Write On! Forums
Welcome to the forums, WOTeen!

Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Page 2 of 2 Previous  1, 2

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Taryn on Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:35 pm

Err, well, it's no longer Ask-Alison day, but I wanted to get in on the reading list action.

I can't remember my entire lists, but ones I loved/hated stick out.

9th:
Loved: Julius Caesar, Silas Marner (this was for a Classic Author project, and I was the only person to ever have chosen that book. It made me love George Eliot.)

10th:
Loved: MacBeth, The First Circle (this was for a Foreign Author project, and again I was the only person to have ever chosen that book. This began my love of Russian lit.), The Hobbit, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Iliad, the Odyssey, The Great Divorce, Animal Farm

Okay, so 10th grade was a great reading year.

11th:
Loved: Hamlet, Huck Finn, Watership Down
Hated: Scarlet Letter, Pride and Prejudice

12th:
Loved: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. (favorite high school book. so, so awesome.) Tess of the d'Urbervilles, A Canticle for Leibowitz, Dr. Faustus
Hated: Jane Eyre, Lord Jim

But top three would be Tess, Crime and Punishment, and Faustus. Apparently I'm dark and twisted.
avatar
Taryn
Level 4
Level 4

Posts : 138
Join date : 2011-02-07
Age : 24
Location : Seattle / Lexington

http://tarynalbright.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:52 pm

It's still ask Editor Alison Day. We made it a 2-day event! Keep 'em coming!
avatar
Editor Alison
Level 5
Level 5

Posts : 165
Join date : 2011-03-01

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Taryn on Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:25 pm

Questions! Umm...

What's life like as a publishing person in NY, if that's where you live? Is it how I picture it: a 100 sq ft apartment, walls covered with books, reading manuscripts on the subway, and going book-signing-hopping instead of bar-hopping? (I may or may not be feeling overdramatic today.)

If you don't live in the city, how does that nightmare of commuting work?

avatar
Taryn
Level 4
Level 4

Posts : 138
Join date : 2011-02-07
Age : 24
Location : Seattle / Lexington

http://tarynalbright.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:36 pm

What's life like as a publishing person in NY, if that's where you live? Is it how I picture it: a 100 sq ft apartment, walls covered with books, reading manuscripts on the subway, and going book-signing-hopping instead of bar-hopping? (I may or may not be feeling overdramatic today.)

If you don't live in the city, how does that nightmare of commuting work?


Well, I do live in the city, but I used to commute, and that meant lots of reading on the train. . .

Is my life tyical starting in New York publishing as depicted by Hollywood? Well, not exactly. But my setup I'd say, is not extraordinarily typical, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I live in Manhattan (unusual for some) in a decent-sized apartment with one roommate. We have a flex set-up which means we've put up a wall so that we each have our own bedrooms - not enormous, but not a closet, either (though my closet is in the living room and not my bedroom). I actually live within walking distance of my office, so no daily-subway reading for me. I have to be creative and squeeze my reading in in other ways. (I used to spend Saturday mornings reading at Borders before it was no more. Sad ). I go to my share of book signings and publishing parties, but I mostly have a sort of normal routine. Work, home, dinner and TV and I try for some reading. Bed. Do it again.) And I also, of course try to make time to do non-publishing things. Brunches and dinners with friends, shopping (when I can justify it), seeing family, ya know typical stuff that I'm sure y'all do, too.

I have 2 dedicated bookshelves in my apartment. They're smallish, but jampacked, mostly with things I want to read. I've worked out a good system where my father gets most of what he reads from me, so the already reads move out fast so that I have more room for new acquisitions. Because, l'm sure like many of you, I'm a total bookaholic. So many books, so little time.
avatar
Editor Alison
Level 5
Level 5

Posts : 165
Join date : 2011-03-01

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  JulieHeartsBooks on Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:19 pm

Definitely some interesting questions here!

I have to say I'm not sick of any particular genre yet. I am wary when it comes to vampires, but not totally against it. I am pretty much against werewolves. There's only two exceptions to this rule that come to mind (The Dark Divine and Fateful). I just keep a wide variety of books and skip around. I went from The Mephisto Covenant to Liesl and Po and now I'm reading Austenland. I think as long as you keep mixing it up, you can keep from getting too sick of anything.

