The History of Literature #133 – The Hidden Machinery – Discovering the Secrets of Fiction (with Margot Livesey)

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Ever wonder how fiction works? Or what great literature can teach us about writing? Novelist Margot Livesey returns to the show for a discussion of her book The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or @WriterJacke.

History of Literature #80 – Power Play! Shakespeare’s Henry V

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Show Notes: 

Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or by leaving a voicemail at 1-361-4WILSON (1-361-494-5766).

You can find more literary discussion at jackewilson.com and more episodes of the series at historyofliterature.com.

Check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/historyofliterature.

You can follow Jacke Wilson at his Twitter account @WriterJacke. You can also follow Mike and the Literature Supporters Club (and receive daily book recommendations) by looking for @literatureSC.

Music Credits:

Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).

“NewsSting” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

HoL Episode 30 – More Conspiracy!

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What do Edgar Allan Poe, J.K. Rowling, William Shakespeare, Stephen King, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Justice Antonin Scalia have in common? Jacke Wilson connects the dots with another look at conspiracy literature, literary conspiracies, and the people who love them. (Part 2 of 2.) Continue reading

Terrible Poem Breakdown: An Apologia (and What They Knew #16-24)

Yesterday we started the new series Terrible Poem Breakdown, in which I criticized a Terrible Poem primarily for its negativity. I’ve had it pointed out to me that this may be somewhat hypocritical, coming from me. This blog has not exactly been moondreams and rainbows.

Readers, I’ve been trying to be encouraging! And yet I have conveyed some very bleak thoughts indeed, especially in the What They Knew series. But isn’t that just being real? There’s a fine line between a pessimist and a realist! Sometimes no line at all!

So in the holiday spirit, I’m going to run through the entire next batch of What They Knews. I will look at each of them, examine them for signs of negativity, and assess whether they should be released upon the world or whether they should be buried in my What They Knew Discard vault.

And along the way, I hope to get a better sense of myself. Me, Jacke Wilson, clear-eyed purveyor of uplifting sentiment…  Continue reading

The Spirit of Self-Publishing: William Shakespeare Edition

So you’re thinking about self-publishing. You take some consolation in the dignity of small audiences and the examples of Marcel Proust and others.

You use examples like the great Joanna Penn to show you the way. She reminds you that you’re keeping 70% of your sales (and 100% of your control).

David Gaughran explains how the publishing piece of the writerly endeavor is now easy (though the other two pieces – writing and marketing – are still hard).

You already know the writing piece is hard, of course. And you’re glad to hear the publishing part is easy. (So easy a monkey could do it.)  Then you listen to something like the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast episode with Leeland Artra. And you realize just how far down that rabbit hole you can go. Spreadsheets? Ratios? Writing computer programs to send out tweets? Pulling down stats? There’s a lot of effort there – effort that’s not writing, effort that might not be something you enjoy. Frankly, it sounds like a terrible distraction from writing itself, at least for you. And you start to think – well, what’s the point of writing this if nobody reads it? Why go through all this effort?

And then – serendipitously – a friend tells you the story of a guy he knew who sold shirts out of the trunk of his car. He’s now 41 years old. You may have heard of his billion-dollar company.

And you read about the greatest writer of all, the king, the master, the honey-tipped quill, who himself had the entrepreneurial spirit:

It was an unprecedented step for an Elizabethan author to take a stake in the ownership of of a theatre company and it put Shakespeare in a “unique position”, compared with his literary contemporaries, claims Dr van Es, from Oxford’s faculty of language and literature.

It made Shakespeare much richer, but it also gave him much more freedom over his writing and allowed him to innovate.

And you think: yes, this is hard, yes, this is lonely, yes, this is probably futile…

But yes, this has benefits, yes, this gives me what I didn’t have before, and above all: Yes, it’s time for me to get this done. 

Go forward, young self-publishing grasshopper!