As part of a collaboration with several international magazines, Full-Stop is publishing Babelsprech International, a series of articles on poetry around the world. In the latest edition, Karel Piorecký writes about contemporary Czech poetry, drawing a line between the pre- and post-Communist periods. Related: John Yargo on the Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal.
In writing her novel The Last Neanderthal, which published this week, Millions staffer Claire Cameron relied on Jane Smiley’s motto for writing historical fiction: “you are there.” Bonus: Don’t miss our interview with Cameron, in which she describes her many “life-long obsessions.”
“When John Green told the crowd that, though he was proud of the movie, it wasn’t his movie, someone shouted, ‘But it’s your plot, John!’—which marked the first time I’d ever heard heckling about the nature of authorship.” Green, author of YA bestseller The Fault in Our Stars, is the literary hero of teenage girls, and nerdfighter hero to millions. After you read the excellent profile at The New Yorker, consider the The Millions’ own review.
“During various periods of my life I have succumbed to the siren call of sleeping pills. It is hard to resist their promise: one tablet, and your night will be purged. Your brain may be in overdrive, its receptors working away, hungrily awaiting more images and information, but like a computer it is forced into another mode. Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone, seesawing between mid and shallow slumber, mind and body dulled but not of their own accord.” A lifelong insomniac recounts her long struggle with the illness.
Interested in writing a bestseller? You may want to check out Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers‘ newest book, The Bestseller Code. Or maybe not: “At times, it seems like Archer and Jockers are trying to retrofit a closed system. They found that best-sellers have lots of contractions—the better, they explain, to mimic contemporary speech—and exclamation points only rarely … They conclude that best-sellers consist of ‘shorter, cleaner sentences, without unneeded words,’ and that best-selling characters ‘make things happen.’ Active verbs predict best-sellers better than passive verbs. ‘Hesitation doesn’t keep pages turning,’ Archer and Jockers decide. After all that work, in other words, the algorithm ends up confirming the uncontested tenets of craft and style.”