I yearn for more dystopians, but mostly more historical fiction. I'd love to read more about the Tudors or the French Revolution of the Victorian Age. Those are probably my three favorite areas to read about.

As for school reading in 9th grade I read Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, The Odyssey...and I think there was another book that I don't remember.
10th grade included Oedipus, Macbeth, Night, Fahrenheit 451.
11th grade had Richard III, The Metamorphosis, A Doll's House, Death of a Salesman, Of Mice and Men and Native Son.
I'm not sure what my 12th grade class will have yet, but it's also technically a college class, so who knows what will happen.

Now I'm curious how you feel about tenses. I feel like all the books I read up until a couple years ago were in past tense. Now I'm reading, and even writing, much more present tense. Do you have a preference? Do you have any ideas why present tense become more common (or maybe it's always been common and I'm just oblivious, in which case you can ignore this question)?

I'm also wondering if you're looking for any specific kind of books. Are there any genres that you'd really love to see grow in YA?
avatar
JulieHeartsBooks

Posts : 11
Join date : 2011-09-07
Age : 22

http://bloggers-heart-books.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:04 pm

Okay, I have another question! Smile

What are your thoughts on unlikeable characters? I have read a couple novels where I haven't liked the protagonist at all, even the whole story long. Sometimes that's just a personal thing, but sometimes they aren't very likeable because they just... aren't. For various reasons. So I strive to make all MY characters likeable (keeping in mind likeable does not equal flawless!). But I'm wondering, is it possible to have a character that starts out unlikeable and then morphs into something better toward the end of the book? What are your thoughts/wise advice on this?

*settles back with cup of tea to read*

(And I'm lying because I totally don't have tea right now. I should get some...)

________________________________________
"If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don't remove it - I might be writing in my dreams." ~Terri Guillemets

--Maggie--
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
avatar
Maggie
Level 5
Level 5

Posts : 1802
Join date : 2011-01-29
Age : 23

http://writeonteens.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:52 pm

Before I answer Julie's questions, I have to say I'm particularly rpud because I bullied her into coming over!

Now I'm curious how you feel about tenses. I feel like all the books I read up until a couple years ago were in past tense. Now I'm reading, and even writing, much more present tense. Do you have a preference? Do you have any ideas why present tense become more common (or maybe it's always been common and I'm just oblivious, in which case you can ignore this question)?

I'm also wondering if you're looking for any specific kind of books. Are there any genres that you'd really love to see grow in YA?

I think this is an interesting question, and it's much like the way we were talking about first person vs. third person narration yesterday. I truly believe that as a writer you should use what works best for your book and the tense should, again, be a component that fades back into the experience of the book as a whole. If it's not, then there's a problem.

But here, too, you come back to what your tense choice means for your narrative. If you are writing in present tense, then the aciton of your book, and what your characters can know is decidedly limited. That means you shouldn't be foreshadowing. Perhaps, now, you're more dependent on time jumps - but what does your character know that your reader now doesn't? How will you communicate that?

Writing is all about making the stylistic choices that are right for your book. Nothing is cut-and-dry right or wrong. It's just about what works best for the narrative you're trying to present.

As to why it's becoming more prevelant - I think present tense narration often goes hand-in-hand with first person narration. (And before you pile on exceptions to me, I know there are lots of titles where this isn't the case.) So the rise in first person narration would, as a result, increase present tense. I think there's a visceral, in-the-moment feeling that writers are trying to capture. And when you see this best-selling author doing it, and you want to break in, you figure, well I should be doing that, too.

Phew! I hope that made sense.

As to what I'm particularly looking for, I love me my YA, but I also really love middle grade, so I'm looking for middle grade stories like The Penderwicks and Savvy that have that classic feel, but feel really fresh. I'm also a sucker for a good mystery, so I want to find one but mysteries are really hard! I also think there's something wonderful about books that make you cry. Maybe I'm just a sap. That's what I had in mind when I was suggesting Egmont take on Kate le Vann's wonderful Things I Know About Love. What I've seen, however, is that people are not as into the cry as I am, or maybe they were just too blindsided. But I still love that book. I hope that maybe a couple of you will check it out and love it, too.
avatar
Editor Alison
Level 5
Level 5

Posts : 165
Join date : 2011-03-01

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:00 pm

Likable vs. unlikable characters, huh?

