1201 posts tagged with writing.
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"I'm not a curmudgeon, I'm just a scientist's daughter."

Writing Nameless Things: An Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin (via)
posted by kliuless on Dec 2, 2017 - 16 comments

single and writing sad poems//on the internet.

"And so Collin, with his cigarettes and typewriter and goofy smile, continues to share poems on Instagram (at least when you were with me, you were an artist/now you’re just someone’s girlfriend/I’m not sure who that hurt more, goes a recent poem). 'It shouldn’t matter if your ‘poetry’ sucks,” he said. “You wrote it. You created something, you molded words together and it means something personal to you… to me, poetry is simply being pure and honest with yourself.'" A conversation with the most hated poet in Portland.
posted by Grandysaur on Dec 1, 2017 - 67 comments

The Dangerous Lure of Writing for White Readers in an MFA

Aisha Sabatini Sloan wonders about the work she might have done...
posted by bq on Nov 28, 2017 - 12 comments

It may be my 32nd or 33rd book

Judith Kerr, now 94, escaped Nazi Germany with her family on the eve of Hitler's rise to power. Writer of 33 books (so far!) she is the creator of the much loved Tiger who came to tea, as well as the lovable, recently deceased Mog. [more inside]
posted by threetwentytwo on Nov 28, 2017 - 16 comments

The Rise and Fall of the English Sentence

We utter the first syllables of a sentence while taking a leap of faith that we’ll be able to choose the right words en route and formulate phrases adequately as the words tumble out of our mouths and bring us to an intersection in our thoughts that demands our next move. This puts an upper bound on complexity. But written text, which can be more deliberately planned out and revised, is able to transcend this.
Linguist Julie Sedivy on the rise (and eventual fall?) of sentence complexity in written and oral languages.
posted by Rumple on Nov 19, 2017 - 40 comments

The brain in the jar wants out, you know.

A marginal but useful definition of insanity is not knowing what genre of book you are in; depression is knowing, but being helpless to change it.
Beth Boyle Machlan on writing, memory, and helplessness.
posted by Rumple on Nov 18, 2017 - 10 comments

Desprit to pass spring projict

The Shadow Scholar: The man who writes your students' papers tells his story. Two days had passed since I last heard from the business student. Overnight I had received 14 e-mails from her. She had additional instructions for the assignment, such as "but more again please make sure they are a good link betwee the leticture review and all the chapter and the benfet of my paper. finally do you think the level of this work? how match i can get it?" [more inside]
posted by ErisLordFreedom on Nov 14, 2017 - 131 comments

Outside the Manson Pinkberry

Manson Bloggers and the World of Murder Fandom (Rachel Monroe, in The Believer). Longreads: "Monroe’s piece isn’t just about the Manson Family or those who still obsess about him; it’s about whether we ever truly escape ourselves. Do we carry pieces of our younger selves with us, even as we grow and change?"
posted by mandolin conspiracy on Nov 8, 2017 - 13 comments

Strange New Worlds

8 sci-fi writers what Star Trek show they would write if given the chance.
posted by Artw on Nov 3, 2017 - 183 comments

"I discovered that diaries in families are doomed."

The Great Diary Project: "Diary rescuer" (and also British Museum curator) Irving Finkel, founded the Great Diary Project, a repository for any all diaries in non-digital formats by private individuals. Finkel believes that every diary is a valuable resource full of remarkable details. "All human life is there, and every entry is helpfully dated for future historians." For the sake of posterity, you can donate your own. via ALDaily.
posted by Miko on Nov 3, 2017 - 36 comments

Midwestern Girl would very much like to be excluded from this narrative

A man travels from New York to Florida. There’s no reason for Midwestern Girl to be in this story, but there she is in Virginia at a rest stop, gas pump in her hand. Iowa, the man says, looking at her car’s tags. You’re a long way from home.
Am I? she wonders.
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Oct 21, 2017 - 62 comments

Garth Greenwell on escape, and finding himself...

posted by
dfm500 on Oct 18, 2017 - 2 comments

This is how many women practice self-preservation: we vanish.

"On the way out, I demanded he never touch or speak to me again or I would address his behavior publicly. Then, the demoralizing introspections: Should I voice this now—potentially putting a wedge in their marriage and positioning myself for backlash and ostracism? Should I do as I said and await a future transgression—again, knowing ostracism would be almost certain? How important to me is my inclusion in this community? This group helped me climb free of my divorce-induced depression, gifted me a network of peers, offered encouragement, but now this—and it would most certainly land in the murk of he-said/she-said. More specifically, he stays or I stay. And why? Why is this litany of concerns mine to bear—not his? All I did was eat a goddamn salad. " A Dossier of Red Flags: Literary Encounters with (White, Straight, Cis) Men by Jeanann Verlee
posted by a fiendish thingy on Oct 12, 2017 - 23 comments

Pick a month, guys. Every month of 2017 has been a treat.

