Monday, June 29, 2009

Life is too short for shoddy prose

For a while, I’ve wanted to take Booknapped in a new direction. I’ve been thinking of adding more of my own ideas here in conjunction with the ideas of others, commenting on my booknappings instead of just posting them here for you to figure out for yourselves.

My first order of business is to introduce myself and my blog.

What the hell is Booknapped and who are you anyway?

The idea behind Booknapped is that artists work as a filter, taking in everything and holding the best in their subconscious until it comes out in their work. Booknapped is a record of the influences in my world—words so smart I wish I said them.

I’m a writer. By day I get paid to write for other people. I listen to their ideas and transform them into text. By night, and very early in the morning, I don’t get paid to write about made-up worlds and characters I build in my head. One day, I hope to get paid for my night and early morning work, but I’m fine and dandy with paying my dues.

Why should we listen to you?

I don’t know. Maybe you shouldn’t. Use your judgment. I went to a great university where I majored in English. I traveled. I moved to the edge of America to study writing for three years. While I was there, I read all kinds of books. I finished many of them. I also taught writing and literature classes.

Now, I’m an editor. I read about a 100 books a year. I’ve written two novels and millions* of short stories and poems. My writing has been steadily improving for the last 30 years. By my calculations, in another 30, my work will be phenomenal, and this site will have many more readers.

What will we see on the new and improved Booknapped?

Writing tips, links to good articles about writing and funny sites about punctuation, rants and raves about the world and the artist’s place in it, complaints about my characters who have been being bitches and bastards lately, the occasional dirty word, pictures that say a 1000 words, me groveling at the feet of writers so good I want to give up sometimes—etc.

Basically, the same stuff my favorite quotes are about: not being an asshole, not letting the bastards get you down, and writing. I won’t complain about writers and editors even though both piss me off regularly. I might regale you with fascinating stories about the writing, editing, beta reading, and querying process.

Oh and self-doubt, so much self-doubt you could wade in it.

And quiet rebellion. I am a big fan of getting on the boat, and then tipping it from the inside.

On Booknapped, you won’t see reviews--especially bad ones. I might tell you that a particular author is made of awesome or that I want to ask a certain book to run away and elope with me. But I will never say that a book sucked or that a writer needs to go back to waitressing. I won’t do this for several reasons:

  • It’s tacky for an artist to put down another artist. It is impolite and goes against all that I believe. What do I believe? That anyone who has the guts to create something and then subject it to public scrutiny is my hero.
  • I don’t finish books that suck, so for all I know they get better. If I were to say a book was bad, I’d have to read it to the end to make sure I was correct. Life is too short for shoddy prose.
  • Booknapped is a love fest. It’s a place for me to store ideas that are so incredible, so insightful, that I want to internalize them. I don’t want to clog up all this beauty with crap.

You’ll still see quotes sometimes, because, well, wouldn’t it be more fitting to sum it up in a quote? To explain, I’ll use the words of Ricky Fitts from the movie American Beauty:

Because it helps me remember... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in.

Why did it take you so long to put your own ideas on here?

Because I’m shy. In real life, I hide in books, music, and museums to avoid conversations. In my cyber life, I guess I do the same. But here I come, blogosphere. Look out.

P.S., Leave comments, people! Don’t let the only response to my barbaric yawp be my own echo. Let me know what you think of this rash new policy on Booknapped!



  1. It's so easy to hide out in books isn't it? I love the imaginary world!

    Also, I am jealous that you're able to put down a bad book. I usually have the compulsive need to finish a book, even if it kills me. There aren't many I've been able to put down for good and never touch again.

  2. I love the idea of Booknapped as a love fest. One of the things I love about this blog is that it reminds me of my own journal and writing notebooks, places where I store the most important thoughts that I have, the most special and thought-provoking tidbits I encounter in daily life, be it in books, songs, e-mails. Is that narcissistic, then, to say that I love this blog because it is, in a way, a mirror of my own experience as a reader, writer, editor, and observer? Maybe. But I don’t care, because there’s nothing selfish about sharing the love. Thanks for putting it out there every day.

  3. I love Booknapped, and I can't wait for your next post so I get to see the new format. I am especially anticipating some of your quiet rebellion. That's my favorite.

  4. Megan - If a book haunts me, I'll come back to it, but if I don't feel a pull back to it, I don't waste my time.

    Trilby - You should pick a quote so you can guest-blog one day!

    LizBeth - You and I are quiet rebels. Shhhhh.