Monday, March 15, 2010

Getting caught up

Okay, I've not been terribly exciting or substantive lately. It's that pesky LIFE thing getting in the way of my blogging. I'm just going to take it bird by bird until it's all under control again...

So what's new with me that might be of interest to you?

I didn't win The Rejectionist's heavy-metal-form-rejection contest, but I'm sure that was just because she didn't want to be accused of nepotism, what with us being engaged and all. If you're into that sort of thing, the contest entries are in the comments here, and mine in particular is here.

Speaking of rock'n'roll, in one week I will be taking a Grub Street class called "Crank the Tunes, Crank the Prose: Music as the Path to Literary Improvement" with instructor Steve Almond. Tonight I'm taking "All The Right (Opening) Moves" with Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (we'll be analyzing the first 2 pages of a number of short stories), and next month I will be taking Sue Williams' class "Go Deeper, Baby: Writing Meaningful Erotica."

Yes, that's right, I said erotica. Get over it. I think more people should do the right kind of research in order to write hot scenes that are actually, you know, HOT. (Oh, go ahead and click, it's totally work safe and very funny.) After all, you don't want to end up on the Literary Review's short list for Bad Sex in Fiction, do you?

As always, I will be bringing some of my classroom learnin' to you the next day -- and yes, yes, I know I still owe you a final blog post from the Monster & Mayhem series. TOMORROW. Promise.

Okay, that's all I've got. As a final link, I think people should go read this post: In Defense of Hush, Hush. Personally, I haven't read this novel, but I am a little exhausted by all the recent stories -- especially YA -- that have a girl falling for the "bad boy" -- especially when bad means putting the girl at risk for actual physical harm -- so I can see myself reading a review of this book, or one like it, and then making the choice not to bother reading it myself... but if someone else reads a bad review of a novel and then chooses to make that book unavailable for others, well, that just ain't right.

Thoughts? I hate to call out one author/book in particular, but I'd like to know what others think of the trend of books where the female protag falls for a dangerous guy.


  1. "Bird by bird"? Never heard that expression before but sounds interesting to me.

    Girls falling for bad boys? That's a new trend? Seems like when I was younger and always trying to be the nice loyal guy, girls I liked always ignored me to go after the guys who would eventually hurt them physically or cheat on them. Hasn't that been a them in literature and music for a long time? Guess it could make for a more exciting story with conflict and action.

  2. Bird by Bird is from Anne Lamott. It's a must-read for writers.

    And, yeah, it's not a NEW trend, but I think it is nevertheless a CURRENT trend. I feel like we briefly had some stronger women characters and are now backsliding again. I also don't remember books with this express theme being embraced so widely and passionately in the past.

  3. We should have made the regularly commenting Author-friends submit blindly, as issues of nepotism did cause some anxiety in our otherwise unassailable sense of self-righteousness.

  4. I love the picture today! It's hilarious! Sometimes we really do need to just take it one step at a time! :-)

  5. Save me from the bad "sex", please!

    I think that the current trend is in fact dark undercurrents and themes rather than just bad boys or weak women. Looking at the science fiction and fantasy that's popular or being sold right now supports that possibility. (I’m afraid I’m not all that up on mystery or romance) It's definitely more widely embraced now than it used to be. Look at Twilight(although the intentions were ironically "romantic"), or Precious, or R. Scott Bakker, to pick a good cross section.

    Well, I think the trends actually been fermenting for awhile. If you look at some of the anime coming out in the last few years, there's some pretty dark material, whether in paranormal/supernatural, or mainstream/school titles. Shows like Shigofumi(2008), Narutaru(2003), etc are just a few of the stories in various media that have come out during this decade. Then The Wind-up Girl, Before I Fall, Child Thief.

    Personally, I think it’s good we’re discussing these themes more openly in literature. I suppose I’ve veered off-topic a bit from female protags falling for bad boys. Sorry about that.

  6. Le R., we all know you adhere to the strictest moral standards.

    Jody, you can actually buy that stationery! Pretty

    atsiko, you've veered into a much more interested conversation. As a general rule I don't mind "dark" themes, but I feel like there's a weakening of women in some VERY popular recent literature, and the appreciation for the topic (more than the topic itself) is displeasing to me. Similarly, I don't object to any one particular story with an account of spousal abuse in it, but if ALL the popular books start having wife-beaters in lead roles, I'm gonna get a bit concerned.

    (Sadly I don't know all the titles you mentioned, I'll have to investigate further.)

  7. The bad boy thing was what bothered me most about Twilight - and A LOT of things bothered me about Twilight... I haven't really noticed the trend beyond that, but the insane success of the Twilight franchise alone is troubling, IMO.

  8. On the subject of meaningful erotica, I assume everyone here is familiar with her, but if you haven't read Anais Nin, then you should rush out at once and find her work.

    Read Nin's published diaries, which are astounding, not just for the quality of her writing, but also because she was deeply involved in the beginnings of psychoanalysis, and also her collected short stories, titled Delta Of Venus.

  9. See you in Sue's class, Carrie! I'm way excited about it too.

  10. On the subject of YA novels & bad boys, I too have noticed and am a little disgusted by this trend. I have to say that I'm taking great pride in the fact that my YA heroine falls for the guy who treats her with respect.

  11. i'm pretty sure Le R was saving something special for your prize. like a wedding, perhaps??

    i want to see that.


    great blog!!