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The December issue of Words Without Borders will apparently be devoted to literature from Madagascar, and at Broadly Ilana Masad profiles translator Allison Charette, in Meet Madagascar's 27-Year-Old Literary Ambassador.
Madagascar is one of those countries from which almost nothing is available in English -- even though some Malagasy writers write in French (i.e. aren't that inaccessible). Charette got a PEN grant to translate Naivo's Au-delà des rizières (see the Sepia publicity page), so hopefully we'll at least see that in English soon.
I mentioned the announcement of the Dhaka Translation Center's 'Library of Bangladesh'-series earlier this year, and apparently the first two volumes are now out, published by bengal lights: see their publicity pages for two novellas by Syed Shamsul Haq and a collection of stories by Hasan Azizul Huq -- and let's hope there's some foreign distribution for these, too.
Apparently ten more volumes are already planned.
At its root, Islam is as much a Western religion as are Judaism and Christianity, having emerged from the same geographic and cultural milieu as its predecessors. For centuries we lived at a more or less comfortable distance from one another. Post-colonialism and economic globalization, and the strategic concerns that attended them, have drawn us into an ever-tighter web of inter-relations.Add a Comment
हे मेरे भगवान समझ से बाहर है कि आज समाज में ये हो क्या रहा है. इतना दुख है ये सब देख ,पढ और सुन कर कि दिमाग विचार शून्य है. जहां न्यूज चैनल एक एक बयान कुरेद कुरेद कर दिखाने में जुटे हुए हैं इतनी जबरदस्त और खतरनाक राजनीति हो रही है कि […]Add a Comment
मेरा भारत महान हे भगवान !!! समझ से बाहर है कि आज देश में ये हो क्या रहा है. इतना दुख है ये सब देख ,पढ और सुन कर कि दिमाग विचार शून्य है. जहां न्यूज चैनल एक एक बयान कुरेद कुरेद कर दिखाने में जुटे हुए हैं इतनी जबरदस्त और खतरनाक राजनीति हो […]Add a Comment
I don’t know about you, but I love reading books where the author encourages me to draw conclusions that are wrong. Case in point–untrustworthy characters who I trust anyway. Like all writers, I am ultra aware of character cues and actions as I read, so when I’m led astray and find out someone I believed to be good really isn’t, I want to cheer and tell the author, “Well done!”
In real life, all of us are body language experts. At least 93% of communication is nonverbal, meaning we are very adept at ‘reading’ other people by their mannerisms, gestures, habits and voice changes. In books, this skill allows us to pick up on nonverbal cues which communicate a character’s emotions. Plus, if we are in the dishonest character’s POV, we also have access to their thoughts and internal visceral sensations (heartbeat changes, adrenaline shifts and other uncontrollable fight-or-flight responses). All of this means that tricking the reader can be very tough.
One technique is the red herring. This is where a writer nudges a reader in one direction hard enough that their brain picks up on ‘planted’ clues meant to mislead them. So for example, let’s say I had a character who was a pastor and youth councilor for his church and he spent his weekends working with homeless teens, trying to get them back into group homes. The reader will begin to get a certain image in their mind.
If I then further describe him as slightly bald with a bad taste in fashion (imagine the kind of guy that wears those awful patterned sweater vests) but who has a smile for everyone he meets, it’s a good bet that I’ve disarmed the reader. They’ve written this character off as a nice, honest guy. Even though his life is all about the church, no way could he be the one stealing cash from the collection box, or the man having affairs with depressed women parishioners, or playing Dr. Death by administering heroin to street teens, right?
Another technique is pairing. Similar to a red herring, pairing is when we do two things at once to mask important clues. If, as an author, I show my friendly pastor leaving an alleyway at night and then have a car crash happen right in front of him, which event will the reader focus on? And if later, the police find another overdosed teen nearby as they interview the pastor about the accident, commending him from pulling a woman from the wreckage before the car could explode…would the reader put two and two together? If I did my job right, then no.
