Friday, January 18, 2008

Reviewing The Writer's Chronicle...

So I took a look at the Fall 2007 issue of the Writer's Chronicle, which is put out by the Association of Writer’s and Writing Programs.
I've personally never read it before but out of five stars I would give it 2 **
Here were my thoughts on it.

The Writer’s Chronicle is a collection of works written and read mostly by older, more experienced writers. The reader on average would be someone established and mature in their lives. This shows in the quality of the works, which normally would not hold the attention of a student, or younger writer.

It seems as if the audience would be settled, much like the writers, editors and contributing authors to the publication. This shows through in their reflective pieces, personal narratives, and generally fact-based thinking styles.

While the pieces within it are short stories, most are biographical or personal. They are detailed and relatively long, but very well thought out. They interview or give examples from a writer’s life and works.

Because of the serious, more mature tone throughout the publication, poetry and fictional short stories would seem out of place. The general impression is that this is a meaningful, determined body of work and anything with the slightest hint of nonsense in it would be almost completely off limits.

As mentioned, the publication prints short stories, mostly about a particular person and his or her experiences in writing. This goes to show that the Chronicle is in fact looking to hold the reader’s attention for a lengthy period of time. The details and personal nature in every story draw the reader in with their intimacy. These make the reader involved, and not simply an accessory.

In terms of aesthetic value, the Chronicle strikes a pretty good balance between published works and advertisements or announcements. There are quite a few ads within the publication, enough that it is noticed, but they are not flooding the page. The text does not seem overpowered by all the MFA and contest announcements. Everything is evenly spaced out so that the ads are not overwhelming but simply a lingering presence.

This design is very basic and simple. There are no really flashy boxes of text or super unique layouts. The publication is steadfast in keeping up a mature and more than competent appearance. Anything showy or out of the ordinary would upset the tone.

Although I did enjoy Bauer’s piece on Dicken’s and Smith’s analogy of a life in books, I would not submit any of my own pieces to the publication. I do not really write about myself or about other people. I do base my stories on experiences and real life but the tone of my writing is not in sync with the style of the Chronicle. Their works seem to use a more real perspective.

What would work from the Chronicle with the Prism Review are the ads and the sense of experience. The advertisements and announcements would break up the writing, giving the reader a time to pause and reflect, as well as provide funding or information for Prism. The professional, experienced feeling gathered from the Chronicle would also add a heightened sense of credibility to Prism. Although it is a distinguished publication, the reader understands it is aimed at a much younger audience and may not take the contributing writers seriously.

Aspects of the Chronicle that would not work for Prism would be the detailed, biographical narratives. Prism is a tighter read. It is snappier and definitely for the college, young student type. Adding the detail and intensity that is within the Chronicle would detract from its shorter, upfront style.

Although entertaining and informative, The Writer’s Chronicle seems to place more emphasis on the latter. Through the ads, announcements and in-depth stories, it is clear the Chronicle looks to provide a service to experienced, advanced authors.


Temporary Home

This blogsite is our temporary home while our website undergoes an extreme makeover of epic proportions (shifted septums, pacemakers, calf implants, dialysis, a fancy wig, contacts -- the works).

This was our old home, and while it is a bit dated, it's a good source of info regarding recent issues and the history of Prism Review.

Updates will follow regarding our new home. ETA summer 2009.