|The Modern Words Scriptorium Pages
The Scriptorium is one of the major sections of The Modern Word, an index of pages featuring writers who have pushed the edges of their medium, combining literary talent with a sense of experimentation to produce some remarkable works of modern literature. Though all these writers certainly fit the Libyrinth theme, they have not yet been scheduled for a site in the Main Collection with Joyce, Borges, Pynchon, et al. This is not to say that these authors are any less important or talented; in fact, many of these writers will one day have their pages expanded into more extensive sites. But developing such sites takes time, and in the meanwhile we feel they should still be represented. There are generally three reasons that an author has a page in the Scriptorium rather than a full site in the Main Collection:
1. The author is scheduled for a larger site in the distant future. Until that time, they will be listed here, just to keep their place at the table. (e.g., Italo Calvino, Carlos Fuentes, and Virginia Woolf.)
2. The author already has an excellent site devoted to him elsewhere on the Web. Rather than re-invent the wheel, we’d rather just place a smaller page here, and refer interested visitors to this resource. (e.g, Vladimir Nabokov and Philip K. Dick.)
3. The author does not have a body of work large enough to support a site in the Main Collection. This could because they are new or emerging, write very slowly, or published only a few books. (e.g., David Foster Wallace, Primo Levi, G. Cabrera Infante.)
Browsing the Scriptorium
So, you want to help, eh?
If you would like to author a Scriptorium page for a grey name, or you feel there is an important name that has not been included, there are a few simple steps you may take to lend a hand.
A quick overview
1. Please email us with your suggestions. Tell us a little about your experience with that writers work, as well as your personal credentials, if any. A few writing samples would be useful. If you are recommending a new writer, please explain why the author is one that fits in with the Libyrinth theme. Well get back to you with our comments as soon as we can.
2. If we feel that you are the right person to write the page, and if you still like us after our initial comments, well ask you to draft a Scriptorium page. Dont worry about HTML well take care of laying out the page and creating the images; all you need to do is email us your work. A Microsoft Word document is fine, but please do not use any footnotes or fancy formatting.
3. The Modern Word reserves the right to edit and expand your work; but we will not place it online unless you are satisfied with the overall result. You will be given full credit, and if you wish, your name will be linked to your email address so your fans can send you insightful comments, passionate love letters, and outraged hate mail.
Sounds good. How about some specifics?
Lets say that you submit a request to write about an author and we email you back saying that everything sounds really great, go right ahead and write her up. There are a few guidelines that we ask you to follow:
1. The page should include basic but accurate biographical information and major details of the authors career. A reader should gain a good understanding of the authors life and what forces shaped her work, including time and place, relevant schools of thought, contemporary literary trends, and so on.
2. Write about her style and technique and how it reflects the overall Libyrinth theme around here. (The guiding metaphors of the Library and the Labyrinth. See our FAQ file for details!) How does her work push the boundaries of traditional narrative and structure? Is her writing considered Modern, postmodern, surreal, fantastic, or just plain bizarre, and why?
3. Detail her major works, providing summaries and critical commentary. Again, focus on why these works are innovative or unusual. However, since the Scriptorium is meant to serve as an introduction, please do not reveal any surprises, like Hamlet dies. (You did know that, right?)
4. Feel free to include any interesting information, facts, and personal insight that you may possess about the author and/or her works.
5. If possible, please provide a bibliography of her complete works, with dates, major translations, films, and so on.
6. Include an annotated list of the best Web sites relating to the author and her work.
7. If possible, please include a few images of the author.
8. Include a short biographical paragraph about yourself.
Basically, the best way to get a sense of what we are looking for it to browse Scriptorium sites like Abé, Ballard, Carter, Dick, Gaddis and Lovecraft. Note that some authors have combined the biography and works, while some choose to examine the works on a separate page. Feel free to work with us to find a solution that best suits your ideas.
The final product
You may take as long as you need to write your piece, and feel free to send us drafts if youd like some input. After you are done, we will edit and lay out the site, perhaps requesting a few additional rounds of revisions or alterations. Once we have a page that both of us are happy with, we will add it to the Scriptorium. You will be given full credit with the option of an email link. Although, being a voluntary site, we can offer no compensation, we can assure you your work will be widely read, discussed on Oprah, and carefully parsed by Harold Bloom in his next book.
However, once your page is added to the Scriptorium, The Modern Word retains the right to keep it there even if you decide that you suddenly hate your author and want nothing more to do with her. At your request, we will remove your name or change it to Alan Smithee, but the page is property of The Modern Word. We also retain the right to make any necessary alterations, and to remove it completely if needed.
Allen B. Ruch
13 October 2006