Category Archives: Sharing

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em

It’s lucky that just the other day I told a coworker my idea, otherwise I wouldn’t have a witness. Here’s the idea: A website where various contributors give advice on how to get started reading the work of famous authors, giving recommendations of three or four books and the order in which to read them.

And it turns out, of course, that such a site–or rather, column on the book blog Book Riot–already exists. And will soon become a book called Start Here.

I learned long ago that any good idea will probably occur to more than one person. And if you have an idea for an article or book and someone else puts it into writing before you get a chance, you should just pat yourself on the back for having had a smart thought, be thankful you didn’t actually write the book or article only to be lapped, and move on to the next good idea.

In this case, however, there’s an opportunity to pitch in, in the form of a Book Riot contest, so watch this space for my Start Here article and use the comments to (a) guess who I’ll write about and/or (b) tell me who you would want to write about (and maybe you should write about them!).

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Novel gazing

Try this neat trick: Walk into a roomful of toddlers and yell, “Belly!” Before you can say “button,” every child in the room will have lifted his or her shirt to show off a swath of midriff.

When I was writing the first few chapters of my novel, I wanted feedbtoddler bellyack. I wanted to know if I was on the right track, if the setting was believable, if people cared about the characters. Otherwise, why invest years of my life in this thing?

But once I got going, sharing my work-in-progress didn’t make as much sense (most of the time). I’ll write more on the challenges of workshopping a novel, or getting feedback on it in other ways, in the future. For now, let’s just say that in the beginning, a writer working on a novel is like a toddler, willing to flash belly far and wide. Then the novel matures and keeps its shirt on until it’s in the adolescent or early adult stage, willing to don a bikini. Maybe that bikini-wearing novel is the final draft.