A Never-Before-Published F. Scott Fitzgerald Story, Colson Whitehead's Rules of Writing, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

This week's New Yorker includes a never-published story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Thank You for the Light,” which was originally rejected by the magazine in 1936.

Shortly after the trailer for the film adaptation of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas was released online, setting social media aflame, book sales spiked, moving the eight-year-old novel to number seven on Amazon's best-seller list, which encouraged Random House to print twenty-five thousand new paperbacks. (A movie-tie in edition is planned for September.) The Wall Street Journal reports, "It isn't unusual for a movie version of a book to spark fresh interest in an old title, of course. What's uncommon in this case was the speed at which a mere trailer of a film had an impact."

Novelist Colson Whitehead shares his eleven rules of writing: "Rule Number Eight: Is secret." (New York Times)

Emily Eakin analyzes what there is to glean from the success of E. L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy, and its origins as "fan fiction, a genre that operates outside the bounds of literary commerce.…" (New York Review of Books)

Author A. J. Jacobs discusses his fraught history with book blurbs. (New York Times)

"I decide to walk to the hospital. I don’t know why I choose this—maybe because I have to move. It hurts too much to sit still, but then again, it hurts to do anything." Author Mira Ptacin's personal account of discovering in the second trimester of her pregnancy that the baby's life was “unviable outside the womb.” (Rumpus)

With Picador's re-release of Donald Antrim's three novels, Lydia Kiesling, for the Millions, writes, "when you’ve surfeited yourself on hunger games and vampires and zombies and lukewarm bondage and everything else that dulled our synapses this year—when you need a new genius—don’t despair, choose Donald Antrim."

Michelle Dean offers a brief history lesson on literary envy. (Rumpus)

With a third season barreling toward us, author Alexander Chee examines America's obsession with Downton Abbey. (Los Angeles Review of Books.)