Archive for May, 2010

20
May

Passion for Writing: May 20th, 2010

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in Passion for Writing

Mark Twain: “When you catch an adjective, ill it. No, I don’t mean that utterly, but kill the most of them – then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together, they give strength whenthe are wide apart. An adjective-habit, or a wordy, diffuse, or flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”
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From Tom Dupree, a great modern history of reading, on how women came to play increasingly more significant roles both within the publishing industry, and as readers.
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Critters.org conducted a very interesting price survey on ebooks, and what prices people think are “fair” or too high.
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On Jim C Hines’ blog, there’s an interview with a mysterious fantasy author who has decided to use a pseudonym. He talks about his decision to do so.
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Why Your Book Isn’t Selling has some decent advice about selling books, though more at a beginner’s level.
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Here’s something for both writers and non-writers: A fantastic list of 50 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew by @Sonia Simone. Some of my favorites:

1. I don’t need you to be perfect, but I do need to know I can rely on you.
5. A friendly voice on the other side of the phone [Moses: or, insert other media] means more than you can imagine.
9. I want to tell you what would make this relationship better for me. Why don’t you ever ask me?
19. I like to get little goodies no one else is getting.
20. I don’t understand how to use your Web site, but I can’t admit that because it would make me feel dumb.
28. I want to buy your product, but I need you to help me justify it to myself.
34. I have the attention span of a goldfish. Go too long without contacting me and I’ll simply forget you exist.
45. I believe I deserve much more than I’m getting.
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If you’re on Shelfari, I just set up my account last night. I may join GoodReads soon, as well.
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And finally, a five-second video of my three-year-old saying grace at the table: “Thank you all dis food–AMEN!” The kid is passionate about blessing food!

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16
May

Kij Johnson’s “Spar,” Nebula Award-Winning Short Story, 2010

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in On Authors

Warning: Mature, sexual content to follow.

I just read “Spar,” Kij Johnson‘s short story, winner of last night’s 2010 Nebula short story award. You can read it here, but know that it’s full of mature content. Its opening sentence:

In the tiny lifeboat, she and the alien fuck endlessly, relentlessly.

My first impression of the entire story was that I thought it was quite creative, and so I understood why it won the Nebula award, but that I didn’t particularly like the story. I felt better about feeling that way after reading Kij say that she herself doesn’t like it at all. A fuller quote from her is: “This is a story I love without liking it at all … It’s a difficult story to read, and it’s hard to see past the graphic aspects to what the story is really about.”

I thought the sexual references cheapened the story a bit, and that the ending could’ve been stronger.

Then I read her explanation of the meaning of the story, which I suspected I’d missed, and I smiled. I reread the story and smiled some more. The story’s repetition of words like “cunt,” which felt a bit gimmicky to me initially, made more than perfect sense when the story became candid allegory.

Before you consider reading Kij’s explanation of “Spar,” you might want to read the story itself. Can you figure out what she’s saying first (it’s a lot more fun that way, isn’t it?)?

I think I came close at one point while reading it, but I didn’t quite get it until I read about it from her directly.

Now I’m really glad the imagery of “Spar” will stick with me.

Congratulations on the award, Kij!

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