The author of “The Parade” on economic imperialism and the future of social media
Two men are tasked with building a road in an unnamed country recovering from a recent civil war. Most other details remain undisclosed in Dave Eggers’ new novel, The Parade. What we do know is that one man, referred to as Four, is determined to finish the road on time and according to procedure, regardless of the locals they pass by begging for help or the misfortune they see along the way. His coworker, called Nine, knows the local language but is lacking when it comes to an awareness of their employer’s policies. They clash; Four doing all he can to stick to schedule while Nine shirks responsibility in order to engage with the community.
With a perceptive eye, Eggers uses fiction to investigate patterns, both political and sociological, that exist around the world. In What Is the What, he critiques American immigration policy by recounting the story of a Sudanese refugee that he met in Atlanta. In The Circle, he explores the pitfalls of social media’s intrusion into our everyday lives. With The Parade, Eggers continues to offer insight into humanity with his characters and the way they interact, or fail to interact, with the situation in which they find themselves.
If you’re like me, you wake up in the morning, brush your teeth, grab some coffee, head to your writer space, turn on your computer, and open your favorite social media account. What might’ve started as a great day quickly turns depressing when you see all the posts by other authors celebrating their accomplishments.
“Great news! I just published my 70thbook!”
“OMG you guys! I just found out I won an award for best author of the century!”
“My latest release made a best sellers list!”
“My series was picked up by a TV producer!”
The list goes on and on. And suddenly your good mood has turned sour and all you can think is how much of a failure you are and how you might as well hang up your pen for good.
Unless you’ve been living in the back of a cave for the last few months, you know that there has been a lot of changes to how Amazon handles their customer reviews. At the same time, getting reviews onto Amazon and into the GoodReads system is more important than ever.
What do authors do now that it is harder than ever to encourage your readers and genre fans to write reviews? There is now an enormous chasm between an author’s needs for reviews and a reader’s comfort level with writing reviews…
I have interviewed Sandra Beckwith about her experiences, guidance, and help with getting reader reviews posted and accepted. This month, DO THIS NOT THAT is all about READER REVIEWS.
Being an author is hard. There’s no way around it. Some days, the prose will spring onto the page almost without effort. On others, it will be an exercise in stagnation and frustration as you stare at a blank screen in a fit of writer’s doubt. Oh, and the actual writing often isn’t the hard part. Authors and writers often work from a deeply personal place. And, if opening up to a new friend is anxiety-inducing, sharing your writing with the entire world takes it to a new level.
Think running a business is hard? Imagine if the business was based around your imagination being shared with others. This is what an author deals with on a daily basis. Thankfully, there are upsides to bring an author. Sharing your creativity can be the most rewarding thing in your life. It’s a chance few will take, but those who do can see great rewards.
Here are a few common issues that authors face, and suggestions on how to overcome them, or put them in perspective.
We’re far enough out from New Year’s that our excitement over making and meeting writing goals may have waned, and we find ourselves slacking. You know what can help boost your output? Writing sprints. Whether you choose a goal based on time or word count, working in sprints can maximize your time and build consistency into your daily writing routine. Paul Bonea is here to show us how they work.
One of the more difficult things to do when it comes to writing is to maintain consistency and structure to your schedule. This is especially true if writing isn’t what you do (yet) for a living, when regular jobs and chores can quickly sidetrack you.
One solution to reach daily consistency with your writing is to work in quick sprints, with firm but easy-to-reach objectives. Once you reach these objectives, you’ve finished writing for the day. How ambitious your objectives are should depend on your own circumstances, such as how much time you have, energy levels, time of day, etc.
The objectives themselves can be set up as either time based, where you allocate a certain amount of time to write each day, or word count based, where the goal is to write X amount of words daily.
These are characters who don’t fit the norm. They are people who make questionable decisions yet still manage to resonate with readers and viewers (like the man who pretends to be Jack Sommersby in Sommersby). They are multi-dimensional characters who often have dark sides that are tempered by strong moral compasses, flickers of conscience and/or incredibly interesting personas (like Hannibal Lecter).