This week! Books!
Bestselling author Richard North Patterson tackled race in his newest novel and while he claims he received positive feedback from agents, editors, and even the head of a publishing house, no one picked it up, which he attributes to his decision to include two Black protagonists. He writes passionately against a publishing climate that silos authors and forces them to stay in their own lane and that “deny the essential engine of literature, indeed, of compassion: the capacity to imagine lives beyond our own.”
It’s never too late to take up writing, and to prove it, an award was launched by literary agency Jenny Brown Associates launched an award at the London Book Fair for debut authors in the UK over 50.
Curious/confused about how ChatGPT works? The NY Times has a feature that shows how GPT gradually learns how to “speak” over the course of many different training sessions.
Speaking of which, Laura Miller took a look at Stephen Marche’s AI novella Death of an Author and thinks it’s pretty good. Given how meticulously it was created/edited/crafted, I still can’t see it as anything more than a gimmick. If someone crafted a novella solely out of magazine clippings, you wouldn’t say magazines “wrote” the novel, how is this any different?
Blending memoir and fiction? You’re probably writing autofiction. Adele Annesi explains what it is and how adaptation works.
And in writing advice news, Susan Dennard (whose craft posts are always on point) has some excellent advice on tightening your prose, and agent Kate McKean argues that end of the day you should write the book you really want to write.
This week in bestsellers
Here are the top five NY Times bestsellers in a few key categories. (All links are affiliate links):
Adult print and e-book fiction:
- Simply Lies by David Baldacci
- The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
- It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
- Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
- It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
Adult print and e-book nonfiction:
- The Wager by David Grann
- Outlive by Peter Attia with Bill Gifford
- Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
- You Can’t Joke About That by Kat Timpf
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
Young adult hardcover:
- Five Survive by Holly Jackson
- Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken
- Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman
- The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera
- Lightlark by Alex Aster
Middle grade hardcover:
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Refugee by Alan Gratz
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
- The Rhythm of Time by Questlove with S.A. Cosby
- Big Tree by Brian Selznick
This week on the blog
In case you missed them, here are this week’s posts:
- The first draft is always the hardest (and why you shouldn’t fear starting over)
- Don’t rush to the inciting incident (page critique)
Don’t forget that you can nominate your first page and query for a free critique on the blog:
And keep up with the discussion in all the places!
And finally, the 1600s were a positively wild time in Britain in a way that doesn’t always stick in the imagination like the American and French revolutions, perhaps in part because the events were wildly complicated. I really enjoyed Adam Gopnik’s look at the different crosscurrents and some of the luminaries, including Oliver Cromwell.
Have a great weekend!
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