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Mary Sue Digital, LLC

E-book production, marketing and editing services for busy writers

I was utterly fascinated by this story about a group of German artists who programmed a series of bots to “write” books and then self-publish them on Amazon. In their own words:

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Okay, this is admittedly tangental to my blog topic (as are most of my posts…), but I just have to wonder, Carrie Bradshaw style… what’s with the media misconceptions about sex in romance novels? Romance novels are a 1.4 billion dollar industry, which means that a whole sh*t ton of women (and even a few men) are reading them. And yet I still hear the following two phrases uttered with some frequency whenever people in the media discuss the romance genre: (1) “Romance novels are smut/porn/bodice-rippers.” (2) “Romance novels don’t have any sex in them.”

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I’m firmly in the digital camp (well, actually I have my feet in both camps… is that even allowed?) but I still enjoyed this short, beautiful video which follows several Toronto booksellers and printers as they navigate the muddy, swirly waters of the digital age. In the words of the film’s creator:

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I really enjoyed this opinion piece about the future of the book review because it acknowledges the realities of the changing landscape, realities that critics at the major newspapers seem content to ignore. For readers like me, reviews are a way to narrow the field. There are simply too many books out there for me to rely on the opinions of critics who praise every book they review out of some kind of outmoded ethical obligation to… well, I’m not really sure what.

Unfortunately, the increase in negative criticism is creating a gulf between readers (who thanks to Amazon and Goodreads, are now reviewers) and the writers whose books they read and comment on.

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There’s an interesting discussion going on over at Dear Author about whether this is a good idea.  I’ve seen the news on a few different blogs this morning and the comments seem to be almost universally negative.  Words like “violation,” “blasphemy,” “laziness,” and “disgraceful” have been used to describe the idea of adding sex scenes to classic literature.

I guess I’ve been outvoted but I think things like this are okay.  Unfortunately, they’re never executed very well, but that’s a whole other issue (check out the excerpt from the BDSM version of Jane Eyre here).  The point is that there is no law preventing it from happening, and that’s really, really important.  I hope there never will be.

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Letter Writing

Hmm… What about Cornelius Arbuthnot III?

Coming up with interesting characters is my favorite aspect of writing fiction.  I enjoy it more than the writing process itself which is really, really, really hard and not nearly as much fun as you would think.  That doesn’t mean writing isn’t rewarding.  It’s just not all that fun.

Luckily, character naming is fun and it’s also a really important part of the process.  I can’t get to know a character and start to tell his or her story until I’ve pinned down a good name.  

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File:Firefox Multiple mines.pngHow did people procrastinate in the days before high-speed internet?  I’ve been thinking about time-wasting techniques this afternoon because I just discovered yet another pleasurable time-suck: houzz.  Houzz is a home design website that lets you browse half a million photographs, create  albums of ideas, and share images through social media.  It’s a terrible, terrible idea!  

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