If you’re reading this in the distant future and all is peaceful – check the dateline. It has been a tumultuous week here in early 2017 and my list of ‘writing/culture’ tweets from publishers, critics and writers has been unusually full of politics. Unsurprising really – since most of my favourite people are opinionated and tend to care about little things like freedom of movement, religious tolerance, and free speech.
Still, this is a round-up of posts about writing and writing tools and there’s always plenty of those to go round. Here are some of last week’s highlights:
Author Brunonia Barry wrote about building a book talk for her latest novel. How can you distill all that work, all those themes and incidents into something that remains comprehensible and entertaining and encapsulates the work?
Alex Epstein’s piece about the tensions between design and narrative explicitly addressed game development – but his point holds for the more general tension between plot and character. Your plot may call for a particular situation, but if you jettison plausibility to get your characters in place then you’ll likely lose your readers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the time of year and the awfulness of the political climate, failure (or, at least, rejection which is related but not at all the same thing) seemed to be in the air. Michael Alvear writing on Elizabeth Spann Craig’s blog reminds us that rejection is ongoing, even after an initial success. Refreshingly, he counsels against positivity and suggests a limited but concerted period of sulking. Laura Tong, on the other hand is all about positivity. Her advice for failure management is none the worse for that. Joint Curtis Brown CEO Jonny Geller joined in the misery-a-thon with some advice on rejection (though he did not mention the most miserable kind of rejection – perpetual silence).
One way to improve your odds of avoiding failure with is through impeccable structure and flawless copy. Rachelle Gardner had some advice on getting your project editor-ready – and on selecting a freelance editor when you’re good to go.
It’s worth noting that I’m rounding up what I encountered (when not endlessly refreshing Slate, The Guardian, and The New Yorker) last week, and some articles may be considerably older than that. Of course as one of the creators of Pressmonkey – a WordPress plugin for authoring and scheduling tweets, I’m all for promoting older content. A good example I came across last week was this 2014 Aerogramme Writers’ Studio post that lists some literary magazines that accept submissions.
Dean Wesley Smith continued to catalogue his astonishing productivity as a writer. Andrew Hickey overcame gloom to write about a surreal TV show from the early 60s directed by and starring Anthony Newley.
Well that’s enough to get this round up thing kicked off. The news sites won’t obsessively refresh themselves, after all.