October 7th, 2009

Want ads

One of my publishers had all of their novelists read Janet Burroway's Writing Fiction.

One writing exercise from the book that I liked was this one. I think it would be fun to try with a group:
"Look through a page of newspaper want ads. [Full disclosure: today it would have to be Craigslist.] Imagine the person who placed the ad to sell the ticket, car, unused wedding dress, etc. Conjure up that character and the story line that led him or her to do this. A second group should brainstorm the character who wants to buy the object, along with that person’s motive. Individually, write the scene of a meeting between the two characters.



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It's that time of year - ghosts are alive and well

Someone I know is a very successful ghostwriter for well-known folks who want to put out an autobiography. Interestingly, although she is Jewish, she has become the go-to gal for famous black people.

How did Sara Palin manage to put out her book in just four months? Her publisher says it was a lot of hard work.

Yeah, I can bet who really had all the hard work. The ghost writer: Linn Vincent. She certainly had a lot of material to draw from. As one news article says, ""Your worst enemy is a boring subject," says Sally Jenkins, co-author of Lance Armstrong's 2000 best seller, It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, and other sports memoirs. "And [Palin] certainly isn't that.""

And once the first draft is turned in, publishers can compress the rest of the process. As the article says, "If it's a go, each step in the release process gets crunched. Instead of having a manuscript copyedited all at once and then sent to the author for review, doing it piecemeal can whittle the typical four-week process down to less than one, Culpepper says. Two weeks of fact-checking can get cut in half, and design and layout times may be curtailed from five weeks to five days. Eight days are shaved off the usual 10 for proofreading. And last-minute corrections are done in a single day instead of a week. When the printed books arrive in the warehouse, they're shipped out again the same day."

Here's the article that talks about Palin.

Here's an LJ post I had about novelists moonlighting as ghosts.

Here's an article from the London Observer about celebrities - mostly British - who use ghosts.



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Librarians are my heroes

"Olly Neal grew up in Arkansas during the 1950s, by his own description a rather troubled high school senior. One day he cut class and wandered into the library. What happened there would change his life.

Because he was afraid to check it out, he left with a stolen book, Frank Yerby's The Treasure of Pleasant Valley. When he finished it a few weeks later, he took it back only to find another Yerby book in its empty place, which he also took. Each time he returned a Yerby, he found a new one had sprouted.

It was only 13 years later at a school reunion, on a path leading to a career as an appellate court judge, that Neal discovered that the librarians had been conspiring on his behalf all along... "

Here's the whole story. It made me tear up.



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