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Simon Owens
Posted on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 10:54 am:   

Since the last Lit Haven thread was pretty long, I thought I'd start a new one here:

http://www.lithaven.com

Any suggestions are welcome.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 03:35 pm:   

We just published a mini-interview with Jack Fisher, editor of Flesh and Blood, up at Lit Haven. Potential writers can get an inside look at his tastes:

http://www.lithaven.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 11:21 am:   

We just posted an interview with Elizabeth Bear:

http://www.lithaven.com
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T Andrews
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 05:38 pm:   

Enjoyed both interviews--short but sweet. I like the blog-style of the site!
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Simon Owens
Posted on Monday, November 08, 2004 - 06:52 pm:   

Thanks!
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Simon Owens
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 01:56 pm:   

just posted another interview, this one with Nick Mamatas.

http://www.lithaven.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 08:47 pm:   

We published an interview with Paul Tremblay over at Lit Haven.

http://www.lithaven.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2004 - 08:39 pm:   

We published an interview with Doug Lain at Lit Haven.

http://www.lithaven.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2004 - 10:44 am:   

Since the election, many liberals have decided to turn back to activism, but are unsure of where to start. At Lit Haven, I just posted an essay on Political Activism through Literature, perhaps as a thinking point on how to start:

http://www.lithaven.com
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Teresa Cochran
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 08:02 am:   

I particularly like this one. Of course, art and literature can be very powerful. Note Sinclair's _The Jungle_ for a classic example. Also, the underground poetry scenes, from beat to slam and everything in between, parallelling the other art media and communities.

Teresa
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Simon Owens
Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - 01:51 pm:   

Yes, incidently, _The Jungle_ was also mentioned in response to my Lit Haven essay over at the Asimov's Board.


http://www.lithaven.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Thursday, November 18, 2004 - 05:42 pm:   

For those who have livejournals, Lit Haven has a new livejournal syndication so you can read it from your friends list:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/lithaven/

Feel free to add it to your friends list if you have a livejournal.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 11:57 am:   

We just posted an interview with M. Rickert over at Lit Haven.

http://www.lithaven.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - 05:36 pm:   

We've been mostly quiet for the past month, but over the last week we've added some new posts that others might like to read.

http://www.lithaven.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 09:45 am:   

As many might have noticed, it looks as if The Write Hemisphere has been discontinued. Would anyone like to see Lit Haven pick up where the Write Hemisphere left off by putting in occasional writer's market posts?

http://www.lithaven.com
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Simon Owens
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 12:16 pm:   

http://www.lithaven.com

Earlier today I posted a message on several boards asking if writers would be interested in me opening Lit Haven up to writer’s market posts about submissions guidelines since The Write Hemisphere has been discontinued. On the message boards where people responded, everyone said they’d like me to do this. So starting today, I will be accepting submissions from publishers and editors for submission guidelines and other related writerly info. You can either use the “submit” function at the top of Lit Haven or email me at SimonOwens@comcast.net. You can also submit links to your markets if you’d be interested in me recommending any writing in your publication.

I’d like to ask those who were interested to spread the word about Lit Haven so that publishers and editors can find their way to this site. You can also point livejournal users to Lit Haven’s livejournal syndication at http://www.livejournal.com/userinfo.bml?user=lithaven if they want to add it to their friends list.

I’ll issue a disclaimer now that I reserve the right to not post certain submission guidelines on this site.

I’ll also say that Lit Haven will continue to serve its previous function as a valuable link portal resource for readers.
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Simon Owens
Posted on Tuesday, January 18, 2005 - 05:12 pm:   

Just finished a new interview with Catherynne M. Valente at Lit Haven:

http://www.lithaven.com
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Scott William Carter
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 08:49 am:   

Simon,

Regarding your first entry there on bad writing, I'd be careful with doing negative reviews like that--especially if you have hopes of making it big as a writer. Today's beginning writer could be tomorrow's influential editor, it happens all the time, and most writers have long memories. When your novel comes across that editor's desk ten years down the road, do you really want them to think of you as that guy who said they couldn't write for shit?

And anyway, why do negative reviews at all? I've had this discussion with lots of writers and I never get a satisfactory answer: whether it be books, movies, or music, isn't the point of a review to call attention to something you think merits it? There's so many good books/movies/songs out there that escape public attention--why on Earth would you want to waste ink (okay, bits and bytes in this case) on something you thought was bad? The proper thing to do with something bad is to ignore it. It's not like you're under some sort of contractual obligation here to review whatever comes across your desk.

Just my opinion, of course, and I wouldn't say anything except I hate to see writers hurt their careers.
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T Andrews
Posted on Wednesday, January 19, 2005 - 11:47 am:   

I don't like to see writers hurt the careers of novice writers...seems rather mean-spirited, imo.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 06:09 am:   

I've had this discussion with lots of writers and I never get a satisfactory answer: whether it be books, movies, or music, isn't the point of a review to call attention to something you think merits it?

On what do you base this assumption?
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JV
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 06:39 am:   

It is a bit like shooting a mosquito with an elephant gun.

I'm with Nicholas re wanting that question answered, Scott.

For one thing, as a consumer, I rely in part on the opinions of reviewers I respect to winnow down the number of books/movies/CDs I'm interested in. Otherwise, my world would be madness. :-)

But there's also the importance of the negative review of an important book that helps to crystalize people's perception of the book, one way or the other. There are reviewers who, if they write a negative review of something, I'm fairly sure I'll love it. For example.

