Things that writers think about

Being an Amazon author myself–I have a deal to put my books out in print through CreateSpace without cost because of having finished in the quarterfinals of their last contest, and I’m putting them on the Kindle, as well–I had to chuckle at the cleverness Amazon is being credited with in this article. I also suspect the claims made are correct, at least in general.

“When you see Snooki’s book on the New York Times Best Seller List, you know publishing is in trouble.
“You can blame readers and say publishing is just giving the public what they want. But [if true!] that’s only half the problem. The rest is a lazy publishing industry that does far too little of the work that got them here: Discovering new authors and giving them a shot. Instead, they go for the lazy lay-up: Overpaying on celebrity memoirs and pop culture phenomenons with a built-in audience.
“But that was a short term mistake that has put the publishing industry behind the eight ball. And, according to this industry insider who asked not to be named, a familiar bully is about to take them out.”

Read more.

P. J. Thompson (lj-user=pjthompson) writes:
“You know that thing where you’ve edited a book so [heavily] you’ve cut all the life out of it?”

Yes! It’s something that I’ve preached against over and over, but I’ve been shouted down by agents and critique partners who say that every word has to further the action of the MAIN PLOT of the story, not just show character or develop a subplot or any other valid artistic reason. I know that I can be wordy and digressive, but if you cut out everything that some people would like to cut out of my work, you wouldn’t have anything left but margins. Surely a reader wants to proceed at a reading pace, not at the breakneck pace of a rap lyric.

She goes on: “Throughout the reading [of a friend’s edited novel], it felt incomplete to me, missing beats, wanting something that kept slipping through the fingers–cut to the bone and unable to quite articulate itself as those bones clattered along. A large part of the life had been taken away. I intuited that it had once been there, but no more.”
(Read more.)

I see this happen all the time when writers go to workshops and get the skinny on The One True Way You Are Supposed to Do This. The resulting work is either in the no-style style or is in standard workshop style. Whatever unusual turns of phrase the critters ran across have been turned into roadkill, and any quirky stuff has been completely rubbed out.

The charm that the work originally had is gone along with the errors and problems that they’ve fixed.
* * *
A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water and is fat.
A tortoise doesn’t run, does nothing . . . yet lives for 450 years.

But a tortoise IS pretty wrinkled, so perhaps there is some justice.


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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