Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stuff I've Been Enjoying

It's a SNOW DAY, not the movie. And honestly, not a real snow day because it's a Saturday. What a waste. And I can tell you that textbook reps are working. I just got another email about them wanting to help me with my book needs for summer and fall. There's snow, people, even if it's not cool like this one time. I'm not thinking about summer. Or textbooks. Here's some things I have been thinking and reading about:
  1. James Patterson Inc.: "I’m less interested in sentences now and more interested in stories" --James Patterson.
  2. J.D. Salinger, famed, reclusive author of 'Catcher in the Rye,' dies at age 91: John Hodgman wrote: "I prefer to think JD Salinger has just decided to become extra reclusive."
  3. A Good Author Is Hard to Find by The Rejectionist: "Rendered in a labyrinthine and frequently unintelligible grammar, the truly awful query is often notable for its length, its torrid verbosity, and the mechanical specificity of its sex scenes, which tend to read like appliance-repair manuals in their exhaustive and emotionless depictions of moving parts."

I would like to note that I did not "enjoy" Salinger's death (though I have noted my ambiguous feelings elsewhere about famous author obits), which made me sad. And I mean sad, even though I know plenty of people who would say a 91-year-0ld dying is nothing to be sad about. These people can say this because they are not old. But they will be (maybe).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Other People's Writerly Advice Tip #5

This helpful suggestion series returns after a short hiatus of...what is it...year and a half? Anyway, last time you'll remember that the tip was on why you should get an MFA. Well, you've had time by now to get that MFA and write your first or possibly fourth novel and now you're in the heat of revision. So here's Martin Amis's tip on style that every reviser needs. I ran across it in a footnote as I read his memoir Experience:

John Gross was one of my two significant early editors, along with Terence Kilmartin of the Observer. he instilled a rule in me, one I still follow in fictional prose as well as journalism and book reviews. Never start consecutive paragraphs with the same word--unless (I add to myself) you begin at least three paragraphs this way and the reader can tell that you're doing it on purpose. John is right. It looks uglily inattentive, clunking against the eye as well as the ear.

This tip I think is obviously true, but I wonder at its mechanical or mathematical nature. Won't there be or isn't there already a program that will scan a piece of writing for style. Image StyleCheck right there with SpellCheck and GrammarCheck. Instead of an anthropomorphized paperclip, a little picture of Joyce pops up: "Are you trying to writing in stream of consciousness?" Ah, the future! Where all our soul-crushing laziness will be realized!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Girl in the Woods

Remember that zombie book I blogged about? Well, I finished the author's second book: my friend David Jack Bell's creepy, possibly supernatural thriller (is that a bad word?) The Girl in the Woods. Great, keep me up too late at night so I'm tired teaching the next day, stuff. Not convinced? Here's the book trailer:

Also, I just found out that Dave and I will (tentatively) have stories in the same issue of Cemetery Dance out this summer.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Me on 365 Tomorrows

It's the new year! Happy New Year, blog! And some, that is none, of you will remember last year when I vowed to blog more. That turned out swimmingly, so this year I am vowing to blog less just to take the pressure off last year.

This post is not only the first of the new year, but one in which I brag about my writing going up somewhere in the vastness of the Internet. Today, my flash fiction piece "Relative Weather" is featured at the amazing 365 Tomorrows. See that's fitting what with us being in the future of 2010, where we'll all get giant blue bodies or if we're bad guys machine exo-skeletons.

Anyway, "Relative Weather" is about relatives who are trapped by weather--get it? Also, an attempt to control said weather that, as expected, goes awry. When will people learn? Probably 2010!