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Friday, June 11, 2010

Serials, Novels, and TV

N+ Magazine ran an amazing essay recently about the explosion of popular serial dramas on TV in the last 20+ years. From Hillstreet Blues to Lost, Richard beck covers it all and even tosses in a wrinkle of the history of novel publication that I didn't know: some of the greatest 19th century novels were originally published as serials, and people went nuts if the chapter wasn't published on time. But Mr. Beck takes it all on step further by suggesting that Lost is the epistemological end of the TV serial as we know it. This is fascinating stuff.

You can read it here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paper Planes

I like MIA. I think her music is bizarre and pretty and ugly and a whole lot of other extravagant adjectives, and since this blog is dedicated to greatness on all creative fronts, I felt this was noteworthy. This being an illuminating New York Times article about the incendiary, and surprisingly contradictory, artist as she prepares to release her newest album. MIA comes across at best as a conflicted and earnest pop star (but a pop star nonetheless), and at worst as a narcissistic opportunist who's entirely dependent on the talent of others to create her art. Either way it's a fascinating read about the building of a cult of personality, and how art, politics, sex, and technology converge in astounding ways.

You can read the article here.

And MIA has taken to Twitter with her rebuttal to the article, in which she *surprise surprise* claims she was misrepresented.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Advice On Finding An Agent

I've recently seen a ton of advertsiements for Boyd Morrison's new thriller The Ark and finally cracked and went to Mr. Morrison's website to see what the heck the book is about. I'm not normally much of a thriller fan myself, but am I glad I checked Mr. Morrison out. Last fall he wrote a really good and detailed blog about his over 12 year journey to representation and I thought the post was far too helpful to not be shared.

Two bits of great advice from the post:

1. "So every writer who talks about persistence being a defining trait of published authors is absolutely correct. Listen to them. Keep writing. Don’t stop at that first novel. Don’t rewrite it over and over. Move on. You’ll improve your chances a hundredfold by writing that next book."

2. "I would strongly advise anyone looking for an agent to pitch them in person at a conference. Putting a face to a book gets the partial through much faster than if it’s a query letter from someone the agent has never met."

Also, here's a money quote from his FAQ section, courtesy of author Joe Konrath:

"What do you call a novelist who never gives up? Published."

If you'd like to read the blog post click here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hobart talks about first books

Hobert recently posted an extensive interview with some incredible writers about the inspiration and process of publishing their first books. Among the writers interviewed is none other than the indomitable Roxane Gay.

You can check out the interview here.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Saving Great Pop Songs From The Dust Bin Of History

Ever since the 1990’s, cultural products have been co-opted for the purpose of selling things. The reason for this is obvious: people maintain strong emotional connections to these cultural products and the marketers/advertisers hope that these emotional connections will rub off on the product and lead you to buy, buy, buy.

But of all the cultural products, none have made out worse than pop songs, which have been used to sell everything from toilet paper to cars. For some artists the use of their music can mean a massive boost in sales (e.g. Phoenix’s “1901” in that Lincoln commercial), but oftentimes the boost in sales, and the identification with the product advertised can also obscure, or even undercut, the meaning of the song. Remember when Nike used John Lennon’s “Instant Karma” to sell running shoes? Now I’m not entirely sure what shoes have to do with karma (though they both involve soles/souls *wacka wacka wacka*) but I’m sure the meetings for this particular ad involved a little bit of “Hey, Michael Jackson just acquired half the Lennon/McCartney catalog, I wonder if he’d be willing to license one of these massively emotionally resonant songs to help us sell shoes. He will!? Alright, awesome! Let’s choose the one that’s about raising your consciousness above material things like consumerism and use it to sell shoes.” Or, you know, it probably went something like that.