Category: Guest Voices

Molly Best Tinsley ~ What’s Become of Literary Fiction? Part II

Part 2: I am a literary artist. © All Rights Reserved. Molly Best Tinsley. I invite you to repeat along with me: I am a literary artist.  My work affirms the creative process, which takes place in the special world of the imagination, a world apart from time and money, deadlines and the commercial exchange of commodities. Even though many of the people around me don’t respect this process, because it “wastes time” and doesn’t make money, I maintain my commitment to discover and express my unique vision. Even though the mainstream publishing industry is no longer dedicated to fostering the next American classic, but to guessing the next blockbuster, I won’t let that get me down.  I won’t let that stop me from telling my stories.  I won’t let that stop me from making art, because a society without original art is a society without a soul. In my last post on this blog, I sketched the parallel devolution of legacy publishing and my career as a writer of literary fiction over the last thirty years.  Now I’d like to propose a campaign.  Because we do have a fight on our hands.  At stake are all those lost souls wandering around the shopping malls asking each other, “Did you find anything?”  Or numbed out in front of TV watching some mindless reality show. We need to become literary...

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Molly Best Tinsley ~ What’s Become of Literary Fiction? Part I

Molly Best Tinsley ~ Guest Writer © All Rights Reserved. Molly Best Tinsley.  Thirty years ago, I was finally following my passion.  Completing a Ph. D. dissertation in literature had taught me a surprise lesson:  I did not want to spend my life writing literary criticism.  I wanted to write literary fiction.  Two National Endowment of the Arts fellowships and a bunch of awards later, it seemed I’d made the right choice.  Then my first novel, My Life with Darwin, came out to positive reviews but modest sales, and from the point of view of mainstream publishing, my writing career was over.  Houghton Mifflin, the publisher, passed on my story collection and a second novel.  So did the other big publishing houses.  In the late eighties and early nineties, when all this was happening, I was too busy wrestling the pain of rejection into creative defiance to grasp the larger picture. Older and cooler now, I tend to view my problematic literary debut as an accident of history.  It happened to coincide with a cataclysmic change in the publishing landscape.  Pardon the drama, but it’s as if the devolution of contemporary publishing has been tattooed on my heart.  Of course, I wasn’t the only casualty.  I had friends in the same boat, and they had friends.  The ranks of outcast writers were swelling.  They still are.  For those of us...

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Frank P. Araujo ~ Addendum to the Adverb Rant

Why do we dislike adverbs so much? I know, I’ve heard all the arguments about how they slow down the action, the beauty of the language is in its raw simplicity, we should use action verbs instead of generic, and so on. However, one could argue these observations are merely matters of style and as such, these august pronouncements are just opinions. However, I think there’s a deeper reason for this that goes beyond mere stylistic choices.

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Frank P. Araujo ~ A Linguistic Take on the Adverb

Guest Writer Frank Araujo gives his linguistic take on the adverb. © 2013 All Rights Reserved. Frank P. Araujo. Why do we dislike adverbs so much?  I know, I’ve heard all the arguments about how they slow down the action, the beauty of the language is in its raw simplicity, we should use action verbs instead of generic, and so on. However, one could argue these observations are merely matters of style and as such, these august pronouncements are just opinions. However, I think there’s a deeper reason for this that goes beyond mere stylistic choices. The simple linguistic question that creeps up every time is how do words function syntactically?  If we’ve been able to glean anything out of the convoluted rules of optimality theory, it’s that generic is basic and marked is specific.  Marked structures are tighter, more emotion-packed and carry a finer degree of information.  Hence, in the sentence, ‘I see a dog,’ little more than the basic information is provided for the listener, so when we say, ‘I see the dog,’ the object is marked and the listener locates this mutt that has already been encountered in the discourse. For languages like English, Spanish, German and French, this is an important contrast. Some languages like the Slavic, Chinese and Japanese don’t have this distinction. X-bar theorists note that the components of a phrase are a...

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©2010-2017 Jack Remick, Robert J. Ray. All rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including text and images, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Short excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray and "Bob and Jacks Writing Blog" with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.