Friday, December 04, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

Contrary to appearances, I have been plugging away at my book -- indeed, that's partly why the blog has been quiet lately, that my writing brain is going into revising those talks (lightly). I'm now at a point where I need to decide which of the two versions of my 2006 plot talk will go into the text . . . if either, as there's also a 2008 plot talk that will definitely be in the book. And unavoidably for me, it makes many of the same points, albeit from a different angle and with rather different emphases.

So I thought I would ask you, dear readers, as you know best what's most useful and fun for you: Would you rather have Aristotle, Austen, Plot, and Pleasure: What a Dead Greek Philosopher and A Classic English Novelist Can Teach Us About Writing for Children? Or its slimmer, sleeker, less personal but rather more user-friendly cousin, The Essentials of Plot? (They're really far too much alike to justify including both.) Or do you think one plot talk is enough for a writing book? Let me know:



This poll will close next Thursday, December 12, at midnight; any further thoughts are welcome in the comments. The book should now hopefully be available -- knock wood and my work and designer's schedules -- by the end of February 2010. Thank you for your patience, and your feedback!

ETA: Please note this poll is not in reference to the TITLE of my book, as some commenters seem to believe; that's pretty well fixed in my head as SECOND SIGHT, with a charming cover with eyeglasses and everything. This poll is in reference to which of two very similar talks should appear WITHIN the book. Apologies for the lack of clarity.

18 comments:

  1. I voted "Neither" mainly because I like shorter non-fiction books. It seems like the longer ones are typically repetitive (at least the more modern ones), almost like they're just trying to take up space so they seem more scholarly and therefore more credible--that's just a guess.

    But if the info is already in the book in some form, I say once is probably enough.

    Know that I say this with the humblest of hearts... :)

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  2. Woohooo! Aristotle and Austen in the lead- I love that talk!

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  3. Um, YAY, you're writing. Um, YAY you're writing.

    And I've read her writing, you guys are in for a treat! :)

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  4. Hooray for the Austen title! Having mere hours of college left, I have come across MANY different titles, and I really believe the ones with a title similar to your Austen/Aristotle choice were

    1) the more eye-catching (hence plucking the book off the shelf), and

    2) ultimately more engaging simply because the title (like yours) was followed by the same kind of adventuresome tone of voice, and I picture your book doing the same.

    A title like "The Essentials of Plot," while informative, doesn't seem to have quite the same down-to-earth tone (what? earth tones??) to it as your other choice. Maybe it's because I've just had 6 years of reading textbooks, but I really feel that "The Essentials..." sounds more like a textbook, and less like a really engaging read.

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  5. I'd take 'em both. I need all the help I can get.

    Okay, geez, Aristotle.

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  6. Afer re-reading them both, I chose the Essentials of Plot because it combines the best of Aristotle and Austen and adds to it.

    But after seeing the poll, I see others don't feel the same. ;-)

    I'll just be glad to get my hands on a copy of the finishe product. =D

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  7. umm . . . looks like the "d" didn't make it onto the end of "finished" . . . but you all know what I meant. =)

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  8. I prefer the "Essentials of Plot" because it got to the point quicker, and being unfamiliar with Jane Austen's books, I couldn't understand the point as much as if I had read some of her work.

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  10. Aristotle, Austen, Plot and Pleasure! I think it's a fantastic piece -- it's so compact, and I love how you've attempted to apply Aristotle's ideas within a larger framework. The Essentials of Plot is great too, only it's..less interesting (less fun? more academic?), I suppose. Once you've read the former, this one seems to pale in comparision.

    I'm so glad I rediscovered these talks now; I read them a long time back and forgot about them (they also didn't make a lot of sense to me then) but now, having read criticism on Poetics and Austen's novels, I'm in a much better position to appreciate them!

    (I deleted the previous comment; lots of typos in there!)

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  11. I pick Aristotle, Austen, Plot and Pleasure. If I saw that title in a bookstore, I would wonder how pleasure is connected to the others so I would be inspired to pick it up and read it. Then the first page or two would determine if I read further. Good Luck!

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  12. And excellent point, Anonymous, about people who hadn't read Austen having a harder time with AAPP. Hrmm.

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  13. Definitely, definitely "Aristotle and Austen"...hands down! Can't wait for the finished product.

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  14. Definitely, definitely "Aristotle and Austen"...hands down! Can't wait for the finished product.

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  15. Perhaps if you included a line or two from her books, Cheryl, to help people like me who haven't read her books, so we can understand your point better (without having to read the entire story you are referring to)?

    PS, although I personally prefer the Essentials of Plot, I have enjoyed reading EVERY talk you have written, and gained something from each of them.

    Char

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  16. I reread them both and prefer the "Essentials of Plot" talk. It seems the more straightforward of the two.

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  17. Gosh, I didn't know you were writing a book! I need to get out more often.

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