Posts Tagged ‘writers’

A thank you note to Ms. Rowling

 

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Dear Ms. Rowling,

Every once in a while there’s a person who elevates your whole profession. Jerry Jenkins did that for Christian Fiction. You, Ms. Rowling, did that for the entire fiction industry. On the 20th birthday of your Harry Potter series, it seemed fitting to thank you. Though I will never even approach your level of genius, I slog away within the little box of my genre. You, Ms. Rowling, wrote your fantastical series without regard for labels or genres. Perhaps that is why yours is the only book series I’ve ever encountered that enchants kids and their parents. Your series put the match to the reading flame again, reminding folks that an exceptional book can cross lines of age, race, geography, etc. And to think, Ms. Rowling, you produced your first Harry Potter novels without the obligatory Facebook following, Instagram horde, or even a You Tube channel. You unleashed your book on the world without so much as a hint of the crucial writer’s platform. You transported us with your words, your worlds and sent both old and new readers scrambling to pull up a chair and tuck into your stories. Thank you for changing the world of fiction, Ms. Rowling. We owe you a debt of gratitude.

Sincerely,

Dana Mentink

P.S. Blog readers, why do you think Ms. Rowling’s books captured the world’s attention?

Throwback Thursday…in which I realize I’ve lost my high school brain.

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I’m a writer, so I tell myself. I spend my time reading and writing nearly around the clock. My writing brain cells must be HUGE! That illusion was deflated the moment my children hit high school age. Now, they are coming home with assignments such as these:

Explain the roles of glycolysis and yields of recharged ATP in aerobic cellular respiration and in anaerobic fermentation.

Consider the relationship between fate and free will in Oedipus, by Sophocles. Are the two mutually exclusive? Is Oedipus responsible for his actions or merely a victim of fate, and how does this influence our view of him as a tragic figure?

Ummmm…yeah. This is where I must face the humbling fact that my brain is not what it used to be. Reading/writing skills ebb and wane according to the type of challenge we apply them to. In high school (or maybe college) I spent my time steeped in this type of technical and literary language. Now? Not so much. Yes, I read plenty of nonfiction when I’m researching, but mostly, my brain is left to its own undisciplined ways, romping freely in fiction land. Lovely, but humbling, when presented with high school material. Sigh.

Do you find that your skills/ways of learning have changed over the years? Would you care to share? I hope I’m not the only one struggling with high school biology! Giving away a Starbuck’s card and signed book this month! 

What kind of writer are you anyway???

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I’m a romantic suspense author of course. Look, I’ve got fifteen titles and a couple of award thingys to prove it. So why do I have the strong yen to write mysteries again and possibly some sparkly romantic comedies? And what about that staggering work of literary fiction that circles in my mind?  Awww man. I don’t just want to be one thing, but that’s exactly the WRONG approach to being a successful writer.

Pick one genre and develop a “brand.” Your publisher will be happy (they can market you so easily.) Your agent will be happy (they will know exactly what projects to pitch for you.) Your family will be happy because you won’t be walking around  muttering to yourself about the coolio idea for a cozy mystery series you just thought up. Errgh! I understand all these things, believe me. The trouble is I got into this business because a) I am creative and I get bored confined to one genre and b) I am an avid admirer of many different genres so it’s natural that I would want to try them out. Isn’t it? Anybody?????

Have you ever wanted to try something new in your work or leisure life? What happened when you tried it? Giving away a Barnes and Noble gift card this month.

 

A scathing review…. what now?

Imagine you are pregnant. You have morning sickness every hour of the day. You endure a tortuous, flesh rending delivery without the aid of an epidural and finally, that baby is out. The doctor takes a long look at your bundle of joy and says, “Ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.” Now imagine, if you will, your fiction novel. You work and slave and swoon and sweat over that thing. You polish it like mad. It goes out into the world and then…it’s review time!
Oh boy. Book reviews are both the boon and burden of writers. What do we do with great reviews? Plaster them everywhere, of course. The bad ones? Never mention them again. Over twelve years and fourteen novels, I’ve gotten both praise and punishment via the review route. Love the plot, love the characters from one reviewer. The worst book ever and the woman has no business within yards of a keyboard, says another (with accompanying all caps and multiple exclamation points.) Ouch.
Jodi Picoult, a New York Time bestselling author of dozens of novels, had this to say about those less than stellar reviews in an interview with Jason Pinter. “We’re all human and when I read something negative it hurts. I think when you write it’s part of the game, you’re going to get some good reviews and some bad reviews and that’s how it goes. I don’t write for the reviews. I write and if I give it my all then that’s really the best that I can do.”
Ray Bradbury had his own insight. He believed writing entailed learning how, “to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”

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So that’s that. The business of writing means putting your tender newborn out for all the world to see and with that, taking the compliments as well as the criticisms. All right then, I will resolve to accept with grace and dignity even those reviews which indicate my precious novel is the ugliest thing ever created. Just one request to those angry reviewers…please don’t use all caps and really, one exclamation point is plenty!

What do you do as a writer when you get a bad review? How about the workplace, school or home? How do you handle criticism? Post a comment to enter the January drawing for a $25.00 Amazon gift card and a signed book.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-pinter/jodi-picoult-jennifer-weiner-franzen_b_693143.html