On December 28, Kasie and Rex were on vacation but pre-recorded an end-of-the-year round-up for your listening pleasure. Happy New Year! Here are the show notes:
Theme for the day
Auld Lang Syne
- What the phrase means and how it’s being used
- When/Why/How did this retelling thing start?
- How to do it right
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my favorite Christmas song (which I have yet to hear) is “Same Old Lang” by Dan Fogelburg and a friend argued that song must be about New Year’s since the title refers to “Auld Lang Syne” a Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and put to song traditionally sung on New Year’s Eve.
Burns may have borrowed some of the lyrics from a 1711-ish song by James Watson:
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On old long syne.
With this being our last broadcast of the year, I thought we’d do a little end-of-year thing and talk about goals and outcomes and plans for 2020. Cool?
Old lang syne means “old times” or nostalgia. So I went looking at our last year’s-worth of posts and thought we could talk about what we’ve worked on this year.
- Characters: Despicable, Evil, and the Anti-Hero, cliches versus archetypes, the Mary Sue, and naming them,
- Publishing: disruption in the industry, boutique publishers, business side of writing, and the various paths available
- The writer’s inner world: Voice, writers’ motivation, measures of success, emergence, traveling, and what it takes to be creative
- Structure: The Hero’s Journey here, here, here, here, and here; the Short Story here, here, here, and here; and pacing here and pop culture references here.
52 episodes of writing talk. It’s been a lot of fun this year.
Some of our personal expert moments: The Horror Genre Episode (Rex) and The Difference Between Fiction and Non-Fiction (Duh) with Anna Courie (Kasie).
So beyond our show, what big things happened in literature this year?
The National Book Awards shortlist includes 5 fiction nominees I’ve never heard of. So there’s that. All by major publishers, which is interesting. Since last year we saw some boutique and small press representations:
- Susan Choi, Trust Exercise
Henry Holt and Company / Macmillan Publishers
- Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sabrina & Corina: Stories
One World / Penguin Random House
- Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
- Laila Lalami, The Other Americans
Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House
- Julia Phillips, Disappearing Earth
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House
Entertainment Weekly added a Top 10 List of their own:
- 10. The Need by Helen Phillips
- 9. The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
- 8. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
- 7. Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
- 6. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
- 5. Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken
- 4. Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
- 3. Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe
- 2. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
- 1. Normal People by Sally Rooney
Read any of those? Embarrassingly, me neither.
Segment 3 & 4
Which made me think, what’s happened in our world in the last ten years? Some trends worth discussing:
- The opportunity afforded by self/indie publishing.
- The stigma(?) associated with self/indie publishing.
- The decreasing role of literary agents.
- The rise of small press and boutique publishing.
- Short stories in decline, short stories on the rise. So which is it?
- Digital journals: more opportunity or dilution of the literary world?
- More marginalized voices.
- The rise of e-reader popularity and “scandalous” titles — romance authors are KILLING it.
- Who is making money and how are they making it?
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