Happy Friday, writer friends,
I figured out the ending to my novel and while it’s possible, even likely, that it will change once I get into the weeds with it, I feel happy that the convoluted muddled mess in my head is beginning to make some sort of sense. This has been one of those stories where, despite all my planning, the moment I sat down to write, it just went in a completely new direction all on its own. And now that I know how it ends, I’m excited to dive in and get it there.
That’s my plan for today. Hoping to hit 35,000 words over the weekend.
Enjoy the issue!
P.S. Big thank you to Dawn Colclasure for the mention on her blog today! (And if you mention me, please do let me know so I can shout you out, too!)
NEWS & VIEWS
YA bans, YA sales
Queer YA books are selling in record numbers despite bans targeting them. Further, diversity and creativity in this genre are thriving as readers, many of whom are finding recommendations on TikTok, are embracing new forms of storytelling.
Why it matters: “The growth in young-adult categories, in particular, mirrors a generational shift toward a more open and inclusive attitude toward gender diversity and sexual orientation,” Kristen McLean, books industry analyst for NPD said in a statement. “What was once considered a niche area of publishing is now becoming mainstream, with a number of titles leading the national bestseller lists and books being shared across generations of readers.”
The numbers: According to NPD Bookscan figures:
- Of the close to 5 million units of LGBTQ+ books sold in 2021, the biggest absolute gains in this market came from LGBTQ+ YA books, which saw an increase in sales of 1.3 million units from the previous year.
- So far in 2022, LGBTQ+ fiction book sales have increased, year-over-year, by 39 percent through May 28.
Key takeaway: “Even five years ago, it was difficult to get queer stories published,” author Sasha Laurens said. “There was a sense that this was not marketable, that there was not sufficient interest in these kinds of stories—especially with female queer characters.”
That seems to be changing. Even as books with queer characters of color and books written by queer authors of color are facing a disproportionate amount of censorship, if sales are any indication, the popularity of this genre is here to stay—and slay.
Exit your narrative structure and let your characters breathe: How do you avoid producing a forgettable story? In a word: character. In several words: ease up on the narrative structure – you’ve got to let your characters breathe. And one way to do this is by pausing the narrative and inserting what I call “cockroach races.”
Good company: Depictions of older women in literature: “For some time, I have been relishing literature that offers wonderfully varying depictions of old women. They are good company. These are pieces that expose the cruelty inflicted on older women and that impress me with their capacity to pursue the essence of the complex creature that still exists inside the worn-out body. Inside them all is the fight for their independence.”
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2023
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize aims to identify talented writers who go on to inspire their communities. It unearths and promotes the best new writing from across the Commonwealth, developing literary connections worldwide.
The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2000-5000 words). It is open to translated fiction. The overall winner receives £5,000 and regional winners receive £2,500. Translators will receive additional prize money.
As well as English, stories are accepted in the Bengali, Chinese, Creole, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish languages. Translated entries from any language into English are also eligible. If the winning story is a translation, the translator receives additional prize money.
Three things you need for creative and artistic success:
- The perseverance to keep creating even when things aren’t working.
- The ability to push boundaries—yours and the world’s—and stay committed to what you believe.
- The confidence to hire the best people to aid you and represent you—and walk away from those who don’t share your vision.
BRAZIL: “Publishing houses in Brazil are expanding their visibility and sales in world book markets with international publication rights sales supported by the Brazilian Publishers Translation Grant… Backed by the export-supportive partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil), the translation grant is designed to support translation into any other language from the Portuguese originals of books originating in Brazil.”
INDIA: “The family of an American journalist of Indian-origin has alleged that he was deported to New York soon after he landed in Delhi on Wednesday night… In India, he covered protests by farmers against agricultural laws – which were later repealed by the government – and made a documentary on Shaheen Bagh, an iconic protest site in Delhi that became a symbol of the widespread agitation against the country’s controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act. His coverage of the devastating second wave of Covid-19 in India had earned him an Emmy nomination.”
AUSTRALIA: “The High Court of Australia has declared that Google is not a publisher. The judgement, which legal experts say could hold significant ramifications for the general public, means that the company is not responsible for defamatory news articles.”
Jamie Ford, who was already a New York Times bestselling author, wrote a book his publisher didn’t believe in. It got picked up by a different publisher, hit the New York Times bestseller list, and is now being adapted for the screen by Jenna Bush Hager and Universal Studio Group.
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