Jacob M. Appel: Perseverance the Key to Writing Success

Jacob M. Appel, the author or editor of 19 books, including his most recent short fiction collection, Winter Honeymoon: Stories, shares how perseverance leads to writing success, what he believes all writers unconsciously try to do with their writing, and more.
Author:
Publish date:

Jacob M. Appel is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Education at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine, where he is Director of Ethics Education in Psychiatry. He is also the author of four literary novels including Millard Salter's Last Day (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, 2017), nine short story collections, an essay collection, a cozy mystery, a thriller, a volume of poems and a compendium of medical dilemmas. 

Jacob M. Appel

Jacob M. Appel

(7 tips to land the perfect title for your novel.)

Prior to joining the faculty at Mount Sinai, Jacob taught most recently at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, at the Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York City, and at Yeshiva College, where he was the writer-in-residence. Learn more at www.jacobmappel.com.

In this post, Appel shares how perseverance leads to writing success, what he believes all writers unconsciously try to do with their writing, what readers get out of all his books, and more!

*****

WD-SSS-2020-LaunchImages-1100x615(2)

We're looking for short fiction stories! Think you can write a winning story in 1,500 words or less? Enter the 21st Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer's Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer's Digest Conference!

Click to continue.

*****

Name: Jacob M. Appel
Literary agent: Jill Marr
Title: Winter Honeymoon: Stories
Publisher: Black Lawrence Press
Release date: September 15, 2020
Genre: Literary Short Fiction
Previous titles: The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up (Cargo Publishing); Weeping Wipeout (Cozy Cat Press); The Biology of Luck (Elephant Rock Press); Scouting for the Reaper (Black Lawrence Press); Phoning Home (University of South Carolina Press); Einstein's Beach House (Pressgang / Butler University); Miracles and Conundrums of the Secondary Planets (Black Lawrence Press); The Magic Laundry (Snake Nation Press); Coulrophobia & Fata Morgana (Black Lawrence Press); The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street (Augsburg University); Mask of Sanity (Permanent Press); The Liars' Asylum (Black Lawrence Press); Millard Salter's Last Day (Gallery/Simon & Schuster); The Amazing Mr. Morality (Vandalia/West Virginia University); The Cynic in Extremis (Able Muse); Amazing Things Are Happening Here (Black Lawrence Press); Surrendering Appomattox (C&R Press); Who Says You're Dead?: A Book of Medical Dilemmas for the Curious and Concerned (Algonquin Press)

winter_honeymoon_stories_by_jacob_m_appel_book_cover_black_lawrence_press

Elevator pitch for the book: A clairvoyant woman accompanies her sister to Rudolf Valentino's funeral; an aggravated son tours nursing homes with his father in pre-Katrina New Orleans; a young Jewish boy finds himself apprenticed to an Iranian-American tailor as the hostage crisis unfolds in Iran. In his 10th story collection, psychiatrist Jacob M. Appel covers wide swaths of history and emotion to address the question: How much control do we have over our own destinies?

What prompted you to write this book?

The honest answer (keeping in mind that I am a psychiatrist) is that I believe that all writers at some unconscious level are trying to "right the wrongs" of their childhoods, reshape their histories the way they want them to read, etc. Of course, this is much easier to do if one transports the setting to a Rudolf Valentino's funeral or makes the protagonist a Persian tailor… For writers, it doesn't take a pandemic to bring out the masks.

Did the idea change during the writing process?

I always decide upon the shape and ending of my stories before I start writing. It's like planning a vacation with children: You can just start driving and see where you find yourself, but your kids will be much happier if you just book a hotel at Disney World and travel there directly.

jacob_m_appel_perseverance_the_key_to_writing_success

Were there any surprises in the publishing process for this title?

Since this is my 19th book, I hadn't expected any surprises. I've already published five other collections with Black Lawrence and they do a first rate job in all regards. However, the book was initially scheduled to appear in the spring, and none of us anticipated a pandemic.

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

Unfortunately, there were several places where my squid ran out of ink, so I had to condense accordingly. And once the goose wouldn't yield any feathers for a quill, which also set my writing back my several days.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

Each book is actually a cover over hollowed-out pages with a bottle of alcohol inside.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

In the hospital, we have the expression: "Don't die on one doctor's opinion." Writers should not be discouraged by negative feedback. The key to writing is perseverance. Winter Honeymoon may be my 19th book, but I've also received 21,000+ rejection letters.

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Learn how to distinguish the sole from the soul with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

In this brave new world of virtual learning and social distance, Kristy Stevenson helps us make the most of the virtual conference.

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

Writers of historical fiction must always ride the line between factual and fictitious. Here, author Terry Roberts discusses how to navigate that line.

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

In this post, we look at what creative nonfiction (also known as the narrative nonfiction) is, including what makes it different from other types of fiction and nonfiction writing and more.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Four WDU Courses, a Competition Deadline Reminder, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce four WDU courses, a Competition deadline reminder, and more!

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask is a humorous and handy column by literary agent Barbara Poelle. In this edition, she discusses the next big fiction trend, and whether or not all books are the same.

From Script

A Change in Entertainment Business Currency and Disrupting Storytelling with Historical Significance (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, learn about how crypto currency is making a wave in the entertainment business, what percentages really mean in film financing, the pros and cons of writing partnerships, an exclusive interview with three-time NAACP Image Awards nominee, co-creator and former showrunner of CBS’ 'S.W.A.T.' Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Putting Off Submissions

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Putting Off Submissions

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is putting off submissions.

The Transformative Power of a Post-First-Draft Outline

The Transformative Power of a Post-First-Draft Outline

Have you ever considered outlining after finishing your first draft? Kris Spisak walks you through the process.