Posthumously Famous   1 comment

The “Will You Press the Button?” meme has been floating around on a few social networking sites lately. I suppose it’s sort of like the “would you rather” game that we played in high school, when two disgusting or inane choices were given, and you had to pick one or the other (you couldn’t say “neither” or “both”).

Here, the decision is pretty simple. The first choice is to not press the button at all. The second choice is to press the button and become the most talented artist of all time but only posthumously.

I’d press the button.

Sometimes I think of the “deathbed scenario” where you’re supposed to imagine yourself on your deathbed or in a nursing home and think about what you would like to have accomplished in your lifetime and how you can start to accomplish those things today. If I knew with absolute certainty that some piece of “art” that I worked on was going to have such a legacy, I would die happy.

Fame while living is a burden I would not want to bear. Whenever I hear about a celebrity being hounded by paparazzi, I shudder. The idea of going out in public for something as ordinary as grocery shopping and having to worry about being blinded by cameras and pelted with questions is scary in the extreme. For an author, I don’t think the celebrity madness would be as bad as if I was an actress or singer. After all, the author stereotype is that of a recluse. It would be nice to be as well known as Stephen King and sign books until my hand fell off, but I’d rather go the Emily Dickinson route and be virtually unknown, then be remembered for lifetimes later.

Posted June 30, 2015 by Maggie in Writing

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Chapter Titles   7 comments

I was musing about chapter titles yesterday. It seems like most fiction books for adults and teens don’t have them. More middle-grade and children’s books have them, but I don’t believe they’re ubiquitous even in those genres. The books in the Harry Potter series do have chapter titles, and I remember skipping over the table of contents in the last Harry Potter book because I didn’t want to get even the slightest hint of a spoiler before I actually started to read.

Chapter (or even scene) titles can be useful for when you’re writing and trying to organize the pieces. It’s easier to remember a chapter as “Character X’s Revenge” rather than plain old “Chapter 12.” But the way I look at it, it’s hard enough to come up with a title for the whole book itself, so why bother with chapter titles at all?

Use of chapter titles can also depend on the ultimate destination of the book: is it going to be posted on a website somewhere? Are you going to traditionally publish or self-publish? I’ve noticed that on sites like FictionPress, chapter titles can be really useful; they can provide a bird’s-eye look at the content of the story, so you can determine whether reading it would be worthwhile.

For the most part, though, I don’t think chapter titles are used much for fiction. What do you think? Do you like chapter titles when reading or writing?

Posted June 27, 2015 by Maggie in Writing

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The Thursday Three #7   3 comments

  1. On Amazon, there’s apparently this thing called Mechanical Turk, where you can engage in mindless, mundane “Human Intelligence Tasks” (e.g., find the “business inquiries” address of a YouTube channel) in exchange for mere pennies (literally 3 cents or less). Is it slave labor? Or a simple way to pass the time and make barely enough money to buy a handful of Mike and Ike candies from the vending machine?
  2. The quickest ways to get “flamed” on the Internet are to post something that actually makes sense in the YouTube comment section or to use words like “all” or “always” in a blog post, especially when you’re referring to a particular group of people. You may just mean it in a hyperbolic, frustrated way, like, “Women are always so ” or “All men should be ” and so on. But on the Internet, sarcasm and hyperbole cannot be detected as easily, and people jump on you about every little thing you say because they have no other basis on which to judge you. So… avoid “always” and “all” unless you have statistics to back them up, and go on your merry way.
  3. I have the hardest time with editing. This is probably because my day job involves editing, and even though it’s completely different subject matter from what I write, it’s still hard to sit down and do what I’ve been doing for 8+ hours at work when I get off work. Even so, editing is strangely satisfying because there’s no deadline, the only author I need to query is myself, and the writing does look much better in the end. But it’s very time consuming. Whoever said “writing is rewriting” sure knew what they were talking about.

And here’s a random cat picture, because it wouldn’t be the Internet without one:

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Nothing like stretching out on a warm sidewalk!

Hope everyone’s having a good week so far!

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