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Kindle ruins English literature with crazy new plan to publish the slush heap


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In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jan 2013 16:12:16 GMT
Steven says:
interesting post.

on the whole, I don't agree though.

of course there is a lot of stuff published by indie writers that should never have seen the light of day-- you can also say that about some traditionally published books. I do accept the argument that at least with trad published books the work has gone through at least some quality control, which you can't always say about indie books.

All I can really say from a very personal point of view is that I've read a number of indie books which have been excellent. It is easy to sneer at Nick Spalding's 'Life With No Breaks' but, with most of his books having high ratings and a 3 book publishing deal with a major publisher under his belt, he's obviously doing something right. It may not be what you'd regard as literature, but if people want to read it, who are we to say they shouldn't be able to? just because they read something a bit low-brow doesn't mean that is all they read. I've not read the other two books you mention but I'm a big fan of Spalding's work-- it isn't to everyones taste but that doesn't mean it is bad.

I do agree with Stella's post that some indie authors who spam these forums with poorly written rubbish make it harder for other indie authors who do take pride in producing the best product they can and I can understand why posters who often just want recommendations from fellow readers get fed up with them. to be clear, my comments about spamming are not aimed at authors who post in 'meet our authors' which is, after all, an area for them to self-promote. I'm talking about those authors who break amazon's rules to spam in other forums.

I think Susan Hill's comments are pretty pompous to be honest but it is an interesting discussion.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 16:38:20 GMT
Marion Stein says:
Some of the different types of schools in the US

public school=no tuition, set up by local school boards, paid for by taxes. Not every child can go to any school. There are school zones and some schools are restricted geographically. Quality varies widely.

private school -- tuition charging school, generally used for "day" schools. The term "day" school is rarely used as very few children, even wealthy children, go to boarding school so it would be redundant, although some private schools have the word "day" in their name. Of the kids who do go to boarding school, only a fraction go before high school. High school boarding schools are also called "prep" schools.

parochial schools -- New York City especially had a history of low-cost Catholic schools. These are still a choice for many poor and lower-working class families, including some that aren't Catholic. These are different from private schools that might have a religious affiliation.

Charter schools -- This is becoming more popular in the US. See the film "Waiting for Superman" which is propaganda. Charters are schools given funding by local school boards to operate "independently" from public schools and may be exempt from many of the contracts and restrictions in public schools. They often receive corporate and private donations and grants, but don't charge tuition. They have a mixed record of success, but because of public school failures, many parents are desperate to get their kids into charters.

Magnet schools -- Public schools with special programs to attract kids, including kids in other districts. This became a popular way for districts to promote "diversity."

Specialized Schools -- Not sure how much this word is used outside of NYC. Here it refers to high schools that have college preparation (as opposed to vocational schools) but that focus on a particular area and generally have tests for admission. This includes schools that focus on science (Stuyvesant and Bronx Science being two of the top high schools in the US), and/or arts -- LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts (the "Fame" school).

Grades:
Elementary school (also sometimes called primary school) -- grades Kindergarten through 5 or 6.
Middle school -- grades 5 through 8.
High school -- 9-12.
(There used to be "junior high schools" for grades 7 and 8 with some going to 9th grade even though that's "officially" high school. These have been phased out most places.)

I might start a thread: Ask an American...."

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 13:15:50 GMT
My bad! I thought you referring to a different book you'd just finished. . . .

I'll shut up now.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 13:12:16 GMT
Ethereal says:
The story is set in India and many words are used to give flavour - from food and clothes to modes of address .. but not explained which defeats the object! Getting the gist isn't possible if I want to know what particular dish is being eaten or item of clothing worn and I'm not going to take myself out of the book every few minutes to Google. I ended up skipping them which is a waste of both author's time and my interest.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 13:03:29 GMT
Ethereal, that's really interesting.

Were the foreign words in dialogue? Did it actually matter what the character said? Or is the fact that the character spoke in a foreign tongue the relevant part of the exposition.

I find that the ESOL contingent resort to the mother tongue when under pressure or cursing. It's a tricky one. If an Italian woman comes home, catches her husband in bed with another man, curses in Italian whilst packing her bags, and leaves, slamming the door behind her - does it matter what she said? Or is time to take that imagination out of mothballs?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 08:23:32 GMT
Ethereal says:
Interesting; I took it loosely as both being fee-paying but public = boarding and private = day school.

I agree readers should get the gist and learn new stuff and can also Google so those sort of terms don't need explaining. It's not like a foreign language when many words are thrown in in italics with no glossary, as one book I've just finished!

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 06:41:23 GMT
About false tagging:
If everyone reading this thread asked Amazon to remove the tags which you say are inappropriate would they take action? I have found Amazon Customer Services to be extremely helpful and if they cannot remove them then following it up with a 'no, that did not solve my problem' from several customers may result in a change of heart. Worth a try? List the false tags in this thread and I for one will ask for them to be removed for you.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 05:15:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Jan 2013 16:13:21 GMT
Marion Stein says:
There's another thread around here someplace that a reader started specifically about Americanisms and American spelling in books written by Americans that take place in the US. Drove her nuts (or is it batty). I've also read a couple of reviews on the Amazon US site of books written by Brits, where the US readers seemed confused and by regionalisms. I agree. People should read and learn. I don't believe in spoon-feeding and I wasn't serious about footnotes. I think some (major) novels actually do get re-edits, but I think it's talking down to the reader.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 00:17:40 GMT
I think readers would soon twig that a public school in the US is a school open to the public. After all, biscuits in America are cookies and scones are biscuits and crisps are potato chips and chips are French fries. Grammar schools in the UK are secondary schools, but they are primary (elementary) schools in the States. We read; we learn.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013 00:13:49 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Jan 2013 01:24:22 GMT
"I had no idea but having just googled it it makes more sense than the UK public/private vs state."

