The Art of Fiction was a famous essay by Henry James, from 1885. This blog is written by Adrian Slatcher, who is a writer amongst other things, based in Manchester. His poetry collection "Playing Solitaire for Money" was published by Salt in 2010. I write about literature, music, politics and other stuff. You can find more about me and my writing at www.adrianslatcher.com
Friday, December 29, 2006
Over (and under) production
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Can people be right, when they're so wrong?
The Novelmaker Wizard for Word 97
The Novelmaker Wizard for Word 97
This wizard is compatible only with Microsoft Word 97. Earlier versions were not supported by the wizard and for later versions you are advised to download the appropriate upgrate, such as Novelmaker Wizard for Word 2003.
This read me file is supplied in addition to the online help function, however, the wizard has been designed to take you directly through the novel writing process without any further necessary knowledge.
The wizard was developed after it was discovered that many people were using Microsoft Word and associated products to produce novels. This ad hoc approach to writing indicated a demand for a product that would help standardise novel writing, to the benefit of all. Novelmaker Wizard is not currently available for other platforms such as Macintosh OS and Linux, however it is hoped that developments in the future will use the proprietary standard developed here.
The Novelmaker Wizard makes use of existing computer skills such as word processing, drag and drop, cut and paste, and style sheets. It is expected that your novels will benefit from being spellchecked and grammar checked and autocorrected by the standard functions in your word processing package. It is not the aim of Novelmaker Wizard to write the novel for you, simply to make it easier for you to do so and to introduce standards that mean your novel, once completed, will be of a publishable quality and similar to all other novels published.
Although other platforms (e.g. pen and paper) have been used for writing novels in the past they had obvious drawbacks. The lack of a word count in particular meant that some novels (e.g. Moby Dick, The Fountainhead) were far too long and some (e.g The Great Gatsby) were a little short. This causes problems for novel buyers who are increasingly likely to demand a standardised product. Novelmaker Wizard is fully customisable however it is recommended that the proper length of your novel is between 60,000 and 100,000 and these are the default settings. To change these, please see the online help.
The chosen font for your novel is Times New Roman, 12 Point. We realise you may want to change this, but it is has been proven that manuscripts written in this font are more likely to be taken seriously by overworked publishing executives.
The Novelmaker Wizard has several "Chapter" options that can be set at the outset. Because the contemporary reader is likely to be put off by long chapters the default setting for Chapter Length is four thousand words. Within this there are also defaults for Section and Paragraph. Clearly, there are novels that do not adhere to these standards, but frankly, who'd be interested in reading them? As always, there is a manual mode, but it rather defeats the object of using the wizard in the first place. Don't worry if your first draft overruns the suggested Paragraph, Section and Chapter lengths - they will be automatically adjusted to fit. (There are 2 options available: either split into 2 or more Paragraphs, Sections or Chapters or use the Novelmaker's extensive summarize functions to remove extraneous lines.)
Saturday, December 23, 2006
So my tracks of the year would have to be…
1. Kona Coast – the Beach Boys (MIU Album)
2. A Fond Farewell – Elliot Smith (From the Basement to the Hill)
3. Amoreena – Elton John (Tumbleweed Connection)
4. Crash Street Kids – Mott The Hoople (The Hoople)
5. Sleeps with Angels – Neil Young (Sleeps with Angles)
6. Miss Black America – Curtis Mayfield (Curtis)
7. Major Leagues – Pavement (Terror Twilight)
8. Fake Tales of San Francisco – Arctic Monkeys (Whatever I say I am...)
9. Beautiful – Christina Aguilera (Stripped)
10. Standing in Your Shadows – Puressence (Only Forever)
11. Roscoe – Midlake (Trials of Van Occupanther)
12. Mucky Fingers – Oasis (Don’t Believe the Truth)
13. Loose – The Stooges (Funhouse)
14. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking – Rolling Stones (Sticky Fingers)
15. Lets Go Together – Jefferson Airplane (Blows Against the Empire)
16. Shining Star – Earth, Wind & Fire (That’s the Way of the World)
17. That Summer Feeling – Jonathan Richman (I, Jonathan)
18. We Need a War – Fischerspooner (Odyssey)
19. T-Shirt – Destiny’s Child (Destiny Fulfilled)
20. Better to Have It – Bobby Purify (Better to Have It)
Friday, December 22, 2006
271 Chris Moyles books and counting
Sunday, December 17, 2006
The contents page, subject to minor change, is here....
