Reading · Writing

Saturday Summation – 20 May 2017

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

Reading Stuff:

James Patterson and Bill Clinton as co-authors on a novel? I might even read that when it comes out. What an interesting pairing. I got a kick out of Book Riot’s follow up post on “dream” president-novelist pairings, too.

In my last summation, I listed Still Life, the first of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache books in my recommended reads. I chose to listen to it on audiobook, and I was hooked. Beautiful writing…and a narrator who truly gave it justice. I am hooked. I recently finished the second book and am excited to start listening to the third. I noticed that at some point, Ralph Cosham stopped narrating and I wondered what happened – and then found this article. He died in 2014. I’m so sad, knowing that eventually I’ll have to let him go. If you are an audiobook fan, who is a narrator you have grown especially attached to?

Writing Stuff:

I recently finished Becky Albertelli’s latest book, The Upside of Unrequited and loved it. I mean, it was great on many different levels and honestly, I can’t doubt at all that a good part of it was that, as this Slate article mentions, she had “totaled 12 sensitivity readers” for it. TWELVE. That’s getting due diligence right. I am really happy to see more articles popping up about sensitivity readers. There are still some who will still call it a “trend” (the same ones that say “diverse books” are a trend), and sadly, they are the same ones who won’t figure out WHO a sensitivity reader is when they attempt to find one for their own novels. But, for all the rest of the great writers and authors out there – yes to all of this attention to this area of beta reading.

A new trend in writing posts I’ve seen lately has writers questioning the emphasis on getting the first line and then the first five pages right. Dave King talks about the folly of nailing those first five pages, but then the rest of your story doesn’t match. I think, of course, that if you are an established author, those first five matter only slightly less. A debut author in some ways, only gets the one shot. But it is absolutely true that those five pages mean nothing if the rest of the novel can’t back it up.

Amy Nathan offers some good insights on the importance of more than mere find-replace when it comes to writing in on POV, then changing your mind and switching over to another. What I really think is interesting is that many might think that first person POV is the most personal and close one can get to a character, but she discovered that deep third person created a wider lens for readers to get to know her protagonist – and that is an important distinction to understand when doing a changeover in the drafting stage.

Some readers love character description – I have one crit partner who always comments on my manuscripts about wanting to know more about how my protagonist looks like in the opening pages. Yet, I am more like this author, and don’t care as much. I like to know distinguishing traits that might especially pertain to the story or how characters interact with one another, but beyond that, I’m good with filling in the blanks. And really, Edgerton’s comment in this post on how a reader firmly believed he had detailed a character’s physical description when he had not actually done so is fascinating. There’s more to this craft than flowery words, indeed.


Song of the Week:

My 10-year old has friends who know the Hamilton music soundtrack well, and he has been asking to listen to it forever. I’ve finally given in – insisting that we listen to it the first time around together. We’ve finished the first act and with all that we’ve been going through as a country in the past few months, I can’t help but always have this song in the back of my head.

What do you think? I'd love to discuss!

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