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One of the biggest challenges facing writers in 2011 is choice.
Almost as loud as the voice that asks are we going to write today? are new accompanying (and irritating) voices asking who are we writing for?, what format should we write in?, which word processor?, what genre is this?, how should we publish? and finally: do we have the right font to start with?
This saturation of choice can be debilitating at any stage of writing, as it often feels that it’s no longer as simple as deciding to bunker down and ‘just write’ (as if that were easy to begin with!).
Increasingly, the craft of writing is linked to the business of writing, with new pathways to success and collaboration open to writers able to diversify away from ‘just writing’ and instead acquire skills such as HTML coding, search engine optimisation, video editing and social media. Skills that no writer would have likely ever heard of prior to a few decades ago.
At times this new state seems daunting. The expansion of choice can add a new layer of weighty, and potentially useless, overhead to the more primal task of getting words to the page.
But understanding the landscape, checking your compass (choose the more … Read more
Last night I had the chance to sit down with my fellow Emerging Writer's Festival bloggers and talk with novelist and translator Linda Jaivin, currently in town for the racy Dirty Words event on June 1.
Among many topics covered – Chinese Kung Fu, the art of bluffing your way through an interview, Renaissance art and French New Wave cinema – I was particularly interested in Linda’s vast catalogue of book reviews. As Linda is both a successful novelist and a critic, I wanted to find out how her position as an author influenced her approach to critquing other authors’ work.
I’ll admit that I have a pretty ignorant view of what a book review actually sets out to achieve. As a pure summary of a text, it seems a paradox that a book of 100,000 words can be explained in 150. If that were possible, all books are in dire need of more ruthless editors. And if reviews are pure opinion, how does that wash when books are such personal objects of affection? I was keen to get a more informed perspective from Linda, who has been reviewing books since before I was born.
Linda explained her approach to a review was less about like/dislike and whether to recommend a purchase, and more about giving the reader an understanding of the work itself, leaving it up to them whether they should read it or not.… Read more
The book trailer for Mo Hayder's novel Gone is one of my all time favourites. In fact, I liked it so much I put it on my last book trailer roundup. The man behind the production is Paul Murphy, from one-man Sydney outfit Book Tease.
It turns out Paul’s obsession with book trailers started way before mine, BY in fact (Before Youtube). I recently had the chance to pick his brain on how to make a book trailer and the past, present and future of the short format industry.
How did you get into making book trailers?
[PM] There’s something oddly circular about how it all happened. About eight years ago, I was working in the marketing department of a large Australian publisher, and one of my responsibilities was managing “book videos” (as I think we were calling them at the time).
It was a pretty doomed project – there was no Youtube or Facebook, and we’d have to convince bookstores to install these giant old TVs just so they could play them (of course, almost every bookstore has an LCD screen in their front window nowadays). But it did give me an insight into the potential of the form.
I could have filmed the Gone trailer as a straightforward film trailer, but it wouldn’t have had the same impact. To be watching these grainy figures from far away, and listening to this crackly audio, your mind still has to piece it together as you