Tag Archives: @lithub

Advice à la Stylo

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(Hmm…cagey misdirection or evangelistic confidence?

Maybe a good ol’ pipe is all I need)

Emily Temple has an interesting piece in Literary Hub called “20 Pieces of Writing Advice from William Faulkner: “Don’t be ‘a writer’ but instead be writing.

What I love about this is that it can be applied (mostly) to everyday life and the challenges we face as partners, parents, employees…human beings. Here’s a snapshot of some of Mr. Faulkner’s choice thoughts:

On how to approach writing:

Keep it amateur. You’re not writing for money but for pleasure. It should be fun. And it should be exciting.

On technique:

Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error.

On what makes a good novelist

He is completely amoral in that he will rob, borrow, beg, or steal from anybody and everybody to get the work done. . . . Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written.

On character:

The real truths come from human hearts.

On style:

I think anyone that spends too much of his time about his style, developing a style, or following a style, probably hasn’t got much to say and knows it and is afraid of it, and so he writes a style, a marvelous trove.

On writing towards the truth:

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

On failure:

All of us failed to match our dream of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.

On what a writer needs:

[T]he only environment the artist needs is whatever peace, whatever solitude, and whatever pleasure he can get at not too high a cost.

On the writer’s essential toolkit:

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination—any two of which, at times any one of which—can supply the lack of the others.

On the best training for writing:

Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad; see how they do it.

And maybe the best piece of advice of all.

On also getting a job:

Don’t make writing your work. Get another job so you’ll have money to buy the things you want in life. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you don’t count on money and a deadline for your writing.

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10 Literary Blogs You Should Be Reading

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Umm…apparently I didn’t get the memo about applying to be on this list. Must be my freaking fax machine and telex network, both of which are on the Fridolin Fritz and causing me so many problems these days!

Anywho, according to JW McCormack over at theculturetrip.com, these are the “10 Literary Blogs You Should Be Reading.” Thank you to EJK for sending this link over my way. In alphabetical order, the 10 sites are:

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Rock Stars of the Publishing World

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Now, granted, I’m a little bit biased here, but let me draw you a picture. In your head. Can you see it yet? Let me try harder.

Remember when Dave Winfield was drafted by teams in the NBA, NFL, ABA (American Basketball Association) and Major League Baseball (as a freaking pitcher!) – and all in the same year! Okay, that guy had sick skills to pay the bills.

Then there was renegade Bo Jackson, an all-star in both Major League Baseball and the NFL. (Anyone remember the “Bo Knows” ads back in the early ’90s?)

Possibly the best-known and glitziest cross-sport athlete, however, is “Neon” Deion Sanders, who, in 1992, became the only athlete ever to hit a home run in the Majors and score a touchdown in the NFL in the same week. Booya!

Anyway, forget all that jazz. In the literary world, many will tell you that you’re either an editor or a writer. You can’t be both, and certainly not at the same time like the above-mentioned freaks of athletic nature.

Well, kudos to Literary Hub (@lithub) for putting us word nerds in our place and singling out some titans of literature that have indeed been cross-publishing all-stars, switch hitters, if you will, who played for both teams at one time in their careers.

In a piece titled “7 Writers Who Were Also Editors (And the Books They Edited),” LitHub associate editor Emily Temple (@knownemily) put together a list to make your head spin. Talk about a group of people who wear a cornucopia of hats!

Aside from their individual success as writers, you’ve got to take a look at the complete list of authors these people have edited in the past and ask yourself how they could have pulled this off.

On a personal note, my favourite person on this list (again, slightly biased) is David Ebershoff, a man who 1) is not only a brilliant novelist; 2) not only a remarkably gifted editor in fiction but non-fiction as well; 3) not only edited some of David Mitchell’s best work (Cloud Atlas, Thousand Autumns…WTF?); but 4) is arguably as intelligent and gracious as Mitchell himself, making the two of them – to use the above analogy – kind of like having Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid on the same hockey team (2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, anybody?).

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The Master and Margarita: The Movie

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The Master and Margarita may soon be coming to a theatre near you. This is exciting news. Not only is Bulgakov’s magnum opus one of the finest pieces of literature/satire from the 20th century, but it’s one of my all-time favourite novels. The former point is relevant; the latter is obviously really, really relevant.

Apparently, Svetlana Migunova-Dali and Grace Loh have optioned the rights to produce Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic 1966 novel about the devil (who doubles as a “professor” and a “magician”) in Stalin’s Soviet Union, a talking cat, Pontius Pilate and Jesus.

Actually, it’s a miracle we have this book with us today. Bulgakov started the novel in 1928, burned the first draft in 1930, and by the time he finished a complete draft in 1936, he knew the government would become the same devil in his own work if he tried to publish it. Then, in 1940, so very near the end of a final version, Bulgakov died. Like Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, which also has an epic story behind how the manuscript survived and was ultimately published, it would take decades for The Master and Margarita to reach an outside readership.

This truly is the most uplifting news out of the literary-film world in a long, long time. Is it just me, or do theatres here in North America seem to be dominated by one of three types of movies these days: (1) Sci-Fi/Space/Fantasy (2) Animation (3) Cheesy adaptations of fondue-laden books that are vapid in substance and put the “less” in plotless? (Think of anything from the Twilight series to 50 Shades of Yada Yada Yada.)

In relation to this grrrreat! news about Bulgakov’s baby, Emily Temple (@knownemily) has written a thought-provoking piece for Literary Hub (@lithub) called “Who Should Star in the New Movie Version of The Master and Margarita? It’s Not Easy to Find a Charasmatic Giant Talking Cat.” In Ms. Temple’s post, she has cast a wide net on notable actors, including Adrien Brody, Sacha Baron Cohen, Janelle Monae, Mark Strong and Tom Hardy.

For all our sakes, let’s hope this optioning of the film rights doesn’t end up on the cutting room floor and that we can look forward to a movie version that does justice  to this timeless novel.

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