Friday Feast: Book Sales, Writer Gestation, Unreliable Narrators, Unrealistic Tropes, and the Importance of Writing Carefree Blackness™

IMG_1348This week, I’m indulging in a feast of cold meds and Advil PM thanks to an awesome cold that’s making its way around Boston, which makes it hard to muster any energy to revise the many first drafts hanging around my hard drive collecting dust.

Oh, darn. Guess I’ll have to spend another Saturday in bed napping and reading books and catching up on my lit links, such as this week’s gems.


  • Mum’s the word for most authors when it comes to submission and sales. But Jennifer Hillier wants to talk about sales, baby. “‘But I’m not in it for the money,’ you say, and I nod wisely, because I know you aren’t. But guess what? Your publisher is.”
  • Totally unrelated to novels but an interesting consideration for writers (and to the poor souls who suffered through True Detective Season 2). HBO reveals why it was so bad: “…when we tell somebody to hit an air date as opposed to allowing the writing to find its own natural resting place, when it’s ready, when it’s baked — we’ve failed.”
  • “Unreliable narrators bring me great joy. It’s not the idea that they’re tricking the reader that I find compelling—it’s all the more fascinating when a narrator can’t trust herself. In this way, unreliable narrators are harbingers of horror.” If you find yourself similarly compelled, here are Five Books Featuring Unreliable Narrators.
  • And here are Six Unrealistic Tropes and How to Avoid Them, such as Eyes Broadcasting Thoughts. “Think of the Star Trek episode Allegiance. In the final scene, Picard gives Riker a knowing look. Riker then gives Worf a look, who gives Data a look. This chain of glances somehow results in the bridge crew working together to trap some alien intruders in a pink forcefield.”
  • Further on the subject of characters and stereotypes, read on about the Importance of Writing Carefree Blackness™: So when you’re doing your research on how to write us, it shouldn’t be just on how to non-offensively write our dialect or describe our skin tone without food analogies… If you’re going to write diverse characters, that means giving them the full spectrum of humanity and not just using them as statements and plot devices. And humanity for black characters – women and girls especially – means letting them dance or build airships or be alien pirate matriarchs or battle dragons for once instead of the patriarchy.


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