Good writing

One of the many wonderful things Donna Tartt does in her writing (see The Goldfinch) is use descriptive ‘lists’ … this is a technique that really adds depth and interest to her writing:

“What I somehow hadn’t expected was a city prinked-up for Christmas: fir boughs and tinsel, starburst ornaments in the shop windows and a cold stiff wind coming off the canals and fires and festival stalls and people on bicycles, toys and color and candy, holiday confusion and gleam. Little dogs, little children, gossipers and watchers and package bearers, clowns in top hats and military greatcoats and a little dancing jester in Christmas clothes a la Avercamp.”

This is Amsterdam, by the way … and Tartt gets a lovely rhythm going in this description.images-1

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‘What are the biggest lessons you’ve learnt from your failures?’

IMG_0382Failure is something many writers come up against time and again, so I was interested to read this response from young Australian artist Gemma Jones:

“That a knock-back stings, but it doesn’t really injure you. That I sometimes live in fear of failing, and when the crunch comes it is disappointing, but it turns out I’m still standing. And, in the end, you forget about your losses and your failures – so sometimes I just choose to fast-track the forgetting bit. Coming to a deadend can also mean that you have a chance to pick a new adventure.”

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Finally, a positive article on publishing

From The Economist, a marvellous essay on books and publishing. Here are a few quotes:

‘… to see technology purely as a threat to books risks missing a key point. Books are not just “tree flakes encased in dead cow”, as a scholar once wryly put it. They are a technology in their own right, one developed and used for the refinement and advancement of thought. And this technology is a powerful, long-lived and adaptable one.’

‘The growth rate of e-books has recently slowed in many markets, including America and Britain. Publishers now expect most of their sales to remain in print books for decades to come—some say for ever.

There are a number of reasons. One is that, as Russell Grandinetti, who oversees Amazon’s Kindle business, puts it, the print book is “a really competitive technology”: it is portable, hard to break, has high-resolution pages and a “long battery life”.’

‘Books will evolve online and off, and the definition of what counts as one will expand; the sense of the book as a fundamental channel of culture, flowing from past to future, will endure.’ 9682_Greg_Straight_Fantail_Dot_s

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Latest review

Neat review of The Children’s Pond by Karen Chisholm on the AustCrimeFiction blog: www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-childrens-pond-tina-shaw

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A v special fan email

images-2Dear Tina

Just finished – late last night – the new novel.
& greatly enjoyed it, did I.
Congratulations’n’ all that

I haven’t ever fished for trout, but have
always loved the area.
I used to stay, on a regular basis,
at Brian Jones’s Braxmere Fishing Lodge.
Many good – & productive – times
spent there. For sure.

Well, best wishes to you.
I’ll be rereading CHILDREN’S POND
pretty soon, I can tell.

ole & aloha

Sam

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Hager makes some good points

Dirty Politics makes some really insightful comments about the media and voting. Hager may sound idealistic, but wouldn’t it be great to aim for a fair and transparent style of politics in this country? Here’s one point he made that really struck me as interesting in light of young people being turned off voting:

“… the trick of political media management is not to get this or that press release covered; it is about ‘framing’ how journalists perceive issues … Which brings us back to the quote from Simon Lusk in the first chapter. ‘There are a few basic propositions with negative campaigning that are worth knowing about. It lowers turnout, favours right more than left as the right continue to turn out, and drives away the independents.’ In short, many people simply stop participating in politics. If politicians cannot be trusted, if politics looks like a petty or ugly game and if no one seems to be talking about the things that matter, then what’s the point of bothering to participate? Just leave them to it. There are innovations in US Republican Party thinking on this point: election tactics do not have to be just about winning votes; they can be equally effective 220px-Dirty_Politics_coverif groups of people in society just stop voting altogether. We should not assume that everyone thinks low voter turnout is a bad idea.”

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My novel on the List!

A little bit of bragging …

New Zealand Fiction – Week ending 19 July 2014
The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton (VUP) ISBN 9780864739889
The Children’s Pond - Tina Shaw (Pointer Press)
The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton (VUP) 9780864739124
4 Heartland - Jenny Pattrick (Black Swan)
Tenderness: Stories – Sarah Quigley (Vintage)
Purgatory Rosetta Allan (Penguin)
Landscape with Solitary Figure – Shonagh Koea (Vintage)
Chocolate Cake for Breakfast – Danielle Hawkins (Arena)
9 Carnival Sky – Owen Marshall (Vintage) 
10 Where the Rekohu Bone Sings Tina Makereti (Vintage) 

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I’ve recently started work on my next projecthead&tree and got to thinking about how messy and convoluted it sometimes seems to be when writing the first draft of a novel … am reminded all over again of how the first draft can be an adventurous place to visit. Often I don’t know what I’m going to write until I’ve written it, and often I’ll only write a page or two … but when I get into the flow, it’s magic.

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From the Auckland launch

Here’s a pic from the book launch in Auckland … poet Janet Charman giving her witty opening speech.  Launch_Janet

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Ebook out now

The ebook version of my novel The Children’s Pond is now available from mebooks.co.nz and here at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LX954M6

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