Well I think you can have character who are unlikable as your protagonists, but there are some things you should probably think about if that's the route you want to take. Here are just a few questions (of many) to ask yourself:

  • If your character is unlikable, does that mean that fewer people are going to be willing to go on a journey with him/her?
  • Regardless of likability, your character should not be static. He or she needs to experience growth in some way, shape or form. How are you going to accomplish this?
  • Does this mean that mean your character becomes more likable along the way?


I think you develop a character from unlikable to likable, but it's tricky. You risk turning off readers at the offset. Still, it can be done.

I don't know if that answer was worth the tea, though. . . .
avatar
Editor Alison
Level 5
Level 5

Posts : 165
Join date : 2011-03-01

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Constance on Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:03 pm

Okay, I have a question. And I want it to be known that it took me FOREVER to think of this. Razz

So, let's say you've got an AWESOME book. Like, the most amazing ms you've seen... basically ever. But... it's got action in it. And the action scenes are... epic fails. Too much like a b-rated martial arts movie and too little like a realistic fight. Would you still take the book? And if you did, what exactly would you do to make the fight scene authentic? Do you have a list of numbers for awesome ninjas/samurais/boxers that you call for tips about fighting so you can help the author make the fight/action scene seem real?

And as far as what I'm sick of... Paranormal (surprise, surprise!). Blah. And I'd say contemporary chick lit books, but I was never crazy about those to begin with. Razz But! if it's a truly good book, I'll read it despite it being in either of those genres. I'm pretty open about reading anything (if it's good {and if it's not horror/scary}). Smile
avatar
Constance
Level 5
Level 5

Posts : 689
Join date : 2011-03-25
Age : 22
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Editor Alison on Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:16 pm

Well Constance, if the fight scenes are only so-so, then this is probably not the most amazing manuscript I've ever seen. Furthermore, ninjas are not exactly my thing, but my colleauge, Greg, has been looking for a ninja book for forever, so this might be more up his alley. . . . Kidding. Razz

But let's generalize this to make it a little easier to answer. I have a manuscript that has a fabulous conceit, but something is, well, wanting.

First thing I think about - what's the problem, and do I know how to fix it? If the ending is too rushed - yeah, I know how to lead a writer to slow things down. If the romance is just blah - I think I know how to guide a writer to get things a little steamier, so I'd be willing to give this a punt. Is the narrative just way quiet, and I just don't know exactly what to do to get this to where it needs to be - then maybe I'm not the right person for this, even if I admire it immensly.

If I can't identify the problems, if I don't know how to fix them or, at least, know the right questions to ask to get the author's mind going so we can tackle them together, then I just might not be the right editor. It's a tough call, though.
avatar
Editor Alison
Level 5
Level 5

Posts : 165
Join date : 2011-03-01

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Wed Sep 07, 2011 6:54 pm

@Alison Thank you bunches! That answer was worth the tea because I'll take any excuse I can to have a cup of tea. ^^ And it makes total sense. I think I'll stick with likeable characters. Razz It's just that most people seem to really push "Your character must be likeable!!!", which is true! Since we have to root for them. But I was wondering, what if a story just needed to have that pretty unlikeable character in order for it to be what it needed to be?

Anyway. I'm good. Thank you!

________________________________________
"If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don't remove it - I might be writing in my dreams." ~Terri Guillemets

--Maggie--
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
avatar
Maggie
Level 5
Level 5

Posts : 1802
Join date : 2011-01-29
Age : 23

http://writeonteens.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Maggie on Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:12 am

HUGE THANKS to Alison!!!

________________________________________
"If I fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don't remove it - I might be writing in my dreams." ~Terri Guillemets

--Maggie--
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] - [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
avatar
Maggie
Level 5
Level 5

Posts : 1802
Join date : 2011-01-29
Age : 23

http://writeonteens.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Ask Editor Alison Weiss #7 (right in here!)

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 2 of 2 Previous  1, 2

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum