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Fiction Consultations with Miah Jeffra

During the month of March, Black Lawrence Press author Miah Jeffra is on board to critique fiction manuscripts, and he is accepting everything from flash fiction to full-length novels.The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Flash fiction, up to 2 pages in length, $25
  • Short stories, up to 20 pages in length, $50
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195
  • Novellas, up to 100 pages in length, $325
  • Short story collections, up to 180 pages in length, $450
  • Novels, up to 300 pages in length, $700

All manuscripts should be double spaced and formatted in 12-point font with standard margins.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is March 31. Miah will complete his work and respond to all participants by April 30.

Consultations

Fiction Consultations with Miah Jeffra

Click Here to Submit Deadline: March 31 How to submit ›

Statement of Purpose

We have a general problem in literature, and that is the privileging of certain voices, namely straight, cis, white, able-bodied and male. Now, this has been discussed a lot as an issue within the publishing world, what is assigned in literature courses, and considerations with affirming what constitutes good writing.

But we perpetuate this narrowly conceived sense of “good writing” in the consultation process, as well, through the discussion of craft and implementation of suggestions for revision. Our notion of what constitutes good craft is bound by white supremacy and unconscious bias. We have defined what is good writing by what has historically been celebrated as good writing, and then we call it craft—we think of exalted craft as being a methodology, one that is color-blind, that is gender-neutral, that is without a particular audience in mind. We think of it as universal. We forget that aesthetic is all relative, and established and perceived good craft is borne of whatever is the most prevalent aesthetic: white, male, heteronormative, which becomes historicized by a lack of recognition of its narrow, dominant perspective. Thus, we further hegemonic aesthetic unknowingly, in the innocent conceit of being good craft. I have heard it in workshop, even, the argument that “Craft is craft. Good writing is just good writing.” The thing is, it’s not that simple.

In my consultation, I will emphasize not “Good Craft” with a capital G & C, but craft that will be good for achieving authenticity in the particular manuscript.

When working with fiction writers, I focus on getting to the heart of the work’s intention, communicate what I as a reader perceive as the intention, and then provide a range of possibilities on how to achieve that intention without compromising the unique voice, knowing that I may also possess blind spots in my reading. The potential dissonance between my read and the author’s desire is a great place to negotiate what will be best for the manuscript.

In my own fiction, I lean heavily into voice/point of view, dialogue as a tool to propel a story forward, and language that evokes setting and character. Many folx have called my writing social realism, but I defer to ambiguity for fear of being labeled one thing. Most of my characters are severely flawed, yet I try to render them easy to empathize with as a means for the reader to recognize their own complexities through the character’s experience. Fiction writers I find inspirational—those not afraid to show our culture’s complicated psyche—include Toni Morrison, Ron Rash, Annie Proulx, ZZ Packer, Michael Cunningham, Kazuo Ishiguro, Randall Kenan, Aimee Bender, among others. However, I read across genre and style in order to cultivate writing strategies that move beyond my own identity and practice.

Miah Jeffra

Miah Jeffra is author of The Fabulous Ekphrastic Fantastic! (Sibling Rivalry 2020), the chapbook The First Church of What's Happening (Nomadic 2017), and co-editor, with Arisa White and Monique Mero, of the anthology Home is Where You Queer Your Heart (Foglifter 2021). Awards include the New Millennium Prize, the Sidney Lanier Fiction Prize, The Atticus Review Creative Nonfiction Prize, the Alice Judson Hayes Fellowship, Lambda Literary Fellowship, and 2019 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Outstanding Anthology. Most recent work can be seen in The North American Review, The Pinch, The Greensboro Review, DIAGRAM, The Boiler, Litro, Barrelhouse, The Forge and Interim. Miah is a founding editor of Whiting Award-winning queer literary collaborative, Foglifter Press.

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How to Submit

Black Lawrence Press accepts submissions and payment of the entry fee exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.

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