Salmagundi Thursday

  • You've got to see this awesome video of a crazy fish called the barreleye. It has a transparent head! And tubular eyes that can look forward or rotate up so it can look through its aforementioned transparent head! It is incredibly, delightfully strange.
  • I was much struck by this question for readers on Jennifer Crusie's blog: "On what do your base your expectations of what a book will be like?" Author, flap copy, cover, etc.? I'm working on my talks for the Missouri SCBWI retreat right now (as well as going through SQUIDs), and one of the things I'm thinking a lot about is how writers set up the reader's expectations for the book in the first chapter, and how that shapes everything that comes after. . . . If you have anything to add to the discussion, I'd be glad to hear it in the comments.
  • Editor Martha Mihalick has a wonderful blog: A Curiosity Shop.
  • And former Harper executive editor Alix Reid has a great, reflective blog called Delightful My House. I especially liked her post "Is it the editor's fault or the writer's?" ... I consider this question a lot when I read a book that I think could be better (most recently with Twilight), and the answer is usually: The ordinary reader can't know. We can guess, comparing it to other books the author has written or the editor has edited (if you go that inside-baseball), but even then only the editor, author, and maybe the agent know what happened on the page. I'm just grateful for the times this question doesn't come up.
  • Our church book sale raised over $15,000 -- thanks to any and all of you who came out and bought books!
  • The lovely Marcelo in the Real World has accumulated five starred reviews!
  • And Lisa Yee had a terrific Q&A in a recent issue of the PW Children's Newsletter.
  • Finally, I'm posting another video of a song I mentioned last year: "Die, Vampire, Die," from [title of show], this time in a Sims recreation of the original musical number. Again, this is the best creative expression of the varieties of artistic self-doubt I think I've ever seen, and the best musical encouragement to overcome them. (It rhymes "sock drawer" with "old French whore"!) Do check it out: