Yearly Archives: 2013

December Lit Links

copyblogger. The New Year’s Writing Resolution You Can Actually Keep

Short List. Classic Literature Floor Plans

the big Thrill. 10 Most Common Mistakes in Fiction Regarding Forensics featuring D.P. Lyle & Jan Burke

The Word Factory. In Interview: Alison Moore

the Atlantic. How to Write: Year in Advice from Franzen, King, Hosseini, and More

The Passive Voice. Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity

Salon. Literary Self-loathing: How Jonathan Franzen, Elizabeth Gilbert and more keep it at bay

The New Yorker. Literary Feuds of 2013

the guardian. Jonathan Franzen: what’s wrong with the modern world

Open Culture. The Charles Bukowski Tapes: 52 Short Interviews with the Underground Poet

November Lit Links

terrible minds. 25 Things You Should Know About Narrative Point-Of-View

the Millions. Ask the Writing Teacher: Fifty Shades of Rejection

International Festival of Authors. Short Break

Literary Labors. What Tom Petty Has Taught Me About Writing

Bustle. 10 Memorable Pairs of Literary Siblings

Grammarist. Toward vs. towards

Siren Song Publishing. Fifty Shades of Grey and the Cult of Bad Writing

brain pickings. Jorge Luis on Writing: Wisdom from His Most Candid Interviews

The Air Ship. 8 Writers Who Almost Died Before Their Time & the Impact It Had on Their Work

the Paris Review. Laughing in the Face of Death: A Vonnegut Roundtable

October Lit Links

List Verse. Top 10 Creepiest Tales of Edgar Allan Poe

the guardian. Rise and shine: the daily routines of history’s most creative minds

The Write Practice. The Secret to Creating Conflict

the Paris Review. Robertson Davies, The Art of Fiction No. 107

You Tube. A Conversation with Stephen King

terrible minds. 25 Bad Writer Behaviors

The Chicago Manual of Style Online. Possessives and Attributives

Slate. Interviewing the Man behind The Wire

The Other Side of the Story. Real Life Diagnostics: Figuring Out Why a Scene Doesn’t Work

The New York Times. ‘Frankenstein’ Manuscript Comes Alive in Online Shelley Archive

September Lit Links

Ploughshares. Sending Out Work: The Job Part of the Writing Job

National Post. Michael Winter: Handling the truth

Grammar Girl. Top Ten Grammar Myths

PRISM international. Rejection is Good for the Soul

37 Signals. Copyediting: Man vs. Machine

the guardian. Raymond Carver: the kindest cut

Little Fiction. Short Stories

KCRW. Selling whiskey with Charles Bukowski

terrible minds. 25 Things You Should Know About Metaphor

Upworthy. 6 Ways To Make Sure You Don’t Hate Your Life And Actually Enjoy It And Stuff

August Lit Links

Writer’s Digest. 7 Ways a Writing Career is Like a Theme Park

Siren Song Publishing. Flirting with Style

Buzz Feed. The 10 Best Charles Bukowski Quotes About Drinking

LitReactor. Storyville: Where to Send Your Stories

YouTube. Sesame Street: Sons of Poetry

terrible minds. Why Stories Should Never Begin at the Beginning

Live Write Thrive. Checklist for Critiquing a Novel

What Does Not Kill Me. Dueling Columns – I’m all for Simultaneous Submissions

the Atlantic. “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau

Aerogramme Writers’ Studio. 12 Famous Writers on Literary Rejection

“Little Hawk” in Little Fiction

My story “Little Hawk” is up at Little Fiction. This story went through many revisions, workshops, and rejections before finding a home. I haven’t come up with a cool-enough one-sentence synopsis to hypnotize yet, so I’ll just encourage you to check it out when you have a few free minutes. This story is in my first collection, Men and the Drink.

Inspiration included kitchen work in restaurants, sibling relationships, the rural-urban divide, and Moss Park in Toronto.

Much thanks to Troy Palmer, editor and creative director of Little Fiction, for his excellent fine-tuning and beautiful cover design. To learn more about Little Fiction, read this recent interview with Troy at The City Fox. All short fiction at LF can be found HERE.

My other online stories…
“Rivals” at Joyland
“The Promise of Puppies” at Dragnet Magazine
“Hybrid Love” at Lies With Occasional Truth

July Lit Links

Poughshares. Up and Out: Five Things We Can All Learn from Roald Dahl

terribleminds. How to Read Like a Writer

The New York Times. Writing Rules! Advice From The Times on Writing Well

Book Riot. 4 Types of Book Titles I’m Totally Over

The Boston Globe. Revising your writing again? Blame the Modernists

The Creative Zone. Increase Your Child’s Confidence with Creative Writing!

brainpickings. Malcolm Cowley on the Four Stages of Writing

PRISM international. Six Questions with PRISM’s Prose Editors

Pub(lishing) Crawl. How To Write A 1-Page Synopsis

Daily Writing Tips. 20 Great Opening Lines to Inspire the Start of Your Story

Reading List 2013

In the past I would post reading lists early in the year and add to them as months passed but after a long bout of reading paralysis, I felt hesitant. Alas, I have been reading steadily (perhaps not at the Ravenous Reader level) and have been privileged to read/edit/workshop several pre-publication manuscripts of writer friends. Most of the books thus far have been recommendations, lenders, and gifts which have landed with great success.

