Though Emma has never used an agent to publish, she shares that the biggest obstacles for any writer to overcome are internal: “learning when work is ready to be sent out, learning when work needs to be put aside, and learning to keep going – and going and going and going.” Recently published in The Rumpus, Emma explains that she is most proud of her essay “About The Human Hymen Membrane (Disambiguation)” which discusses her twenty-two year struggle with endometriosis and was especially difficult for her to write. As an assistant professor of Creative Writing at Georgia Southern University, Emma continues to pass along the determination, perseverance and support she was shown at UNCW.
Though Jason’s first published novel The Returned has recently been adapted into the critically acclaimed television series The Resurrected, this accomplishment was preceded with unfruitful endeavors. In addition to collections of poetry, Jason wrote several manuscripts that went unpublished and The Returned, a NY Times Bestseller, received its fair share of rejection letters before it was picked up by an agent.
Working on his writing projects during evenings, after returning home from his full-time job at a Verizon call center, Jason had to stay organized and focused. It was this diligence paired with his literary talents that eventually landed him a contract with a major publishing house and he is grateful for his good fortune. “As a writer, you dream of a publisher who is over the moon for your project,” he said in an interview with the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts. Jason will be sharing about these experiences and more at the Summer Writer's Conference this weekend at UNCW where he will be a keynote speaker and workshop leader.
Carmen recommends using the rule of five when deciding what to revise. “If five people you trust—agent, editor, teacher, fellow writer, or astute reader - express the same concerns about any part of your project, then listen and understand that some of what you’re trying to do isn’t working…yet.” She urges young writers to overcome rejection and keep working on their craft.
Emma’s professors at UNCW instilled in her what she considers very wise and true advice when it came to publishing her work. “When I was in graduate school, Professor Messer told us that she approached sending out submissions as a job. You just have to keep going, to keep believing in your work, and to keep working!”
UNCW Alumni Relations/Chris McCall '14