It makes sense to historians. All schools were originally private schools owned by the church. When the rich started to look for places to educate their children instead of paying for private tutors, these schools began to take in fee-paying pupils and thus opened their doors to the public and became public schools.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2013 23:33:02 GMT
Thanks for blaming me.

To answer your question - it doesn't matter. When aspiring writers read aspiring writers they view each other as inferior. Ironically, the criticism 'I don't get it' and 'I was confused' are given little credence in the traditional publishing world. My former agent repeatedly gave the same advice as Lallie's (you remember Lallie) editor - resist the urge to explain! You're not writing an essay. Most things in context the reader will work out. (It was unbelievable how long it took me work out what 'bangs' were or what an octoroon was.).

I know that if I open a scene with a character smoking in pub (all the wannabe writers are going to scream). Normal readers will assume I know what I'm doing. The story is set before 2007 or the character's a bad boy and nobody dare tell him what he can and cannot do. What I need to do is not 'explain' it straight away. Let's face it, if a new character comes to town half-way through the novel and tries to tell him he can't smoke in here - then you have an interesting scene.

Footnotes . . . nah!

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2013 21:58:17 GMT
Marion Stein says:
I hate to think you'd need footnotes or different versions for this stuff, and I think "the average" reader would figure it out from context, but I wonder if someone would read it and say, "Typical self-published error!"

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2013 21:48:59 GMT
Ethereal says:
I had no idea but having just googled it it makes more sense than the UK public/private vs state.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2013 21:35:54 GMT
Ethereal says:
I cheated and read the analysis first!

Posted on 14 Jan 2013 21:21:37 GMT
Marion Stein says:
Since Michael and maybe others have derailed the thread to talk about specific writing issues, I'm going to ask a question. In a new novella of mine, within the sample, it's mentioned that the protagonist teaches at a small "public" school.

I know that any reasonably literate person in the US, will understand that a "public" school in the UK means something else, but will most readers in the UK understand what it means in the US?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2013 21:10:19 GMT
Marion Stein says:
Depends how you imagine "unconscious." It sounds like Lem is getting at something like: machines are capable of self-assessment. Humans, not so much. But notice the use of the word "capable." Machines could still be programmed to deceive.

Posted on 14 Jan 2013 20:29:45 GMT
monica says:
It's a neater trick still when a writer leaves you wondering trustworthy? unreliable? after you've finished the book.

Striking 1st sentence in your post; ties in w. a striking phrase in Lem novel I'm reading, to the effect that an entity without an unconscious is an automata capable of describing itself completely.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2013 18:08:34 GMT
Marion Stein says:
I think most of us are unreliable narrators of our own lives. It's a neat trick when a writer can pull it off in fiction. Writers tend to develop a bag of tricks and to go to the bag when needed. Writers who are good at unreliable narrators have it in their arsenal. Other writers may be good at other things.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2013 18:05:39 GMT
Marion Stein says:
You may know careful readers. The popular impression of the book often misses the point.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2013 19:58:10 GMT
Everybody loves Freddy and Jason.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2013 16:19:21 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jan 2013 16:20:37 GMT
Nice Freddy and Jason example, thanks.

Posted on 13 Jan 2013 10:06:13 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jan 2013 16:57:10 GMT
Obelix says:
That's not the impression I get: most people I know who've read Lolita quickly seperate the tale from the teller. Nabokov rather specialised in unreliable narrators (Kinbote in Pale Fire, Herman in Despair).

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jan 2013 02:08:31 GMT
Nurrie says:
I think it is easy enough to get readers to believe in a narrator, you automatically believe the narrator. Getting the reader to see that things don't add up or the narrator has contradicted themselves is the hard part. Sometimes readers forget, or don't see the signs the narrator is lying or seeing things from a crazy person view.

Lolita is a good example of readers not seeing that Humbert is an unreliable narrator, so many people believe it was a genuine love story, when he was just trying to convince readers and himself that what he did wasn't wrong, but every now and again, he'd slipped up and showed that he felt guilt and that he was a monster. But people don't really pay attention to when he slips up, because they're often blinded by his charm and intelligence, or just didn't notice or think about it.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jan 2013 15:36:12 GMT
M.Dowden, all the things we've discussed as are related. Unreliable narrator covers a multitude of sins. In my experience most aspects seem fairly easy. One of my 'rules' is that the narrator must never lie. This obstacle is overcome by showing rather than telling and maintaining and objective narrator.

e.g.

(A) Freddie picked up the knife and was screaming at Jason. Jason, in fear of his life, only wanted Freddie to stop. He picked up the baseball bat and swung it. Freddie lunged forward at the wrong moment. The bat struck Freddie on temple. The screaming stopped. Freddie fell to the floor - dead. Jason ran away, and hasn't been seen since.

(B) Freddie picked up the knife and was screaming at Jason. Jason grabbed the baseball bat and swung it. Freddie lunged forward at the wrong moment. The bat struck Freddie on temple. The screaming stopped. Freddie fell to the floor, blood oozing from the crack in his skull, his pupils fixed, staring up at nothing. Jason ran away, and hasn't been seen since.

In (A) the narrator has stated that Freddie is dead. The narrator has killed him. Freddie cannot come back.
In (B) the narrator has informed the reader of the events. If Freddie is dead it is the reader's conclusion. The narrator is welcome to bring him back (albeit disfigured and brain-damaged).

Posted on 8 Jan 2013 14:50:51 GMT
Tinca says:
"I seriously doubt dinosaurs thought about anything."

Please excuse my sense of humour - I really should know better by now!
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  62
Total posts:  483
Initial post:  27 Dec 2012
Latest post:  16 Jan 2013

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