Home Page Photo

Journal Of Precognitive Memories

Archives

09-01-2012
The Gospel of Wealth: Towards a New Generation of American Consumership By Jim Chaffee
08-01-2011
Rick Perry leads Baal worshippers in prayer meeting By Pig Bodine M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
02-01-2011
A Film Too Far: The Battle of the Strait of Hormuz By Jim Chaffee
08-01-2010
Maurice Stoker quasireviews The Vicious Circulation of Dr. Catastrophe: A Polemical Ensemble by Kane X. Faucher By Maurice Stoker
06-01-2010
Boozer Allan Hamilton Justifies the Tea Party By Boozer Allan Hamilton
04-15-2010
Keith Olbermann Freaks Out Pig Bodine By Pig Bodine
06-15-2009
Saving California: Secession and the Reagan Scheme By Pig Bodine
05-15-2009
Maurice Stoker on Tom Bradley's Even the Dog Won't Touch Me By Maurice Stoker
12-15-2008
Two Glad Tidings from The Marshall By Marshall Smith
11-01-2008
Sarah Palin's Party of God By Maurice Stoker
09-15-2008
Double-Ended Dildos Manufactured at Cosmodrome By Kane X. Faucher
07-15-2008
At the Airport By Tom Bradley
05-01-2008
Building the Perfect Weapon By Thomas Sullivan
04-01-2008
CNBC Wins Pequod Institute Award for Excellence in High School Journalism By Pig Bodine, M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
03-01-2008
Pig Bodine's Funky Financial Cooze Network Topological Finance for Aging Bald Dudes By Pig Bodine, M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
12-01-2007
Un Mensaje Navideño del Director General Por Sandra Ramos Rossi
Christmas Parades are a Deadly Derangement of Culture and other Seasonal Asides by Kane X. Faucher
11-01-2007
Euphotan, Protoplasmic Flash, and their Properties by Nail, with commentary by Chevy the Scientist
10-01-2007
Suggested reading, Universitatis Merdalina Literature 734.5, Advanced Topics in Mathematical Literature: Pseudo-British/American/Pidgin English Literature, Tensor Products of Novels and Poetry for Quasi-Conformal Plagiarism in Modern Genre and its Relationship to Sexual Identity and Morphisms by Maurice Stoker
08-01-2007
The Unexamined Life in Hell: Peregrinations Across The Diagnosis by Alan Lightman by Maurice Stoker
06-01-2007
Presidential Politics in the Year of the Toad by Boozer Allan Hamilton Ph.D.
04-01-2007
An Eleventh Tonkin Scenario by Donald Dickerson
03-01-2007
The Second Annual Howard Littlefield Boosterism Award for Economic Forecasting Awarded to Boozer Allan Hamilton by Pig Bodine, M.Sc., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
12-01-2006
Maurice Stoker On Writing a Prize Winning Best Seller by Maurice Stoker
11-01-2006
¿Study says lack of talent? by Pig Bodine M.S., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
08-01-2006
US Cracks International Terrorist Ring by Maurice Stoker
06-01-2006
Pig Bodine Solves the US Immigration and Education Dilemmas in One Blow by Pig Bodine M.S., Ph.D., BM2, BEM, MAD, MDMA
05-01-2006
Maurice Stoker Anent Two Errors in Thomas Pynchon’s Mason and Dixon by Maurice Stoker
Full PAM Archive
Side Photo for Journal of Precognitive Memories

Maurice Stoker On Writing a Prize Winning Best Seller

literary agents and literary critics

Having been asked by Universitatis Merdalina to conduct a two-day seminar on writing for the literary prize market with an eye on best-sellerdom, I decided to deconstruct a fairly recent example. Casting about, I read a fistful of prize winners from the last decade, but no one of them contained enough critical principles in a single work. Just as I despaired of finding such a unique piece, my current boyfriend handed me The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. He couldn't get into it, he said, calling it stupid. (He's such a nelly bitch, using the word Stupid to cover an inordinate list of problems he finds with books and things in general, usually related to inadequacy far beyond his insubstantial manhood.)

At any rate, this bit here is only a summary of the main points of the seminar. All should read the book, since the crib notes have not yet been published. (At least, I couldn't find them, but I looked for course crib notes and was later shown cocktail party crib notes, which moreover seem to have outsold the book itself.)

The point of the seminar is not criticism of literary or any other sort, but rather an objective dissection of the work to lay bare the entrails of prize-winning techniques that others may apply. This dissection is objective insofar as is humanly possible, with no goal but the winning.

The prize considered herein is the Booker, and not all these techniques need apply to other prizes, like the Pulitzer. It is not clear that any of them apply to the National Book Award, and of course the Nobel is not awarded for a single work.

Nonetheless, it is useful to consider prizes in a more general setting. For example, Gone with the Wind won the Pulitzer in 1937, not a terrific year for the US novel. Hemingway was away on a macho trip in Spain; Faulkner wrote Absalom, Absalom, a book no one reads unless they have a grade depending on it; Steinbeck wrote In Dubious Battle, a politically incorrect piece if ever there was one. Ayn Rand (nothing if not a builder of straw men living in metaphorical castles filled with badly beaten dead horses) wrote her first novel that year, We the Living, a potboiler foreshadowing a career of ever more rolling ebullition (archaic sense). This preceded Grace Metalious, but it seems certain the prize would have been a tossup had she written her Classic of American fiction twenty years earlier. It seems strange it did not win in 1957.

One may with fecundity recall other media prizes. Meditate on that marvel of longevity which won the academy award in 1942. You know what it is. Everyone has seen it and no one forgets it. (Not Casablanca.) (And what about that exciting film The Titanic!) (Mrs Minever.)