Around the Web: Top literary stories of the year, Wired goes sci-fi, and more

by G. Robert Frazier

I often troll the Internet and my web feeds for interesting articles about writing and reading in my ever-going effort to increase my knowledge and skills. Because I’m such a swell guy, I also like to pass along some of my finds to you lucky readers and fellow writers. This will, however, be the last such roundup on this site. I’m going to start a new “Resources” subpage where I will list links to some of my favorite writing sites, podcasts, and so on. If I see an article of particular interest, I will instead offer a blog post about that article along with my take. But more on that later. For now, enjoy the first and last Around the Web below, and Happy New Year!

From the unmasking of author Elana Ferrante to Bob Dylan’s surprise win of Nobel Prize for Literature, Electric Literature highlighted the top 10 literary stories of 2016.

The New Yorker published a terrific article about how Lee Child built his series character Jack Reacher. It’s an interesting look at the creative process of one of America’s best-selling authors, kind of a Cliff Notes for those who don’t want to read the more exhaustive behind the scenes book Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me by Andy Martin.

wiredI recently received the January issue of Wired magazine and am looking forward to reading it. I just subscribed at the dirt cheap price of $10 for a year, which I thought was a great bargain. And that was before I learned the January issue is Wired’s first-ever issue devoted to science fiction! As Wired’s editors put it, “Ultimately, the goal … is to give you, the reader, something that helps you let your own mind wander. Think about what is possible, what is plausible, what is terrifying, what is hopeful.”

If you ever wondered how publications decide which books make their year-end top book lists, the editor of The New York Times Book Review, Pamela Paul, explains the process.

Last year (I can’t believe it’s 2017!), I had the opportunity to attend Ann Patchett’s book launch for Commonwealth in Nashville. During her discussion, she mentioned Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge, which challenges readers to step out of their comfort zone by reading different authors and genres. Check out the details on the 2017 challenge and give it a try.

The New York Public Library is launching its own imprint to publish books drawn from its collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps and photographs.

If you haven’t seen Rogue One yet, you may want to skip this entry and come back to it later. … For the rest of you, The Guardian’s film blog includes an interesting discussion about the thrilling recreation of actor Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin through a revolutionary CGI process. While the appearance of a long-dead actor on screen again is fascinating, it raises questions about using the likeness of individuals in such instances and who owns the rights to such an image. I was personally thrilled to “see” Cushing, of whom I am a longtime fan, on screen again.

Congratulations are in order for Sourcebooks founder/publisher Dominique Raccah, who has been named Publishers Weekly’s Person of the Year after 30 years in the business.

Author J.T. Ellison’s blog on Getting the Most Out of Social Media is a must-read if you’re a writer looking to build an audience.

Whether you are a writer or a reader, you may enjoy this look at the screenwriter’s journey. Speaking of screenwriting, there’s good news on the spec sales front. According to an FX study, the number of scripted originals hit a record of 455 in 2016, up from 421 in 2015. Online services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon accounted for 93 of those. As many as 500 originals could be on the air in 2017.

peeplandIf you’re a fan of crime novels and films, you will probably be excited like I am by the launch of a new crime series of comic books from Hard Case Crime. I collected all the Hard Case Crime novels when they were published in mass market paperback form but held off when they switched to trade paperbacks for financial reasons. The comics may get me hooked on this series in a new way.

Wattpad has become a hit resource for writers looking to build a fan base or get feedback on their stories from an online audience, and it’s not done growing. I haven’t explored Wattpad as yet, but this article has fueled my curiosity.

Harry Potter scribe JK Rowling is preparing a pair of new novels, one under her own name and one under her pen name of Robert Galbraith. No word on whether our favorite boy magician will appear in the Rowling novel.

The Atlantic highlights some of the best writing advice gleaned from author interviews over the past year.

In Memoriam

LitHub has compiled a last goodbye to several notable authors we lost in 2016, including Umberto Eco, Harper Lee, Pat Conroy, Edward Albee, Natalie Babbitt and others. Of course, we also lost Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher this past week, who was an accomplished writer in her own right.

Seen any good articles on reading and writing? Share the link in the Comments!

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