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  • Recommended reads on the craft of writing

    I am a novice in terms of novel writing, and I had to work hard to re-up my skills in order to finish a manuscript that could sell. For aspiring novelists out there, I really, really liked Annie Lamott's Bird by Bird and Elisabeth Gilbert's Big Magic.What are some of you favourties? I'd love to hear about them. posted by Lauren Ho on August, 04

  • Some thoughts on the whole Ownvoices reviewers debate after GMAbookclub's Kevin Kwan interview

    Good grief. That was a painful thing to see unfold. A book, timely and well done, that has explicit (it's acknowledged on the jacket FFS) themes of internalised, external and familial racism, prejudice and cultural identity, with a biracial character, should NOT have been dissected on a book club of that stature without more ownvoices (OV) reviewers, or at least a more diverse bunch! I mean, come on. A ownvoices book can run the risk of being dissected by certain reviewers who are insensitive to the nuances and range of a foreign culture, reviewers who might dismiss characters as being problematic without trying to understand their lived experiences or the cultural/generational context. I've seen it happen to so many OV books. A DIVERSE OV-skewed (different races, different genders) panel would have been the right way to go for a book with SUCH a strong OV slant. Sex and Vanity deserved that. Like the rest of Kevin Kwan's books, Sex and Vanity has important things to say about race […]

  • Comedy and self-censorship

    On Monday 29 June, I had a wonderful IG live chat with one of my absolute fave comics, Pete Johansson (fun fact: He's in my acknowledgments! with a typo, but then again, there are a few of those in this edition because of some production issues/effing pandemic.)Pete and I chatted about comedy, the future of it, self-censorship, the PC wave, trigger warnings, a whole bunch of fun stuff. Aside from being a critically-acclaimed comic who's got a special on Netflix, he's also studying at the Uni of Toronto for a degree in psychology/AI/machine learning. I'm in awe of this very professional comic who's been nothing but kind and generous to me when I was an amateur comic. If you'd like to watch the episode, it's on IGTV on @hellolaurenho. Enjoy! posted by Lauren Ho on July, 01

  • Social Media Etiquette

    Guys, it's great you want to contact your fave author. It is! I try my best to respond, and when I respond, I try to be of service to the person writing to me. Especially when it's someone seeking advice.Some basic principles to keep in mind though:- no one, and I repeat, NO ONE is obliged to respond (do you expect a response every time you cold call someone in real life?)- if that person responds, it's up to them how they want to respond to you. You don't get to dictate the content of their response, nor the form.- there's a REAL PERSON behind this avatar you see. So you know--be a decent human being?80% of the shit we see around us would not be a thing if we just learned to exercise more common sense, and dish out some kindness. Now go forth and be productive, positive humans, my dears. Our time on earth is precious. posted by Lauren Ho on June, 26

  • Perfecting your craft-- Advice for aspiring authors

    Something some readers have asked me is: what books do you recommend when it comes to the Craft?There are a lot of good books out there that will help you level up your writing craft. I personally LOVE Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, and Stephen King's short but sweet book On Writing. I also consider Struck's manual The Elements of Style to be instructive. I'm a pantser by nature, which leads to shaky plots and shaky stories. I worked on this aspect and now I'm kind of a plantser-- a gorgeous hybrid between plotter and panster. I love KM Weiland's amazing website with her detailed guide to plotting--free (-ish) and EXCEPTIONALLY helpful. She's amazing!But most of all, read widely, read across genres in your spare time, and schedule me time for yourself. Avoid toxic energy vampires (family and friends included--but especially learn how to turn off social media. Some people just don't know how to be people). Live well, spent at least 30 mins a day writing, and you're on your way to becoming […]

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