Category Archives: Things that might make you think
On occasion, I re-post writing tips that I’ve gone over in the past. This one is from Women and Words (where I blog and co-admin). It’s the “As you know, Bob” syndrome or, in other parlance, a version of telling and not showing. Remember, you want to SHOW and not TELL. And you want to avoid info-dumps.
Happy reading, happy writing!
Came across this post on BookRiot (via HuffPo and Sisters in Crime).
I admit I got a little cranky for about 2.7 seconds and then I decided to chill out and read it, because I think the author of this post, Brenna Clarke, has some valid points.
I hope that writers make careers of writing. I hope that indie bookshop owners make careers of owning and working in indie bookshops. I hope that these things are lucrative and happiness-making. But being a reader does not obligate me to do anything other than read books. As a reader, I will accept responsibility to do one thing:
1. I won’t ever steal books, digital or otherwise. Not ever.
But I won’t (a) not use the library, (b) not buy used books, (c) not borrow books from friends. If I choose to do any of those things, I don’t (a) owe a tweet, (b) owe a blog review, (c) owe a word of mouth review. I am not betraying bookish culture if I (a) buy from Amazon or Chapters or Barnes and Noble, (b) wait to buy the paperback, (c) don’t buy at all. None of the above things are unethical or amoral or indicative of my deep failings as a reader or blogger or member of the bookish community.
Go on over and see the rest of her argument as to why she doesn’t owe authors sh*t. There are only a few more paragraphs. Here’s the link again. Food for thought, authors?
Happy reading, happy writing!
Thought I’d re-post some of the writing tips I’ve done in the past (since I am, ostensibly, a writer of sorts). And I’ve needed to re-focus on that after the crazy and tragic week. So here you go:
Tips on point-of-view, and how it can affect your narrative.
Tips on why headhopping might not be a good idea (not to suggest it never is, just why you might want to focus on not doing it, at least at first).
And here’s a bonus blog from writer Sacchi Green, about some of her writing pet peeves.
There. Have at.
As some of you know, I blogged about DC Comics hiring openly anti-LGBT writer Orson Scott Card to write for its digital Superman series the other day. You can see that HERE.
Well, DC Comics has responded to the controversy over hiring Card to write on the digital Superman series. Here’s the gist, via The Advocate (link above):
. . .a company spokesman said, “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.
The spokesman also mentioned the new digital Adventures of Superman comic is an anthology series and would feature an ever-changing group of guest writers, of which Card would be one, and should not be confused with the long-running flagship titles Superman or Action Comics.
I was a comics freak back in the day. And then I kind of stopped reading/buying them during a long stretch of grad school and whatever else, but I followed comics news peripherally because I love superhero stuff and all the attendant angst they go through. Plus, I’ve developed an affinity for particular artists and writers.
A couple years ago, I started reading/collecting again. Most of my stable is DC-related, though I do have a Marvel series I’m following. That’s why when this particular bit of news hit, I was interested. And as expected, it has generated a lot of controversy.
The news: DC Comics has hired award-winning sci fi writer Orson Scott Card to write the latest Superman digital series. His book Ender’s Game has also been turned into a movie, starring Harrison Ford, which is forthcoming.
The issue: I have long since stopped supporting Card or his work because of his public anti-gay stances, and apparently, a lot of people have taken exception to DC’s hiring of him to write the storylines for Superman. A larger issue here, of course, is whether or not to take the personal beliefs of people into consideration when we purchase their books or go to their movies. We all make choices about those things, which is a wonderful thing. But I want to address this specific incident, since that’s the one in the news.
Caught this cool post at Writer Unboxed from January 28 (okay, so, most of their posts are great) about what readers can do for writers. Specifically, writer and editor Chuck Sambuchino provides 11 tips with regard to supporting a writer’s new book. Number 1?
Buy the author’s book.
Here’s what he says:
An obvious point, sure, but important nonetheless. Naturally, we must buy new copies of books, not used copies, for the sale to “count” and the author to get a royalty. So buy new. Heck, consider pre-ordering the book. Publishers pay attention to pre-orders to help get a sense of what titles are getting buzz and attention. Impressive pre-orders help the author.
No, authors do not make money off of used copies, no matter where you buy those used copies. Just wanted to clear that up. And we certainly don’t make money off pirated copies of our work. Now before you start in on how you can’t afford a new copy and all that, hey. It’s cool. I get it. I understand why you buy used. I also understand why you borrow a book from a friend or a library. I totally get that. That said, I am not down with piracy. Sorry.
