The Business Side of Writing: Film and Television Rights

I am posting this from my hotel room in Toronto. Why am I in Toronto? I am here to visit the set of The Expanse, a new series by SyFy that is based on the books written by my friends, Ty and Daniel, better known by the pen name, James S.A. Corey. These aren’t the first or only friends I have who’ve landed television or film deals, but they do have the rare distinction of having their series in production. Why is that rare? Okay, let’s talk about film and television.

1. Hollywood buys a lot of intellectual property that it doesn’t use. Film and television can be very lucrative and this enables studios to buy options on rights that they end up not using. There’s actually a lot of warehousing of intellectual property, and quite a long gauntlet for it to run before it actually ends up a movie or television show. Given this, a lot of authors sell their film and television rights only to have them go unused. This means: Continue reading

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Interview with Charlie Holmberg

2015 seems a good time to introduce a new fantasy series and probably a new-to-you LDS authocropped_CharliePic1-537x1024r: Charlie N. Holmberg, a student of Brandon Sanderson and BYU graduate (2010), who has written the Paper Magician series, published by 47North. The series includes three books, The Paper Magician, The Glass Magician, and The Master Magician. The first two were published in 2014, and the last is scheduled for publication in spring of 2015.

I discovered Holmberg’s books only last month. The librarians I work with were heading out the door to record their monthly new book review TV program “While You’re At the Library.” On top of one of their armfuls was The Paper Magician, which (it turns out) was a favorite of our reader’s advisory librarian. (Also a “Top Kindle romance Book for 2014”). The book’s great cover and her recommendation had me excited and curious. And that’s what led to this book review and a thoroughly delightful opportunity to meet Charlie and talk about her writing. I think we can expect to see good things in the future of this young and talented new writer. I also recommend her blog, Myself As Written.


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This Month in Mormon Literature, Early January 2015

51BGBVLb0ML._SL250_Several end of the year best-of lists are out, with Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance being the most-often mentioned. Scott Hales ended his Garden of Enid graphic web-series,  much to the sadness of its many readers. He immediately began a new series, Mormon Shorts. There has been a enjoyable uptick in Mormon literary criticism. Mette Ivie Harrison’s long-anticipated mystery The Bishop’s Wife and Josi Kiplack’s last Sadie Hoffmiller mystery Wedding Cake have been released. Jared Hess and Greg Whitely have new movies premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.

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In Tents #48 He is Risen and Other Texts That Don’t Behave as Textual Critics Think They Do Part IX

In September, as the Isaiah lessons were approaching in Gospel Doctrine, I decided to read three translations of Isaiah, the Jewish Publication Society translation (which I found discarded somewhere on campus 30+ years ago), Avraham Gileadi’s The Apocalyptic Book of Isaiah, and David Rosenberg’s selections in A Poet’s Bible. I started with JPS because I wanted to see why scholars argue Isaiah was written by more than one writer (an argument used occasionally against the Book of Mormon, since some of the Isaiah chapters it quotes are said to have been written after 600 BC–after Lehi would have had access to them). I soon found I was getting through about 1 column of the introduction during my daily commute, since I was reading all the scripture citations. At that rate I wouldn’t even get to the text before the lessons began, so I switched to Gileadi.

Gileadi’s accompanying “Apocalyptic Key” is an explicit statement that this text doesn’t behave the way textual critics think it does. The day we started studying Isaiah in Old Testament Part II Rabbi Dr. Gileadi started the lesson by saying Isaiah works as a single unified text with an elaborate structure of parallels and echoes. It is not the work of more than one author. He begins “An Apocalyptic Key” by noting what ought to be obvious, that assigning Isaiah to more than one author fragments the text. That’s so obvious that we don’t think, until an Avraham Gileadi or a Robert Alter (see The World of Biblical Literature and The Five Books of Moses) points it out, that concentrating on the fragments means missing the overall literary structure–and not simply missing it but being unable to see it, since fragmenting a text precludes looking at it as a literary unity.

Gileadi acknowledges reasons to see the text as fragmented, Isaiah’s “three distinct historical settings, and its divided content of prophetic oracles and written discourses” (171), but doesn’t spend more time than that, preferring to spend time demonstrating the unity of the text. Along the way he presents a way to determine when to interpret historical passages as literal, figurative or apocalyptic. If a section about a historical figure doesn’t match the historical record we should interpret that section as apocalyptic. That is, part of the book’s structure is to see historical characters as types of characters who will appear on the scene in the last days, Cyrus, for example. Some of what we read about Cyrus doesn’t match the historical record, so we should read those parts as type-scenes of the latter days (see 194, 202).

Cyrus? How did his name get in there? Wasn’t Isaiah writing 150 years before Cyrus? Continue reading

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in verse #48 : Voice of the turtle

That title is not a reference to Mitch McConnell, no matter how much people say he resembles a turtle. No, it’s a reference to “Canticles,” a book of the Bible hitherto unknown by this moniker to me, but familiar to you as “The song of Solomon,” and it is of interest to us not only because that book is the only one Joseph Smith picked out as “not inspired writings,” and in fact only secular wedding poetry (at least he understood the text, which is more than I can say for many of the monks who struggled to understand the book and place it in the Bible).  The phrase “the voice of the turtle” occurs in the 2nd chapter:

8The voice of my beloved! behold,
he cometh leaping upon the mountains,
skipping upon the hills.
9My beloved is like a roe or a young hart:
behold, he standeth behind our wall,
he looketh forth at the windows,
shewing himself through the lattice.
10My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
12The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
13The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

This is of interest to us — well, to me — as an example of Hebrew poetic form. It is also an example of how the sap rises in spring. So, appropriately enough, in this context, we will discuss the voice of Walt Whitman. Continue reading

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Christmas for Christmas


'Liahona' by RA Christmas





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