Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Archives


One of my favourite book plates. I've never gotten around to designing my own. I particularly like the book between the knees.

Is there something about the word archives that turns people off?

A musty-dusty association with past-due/out-of-date/yesterday's-news?

Something contrary to the lust for the newest/latest/high speed/click through/move-it-baby ramp?

Or is this automatic avoidance just evidence of a normal, ineffable, seagull effect?

Agents and editors often shake their heads over writers who apparently don't even bother to read submission guidelines.

We slaves of Miss Snark's lamp have often advised (and still do): read the friggin' archives.

Have been exploring another prolific site Author! Author! which also contains some useful and interesting archives: information about, and the logic behind, items such as formatting/passive characters/agent assessments, etc.

Snork! Noticed G-mail now offers bigger attachments!
Dear me...

17 comments:

sex scenes at starbucks said...

It's one of those weeeeird days when stuff comes back around full circle, apparently. I just had a major breakthrough (minor in revision, actually--the best sort) with my first novel and it revolves around one of the protags getting more active.

As for archives and snarkives, I think it IS boring reading. Blogs are all about the here and now.

Bernita said...

She has some good examples on how to fix that very thing, SS.

Jaye Wells said...

I've been reading Author!Author! for a few months. Excellent advice there. Plus she's funny.

Scott said...

Sounds like a must read. Too bad I have almost no time.

Bernita said...

Yes, Jaye, nice style there.

Bookmark for later, Scott.

Marie said...

Thanks for that link. Looks really good.

Charles Gramlich said...

I love to hang out in archives. I have to limit myself when I go in one or else a whole day is gone and I've not eaten or slept.

Bernita said...

Welcome, Marie. Thought it might be useful here and there.

Eh, Charles! Time does seem to flit by.

Scott from Oregon said...

As writers, I would think it encumbent to explore archives as a matter of setting principles and habits. I mean, what if YOUR book was only read while it was still hot off the presses and then forgotten?

Information may get stale, but it usually holds nuggets at its core.

And when does a story ever stale?

Bernita said...

And with me, Scott, someone's different approach to an issue sometimes makes the light come on.

December/Stacia said...

Oooh, great site!

I'm an archive fan, myself. I love to spend hours reading them.

Rick said...

Just yesterday I was listening to a historian on C-span commenting on what a treasure a good archivist is.

Though not precisely an archive in the narrow sense, I'm reminded of the stacks at San Diego State University when I was growing up - my mom was a librarian there, back when it was San Diego State College.

The stacks had a certain mustiness to them - I never notice it in modern libraries, but you can get a whiff of it in used bookstores. I think of it as the smell of knowledge.

Bernita said...

December, Rick, I wonder if it's the detective/treasure hunt idea.

Robyn said...

I think archives are like the author's backlist. If I find an author I really like, I'll read all the old stuff.

One of my very favorite places is the Old Stacks in our university's library. To me, those musty tomes are a goldmine.

Bernita said...

A good comparison, Robyn.

Anonymous said...

Before I knew the word I started keeping archives. Someone has to be the keeper - the speaker for the dead, as it were. Patterns in the past predict today. But the more general the better. Whenever I try to be very distinct in my categories, it stifles meaning and the whole mess falls apart.

Asa

Bernita said...

The answers to a lot of questions are found in archives.