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Gigi Will Know: Would Mark Twain or Ring Lardner be published today?

"The market’s a lot bigger now than it was in the 19th century and the mid-20th century."

An illustrated crab with sassy blue glasses wields a pencil in one raised claw.
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Dear Gigi,

Would Mark Twain or Ring Lardner be published today?
I read a lot of short fiction, but never find anything folksy.

—Time Warp

 

Dear Warp,

No idea what you mean by “folksy.” Do you mean “about 1930s America?” If so, then yes. Do you mean “using particular speech patterns that we might hear in 1950s America?” Absolutely. Or do you mean “pertaining to things that mattered to 1950s Americans”? There, too, the answer is yes. 

I’ll give you some bonus things to think about: Both Twain and Lardner started out as newspaper stringers. I know some newspaper writers today who also dabble in short stories, but they invest in it. They study the market; they pay attention to what editors like which kinds of stories…if our Twain and Lardner resurrections don’t want to do this kind of legwork, then they, like anyone else, are not likely to be published. The market’s a lot bigger now than it was in the 19th century and the mid-20th century. 

Not missing either Twain or Lardner, 

—Gigi

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