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    The Book Wasn’t Better

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Rants & Raves     Comments 21 comments

    When I was 17, I made a horrifying discovery. I learned something that went against everything I believed as a lifelong reader and bookworm. I discovered that, sometimes, the book isn’t better than the movie.

    I know, I know. I was shocked, too.

    The first instance of this uncomfortable truth came when I read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. My high school self thought it alternated between being tedious and frustratingly complex. Plus, the print versions of Drs. Grant and Sattler were dull and cold compared to Sam Neill and Laura Dern.

    Well, that’s got to be an anomaly, I told myself. Maybe Crichton’s style of writing just isn’t for me.

    Then I read The Princess Bride a few months later. read more

    Inspiration From Exasperation

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Rants & Raves     Comments 3 comments

    One of the curious questions writers are often asked is “What inspires your writing?”

    While many of us like to point to the positive inspiration we’ve received from reading great authors whose books we strive to emulate, I think the truth is sometimes a little less glamorous. I certainly aspire to write as eloquently (and outlandishly) as my literary heroes Leonard Cohen, Salman Rushdie and Jeanette Winterson, but I also know that if I am being completely honest, much of my inspiration comes from life’s little irritations.

    Take, for example, a recent letter I received from my mother-in-law. read more

    Pour, Pour Writers

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Rants & Raves     Comments 14 comments

    Listen, I understand the frustrations of the submission process. I really, really do. I know it’s full of headaches, and that it’s time-consuming and spirit-sucking and can make you wish you’d chosen a career in the janitorial arts instead.

    But like Laura wrote about last week, editors are not (always) the enemy. And the submission process isn’t all cake and ice cream for us, either.

    Thankfully my benevolence knows no bounds.

    Yes, I have decided to take time out of my busy schedule to work as peacemaker between these two groups of creatives. (Hold your applause until the end, please.) read more

    Thou Shalt Not Piss Off the Editor

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Rants & Raves     Comments 6 comments

    This is the gist of an actual note I received from a would-be submitter to my literary magazine, Black Heart, last week:

    Dear Editor,

    I don’t like having to use submissions systems. Logging in and having to remember passwords is a waste of time. Why are you making me jump through all these hoops? You are a bad editor, and I hate you. Will you read my work and publish it?

    Schizophrenic Writer

    The actual note resembles the ramblings of a doddering old man, someone who has recently learned to work a computer after many years of typing things on a Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriter, and who is crotchety about these “newfangled contraptions” we all use to communicate in the 21st century.

    While I exaggerate for effect, I feel I must make an important point to would-be authors submitting manuscripts for editorial consideration:


    Whither My Jockstrap?

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Rants & Raves     Comments 12 comments

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the differences between “creative” writing and book reviewing, but first I should address the elephant in the room. Good day, elephant; you represent the fact that I haven’t written a legitimate blog post since May 10. Much like my good friend acquaintance Nate, my own blog contains little evidence these days of my presence, but is instead a whirlwind of Jennas, Katies, and Michelles.

    Which is not so bad. Nobody besides myself has been wondering “Where the hell is Duhr,” and Jenna, Katie, Michelle, et aliae, have provided, and will continue to provide, fresh, interesting and amusing content.

    But just like Jenna wrote about yesterday, I feel like I’ve lost my writing voice. read more

    Write Your Own Damn Words

    Posted Posted by Guest Writer in Rants & Raves     Comments 5 comments

    All Rights ReservedSo you want to quote song lyrics in your book?

    If you were a friend, this conversation would go differently, but I believe the outcome would remain the same as if you were my worst enemy:  You would ignore everything I write here.

    First, a little known fact (apparently):  If you quote any recognizable portion of a copyrighted composition, then you need to obtain permission from the copyright owners or their representatives (not the songwriters themselves and absolutely not the performers).  Even if that recognizable portion is just a part of a single line.

    Before you even think of uttering the words “fair use,” read more

    Sometimes I Just Loathe Writers: Part II

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Rants & Raves     Comments 3 comments

    When we left Dick and Bane, they were in the initial stages of jointly ruining my department’s next issue of Fringe. A few of you guessed at what might happen next, and a couple of you got it right.

    Yes, Bane did indeed write back a few days later to tell me that her agent wanted her to “shop” her story “elsewhere.” It caught me off guard … I’d heard of writers turning down acceptance before, but never did I think it would happen to me at Fringe. Especially from someone who really hasn’t published very much. In the words of my Editorial Assistant Anna, “Since when is Bane such a big deal?” Answer: she’s not.

    read more

    Sometimes I Just Loathe Writers: Part I

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Rants & Raves     Comments 6 comments

    Sometimes I just loathe writers.

    If you’re visiting our blog, odds are that you’re a writer yourself. I don’t mean to imply that I sometimes loathe you specifically. I don’t. We’ve had some lovely times together. Plus, I’m a writer myself, and a cheerleader for writers.

    (And yes, I sometimes often always extra-always do loathe my writer self–but that’s a topic for a different blog post. Or for my shrink.)

    (And yes, I am an actual cheerleader for writers. The pom-pons, the white tennies, shaved legs, my hair in a bow–but that’s a topic for my shrink only.)

    But if you ask my editor self, he’ll tell you that it often seems like writers are out to ruin his life. This series of posts is about two of them in particular. They know who they are.

    read more