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Katharine Weber
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The book itself can become the credential more often than not for a proposal of this nature, and I don't see this platform issue as a real obstacle at all for your book finding a home. This is just ordinary thinking out loud by a good agent. They have to be able to make the best possible pitch, and a built-in readership is always reasuring to a publisher. (And for that matter, you, the author of this column and the author of a book on creativity for women, do have a platform.) If the subject of the book is compelling, and the writing really delivers, the whole platform issue becomes secondary. Did writing a number of smart, readable science articles here and there over the years provide a platform for Rebecca Skloot? Yes and no. Her book delivered. I urge you both to consider Heidi Murkoff your inspiration.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2011 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
Isn't the character's name Ellis Redding? Thank you Sue, for this really wonderful template, which offers a useful diagnostic tool for revising the plotting and pacing of a novel.
Toggle Commented Aug 13, 2011 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
What a wonderful legacy, and what a wonderful post!
Toggle Commented May 9, 2011 on My Mother's Books at Buzz, Balls & Hype
Thank you for saying this, Sue. Making editorial decisions to avoid racist language in a new manuscript in the present moment would be a different matter, but deleting the historic record as if everything in our culture must conform to the newest standards and regulations or we are somehow endangered feels weirdly totalitarian to me. Do we have no faith at all that readers could possibly discern the historic context of a novel? Must we all be "protected" from the errors of the past, large and small? By this standard, my 1740 house that does not conform to current building code should be gutted immediately and rebuilt so it matches all the new houses down the street.
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2011 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
Those of us who teach writing can encounter this same crit fatigue. I have found it most helpful if I am very clear with myself about the significant difference between reading for pleasure and reading for teaching/work. It might seem to be the same activity, but really, it just isn't. Ideally, there is some pleasure in reading for work, but it is a different sort of pleasure, and it is connected to the teaching and the growth of the writing student much of the time. It is a pleasure for me as a teacher to see someone's reach exceed her grasp; that's what college is for. But I have to be careful not to have unreasonable expectations that reading student stories with a pen in my hand is going to be anything at all like the experience of reading, say, Flannery O'Connor stories with no obligations or responsibilities attached other than to my fiction-reading and writing self. This way, while reading and commenting on student work, if I hit a patch of wonderful writing, it's a bonus. And I don't ever expect work reading to fulfill my personal needs around reading.
Toggle Commented Jan 8, 2011 on The Doctor Is In at Buzz, Balls & Hype
Don't worry -- I am in West Cork at the moment, and the cats here definitely talk.
Toggle Commented Oct 8, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
(Sorry for vagueness; I mean if you double click on this video it takes you to Youtube where the frame is bigger.)
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
What fun! Very sorry to have missed the live performance (and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy). (Note: If you click on the video box here you get to the Youtube video which has a box and shows everybody.)
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
You'll be all better by Wednesday! Do you know what time you're on? Break a leg!
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
I guessed that.
Toggle Commented Aug 21, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
"Sisters"! So are you singing the Rosemary Clooney part or the Rosemary Clooney part?
Toggle Commented Aug 20, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
This is so interesting to me! Stephen, thank you for that observation. It's like the way we can't tickle ourselves.
Toggle Commented Aug 8, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
I appreciate the clarifications. And I agree with MJ, that coincidences have been used in genre fiction especially as a handy shortcut, which then becomes so familiar it loses its mojo. Like "scary music" in movies signifiying that something is scary, music which on first airing in a concert setting probably sounded very different to the audience than it does to those of us who have been conditioned by the context and significance in those movies.
Toggle Commented Aug 7, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
I think I am a little bit lost, but I'm intrigued. Maybe I experience coincidences such as you describe so often that they don't seem as uncanny to me as your Pandoras do to you.
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
But these experiences do find their way into novels and memoirs! They are transmuted by the writing process into something that signifies for the novel or the memoir, perhaps as a foreshadowing or an echo with layers of meaning. Such moments are ideally blended in, not just sprinkled on top. It's true that not so many characters in novels say "Wow, this would never work in a novel," but then, not very many characters in television shows sit around watching television shows. The creative mind is wired to perceive these patterns. The psychotic mind is overly receptive to patterns, too, for different reasons. The creative mind can hear a bird call three notes and then see three plums in a bowl and note a relationship that is simply invisible to many people. The creative mind finds this pleasing and inspiring, while the psychotic mind may find it threatening or burdensome or imbued with some uncomfortable urgency. Trust the strangeness!
Toggle Commented Aug 6, 2010 on THE DOCTOR IS IN at Buzz, Balls & Hype
Good moment to read or re-read Robertson Davies's The Manticore. In my experience, an overly concrete belief in the collective unconscious often serves those who like to blur (or trample) boundaries. It's not an invasion if we're all one big ectoplasmic blob of consciousness anyway.
Toggle Commented Sep 20, 2009 on Jung Again at Like Fire