Friday, August 24, 2007

News Bits, In Brief

Today's capitol-b Book News is a lot like those old Reese's Peanut Butter Cup ads -- you know, the ones where two jerks bump into one another and say, "You got chocolate in my peanut butter" and "You got peanut butter on my chocolate." Except, instead of combining two delicious flavors of questionable nutritional value, it's a mash-up of the two most over-hyped personalities in recent publishing publicity: Oprah and O.J.
Via Publisher's Weekly: "On September 13 Fred and Kim Goldman will appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show along with Denise Brown to discuss the publication of the controversial O.J Simpson fictional confessional If I Did It to be published by Beaufort Books." offers this unique way out of debt: "Now that the movie's out, and Laura Linney embodies the icy socialite Mrs. X, Nanny Diaries producer Harvey Weinstein (according to the New York Post) was overheard offering some 'well connected socialites' $100,000 to unmask the 'real Mrs. X.'"
(Editor's note: You rich people suck. Haven't you ever heard of the 'Stop Snitchin', Stop Lying' campaign?)

According to The Associated Press, one in four adults read no books at all in the past year. According to me, 1/3 of the 75% of the adults that claimed to have read books really did not, but lied so as not to appear stupid. Another third only read the new Harry Potter.

And now, a classic News Bit (from a 3 year old BoingBoing post)
How Fanfic makes Kids Into Better Writers
"FictionAlley, the largest Harry Potter archive, hosts more than 30,000 stories and book chapters, including hundreds of completed or partially completed novels. Its (unpaid) staff of more than 200 people includes 40 mentors who welcome each new participant individually. At the Sugar Quill, another popular site, every posted story undergoes a peer-review process it calls "beta-reading." New writers often go through multiple drafts before their stories are ready for posting. "The beta-reader service has really helped me to get the adverbs out of my writing and get my prepositions in the right place and improve my sentence structure and refine the overall quality of my writing," explains the girl who writes under the pen name Sweeney Agonistes?a college freshman with years of publishing behind her.
Like many of the other young writers, Agonistes says that Rowling's books provide her with a helpful creative scaffolding: "It's easier to develop a good sense of plot and characterization and other literary techniques if your reader already knows something of the world where the story takes place," she says. By poaching off Rowling, the writers are able to start with a well-established world and a set of familiar characters and thus are able to focus on other aspects of their craft. Often, unresolved issues in the books stimulate them to think through their own plots or to develop new insights into the characters. "