Musing · Reading · Writing

Saturday Summation – 31 January 2015

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

Writing Stuff:

Everybody lies, Kristen Lamb says, and that’s one of the many ways to make sure you have interesting, multi-dimensional characters. I appreciated her point that these lies don’t have to be big ones that always have the huge reveal at the end of the book, but that all characters suppress feelings, behaviors, and reactions to different events. These are their hidden motivations and fears. Of course, those big lies are pretty useful, too, for storytelling.

Reading/Publishing Stuff:

If you are willing to buy a book, how much are you willing to pay? Do you get frustrated when a book – print or ebook – is more than you think it should be, or at least, more than you want to pay? A common strategy for self-published authors is to give away their first books (ebooks, that is), but Porter Anderson explores how this changes the face of value to our book-buying readers. His article is long (most of them are), but also thorough and thoughtful one about this issue that continues to arise for authors (and artists in general).

Miscellaneous Stuff:

About a month ago, a friend of mine found a reading challenge list that she suggested she and others (including me) try for 2015. It’s not one of those “see how many books you can read”, but instead kind of like a bingo checklist one. For example, “read a book with a blue cover” or “read a book that was published the year you were born”. One of the checklist items is “read a book by a female author”. However, there wasn’t one for “read a book by a male author” and I got annoyed by this inclusion. Why should reading a female author be a “challenge”? Why is the assumption that this would be a challenge? Frankly, I read loads of books by female authors, but I said I was taking that one off the checklist out of principle. My point of bringing that up here is that I feel it connects to a string of issues that still face women in society and in the workforce. And to that end I want to highlight a couple of articles that came up this week that show why this is still an issue.

First, Colleen McCullough, author of many books – her most well-known book being The Thorn Birds – died this past week and an Australian obituary barely even acknowledged her authorial accomplishment until several paragraphs in. Instead, they lead with bits about her appearance. Fortunately, the Interwebz came to the rescue. Check out some of the response that was highlighted in The Guardian.

Author Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters) joined in the fray a day later and tweeted a string of fake obits about male authors including this gem:

Then, the news about the all-female cast for the Ghostbusters re-boot came out and some (well, probably many) had a hard time with it. Really? Why? It’s related to the same population that cannot handle the idea of a black James Bond or a female (or probably non-white) Doctor in Doctor Who. I really appreciated this post by agent Sarah LaPolla about this issue and agree wholeheartedly with her ultimate point of having more females, but in their own original roles without re-boot/replacement, etc.

Video of the Week

While society as a whole struggles with updated views of women, let’s take a lesson from Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel… if they can change with society, so can we. J

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