Come find out! Our first post is up at BOB!
Monthly Archives: March 2009
I learned to delete every word or phrase or sentence that told readers something they had already been enabled to know or were bright enough to deduce. I also tried to stop using phrases like of course and adverbs like surprisingly, predictably, understandably, and ironically, which place a value on a sentence before the reader has a chance to read it. Readers, I learned, are not as dumb as the writer thinks; they must be given room to play their role in the act of writing—to discover for themselves what’s surprising or predictable or understandable or ironic. They don’t want that pleasure usurped. That struck me as an important lesson, and I put it into a new section called “Trust Your Material.”
There’s a really interesting discussion happening over at The Tournament of Books about fans and the Zombie Round voting. (Zombies being eliminated books voted back in for one more round.)
Again, the insight is obvious, but these readers didn’t just enjoy the book, they’re invested in it. At some level (maybe a low one, but a level nonetheless), liking 2666 or Bolaño’s books is part of those readers’ identities or self-image. It’s meaningful that someone feels compelled to write a comment (in some cases very long comments) about a book that someone else (particularly a couple of low-level jokers like us) disliked.
The phenomenon is even more pronounced with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, where we had fans of Ms. Lockhart (and young-adult literature as a whole), rallying to the cause in the voting. Sure, it was plenty easy to cast a vote in the Zombie competition, but there’s only one book where the readers got together and disseminated the word and turned out in force.
The comments go in many directions including a recommendation for a separate non-fiction tourney. This interested me because in the one I’m commanding we’ve got nonfiction and fiction going head to head as happens in many of our awards, say the Newbery or the Printz.
This festival is always fantastic, but I think this year the organizers have outdone themselves. I want to go to everything! Of course I can’t so here are a few that may be of particular interest to you (and are, of course, to me). Click on the links for more information or, better yet, go to the festival’s main website to see the whole line-up and specifics as to time, place, and cost (most are free, but some aren’t and some require reservations).
Try to remember the kind of September
When chat was across picket fences and tweeting came from birds flying south for the winter
When you were a tender and callow fellow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Follow, follow, follow, follow
Well, my dinosaur television is still the tube sort. But I digress. This post is about the movie version of Terry Pratchett‘s The Colour of Magic. This was my very first reading encounter with Pratchett and far from my last. I remember asking on child_lit which to start with and finally decided to go with this one, the very first Discworld novel. I continue to have tremendous fondness for the bumbling wizard Rincewind who looked a bit longer in the tooth than I expected on the telly last night. However, an hour in (I DVR’d it), I have to say — so far so good. I’m especially liking Luggage. Checked the reviews and see two, count ’em, two on Rotten Tomatoes — one fresh and one rotten. The latter NOT by a Discworld fan.