Saturday Summation – 20 August 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…

Reading Stuff:

Fanfiction, Wattpad, and now Hooked. This is a pretty cool new bite-sized story source – stories that are presented entirely in SMS-style text messaging. You read the first person’s text, then get a “next” button to see if you want to read more, which will reveal more of the conversation and story. I’m intrigued.

Writing Stuff:

I’m no expert at all regarding copyright, but I did do a lot of research around it when I was developing web design lessons for my 8th grade students. Students are sure to want to use all kinds of popular things on their websites, so helping them understand copyright and “fair use” details was a valuable lesson. So when it came time to decide whether or not I could use a piece of a song for a section opener in on of my books, I knew that wouldn’t be a “just drop it in, I’m sure it will be fine” sort of thing. In fact, music is full of sticky wickets. I am super glad that Sidebar Saturdays has covered this issue in their series.

As someone who is currently re-writing a story and considering an overhaul of another, this post by Dennis Gaunt regarding whether or not a story is the same after dramatic revision/re-writing was interesting. He starts with a comparison to the Ship of Theseus and that really works. I kind of needed it, too, because while I have not feared tackling the current novel I’m re-working, I am nervous for the other one. Frankly, that other one has always been intimidating, which sometimes drives me crazy, and other times not, because I know it is helping me grow and stretch as a writer. Completely re-building can indeed make something stronger.

From Thomas Despin and sent along by a friend – writing can be hard, but we do it anyway. A piece that affected me nicely at this phase of my writing.

Story – plot – trumps all for some, and yes, this is a pretty big deal, but for me, more often than not, character is king. I want to empathize with a character in a book I’m reading, not just sympathize. Chris Adler talks about how when writing, we also need to really know our characters in order to convey the great story.

“Until we white writers are ready to listen, until we’re ready to accept that, yes, we are a part of systemic racism, yes, we benefit from white supremacy, it doesn’t matter what the tone is, we won’t be able to hear or understand what’s being said.” Author Justine Larbalestier talks about White Fragility and listening and learning vs. feeling offended or defensive.


Publishing Stuff:

This post from editor Kate Sullivan is from a while ago, but an agent I follow recently shared it. I think this editor is on the right track with recognizing that white agents and editors saying they “didn’t connect with the character” is a problematic thing to say to authors from marginalized populations, but then she goes on to say “If most editors are white and straight and middle or upper class, of course they won’t “identify” or “connect” with a diverse perspective. “ Honestly, that POV is the problematic one. Why should any of us assume we couldn’t connect with a character who is different than we are? Haven’t we assumed that readers from non-white, non-heteronormative, non-neurotypical populations will still love white, hetero-, etc protagonists? She follows up with some valid suggestions, but I think her post highlights how narrow agents and acquiring editors are still reading from their submissions list.

I’m not sure if this post encourages me or discourages me about the publishing process –Sarah Callender writes about the endurance needed to reach publication. She’s on her third novel (since finding representation), still hoping the first two might get picked up in spite of their non-conformity to a lot of category standards. I do appreciate that she has an agent who has really stuck by her, regardless.


Video of the Week:

Do you know what the best thing is to donate for a community that befalls a disaster – natural or otherwise? Money. Check out this article that gives examples how almost everything else gets in the way, and the video below that explains the value of cash donations above anything else.



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3 Responses to Saturday Summation – 20 August 2016

  1. MJ says:

    The ‘Hooked’ thing is interesting. I have fanfiction written in that style (that’s several years old) and I know a few others who wrote in that format, too. With all due respect to Wired, ‘newfangled?’ I don’t think so….. 😀


    • ProfeJMarie (Janet Rundquist) says:

      Well, to be sure, they’re not talking about the idea, but rather the delivery format. (It’s true, epistolary-style writing – both “old fashioned” and modern are obviously not new). The story comes to you like a text message in the app (vs. all at once). The delivery is somewhat unique, I think.


      • MJ says:

        Oh! So you actually get the story 140 characters at a time? Interesting…. I saw that it was an app on iPhone. I wonder which format makes more money for the author, selling the app or selling the story?


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