This will be the first time the Pulitzers are announced since I began my project of reading all the Fiction winners. I wanted to read more good books, and the Pulitzer list seemed like a good bet. But reading only Pulitzers is a little like watching only the Best Picture Oscar winners. After reading a few you start to get an idea of what kinds of writing and stories the committee favors. (Though thankfully no books so far have been as bad as "Crash.")
If you think your novel might be the next Pulitzer, here is a helpful checklist to increase your chances dramatically. Every book I've read so far meets at least 80% of the following criteria.
- Make sure you're American. This is a stated requirement. U.S. Citizenship is a little over $1,000. You might be able to get a better quote in another American country.
- Preferably your book is about life in the United States. (And since you should write what you know, it helps if your primary domicile is in the continental 48.)
- Your book should either be about or contain no less than 30 references to U.S. American wars. References to the U.S. Civil War count double.
- You desperately need a character named Grace. She should be a peripheral character, talked about more than she is seen, and should represent everything good to your main character.
- Include a handful of paragraphs devoted to descriptions of smells associated with sex or sexuality.
- Your central character should have a stated enthusiastic enjoyment of literature. Triple points if the character is a writer who is narrating her/his experience.
- Someone must die. Bonus points if your central character dies or is near death.
- Your character must travel or, if your character is dying, talk at length of their time spent traveling.
- Your story should span no fewer than 3 generations.
- Double your chances by legally changing your name to William Faulkner, John Updike, Norman Mailer or Booth Tarkington. Or turn your book into a play and change your name to Eugene O'Neill to quadruple your chances.
CONTEST: Write a flash-fiction story of 250 words or less that incorporates everything in the Pulitzer checklist to qualify for this RvD flash fiction contest. Post your submission in the comments section of this post. Deadline is next Friday, April 24, 5:00 pm. Winner gets $5 and possible distribution of your story at a future RvD event. (RvD members and their families are encouraged to submit since they comprise nearly our entire readership base.)
OK, Crump, go ahead and post the entry you should have written yesterday on top of this one.