It is my pleasure to host Ron Yates’ “THE LOST AND FOUND BILLY BATTLES”Blog Tour on my blog today
GIVEAWAY: (2) Complete sets of the Billy Battles trilogy. For your chance to win one, please leave a comment below!
BLOG TOUR INFO SHEET-9
The Lost and Found Billy Battles Tour
Writing for Nonreaders in the Post-Print Era
Today, I am sharing something I wrote when I was the Dean of the College of Media at the University of Illinois. At the time I taught classes in journalism and shared this with my students. It still resonates with me even though I wrote it almost ten years ago.
Recently a professor (Ahem. I won’t say who) created an outline for a new slightly apocryphal course called: “Writing for Nonreaders in the Post-Print Era.”
The course carried the following description:
“As print takes its place alongside smoke signals, cuneiform, and hollering, there has emerged a new literary age, one in which writers no longer need to feel encumbered by the paper cuts, reading, and excessive use of words traditionally associated with the writing trade. Writing for Nonreaders in the Post print Era focuses on the creation of short-form prose that is not intended to be reproduced on pulp fibers.
“Instant messaging. Tweeting. Blogging. Facebook & Google+ updates. Pinning. These 21st-century literary genres are defining a new “Lost Generation” of minimalists who would much rather watch Modern Family on their iPhones than toil over long-winded articles and short stories.
“Students will acquire the tools needed to make their tweets glimmer with a complete lack of forethought, their Facebook updates ring with self-importance, and their blog entries shimmer with literary pithiness. All without the restraints of writing in complete sentences. w00t! w00t!
“Throughout the course, a further paring down of the Hemingway/Stein school of minimalism will be emphasized, limiting the superfluous use of nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, conjunctions, gerunds, and other literary pitfalls.”
Students must have completed at least two of the following:
ENG: 232WR—Advanced Tweeting: The Elements of Droll
LIT: 223—Early-21st-Century Literature: 140 Characters or Less
ENG: 102—Staring Blankly at Handheld Devices While Others Are Talking
ENG: 301—Advanced Blog and Book Skimming
ENG: 231WR—Facebook Wall Alliteration and Assonance
LIT: 202—The Literary Merits of LoLcats
LIT: 209—Internet-Age Surrealistic Narcissism and Self-Absorption
There is obviously some truth at work here. When one talks to editors in the world of book publishing it is apparent that we are definitely entering the post-print era. Few students I talk with tell me they actually read a book for pleasure. It is always for a class.
When I ask students about John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker—even Earnest Hemmingway, only a few can tell me much about these authors and what they wrote. If they have read these writers at all it is because some American Literature teacher in high school assigned them to read one of their books or essays.
Take some time over a weekend to read a good book—one that tells a story, not some self-absorbed treatise on how to find your spiritual center or why you are so important, I tell students. You might actually enjoy it—and without a doubt you will learn something.
When I discuss writing with journalism students, who should have a keen interest in writing well, I tell them that the best way to learn to write well is to read good writing. They should then learn to imitate that writing—not copy or plagiarize it—but imitate it. Eventually, they will develop their own style of writing, but most important, they will become better writers simply because they have developed a life-long romance with and respect for the English language.
So while Facebook, Google+ and My Yahoo may be places to chat and hook up; while the blogosphere is a place where tedious pontificators can congregate with little if any accountability for truth; and while twittering is the latest e-rage, they are all poor substitutes for substantive literature, fine journalism or intelligent conversation.
The university is the place where an appreciation for good literature, fine journalism and intelligent conversation should be cultivated and enjoyed. It is, after all, one of the few times when students will actually have the time to take pleasure in these things.
Once they enter the world of gainful employment, their focus will shift to one of survival, meeting deadlines and accumulating “stuff.”
Reading well will be considerably more challenging. And one can only hope that they will not find themselves “Writing for Nonreaders in the Post-Print Era.”
The Finding Billy Battles trilogy tells the story of a remarkable man who is born in 1860 and who dies in 1960. For decades Billy lives an improbable and staggering life of adventure, peril, transgression and redemption. Then Billy mysteriously disappears. For several decades his family has no idea where he is or what he is doing.
Finally, with his life coming to an end, Billy resurfaces in an old soldiers’ home in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is there, when he is 98 that he meets his 12-year-old great-grandson and bequeaths his journals and his other property to him — though he is not to receive them until he is much older.
Years later, the great-grandson finally reads the journals and fashions a three-volume trilogy that tells of his great-grandfather’s audacious life in the old west, as well as his journeys to the Far East of the 1890s—including French Indochina and The Philippines—and finally, in the early 20th century, to Europe and Latin America where his adventures and predicaments continue. One thing readers can be sure of, wherever Billy Battles goes trouble is not far behind.
Ronald E. Yates is a multi-award winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans around the world who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.
Ron is a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media.
The Lost Years of Billy Battles is the final book in the trilogy and recently won the Independent Press Award’s 2020 Distinguished Favorites Award. In 2019 it also won Best Overall Book of the year and the Grand Prize in the Goethe Historical Fiction Category from Chanticleer International Book Awards as well as a Book Excellence Award and a New Apple Award. The second book in the trilogy, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles, was published in June 2016. It won the 2017 KCT International Literary Award and the New Apple Award in the Action/Adventure category. The first book in the trilogy, “Finding Billy Battles,” was published in 2014 and won a Book Excellence Award and Laramie Award from Chanticleer International Book Awards.
As a professional journalist, Ron lived and worked in Japan, Southeast Asia, and both Central and South America where he covered several history-making events including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing; and wars and revolutions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, among other places. His work as a foreign correspondent earned him several awards including three Pulitzer Prize nominations.
Ron is a frequent speaker about the media, international affairs, and writing. He is a Vietnam era veteran of the U.S. Army Security Agency and lives just north of San Diego in Southern California’s wine country.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
AMAZON OR OTHER PURCHASE LINKS:
Barnes & Noble:
To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishingsite. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and his work!