The Modern Word is always looking for contributions from people who wish to help shape the creative direction of the site. In general, there are several ways to become involved:
Each day, the Daily Muse selects a new item from a revolving database of quotes, bookish trivia questions, and interesting literary terms. This database is refreshed every three months. If you have a favorite quote, trivia question, or definition, please feel free to email it in were always looking for something fresh and intriguing!
The Modern Word welcomes feature-length book reviews on recent fiction written by modern authors who fit the general spirit of this site Salman Rushdie, Carlos Fuentes, Don DeLillo, John Banville, MarioVargas Llosa, Jeanette Winterson, and so on. Unless written by an author with a site or Scriptorium page, these reviews are usually featured in Spiral-Bound or the general Reviews section, and are linked from the main Rotunda page for six months. We ask that these reviews be presented as a formatted MSWord document, and expect a baseline of quality including style, depth of critique, and basic knowledge of the writers previous work. These reviews may be subject to some editing, and if accepted, will become a permanent part of the site. If a comfortable working relationship is established, you may be invited to join a pool of book reviewers. Every year, a mansion and a yacht are raffled off to members of this exclusive group.
Occasionally, we will accept full-length reviews of films or musical works that bear a thematic connection with the literature featured on the site. If you have a Libyrinthine movie or piece of music youd like to review, please drop us a line with your idea!
Numerous books, films, works of music, or books of literary criticism listed under the author pages currently lack commentary. We are always happy to receive a well-written piece of commentary from a visitor, whether a long critique or a pithy blurb. In general, your work will be edited, posted in the appropriate place, and you will be credited by name and email address.
One prominent feature of every author-specific site is a collection of papers written about his/her life or work. Although some of these are links to papers located off-site, many people elect to have The Modern Word host their work. The Modern Word retains no rights to the papers so hosted, and they may be removed or revised by their author as they see fit. You will be given a fixed URL, which may be distributed to colleagues, students, or adoringly proud mothers.
We do ask that papers adhere to a basic standard of quality and depth; in general, academic papers, passionate and insightful essays, dissertations, or works by independent scholars are welcome. Our site editors will only accept undergraduate term papers if they consider them to be of exceptional quality. We do not accept any template style essays intended for borrowing by high school students, who really should crack open the books and write the damn paper themselves, just like we had to do back in the days before the Internet.
If you have a paper to submit, please follow these guidelines:
1. If the paper has been previously published in a journal or magazine, please secure permission to place it online. This is usually not a problem, as The Modern Word makes no claims of ownership or copyright. We are just a friendly host.
2. Please submit the paper as a PDF or an Microsoft Word document. If you wish readers to be able to contact you, please include your email address in the body of the work.
3. Please include some background who you are, where this paper has been presented, in what journals it has appeared, and what academic institution shelters your forays into the thickets of postmodern criticism.
4. Finally, please include a one-sentence description, such as “This paper is a spirited discussion of the impact of Finnegans Wake, Walter Benjamin, and Jacques Derrida on the Second Season of Xena: The Warrior Princess.”
Your paper will generally appear as a PDF which can be viewed online or downloaded for later perusal.
And, in case you are wondering...we used to host all papers as HTML pages, but we have switched to PDFs for many reasons. Not only do they better reflect the author's formatting, but they can be saved and printed out with greater ease and higher fidelity than a Web page. Additionally, it removes the burden of converting Word documents to Web pages, and allows us to get papers online much faster.
Some poor souls have the crazy desire to actually write extensively for The Modern Word; specifically, to create an entire author page for the Scriptorium. For these intrepid individuals, I ask that they follow a few guidelines.
1. First, of course, please email me with your suggestions. Explain why you feel the author is one who fits in with the Libyrinth theme, and kindly tell me a little about your experience with that writers work, as well as your personal credentials, if any. I will get back to you with my comments as soon as I can.
2. If I feel that the author sounds like a good candidate for the Libyrinth, I will ask you to write a page about her. I will cast in into HTML and add all the necessary graphics; all you need to do is email me your work. I would prefer it as an MSWord document, following all the formatting guidelines described above under Academic Papers. I reserve the right to edit and expand your work; but I 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.
3. The page should include accurate biographical information and major details of the authors career. A Scriptorium page should be more than a basic encyclopedia entry, but does not need to be as comprehensive as a main Libyrinth site. 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.
4. Explain why she fits into the Libyrinth style of writer. Write about her style and technique and how it reflects the overall theme around here. (The guiding metaphors of the Library and the Labyrinth. Check the FAQ file for details.) Most authors writing in the vein of postmodern fiction are acceptable; as are most authors with a grounding in Modernism, magical realism, surrealism, or other such modes that play with the traditional forms of narrative.
5. Detail her major works, providing summaries and brief 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 Hamlet dies at the end, right?)
6. Feel free to include any interesting information, facts, and personal insight that you may possess about the author and/or her works.
7. If possible, please provide a bibliography of her complete works, with dates, major translations, films, and so on.
8. Include an annotated list of the best Web sites relating to the author and her work.
9. If possible, please include a few images of the author.
10. Include a short biographical paragraph about yourself.
Any writer who opens two or more Scriptorium pages is eligible to be called a Staff Writer, and is placed on our About Us page. This is one of the most coveted positions in the entire world of online literary criticism, and entitles you to a world of fame, fortune, and keys to the extensive collection of Italian sports cars hidden on The Modern Words secret moonbase.
Allen B. Ruch