JeffV
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T Andrews
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 08:07 am:   

I agree that negative reviews are valuable. They don't serve any purpose, however, if the piece reviewed is that of an amateur. As well, the LitHaven review wasn't a well-supported arguement. It was a cheap shot; the review wasn't argued at all. A 'ha ha, this sucks' sort of thing isn't a review. All that does is entertain in a cynical, unkind and unproductive manner.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 08:23 am:   

Yeah, I agree about that, T. Worst case--I remember some editor once posted pieces of rejected manuscripts on his or her website along with mocking commentary, which was just *wrong* in so many ways.

JeffV
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Scott William Carter
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 08:45 am:   

I agree with T. Andrews, though I figured the "mean-spirited" aspect of the post was obvious.

On what do you base this assumption?

On the assumption that there's no real proof that a negative review suppresses the sales of a book. In fact, the anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that any review, good or bad, boosts sales. So why boost the sales of a book that you thought was trash? Why not help an author who deserves the extra help? It's a personal opinion, and I realize that; my point is that when there's so much out there worth reading/viewing/whatever that's getting missed, why bother wasting my time bashing something that isn't? To allow yourself to feel superior to whatever it is you're bashing? If a magazine only ran positive reviews, and just ignored things they couldn't recommend, wouldn't that have same winnowing effect you mention, Jeff? Yes, this philosophy wouldn't work all the time--there are certainly big names that people are going to want to hear about, the bestsellers, the blockbusters--but it certainly would work for the vast mid list.

And that's to say nothing about the harmful effects it could have on the future career of a reviewer who has hopes of making it big as a writer.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 09:08 am:   

If a reviewer has to fear that, then the people he's reviewing are worthless. I've been reviewed negatively several times. I would never think of screwing that reviewer over if they also happened to be a writer. And when I review someone negatively, I assume they won't hold a grudge, which may be naive, but you should assume the best about people. (And I've had people I reviewed negatively email me about it and bitch me out, and that's fine, too. Didn't affect my review of their next book, or make me want to stab them in the back.)

I think if you're operating out of fear as a reviewer, you're worthless.

If a magazine doesn't run lukewarm and negative reviews of certain books, then I think we also lose half of the way we gauge how to read the *positive* reviews in that venue.

JeffV
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Scott William Carter
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 09:44 am:   

If a magazine doesn't run lukewarm and negative reviews of certain books, then I think we also lose half of the way we gauge how to read the *positive* reviews in that venue.

I see what you're saying, but if the magazine states its policy up front, I don't think that's true. If they operate under the assumption that they only review what they think people ought to take a look at, then I don't see how that's any different than actually running the negative reviews as some sort of ballast. You can even do this with anthologies: "The three stories that stood out for me were . . ."

My perspective on whether writers should write reviews comes from me seeing writing fiction as both an art and a business. The artist side of me says sure, write reviews, be honest, take no prisoners, but the business side of me says that you don't piss off people who might one day write you checks. Especially when there's absolutely no point. Especially if you have any hopes of making it a full-time living at it someday, dim as those prospects may be. I mean, if you're a writer, why take the chance? When I've considered writing reviews, I always come to the conclusion that I could spend my time that way or I could spend my time getting better at the craft. Since my goal is to be a master storyteller, and not a master reviewer, I always choose the latter.

I'd like to think the best of people, too, Jeff, but unfortunately real evidence often has a way of getting in the way. :-)
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 11:00 am:   

I guess you'd better get out there and start tossing off as many pe-I mean positive reviews as you can, Scott. I mean, any one of these guys might be writing your ($0.03/word) paycheck in future, right? That's worth gagging the artist side of you fer sure.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 11:02 am:   

Scott:

You have to stand true to what you believe in. It's that simple. And if you feel it's important to do a review, or that you been *assigned* a review and it's part of your job and your income to review a book, then you should go ahead and do whatever you have to do so you can look at yourself in the morning. After all, in 50 to 70 years we'll all be dust anyway.

We should be able to foster an atmosphere of communication and disagreement that is healthy and productive without worrying about such things. And it can get contentious, but for the most part, except in extreme cases, it shouldn't get personal--or, if does, just for a day or two, and then everyone's nose is no longer out of joint.

I'd rather work toward *that*, even if I don't always achieve it. Besides, any author worth his or her salt would prefer a negative review to no review at all, even if at point of impact the negative review stings like hell.

That said, reviewing always takes a backseat to what I'm doing fiction-wise. But, regardless, I have no interest in operating from a position of fear or a position where I feel blackmailed before I even sit down to write a review. When I do, I'll stop writing reviews entirely.


JeffV
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Scott William Carter
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 11:17 am:   

You have to stand true to what you believe in. It's that simple.

I agree with you, but you don't always have to put it in print. ;) Other than that, it's not worth arguing. It's not like I'm ever going to write reviews myself--and the original post was more about helping Simon and I let myself get sidetracked.

I mean, any one of these guys might be writing your ($0.03/word) paycheck in future, right? That's worth gagging the artist side of you fer sure.

There's a difference between holding back the vitriol and outright ass-kissing, don't you think?
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 12:34 pm:   

Yes; the difference is follow-through.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 12:42 pm:   

Sorry to Simon for hijacking his thread.

I guess my last point would just be that you could as easily piss somebody off who can affect your career in future with the benign opinion. You just never know. Anyway, no vitriol toward you intended. I just get nuts thinking about how petty we can all be, myself included, from time to time.

JeffV
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Simon Owens
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 03:11 pm:   

"Sorry to Simon for hijacking his thread."

No problem. I've been watching this thread the last few days with not much to contribute.
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jeffV
Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 06:10 pm:   

Simon:

Would you like a separate messageboard for New Lit Haven stuff? Just email me if so.

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