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By: Jason Boog,
Blog: Galley Cat (Mediabistro)
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, Revolving Door
, George Pelecanos
, Ian Rankin
, Joshua Ferris
, Kate Atkinson
, Michael Pietsch
, Reagan Arthur
, Tina Fey
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Reagan Arthur, the editorial director of Little, Brown’s Reagan Arthur Books imprint, will be the next publisher and senior VP of Little, Brown. She will assume her new role on April 1st as Michael Pietsch becomes the new CEO of Hachette Book Group.
The release included this news: “In stepping into the role of Publisher, Arthur will retire the Reagan Arthur Books imprint she has led for three years.”
Arthur has worked at Little, Brown since 2001, earning her own imprint in 2008. She has edited Tina Fey, Joshua Ferris, Kate Atkinson, George Pelecanos and Ian Rankin.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
By: Linda Strachan
Blog: An Awfully Big Blog Adventure
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, Hugh Bonneville
, Hamish Mchaggis
, Sally J. Collins
, Jeremy Strong
, Brenda Blethyn
, Linda Strachan
, Bill Nighy
, big blog story
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Writing is normally a solitary occupation and I rather like that about it.
|Tuscany- my shed|
There is that feeling of living with and in your characters' heads, so beautifully expressed in Ellen Renner's ABBA post a couple of days ago Visitors From the World Called Imagination
I like to slope off to Tuscany (my shed), to disappear into another place or time, and live in my head for a while.
I am not sure I know where the ideas and characters come from but I find that nothing will kill off my enthusiasm for a story idea more than plotting it all out before I begin to write.
I prefer to discover the plot alongside my characters and feel all their uncertainty and excitement.
Without this I lose that tingle in my spine and the sense of wonder and endless possibilities that make writing such a delight and pleasure. I have to admit that sometimes it can also become incredibly hard if I lose my way, and I imagine that those who plot carefully before they begin at least have signposts to keep them on track. Unfortunately each time I try to plot a story out chapter by chapter beforehand, it all too soon begins to feel a bit flat.
Some writers have written successful collaborations but I've always wondered how they did it. What was the mechanism? Were they working together bouncing ideas off each other, throwing around phrases or dialogue while one wrote it all down or working separately, each adding different segments of the story?
I once wrote part of a novel with another writer in the form of letters between two characters who knew nothing of each other to start with. Each of us took one character and replied to the previous letter as suited the character and their temperament. It was a lot of fun being really stroppy and fascinating to see how the characters developed and changed as the story progressed and they drew nearer to meeting each other. It was never finished as other writing commitments got in the way, but it might be interesting to come back to it one day.
|from Hamish McHaggis |
Working closely with an illustrator - as I have for some years with Sally J. Collins
on the Hamish McHaggis books - is again a different way of working.
Authors including Neil Gaiman and Ian Rankin will collaborate with the public in a short story "Tweetathon" organised by the Society of Authors.
I've been thinking about this a lot recently because some people I respect have contradicted a belief of mine. See, I think - thought - that writers should think of their readers. Of course we need to have confidence and belief in our own writing and to love what we do, feel inspired and fulfilled by it; but, for me, each sentence is there for the enjoyment of readers. Therefore, I'm thinking of them while I'm writing.
I also believe that the main reason I failed to be published for so long was that I was writing purely for myself, with little or no thought for the reader's enjoyment. I was so up myself with the beauteousness of my prose that if I wanted two glorious sentences where one would do, hell, I'd put them both in. After all, they were Good Sentences so the reader could damn well read them and enjoy them as much as I did. I was thinking of myself and my enjoyment way too much. I was being self-indulgent, which is what doing something for yourself is.
So, quite often on my Help! I Need a Publisher! blog I have blogged to aspiring writers about the importance of thinking of readers when we write. I don't mean that we should just give them everything they want, just as parents shouldn't give children everything they want. I mean that for me the desired end of a book is the satisfaction or excitement or inspiration of the reader - or whatever other emotion I happen to wish for in them - and that my own pleasure is only in achieving that. I have quoted Stephen King's thing about his Ideal Reader, the person he has in mind when he writes, the person he imagines looking over his shoulder. He talks about writing the first draft with the "door closed", in other words without too much thinking of readers, but the second and subsequent drafts with the "door open", very much with imagined reactions flooding in and affecting what he writes. And that's in a book on how to write - On Writing - so he is offering it as guidance, even a rule.
