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(Fark Fiction Anthology)   "Kinsey wanted Dellenback to film his own staff. There are three ways to read that sentence, all of them true." -Mary Roach, Bonk. This is your Fark Writer's Thread, Reading Edition   ( divider line
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1003 clicks; posted to Main » and Discussion » on 07 Dec 2022 at 3:00 PM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook

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View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
2022-12-07 2:19:36 PM  
Mary Roach is an American nonfiction writer who is equally a master at popular science and humor. She's published six New York Times bestsellers, covering taboo topics from sex, death, war, and the afterlife, all from a scientific perspective, made probably more interesting by her approach as a writer without a science background.  She approaches these questions with a self-deprecating awareness of her own ignorance that makes her writing easily approachable by those of us who also don't have PhDs, and she does it with a trademark humor that would easily stand on its own.

On the humor side of the scale, she often employs an almost Douglas Adams or PG Wodehouse-style sentence twist, where the end of a statement modifies a previous bit to comedic effect. For instance, describing a student in Packing for Mars: "He has a minor in explosives and the slightly bitter, misanthropic personality of someone who shouldn't." She also takes care to point out the utter absurdity of science, as in the headline quote, which makes reading about even the most banal or other uninteresting subjects fun.

From the science writer side, she approaches the topic with an everyperson's level of knowledge, letting her own curiosity drive her to comedic and educational effect. Reading her books, a reader might find themselves enjoying learning about things they might never have even thought about at all:

"The human head is of the same approximate size and weight as a roaster chicken. I have never before had the occasion to make the comparison, for never before today have I seen a head in a roasting pan." -Mary Roach, Stiff

True to her offbeat and oblique approach, this article lists seven 'Bad' writing habits to keep according to Mary Roach:

Promise things you can't deliver. The worst thing you can start with is a limitation.
Be unprepared. Preparing too much may limit your ability to wing it when you need to.
Get in over your head. If you only start on things you know how to do, you'll never learn or grow.
Sweat the small stuff. Details matter, especially in science.
Be disorganised. Don't let yourself get locked into an outline if you see another opportunity down the line.
Litter your prose with scientific jargon. "Sometimes the language of jargon is so rich, and can be narrative."
Act your shoe size, not your age. "If it takes maggots or farts to get people interested in a certain subject, so be it."

She's definitely a pantser not a plotter, but her approach sure seems to work.

Fark Fiction Anthology Update!

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I'm currently looking around for more ways to advertise and market the anthologies, which leads us to . . .

The Writing Question of the Week!

What is the most effective way to market your books? What good and bad experiences have you learned? What tips and tricks are there for promotion?
2022-12-07 3:08:50 PM  
I can read that sentence in more than three ways, given that "film" can be two different verbs, "staff" can have multiple meanings and "his" can refer to either person in the sentence.
2022-12-07 3:09:34 PM  

toraque: Mary Roach is an American nonfiction writer who is equally a mistress at popular science and humor.

2022-12-07 3:10:59 PM  
I have no idea.  The only acceptance letter I've ever received is from this cheesy has-been news agregator website.

I treasure my rejections, though.
2022-12-07 3:16:17 PM  
Funny story, a while ago I grabbed The Roots of Desire by Marion Roach because I thought it was Mary.
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/was still really good though
2022-12-07 3:26:01 PM  
If you enjoyed Bonk, I'd highly recommend Dr Tatiana's Sex Advice to all Creation - by Olivia Judson. Entertaining and educational.
2022-12-07 3:29:01 PM  
The Kinsey Institute has some amazing online archives.
2022-12-07 3:38:43 PM  

Rent Party: I have no idea.  The only acceptance letter I've ever received is from this cheesy has-been news agregator website.

I treasure my rejections, though.

You can publish through Kindle Direct publishing. Amazon will print your book on demand and ship it to whoever orders it. You're responsible for your own Editing and marketing though, and you can only sell through Amazon or by selling author copies that you purchase at cost.
2022-12-07 3:40:39 PM  
Mary Roach asks and answers the questions you want to read about.  All her books are super readable and interesting.
2022-12-07 3:52:13 PM  
I have been doing lots of writing lately, mostly outlining a business plan. But I have noticed, as I keep putting pen to paper, that new ideas keep flowing as I keep working. It is a creative process, not just a mechanical one of filling out a form. That has kind of surprised me, how creative it has become.

