May 2, 2014

Friday Five 05.02.14

5 things I read this week ending 5/2/2014:
  • This great advice to young critics by Matt Zoller Seitz, pretty much all of which works for writers too. #9 especially. Takeaway: "Nobody wants to read a piece that's structured that way. Even if they did, the form would be more a hindrance than a help to the writing process, because it makes the writer settle on a thesis before he or she has had a chance to wade around in the ideas and inspect them. So to Hell with the outline. Just puke on the page, knowing that you can clean it up and make it structurally sound later."
  • Kate Messner telling it straight: if we want more diverse children's/YA literature, we must also BUY IT. No one likes to talk about money, but it is a factor here. Employ all your means to effect change. If dollars are one of your means, spend them to encourage diverse books. Takeaway: "At the end of the day, publishing is a business that needs to make money to survive. Given that reality, the best way for readers to ask for more diversity in children’s literature is not with words and tweets and blog posts alone but also with dollars."
  • M.G. Buehrlen on ebook piracy. This is not a diatribe; it's a story. A good, honest one about how we make mistakes or tell ourselves little justifications...and how sometimes NOT getting everything you want leads to the things you REALLY DO. Takeaway: "So I get it. That urge and sudden need to HAVE THIS ART RIGHT NOW OR OMG I’M GOING TO DIE. I totally get it. But that didn’t make me any less of a selfish douche. My lack of money was just a fact of life, and I was in the same boat as pretty much every other college kid. It was a fact of life that wouldn’t have harmed me in any way. NOT downloading or listening to that music wouldn’t have killed me, even though it felt like it now and again.It may have even made me better."
  • One more honest post (do you see the trend?) from Stefanie Gaither on how sometimes it's not so simple as just loving writing. And it's not. There's a lot of spin out there, people. It's hard to make our private doubts public because we're conditioned to pretend we don't have them. But we do. We really do. Writing is a hard business and it's not always easy to say (or pretend) "I'd do this for freeeeeeeeee, foreeeeeeeever, because I just looooooove to write!" I never say that, actually. It's not part of my personal narrative, and I don't have it in me to pretend. Takeaway: "I am ETERNALLY grateful to know that I will have a book on the shelves in September, even if it's the only one that ever makes it to said shelves. But ...The warm-and-fuzzy feeling that writing gives you may not always be as warm and fuzzy as it was when you first started. Sometimes it will be downright cold and prickly and you'll probably wonder if it was ever there in the first place, or if you were just fooling yourself. I personally don't think that makes you less of a 'real writer'; it just makes you human."
  • Annnd a late addition here at posting time: Smart Bitch Sarah Wendell on the dreadful coverage of the Harlequin to HarperCollins deal. In short: a whole lot of everybody, including the media, still treats romance, and their readers, like shit. It's gross. Don't be gross. Takeaway: "You'd think that this was enough of a story with very wide reaching ramifications that business reporters would be able to take it seriously. But instead of examining the differences between the two companies, how Harlequin has often led the way in digital transitions in romance, how readers perceive the different publishers as brands, how each publisher has markedly different approaches to reader cultivation, library relations, and community building, and how each has followed very different timelines for all of the above plus many other initiatives in digital and print publishing, it's much easier and a well-worn path to just make sex jokes and call it a day."
What else have YOU been reading?
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