Saturday Summation – 23 July 2016

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:

Write every day, many say. Sure, it’s not a foolproof path to success and certainly isn’t THE way to anything (obviously there is no single right way to do most things, least of all, writing). On the other hand, Ayodeji Awosika definitely has something here when he talks about the power of momentum. He makes a connection between momentum and confidence, and it really resonates with me as this is how I often feel about a lot of what I do in life, not just writing. But certainly with writing, once I gain that momentum, even I don’t write *every* day, I have the confidence to keep it all going most days and this does indeed contribute to my growth and feeling of success.

I am always so naively hopeful when it comes to summertime – where my workload is reduced and I think, LOOK AT ALL THIS EXTRA TIME FOR WRITING! Wrong. Summer is busy as… well, you know – and though I am getting more writing in now that summer is half over, these months all goals and plans go out the window. Author Kimberly Brock describes it all perfectly and it’s always great to know you’re not alone with your Cheetos.

If you’re a reader who has ever wondered about an author’s use of a pen name, last week’s Sidebar Saturday had a good post that lists a number of reasons why. If you’re an author considering one, there’s good advice in that same post for how it works contractually and legally.


Reading Stuff:

Book Riot has recs for you in their “How to Read When the World is Terrible.” This kind of thing is exactly why I’ve been reading even more romance and love stories than usual. I need the safe and happy escape.

I love when friends, family, colleagues, or strangers ask me about books and recommendations. Do I feel pressure for them to love the ones I tell them about? I don’t think so (although obviously there can be disappointment when a book rec is for one I absolutely loved and their later reaction was “meh”), but it might be because I don’t make the distinction between “recommend” and “suggest” – although Casey Stepaniuk in her Book Riot post offers a good argument for how it can make a difference. (BTW, this line in her post caught me right away because it is ME. I have a hard time coming up with titles and authors off the top of my head: “But I get nervous when someone eagerly yet naïvely expects me to be able to come up with a fantastic book for them on the spot.”)

Earlier this week I posted about reading the book, Hamilton: A Revolution, which includes the actual libretto of the musical, Hamilton. Also on reserve at the library for me is the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Sharanya Sharma in her post “Why I Won’t Be Reading The Cursed Child” has this line: “Plays are meant to be seen.” She is absolutely correct. I’m going to read it because I am curious and because I feel it is more tied to the Harry Potter universe than Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is coming out in theaters soon (aside: I don’t care to see this movie for a few reasons, but will probably have to because my youngest is already super excited about it), but I suspect my experience reading that will not be the same as reading the Hamilton libretto due to the lack of all the wonderful narratives Hamilton: A Revolution had, as well as the accompanying soundtrack. Because of what I had with Hamilton, I almost felt like I could see it, whereas I have no soundtrack for The Cursed Child.

The question of “why is there a category called ‘Women’s Fiction’ but not ‘Men’s Fiction” arrived on agent Janet Reid’s blog and her answer is the most fundamental: it’s just a way of knowing what kind of book you’re picking up. Now, to be honest, I’d never heard of “women’s fiction” until I started thinking about publishing, so I’m guessing this category isn’t necessarily in all bookstores all over the U.S. Mostly, I’ve always considered it a publishing term, to help agents and editors know right away the kind of book they’re looking at. To my friends and family who have asked what I write, I generally say “an Oprah book” and at this point, most still know what I mean. Why be vague? My brothers wouldn’t read my books, my sisters and most of my sisters-in-law would. I’m cool with that. The comments in Reid’s post are all over the map, but I have to say, the ones that start with “I don’t read women’s fiction, but it’s not because of the category name but because…” and then follow with an adamant defense seem kind of sad because to me, those are the ones who are afraid to admit that they can like female things. That’s society still talking, which is too bad. I write women’s fiction. Or upmarket fiction. Or just plain commercial fiction. Read it if you like any of that stuff. Or don’t. It’s all good.

When is choosing not to include a book in a library selection censorship, and when is it a situation of “do no harm”? Lately there have been children’s books, especially, that either do a disservice in representation of marginalized populations or far worse, whitewash them or do harm in their representation. I appreciate this post by a librarian who explains the no clear cut path and how decisions are based upon (or should be) multiple criteria.

Song of the Week

I’m off to Puerto Rico for a few days, so how about a little Frankie Ruiz?



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