Robin Romm at Piano’s: Lots of Media

Thank you to Mobile Libris, Pianos NYC, the New York Observer, One Story’s ring of dedicated and talented volunteers, and to EVERYONE who came to this very packed event.

In addition to upcoming photos by the Observer, One Story managed to snag a few of Robin Romm in action. So download the podcast from our audio archive, and scroll down here for the full One Story Reading effect.

Robin takes the mic.

Several in the crowd appeared very into Robin’s tale of love, loss, and most importantly–found.

Robin Romm and editor Hannah Tinti, flanked by One Story authors Emily Benz and Kiara Brinkman

Owen King, Hannah Tinti and Scott Snyder


One Story’s reading series will recommence in September with Dalia Sofer, winner of the 2007 Sirenland Fellowship to Positano Italy.

From the slushpile … Cover Letter Don’ts

This pet peeve of mine is a quickie, and it involves the first thing most* readers will see when they get to your submission: the cover letter. Normally, this lists the author’s publications, maybe a bit about their “pedigree”, and occasionally a bit of plot synopsis. Sometimes it will note if the piece is plucked from a larger work. Personally I think cover letters inevitably sound super pompous, but I have read my own, and after much experimentation I am not sure it is possible to brag about your accomplishments without sounding self-centered. So go ahead and brag a little bit. You are going to sound silly either way, talking about yourself in the third person. One thing it should not mention, is brief explanations of your use of literary devices, and their respective significances. While you may find it helpful to alert the editors to the fact that your character’s actions to his family throughout the piece are meant to indicate his underlying personality–just don’t put that in your cover letter. If you’re really unsure, maybe just put an asterisk in the important sections, explanations in the footnote. *Some magazines remove the name, title, cover letter details before reading manuscripts–they usually note this in the guidelines if that is the case. And at other places–I am sure there are some readers who prefer to avoid the cover letter experience at all.

Adventures in the Slush: My Favorite Flaw

After reading 100 unsolicited submissions out of any given slush pile–be it science fiction, literary fiction, and I’m assuming, any other kind of fiction–you begin to notice a few “classic mistakes” over and over.

Today, in the hopes of inspiring you stalwart writers to the glory of a well-done and well-placed piece, I am going to list my first favorite “classic mistakes” of the decent slush submission. Often, these submissions are “good”, meaning either really well-written or really interesting, but not both. Nothing is more frustrating than an interesting piece whose plot turns to pot in the last five pages, or a well-written piece with a few minor but glaring errors. Without further adieu, I bring you …


Now, this mistake I understand. You have spent maybe 85 hours on a story, maybe more. You’ve read each line at least fourty times, you’ve marked the passages that seem iffy, you’ve eliminated all the major thematic or structural flaws.

But for some reason, you have used the word “speckle” fourty five times in your piece. The first fourty four sound natural–your story COMMANDS each of the first fourty four uses–but the last one, eh.

Another word could go here.

And so begins the slippery slope of the mistake I like to call, “thesaurus city”. After that first shift+f7 you find yourself focusing in on every word that bothers you.

Why not? you think. Shift+f7. A flash in the pan later, and you’ve replaced a word or phrase with a similar word or phrase helpfully suggested by Mr Word-bot.

Tell me, gentle readers .. Do you see the glaring “thesaurized” phrase in the preceeding paragraph? I do. Technically correct, yet idiomatically inappropriate, it jumps off the page and attacks the part of the temple wherein rests residual stress. With none of the humor of calling a one-hit-wonder “Flash in the pan Gordon”, or none of the thematic interreferencing of saying the gold rush ended like a flash in the pan, or any real reason to have used such an idiom, surrounded as it were with historical context and the weight of reader expectations, I replaced one phrase with another.

To replace “speckle” with “constellate”, or “bright” with “undimmed” (“her undimmed smile lit up her face”), is to leap verily from your written pages and give a bloody nose to the poor editorial assistant assigned your manuscript.

Please, thesaurize with great caution!

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wins Orange Prize

Author of One Story #27 “Transition to Glory” and Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was recently announced as the winner of the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction.

A huge congratulations are extended to Ms Adichie for snagging the top honors this year; her first novel Purple Hibiscus was shortlisted in 2004. You can find Half of a Yellow Sun at powell’s.

Living on the Edge of the World

Also known as, “The Garden State.”

And sometimes, “The Armpit of the East Coast”. And these are just the colloquial descriptions of everyone’s favorite state …

All the bridge-and-tunnel crowd should make it out for this event on Monday, June 18 at the Reader’s Room at Mo Pitkins on Avenue A for the release of “Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take on the Garden State”. This anthology is edited by Irina Reyn, of issue #89 and exit 156, and features such Jerseyans as Lucinda Rosen (exit 13W) and Joshua Braff (exit 15W).

The reading starts at 7 and there is a one drink minimum upstairs.

click to order

Tania James Reading at Pianos Friday

This Friday June 8, at approximately 7pm, Tania James will be reading as part of One Story’s Reading Series and Cocktail hour.

Tania is a young writer, hard at work on an upcoming novel. Hopefully we’ll get to hear something new on Friday … and the mojitos at Pianos are to die for.

Dani Shapiro reads for One Story Tonight!

 Friday May 4 2007

One Story Magazine’s Cocktail Hour & Reading Series is pleased to welcome …

Dani Shapiro

Her cocktail choice: Black & White

Friday, May 4th
@ Piano’s
158 Ludlow Street
Cocktails: 6:30-8:00 pm
Reading: 7:00 (approximately)
Our host this evening: Hannah Tinti, editor of One Story

Readings are at Pianos. Take the F or V to 2nd Ave. Walk East on Houston and then South on Ludlow until the intersection of Stanton and Ludlow. Pianos is located at 158 Ludlow.


Also, check out this update by Hannah on Dani’s latest novel, Black & White.

One Story Downtime

This weekend, One Story is moving to a new host in order to better serve fans and subscribers online.

Please be aware that some/all functions may be broken or semi-broken during this time. We apologize for any annoyance we may be causing you all.