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THE EMPIRE OF JAEL:     HOME  :  ALL COLUMNS

ALL COLUMNS BY JAEL MCHENRY

11 to 20 of 153 columns
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11. a tale of two hashtags
soaring and giggling on twitter
pop culture - general
6.6.11 : feature column!

I woke up late Saturday, hoping to make progress on a boatload of writing assignments (including this one) and took a quick moment to check Twitter. If you're on Twitter, of course, you understand how "a quick moment on Twitter" oh-so-quickly turns into 15 minutes or a half-hour or more, for a number of reasons. Because it's a conversation. Depending on who you're talking to, and what they have to say, you might close the window and walk away after a moment -- or you might find yourse...
12. the debut author's planifesto
sanity and sense for your first book and you
writing - career
5.4.11 : feature column!

The Kitchen Daughter officially went on sale just about three weeks ago, and to be completely honest, I'm still going a little bit crazy over it. When something that you've been waiting for and working toward for so long finally happens, I think "crazy" is par for the course. But there are so many different ways to be crazy. Only some of them are useful. Today, let's talk about the useful ones. Either I'm a columnist because I love to organize things into principles, or I like to organize thin...
13. having the write stuff
authorship, readership, and the sacrifice that isn't
writing - business
4.4.11 : feature column!

It's a very common thing these days to bemoan how writers don't get to "just write" anymore. That instead of just getting to focus on writing a fantastic novel, and having your success rise or fall on writing quality alone, writers have to do a thousand other things. Those who want to become published authors also need to be marketing geniuses, self-promoters, social networking gurus, and tireless advocates of their own brand. In a way, this is kind of true. It's also completely misleading. He...
14. the green-eyed author
dissecting and dodging professional jealousy
writing - appreciation
3.4.11 : feature column!

Somebody's always getting something you're not. It's the truth of being a writer, and a lot of other artistic professions besides. You start out with nothing, and you create, and if you want to share those creations with a larger audience, you have to make a business out of your art. This is a hell of a process. Sometimes you will succeed and sometimes you will fail. You will taste joy and lose it. You will see opportunities and miss them. You will wish for things and some of those wishes will ...
15. good pirate, bad pirate
media, book piracy and how things yarrrr
pop culture - general
2.4.11 : feature column!

Has there ever been a pirate better than Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie? Of course I have a strong personal affection for Kevin Kline as the Pirate King in the 1983 movie version of "Pirates of Penzance", and I'm sure plenty of folks would make an enthusiastic case for Errol Flynn, but nobody buckled his swash like Jack Sparrow buckled his swash. And so we love pirates, don't we? But we also don't. In cases like Depp's and Kline's and Flynn's, w...
16. eleven ways to make 2011 pop
making more, and less, of the coming year
pop culture - general
1.5.11 : feature column!

On one hand, there's nothing we can do about the pop culture we've got coming up. The year will be what the year will be. Movie trailers will give too much of the plot away, the Oscar nominations will be somehow both rote and infuriating, TV will have too many shows we don't like and not enough shows we do, music will be a whole lot like TV, and heaven only knows what's going to happen in publishing. But still. We can dream. So here's what I'd like to see more of -- and less of -...
17. publishing and the princess bride
what aspiring authors can learn from florin
writing - appreciation
12.6.10 : feature column!

William Goldman famously said "Nobody knows anything." He was talking about Hollywood, but it applies to book publishing nearly as well -- no one knows which books are going to be a hit, no one knows what type of marketing dollars pay off, and no one knows exactly where the industry is headed in a rapidly changing landscape. That's not comforting, of course. Flinging yourself willy-nilly into the process of getting published, throwing up your hands and crying "William Goldman said nob...
18. bookstores are aliiiiiive
a disagreement with stephen king
writing - criticism
11.3.10 : feature column!

I suppose it's fitting that the scariest thing I've ever read from Stephen King showed up just before Halloween this year. It wasn't one of his books, incidentally. And he didn't even mean it to be frightening. It was a brief line, almost a throwaway, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal (not scary) about e-publishing (not scary) where he made the following statement about bookstores: What's going to happen to bookstores? The bookstores are empty. It's sad. I remember a time when Fifth...
19. a cover story
how my debut novel got its cover
writing - appreciation
10.4.10 : feature column!

It is both odd and fitting that the one thing that could have the biggest influence on my book's success is something I really had nothing to do with. Odd, because as authors we want to think that our hard work and talent is what will put us, and our books, over the top. Because we want to think that we know best. That because the idea is ours and the writing is ours, that we know how best to title the book and market it and select a cover image that is the truest expression of what we're tryin...
20. who cares what you think?
the unclear future of criticism
pop culture - criticism
9.3.10 : feature column!

Reviews are dead. Long live reviews! The difference between "what the people think" and "what the critics think" has always been rich territory for discussion, but never more than now, especially as "the people" become "the critics" through the internet takeover of society as we know it. If the critics are the people, then there's no difference, right? If we are the reviewers? Hold that thought for a sec. There are, of course, still (some) professional critics employed by major newspapers, wri...
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RAVES

re: life is too short

I don't often read things like this, but this was perfect.

re: life is too short

That is good stuff!

re: 40 weeks of a new life

Great job building up the drama without overplaying it.

re: what september means

Absolutely. And I love Facebook first-day-of-school pictures too.

re: what september means

When I lived in NYC, September was my favourite month.

re: what it feels like for an author

You're one of my heroes. But I think you already know that. Thanks for sharing your world once again.

re: the debut author's planifesto

Very helpful for being published, or life in general. Thanks.

re: who cares what you think?

This isn't a professional review, but you're right on target and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

re: who cares what you think?

I was going to rate this poor, just to prove your point, but nice job.

re: like it's your job

We writers aren't interesting, but "Castle" gives us hope that we may someday bag Nathan Fillion. Excellent observations.

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