Saturday, July 19, 2008

Boo! Book Pages Shrinking

My local paper, the venerable Cleveland Plain Dealer, sliced a significant chunk of its book review space this summer. And we'll probably never see it again. Groan.

Yeah, I know the newspaper biz is reportedly (ha! there's irony!) dying. But the book pages appeal to readers and papers really, really need readers, right?

The cut is likely to result in one, or maybe two or three fewer reviews each week. All of the reviews are likely to be shorter.

If you care, let the editors know that you miss the space.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yay, Newspapers!

I just read that the Washington Post, New York Post, and the Daily News are planning to consolidate some operations to save costs - particularly in distribution. And I'm thrilled! It sounds like a very logical step, and one that could loosen up a bit of $$$ that should be allocated to paying writers. You know, the people who provide the content? Yeah, them.

We need them thar writers, folks. If we want to know what's going on in the world, we really need 'em.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oh, leave Mr. Colfer alone!

Eoin Colfer, middle-school teacher turned best-selling author, has droves of critics - which I find perfectly absurd. He's a fine writer; of course he's not perfect.

It annoys me to no end to see how writers get picked apart almost to the extent that presidential candidates do. Is it not enough to have an overall grasp of the language, be able to connect with millions through mere words, imagine (and describe) a world that doesn't exist, create rich, full-bodied characters, and tell a gripping story in under 400 pages? How 'bout six of 'em (in one series) or sixteen?

Apparently, it's not enough.

As I'm preparing to review a book, I try to do a fairly broad analysis of existing criticism on the author and his/her works. So I've done with Mr. Colfer, and found many - most! - reviewers all but gloss over the main points (here's a gifted storyteller with a fabulous imagination, good-to-great writing skills, and a terrific sense of humor) to put (right up front, in the lead paragraphs sometimes!) little digs like "Colfer writes B-movie dialog" or "characters speak in cliches," or "not as action-packed as the first book."

Oh, give me a break.

I love Jane Austen's work, folks, but even Jane didn't always write up to Jane's standards. She delivered damn fine books, though. Not perfect, but good enough.

As my favorite boss liked to say, "Sometimes good enough is good enough."

I say, great writers have to know when good enough is good enough, or we (the reading public) will never get our hands on great books, or even good ones.

So leave Mr. Colfer alone! He's great! Enough.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Picture Writing

When most writers think "picture writing" they think of a lot of things - techniques, mostly, of penning descriptive language; some think of the oodles of "tricks" they've learned (and probably forgotten) in some class or workshop or seminar somewhere.

But when I stumbled upon (not using that cool but time-sucking website, by the way) i heart photograph by fellow blogger Laurel Ptak I thought, now that's really picture writing! Each of the images really do convey a thousand words.


Have a look!