Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Margaret Atwood

Asking Authors (and Readers) Questions . . .

Not long ago, I wrote a post about GoodReads new Ask The Author program.

GoodReads Ask The Author

Image courtesy of Chris Baker ~

Well, not only can you ask over 50 well-known authors questions, now you can ask any authors (there are over 100,000) who sign-up for the program.

Here’s just a bit from GoodReads article about the program:

“If you could ask Margaret AtwoodKhaled Hosseini, or James Patterson anything, what would it be? Maybe you want to know their writing inspiration, what they read as a guilty pleasure, or you have a burning question about one of their bestsellers. Now’s your chance because these three are among the 54 major authors who are helping us launch an exciting new program on Goodreads—Ask the Author!

“Ask the Author allows readers to ask questions and get answers from their favorite authors. At Goodreads, we believe the relationship between authors and readers is very special. Authors tell stories and create worlds that spark the imaginations of their readers. Now readers can deepen that connection by asking questions about the new worlds, ideas, and people they’ve discovered in books.”

Also, GoodReads says they’re starting a companion program called Ask The Reader :-)


Next Sunday, the 22nd of June, from Noon til 4pm EDT (USA), you can ask me questions—about my books or my writing life.

Next Monday, I’ll let you know what happened………

BTW, you can avoid going to GoodReads to ask me questions by using the Comments section of this blog :-)
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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Technology and Creative Writing ~ Can They Play Nice?

Starting with some questions today:

Have there been any technologies since the Gutenberg press that completely changed creative writing?

Were there any technologies before the Gutenberg press that completely changed creative writing?

What’s your favorite technology that seems to help you (or a friend) do creative writing?

Which technology has a negatively disruptive effect on creative writing?

This post can’t promise to answer those questions but might give a few hints

Still, you might feel like answering a few of them in the Comments :-)

The New York Times Sunday Book Review recently had an article called, Writing Bytes, with comments about technology by a bunch of writers (short excerpts follow but do go read the full article):

MARGARET ATWOOD: “Your practice test: Rewrite Edgar Allan Poe’s story ‘The Purloined Letter’, using present-day communications technology. In the original, a ‘letter’, made of ‘paper’, written in ‘ink’, and bearing a ‘seal’,’ was disguised as an inferior letter and hidden in plain view. The letter needed to be invisible to searchers, but close at hand so it could be quickly produced when needed.”

CHARLES YU: “I entered college in 1993 and graduated in 1997. Halfway through, the Internet became a thing. Netscape said: ‘Here you go, here’s a door to a brand-new place in the existence of the universe. We just started letting people in. Go ahead, it’s fun. It’ll keep getting bigger for the rest of your life. Also, you can change stuff in it. You get to make up new rules for everything — thinking, remembering, communicating.’”

MARISHA PESSL: “The trouble with technology is that it eradicates a character’s ability to be lost, and it’s the state of being in the dark and the journey toward understanding that has given rise to the greatest stories ever written.”

TOM McCARTHY: “The argument that the advent of the Internet somehow marks a Telecom Year Zero after which nothing will ever be the same can be made only by ignoring the actual history of literature.”

RAINBOW ROWELL: “‘Twenty years from now, you’ll look back on the first time you fell in love, and nothing will seem more romantic than text messages. Or Snapchat. Or whatever it is you’re doing right now behind your parents’ backs.’”

DANA SPIOTTA: “I’m interested in how an actual phone call has become a grotesquely intimate thing, almost jarring. We want immediacy with an end run around certain kinds of intimacy.”

FREDERICK FORSYTH: “I am an unashamed dinosaur; I still seek out a plot-driven narrative with a beginning, a middle and an end — the last reached after a steadily accelerating cadence. As to research, I eschew virtually all online fact searching because so much is either rubbish or inadequate.”

DOUGLAS COUPLAND: “I think the Internet has eroded 19th- and 20th-century notions of a person’s life being ‘a story’, or the notion that one’s life needs to be ‘a narrative’. Instead we increasingly seem to be seeing ourselves as just one more unit among seven billion other units.

TRACY K. SMITH: “…I remember ‘The Waste Land’, and I begin to feel that the Internet has simply succeeded in reinvigorating a set of ambitions and capacities that have been available to poets for a very long time.”

EMILY GIFFIN: “Technology and gadgetry inevitably filter into my stories, but I don’t believe that such advances, even those that usher in huge cultural shifts, fundamentally change how a story is conceived and constructed.”

ANDER MONSON: “I am drawn mostly, insistently to the human voice. How powerful and necessary the solo voice, the experience of being someone, something else for a little while. This is and will remain literature’s killer app, the thing most impervious to threat by everything that’s not the word.”

ELLIOTT HOLT: “…when I decided to write a story on Twitter, I embraced the particulars of the form. I created three different characters and set up three fake accounts, then tweeted in their voices.”

VICTOR LaVALLE: “In the past a writer had to go outside and get to know others before learning about their work, but the Internet has made humanity more accessible for misanthropes like me.”

LEE CHILD: “…technology hasn’t changed my narrative approach at all.”

MEG CABOT: “I often wonder which popular social messaging platform will become the new abandoned playground of the Internet, so I try to avoid mentioning them by name to keep the book from seeming too dated.”

TAO LIN: “I don’t think technology can have an unavoidable, nonlocal, non-trendy effect on storytelling until it allows humankind to join a kind of Overmind — to attain some form of ‘total identification’.”

A. M. HOMES: “…the fact of the novel, the intimacy of reading has not changed, be it in print or on e-readers. The act of reading is one to one, the connection between author and audience goes deeper than an avatar or invented other can defend. The novel speaks to us quietly and stays with us even as we sleep.”

You might also want to read the comments on that article (40 when I checked)
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

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