Present Tensions, or It’s All Happening Now

HungergamesCover-web

When the 2010 Man Booker shortlist was announced in the UK, the Daily Telegraph ran this headline: “Philip Pullman and Philip Hensher criticise Booker Prize for including present tense novels.” In fact, what Pullman said, as he explained in an article in the Guardian, was that “the use of the present tense in fiction had […]

Rooms of their own

photo by Richard Asch

I was of course kidding when I characterized the Sendak Fellowship as a reality show, but there are some aspects of it that are similar. Four people whose only things necessarily  in common are  talent and an interest in creating picture books share a large house for a month. They also share access to an […]

>What IS truth?

>We’re working on the March/April Magazine, a special issue about non- and historical fiction. (I’m thinking we should quote Pilate for the issue title but this is mostly Martha’s baby so I’ll have to run it by her.) Anyway, there’s going to be a fabulous essay by novelist Marthe Jocelyn called “Was the Pope Old?” […]

>Think before you write.

>”The red liquid was wine, but it shimmered like blood.”–from The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. I’m sure Stephenie Meyer could be trusted to rearrange this simile into its proper order. And can we talk about that title for a minute? In my opinion, “The Lost Symbol” is right up there with “When You Reach […]

>It’s Not How Long You Make It, Is It?

>A tangential question that came up when we were discussing digital review copies made me pull out my calculator. How much longer are books getting? I compared fiction for ages 12 and up reviewed in the Magazine in the September issues of 2009, 1999, 1989 and 1979 (October issue; we were on a different schedule […]

>After all, the dictionary offers plenty of scope.

>Deborah Stevenson sent me this useful chart.

>Winnie lives

>In my new fascination with readers-as-fans, I’ve been visiting fanfiction.net, where readers become writers, choosing their own adventures for Harry, Hermione, and Bella (is that name an hommage to Mr. Lugosi?). While the site has more than 350,000 Harry Potter stories and 32,000 Twilights, who would have thought that Tuck Everlasting would have 182? Here’s […]

>Fiction doing backflips

>In watching the three Bourne movies in close succession over the past week, Richard and I spotted a neat thing we had missed when viewing them at the theater: the final scene of the second movie, The Bourne Supremacy, is also the climax of the third movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, with a completely different dramatic […]

>Oh, Santa, Please, Please, Please!

> I told you Martha and I were writing a book, but apparently somebody, um, beat us to it. More than a century ago.

>Magnum Opera

>When Renee Fleming announced that upon consideration she would not, in fact, be singing Norma at the Met (or anyplace else), my first thought was, good call, Renee, but my second was to wonder if writers have any equivalent kind of challenge. Bellini’s Norma is something of a Mount Everest for sopranos. She’s an allegedly […]