Field Trip Friday: December 13, 2013
This is a thing I do every week, if you are interested in these sorts of things.
Field Trip Friday is a weekly round up of writing, publishing, and other YA-related news. If you’d like to see it (or any of our other content) cross-posted regularly here on our Tumblr, please let us know!
THIS WEEK IN WRITING
- After choreography, writing is the most competitive career in the US — just above sports. (via Rae Carson)
- Your writing career is a small business, not a marriage, explains Melissa Marr.
- Laini Taylor has tips for making the most of a writing retreat.
- Jennifer Miller discusses judging an author by their photo. (via Jennifer Arena)
- “Not everyone is going to like the thing you made, and that’s okay,” says Wil Wheaton.
- Ann M. Martin looks back on almost 30 years of The Baby Sitters Club.
- Agent Gemma Cooper gives tips on how to proceed after finishing NaNo.
- The Hairpin interviews NPR’s Linda Holmes about writing for the internet:"I’ve said a bunch of times that the best thing about the kind of job I have is that I’m always partially doing what I enjoy, even when I’m working, and the worst thing is that I’m always partially working, even when I’m doing what I enjoy. I think at some point, you just kind of get to the point where you’re at peace with that fact, and as long as you’re happy and you’re not burning yourself out, you’d be a fool not to realize that it’s a very fortunate way to live."
- And Mo Willems on writing for the reluctant reader:"Your book is your shield. If they’re walking around yelling ‘BANANA!,’ a parent will say stop. But if they have a book and they’re yelling it, they are engaging in high-frequency words."
THIS WEEK IN READING
- Philip Pullman disagrees with the University of Kent’s dichotomy between “real” literature and children’s.
- Slate has “Women Writers on Reading Literature’s ‘Midcentury Misogynists.’
- Gawker says smarm is bad. Travis Mushett says, “[N]o shit. But can we quit pretending that snark is an adequate response?”
- Stephen King joined Twitter this week. He already has almost 200K followers.
- This week’s installment of “Best Of” lists:
- PW rounds up “The Stars So Far”
- Barnes and Noble (yay Vee!)
- New York Times
- Book Riot’s contributors choose their 2 favorites of the year
- Voting is still open on the Book Shimmy Awards
- And some dissection of lists:
- Lee and Low looks at diversity or lack thereof in the NYT list.
- Kelly Jensen at Stacked breaks down the lists by gender, debut status, and more.
- Rachel Seigel has book list fatigue.
THIS WEEK IN PUBLISHING
- All of publishing girds itself for Meg Ryan’s upcoming sitcom role as a NYC editor.
- Joanna Volpe warns that decisions you make at the query stage have long-term repercussions.
- Amy Spalding explains why it’s not a good sign if a publisher says agents are a bad thing.
THIS WEEK IN OTHER STUFF
- “Teen who killed four while driving drunk spared jail because his rich parents spoiled him.”
- Michigan is passing what many are calling a “rape insurance” bill.
- Twitter changed the way its block feature works. Colleen Lindsay’s feed from Thurs evening explains why it wasn’t that big a change, but Twitter announced the same evening that it has reverted to the old method.
- The sign language interpreter who “was widely criticized as a fake” after Nelson Mandela’s funeral says he was having a schizophrenic episode.
- Brookings explains why comparing US students to Shanghai’s is statistically unsound. (via Pete Simon)
- Reactions have been mixed, but Policy Mic has the “28 Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2013.”
- The Friday Night Lights movie is officially dead.
- Two must read articles of the week: The NYT profile of 11-year-old Dasani, whose family is essentially homeless in New York, and Jenny Kutner’s account in Texas Monthly of having had an illicit affair with her 8th grade teacher (via Nova Ren Suma).
- New Beyonce album. Boom.
THIS WEEK IN THE RANDOM
This kindergartner took it upon herself to sign an entire holiday concert for her deaf parents.
sunsetatdaybreak asked: YA Highway has been around for 4 years now, as a writer/runner of it, do you feel like it's getting old and tedious to keep up? Are you thinking it could use a change? (I don't necessarily think this, btw, just wondering what your thoughts were). I guess I'm just wondering in what direction you think YA Highway is going. :)
Good question! I can’t speak for everyone, obviously, but this is something we talk about frequently. Our main goals are to provide resources for aspiring and published writers, signal boost industry issues that need to be discussed, and provide publicity for authors who need an extra boost.
