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Posts by Peter Grant

Things to ponder

Several articles caught my eye recently.  Some are only tangentially related to writing and publishing, but all have a bearing on it to a greater or lesser extent.  Here goes with a roundup.  The title of each article is a link to the original.

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Old-school journalism, old-school writers

I was interested to read an article titled “The Golden Age of Fleet Street“.  The author reminisces about his career in journalism, and how, in the old days, reporters had to “climb the career ladder” from local, to provincial, to national newspapers, and “earn their stripes” the hard way.  He points out that the current model is radically different.

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The way things were… and may be again?

I was reading an article about how Louis L’Amour got his start in writing Westerns, written by his son Beau.  It’s titled “Louis L’Amour and the Legend of the West“.  A number of points stayed with me, but one in particular got me thinking about current trends in the book market.  Beau writes:

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Challenging your creative mind

First of all, my apologies for not putting up my regular article a couple of weeks ago.  I had a fairly significant health scare, which put me in hospital for a few days.  I’m well on the mend now, for which thanks be to God, but it kinda disrupted things for a while.  (Its aftereffects, particularly new medications, look set fair to go on disrupting things for a few months longer, but what can you do?)

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Food for writing thought

Three articles caught my eye in recent weeks.

The first is titled “Novelist Cormac McCarthy’s tips on how to write a great science paper“.  It interested me, because most of us write fiction, and aren’t used to a more scientific exposition.  Could we learn something from that discipline, that would perhaps help us write better fiction?  Here are two examples of Mr. McCarthy’s advice.

  • With regard to grammar, spoken language and common sense are generally better guides for a first draft than rule books. It’s more important to be understood than it is to form a grammatically perfect sentence.
  • With regard to grammar, spoken language and common sense are generally better guides for a first draft than rule books. It’s more important to be understood than it is to form a grammatically perfect sentence. When you think you’re done, read your work aloud to yourself or a friend. Find a good editor you can trust and who will spend real time and thought on your work. Try to make life as easy as possible for your editing friends. Number pages and double space.

Seems applicable to me!

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Literature through Russian eyes – and what it says about political correctness

Today I’m not going to say much myself.  Instead, I’m going to quote several paragraphs from a very long, but very thought-provoking, analysis of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and other Russian authors, and how literature came to represent a moral crusade for them, and for their fellow countrymen.  It’s in the New Criterion, titled “How the great truth dawned“, written by Gary Saul Morson.  It’s very different from our Western attitudes towards literature, but I think it offers a perspective from which we could learn.

That’s particularly important in an era when political correctness is more than ever a determinant of what’s put out by traditional publishers.  One’s work usually has to conform to “contemporary priorities” or “modern understanding” if it’s to have any chance of acceptance by a publisher.  By those standards, the Big Three of science fiction – Asimov, Clarke and Heinlein – wouldn’t stand a ghost of a chance. Neither, of course, would Henry Miller, Dorothy Parker, and a host of other greats.  Nor would Solzhenitsyn.

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OK, let’s have a laugh!

Instead of my usual serious posts about the business of writing, let’s have a laugh this Friday.  I’ve been giggling over an article titled “24 Hilarious ‘Accurately Titled Novels’ ” at BoredPanda.  Here are three of their cover examples to whet your appetite.  I’ve reduced their size so as to fit MGC’s template better.

 

BoredPanda cover 1

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