Writing as a way to collect rejection slips

March 2nd, 2012 by Zirk van den Berg § 0 comments § permalink

It has occurred to me that writing is a laborious way of collecting rejection slips. I got my first one in 1979 and publishers turning down my manuscripts still outnumber the times they have agreed to publish my work by a factor of ten or so.

Getting a rejection slip is a disappointment for any author. Here you are, pouring your soul or at least many hours into a project and some stranger says it’s not worth publishing. Feeling hurt, wronged or angry is normal.

But it would be wrong to assume that this has to be the author’s response. » Read the rest of this entry «

Writing undercover on the web

February 3rd, 2012 by Anna von Veh § 21 comments § permalink

Confession: I’m a serious fan of the TV show, Castle,  which stars the ‘Geek God’, the witty Nathan Fillion, and the beautiful, and enviably multilingual, Stana Katic. What does this have to do with publishing, you may ask. Well, a lot it turns out.

I tweet about Castle under a ‘Castley’ pseudonym, and fangirl with the best of them (many of them teenagers, but also a fair smattering of English majors, doctors, teachers, film/media types, and of course, Firefly fans). What became increasingly interesting to me as I watched the show and followed fans on Twitter was the way the show crossed the usual boundaries of fandoms, media types and genres. I was particularly fascinated with how a show about a crime writer seemed to be encouraging young people to read long-form narrative that they might not have read otherwise, if they read books at all.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Working out who did what in the crime books of Peter Temple

August 19th, 2011 by Zirk van den Berg § 1 comment § permalink

When you read Australian crime novelist Peter Temple, it doesn’t take much to recognise he’s a very, very good writer indeed. What is harder to work out is what is going on in the book. Temple is clearly of the belief that he doesn’t need to tell the reader everything, and that it’s okay for reading to be challenging work.

One of the ways this manifests itself » Read the rest of this entry «

Meet the most important character in any book – the narrator

July 8th, 2011 by Zirk van den Berg § 0 comments § permalink

The most important character in any book is the one who tells the story. It is the first character an author must create. If the narrator isn’t interesting, I’m not interested.

Half the fun I have when reading comes from the tone and implied worldview of the narrator. The more distinctive it is, the better » Read the rest of this entry «

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