A third technique is to disguise aspects of his “untrustworthy nature” using a Character Flaw. After all, no one is perfect. Readers expect characters to have flaws to make them realistic. If our nice pastor (am I going to go to Hell for making my serial killer a pastor?) is characterized as absent-minded with a habit of forgetting names, misplacing his keys, or starting service late and flustered because of a mishap, later when the police ask him when he last saw dead teen X and he can’t quite remember, readers aren’t alarmed. After all, that’s just part of who the character is, right?
If the clues are not there all along, people will feel ripped off when you rip the curtain aside. Make sure to provide enough details that they are satisfied you pulled one over them fair and square!
The post The Subtle Knife: Writing Characters Readers Trust But Shouldn’t appeared first on WRITERS HELPING WRITERS™.Add a Comment
These are some striking new designs available for licensing from Victoria Johnson. They form part of the portfolio she'll be showing at Blue Print in New York next week. To create the designs she began playing with paint, then chopped up the various papers and used them to make individual flowers for a potential greetings card range. Victoria is represented by Jennifer Nelson Artists who willAdd a Comment
What are the books that have shaped you as a teacher of writing? Reflecting today, in thanks, for the authors and books that have influenced my life as a teacher.Add a Comment
Now Playing - I Am Invisible by They Might Be Giants Well, hello! Sorry about the delay, as usual! It's been a hectic year, between two dozen comic con appearances, a "kids" alphabet book and the always there shop madness, this blog kind of fell by the wayside, but I'll be trying to do better in the new year, using this blog as both a personal journal and as a way for my fans andAdd a Comment
Katie MacAlister dropped by the virtual offices to answer a few questions! Be sure to enter the giveaway, too!
Do you have any favorite book boyfriends of your own?
Oh, mercy, just line my books up and start reading off the hero names. I’ve said before that I write books for myself first, and that’s absolutely true. I love all of my heroes, and it’s only because publishers won’t let me write all the heroines as me that I bother with writing those dishy men females who are worthy of them.
Outside of my books, I was one of those girls who grew up with the hots for Sherlock Holmes. As an adult, I’ve been quite fond of several of Georgette Heyer heroes, particularly those who give in to their senses of humor (Sir Tristram from Talisman Ring, and Freddy Standen from Cotillion).
What are five books on your night stand/bookshelf?
This is going to be a very disappointing answer, I fear. Right now on my nightstand are Sol y Viento (a Spanish textbook), Art: A Brief History by Marilyn Stokstad (an art history textbook), History of Italian Renaissance Art by Frederick Hartt and David Wilkins, Introduction to Forensic Science by Richard Saferson, and Step Aside, Popsm a Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton.
What’s your favorite quote or scene from your book?
I think the scene where Gary meets Jim is one of my faves. Especially since Gary is showing off, and Jim is instantly jealous of Gary’s toys.
If your couple’s relationship had a theme song, what would it be?
Roar by Katy Perry. The need to rise above people who want to put you down is pertinent to both hero and heroine. Plus I can see them both singing it loudly.
Tell us about the cover process. Is this what you had in mind?
I’m lucky in that my publishers have excellent art departments who take a few bits of scattered ideas that I pry out of my brain, and turn them into gorgeous covers, usually involving lick-worthy men. And this cover is no different. It’s not a bad thing to find yourself stroking a book cover, is it?
Where do you find inspiration for you writing? Do you use real people/places as a foundation?
I’ve always told myself stories, so writing is really just an extension of that. My inspiration is my muse, who I picture as a bon-bon eating diva who reclines of fainting couches a lot, waving a languid hand whenever she wants something, and basically ruling me with threats of going away on vacation if I attempt to work her too hard. I seldom use real people in my books, since the people in my head are much more flawed and thus suitable for me to torment, but I do use as many real locations as I possibly can. I rely heavily on past trips to Europe as the source of many locations, and those I haven’t visited I usually research by finding people who live there, and haunting online webcams, and photo galleries.
Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy outside of writing?
When my arthritic hands let me, I like to spin wool into yarn, knit, and sew a variety of things that never quite turn out as I’ve envisioned. I’m a gamer girl, as well, so I’m online in games like World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, Star Wars The Old Republic, Hearthstone, Lord of the Rings Online, and way too many other games.
I’ve also decided to go back to school, and am enjoying online classes at Fort Hays State University so I can add a history degree to my list of credentials.
Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you’ve accomplished in life?
Oh, she’d be thrilled that I’ve survived the last few years, since they included everything from the death of my husband to moving to a new house. And I think she’d be quite happy with the body of work I’ve produced in the last ten years, although I know she’d tell me I should stop insisting on having time off between books, and instead write non-stop.
About Dragon Storm
TURN ON THE CHARM
According to some (including himself), Constantine is one of the greatest heroes of dragonkin who ever lived. Too bad he’s now lonelier than ever and his biggest adventure involves a blow-up sheep-until he has an opportunity to save his kind once again. All Constantine has to do is break into a demon’s dungeon, steal an ancient artifact, and reverse a deadly curse. The plan certainly does not involve rescuing a woman . . .
TURN UP THE HEAT
Bee isn’t sure whether to be infuriated or relieved when Constantine pops up in her prison. The broody, brawny shifter lights her fire in a way no one ever has before, yet how far can she really trust him? Their chemistry may be off the charts, but when push comes to shove, Constantine will have to make a crucial choice: to save the dragons or the woman he’s grown to love with fierce intensity.
About Katie MacAlister
For as long as she can remember Katie MacAlister has loved reading, and grew up with her nose buried in a book. It wasn’t until many years later that she thought about writing her own books, but once she had a taste of the fun to be had building worlds, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes, she was hooked.
With more than fifty books under her belt, Katie’s novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and are regulars on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. A self-proclaimed gamer girl, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her dogs, and frequently can be found hanging around online.
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A few more Christmas designs now with a selection of inspired designs from The Dot Com Gift Shop. They have gone for old school illustrations with a mid century feel on cards, wrap, bags, cake tins, napkins and more.... And whilst on the subject of The Dot Com Gift Shop a few other new arrivals caught my eye including Scandinavian style birds, retro kids cards and wrapAdd a Comment
Recently a friend asked me whether she should address the concerns of a beta reader who had clearly missed something in her novel that everyone else got. This started me thinking about the challenges in revising a story when you’ve received critiques from many different people, particularly when their comments contradict each other.
We’ve talked a lot at Publishing Crawl about revising your novel on your own and with editorial letters, but what about earlier in the process — maybe before your book even reaches agents or publishers? I am a big believer in beta readers and critique groups, and I participate in an amazing writing group. Almost every piece of fiction I have written has benefited from the sharp insights of other writers who tell me what’s working and what needs work, and call me out when I’m being lazy. If you’re fortunate, there will be a consensus, a clear sign to what you should focus on, but often there’s very different feedback from everyone, and it isn’t at all obvious who is “right” about your story. Now what?
First and foremost, it’s your story, so you have to follow your instincts. That said, you do have to be open to the possibility that you can make it even better by listening to suggestions you may not immediately agree with. And always remember that you can’t make everyone happy, but that isn’t the point; you’re trying to figure out how to make the story as good as it can be, which should also be the goal of your critiquers.
My record for critiques on a single piece is probably around twenty, for some of my short stories at the Clarion West Writers Workshop, which is where I developed my process for juggling feedback and planning a revision strategy. Whether I have seven or 17 critiques, my first step is to read through everyone’s comments and my notes from the crit session, jotting down the key points and organizing them into four categories:
Although here I’m focusing on what needs to be improved in the next draft, make sure you’re also noticing the good stuff, which can show you where your story is on the right track, as well as give you an ego boost that is likely sorely needed about now. This is the stuff you don’t want to break when you’re fiddling with everything around it — which can easily happen, especially if you’re trying to follow every suggestion you received.