Part 1: Last Lines
To thaw the freezing in our hearts
Twenty Years Left in the Rain
Changing Colours Over Time
The Fear of Sight to the Long Since Blind
We Were Never Good in Water
Of Love and Death in the American Novel
Making out I am grateful after all
In Any Garden But Eden
As the day, so the night
Drinking and Eating All on My Own
Tending the garden for your return
When Every Photograph is Packed Away
But Something Isn’t Loving
Part 2: October
1: “Clusters of birds are making their way south – “
2: “Damn life continues in some unholy way – “
3: “Could I have done things better?”
4: “Where I was when the mood struck – “
5: “Did the tragedy happen offstage?”
Part 3: Other Poems
The Dream with the Butterflies
The Ordinary is not Necessary
The End of the Story
...and the most recent poem, "The Decemberists" is below. Happy Christmas
The year has been the warmest yet
and we notice the signs -:
It is December, yet half the trees are dressed;
late autumnal browns amongst the evergreens –
And the late afternoon red sky
acts as a banding of lights
Blinking through the impatient leaves,
lighting a runway for birds.
Last week, I woke to find
a carrion crow -:
Strutting with a Salford air,
its bright eyes and tongue-beak
Daring the world to approach.
The city is returning to nature,
And nature returns to the streets –
gaunt foxes out looking for twilight rucks.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Books of the Year? Not a chance.
I've talked before about the difference between British and American novels/novelists - and its interesting to read that the American's like our writers, yet according to novelist Benjamin Markovits, "England, as it appears in the US bestseller charts, is the country of Oxbridge and public schools." The thing is, he's not wrong is he? Our Ian McEwans and Zadie Smiths and Kazuo Ishiguros are all happiest in "traditional, elitist, class-ridden" England. There's many other Englands, yet our most successful writers ignore them, or only acknowledge them when set against the status quo of the establishment. Whilst these writers are our most successful exports, what chance that publishers will look elsewhere?
Monday, December 11, 2006
This story must have a valid ticket and cannot travel before 9.30
Perhaps because I spent a dozen years recording synthesizer-based music, people sometimes expect me to be listening to a non-stop diet of Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, and Kraftwerk, with a smattering of Aphex Twin and Chemical Brothers for when I'm feeling a bit more modern. Yet, I've rarely done so - and those artists feature only marginally in my collection - but with it coming to the end of the 2006, what have I been listening to? This year it's been many things, but the artists I've kept coming back to are the Beach Boys (particular their 70s recordings), Elliot Smith, Mott the Hoople and Neil Young (his 90s stuff mainly.) All very melodic stuff, but with a bit of a rhythmic spine to it. That said, I've also a bit of a thing for synth/rock crossover at the moment - Tackhead, Fischerspooner, George Clinton and Armand Van Helden. Electronic rock often gets as bad a press as funk-rock; but when it's done well...
Saturday, December 09, 2006
A Christmas Present from the Poetry Society
Monday, December 04, 2006
Borges v. BBC4
Sunday, December 03, 2006
The difficulties of writing a sandwich
Poets as novelists...
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Prematurely Reviewing the Year
Friday, December 01, 2006
Lame at Fast
Monday, November 27, 2006
The End of Rock and Roll
Not only are "Take That" number one in the singles chart, but here is the album chart top 8...
1. The Love Album - Westlife
2. Stop the Clocks - Oasis
3. Love - the Beatles
4. u218 singles - U2
5. Twenty Five - George Michael
6. High Times - Jamiroquai
7. The Sound of Girls Aloud
8. Overloaded - Sugababes
In other words, everyone is a greatest hits, apart from the Westlife album, which is a covers album.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The Names have been changed
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Oh no the Beatles
Roger & Out
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I was walking down the road the other day
By the Sea
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
You Know You Should Like Them, But...
