Saturday Summation – 08 March 2014

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

Writing Stuff: 

Way back when I started querying my first novel, I discovered that a lot of agents hate prologues. There seemed to be a lot of dispute over the necessity of them and misuse of them. My first book originally had a prologue and, though short, I ended up abandoning it. Of course, as soon as you start reading about this kind of thing, you start really noticing ALL prologues in your reading. And you know what? Many who argue against seemed to be right. Did I need that prologue? Often, I’d say not. There are many blog posts out there that take on this argument, but agent Janet Reid’s most recent update helps narrow in on the crux of the matter for unpublished, querying writers. You only have the briefest amount of time to snag an agent’s interest in your query – do your opening pages match the query? Does that prologue have the hook you need, or is it Chapter 1 that does, instead?

Additionally, if you really love the prologue, wait until after you publish that first book. You’re far more able to get away with it in subsequent books, I’ve noticed. (P.S: M.G. Tarquini wins for best comment on Reid’s post. I think I want to try that person’s method.)

Professor Hanif Kureishi says creative writing courses are a waste of time for writers. His argument is that you can’t really teach someone how to create an engaging story from start to finish. After reading his article, I would argue that he simply doesn’t know how to do this (and why does anyone take his class if he doesn’t even believe in it?). Hannah Jane Parkinson jumped on the bandwagon with an article in the Guardian and I decided to rebut them both a bit earlier this week, too. A single creative writing class might not be able to teach you how to write a best-selling novel, but it does get you writing on a regular basis, practice with different techniques, and for many, offers a first experience with giving and receiving critiques. All very valuable.

Books I really enjoyed in the past couple of months:

This Is Where I Leave You –  Jonathan Tropper (Adult)

Two Boys Kissing,  by David Levithan (Young Adult)

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes (Adult)

Currently reading:

Where the Moon Isn’t – Nathan Filer

Song of the Week:

I’m in the throes of revision, which means I’ve cracked out the associated playlist. This is one of the songs from it. “We Are Okay” by Joshua Radin.
We are grown but cannot see
Lost our world of make believe
Simple times now seem so far
Used to be in my backyard
Yeah, the world was still in my backyard

But, we are okay, we are alright
We sing very loud,
Yeah, we’re singing
We are okay, we are alright
Close our eyes, close our mouth
Yeah, we shut our eyes though we’re in doubt

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