Janet Savin

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Hi everybody,This is a PS to the excerpt that I posted of a mass demonstration in Prague 1989. It se…
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  •  · Happy to but you’ll need to DM me with your email. G
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Hi everyone,I’m posting an excerpt from Vol II of my novel on the Velvet Revolution for comments, as…
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  •  · Hi Penny,Thank you for reading & commenting. Libby also suggested moving up Jarek's remark, and …
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Hi everybody,Anna just found this link to Greg Buchanan's advice on talking to agents. It might be o…

Good for you, Catherine!

Hi Reidr, Sorry! I should have checked on your nationality. I'm American too, but there are Brits on JT who cannot handle the accent, and they seem to have scared me. 😳 

Fingers crossed! 

You're right about the marketing. See how the book does. If you're not happy with the sales, you could try one of Bryan Cohen's free webinars, if his American accent doesn't annoy you. He's genuinely interested in helping people, has a team on hand to answer questions in the chat, and it's my experience that their answers are never general, but concrete & helpful. He does webinars on book blurbs (Best Page Forward) and Amazon Ads (Amazon Ad School), but near the end of the webinars he often evaluates people's Amazon pages: the cover, the description, the ad strategy, and he really knows his stuff. Even if you don't want to do ads, it's tremendously useful.

Hi, Paul-Dominique

Good for you for remaining 'unfashionable' and true to yourself. The rapidity with which each new vogue catches on is disturbing, and so is the way many people subscribe to it, seemingly without much questioning.

I agree with you, Libby. The article strikes me as irresponsible journalism. Faulks seems to have used reactions from readers as an occasion to reflect on presenting a female character, but the journalist didn’t present it that way.

There’s (deliberate) confusion in the article. The headline trumpets fear, but Faulks never uses either that word or says anything which implies it. It also says that he no longer describes what female characters look like. However, from what he actually says, it sounds like he does do so, simply indirectly rather than directly. (I haven’t read his new novel, and that would be the real test.) Speaking of that novel, which came out of his reflection, Snow Country, he says :

"...you do get an idea of what she (the main female character) looks like, a little bit, but only through what her female friend says to her and what she says when looking at herself in the mirror."

Jon, it seems to me that Faulks does address objectification in what he says just before the passage I’ve cited :   "Although she (the female character) is the object of some desire from two men, she is not seen through, to use another vogueish phrase, the 'male gaze'… 

This sounds like a quiet, mature attempt to address the question of presenting a female character by one particular writer rather than a generalised proclamation about a current problem – although it appears to deal only with physical attributes, not interior experience.

It’s sad to see the question become so polarised. Isn’t it logical that authors developing female characters or any minority group that’s been sterotyped, as Jon mentions, will have differing approaches, not only because authors are so different – thank goodness – but also because of the long history of the sterotypes.

Of course, if the journalist presented the question through the lens of quiet reflection, the paper wouldn’t sell very well. Around mid-20th century, good journalism still focused on educating the public and informing public opinion. That hardly exists any more. I don’t know the Daily Mail, but from what Kate says, it’s egregious. However, Eric read the article in The Times, and Laure says that the essential of the article is in the Mail – I assume the substance, but don’t know about the tone. 

It is true that the decline of journalism has become generalised. (The New York Times was recently exposed for sloppy and possibly self-interested reporting.) So many journalists slavishly follow what they think will tantalise the public, including digging into the private lives of others. But we read that stuff, and I can’t say that I’m entirely innocent when it comes to sensationalism, even though I think it’s terribly unethical.

Hi Eric,

Thanks for your reply. I always think it's good to see the entire context, and Laure suggested I look at The Daily Mail where the article is posted.

Eric, is there a way you could send me the paragraph where the statement appears -- if you still have it? (I live in France and won't be able to see what Faulks wrote.) I too, think he's an excellent novelist and among what seem to be the sad and ironic aspects of this statement which I haven't seen for myself, is that, of the novels I know, Faulks created particularly convincing female characters in Human Traces. Indeed, I feel Sonia to be one of the more highly realised female characters in contemporary novels -- and that includes, but is hardly limited to, rendition of her unexpected miscarriage, later pregnancy and childbirth.

Hi Libby, I apologise for answering this so late. I was in a bit of a work-panic when I saw it; I should have just stopped and answered you. I read the book in the English translation because I read it in connection with my own novel. Heydrich makes an appearance there, and it has asides to readers too, although of a very different kind. I’d love to read HHhH in French – whether I ever do is another question. But I think Laurent Binet is brilliant. He’s written alternative history, you know, and it also received a prestigious prize from the super-critical French – not that I’ve read that either.

I thought this was an especially interesting post. What you say makes all the sense in the world, but it's great to have somebody else lay it out as you've done. The book has popped up several times when I've been on-line. It looks intriguing, but what a shame about the 'trick' on which you and Glyn exchanged.

Hi Julie,

I've been following this fascinating thread and just wanted to say that I think the piece is charming and am very impressed with what you're doing, just like everyone else is.

It's beautiful to see you expanding your repertoire and getting so much support.


Hi RJ,

Laurent Binet in his novel about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, HHhH, used asides brilliantly -- and was unduly criticised for it by some who didn't get what he was doing. The asides were justified by both his subject & his approach. He's writing about a well-known historical event, but he questions  many conventions, both those of substance ("historical truth", eg.) and those of style (eg., how to sustain interest when the outcome of your story is already known?). The asides to readers are precisely one of a number of ways that he does sustain interest.

The point is that if you break the boundary, as Libby says, you need to have reasons that serve your subject, your approach or both. It becomes another skilful means of realising your intention. If that's missing, it will seem fake.


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