Tag Archives: Writers

Writers for the Revolution

…”what a work of art must do. And that is to tell the truth in a way that raises the intellectual, spiritual and emotional capabilities of their audiences. It need not be the literal truth; it can be a deeper one that lies at the core of the human heart.”

“Poetry, according to T.S. Eliot, “in proportion to its excellence and vigor, affects the speech and sensibility of a whole nation.”

“That’s true not only of poetry but all the literary arts: poetry, fiction, drama.”

“They can enhance our perception of our social milieu — what that milieu actually is and what it can and should be. Thus literature becomes a force for political development and reform. And if the writer perceives that his social milieu requires not just reform but a revolution, then the writer must harp on the need for a full-blown revolution.”

From: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/el-indio-telling-truth/

When Writers Draw from Life

“Gonzalo Mosca was a radical on the run. Hunted by Uruguay’s dictators, he fled to Argentina, where he narrowly escaped a military raid on his hideout. “I thought that they would kill me at any moment,” Mosca says.

With nowhere else to turn, he called his brother, a Jesuit priest, who put him in touch with the man he credits with saving his life: Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

It was 1976, South America’s dictatorship era, and the future Pope Francis was a 30-something leader of Argentina’s Jesuit order. At the time, the country’s church hierarchy openly sided with the military junta as it kidnapped, tortured and killed thousands of leftists like Mosca.

Critics have argued that Bergoglio’s public silence in the face of that repression made him complicit, too, and they warn against what they see as historical revisionism designed to burnish the reputation of a now-popular pope.

But the chilling accounts of survivors who credit Bergoglio with saving their lives are hard to deny. They say he conspired right under the soldiers’ noses at the theological seminary he directed, providing refuge and safe passage to dozens of priests, seminarians and political dissidents marked for elimination by the 1976-1983 military regime.”

From: http://m.savannahnow.com/latest-news/2014-03-13/survivors-pope-francis-saved-many-dirty-wars

More about Jesuits, Liberation Theology, Death Squads, and Dirty Wars, in AGENTS OF CHANGE:

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Unlikely Revolutionaries take to arms to turn the archaic Catholic Church into the leading force for change, and in the process they become the biggest threat to the U.S.’s interests…

The battle for change erupts and spreads from the Spiritual to the Temporal world. Agents of Change infiltrate the battlefields, and establishments of public and religious life, because with its murderous military-industrial complexes, rogue banksters, backward religious institutions, and corrupt political systems, the world is in need of a dramatic transformation…

Agents of Change right what is wrong…

The Art of Character Killing

“Readers may assume that killing-off a character, and a major one at that, is usually the moment of careful, systematic and exciting plotting for every fiction writer. Or that, it may be nothing further away than ‘a treat’ for the narrator who manoeuvres and ruthlessly employs every brilliant gimmick possible, bring down a character that has succeeded in either winning the hearts of readers or breeding loathing only letters can illustrate. Thus, the writers’ genius creates the monster or angel that must surely be killed. How can this be made tangible? Writers will agree that killing-off a major character in a story takes great writing skill, precision, suspense, style and timing and perhaps a lot more. Without some of these ingredients, a story where a major character (or even a minor one) is killed-off may appear vague, unjustified, irrational and unreal to readers who hold unto every word that leaps out of the paper with an almost total innocence. However, it will not be irrational to conclude that almost every committed fiction reader is far from naivety and digs into the story the writer brings alive, with a fierce critical mind that always produces a quiet plea that seems to say: “convince me that I am not reading fiction but reality reincarnated.”

More: http://m.allafrica.com/stories/201403101776.html/

How to write a bestseller

“In January of this year, three computer scientists from New York’s Stony Brook University announced that they have developed an algorithm to predict (with 84 percent accuracy) whether a book will see commercial success. The study uses the “statistical stylometry method,” a technique that mathematically analyzes the texts’ words and grammar to determine which stylistic trends exist among widely-successful literary works. The idea is to figure out whether certain stylitic features may contribute to positive reader responses and, consequently, commercial success.”

“After analyzing 800 books, Stony Brook’s researchers found that their most successful writers used more nouns and pronouns, as well as conjunctions such as “and” and “but,” than unsuccessful ones. Successful authors also described their characters’ thought processes by using words such as “recognized” or “remembered” instead of explicitly stating their characters’ emotions. Ground-breaking? Not quite. The average reader understands that good writing hinges on more than frequent use of nouns, pronouns, conjunctions and common verbs—and that well-written books aren’t always more successful than poorly-written ones. Stony Brook’s research efforts reflect an industry’s desperation to put its finger on exactly what it is that readers enjoy, even if the results are arbitrary at best.”

“Although the study claims that statistical stylometry can be used to determine whether a text will see literary success, Evan Blumgart, a graduate student in the statistics department at Columbia, is skeptical. “Those studies can help in determining which writers will be successful, but they will never help us make successful writers,” he says. The researchers seem to forget that the reasons we love certain books are unquantifiable, complex, and different for each person.”

