Sunday, April 15, 2012

2nd Edition, April 15, 2012

Ask an Author
by Marie Higgins

This month's question comes from Breanna Larson. "Do authors write about what happens in their real lives?"

Breanna - and anyone else who wonders this - my answer is HEAVENS NO! Over the years, I've met many authors, and none of us have written anything close to what happens in our real lives. Then again, I only know fiction authors. Wikipedia says this - "Fiction is the form of any narrative or informative work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary—that is, invented by the author." If writers wrote about every day - real - situations, I'd think there would be a lot of boring books out there. Don't you? There would be no fantasy - no room to dream. There would be no paranormal, that's for sure!

I've learned a lot of things in the many years I've been writing, and authors hear this saying a lot - "write what you know". This doesn't mean in any way that we write what are children are doing - or our husband, or what happens at work. And for those sensual writers out there, they are probably not writing about what's happening in their own bedrooms. (heehee)

"Write what you know" means that we write feelings. Were we once scared? How did we feel at that time? Well...write your character to feel how you felt. Was our heart broken at one time? If so, then display that feeling on paper and through your characters. If we have been to England and know what the countryside looks like - write it!

I hope this has answered your question, Breanna...and anyone else interested. Thanks for asking!
Judging a Book by its Cover
by Anna Sugg

Do you judge a book by its cover? I do at one time or another. I’m probably guessing most of us do. If I liked the book cover, then I tend to read the blurb on the back; otherwise, my eyes keep on wandering.

In 1944 it was written in the American Journal American Speech as “you can't judge a book by its binding". Then, in 1946 a murder mystery novel, Murder in the Glass Room by Edwin Rolfe and Lester Fuller wrote what is considered the first phrase, “you can never tell a book by its cover."
According to Wikipedia encyclopedia, “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a metaphorical phrase meaning “don’t prejudge an exterior.” But, we do – in everything.

I’m sure I’ve missed out on some good books by passing them over when I didn’t like the cover, or it didn’t draw me in enough to read the blurb. Now that e-books are on the rage, do you take a look at the book cover first? Again, I usually do. After the cover, I check the price, and then read the blurb. A book without a cover! Oh, my gosh. Well, as you can guess, I barely glance at them, much less read the blurb. The first time I downloaded a book to my Kindle and the book cover didn’t show up, I was upset.

If you ignored a book because you didn’t like the cover, you will never know whether or not the book was more interesting than the one you just read with a beautiful, enticing cover. There are many good authors out there that have fallen prey to low sales because of poor book covers. Did you know that many of the covers are not the author’s design? Have you ever thought, “Hey, wait a minute, the woman in the story is a blue-eyed blonde and not a brown eyed, dark haired women as portrayed on the book cover.” It happens.

Did judging a book by its cover meet your expectation when you read the story? What about other things? For example, have you ever looked for a house to buy, and without thinking, you actually judged a house by the exterior. But, the moment you stepped inside it didn’t meet your expectation, or vice versa. We can relate that to a book cover as well.

Maybe, it would be a good idea to read a few blurbs, the first couple of pages, and some reviews before we rely strictly on the book cover.

Take a tour through Canyonland Press, and let me know what you think of the book covers. Are they eye-catching for you or did you have to take a second look? What do you think?

What’s inside, matters.
What's your genre?
by Mary Martinez
Are you up to a challenge? Okay then read on!

Are you a one genre kind of person? Or do you go wild and crazy a do them all? First I guess I ought to define genre. And this will also help me, I'm always a little blurry on the exact definition when it comes to literature. So I've done a little research.

Let's start with the word origin and history:
1770, from Fr. genre "kind, sort, style," from O.Fr. (see gender). Used especially in Fr. for "independent style," as compared to "landscape, historical," etc.

Then I found three different definitions, here is the best two that fit novels:

World English Dictionary
genre — n
1.     a. kind, category, or sort, esp of literary or artistic work
     b. ( as modifier ): genre fiction
2.     a category of painting in which domestic scenes or incidents from everyday life are depicted 

Cultural Dictionary
The kind or type of a work of art, from the French, meaning “kind” or “ genus.” Literary genres include the novel and the sonnet. Musical genres include the concerto and the symphony. Film genres include Westerns and horror movies.

So according to this--if I understand it properly--a novel is a genre, a poem is a genre, and a short story would also be a genre of literature.  So we all have an idea of what the genre is, and in the case of the novel, genre has been broken down into:
  1. Types or kinds
    1. Fiction
      1. Contemporary
      2. Historical
      3. Western
      4. Horror, thriller
      5. Suspense, Mystery
    2. Non-Fiction
      1. Health
      2. Financial
      3. Education
And those are only a few. As a reader, do you only read one of the above? Do you walk into a bookstore and head to your favorite section that holds a specific genre? Or do you browse, look at covers, as Anna has asked in the previous article?

What I would like to do is challenge all of Canyonland's readers to try a new genre. Then email me with your feedback. Tell me these five things: 1. How did you pick your new genre? 2. Did you pick by the cover? 3. Did you read the blurb? 4. Did you pick by a  combination of cover and blurb? 5. Were you happy with your choice?
In June I will post what your answers were and we'll discuss them.  We all get into a rut in almost everything we do in our daily lives. Things become routine. So when you think of your reading material, think; Have I gotten into a genre rut? Do I continuously read the same thing?

Maybe you like your rut, but how do you know what you're missing if you don't try something new. So I've thrown down the gauntlet--go to your local bookstore, library or your online bookstore and browse something new and exciting.

Then SHARE with us, remember to email me! (editor (at) canyonland press dot com)

REMINDER: Our Reader's Choice awards will be here soon. On the Side bar our first two nominations are listed. We will have a new one May 1st. Read them so you can vote for your favorite!

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