Friday, November 03, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
Last Hand Books
I rarely post up photos on this site, lack of "material" and I'm a bit luddite when it comes to photography (though hoping to change that shortly.) Anyway, this was taken when I went to Hay-on-Wye when I went in August, the outdoor bookshelves by the castle, not so much secondhand as last-hand books.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
The Long Haul
Thursday, October 26, 2006
In praise of Low Brow
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
|MUCH have I travell'd in the realms of gold,|
|And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;|
|Round many western islands have I been|
|Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.|
|Oft of one wide expanse had I been told||5|
|That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne:|
|Yet did I never breathe its pure serene|
|Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:|
|Then felt I like some watcher of the skies|
|When a new planet swims into his ken;||10|
|Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes|
|He stared at the Pacific—and all his men|
|Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—|
|Silent, upon a peak in Darien.|
Friday, October 20, 2006
So much information
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
One Day in history
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Swimming or Drowning
The novelist is Mancunian
And he spits out the words
Takes tea with Lew Grade
And agrees to "do" Jesus.
He'd get a kick from the sanskrit
And papyrus, this linguologist,
Gasping for a beer on the road into Burma.
We look on at our life, make do with the naming -
But not the great writer,
Has still to wrestle posterity down
Finger reputation before the last breath.
I would burn all the books, burn them -
Let him stay on in memory
Kicking and screaming his way from the music
Ornating his pages with Joycean flourish
Out with his droogs drinking moloko
And never in need of rhyme for orange.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
How I Write
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Wanna watch the Booker? Think again.
"The announcement of the winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction will air on the BBC 10 O'Clock News. This will be followed by coverage on BBC 2 Newsnight, BBC News 24 and BBC Radio 4 as well as interviews that will air around the world. BBC Radio 4's Today Programme has been airing pieces on the shortlisted authors throughout this week."
What went wrong? What happened to the live show? And god forbid there's some real news tonight. The TV ceremony WAS the Booker in my mind. Otherwise what's the point of the rest of the country getting all worked up? As it stands its just a black tie do for the publishing industry. I seem to remember that everything from the Orange to the Turner gets a tv showing these days, leaning on the Booker example. So, I don't know who decided to pull it - but it's a shame. Remember, BBC, you're still angling for an increase on your licence fee...But if I was a betting man, I'd not have a bet on the Booker this year, the best book will win, I guess, but whether it grabs the attention of the public is another matter. And that's got to be bad news for the retailers. Tower Records, a "long tail" retailer of American legend, is no more, and if it's gone, with its knowledgeable staff and wide-ranging back catalogue, what hope for HMV etc? The Oasis greatest hits apart, there's not many "big" records due this Christmas, and back catalogue exploitation has probably now reached its ultimate: a 2CD "Deluxe Edition" of Abba's "Arrival" album. The bottom of this barrel looks thoroughly scraped. Reading Simon Reynolds enthusiastic history of post-punk, Rip it Up and Start Again, he makes the point that in the late 70s, early 80s, albums were deleted so quickly by the majors, that you always had to look forward. Indie singles could sell 20-30000 copies, creating a genuine alternative to the mainstream. The massive availability of music via the internet doesn't really mean that much - nobody's pushing the envelope anymore, or if they are, its only their acolytes who are buying. And where music has gone, you'd be a fool, or a shareholder in HMV, not to think that books and DVDs will follow. Is YouTube, bought today by Google, the MTV? Or could it morph into a paid-content Chain-with-no-name? It's certainly an alternative distribution medium, as is print-on-demand for small presses. Just as the record industry of the late 70s required massive budgets, advances and sales to make money, the current film and publishing industries are wedded to the same. If this Tower is Babel, then can you hear the lapping of the waters all around?
CODA: Kiran Desai is the winner.