First Words at The Writing Writer.
In February 2010, Jonathan Franzen was asked (along with Zadie Smith, Richard Ford and Anne Enright—whose lists I hope to get to soon) by The Guardian to offer ten pieces of advice he thought young writers should consider very seriously. I thought I might enjoy going through them.
1. The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.
Too many times—with literary novels especially—I feel as if the author is challenging me to go forward, screening me to ensure that I’m part of the elite few who have been accepted to read the chosen book. Sure, great novels are rarely “easy” reads, but writers need to keep in mind that people pay money and dedicate time to novels. Authors do not owe the reader anything, per se, but do need to keep in mind that they’re working together, not against one another.
2. Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.
There’s nothing wrong with writing for money. I’ve been writing copy for money and fiction for myself (and hopefully others, one day). If you, as a writer, aren’t scared of or excited about what you’re writing, it’s unlikely you’ll finish writing it—and it’s almost a definite that no one will finish reading it.
Read the rest of this entry »
One of my favorite things about having a Nook (and Nook for PC!) is the Free Sample feature. Pretty much every book has a free sample you can download, and some book’s samples are upwards of thirty or forty pages, which is pretty nice.
Yesterday I downloaded a sample of Jonathan Franzen’s “Strong Motion,” and one of the blurbs caught my attention, because it’s a phrase I’ve often seen associated with literature but never quite understood.
Michael Blumfield of The Orlando Sentinel said of Franzen: “A brave author, not afraid to take tremendous risks.”
Considering all novels are written from the safety of one’s chair, how brave do you need to be? Read the rest of this entry »