While I (really this time) work behind the scenes on the November Newsletter for my patrons, a first of the month seems like a good day to kick off our new NOTpolls.
If you recall (or even if you don't), I recently ran into enough trouble with free polling programs––and the prohibitive price of the paid ones given that I only ever ran one every month or two. Instead, I decided to change up our entire "poll-like" experience here on Writing About Writing. Rather than of nominations and polls with winners and losers, we're just going to do a comment thread of gushing recommendations.
There are still rules (below). But instead of trying to figure out what more people think is the BEST (which usually turns into which book has the coolest movie adaptation anyway), we're just going to have a good chat about good books and all come away with some suggestions for our To Be Read Pile™. We'll still have the system of seconds (and "thirds" and "fourths"), but all that will determine is which goes to the top of the list when I post the results. And I'll link out the original nomination post for folks who want to go see what people are actually saying about the book. Eventually these posts listing the results will be compiled in a massive "book recommendation" post.
It's going to be pretty fucking dope.
- Make two recommendations. Obviously, I can't stop anyone from making fifteen, but nothing beyond the first two will make it onto the master list.
- TALK ABOUT WHY YOU LIKE THE BOOK (but without spoilers)! Obviously if you just drop a title name and it gets all the seconds, I'm still going to list it, but the whole point of this is to gush a little about the books you think are great, exciting, well written, or unforgettable.
- For each recommendation, let us know if you're nominating it more as a BEST book in the genre or an UNDERSUNG HERO in the genre. Basically "undersung hero" is for books you think are great, tragically overlooked, NEED to be read by everyone yesterday, but are maybe not necessarily the besty bestest best. They'll all end up in the list I compile, but I'll put them in different places.
- As always, I leave the niggling over the definition of genres to your best judgement because I'd rather be inclusive. If you want to nominate Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (though it is pretty clearly science fiction), you should show your work if you desire those sweet, sweet seconds (or thirds....or fourths) and there might be a discussion thread after your comment with a lot of people writing out the "Uh...."
- Your book must not be part of a series or more than tangentially related to a fictional universe. If it makes a reference to another book like once or is clearly taking place in the world of another book without being a sequel, prequel, or grand unified series, that's fine, but if it takes place in Discworld, that's not "stand alone."
- You get to mention two (2) books. That's it. Two. You can do one BEST and one UNDERSUNG HERO. Or you can do two BESTS. Or you can do two UNDERSUNG HEROES. But two is the total. If you nominate three or more, I will NOT take any nominations beyond the second that you suggest. I'm sorry that I'm a stickler on this, but it's just lil ol' me compiling this list by myself and it's a pain when people drop a megalodon list of every decent book they can remember in the entire genre. If you list more than two books and your third or later choice gets a second, I'll consider the SECOND the first mention of the book "officially." (Even though that matters a lot less than it did when I was counting seconds to see which titles made the poll––see below.)
- Did I mention two?
- You may (and absolutely should) second AS MANY nominations of others as you wish. There is no more poll, so this will not be a cutthroat competition to see who makes it to the semifinals. It will simply dictate which titles I list first, and it may influence which books someone considers a good recommendation. ("This one got six seconds, and that one only got two, so I think I'll start with this one.")
- Put your nominations HERE. I will take nominations only as comments and only on this post. (No comments on FB posts or G+ will be considered nominations.) If you can't comment for some reason because of Blogger, send me an email (email@example.com) stating exactly that and what your nomination is, and I will personally put your comment up. I am not likely to see a comment on social media even if it says you were unable to leave a comment here.
- You are nominating WRITTEN fiction, not their movie portrayals. If you thought Stardust was a spectacular movie, but never really could get through Gaiman's written version, please nominate something else. (I love films, but they're a different medium.)
- Have a conversation, but check the typical internet assholery at the door. If someone likes something you think is terrible, it's okay to let them enjoy it. And if someone has one tight and polite bit of criticism about your recommendation ("I was not a fan of the X plot arc or the way that author writes women."), it's okay that they didn't care for it and there's no need to defend it like they have impugned you personally. I **WILL** delete shitty comments, and I absolutely know that's highly subjective, so better to err on the side of nice.