Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Mark Shainblum sells "Twain" story to Would That It Were

Mark Shainblum has sold his story "The Break Inspector" to the online SF magazine Would That It Were.

The story (under a different title) was originally written for the 2001 International Mark Twain Writing Competition, where it was a finalist. That contest was sponsored by the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library and the Mark Twain Foundation in honour of the discovery of a previously unpublished Twain manuscript, "A Murder, a Mystery and a Marriage." Several months prior to the story's publication in The Atlantic Monthly, the first two chapters were published on the Internet and writers were challenged to write their own, 5000-word conclusions. "I believe they had over 700 entries in the end," Mark says.

Mark points out that Would That It Were is ideal (and indeed, perhaps the only) market for this story, because specializes in science fiction set in the 19th century, and it's an online magazine. The latter is extremely important in this case, since Mark does not have the rights to Twain's original first two chapters, still protected by copyright because the story was unpublished between 1876 and 2001. "An online magazine can easily link to the existing story still posted on the Buffalo and Erie County Library's website," Mark notes. "A print publication would be liable for fairly hefty reprint fees."

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