Once you’ve listed everything out, categories 1 and 2 should give you a pretty clear idea of what changes to make in your revision; however, sometimes you will get two or more recommendations that are incompatible, and you have to choose one. Assuming you don’t want to settle for the fastest and easiest fix, you should consider what makes the most sense for your characters and their story, and what fits with the rest of the feedback you’ve received and strengthens what was already there.
You can also consider the source of the feedback: For example, if you’re writing a YA novel, you might weigh criticism from other YA writers or readers more heavily than feedback from someone who rarely reads YA or doesn’t enjoy it. (Their perspective is still valuable and probably shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, but they may be unaware of some of the nuances of your particular genre.) Or certain readers “get” your work or connect with your story more than others, so they have a better idea of what you were trying to accomplish.
Once I have a sort of road map of the changes I want to make, I usually dive in and start editing from beginning to end, in a linear order, layering in changes as I go. Of course every edit ripples throughout the piece, so the more time I can spend focused on and immersing myself in the story, the better to keep it all in my head, and ultimately put it on the page. I’m also keeping in mind some of the criticism that I am less sure about, or even some of those “nopes,” because as the story changes, they might make more sense or I’ve become more receptive to them. As I change the story, I feel more free to take it wherever it needs to go. If I take it too far or it doesn’t work, I can always revert back to the previous draft!
When I first started revising this way, it sometimes felt like I was writing by committee, and I resisted taking too many suggestions from others. Whose story is this, anyway? But if you’re committed to telling it in the best possible way, so it will reach the most readers, getting lots of feedback from many different perspectives is incredibly helpful. Don’t forget that every reader is different — just look all those wildly differing reviews on Goodreads! (No, don’t.) In a way, they’re all correct, because reading is such a personal, unique experience. And so is writing. In the end, you decide what your story will be, and you’re the only person who can write it.
Everyone’s writing and revision process is also unique! So, how do you reconcile varying feedback from multiple readers?Add a Comment
I have something a little different for you today--two adult gift books--prizing/samples provided by Penguin Random House.
First, you should know that both books are based off of Tumblr. I love Tumblr. I also love both of these specific Tumblrs, though I was only familiar with the second one before this.
The first one is a little serious, which would be great for someone who loves words and photographs: All the Words Are Yours: Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson.
Every day for the past six years, Tyler Knott Gregson has written a simple haiku about love, and posted it online. These heartfelt poems have attracted a large and loyal following around the world. This highly anticipated follow-up to Chasers of the Light, presents Tyler’s favorites, some previously unpublished, accompanied by his signature photographs, which capture the rich texture of daily life.
This vibrant collection reveals the intimate reflections of one of poetry’s most popular new voices — honest, vulnerable, generous, and truly present in the gift that is each moment.
Most of them are a little maudlin for me, but I love a few.
They're sometimes inspiring and insightful.
Some I want to mail home to my mother.
Some will calm, some will soothe, some will arouse desire. You definitely don't want to mail the whole book to your mother. Actually, probably 80% you wouldn't want to discuss with her unless you have a very, very, very comfortable relationship.
This is definitely something you want to give to someone you love love.
Now we move on to my favorite of the two: Men & Cats by Marie-Eva Gatuingt & Alice Chaygneaud.
Now, this your mom might enjoy. Assuming she likes scantily clad men. And cute cats.
A brilliant collection of photographs that brings together two of the world’s favorite things: hot men and cute kittens.
Based on the chic French Tumblr Des Hommes et des Chatons, Men & Cats presents an original collection of 50 pairs of sexy men and adorable cats. Each clever match-up shows a heartthrob posing alongside a cat in a similar pose or with a similar expression. Not sure if you want to look at sexy men or cute cats? With this book, you don’t have to choose.
