The Thursday Three #6   Leave a comment

1. When the terms and definitions on Urban Dictionary aren’t disgusting, they can be insightful. “Hot takes” are discussed in this article, which laments the demise of long-form journalism. A “hot take” is “an opinion based on simplistic moralizing rather than actual thought.” These hot takes can be found on social media and are supposedly taking the place of journalism; I would say that many people get their news from their social networks first rather than from newspapers or TV and radio stations. William Shirer must be rolling in his grave.

2. I recently finished reading another end-of-the-world book, We All Looked Up (Tommy Wallach). It was a YA novel and pretty representative of the genre. I didn’t think it was as outstanding as the critics did, but the dialogue was very well written. The premise was nice (an asteroid has a 66.6% chance of crashing into the earth, so everyone believes they have two months left to live), but the ending could have been handled better.

3. This article amused me. Apparently, even though Harvard applicants are no longer required to submit an essay with their application, they all still do anyway. So Harvard had no choice but to make the essays mandatory once again. That’s some dedication on the part of the potential students, especially when I think about all those papers and essays that could get written but never do and all those sites where you can download a paper for a fee. Good to know that some overachievers still write admissions essays.

Comparing Processes   3 comments

Some authors can write and publish book after book after book in rapid succession, using the same time-honored process over and over. Romance novelists often come to mind, as their books are often formulaic.

Yes, some books are fairly easy to write. Perhaps you get the first draft down in three months, revise for three months, let it sit for a month, let your critique group review it for two months, then rewrite based on those comments for the next three months until you have something that’s in fairly good shape.

But that nice year-long process that worked so well for Book A just doesn’t work for Book B, which demands more time for some reason. Maybe the characters are new to you, and you have to get to know them, or perhaps you can’t get past a certain plot point. Either way, your formula isn’t working, and you get discouraged.

I don’t think all of a writer’s books can (or should) be written using the same process over and over. That’s not to say that the authors who use the same process for multiple books are wrong — perhaps they’re just lucky to have books that conform like obedient children. Also, published authors have the pressure of deadlines that might force them to stick to a certain process, and if that process doesn’t work, the author may be forced to give up on one book and start another that will hopefully work out better.

Books are like kids… they don’t all grow up the same way.

Posted May 26, 2015 by Maggie in Works in Progress

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Duggar Disaster   Leave a comment

…or a post in which my blog temporarily turns into a tabloid. I have loosely followed the Duggar family ever since my college roommate turned on the TV in our dorm room and said something to the effect of, “Can you believe it? This family has 17 kids. That is crazy.”

Well, now they have 19 kids (plus a number of grandkids), and everything has gotten crazier. My first thought upon hearing that Josh Duggar (the family’s oldest son) allegedly molested five young girls when he was a teenager was something like, I knew something would come up to destroy that family’s reputation.

The Duggars, from the sugarcoated glimpse of their life that we see on TV, seem to have reached “perfection.” They’ve got fundamentalist Christianity down pat. Their very conservative and controversial views appeared to work well for them. Their fellow Christians want to be like them, and their haters despise them and are now shouting “I told you so” from the rooftops.

Their downfall was inevitable, really. The way I look at it, every family has problems because every family is made of imperfect individuals. The Duggar family has four or five times the number of people as the average American family, so it only makes sense that they would have four or five times the number of problems. Reality TV producers don’t want you to know that, though, so they don’t show all the many issues the Duggars must have to deal with every day.

But I don’t know whether Josh Duggar’s issue is a mental illness, some kind of repressed sexual desire, or a plea for attention and help. After all, in a house with that many kids, someone is bound to feel neglected at some point, and those kinds of feelings tend to resurface in ugly ways.

Anyway, I thought this whole thing was a humbling reminder that nobody is perfect, reality TV is a scripted lie, and the sharks will always follow the blood in the water.

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