It’s my last day in Mexico, and what a trip it’s been. My wife and I are staying in a hotel at the top of a funicular (every morning should start with a funicular ride) and are enjoying the sights of Guanajuato, an old silver and gold mining town that has Parisian alleys and Mexican colors. Underneath the city are cavernous passageways that were originally built for flood control but now serve as roads. The food (especially anything sweet) is incredible and the coffee supposedly the best in Mexico. I’m currently at the Cafe Tal coffee shop, and my wife just ordered a shot of pure liquidy chocolate goodness called Beso Negro that should probably be a controlled substance. Mexico = awesome!
But meanwhile, there was a week in publishing and I tried to keep up with it (I’ll fold anything I missed into next week).
There was some terrific writing advice catalogued online by the Guardian UK this week by authors as varied as Margaret Atwood, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, and Neil Gaiman, but with apologies to the other luminaries, Elmore Leonard steals the show: don’t open with weather, avoid non-said dialogue tags, and best of all, try to leave out the parts that readers skip. (via @ColleenLindsay) The New Yorker’s Book Blog notes how personal these lists are to each individual writer, and it hints at the ultimate writing rule: make your own rules.
If you’re a writer, chances are you’ve received your fair share of rejections. But have you received 11,000 rejections?
This week in the Forums: people share their rejection stats, discuss their book cover pet peeves, and does your manuscript get longer or shorter after your first draft?
Kids everywhere have a new strategy for convincing their parents to buy them a Nintendo DSi XL: it doubles as an e-reader. I’m not even a parent and I can hear it now. “But Moommmmmm, it’s educational!!”
In addition to serving as poster child for the mid-aughts fake memoir craze, the New York Post is speculating that James Frey is writing many books under many pen names, including supposedly-off-the-grid John Twelve Hawks. Savvy promoter as ever, Frey will neither confirm nor deny the questions. I like this strategy. I will neither confirm nor deny that I am William Faulkner. And a vampire. (via The Book Bench)
And finally, it’s a snow day for many of my East Coast friends, who I guess are having as many Snowpocalypses as bad horror movie sequels. I will raise a margarita in false solidarity.