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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Yates’

Publicity Lessons: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and Richard Yates

jamesothmer.jpgToday’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was James P. Othmer, advertising expert and author of the upcoming book, “Adland: Searching for the Meaning of Life on a Branded Planet.” Before working in advertising, Othmer served as publicist to novelists Richard Yates and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Around the 11-minute mark, Othmer recalled the difference between his two amazing literary clients: “[Yates] was a wonderful writer. He was amazing and had written ‘Revolutionary Road,’ yet never received the numbers that Vonnegut or a lot of his contemporaries had received. He was living in semi-squalor on top of a bar in Boston and would call up and bemoan the fact that he had no readers.”

Click here to listen to the whole show. In addition the show focused on free versus paid models of content, debating the thoughts of the IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO, a New Yorker writer, and a Wired editor–another crucial issue for writers of all stripes.

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BEA Writing Advice from Richard Russo and John Irving

irvingrusso.JPGA massive crowd gathered around a BEA stage this morning for a headline event that featured novelists John Irving and Richard Russo in conversation with journalist Charles McGrath. GalleyCat covered the panel, following a reader request.

The two novelists focused primarily on writing craft, explaining how they conceived their books. Irving said his upcoming novel “Last Night in Twisted River” was inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue,” and explained his method: “I always begin with last sentence and work myself backwards to what the first sentence should be.” Russo said he chooses characters carefully: “I don’t want to spend four or five years in the company of bores. I surround myself with characters I care about.”

Both writers explored early influences. Irving explained: “As a young writer in his 20s, I felt like a dinosaur. It was Dickens, Hardy, and Melville that made me want to be a writer. You can’t worry about being on the right or wrong side of taste. Russo concurred: “In grad school, everybody was reading the meta-fiction writers…but it wasn’t what I wanted to be good at…It was hard to find my voice. I latched on to Richard Yates like a lifeline.”