First up, just wanted to give everyone a heads up that I've been experiencing some e-mail technical difficulties and some queries have disappeared into the great electronic ether. My policy is still to respond to all queries, so if you sent me a query and didn't hear back within a week or two please try again. Whenever you follow-up, please include the original query.
Also, Sheriff in the Forums Ink/Bryan Russell will soon be participating in the Terry Fox Run for cancer research! Please stop by his blog and consider donating, it's a great cause.
And it's Friday, which means it's time for a Page Critique. The page up for critique is posted in the forums, so check that out. UPDATE: my critique and more on pacing in action scenes here.
On to the links!
There has been an interesting discussion percolating around the writing blogosphere this week about the effect the Internet is having on writing and the life of a writer. Hannah Moskowitz wondered what effect Internet groupthink and such a tightly knit writing community is having on YA literature. Ally Carter talked about The Crazies, a reaction to the anxiety and helplessness writers feel during the writing and publication process, and how to combat them. And Natalie Whipple talked about putting the cart before the horse and the temptation of acting like a writer at the expense of being a writer.
And speaking of the effect of the Internet on writing and books, journalist Jack Shafer had an essay on the changing role of books in his life, noting how when we're curious about someone we now turn first to the Internet rather than to a book, and how he no longer feels the same attachments to books he once did. He writes, "Books are being replaced by reading." Agent Michael Stearns had a similar feeling about how books disappear into the iPad rather than being physical presences that remind us of their need to be read.
In award news, the much-anticipated Booker shortlist was announced, and congrats to China Mieville and Paolo Bacigalupi, who tied for Best Novel at the Hugo Awards. And now that it's September already it's Fall for the publishing world (gah!!), which means it's time for, as the NY Times puts it, The Big Books.
Tony Blair's memoir was released amid a great deal of egg throwing and protesting at his readings. Wow. Just for the record, I don't mind if people throw food at me when my book comes out, provided they are cupcakes (soft and delicious!)
Laura Miller at Salon took a look at TWILIGHT and HUNGER GAMES series and came away with a provocative question: is Bella a more empowered heroine than Katniss? Meanwhile, science fiction living legend and Twitter maven William Gibson just released his new novel ZERO HISTORY, and in an interview with the WSJ he talked about the future of books. His ideal is an Espresso-like book making machine in every bookstore.
In writing/publishing advice news, agent Janet Reid says no no no to the fictional memoir, Tracy Marchini has advice for those writing epistolary novels, and agent Rachelle Gardner has a great post on what goes on behind the scenes in acquisitions/publishing committee meetings, where the fate of many a book hangs in the balance.
The Wall Street Journal is starting a stand-alone book section, which many people feel is intended to take further aim at the New York Times.
And NPR has a great article on how to sell a book. The secret? Good old-fashioned word of mouth. Oh. And huge marketing efforts help.
This week in the Forums: discussing Banned Book Week 2010, plot vs. character: which comes first?, dealing with perfectionism, and sharing your writing space.
Comment! Of! The! Week! goes to Hannah, who has some great follow-up advice on yesterday's post about dialogue. An excerpt:
My main gripe with dialogue, and what I think can make it read as very false, is when characters respond too directly to what the other one says. In real life, people don't listen well. They've already formulated most of what they're going to say before they've heard the other person's side of the conversation.
And finally, not one but two videos! The first comes via Bloomsbury publisher Peter Ginna: a hilarious video on the steep learning curve posed by the invention of the book.
And finally finally, a really incredible video that will hopefully get your weekend off to a peaceful start. Giant bubbles:
(via Andrew Sullivan)
Have a great weekend!