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THE EMPIRE OF JAEL:     HOME  :  ALL COLUMNS

ALL COLUMNS BY JAEL MCHENRY

1 to 10 of 153 columns
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1. books are not babies
part i: approaching the launch
writing - general
4.4.12 : feature column!

In many ways, we writers feel like our books are our children -- we created them, we're protective of them, and somehow they infuriate us even as we love them to pieces. A quick search for "my books are my children" instantly delivers 140,000 results, and author blogs like Book Pregnant draw the parallel in detail. And yet. There are some important differences, right? Last April I had the wonderful adventure of seeing my first book come out into the world, and this April, I'll have a...
2. downton, shabby
predicted knockoffs of the latest tv craze
television - general
3.5.12 : feature column!

Somehow, this winter, a crazy thing happened: a show on PBS became all the rage. “Downton Abbey” brought soap-tastic plots, rich dialogue, and sumptuous costumes to World War I Britain, and wrapped it all up in a Masterpiece Classic bow for America. But sadly, a British TV “series” is much shorter than an American TV “season”, and after only a handful of episodes, the show is off the air again. No more viewing parties. No more themed cocktails. Whatever shall we do? TV execs are asking the same...
3. life is too short
thirty-one things you needn't bother doing
pop culture - criticism
2.6.12 : feature column!

Life is too short. Can we all agree on that? Then why do we spend so much of it doing pointless things? For example, I can't count the number of people who took the time to update Facebook or Twitter about their plans not to watch the Super Bowl. (Same thing happens for the Golden Globes, Oscars, etc.) So that's number one: jump onto social media to tell everyone what you're not doing. For the record, thirty other things life is too short to do: 1. Write a negative review on Amazon for a produ...
4. the most important resolution for writers
one simple sentence for 2012
writing - improvement
1.4.12 : feature column!

We writers are, perhaps, even more susceptible to the idea of New Year's Resolutions than regular people. After all, we're always setting goals, aren't we? Always trying to improve? And that's what resolutions are about. Setting a goal or making a plan, swearing to do better at something we'd always hoped to be better at, or to stop doing something we shouldn't. But these goals have a dark side. We sometimes beat ourselves up needlessly for failing to meet a target that was arbitrary -�...
5. 40 weeks of a new life
what the books don't tell you
general - lifestyle
12.5.11 : feature column!

First of all, it makes a liar out of you. You become sneaky, underhanded. For example, take alcohol. You pour yourself half a glass of wine so no one asks why you're not drinking, but then you carry it around for an hour just touching it from your lips to time to time and not actually ingesting it. You carry your wineglass to the kitchen and/or the bathroom so you can dump out an inch or so, or you "forget" it on a side table, or you make an agreement with your husband to switch glasses every n...
6. five great things about bad first drafts
why writing fast makes you write better
writing - appreciation
11.4.11 : feature column!

Writers work in all sorts of ways, which is why you hear a lot of conflicting advice about how best to write. There are morning and evening writers, writers who need to put something down every single day, writers who plan and writers who don't. But in November, you'll find a huge number of writers who all write the same way: as fast as humanly possible. November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. You set a goal of writing a complete draft of a book, a total of 50,000 words, betwee...
7. let's make a deal?
paying a price for not paying the price
general - criticism
10.5.11 : feature column!

How many deals do we see a day, and how many do we need? I opened one of my less-used email accounts the other day and was completely floored. There were pages and pages and pages of "deals." Somewhere along the way I got on the lists for buckets of these Groupon-type providers, and apparently they've been accruing for ages -- restaurant deals, shopping deals, drink deals, deals for classes and lessons and events and supplies. Bloomspot and Facebook deals and Swirl and some kind of ra...
8. what september means
a hodgepodge of savorables
general - appreciation
9.6.11 : feature column!

I don't have a favorite month, but if I did, September would definitely be in the running. Why? Five reasons. 1. Back-to-school. Yes, it's been years since I've actually been personally involved in anything based on the semester system, but at the same time, the fact that school is starting gives a rhythm to the year. It's a time of newness and excitement. If you live in a town with a lot of college students, as I do, there's something contagious about the energy of all those teenagers, someth...
9. what it feels like for an author
notes from the far side of publication
writing - career
8.3.11 : feature column!

First of all, it's all unexpected. All of it. Because you don't know what's going to happen, there are all these years of dreams and anticipation and wondering leading up to having your book published, and there's the day you hold your book in your hands for the first time and that is a great day, it is an awesome day, it's just like you pictured it, it's amazing, but then there's the day after that and the day after that and the day after after. And they all bring something new. There's the d...
10. the reason for the season
is meaninglessness the meaning of summer?
general - lifestyle
7.4.11 : feature column!

Somehow, somewhere, summer became the season of sloth. It's ironic, in a way. School only used to break for the summer because kids were needed in the fields; no time could be spared for fancy book-learnin' when there were crops to bring in. So instead of going to class, children went to work, and when the cold rolled around again and the fields were bare, back to school they went. And the no-school period has held on, even though there's no longer a need for it, and the only real reason not t...
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RAVES

re: life is too short

I don't often read things like this, but this was perfect.

re: life is too short

That is good stuff!

re: 40 weeks of a new life

Great job building up the drama without overplaying it.

re: what september means

Absolutely. And I love Facebook first-day-of-school pictures too.

re: what september means

When I lived in NYC, September was my favourite month.

re: what it feels like for an author

You're one of my heroes. But I think you already know that. Thanks for sharing your world once again.

re: the debut author's planifesto

Very helpful for being published, or life in general. Thanks.

re: who cares what you think?

This isn't a professional review, but you're right on target and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

re: who cares what you think?

I was going to rate this poor, just to prove your point, but nice job.

re: like it's your job

We writers aren't interesting, but "Castle" gives us hope that we may someday bag Nathan Fillion. Excellent observations.

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