Casturbation

December 2nd, 2009

There’s a word in the publishing industry that describes, more or less, the act of an author fantasizing about which actors and actresses will be starring in the movie that could be adapted from their not-yet-published novel. The term is “Casturbation” (NOT coined by The Friedrich Agency), and here’s why it’s a mindset to avoid.

1.) Because you are writing a novel, not a screenplay. You’re trying to get published, right? So you’ve chosen to tell your story in writing, and you’ve chosen to reach out to an audience of readers for a reason. If your goal is to have your name appear on a screen following “based on the book by” then save yourself the time and emotional exhaustion of publishing.

2.) Because this business doesn’t work like that. If you are fortunate enough to get published, the film deal is yet another hurdle to jump, and even if you get an option (wherein you grant the film rights to a producer, writer, studio, or director temporarily), getting the film made is an even taller, more wobbly hurdle to jump after that. Moreover, book-to-film deals tend to have an element of the “random”– such and such television celebrity loved the book and happens to be looking for a project to help them break into feature films. And like the publishing industry, the film industry is dramatically narrowing the scope of their content. In publishing, everyone wants you to add a vampire to your story. In film, everyone wants you to deliver a non-stop action-packed adrenaline rush (exploding cars are a plus).

3.) Because you will break your own heart. Remember back in third grade, when you had a crush on Jason Jones and so you scribbled “Mrs. Jason Jones” a hundred times in your composition notebook? Bad idea. It’s called getting ahead of yourself. So take it one step at a time– focus on your writing, how can it be stronger? How can you produce more of the (humor, drama, suspense, insight) that you wish for your reader? All else should be calmly placed on your mental back-burner.

*And a note for writers who will soon be querying agents for the first time– for Goodness sake, don’t begin your letter with, “I think Meryl Streep would be a shoe-in for the heroine of my novel…”

NYT Notable Books of 2009

November 30th, 2009

Congratulations to Valerie Martin, whose novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF EDWARD DAY, made the “100 Notable Books of 2009″ list by the book reviewers at The New York Times. If you’re not familiar with Valerie’s work, you really ought to be, and this newest novel is a fine place to start.

And now that we’ve had a chance to peruse the full NYT list of notable books, we’ve got our winter reading figured out. Some of our intended adventures include Dave Eggers’ ZEITOUN and Jonathan Lethem’s CHRONIC CITY.

A few of our other favorites that have made the list are Colum McCann’s LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN (Molly can’t stop raving about it!), Wells Tower’s collection EVERYTHING RAVAGED, EVERYTHING BURNED.

Lisa Scottoline’s collection pubs today!

November 24th, 2009

Today marks the publication of Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman by one of our wonderful authors, Lisa Scottoline. The book is inspired by Lisa’s wildly popular column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Chick Wit” and covers everything from the hilarious to the heartbreaking. When we first had the completed manuscript in hand, the three of us spent weeks walking around the office chuckling and quoting Lisa to each other. It really stays with you! Please visit Lisa’s website here for more information.

Congrats Lisa! Happy Pub Day!

How do YOU write?

November 23rd, 2009

There was a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago, describing the writing habits of a variety of prize-winning and accomplished authors. One particularly striking example is the way that Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains of the Day) finds the distinctive narrative voice for which he is so well known. Apparently, Ishiguro writes several chapters of each novel from multiple perspectives, effectively “auditioning” his fictional characters to determine which one will make the best narrator. It’s a rare pleasure to have this kind of window into a writer’s process, so whether you are already published or hope to be soon, this portrait of the writing life is worthy of your attention. Enjoy!

Welcome!

November 21st, 2009

Hello reader,

Welcome to the “News” page of our website! This blog will be used to provide updates on all of our author’s exciting reviews, launches, awards and publications. Occasionally, we’ll post a helpful writer’s resource as well. We’ll try to include everything we hear about, but if we miss something, please tell us and we’ll post it!

And now, without further ado…