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novelist

Tiffany Jacobs, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2018-19

November 27th, 2018 by Tiffany Jacobs | Posted in Student Profiles | Comments Off on Tiffany Jacobs, MLitt in Publishing Studies 2018-19
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Do you ever stop to think about the first time you read a certain book?

I had read The Lord of the Rings before I was nine, and now as an adult who has a keener appreciation for narrative development, I’m almost bitter that young me got to experience the books before adult me did. Late at night, hiding under my sheets with a slowly dying reading light clutched in hand, shoving everything under the mountain of pillows at my back any time I heard a noise from the hallway (any bookworm knows the struggle and exhilaration of wanting to read past your bedtime as a child). At this point in my life it’s safe to say that I already know Tolkien’s stories. I’ve read them multiple times, I’ve watched the films, I even watched the old animated versions. And believe me, I do still get a sense of nervousness and worry if the characters are in a pinch, and feel a rush of adrenaline during an intense battle scene. The wonder of the story is still there. But I can’t recall the proper joy and exhilaration from that Very First Read.

The Very First Read is something that I love beyond all proper understanding. It’s the problem of reading something that you love, but that you don’t know that you love until its finished. Some people get sad that they didn’t appreciate the book more when they were reading it for the first time. Some people immediately read it again. And some people don’t read another book for days because they don’t want to ruin their next read because they don’t think it’ll be as good as what they just finished.

You ever hear a song from years back and suddenly you’re not in 2018 anymore? You’re back to dancing stupidly at a sleepover with your childhood best friend, or you’re on a road trip fresh out of high school, or you’re up late studying for exams, song blaring in the background. The Very First Read is something like that.

You get so engrossed in a new book that everything else sort of melts around you, and it’s just you and that story, those characters. That moment when you just sort of… look up, and remember exactly where you are, like it’s shocking somehow that you haven’t been physically transported. Years later, remembering what you see coming out of that stupor, remembering the raw feeling of the characters and the world and the story. That’s what the Very First Read feels like to me.

Each new book is another chance for the Very First Read.

It’s what inspired me to study literature during my undergrad, and I’m positive it’s what pulled me in the direction of publishing. I can’t think of anything that I would enjoy more than ensuring that people like me get that perfect Very First Read.

Paula Morris Lecture – How the Novelist Sees the World…

January 23rd, 2013 by tsarchdeacon | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Paula Morris Lecture – How the Novelist Sees the World…
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… With great big sweeping Venn diagrams to connect the myriad of people and organisations that contribute to the life-cycle of a novel. With detailed characterisations and in-depth analyses of the interplay between each Venn bubble, with a structured flow and a bit of conflict to keep it all moving nicely along. Novelists see the world (of publishing) as a fascinating place that might be much akin to the worlds of their books.

There are four kinds of people in the world, none of whom a novelist is particularly enamoured with:

  • Gatekeepers. Agents, publishers, booksellers, the media, festivals, and prizes.
  • Rivals. Other writers. (Note: ‘rivals’ and ‘friends’ are by no means mutually exclusive. Or so they would have us believe.)
  • Necessary Evils. The public, online reviewers, book clubs, festival audiences, etc.
  • Enemies. Yourself. Money. The world at large.

And yet novelists have far more to worry about than these frustrating gnats that surround them. Worries such as publicity, for one, which is an increasingly important aspect of the novelist’s life. It is no longer an isolated art; writers need to be actively engaged with the world through social media and self-promotion. They’re constantly bombarded with people asking questions or favours. They get e-mails by the giga-load.

Then there’s the insecurity. Writers are a ‘whirlwind of insecurity’. Will their next book be their last? Will it be a failure? It’s a life of unstable income and of second jobs – fixing, ghost writing, journalism, anything to keep writing.

It takes a hell of a lot more than talent to get published. It takes persistence and discipline, luck, ego (a.k.a. ‘drive’) and often a very thick skin. It takes a healthy aversion to reading too many reviews and the ability to ignore the call of the market (or risk becoming a hack). A good pen and a few nice turns isn’t enough anymore.

So all this begs the question… why? Why would anyone choose to take on such a career?

‘It’s not a career, it’s a vocation’, Morris said, ‘you should be doing it because you would be miserable doing anything else’.

See more from Paula Morris at her website.

-Talis S Archdeacon