Stephen Parrish pointed me to a NY Times survey of the world of book trailers, those magical creatures that use video to convince us we should read books. While only 0.1% of everyone out there decided to purchase a book via a book trailer, the kids these days seem to love them according to an online survey at Teenreads.
And speaking of viral, the I Write Like app was positively ubiquitous this week, though if anyone can prove that it's more than a random author generator I'd love to see it. I plugged the first chapter of JACOB WONDERBAR in and it said I write like James Joyce. So..... yeah. Thank goodness ULYSSES is the most popular novel of all time among children eight to twelve.
William Faulkner speaks!! Some of Faulkner's lectures to students have been uploaded and can be found here. I actually needed some occasional translation help from my Southern wife due to Faulkner's incredible accent, but was totally hooked by his lecture on What Makes Man Endure especially. Faulkner's vision for the last sound on Earth during the end of times: two people arguing about where they're going to go in their spaceship. Oh, actually three, because one will be writing a book about it.
Author Janet Fitch wrote a really terrific Top 10 Tips for Writers, which I thought was way better than most Top 10 Tips for Writers lists. Some of my favorite parts: Write the sentence, not just the story, Kill the Cliche, and most importantly: Write in scenes. (via Jacket Copy)
Society of Authors chair Tom Holland spoke out against industry standard e-book royalties, calling them "not remotely fair."
And over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, Chuck Sambuchino put together a great overview of the different sections in a nonfiction book proposal.
This week in the Forums: insanely cute kittens, a study shows that competition may impact creativity, which character is the favorite you've ever written, and, of course, how did you come up with that?
Comment! Of! The! Week! goes to Kerry Gans, who I thought had some good insight on the question of why it's so hard to tell whether our own writing is good. Could it be a visual thing?:
Maybe because my typed Word document looks the same as everyone else's typed Word document. What I mean is that you can see that you can't jump as high as the NBA guys, or that the person you drew looks more like freaky tree, or hear that your guitar riff sounds like your cat scratched it out. But my words typed on a page look pretty much the same as JK Rowlings'.
I also think it might be because writing is so much a "felt" art -- you are so invested in what you write that it "feels" good to you. How could you work so hard and put so much of yourself into it and have it NOT be good?
And I think the industry itself makes it hard, because so much of it is subjective. There are some truly awful books that have made it to print, and some very good ones that probably have not. This subjectivity makes it hard to measure how good your work is. As Jon VanZile said above: "There's no way to keep score."
And finally, after linking to everyone's favorite Double Rainbow video yesterday, I'd be remiss if I didn't plug the Double Rainbow song, which is also incredibly incredible. If only I could figure out WHAT DOES IT MEAN:
Have a great weekend!