Sunday, January 17, 2010

Art & Craft of the Writer's Bio, Part I

Almost word-for-word true. Hardly published, he had quite an impressive writer’s bio:

. . .his novella* Ready to Rumble was a semi-finalist for the William Faulkner Southern Writers Prize*. His short story “Blankety-Blank” was published in The Eliot Review,* and his story “My Story” received an honorable mention* in the first annual* George F. Spelvin Competition.* His work was nominated* for the 2008 Lawrence Figbar Prize* and has been cited* by the Eastern Missouri Tri-County Alliance for Excellence in Sports Writing.* He recently completed an essay for Esquire*.

That’s all factual. But to amplify a little:

*Novella is unpublished.
*The prize has a grand name, but the contest was in fact run by Squat University’s book-arts class, seeking a manuscript to work with.
*”Eliot Review” is the impressive name of the undergraduate rag at his college, which published the story in 1986.
*Everyone knows that "honorable mention" can mean many things.
*Always look suspiciously at “first annual” – because most of the time, even though relatively few writers discover and enter “first annual” competitions, the administrators, learning how much work it is, never hold a second one.
*Always suspect honors bestowed by an entity you’ve never heard of.
*"Nominate" may be a great honor -- or it may mean nothing.
*The Figbar Prize is a competition run by his local writing guild, named in honor of one of its former members.
*”Cited” in what way? We hope not as a bad example.
*Sounds like a group with a very small membership…
*Yes, he wrote it for Esquire, but Esquire hasn’t seen it yet, and won’t print it when it does.

And you know, he's only doing what most of us writers do with "bios," only on a slightly more exaggerated scale....

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha. This is great. It makes me feel better about my own.

    I used to list every single publication in my bio. Now, I just list the impressive ones, and say "and other journals and websites", or something like that.

    I have several different bios: a fiction one, a poetry one, one that's all business and some playful ones. Also, I have some bios with careful wordcounts.