[more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Oct 6, 2017 - 74 comments

But what do we need to know for the exam?

At Literary Hub, Emily Temple has gathered up "10 College Classes to Read Along with This Semester" and "The Classes 25 Famous Writers Teach." Syllabuses on other media suggest how Richard Lemarchand (designer on Uncharted) teaches video game design [PDF], how David Isaacs (consultant on M*A*S*H, Cheers, Frasier, etc.) teaches comedy, or how video/performance artist Patty Chang teaches video/time-based art [PDF]. Syllabuses related to current events suggest how Noam Chomsky (who has joined the U. of Arizona) co-teaches politics [PDF], how Chris Holmes teaches about gun violence, or how Jacob Remes (interviewed this week about Puerto Rico) teaches critical disaster studies [PDF]. [Previously: 1M+ syllabuses / autodidact course catalog.]
posted by Wobbuffet on Oct 5, 2017 - 11 comments

A Profile of John McPhee

A very nice New York Times profile of the legendary John McPhee
posted by OmieWise on Sep 28, 2017 - 30 comments

Submission Fees are Classist as F***

It makes your “we encourage diverse voices” statement utter bull** You say you want diversity, which means POC, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women, and folks without MFAs living paycheck to paycheck in tiny rooms…but you want money to read their work? You’re a hypocrite. (Warning, curse words used. Many.)
posted by Toddles on Sep 22, 2017 - 55 comments

Lillian Ross 1918-2017

Lillian Ross, who became known as the consummate fly-on-the-wall reporter in a six-decade career at The New Yorker, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. She was 99. [more inside]
posted by ALeaflikeStructure on Sep 20, 2017 - 16 comments

"So I kept referring to it as 'that swamp thing'..."

Len Wein, Co-Creator of Wolverine and Editor of Watchmen, Dies at 69. He leaves behind numerous comicbook creations such as Swamp Thing, Human Target as well as being responsible for the best known incarnation of the X-Men, his impact on comics and popular culture was incalculable.
posted by Artw on Sep 10, 2017 - 52 comments

One thing about the investment-counseling business...

"The Drone King" is a newly discovered short story by Kurt Vonnegut: While reading through Kurt Vonnegut’s papers in the Lilly Library, at Indiana University, as they worked on the first comprehensive edition of his short fiction, Vonnegut’s friend Dan Wakefield and Jerome Klinkowitz, a scholar of Vonnegut’s work, came across five previously unpublished stories. Klinkowitz dates “The Drone King,” one of those five, to the early 1950s, when Vonnegut hadn’t yet written a novel and was only beginning to publish short fiction. Complete Stories will be published this month by Seven Stories Press. Soundcloud audio version of "The Drone King" and "The Drone King:" An Animated Excerpt.
posted by mandolin conspiracy on Sep 8, 2017 - 9 comments

To gloss, or not to gloss? To italicize, or not to italicize?

"Whenever African writers get together on our own, we talk about glossaries." In "Glossing Africa," Namwali Serpell looks at the work glossing does at the sentence-level, story-level, and sociopolitical level in African fiction.
posted by mixedmetaphors on Sep 6, 2017 - 4 comments

Hugos in Helsinki

Women swept nearly every category at the 2017 Hugo Awards - the annual SF award won an award of its own and managed to be largely free of the slating problems of recent years, whose instigators have largely moved on to the Dragon Awards. Worldcon, host of the Hugo Awrds, was without some controversy though, with the withdrawal of A Home for the Old (dropbox PDF) a planned LARP dealing with Alzheimer's disease.
posted by Artw on Aug 14, 2017 - 77 comments

"a star that shoots little stars out of its legs"

National Treasure Alexandra Petri ( /?pi?tra?/ PEE-try) recently visited her childhood home and discovered an example of her own early work:
friends apologies but here are a number of tweets because I have discovered a catalog I made when I was in second grade

I had read a LOT of catalogs and knew what the house style was but I did not anticipate the length required so it went quickly off the rails [Storified]
(Alexandra Petri previously) [more inside]
posted by Johnny Wallflower on Aug 5, 2017 - 15 comments