At any rate, if you buy used and/or borrow a book, how about if you really like the author, could you do her a favor and tell your friends about her? And about her books and stories? Especially if you buy used or borrow a book. And if you do buy new and you loan your copy out to a few friends so they, too, can discover a new author, THANKS. So yes, ideally, authors REALLY appreciate it when you buy new. But we also appreciate it when you tell your friends about this cool author you discovered and how about giving her a read.
Moving along, Sambuchino also offers these tips (and I’ve been known to do stuff like this for authors I enjoy): face the book out at bookstores and read it visibly. The latter, I’m afraid, is going to be much harder to do these days, because many people no longer read actual physical books where you can show off your book cover. Instead, you’re on an ereader, and that makes it harder. But if you do have a physical copy of a book and you enjoy that author, hey, let the world see the title and author’s name. Another good tip is to spread the word about the book/author via your social media channels.
Basically, Sambuchino offers easy things for readers to do to help spread the word about an author and her new book(s). And believe me, authors appreciate it SO much when readers talk up authors whose work they enjoy. So thank you, readers. Thanks for buying our work, thanks for reading it, thanks for letting others know about your fave authors. You’re part of this whole publishing thing, too. And I think sometimes some writers forget that, much to their detriment.
Anyway. Happy Tuesday!
It’s been a rough week for folks in the path of Sandy. I did a post about that at Women and Words. At the bottom of that post are links to organizations involved in relief efforts. If you’re so inclined, help as you can. Thanks.
Like millions of Americans, I watched storm coverage and it broke my heart to see so many houses lost, and to see the friends and families of those who did not survive. I’ve seen aerial photos that testify to what Sandy did to topography and landscape, and to the memories of people who derived part of their identities from familiarity with their surroundings.
I recall one woman in particular, standing near the ruins of what had been her house on Staten Island. It was a just piles of lumber and what looked like stalk after stalk of salt marsh seagrass, layered in geometric patterns among the detritus of a neighborhood. It looked like a vast field of wheat-colored seagrass interrupted with random pieces of furniture, wood, and other items that had once been the signature of a household, and therein, the indicator of an identity.
This woman on Staten Island told the newswoman that she just wanted to go home, and she gestured at the littered field that had been her house, and said, “but I can’t. I don’t know where to go or what to do.” And then she sobbed, and I cried with her. The newswoman gave her a hug, no longer a newswoman but rather a sympathetic shoulder in the midst of overwhelming loss.
I think a lot about “place” and how we pull from it our sense of selves. I’m a Westerner by birth and soul. I was born in New Mexico, grew up in a ranching town in southwestern Colorado, and returned to New Mexico where I spent about fifteen years of my adult life before wandering farther east, only to be pulled back to the West. I still wander, but my heart and sense of self will always be rooted in Western landscapes, particularly the Rocky Mountain West and the high deserts of New Mexico.
Photo by Andi Marquette
I think a lot about “place” when I write fiction, as well. For me, it’s different than “setting,” though setting provides threads in the tapestries of “place.” Where a character is from and where he/she has lived since tell me quite a bit about that character’s background, culture, and approach to the business of living. How a character deals with community, and what are important politically and socially are as much a function of place as they are of family. The longer a family has been in a place, over extended generations, is also an ingredient in the formation of culture and soul, and reflects in a character.
I’m sure by now some of you have heard about evangelical Christian Timothy Kurek. He’s the guy who was homophobic and then decided to live life as gay for a year to find out what it was all about. He realized that his views were wrong, and then documented his year in a book.
Sounds like it was something that seems to have helped him figure a few things out. But on the other hand, he spent a year lying to LGBT people and to his family and friends from his real life. Which perhaps might give him a flavor of what it’s like for LGBT people, some of whom HAVE to lie in order to keep their jobs, their kids, their lives. But Kurek isn’t gay (he says). And he could go back to his heterosexual privilege whenever he wanted (he stuck it out for a year). I’m seeing some critique of what he did along those lines.
And it has to do with privilege and, perhaps, “authenticity.”
Source (re-sized here)
More? Read on…
So, I was thinking about the history of sleuthing/detecting in fiction/literature and I decided to do some digging. I’d heard of Anna Katherine Green, and I’d heard about her character, Violet Strange, who’s credited as the first female sleuth in fiction.
But Green is also known as the mother of American mystery, and she’s credited as writing and publishing what’s known as the first American detective novel, The Leavenworth Case, in 1878 (image below). It’s available at Amazon, if you’re interested (reprinted, obviously). This book, featuring detective Ebenezer Gryce, was published nine years before the debut of Sherlock Holmes.
source: C. Martinelli’s blog