But, before you visit Des Hommes et des Chatons on Tumblr, I have to warn you some of the pics may be NSFW. Here are some of the more tame ones (i.e. they've mostly got clothes on):
Mmm.... you get the idea.
Wait, one more.
Can't promise you these are all in the book. Actually on second glance *flips through entire book again* Yup. Nope. None of these are in the book. But you get the picture, don't you?Remember to Enter the giveaway before you lose yourself in an endless queue of des hommes et des chatons
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There are few stories more abjectly fascinating than those surrounding Lance Armstrong’s triumph over a cancer he was given infinitesimally small chance of surviving and his subsequent seven Tour de France (AKA Tour de Lance) victories. Consequently, there are few stories more assumptions-shattering than the revelation that Armstrong had, in fact, been using drugs to […]Add a Comment
It’s fall, and with chilly weather comes more time for reading indoors! Ah, to be snuggly and warm by an open fire with an excellent book—nothing compares. At the STACKS, we believe that sharing is caring, and we love to share our book recommendations. She here are the Best Books of Fall as voted by YOU!
The reigning book favorites Harry Potter and Percy Jackson definitely top the list this fall, but Warriors and Kingdom Keepers are gaining ground!
What books are you excited to dig into? What books do you think everyone needs to be reading RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT? Share your picks the Comments below!
Until next time,
En-Szu, STACKS WriterAdd a Comment
Holy Pumpkin Pie, Batman!
How did we get to the day before Thanksgiving already?
If you're like me, you still have to vacuum, bake pie, clean the bathrooms, bake more pie, make sure there are fresh towels, and bake more pie :) And those of you not cleaning and baking probably have to travel.
So we're going to keep today's post as short and sweet as possible!
In honor of Thanksgiving tomorrow, I think our Something Chocolate should be festive and turkey-oriented, don't you? :)
|Obviously dark chocolate is preferable to milk chocolate,|
but we'll take what we can get :)
As many of my blog followers will know, a few weeks back I was thrilled to be contacted by Lisa Topi of the Italian publishing house, TOPIPITTORI, about translating my interview with Leonard Marcus for their website. Through our email … Continue readingAdd a Comment
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Enrique Vila-Matas' Sophie Calle-novel(la), Because She Never Asked.
This is actually just one story from a bigger Spanish collection (Exploradores del abismo), published as a stand-alone in New Directions' lovely pocket-sized Pearl-series.
It's a great introduction to Vila-Matas' work -- perhaps the ideal starter-volume.
Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) by Amy Spalding. Poppy. 2015. Reviewed from ARC.
The Plot: Riley and Reid walk in on our their band mates Lucy and Nathan -- to their surprise, Lucy and Nathan are together. Together-together.
Riley is stunned, especially because Lucy is her best friend and Lucy never said a word. Riley and Reid both resolve to pursue love (and kissing and maybe even sex), and to share each detail, and to help each other out.
The top of Riley's list is her crush, Ted Callahan; Reid's is Jane.
How successful is their plan? Well, there will be kissing. Of Ted Callahan, and other guys.
The Good: This is primarily Riley's story, but because Riley and Reid share notes and progress reports and suggestions in a Passenger Manifest journal, and part of that is written by Reid, it's both their stories.
Kissing Ted Callahan is about Riley shaking herself into action. Oh, she's hardly passive. Her goal is rock star, so her time has been taken up with the band. And her best friend is Lucy, and she's friends with Reid and Nathan, but she's been satisfied, kind of, with that.
Riley isn't satisfied anymore. And confiding in Reid, instead of her usual Lucy, helps push her to do things like offer Ted Callahan a ride home. Or kiss Garrick. Or call the number of the cute boy she met at the CD store. Riley goes from zero love interests to three. Kissing Ted Callahan is about Riley (and Reid) navigating teen age dating, figuring out the difference between like and love and lust and love, wondering just what is right to tell someone if there isn't any real commitment yet.
