Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday's Tips for Flailing Writers

Let's start things off with a list. Intent.com has 5 books to stimulate your creativity.

You know that novel you've almost completed? The one where you combined the best aspects of Austen, Melville and Shelley in an effort to create a timeless classic? It's old and outdated. See Wired's 18 Challenges In Contemporary Literature for the reasons why.

The Beat has 4 Dos & Don't For Authors Handling Their Own PR, but I'm gonna go ahead and add a fifth: Stay humble and do not make any diva-like demands. Whether it's a website, newspaper, bookstore or local womens' auxiliary, never forget that you need them more than they need you.

Web comics columnist Brigid Alverson has an 'Eight Page Rule' she uses when judging the work of new authors. "Eight pages should be enough space to establish the setting, introduce one or more characters that are worth caring about, give some sense of what the comic is about, and get the story rolling." Prose writers can stretch those eight pages to 15-20, but remember -- most folks will put your book down if they're not hooked after chapter one. (Link via: Journalista!)

Writer Robert McCrum wants to remind authors to remember their audience. Or, to put it wordier, "In our time, those who, like JK Rowling, pay attention to their audiences can reap great rewards. Rowling's success is grounded in a telling throwback to Victorian and Edwardian literary norms: What does the public want? A fathomlessly evil villain, some hocus pocus and a boy with a wand. Today, writers are acutely aware of the market, but in the abstract. They fret about sales and advances, but rarely translate their concerns into any consideration for readers. Practically speaking, they often disdain them." To read McCrum's entire entreaty, click here.