On the other hand, when you keep putting pen to paper, and keep on doing it, the writing begins taking on a life of its own. That part didn't surprise me.
2022-12-07 3:53:29 PM  
I've read Mary Roach's STIFF book.  It was very, very good and covered all morbid bases.
2022-12-07 4:08:42 PM  
Mmmm... filmy.
2022-12-07 4:18:51 PM  
"Dellen" means hookers, in dutch.
2022-12-07 5:04:15 PM  

Cewley: Mary Roach asks and answers the questions you want to read about.  All her books are super readable and interesting.

Read Stiff about the lives of the departed, and Gulp about the digestive system.  Both were excellent and very readable and enjoyable.  It helps a LOT that she anticipates the reader's base sense of humor and delivers with just what you were thinking.  You will actually read the footnotes.  If these were handled in the usual way by Dr Joe Doctor, MD, they wouldn't have half the pizazz.
2022-12-07 5:49:05 PM  
Here are some things not to do for promotion: pay a vanity press for advertising, do book signings, buy Google ads.

I've considered selling books at a convention, but I swore a solemn oath not to go to cons except as a guest. You could probably make back the cost of a vendor's table. It wouldn't hurt to have a gimmick promo item or a bowl of candy.
2022-12-07 7:18:00 PM  
A book fair sounds like the most fun way. I might be disappointing financially but it would make a nice vacation.

I get a call from readers magnet about once a month, wanting me to republish my books. I know better, but the last guy who called me told me they could get my book to a famous? reviewer, and if you get a good review it would help sell the books.   Makes sense.

I'm now working on the end of my next book. At first I wanted to budget in some kind of advertising, now it's if the end is good I might. I'm working on this scene. It doesn't read right yet .

He walked along Ant towards the house, constantly looking around into the darkness.

Ant noticed and asked, "Bears?" David nodded embarrassed. "Take this," he told him adding, "It's bear repellent," before turning back for the house.

"Thanks, I guess you just spray it on you, and it keeps the bears away?" David asked, then went "Shhhhh" imitating a spray can. "Or maybe I should read the directions before use," he said, smiling as Ant turned around to stop him.

"For the record, spray the bear not yourself," Ant said, leading him to the phone he could use.

"You sure you don't need it?" David asked, before putting the can in his pocket.

"I got more," Ant answered, pointing to the phone before going back outside.

David dialed the number and heard it ring before the message machine answered. What luck he thought just having to leave a message and go. "Hi Mrs. Burns it's David, Jessie's David, I just called," he said before hearing the machine being turned off.

Hi David," Jessie's mother answered.

"Hi Mrs. Burns, I just called to tell you we're here and okay," David answered.

Please David you can't keep calling me Misses Burns. I'd like you to call me mom, but I understand, I miss her too. For now call me Carol," she answered.

"Thanks Misses, I mean Carol. Thank you for always making me feel like a part of the family. I know you had to want someone better for her," David said.

"We're over that," Her husband answered on another phone. "What matters now is you two getting busy. You know start bumping uglies? Doing the horizontal tango? Dancing in the sheets?" he asked.

"Knocking boots, Jumping bones? Doing the nasty?" she added.

"You know, bone, bang, ball, boink? Screw, nail? You know what were talking about?" her husband asked.

"Make the oh face," Carol added.

"Sex?" David asked.

"Finally," Carol answered.

"We want grandchildren, that's your job, understand?" her father asked.

"Yes sir," David answered.

"Good we're counting on you son," he answered.
2022-12-07 8:11:12 PM  
I've read all of her books, love them!
2022-12-07 9:02:00 PM  
If anyone is looking for someone for book cover art, I strongly recommend the artist who did the art for the anthology. I'm assembling a collection of short stories, and hired her to do the cover. She's amazing.

Here's a taste:

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Absolutely stellar work. The full version is so full of detail, it boggles the mind. The only problem with her awesome art is that it's better than the words inside.

Not going to call her out in the thread (against the rules, you know), but she's easy to find if you bought the anthology.
2022-12-07 9:55:33 PM  
Got paid for my Abridged Script of Days of Thunder for this week.

Called "dibs" on doing Taikia Watti's Next Goal Wins when it comes out in April, as I'm a former resident of American Samoa, where it takes place.
2022-12-07 11:15:47 PM  
I wonder if PN is Mary Roach?
2022-12-08 4:40:20 PM  

Fireproof: Got paid for my Abridged Script of Days of Thunder for this week.

Called "dibs" on doing Taikia Watti's Next Goal Wins when it comes out in April, as I'm a former resident of American Samoa, where it takes place.

Congratulations!!!  Even if you spent the money already, it's always nice to get paid for your hard work.
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