Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Burn Books For Literacy!

Check out Tod Goldberg's article on this bizarre argument here at Jewcy. In the piece, I offer my thoughts on the bookstore that is burning its stock.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Gary Ross on Screenwriting

If you do it for yourself, it will come out fine. If you do it for other people, you will turn into an ungodly disposable beast and you won't recognize yourself in a few years."

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Problem (or not) with Reviewing Mysteries

In this article on detective fiction by Edmund Wilson in The New Yorker, he claims, "I began to nurse a rankling conviction that detective stories in general profit by an unfair advantage in the code which forbids the reviewer to give away the secret to the public—a custom which results in the concealment of the pointlessness of a good deal of this fiction and affords a protection to the authors which no other department of writing enjoys. It is not difficult to create suspense by making people await a revelation, but it demands a certain originality to come through with a criminal device which is ingenious or picturesque or amusing enough to make the reader feel the waiting has been worth while."

This is interesting -- sort of like the dilemna faced when editors cut a trailer for a movie or when editors write flap copy. How much are you allowed to give away without revealing too much? Trailers often err in the direction of giving too much away just to get you in the seats. I noticed a trend starting maybe five years back of trailers revealing the second act close (usually around 60-90 minutes into a film). Which leaves little in the movie to surprise you.

Do you think reviewers are handicapped by the inverse problem? They can't give too much away without readers and authors crying foul play? So if a mystery is bad, they're limited in how they present their argument?

What's your vote?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Master

We understand that fiction is a lie to begin with. To ignore the truth inside the lie is to sin against the craft, in general, and one's own work in particular.
--Stephen King