The Ground Beneath Her Feet – Salman Rushdie
A Complicated Kindness – Miriam Toews
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne
Nothing Man and the Purple Zero – Richard Scarsbrook
Daisy Miller – Henry James
The Remains of the Day -Kazuo Ishiguro
The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
Night Shift – Stephen King
Retro Vol. 1 No 3: Selections from Joyland Magazine
The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga
The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
Nobody Looks that Young Here – Daniel Perry
The Sailor and the Pugilist – Nadia Ragbar
Stories for Ibarra – Harriet Doerr
Open – Lisa Moore
Dust to Dust – Timothy Findley
Post Office – Charles Bukowski
The Family Fang – Kevin Wilson
The Tale of One Bad Rat – Bryan Talbot
A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

Ravenous Reader #5

Rosie reads and reads and rereads in Etobicoke.

1.  Do you have an early memory of learning to read?
No, I don’t remember learning to read, the actual process. I remember specific picture books I became obsessed with. I would take the same Halloween books out of the public library throughout the year. For some reason I just liked all the pictures of the witches. And then there was a particular Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I remember the pictures more than the words. My earliest memories of reading are more about the visual.     

2.  Have you always been an avid reader?
I think so. By around eight or ten I was constantly reading, pretty trashy stuff for the most part. I think I read all the Nancy Drews, and then there was some kind of teeny bop, whatever the teen version of salacious reading was.      

3.  How do you decide what to read next?
Sometimes out of desperation, whatever I can get my hands on because I’ve usually run out of things to read. Sadly these days, I’m often looking at my bookshelves to see what book I haven’t read so many times.

4.  Do you have any reading rituals that you follow? 
Lately one of my patterns has been to read in the bathroom, smoking while sitting on the edge of the bathtub.

5. What makes a great story or novel?
For me, there’s a couple of things. Definitely character, but I’m not sure if I can articulate what that is. I tend towards female characters, maybe because I relate to them better. I like books that tell me about the inside of a person and not just a quick moving plot. And the setting or creating of atmosphere is really important. I have to be able to see it clearly. It has to feel like a real place to me, which doesn’t mean the author necessarily needs to give me all the details, but they have to give me enough that I can continue to create the rest of it for myself. Stories that don’t address atmosphere at all tend to fall flat for me.

6.  Do you have a favourite genre?
I’m not sure. I read just about everything.

7.  Who was the first author you fell in love with? The last?
I think the first book that really grabbed my attention, that seemed really special, was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. That was my favourite book for many many many years; something about it just stood out for me as being in its own kind of category. I don’t know if there’s anyone I’ve felt the same passion for since. One author I enjoy reading these days is Joanna Trollope which I find kinda funny because I think she has a reputation as writing women’s slightly trashy fiction. I’m not sure where I got that idea, but she writes about everyday situations that really speak to me.

8.  What classic or well-known book have you never been able to get through?
I did try Middlemarch several times but was unable to get past the first couple of pages. Nothing about it grabbed me.

9.  What book or books do you reread?
I reread most of them because I’m always running out and have to have a book to read at all times. I read every Jane Austen novel every winter for probably ten years in a row, but it’s finally reached a point where they’ve sort of lost their magic. I do like to revisit books that I’ve enjoyed, some more than others. I like to reread Jane Urquhart. Yay! Canadian authors.

10. Do you have dry spells where you stop reading or read very little?
Very very infrequently, and a dry spell would be like two days or something like that.

11. How do you organize your collection?
It’s half organized and half disorganized. I have books separated into fiction and non-fiction (martial arts, natural healing, gardening, and other subjects). I did have a system where books were arranged alphabetically by author, at least for novels, but then I got too many books so as you can see they’re two rows deep and the alphabetizing got lost somewhere along the way.

12. Do you enjoy recommending books to others? What criteria do you use?

It’s rare for me to recommend a book. It would have to be something fairly specific and to someone who I have a good sense of what they like. For me, reading is more of a personal love, so I don’t feel a huge need for anybody to like the things that I read. Every once in a while, if something seems to speak to a particular person then I might say, “try this,” or “this made me think of you,” but as a rule, I don’t share the books that I love.

13. You host a dinner party for five authors (dead or alive). Who’s invited?
I don’t host dinner parties.

14. Do you write? If so, how does reading influence your writing?
Actually, I have a phobia of writing, which is why you’re recording this and will have to transcribe it. I did write when I was younger, poetry and journal writing, but any writing that may ever, in any way, be viewed by another human has no interest for me and causes great anxiety.      

15. What are you reading right now?

This morning, I pulled five books off the shelf to contemplate which to reread.  

Ravenous Reader is a regular series.