June 22, 2006

Writing Sample: Published Work or Not?

Ecstatic in Exurbia says...

I'm getting ready to apply to low resident programs next year, looking over
my work, trying to pick the best 20 pages, when I hear that a piece I
submitted is going to be published! (Forgive the exclamation point; it's my
first publication in LAC (life after children) and it feels like a brand
spanking new baby, minus the potty, poopy, and no sleep.) Anyway, perhaps
understandably, this piece has risen to the top of my pile as THE BEST PIECE
EVER WRITTEN! Okay, I know it's not, but you probably know where I'm going
with this. Do I automatically assume that it would be a good sample to send
in, since So and So magazine (which shall remain nameless, don't want to
jinx it, they're not huge but bigger than many, got a few Utne awards)
thought it was good enough to accept? Or do you recommend I ask a writing
buddy to help me decide, considering that any objectivity I might have had
has gone out the window with warp speed?

Glad to hear that you're so ecstatic, Ecstatic. Congratulations on the publication. Of course you won't 'automatically' assume it's the writing sample to send. I'd still get the opinion of two or three of your valued readers. Give them that story and three others if you can. Go with one story as their consensus, and one story as your choice, using your gut.

But the publication is a good sign that others will like the story too. It's just not the end-all, be-all indicator. Best of luck.


MasterScribe said...

I'd find a few "neutral" readers and show them 2-3 of your manuscripts, but don't tell them which has been published (otherwise their objectivity will fly away, too).

And if you don't end up including it, you might mention it in any letters of intent. You're writing and publishing now, and they'll probably smile on that.

Congratulations, by the way.

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