Toeing the line between artistic vision and marketability is a tricky business for writers. Sometimes it can feel like it’s impossible to have both, especially when it comes to experimental or unconventional pieces. I’ve recently had several writing peers tell me that they’ve been changing their pieces with the intention of making them more marketable and therefore (theoretically, anyway) more likely to get published, and that more often than not they’re unhappy with the end result because it’s not in line with their original artistic vision.
If you can relate to this, then today’s Epic Quote of the Day from the great Czech writer Franz Kafka is for you. After all, he found a publisher for Die Verwandlung, i.e., The Metamorphosis, which is one of the most marketed stories to date. I mean, The Fly is based off of it, and anything a Jeff Goldblum blockbuster’s based off strikes me as pretty marketable. But can you imagine what The Metamorphosis would’ve been like if Kafka had been worried about “the current market” while he was writing it? No. Not at all. If he had, then The Metamorphosis likely would’ve never been written, and that would’ve been a tragedy and deprived the world from one of the best novellas written in the last century.
Book lists have been making the Internet rounds for years now. I’m sure most if not all of you have seen the BBC’s “The Big Read” book list, first published back in 2003, in which the BBC claimed that most people had only read 6 of the 100 books featured on the list (I’ve read 41, thank you very much…which is more than a little depressing). Well, for those of you who thought that 100 books weren’t enough, in 2006 the Goliath of all book lists came out in the form of “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.” Continue reading
Happy Friday dear readers! You survived the work week made it to the holiday weekend (assuming you’re in the states; if not, you still made it to the weekend!)!
In honor of the end of the work week, here is a fun little chart that popped up on my Facebook feed last night about famous poets’ day jobs, just so you know that you are not the only one who’s had to get a “real person job” in order to pay the bills. Unless you’re Herman Melville or Emily Dickinson, that is. I’m not sure the yearly salary for aspiring harpooner or keeper of cats would’ve been all that great…
Alright so as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m trying to power through George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. I gave myself 3 weeks to finish the last three books…and 2 weeks later I just finished A Storm of Swords. I may have underestimated just how much time it takes to read these books (just a bit). But I have finished A Storm of Swords, and for all you Game of Thrones fans who have been on the fence about reading the books in addition to watching the HBO series, get off the fence and go read the books. They’re worth it, even if they are monstrously long (Martin reeallyyy needs to get a more cut-happy editor…). And season 4 of the show is going to be intense. That’s all I’m going to say.
Anywho, because I’m still more than a little bit obsessed with these books right now, I’ve decided to throw in a quick and fun (yet also serious) Epic Quote of the Day by Martin himself before I go back to reading the last two books at breakneck speed. Enjoy!
Sometimes even the most productive writers need to take a break from the written word and sit down to watch a good old fashioned Youtube video. Now, you could spend this break watching cats chase lasers or foxes jumping on trampolines, and this would be completely acceptable (because who doesn’t like animals being adorable?). Or you could take this time to watch something that inspires you to close the Youtube tab after you’re done and get back to creating.
Today’s Video Find of the Day does just that. Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson has been circling the Internet for a few years now as a promotional tool for Johnson’s book “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation,” and offers a fascinating theory on the process of how people have been coming up with creative, innovative ideas over the last few centuries. It’s only four minutes long and applies to writers and non-writers alike, so if you haven’t seen it already be sure to check it out. And if you’ve seen it already, watch it again, if nothing else because the drawings in it are super cool.
One of the earliest pieces of advice I got when I was first starting to get serious about writing was that I should “write what I know.” This is advice that we’ve all gotten at some point or another, and at first we buy into it. I mean, it seems straight forward enough, right? Why would you write about something that you know absolutely nothing about? After all, isn’t the only way to create a believable, convincing fictional world that offers the reader some insight either into that world or into the world we live in is to actually know something about it?
Sometimes, the best way to get yourself through a sluggish Tuesday afternoon when the writing just isn’t flowing the way it should be is to look to the literary greats and see what epic words of wisdom they might have for you. And who is greater in American literature than William Faulkner? (Not a trick question, by the way. Seriously, who do you think is greater than Faulkner? Discuss, dear readers, discuss!)