The weeks most interesting news; for writers.
1. Judge These Books by Their Covers
How difficult is it to distill down the most iconic book face north of 40? Not very, just let the crowd decide for you.
Personally I think ‘The Sister’s Brothers” is one of the most iconic covers I’ve ever seen, but it was knocked out in the 3rd bracket.
I will be completely shocked if Anne of Green Gables wins… (and because the medium of writing often fails to impart any sense of tone, please forgive me tacking on: that was sarcasm!)
2. Catfishing – Internet Trolling or Intense Character Research?
I have always read whatever I could find on cross-media efforts (transmedia), especially by/for writers. I believe the future of writing will include the internet in a major way, and I’m not just talking epub versions of your book. The internet can offer a number of ways to expand your universe, or flesh out your main characters.
In an ironic twist on that newer idea, the young social introvert in this narrative came to writing via an early life of trolling. If he ever writes a novel I’ll bet the characters will be fantastic.
3. Who Do You Love?
Luke or Vader; Solo or Fett; Sherlock or Moriarty; Potter or that noseless guy who shall not be named? Without memorable villains hero’s run the risk of falling flat. The CBC has a great interview with Chuck Klosterman on his new book ‘I wear the Black Hat’.
I’ve always preferred great villains over great hero’s and can’t wait to read this book.
4. Love at first sight…
When I buy a new book, I always open it up (as I’m sure almost ever real reader does) and read a few passages to get a feel for the authors cadence and tone. But never the first page. I save that pleasure for later, when there is time to settle into a comfortable chair where I can savour the opening passage a few times without distraction.
Writers love to discuss first lines, and the Atlantic has collected a number of favourites.
+ The rest of the conversation with Stephen King on the power and importance of first lines.
5. Breaking In Can Be as Tough as Breaking Out
I’ve always wanted to go to ComiCon… <sigh>
Unfortunately that will have to wait for another year. Yes, I’m a geek at heart, but this article which is essentially a roving exposition on one writers ComiCon experience has some really great content. Read especially, the section: Breaking In. While they are talking more specifically about screenwriting, the information, I believe, is valid for all writers.
Hollywood is not barred to talent, but there is no single path to get there. Or, from screenwriter Jonathan Callan:
“Breaking into Hollywood I like breaking out of prison. As soon as someone figures out a new way to do it, they seal up that hole.” (An old Hollywood saying)
+ From another writer interview – I love this quote:
“Getting a book deal is a little like getting hit by lightening. You can’t predict where it will strike, but you can build a better lightening rod.”
+ Fishing for Agents
Another look at breaking in; sort of… in a sort of perfect world variety.
6. Can I Borrow Your Voice?
There is plenty of information available that dictates how writers should find their voice and then write within it. I’ve always though that was terrible advice.
I really don’t think anyone has the ability to write anything in someone else’s voice: even when trying to emulate the voice of your hero, the finished product will come out sounding like you.
Voice isn’t A Thing you can learn, it’s simply the sum of your previous reading and writing experience coming to a head. I believe that voice and talent are intrinsically linked. Some peoples brains can pull it all together, others are not so lucky.
In this Globe & Mail interview, Rhidian Brook backs up my theory. “You either have a voice, or you don’t”
+ What’s in your voice? Everything. Since everyone is talking about the new Rowling novel now, here’s a related article on how a forensic linguist figured out who the real author was using the books voice.
+ And finally… what’s in your voice specifically? This is the free software that was used to point at Rowling. I’m thinking it would be a handy tool for writers to play around with. You could analyze your favourite authors works or your own. Look for patterns, see your own weak points; grow your own voice.
7. Galbraith is Rowling… Can We Come Back to Earth Now?
Rowling has a problem that 99.9% of writers will never have, but wished they would: a lack of anonymity. Everything she writes will always carry a set of expectations that will inevitably colour any reviews of her future work. Of course, whether the reviews are good or bad, she will be widely read, so it’s only her feelings that are at risk.
Perhaps I’m just too cynical to care, but I’m glad the mystery has been solved so we can get on with other interesting book news, like, um, the Booker Prize longlist perhaps?
8. Man Booker Prize
Frustrated with Mounting Rejection for your manuscript?
Meet the book that was rejected more than 30 times … and just made the longlist for the Man Booker Prize
9. I’ve rewritten this subheading 13 times
Editing your work can be tough. Asking other peoples opinions can be tough to take. Buck up and use some of these tips.
10. Final Thoughts
+ Writer Interviews
+ Did I mention that I was a geek?
Samurai, film, book, art… all the makings of a good obsession.
+ While I think everyone has to find their own process that works only for them, I love peeking in at other writers processes. Sometimes I shake my head, sometimes I laugh, sometimes my mouth drops open as a fundamental truth settles into my own brain.
+ When I was young I thought I could write an original novel. I grew frustrated and walked away from fiction writing for a long time. It was only after I realized that stealing other peoples ideas was par for course that I got excited about writing again.