The PEN is mightier

PEN America launches the PEN America Digital Archive, capturing more than 50 years of cultural programming at the intersection of literature and freedom of expression advocacy. The free, online archive makes available to the public long-inaccessible records of literary milestones featuring the world’s foremost writers, intellectuals, and artists. Explore the archive by advanced search, the archive index (by subject heading or participant), or view one of the curated features.
posted by Room 641-A on Aug 1, 2017 - 3 comments

Not here to make friends, and showing the work

Anne Helen Petersen on Charlize Theron: Theron still labors to get people to talk about what she’s reading, her craft, or her politics, instead of what she ate to gain weight or what she’s doing in her life... Theron has said that she’s “very attracted to characters who don’t necessarily make it easy to be loved.” But she’s only been able to refuse niceness, onscreen and off, because of her beauty: It’s the capital she keeps cashing in order to get interesting roles that will de-emphasize, or at least trouble, the privileges that attend being a thin, white, straight woman in today’s society." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Jul 30, 2017 - 20 comments

Mechanics of Choice

In Atlas Obscura, author Jay Leibold explains how he mapped the plots of his Choose Your Own Adventure Books.
posted by Miko on Jul 7, 2017 - 4 comments

Alcoholism is a strange condition.

Tanya Gold is a British freelance journalist. Alcoholism continues long after you stop drinking': my 15 years sober.
Thirteen years ago she discribed her horror of Group therapy: I still howl at the memory'.
posted by adamvasco on Jun 24, 2017 - 25 comments

A New Model of Action

Toward a Truly Feminist Blockbuster Cinema - improving upon the final extended action sequence of Wonder Woman and every other Superhero movie.
posted by Artw on Jun 9, 2017 - 12 comments


Everything Carrie Ever Wondered About on Sex and the City
posted by Artw on Jun 6, 2017 - 28 comments

We chase the dead, shouting, “Come back!

Hilary Mantel: why I became a historical novelist. ‘Is this story true?’ readers inevitably ask.
In the first of her BBC Reith Lectures, the double Man Booker prize-winning author explores the complicated relationship between history, fact and fiction.
Hilary Mantel, writing in the Guardian and Previously.
posted by adamvasco on Jun 3, 2017 - 9 comments

Flex is best.

How To Make A Flexi Fountain Pen (Using A Cheap Jinhao) [YouTube, 10:11] Easy, cheap way for fountain pen enthusiasts to find out if they enjoy the flex nib writing experience; minor tinkering required.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jun 1, 2017 - 13 comments

Sulaco has entered a sector claimed by the Union of Progressive Peoples

The Secret History of William Gibson’s Never-Filmed Aliens Sequel (Script)
posted by Artw on May 15, 2017 - 22 comments

“So what was he thinking?”

Editor quits amid outrage after call for ‘Appropriation Prize’ in writers’ magazine by Deborah Dundas [The Toronto Star] “Hal Niedzviecki has resigned as editor of the Writers’ Union of Canada magazine after sparking outrage with an opinion piece titled “Winning the Appropriation Prize” in an issue devoted to indigenous writing. In it, he states that he doesn’t believe in “cultural appropriation.” “In my opinion, anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities.” Niedzviecki, who has been the editor of Write for about five years, later wrote: “Set your sights on the big goal: Win the Appropriation Prize.” In the same editorial, Niedzviecki goes on to note that most Canadian literature is written by people who are “white and middle-class,” and exhorts those same white, middle-class writers to look outside of their own community and write about “what you don’t know” in an effort to “explore the lives of people who aren’t like you.”” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 12, 2017 - 64 comments

Why is your writing so violent?

In West Berlin the question was asked with great courtesy and tact, not many miles from where Adolf Hitler proclaimed the Second World War and Dr. Goebbels advanced the notion of ''total war.''
posted by Cozybee on May 9, 2017 - 7 comments

“call attention to the gaps and (if possible) work toward filling them”

Writers of Color Discussing Craft: An Invisible Archive [De-Canon] by Neil Aitken “A couple weeks ago I was thinking about how Junot Diaz often comments on the fact he’s almost never asked to speak about craft, and instead always is asked to talk about race, identity, and the immigrant experience. And it’s true — when I think about all the books on writing craft I’ve read or heard about over the years I’m struck by how few POC-authored books on writing I’ve seen. Are they really that rare? Or are the books and essays out there, but we don’t know where to find them? This list is an ongoing project to catalog what writing resources are out there (if you are aware of other texts, essays, and resources that should be listed, please post in the comments and I’ll add them in).”
posted by Fizz on May 8, 2017 - 11 comments

