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March 01, 2014


Canadian Apprentice

Good questions!

As a writer, I'm pushing my reading boundaries outwards quite a bit and reading novels I wouldn't otherwise pick up, especially mystery/thriller bestsellers.


I think the problem is that old-and-beloved has a built-in audience, whereas new-and-exciting requires you to build your fanbase from scratch.

In fiction, where discoverability is a huge make-or-break factor, that means a "retelling" makes for a really easy elevator pitch ("It's just like [Thing You Already Adore], but we've add [Shiny Twist]!"), whereas something new takes a lot more explaining just to get a sense of what it's about.

Jack Getze

Are we fighting a losing war with a new generation? I worry film is a better and more marketable storyteller than the printed word, and one day could win out entirely. As a big-shot advertising guy told me once, the reader has to DO a book. Film does you.

Jack Getze

Spring Fever today Agatho -- Saw this and could not help worrying about you. :)

"One should fight like the devil the temptation to think well of editors. They are all, without exception--at least some of the time--incompetent or crazy. By the nature of their profession, they read too much, with the result that they grow jaded and cannot see new talent though it dances in front of their eyes. Like writers, they are under insupportable pressures; they have to choose books that will sell, or at least bring the publisher honor, so they become hypercritical, gun-shy, cynical. Often they are unconsciously guided by unspoken policies of the publishing house or magazine they work for... It is useful, in short, for young writers always to think of editors as limited people, though if possible one should treat them politely." John Gardner

AGATHO RESPONDS: Ha! I can't say I disagree.

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