Friday, September 24, 2021

Episode 32: Notes

James and I have a contentious history of giving (or not giving) feedback to each other, and we reveal some big philosophical differences on the fraught topic of how to give and receive notes.

We also discuss James’s new book a lot, which you should all buy! And James tells a story about hanging out with Lemony Snicket. Here’s a story about their previous meeting. As James says: “Here is a version of the speech that I gave to the audience when I went onstage following Daniel's speech . . . a speech given to an audience of children who grew more baffled and uneasy as the speech went on, and I couldn't understand why”


Nat 20 said...

I think part of the commenting slow-down is that, at least for me, the Blogger/Wordpress/Google ecosystem causes all my attempted comments to fail from my phone. I have to comment from an actual computer for them to stick. No clue why!

Anyhow--DARE TO KNOW is really good and everyone should read it.

Person of Interest said...

One of my favorite episodes ever! The tension between you and james was palpable but you guys had a great talk. I have never before heard the multi-variant emotional horror ride that is "notes" honestly and openly confronted. I related to everything you guys said, I've committed every pitfall and blunder you mentioned. I'm paricularly susceptible to James' bad-notes-move of trying to take over the damn book/script with my own damn ideas... in fact I think I started doing that right here with my "notes" on James' movie about the Russian dog (abandoned) in space way back in uh... (episode 3?... and I was trying so hard to behave, too). I always thought all notes sturm und drang was mine alone and just further evidence of a defective personality -- but you guys have me convinced that notes are minefield..... and 100% agree that worst person to give notes to/from is a close friend writer... friendships over notes. And I don't have problem telling anyone, especially people I love, their cooking, their new hairstyle, their new look, their band, their (hideous bat-faced) baby is ... sooooo beautiful! Yet it causes me a kind of squeezing soulpain to tell (even) someone I love falsely postive things about their writing.

seriously this was a great episode.
Not story advice per se... but very unexpectedly candid and deeply useful... all writers give notes I think.


PS. I'll be listening to your new book in the car Monday, James.

James Kennedy said...

Nat, I'm so glad you dig "Dare to Know." Everybody, Nat knows what's going on. Trust Nat!

Person Of Interest, yes, this is one of my favorite episodes too, for the same reasons. I do hope you like the audiobook of "Dare to Know" -- I haven't heard the whole thing yet, but I heard a short sample and I very much like the voice and performance of the reader!

Anonymous said...

Great podcast, resonated deeply, laughed my ass off.

Very glad, though, to piss you off forever by putting full-stops outside closing quotation marks, as will the rest of Australasia and other English speaking countries, as doing it your way makes no sense.

You realise the North American way is bananas, right? When a full-stop (sorry, menstruation mark) closes an entire sentence, why would you make it look like it only closes the bit inside the quotation marks by putting it inside them? Anyone who's diagrammed a sentence in America must be grinding their damn teeth to stumps.

Speaking of no sense whatsoever, one final word from the other side: Metric.

James Kennedy said...

Ah, Anonymous, did you discover some aspect of English that "makes no sense"? C'mon, you and I know the whole language is a jerry-built mess of exceptions, inconsistencies, and irregularities. In the U.S., putting periods inside quotation marks for quoted non-dialogue material is just the way we do it, just as you (probably) spell "color" as "colour," pronounce "Magdalen" as "maudlin," etc. And that's great! Regional variations are fun! Vive la difference. But since Matt is a U.S. citizen (although I sometimes suspect he is a Russian bot), it's pretentious / incorrect for him to put the periods outside the quotes.

Anyway, you could argue that it's the *Americans* who are the more consistent: after all, you non-Americans don't put your periods outside the quotation mark when you're writing dialogue, only in those odd special cases. But I don't begrudge you it!

Where I do draw the line is metric. Metric sucks, it has no poetry to it. "Mile" is a beautiful word. "Kilometer" is a 3-syllable clunkfest. I don't think the Robert Frost poem would work if it was "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, / But I have promises to keep, / And kilometers to go before I sleep, / And kilometers to go before I sleep."

Matt Bird said...

Kilometer has three syllables?

James Kennedy said...

Okay, four. Even worse!

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