More: http://www.columbiaspectator.com/eye/2014/02/06/literature-numbers

Genre Writers, the true veterans of the publishing world

“In genre fiction, it’s not like that. People usually begin their careers by having their writing rejected by their undergrad creative writing professors. Then (since they don’t get paid by MFA programs), they must write in silence and obscurity—choosing to write even when it means taking time away from their jobs and their families—for years! Since genre workshops tend to be self-organized, even if the writer does go to a regular workshop, their validation usually only comes from their peers (rather than from authority figures). Oftentimes their first real validation is when they sell a story: something that often comes after five or more years of constant rejection, with only extremely infrequent pats on the back (as opposed to the creative writing student who gets some praise at least three times a semester, when they turn in their stories for workshop).

From: http://blotter-paper.com/2014/01/22/why-you-should-hate-the-creative-writing-establishment-as-if-you-needed-any-more-reasons/

American Literature in Exile

“A recently lecturing Englishman is reported to have noted the unenviable primacy of the United States among countries where the struggle for material prosperity has been disastrous to the pursuit of literature.”

“(I don’t want to get to obtrusive with the ol’ triple-parens here, but let me rephrase that for you, as a kind of push-start: British critics think that American writers are a bunch of trashy, dollar-obsessed sellouts. Not a new idea!)”

“He said, or is said to have said (one cannot be too careful in attributing to a public man the thoughts that may be really due to an imaginative frame in the reporter), that among us, “the old race of writers of distinction, such as Longfellow, Bryant, Holmes, and Washington Irving, have (sic) died out, and the Americans who are most prominent in cultivated European opinion in art or literature, like Sargent, Henry James, or Marion Crawford, live habitually out of America, and draw their inspiration from England, France, and Italy.”

Read more: http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2013/12/american-literature-in-exile-by-william-dean-howells/

Purpose of Literature

“Authors tend to write more miserable books about 10 years after an economic downturn, a study has claimed.”

“Researchers compared the number of times certain words appeared in more than five million books to certain periods in American and British history. They found that the frequency of words expressing sadness reflected the economic conditions in the 10 years before a book was written.”

“The results suggest quite clearly that, contrary to post-modern literary theory, literature serves a purpose. It informs people about the human condition, and the content adapts to the conditions of the time.”

From: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/10559375/Economic-downturns-fuel-sad-books-claims-study.html

Near Literary Abortions – Books and writers that almost were not published

Publishers and literary agents do not always know better. Here are some books / writers that almost did not become published:

“Not only does this bog down in the middle, but the author tends to stay too long with non essentials. He seems to have little idea of pace, and is enchanted with his words, his tough style, and that puts me off badly.” Re: The Ipcress File, by Len Deighton.

“Things improve a bit with the rebuilding of the village but then go to hell in a hack at the end. Perhaps there is a public that can take all this with a straight face but I’m not one of them.” Re: Welcome to Hard Times, by E.L. Doctorow

“It does not seem to us that you have been wholly successful in working out an admittedly promissing idea.” Re: Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.

“A duller story I have never read. It wanders a deep mire of affected writing and gets nowhere, tells no tale, stirs no emotion but weariness.” Re: In the Cage, by Henry James.

The novel is “… rather discursive and the point of view is not an attractive one.” Re: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.” Re: Untitled work by Rudyard Kipling.

“You’re welcome to le Carre – he hasn’t got any future.” Re: The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, by John le Carre.

“… superficial and unconvincing. I do not see this book as a very well told story on any level.” Re: The Assistant, by Bernard Malamud.

“It is impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.A.” Re: Animal Farm, by George Orwell.

“A long, dull novel about an artist.” Re: Lust for Life, by Irving Stone.

“It is not interesting enough for the general reader and not thorough enough for the scientific reader.” Re: The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells.

“It contain unpleasant elements.” Re: The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde.

Frederic Forsyths The Day of the Jackal was rejected by nearly 50 publishers.

Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles was rejected by six publishers.

Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October was rejected by over two dozen publishers.

Jack King’s The Fifth Internationale was rejected almost 500 times.

John Grisham’s A Time to Kill was turned down by 28 publishers.

Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected 121 times.

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times.

The list goes on… As George Bernard Shaw said: “I object to publishers: the one service they have done me is to teach me to do without them. They combine commercial rascality with artistic touchiness and pettishness, without being either good business men or fine judges of literature. All that is necessary in the production of a book is an author and a bookseller, without the intermediate parasite.”

How writers come up with novel ideas

How do writers come up with story ideas and turn them into novels?

“If one idea in particular seems attractive, and you feel you could do something with it, then you toss it around, play tricks with it, work it up, tone it down, and gradually get it into shape. Then, of course, you have to start writing it. That’s not nearly such fun – it becomes hard work. Alternatively, you can tuck it carefully away, in storage, for perhaps using in a year or two years’ time.”  Agatha Christie

Market-Driven Death to Literature

“There is an unholy practice to bring fundamentalism, capitalism and even politics into literature and culture. Literature goes beyond any religion, politics and capitalism. The purpose of literature is to bring positive change. If that is not done, the next generation will be misled.”
 
…”literature and activism are the two faces of the same coin” … “Both these elements are interlinked. The very purpose gets defeated if even one element is lost. Let us resolve not to receive any award or accept invitation by individuals, organizations or even the government which encourage communalism and fundamentalism directly or indirectly.”

“The early writers and poets used literature as a weapon to fight against social evils. But that does not largely happen now. Market-driven society and anti-social issues have hijacked the very essence of literary works”…

Source: daijiworld.com