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Hadley Freeman - Jonathan Franzen Was Mocked for Sharing His Writing Tips. Me? I’m All Ears
I read writers’ writing tips all the time, not because I think they’ll magically make me into as good a writer as, say, Tolstoy (“The best thoughts most often come in the morning after waking while still in bed”) or Hemingway (“Always stop while you are going good and don’t worry about it until you start to write the next day”), but because I’m nosy and these tips invariably say a lot more about the author than they do about writing (Tolstoy knew the value of staying in bed; Hemingway was a machismo-riddled bolter who left writing sessions as casually as he left wives).
The brilliant screenwriter, novelist and all round mensch, William Goldman, who died last week, was able to write stage directions more interesting than most novels: “Thirty-five and bright, [Butch Cassidy] has brown hair, but most people, if asked to describe him, would remember him as blond. He speaks well and quickly, and has been all his life a leader of men; but if you asked him he would be damned if he could tell you why.” I’ve read Goldman’s extremely enjoyable writing advice (“Thou shalt know thy world as God knows this one”), from his book, Adventures In The Screen Trade, about 1,017 times and – spoiler – I have yet to write a tenth as well as him. Similarly, Stephen King’s book, On Writing, is one of the most spine-cracked books in my home, and still that blockbuster novel eludes me.

The popularity of writing tips suggests a lot of people see fiction as a hobby anyone could knock off if they just knew the right tricks, as opposed to a job and a skill, and one requiring a serious amount of unique talent (although if Franzen said this, I honestly think he’d be pushed out into the Pacific Ocean on an ice floe).
Teachers and plumbers aren’t asked for their top 10 tips on how to do their job. Even acting – the only profession seen as more self-indulgent than writing – doesn’t sell this fallacy; no one’s asking Meryl Streep for her tips on how to play a bereaved mother, or Robert De Niro for his top 10 techniques for playing a mafia boss. The idea that any of us could write as well as Franzen, Goldman, or whoever, by literally writing like them is as absurd as suggesting that buying the same handbag as Kate Moss will make you look like the supermodel.
Writing  Narratology  Storytelling  Guardian  Publishing  Fiction  Literature  Novels 
18 days ago by dbourn
Where to find the best lesbian erotica? : LesbianActually
Hmm—perhaps this thread may have some ideas for lesbian romance novels?
books  novels  romancenovels  reddit  recommendations  2018 
19 days ago by handcoding
‘Farsighted’ Review: How to Make Up Your Mind - WSJ
14 COMMENTS
By David A. Shaywitz
Sept. 11, 2018

..mission planners first systematically widened their thinking to define their options as broadly as possible, seeking a “full-spectrum appraisal of the state of things and a comprehensive list of potential choices.” Then they coned down the alternatives by playing out multiple scenarios, exploring all the ways the mission could go wrong........When faced with complex choices we tend to frame problems in a narrow fashion. .......seek participation from as broad and diverse a group as possible.....a diversity of viewpoints isn’t enough. Citing the legal scholar Cass Sunstein, Mr. Johnson observes that, although “groups often possess a rich mix of information distributed among their members,” when they assemble “they tend to focus on shared information.” Thus it is important to design a process that exposes “unshared information”—by meeting individually with stakeholders, for instance, instead of merely convening a town hall. Similarly, he cites research revealing that two-thirds of organizational decisions never contemplate more than a single option. There is a “gravitational pull toward the initial framing of the decision.” To overcome it, he suggests considering what might be done if the presumptive path forward were suddenly blocked....“Uncertainty can’t simply be analyzed out of existence,” ...What scenarios and simulations can offer is a way to “prepare you for the many ways that the future might unexpectedly veer.”..... Linear value modeling, for example, weighs the relative importance of different goals, while a bad-outcomes approach examines worst-case possibilities........given the challenges of making high-stakes global decisions. How should we respond, as a planet, to the challenges of addressing climate change, communicating with alien life forms or managing computers with superintelligence? The answer seems to be: by convening diverse experts and hoping for the best. ....... Great novels matter because “they let us experience parallel lives, and see the complexity of those experiences in vivid detail.”........ fundamentally, choices concern competing narratives, and we’re likely to make better choices if we have richer stories, with more fleshed-out characters, a more nuanced understanding of motives, and a deeper appreciation of how decisions are likely to reverberate and resound.
books  book_reviews  decision_making  far-sightedness  shared_experiences  Steven_Johnson  uncertainty  worst-case  scenario-planning  choices  novels  thinking_tragically  wide-framing  unshared_information  howto  narrow-framing  Cass_Sunstein 
23 days ago by jerryking
Aleksandra Sandstrom on Twitter: "Every single one of these romances recommended by @sarahmaclean in today's @washingtonpost looks like a winner and they're all books I haven't read yet. You bet your buttons I added them all to my TBR. 🙌… https://t.c
“Every single one of these romances recommended by @sarahmaclean in today’s @washingtonpost looks like a winner and they’re all books I haven’t read yet. You bet your buttons I added them all to my TBR.”