Reid's story in some ways mirrors Riley's The first girl he pursues turns out to already have a boyfriend, and Riley doesn't really make the connection to her own situation. The next girl is -- well, it's a bit funny, because Reid makes a list of potential girls. Ones who talk to him, ones he likes, who has potential? Unlike Riley, he's not acting on a crush. It's more that he wants someone, and there is something very sweet and likable in how he keeps himself open to any possibility rather than requiring a crush first. It's also very honorable that he pursues a girl he likes being with, ignoring that his friends don't really like her.
At one point, rather late in the story, their Passenger Manifest goes missing and Riley and Reid have to deal with the consequences. For Riley, that ends up being the consequences of not having conversations and not talking. Kissing and sex may create a connection but it doesn't replace talking. Yes, there is a sex scene, butwhile Riley may be kissing three boys there is only one that she really likes. No, I won't say who.
What's nice about the emphasis on communication is that it is clear from the beginning that Riley's failure at spoken honesty, and desire to not confront, isn't something that just happens with boys. Remember Lucy? Part of what drives the whole book is Riley's continuing inability to talk with her best friend, Lucy. Part of Riley's growth is realizing she has to have the tough conversations, whether it's about the status of a friendship or of a relationship.
I also like how this explores attraction and relationships (both friendship and more), and that Riley (and Tom and Garrick and Milo) is not just about who she is dating or kissing but is about creating real friendships and how those friendships are made. Lucy, Riley, and Reid have known each other since kindergarten and those types of friendships sometimes means someone has a hard time making new friends -- they don't have the skills. Riley is developing those skills, though admittedly mainly because she is seeking a boy. And mainly because she assumes that Lucy's changed relationship with Nathan means that Lucy's friendship with Riley is different.
Finally! It's also about a band, and I loved how being part of the band is used for the story, from being what ties Riley and her friends together, to her passions and interests, and also the time it takes outside of school. Their dedication is clear.
One final thing: this may be a spoiler, so stop reading if any type of spoiler bothers you. This is not the type of book where Riley looks at her good friend Reid and sees him in a different light while he has an unrequited crush. This is about two people who are friends, whose friendship grows stronger but whose friendship remains a friendship.
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
ALA Student-to-Staffers: Where are you now?
Way back in June of 2007, I had the honor of representing TWU’s School of Library and Information Science at ALA Annual in Washington, DC. I was a member of ALA’s Student-to-Staff (S2S) Program, with assignment to the ALSC Division. If you’ve never heard of the S2S program, you can read about it here. There are 56 active ALA Student Chapter Groups at accredited graduate schools. Each is entitled to submit one name for consideration for the program. Schools have varying criteria. My school chose the student – me based on an essay contest. Others have different criteria, but the end result is that 40 promising students receive a free trip to ALA Annual in exchange for working with ALA staff during the week. I was able to choose with whom I wanted to work. An aspiring children’s librarian, naturally, I chose ALSC.
It was my first connection with the national community of librarians. It was during my week as an ALA S2S er, that I first met ALSC’s own Aimee Strittmatter, Laura Schulte-Cooper, and Marsha Burgess, and I began my continuing association with the division. I wrote a piece about my experience for ALSConnect, now called ALSC Matters. (I am no less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed now.)
If you know someone in grad school right now, do them a favor and let them know about the S2S program. If you participated in the S2S program, give a shout out! Did you work for ALSC at the conference? When or where did you attend? How wonderful was it?
(The Student-to-Staff Program was established in 1973. There should be a lot of us out there!)
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In less than a decade Cassava Republic has established itself as a leading Nigerian publisher -- and it's great to hear that, as Natasha Onwuemezi reports in The Bookseller, African publisher Cassava Republic to launch in UK.Add a Comment