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October 15, 2010

Vancouver Antiquarian Book Fair

Yes, I’m writing this as the event is in progress. I forgot about it, even though I was given a beautiful letterpress-printed card advertising the event at the Alcuin Society’s booth at Word on the Street a few weeks ago. But look what I found when I tried to find the date of the event online: the Alcuin Society’s blog.

Terry Pratchett on getting a book written

Once more: with footnotes by Terry Pratchett I love Terry Pratchett (yes, I read them all), but I don’t keep track of when his book are coming out, so every once in a while I have a pleasant surprise when I run across a new title on the shelves of the library or used book store, sometimes even the new book store.
Today I found his short story collection Once More: With Footnotes. Why is reading an author writing about his writing so much fun? Are all great fiction writers even better non-fiction writers?

Just a little way into the book I was struck by something he says in his essay “Paperback Writer”: “And if you think you have a book evolving, now is the time to write the flap copy . . . Getting the heart and soul of a book into fewer than a hundred words helps you focus.”

This reminds me of Blake Snyder’s advice to nail down the “logline,” or short pitch, for your movie script first.

I read it all

Every so often, I think of a story from Stephen King’s book On Writing. At one point in the book, he talks about his former drinking problem. If I remember rightly, he mentions a friend of his, who had gone to see a counsellor about his drinking.

“Well, how much do you drink?” asked the counsellor. The man stared at him.

“What are you talking about?” he said. “I drink it all.”

Well, apparently Mr. King also, in his addicted years, drank it all. And sometimes, when I’m tracking down the thirteenth book by an author I’ve come to love, or I’m systematically reading five years’ worth of blog archives, I think, “What are you talking about? I read them all.”