Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tuesday miscellany

M.J. Rose offered a link to an article by Stephen King, with the comment that he writes wonderfully well about the writing life. And indeed he does. I’ve never been able to read one of his novels – they make me feel vaguely ill; or, come to think of it, rather more than vaguely – but I have managed a few of his short stories. And his book On Writing I certainly read, with some interest.

In his latest essay, King has some amusing things to say. ‘The so-called "writing life", he suggests, ‘is basically sitting on your ass.’ Oh, and you have to have a muse. His is called Scruffy.

King also has an eminently sensible view of creative-writing classes. They’re excellent he says: excellent, that is, for giving the people who teach them a bit of cash, and for enabling the students to chat each other up. But when it comes to teaching anyone how to write, they’re bloody useless.

The writer as loony

M.J. Rose also has a link to an amusing (or not so amusing) article about recognising and treating author personality disorders. In my view, it's the treating bit that's difficult. Diagnosis is easy: they're all nuts.

Lost Girls

Bookslut led me to an article about Alan Moore and Lost Girls in the Independent. It’s long, and interesting. But while everyone is enthusing about the damn thing, where’s my copy? It’s been on order for months.

More on emotion

In a comment on my overview of emotion, Art Durkee mentions two more books on emotion which may be of interest.

The first is Sentics: the Touch of Emotions, by Manfred Clynes. You can read a lot more about sentics on the Sentic Cycles web site, but you might do best to start with Dr Clynes's own web page.

Personally I don't think I am about to start doing the Sentics cycle 'exercises', but some highly stressed people might find them useful. I might have a look at the Sentics book, because it seems to be listed as required reading by some quite respectable academic institutions, particularly in relation to music.

The other book mentioned by Art Durkee is George Leonard's The Silent Pulse. Here again, this looks, at first sight, a bit too touchy-feely and new age for me. There's a short description provided by the publisher of the latest, revised, edition.

Tommy Sheridan in peril

In a short discussion of the curious decisions reached, occasionally, in the English libel courts, on 10 August, I mentioned the result in the Tommy Sheridan case. Our Tommy won £200,000 in damages from the News of the World.

Well, it was always obvious that the Screws wasn't going to take that lying down, and on Sunday they struck back. They have a tape, it seems, on which Tommy confesses his sins, thus proving that he had been lying to the jury.

Being called 'the biggest liar in politics' is clearly actionable (and quite a major achievement, one would have thought). But will our Tommy chance his arm again?

Meanwhile, Inspector Knacker of the Yard is on the trail. The Times says that a formal inquiry has been launched to investigate claims that Tommy and his pals may have lied to the court.

Mark Osmun

Mark Osmun is another reporter turned novelist. I say another because I mentioned one yesterday (final item), though now that I look at it again I see that, for some odd reason, I never mentioned her name -- just the book. Apologies, therefore, to Marnie Schulenburg, author of A Test of Survival.

Mark Hazard Osmun has had an eventful life, plus lots of experience of writing professionally, and he has so far produced three (self-published) novels. The latest of these is After the Bones, set in Honolulu in 1866 and featuring the young Mark Twain.

But the one which caught my eye is Marley's Ghost. This features, as you have probably guessed, Jacob Marley from Dickens's A Christmas Carol. It's a prequel to A Christmas Carol -- which is interesting, because I myself once wrote a sequel to the same book: Scrooge and the Widow of Pewsey, written under the pen-name Anne Moore.

Another Sky Press

Another Sky Press is an experiment -- I guess -- and it is certainly one which is worth taking a look at. Essentially, the press wants people to read their books, even if they read them for free. But the press also sells books in traditional formats, at cost price, with the hope that you will add something for the deserving author.

The press came to my attention through Click, by Kristopher Young. This is a book which has picked up some very favourable comments. It isn't going to appeal to everyone, that's for sure, but since you can, if you wish, read the whole thing in PDF, free, before you buy, you can't really go wrong.


Futureproof by N. Frank Daniels, is a Lulu.com production. This won't appeal to every reader either, but it has certainly picked up a great many recommendations from the readers who did find it on their wavelength. You can read several pages of their comments in the Lulu preview (which is a Word file). Plus, of course, part of the book itself.

Futureproof also has its own web site, though when I visited the preview link on that site didn't work.

Viral success?

Finally this morning, a link kindly provided by Peter Winkler. Some people are beginning to suspect that in the brave new world of Web 2.0, not all is as it seems. Could it be, do you think, that Big Brother is manipulating the whole thing? Read Emily King on MyScam, and decide for yourself.


Michelle Vandepol, writer said...

That is exactly how I felt about Stephen King's book on writing. It's the only work of his that I've ever been able to digest (thank goodness), but i can't get enough of it.coincidentally, it's the book that joins (by a thread) my husband's and my two very different book collections.

JodyTresidder said...

Disgracefully off topic (although I could have a stab at linking it to author personality disorders!) I see GOP's favourite thriller author Jonathan Freedland/Sam-not-Dan-Brown Bourne has been rumbled for writing porkies in The Guardian about the lack of applause during Blair's 'farewell' speech (at the Hurry up Harry political blog). Freedland gets called a "pacifascist" in the comments, a new one on me. But politer than most of the names I've thought up for the twerp.

Martin said...

Sentics? You sure it isn't spelled "Zen tics"?