We try to have a little bit for everyone — writers, readers, bloggers, publishing people — which gives us a lot of flexibility. We also add new members occasionally, and we just put out a call for guest bloggers to help us get different perspectives on the site.
So I guess the short answer is — it runs the risk of getting tedious, but when it does, we change it up. And we’re always happy to get suggestions. :)
Do You Like This Author, Check Yes Or No
‘Anonymous asked - Do you dislike John Green? I’m just curious. You don’t seem to take a positive stance toward him, and I can’t tell if its because you don’t like him as an author/person or whatever or if I’m misreading everything entirely lol’
I got this a while ago, and kind of stared at it in terror.
Authors do get a lot of these kinds of questions, ‘do you like so-and-so’ and even ‘do you like so-and-so’s books,’ and they are hard to answer, and I thought I would talk about why they’re hard to answer, and why people ask them, and writerly fears.
Well, this got long, but let’s get the salient point across: no, insofar as I know him (not very well at all), I like John Green. He’s a talented dude (my super hipster favourite John Green book is An Abundance of Katherines), he supports a huge amount of good causes, he’s smart and funny, he’s good friends with some of my good friends so I presume he’s good people. I don’t know him personally, but what I know of him, I like.
"I am always going to be a little scared of every author who is part of YA Highway, from now on."
I’m going to address this, but from my personal blog so that no one is confused about who is speaking, and who I speak for: myself.
First of all, I’ve met SRB. She was kind enough to sign a book for my niece. We’ve chatted once or twice on Twitter. If you search her name on the YAH main site, 16 positive mentions come up. I included her book cover in a Halloween feature and reblog the shit out of her Tumblr. Had I not read this post, I would have been so bold as to call us friendly. I would have had no idea that she is now a little afraid of me.
Second, while Vee is super famous, she’s only one of 13 current Highwayers. We range in age from 19 to 40ish. We live all over the world, write all different genres, and believe all sorts of different things. But more relevant: Only a few of us use the YAH Tumblr, primarily 2 of our 6 unpublished members — me and Sarah Enni.
In other words, we do not speak for the Vees, or any other Highwayer (the rest of which are primarily midlist). Sarah and I have no career crushing powers. We barely have careers at all. And I would venture to say SRB’s friendship with Cassie Clare puts that element on the level regardless.
But I’m not particularly interested in who’s where on the ladder, because I’m well aware of my own location and its perks or lack thereof. I want to focus on this: “I see negativity and hurt and terrible assumptions made about people I know and people I don’t know everywhere. I try not to spread negativity, or to make these assumptions in public. I am still going to talk about things in YA I feel strongly about—and I’m going to try and not seem negative about any authors when I do. But if I do seem negative—know I don’t mean to be, and that I don’t dislike that person.”
So… as a member of YA Highway, I’m not disliked, I’m just… feared. That’s a good feeling.
Look, I realize no one is going looking for our fine print — I don’t flatter myself to think anyone looks for much at all from us. But we do have a disclaimer that explains that no one speaks for the entire group unless clearly specified. We queue things as we see fit, and we don’t check with each other beforehand. Hell, we barely even read each other’s posts on the main site these days — we’ve been at this for four years.
But I write the weekly link round up for YA Highway, so this is something I think about every day. Will someone will be pissed at me if I link to this critical piece? If I report on this thing that happened, will people think I’m condoning it? IS EVERYONE GOING TO HATE ME? All I can do is hope that people believe my motives are good. If I think something facilitates discussion, then I’ll probably share it, even if it’s thorny.
And people are going to get prickly about those thorns — including me, when called out in a blog post. So all I can say is: Yes. Of course I support a member’s right to reblog a critical post. We reblog a lot of things. We try to present all sides of an issue, and I’m fairly sure we reblogged multiple posts from that kerfuffle. Because it’s one we discussed with some contention in our own forum, and one we didn’t reach consensus on.
We didn’t have to. We respect each other’s opinions and agree to disagree when necessary. We extend that courtesy to the rest of Tumblr and the internet at large, and hope they’ll do the same for us. But on a personal level, like Sarah said, “Dislike or hate is toxic stuff, and when you hear someone you don’t know likes you, it’s nice, but when you hear someone you don’t know dislikes you, it’s awful.” Well, when you hear someone you do know dislikes you, that’s pretty awful too.
eta: In retrospect, this post should have focused solely on the topic of the original reblog. My feelings should not have come into play at all, and for that, I’m sorry. #stilllearning