(From the obsol­ete French à bric et à brac, mean­ing ‘at ran­dom’…) Here are a few things I’ve spot­ted on the web over the past week; I note them now because I’m about to bug­ger off to Germany for a couple of weeks. First up is a series of posts by Sara Gran (heads up from John Barlow). Sara is an American writer who has had some suc­cess with her first three nov­els. She’s been describ­ing some of the prob­lems that have befallen her pub­lish­ing career. Here’s one of my favour­ite bits, phoning her pub­lish­er:

And you are…?”

Um, I’m one of your writers? I’m pub­lish­ing a book with you?”

Oh, oh, okay, sorry.”

Eric Rothkirch writes a great post about genre fic­tion, and the value of the writer put­ting his or her arse on the chair and get­ting on with the job. Some inter­est­ing thoughts, includ­ing:

Sometimes to make a mark on the world, you don’t have to be the greatest or the best. You can put out shoddy work. You have the full free­dom to make grave storytelling mis­takes. It’s bet­ter if you don’t make the mis­takes, and it’s bet­ter if you put out great work instead of mediocre. But that didn’t stop the legends of sci-fi from becom­ing legends.

When every­one else gives up, or stays at home… When every­one else quits or quietly goes away… that is the per­fect oppor­tun­ity for you to make an entrance.

Sometimes, all you have to do is show up.

I have a feel­ing that Brother Rothkirch speak­eth the truth.

And, des­pite an intro­duct­ory sen­tence that declares ‘Brett Easton Ellis is a phe­nomen­on’ (grrr), I can recom­mend a series of video inter­views with this author over on the BBC Collective. I haven’t read any of his works, but I’ve cer­tainly heard of them: Less Than Zero, American Psycho, Lunar Park. He’s an enga­ging inter­viewee and dis­cusses the craft of writ­ing, among oth­er things.

Talking of inter­views, I pre­sume you’ve already come across the fant­ast­ic Don Swain inter­view archive. Throughout the 1980s, many of the best writers swung through his small New York stu­dio, and this web­site presents the uned­ited foot­age: Norman Mailer, John Updike, Frederick Forsythe, Robert Ludlum, Douglas Adams, Gore Vidal, and lots more. Classic.

Otherwise, Michael Allen (aka Grumpy Old Bookman) is seri­al­ising his latest nov­el, How and Why Lisa’s Dad Got to be Famous, for free over on his web­site. And are you find­ing it dif­fi­cult to wring enough pro­ductiv­ity from the damp tow­el of your day? Steve Pavlina may have an answer for you. Lastly, via Joe Gordon over at Forbidden Planet International, comes intel that Scottish author Ken Macleod (who will I always owe big time for being the first ‘prop­er author’ to read my book and provide me with some blurb; said blurb prob­ably being instru­ment­al in get­ting me sub­sequent reviews…) has been dis­cuss­ing what it’s like to be nom­in­ated, sim­ul­tan­eously, on three sci-fi prize short­l­ists. Ken’s new book is called Learning the World.

Hocking out.

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Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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