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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: adult writers, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 4 of 4
1. Is This An Over-The-Top Promotional Op Or What?

Some writers, actors, and at least one artist got together to dress up as some of Edith Wharton's chums visiting her at her little place in the country, The Mount for the article The Custom of the Country: Vogue Recreates Edith Wharton's Artistic Arcadia. I'm having a hard time working out the point of the article and the illustrations for it, since it has far less to do with The Mount than it does with Wharton's sex life, which appears to have been carried on elsewhere. It seems as if they ought to have done an article about her sex life or about The Mount and not tried to confuse everyone by tangling them up together.

All the living people playing dead people seemed to have recent or upcoming projects to promote. Having flattering pictures taken of yourself in costumes seems like the ultimate way to get word out about what you're doing. I'm wracking my brain to think of a comparable project for children's lit people.

Update: I've got it! Louisa May Alcott and all her Transcendentalist buddies! I, of course, want to audition for LMA, and we can all have our pictures taken lounging around Orchard House.

4 Comments on Is This An Over-The-Top Promotional Op Or What?, last added: 9/10/2012
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2. Of Course

The Guardian obit for author Barry Unsworth mentions a number of books he wrote but, of course, not the one I read, Losing Nelson. It was good, too. Though not a children's book. Not even YA.

0 Comments on Of Course as of 6/16/2012 2:53:00 PM
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3. Writing "About" History Rather Than Writing Actual Historical Fiction

I've been spending a lot of time these past two weeks researching markets, which means that I'm reading a lot short stories and essays at journals, trying to judge if these publications would be good places to submit some of my own work. That's how I came to read The Map by Don Schwartz. Seriously, I'm not just spending mass quantities of time reading.

The Map deals with some modern Germans' discovery of a map of the Warsaw Ghetto. The story has an element of magical realism, I think. But the reason I'm mentioning this adult piece of fiction here, at a blog relating to children's writing, is the author's way of dealing with historical material. I found it particularly interesting since we were just talking about historical fiction here a couple of days ago, and in the comments of that post, Tanita Davis wrote about how when she was working on a historical novel, her editor wanted a hook in the present day. The Map takes place in the present day, and the magical map is the hook that connects the present to the past.

Schwartz is writing in the twenty-first century, and he can't be sure how much his readers will know about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. So what does he do in this two character story? "What do you know about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising?" the secondary character asks. The first-person narrator responds, "Is this another history question? Because you know I know nothing about history."

This gives the secondary character, who knows lots about history, an opportunity to tell what he knows about the uprising. It also, by the way, gives him the opportunity to say, "How convenient for a German," a bit of commentary.

The "What do you know about..." question to give a character an opportunity to spill info isn't anything new. But it's used very well here.

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4. Thank Goodness An Adult Writer Has Written A Children's Book

I've been thinking of reading something by China Mieville for years. As with so many other things in life, I just haven't gotten around to it. Now he has written a children's book, which seems like a good excuse to give him a try.

I have not yet read his Un Lun Dun and only just heard of it about twenty minutes ago. What I have read is Laura Miller's glowing review, Un Lun Dun, in Salon. She comes to praise Mieville but also to bash kidlit.

Miller says, '"Un Lun Dun" is not only sleek of line and endlessly (but not needlessly) inventive, it also offers a nimble, undidactic antidote to all the dubious clichés of the genre. Sick of seemingly insignificant characters who discover they have a secret identity and a momentous destiny? Tired of stories that hinge on cryptic prophecies and the retrieval of magical talismans? Miéville dares to insist that nerve, heart and determination is all a hero(ine) really needs.'

Build up Mieville's book by knocking down a whole genre. Yet according to Miller, Un Lun Dun is set in an alternative London. How many alternative world books exist in children's literature? We're not exactly talking a revolutionary new concept here.

Miller also says, "The authors of children's books have always had remarkable leeway when it comes to echoing the classics. Sometimes the results are merely derivative, but in this case the allusions to Carroll and Baum and Norton Juster and Gaiman only highlight how original "Un Lun Dun" feels."

"Sometimes the results are merely derivative..." is a statement that really needs some documentation of some kind. Also, as much as I've liked Neil Gaiman's writing for adults, he seems a little young to be referred to as a writer of "classics."

I really want to read Un Lun Dun, and I certainly hope I'll like it because I don't enjoy spending time reading books I dislike. But this review has set my teeth on edge so that I'm not going to be going into it with an open mind. Oh, well. Maybe by the time I finally read the book I'll have forgotten about the review. Let's hope.

Another, less worshipful, review of Un Lun Dun appeared in The Los Angeles Times.

3 Comments on Thank Goodness An Adult Writer Has Written A Children's Book, last added: 3/5/2007
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