It’s helpful to have a fictional way to explore the potential fallout that faces us when our government makes decisions about our bodies. These novels offer context and shine a beam of empathy into a situation that has become highly politicized. Ravenous for more information, I took a dive into digital conversations surrounding health, reproductive rights, and motherhood.
The Bad Sex in Fiction Award teaches us several things: first, many novels contain profoundly cringeworthy sex scenes; second, even great writers often flounder when they try to write about sex; and finally, there are plenty of editors who (perhaps begrudgingly, or perhaps because they too are at a loss for how to approach this subject) are letting these giggle-inducing scenes sneak through to publication. This state of affairs might lead us to wonder, Why is it so hard to write about sex? And, more importantly, what can editors do to help?
Gamebooks are about being able to play around in a familiar world, make mistakes, and try again. Interactive books for adults do just that, but this time, the majority of choose-your-path books are focusing on classic and well-known stories, rather than the nostalgic stereotypes found in the kids’ series. Interactive books use the stories of classics––Austen, Shakespeare, historical romance––to give adult readers a chance to toy with the literary worlds they have known and loved.
Creating an original voice, going against the grain of convention, has little to do with the spark we are often told about. Rather, it is a conscious effort to know the rules and when to innovate.
In recent months, it has become difficult to point to a sector of American society that isn’t touched by political turmoil. Our recent presidential election and the mirroring Brexit vote across the pond mark deep and shifting partisan divides that show themselves in business, sports, educational communities, and the arts. Rather than being distinct from these communities and their conflicts, the publishing industry—because of its very nature—must both contain them and be contained by them.
Kali VanBaale’s debut novel, The Space Between, earned an American Book Award (the Independent Publisher’s silver medal for general fiction) and the Fred Bonnie Memorial First Novel Award. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Numéro Cinq, The Milo Review, Northwind Literary, Poets & Writers, The Writer, and the anthologies Voices of Alzheimer’s and […]