Recent Posts

Friday, February 26, 2010

Another problem I wish I had

I'm not sure I'm in a position at this point to claim this as a problem of mine, but it is interesting to consider the difficulties inherent in becoming a relative leader in a one's given field, and the necessary deluge of questions that accompanies said leadership. Here's a column by Ben Yagoda in the New York Times about dealing with mountains of email from fans and haters alike.

I hope that I can claim this problem in the near future.

You can read the article here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Photography Served

Matthew Albanese is a photographer in New Jersey who is doing incredible things with household objects, forced perspective, and a little Photoshopping. Among other things, he depicts miniature versions of natural scenes using found objects that are strikingly realistic. Even though I am not a photographer I can't help but be blown away by a talent like this.

You can check out his photography here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Militant Grammarians Unite!

The debate over Prescriptivism v Descriptivism has been raging since the beginning of the 20th century, with both sides getting progresisvely more cantakerous as time rolls on. The debate is one that is ostensibly about grammar and usage in the English language (a decidedly academic and sometimes boring subject) but what makes the debate so interesting (and heated) is that whenever you start discussing the way people write and talk you also start getting into issues of class, race, education. All issues with deep, personal divisions.

Here is the short, short, short version of what each side stands for:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Revise, revise, revise!

In every creative pursuit there is always a bit of reviewing and changing of the work before presenting it to the public. But with writing the revising process takes on almost a mythical aspect in regard to the final work. Some writers revise little, what they set to paper is pretty darn close to what gets published. Others write ten drafts and even then cringe when they see their name on the dust jacket.

The revising process is as different for each writer as the writing process, or story ideas for that matter. No two writers are exactly the same, and I encourage those who are just getting started to try out different ideas and choose the one that works best for you. To help in that regard I've asked some published authors to give some insight into their revising process, as well as compiled some choice quotes from major names in the publishing industry.

For what it's worth my revising process has been heavily influenced by Stephen King's On Writing where he suggests writing the rough draft, setting it down for awhile, and then revisiting it. I follow that basic outline, though usually once I take another look at the original manuscript I find so much wrong with it that I completely rewrite the story. So, all in all, I usually have a rough draft, which I set aside as I work on another project, and then revisit. I then rewrite whole sections, solving for character or thematic issues, and only once I've rewritten will I consider showing it to anyone. After that I correct any spelling, grammar, or flow issues and send the manuscript off to as many publishers as I can to get the thing in print. This whole process can sometimes take anywhere from a few months to a few years, but I usually keep a pretty steady pipeline going since for every story that is in the rewriting stage, there are several waiting for responses from publishers, and even more that are in various stages of intitial production.

So, here are what some other authors have to say:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Writer Spotlight: Nicholas J. Carter

Magical Realism is the literary device of taking fantastical elements and placing them into realistic scenarios. What distinguishes Magical Realism from Fantasy is that the fantastical is unremarkable to the characters in the story, or that they react to the fantastic in realistic ways. For instance Harry Potter is not Magical Realism because, though the characters are in fact portrayed realistically, there is a significant break from reality when Harry discovers he is a wizard. It is not taken as a matter of course that the fantastic exists in real life. In fact, characters such as the Dursleys and the Prime Minister of England are explicitly used to juxtapose reality and fantasy.

A good example of Magical Realism is Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, which incorporates a magic ring into an otherwise gritty narrative about 1970s Brooklyn. Those who know about the ring's powers do not remark on the existence of the ring, but rather incorporate the ring seamlessly into their daily lives.

Word of the Day!

qua [kway; kwah]
In the capacity or character of; as.