But I'm aware that this is not the only way to look at things. I recently interviewed Ian Rankin and Joanne Harris and asked each of them where they stood on this question and they were quite clear that they don't particularly think of their readers. Now, considering that they are both phenomenally commercially successful, I find that interesting.
So, have I got it wrong? Or does it just depend how you interpret the question? Are Joanne Harris and Ian Rankin just lucky that they've hit a way to write which indulges both them and their readers, so they don't have to think consciously about the reader? Am I too mired in YA/children's writing, where we have to do a bit of mental gymnastics in order to satisfy a reader who is patently not the same sort of reader as we are ourselves? Or what? To the writers among you: how much do you think of your readers, either as an imaginary generalised bunch or a specific group?
Yes, we write because we want to and because we love doing it, and it's therefore somewhat selfish, but to what extent is your actual choice of ingredients in each book for the sake of your reader more than yourself? What is your relationship with your reader when you're writing?
And take your time: I'm not thinking of readers or
writing at the moment because I've got a building disaster. Six days after my lovely plumbers started what should have been a
If you follow Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels, you will want to catch Exit Music, where Rebus solves his last case.
Nearing retirement, Detective Inspector John Rebus is savoring his last days and readying himself for the change. Edinburgh may become a different place once he loses the protection of his shield; old enemies and hurts have threatened to resurface. Rebus starts to prepare, ties up loose ends, and plans how to fill his days.
Then ten days until Rebus's retirement, Rebus and Detective Sargent Siobhan Clarke suddenly land a brutal murder case. The victim is a dissident Russian poet. Though it looks like an mugging gone wrong, Rebus suspects that the death is somehow linked to the elite delegation of Russian businessmen that are looking to invest in Scotland. The murder raises questions and as Rebus digs further, he finds links to an old enemy. But there's growing pressure from local power brokers and politicians to solve the case quickly and quietly. How much can Rebus accomplish before his time is up?
Legendary Detective Inspector John Rebus is as difficult, prickly, and engaging as ever. Observant, persistent, and unafraid to overstep, Rebus takes us all over Edinburgh as he uncovers hidden relationships and pieces together the events of that fateful night. Working with the soon-to-be promoted DS Clarke and her new mentee Todd Goodyear, Rebus uses all tools and tricks, calls in favors, and takes us on a thrilling adventure. Engrossing and carefully crafted, Exit Music is a terrific final novel to a legendary series. It's hard to believe that DI John Rebus has retired for good.
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First US Edition edition (December 2009), 530 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Thank you so much to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!
A Book Blogger's Diary has a giveaway for Exit Music that ends on Jan 31, 2010. Sign up at http://abookbloggersdiary.blogspot.com/search?q=&cx=partner-pub-5808670084455043%3Ac4yrmv2h3ol&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=ian+rankin
posted by Neil
I'll be doing a couple of events in Edinburgh in August for the Book Festival.
There will be an "all ages" event Wednesday the 19th of August from 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM, and a "Teens and Adults" event in conversation with Ian Rankin, on Thursday the 20th from 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM. Details are up at this website
The first event will be more Children's Authory, the second a bit more Graphic Novelly.
Tickets don't actually go on sale for either of the events until Monday the 22nd of June, but the last time I went to Edinburgh Literary Festival, for Coraline
, the events sold out (and the Guardian, who heard that I did the biggest signing of the festival but weren't actually there, wrote a very silly article about the literary Festival being overrun by goths, which it wasn't, of course, and which I wrote about, amused, here on the journal when it happened).
So this is a heads up: Edinburgh isn't Toronto, and there are two events, not one, so I don't expect we're likely to have any of the "event sold out in three minutes" problems the Luminato festival had here. But if you want to get to either or both of those events you still might want to buy your tickets early.
(Booking information is here
Amanda Palmer is playing in Edinburgh on the 22nd in the 2009 Edge Festival, which means I will definitely stick around for a few extra days (Details are at http://amandapalmer.net/tour
) (Or at the HMV site
.) I may sign copies of Who Killed Amanda Palmer
. I will not, I am relieved to say, play tambourine
She's being supported by the Indelicates
, I think mostly because I kept playing them when she was out here. I must use this power only for good.
(This, from their site, is a demo
of the first Indelicates song I heard, and I was hooked in one, as they took apart, with bitter grace, the media /academic obsession with and delight in the downfall of stars and idols.)*but she likes me anyway.