// The books are:
• “The Duke I Tempted” by Scarlett Peckham
• “The Duke Who Ravished Me” by Diana Quincy
• “Luck of the Draw” by Kate Clayborn
• “Scoring off the Field” by Entangled
• “Thirsty” by Mia Hopkins
books  romance  novels  romancenovels  2018  recommendations  twitter  aleksandraedits  washingtonpost 
24 days ago by handcoding
Dézafi | The University of Virginia Press
"Dézafi is no ordinary zombie novel. In the hands of the great Haitian author known simply as Frankétienne, zombification takes on a symbolic dimension that stands as a potent commentary on a country haunted by a history of slavery. Now this dynamic new translation brings this touchstone in Haitian literature to English-language readers for the first time.

Written in a provocative experimental style, with a myriad of voices and combining myth, poetry, allegory, magical realism, and social realism, Dézafi tells the tale of a plantation that is run and worked by zombies for the financial benefit of the living owner. The owner's daughter falls in love with a zombie and facilitates his transformation back into fully human form, leading to a rebellion that challenges the oppressive imbalance that had robbed the workers of their spirit. With the walking dead and bloody cockfights (the "dézafi" of the title) as cultural metaphors for Haitian existence, Frankétienne’s novel is ultimately a powerful allegory of political and social liberation."
books  toread  frankétienne  haiti  novels  1975 
4 weeks ago by robertogreco
Top 10 modern Victorian novels | Books | The Guardian
Narrative tricks minted in the 19th century are still working in contemporary fiction by authors from Margaret Atwood to Sarah Waters
modern  Victorian  novels  literature  books  Guardian 
4 weeks ago by KMP
The Search for the Great Canadian Novel · The Walrus
So why is it that Canadian publishers regularly churn out books about down-and-out Maritimers but not a single significant novelist has written about the Irving family’s almost feudal control of Atlantic Canada’s economy? Why has a country obsessed with mythmaking turned a blind eye to its most potent stories?
books  canada  novels  literature 
4 weeks ago by jbrennan
How Stacey Abrams turned heartbreak into a side hustle as a romance novelist - The Washington Post
Leadership requires the ability to engage and to create empathy for communities with disparate needs and ideas. Telling an effective story — especially in romantic suspense — demands a similar skill set. Effective storytelling takes the reader into a life that is both familiar and foreign, enough of both to make space for others to feel empowered to tell their stories.
storytelling  story  writing  politics  language  leadership  novels  books  love  georgia 
7 weeks ago by allaboutgeorge
Aleksandra Sandstrom on Twitter: "If you like True Blood, Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series will probably be exactly up your alley. Or Ilona Andrews' Edge series. For more of a Mad Men/office romance, I'd suggest The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.… h
Some promising romance-novel recommendations here:
“If you like True Blood, Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series will probably be exactly up your alley. Or Ilona Andrews' Edge series. For more of a Mad Men/office romance, I'd suggest The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.”
recommendations  books  romance  romancenovels  novels  2018 
12 weeks ago by handcoding
Aleksandra Sandstrom on Twitter: "I am literally made up of romance recommendations and coffee, so if you let me know a bit about what you like (modern/historical, straight/not, fantasy/not) I'll be happy to give a few recs anytime! 😀… https://t.co/l
(If you should need recommendations for romance novels:)
“I am literally made up of romance recommendations and coffee, so if you let me know a bit about what you like (modern/historical, straight/not, fantasy/not) I’ll be happy to give a few recs anytime! 😀”
romance  romancenovels  novels  recommendations  2018  aleksandraedits 
12 weeks ago by handcoding
Laura M. Browning on Twitter: "I need recs for lighthearted fiction that moves quickly, but isn't going to end every chapter on a cliffhanger (otherwise I will be up until 3 a.m. to finish). I read my first romance novel yesterday and surprised myself by
(If you might be thinking about checking out a romance novel, perhaps this one that Laura mentioned may be worth a look?)
“I need recs for lighthearted fiction that moves quickly, but isn’t going to end every chapter on a cliffhanger (otherwise I will be up until 3 a.m. to finish). I read my first romance novel yesterday and surprised myself by liking it? (The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang)”
romance  romancenovels  novels  recommendations  2018  twitter  ellembee 
12 weeks ago by handcoding

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