paper trail

Rebecca Entel on writing from different perspectives; Daniel Price on listening to critics

Rebecca Entel. Photo: Elizabeth McQuern

In the New York Times’s new “Reader Center,” executive editor Dean Baquet addresses questions about changes to the copy editing system at the paper. Noting that the decision is not based on financial concerns, Baquet points out that the previous editing system at the paper was not designed with the internet in mind. “We have to streamline that system and move faster in the digital age,” Baquet explains. “If the Supreme Court issues a major ruling at 10 a.m., our readers expect to hear about it within minutes. And they’d like an analysis not too long afterward. And maybe a video on the history of the case that led to the ruling. Or a multimedia analysis of what the ruling says about the court’s leanings so far.”

After receiving an unprecedented amount of donations during the 2016 election, Mother Jones has hired seven new employees, including The Nation’s Ari Berman.

The Upshot graphs and analyzes Jane Austen’s use of language in an attempt to explain the author’s “endurance in the Darwinian struggle for literary immortality.”

At the LA Review of Books, Maxine Case talks to Rebecca Entel about her new book, Fingerprints of Previous Owners, and the difficulties of writing from different perspectives. Entel said that she avoided connecting her own life and struggles to those of her characters. “Maybe something that leads us to write fiction in the first place is an inclination to imagine others’ pain or to find personal connections to it,” she said. “But I’m also weary of when seeing someone else’s life only through the lens of your own isn’t quite appropriate—or is even pretty disturbing if it’s the only way you can come to care.”

Science fiction author Daniel Price reflects on how listening to critics of his first book made his second book better. After receiving an email from a reader that detailed the sexism found in Price’s descriptions of his female characters, he decided to rewrite the sequel. “At the end of the day, this isn’t about appeasing critics. It’s about becoming a better writer,” Price explains. “In a story with flying cars and forcefields, it’s vital to have three-dimensional characters who act realistically and relatably. And in a literary genre that’s been historically wrought with misrepresentations and underrepresentations, it’s not too much to ask an author like me to think a little bit harder about the readers who aren’t.”