Re: Sixties fiction (multiple responses), another

David Vancil (libvanc@CML.INDSTATE.EDU)
Fri, 21 Feb 1997 08:41:21 EST

I wrote a Vietnam novel, and I wrote part of a 60s novel set in the
period. I submitted a couple of parts, but not with success. I'm not
surprised when I look at how slavishly I stuck to surface realism the
first time out and how pointlessly arch, or literary, I was the second
time I wrote the same material in an attempt to transcend the limitations
of realism.

To publish works with mainstream publishers that are going to appeal to a
wide audience about the 60s is going to require more than verisimilitude.
A good story isn't enough, not with over 9,000 creative works out already
on Vietnam alone, as John Baky has informed us. And it's not even easy
to get the small presses to look at 60s material. After all, it was on
TV, wasn't it? It's got to be taken down to the character level and
highly individuated (that's real universality, since we're all humans) or
transmuted into something else--some vision. There's still plenty of
stuff that could be successful on the 60s, but being just good isn't
enough. That's not how publishing works.

David Vancil

David Vancil
Head, Rare Books and Special Collections
Cunningham Memorial Library
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, IN 47809
Voice: 812/237-2611
FAX: 812/237-2567