Gary Kowalski: Once upon a time....
Well, having accentuated the negative in a previous post
about submitting a manuscript to Lantern, I thought it might be advisable to give some idea to would-be authors of what might be a successful manuscript in my particular eyes.
First off, being a compulsive teller of tall tales, I like a story: I like characters, I like plot, and I like being taken from one state of mind to another (without the use of intoxicants). Now, that doesn't mean the tale has to be simple: the characters can be complex, the plot can be full of twists and turns, and my journey doesn't have to be linear. But I like to feel that the author is being arcane and willful for a reason, and that there'll be a good payoff at the end: that "Aha! I get where this was all going now" moment as you close your book and stare into space and feel that your life, if only for a moment, has just been transformed.
Now, all of this is hard to pull off successfully, even though it's relatively simple to establish the outlines. In non-fiction, you're probably asking yourself, it seems impossible. Yet, if you read, for example, Fast-Food Nation
by Eric Schlosser or Dominion
by Matthew Scully or The Bible According to Noah
by our very own Gary Kowalski, you can see how they've done it. They use examples from real lives; they allow the facts and interviewees to speak for themselves; they give us a feel of the places where the events take place; and they coax us into agreeing with them rather than bludgeoning us over the head with their conclusions.
So, tell me a story. That's one way to get published at Lantern! More to follow.