Read and Destroy, A Survivor's Story

"It has travelled around and throughout my life, this fucking tube. It – and a small passel of 21 more letters from the same sender – has taken up room in every home I’ve occupied. The tube and the packet contain letters from a man who molested me. After the molestation stopped, I wrote to him from the age of 13, on and off for a decade. And he wrote me back. Why would anyone maintain a relationship with someone who abused them? The tube and the packet contain at least part of the answer." ... "The letters almost always contained this instruction: R.A.D. Read and destroy. " cw: the link contains disturbing descriptions of child abuse, molestation and self-harm.
posted by zarq on Apr 26, 2017 - 8 comments

Happy Birthday, Madame Bovary

10 Debut Novels That Are Also Their Authors’ Masterpieces
posted by infini on Apr 17, 2017 - 26 comments

Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year

I asked her what her secret was, and she said something that would change my professional life as a writer: “Collect rejections. Set rejection goals. I know someone who shoots for one hundred rejections in a year, because if you work that hard to get so many rejections, you’re sure to get a few acceptances, too.”
posted by showbiz_liz on Apr 13, 2017 - 33 comments

Diversity versus Hydra

Marvel’s recent Retailer Summit (2, 3) sparked controversy when Marvel’s flagging sales were blamed on an increase in diversity in they books, such as the recently Hugo nominated Ms Marvel. The actual sales numbers appear to tell a different story, with possible causes for their woes being event fatigue, a dip in the sales of X-Men books as Marvel fails to replace them with The Inhumans, and a lack of diversity amongst creators leading to mishandling of issues. A poorly timed storyline with Captain America becoming a Nazi and leading a Hydra takeover of the Marvel Universe (complete with a takeover of websites) may only be making matters worse. Meanwhile Ms. Marvel writer G Willow Wilson has her own take on diversity and the direction the market is going.
posted by Artw on Apr 4, 2017 - 121 comments

Read, Write, Repeat

The Center for Fiction has been around for nearly two centuries, helping authors and readers and promoting storytelling. They have, among other resources, an extensive set of videos by masters of mystery writing. [more inside]
posted by dances_with_sneetches on Mar 31, 2017 - 6 comments

Eating The Sandwich

Andy Riley (writer on Veep, Black Books and many other things) has just updated his glossary of terminology used by (mainly UK TV) comedy writers.
posted by Bloxworth Snout on Mar 31, 2017 - 19 comments


Akira Kurosawa's great advice to aspiring filmmakers (6:40 slyt)
posted by timshel on Mar 28, 2017 - 7 comments

The Night Ocean

The Complicated Friendship of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert Barlow, One of His Biggest Fans
posted by Artw on Mar 10, 2017 - 33 comments

Writer, With Kids

Author Cari Luna asked fellow writers to describe how they manage their lives as working artists while raising children. She shared the results on her blog in a series of posts called Writer, With Kids. The 70 respondents included Jane Smiley, the Yarn Harlot Stephanie Pearl McPhee, Susan Choi, and Elizabeth McCracken. The series ran between 2012 and 2015.
posted by terooot on Mar 8, 2017 - 3 comments

What writers really do when they write

An artist works outside the realm of strict logic. Simply knowing one’s intention and then executing it does not make good art. Artists know this. According to Donald Barthelme: “The writer is that person who, embarking upon her task, does not know what to do.”
posted by roolya_boolya on Mar 7, 2017 - 19 comments

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Improve any novel by changing its second line to “And then the murders began”, a proposed addition to Elmore Leonard's rules for writers, though possibly more related to Raymond Chandler's (possibly not serious) "When in doubt have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand." - Some more rules of writing.
posted by Artw on Mar 6, 2017 - 306 comments

"More than you ever wanted to know about these little charmers."

The Classic Typewriter Page by Prof. Richard Polt is an joyously exhaustive guide to typewriters, covering their history, parts and how to restore them. Prof. Polt's blog is also worth checking out, and his short introductions to various typewriters. Because Polt is a philosophy professor, he also has a short essay on the phenomenology of early typewriters. But typewriters are for using, and few things demonstrate that better than the page Writers and their Typewriters, which has a very long list of writers and the machines they used, with many pictures of said authors with their typewriters, including Dorothy Parker, Stephen King, Italo Calvino, Sylvia Plath, Françoise Sagan, Bob Dylan, Agatha Christie and Stanis?aw Lem.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 3, 2017 - 22 comments

"It’s imperative to make sure that these manuscripts are safe"

The monk who saves manuscripts from ISIS "Rescuing the world’s most precious antiquities from destruction is a painstaking project—and a Benedictine monk may seem like an unlikely person to lead the charge. But Father Columba Stewart is determined. Soft-spoken, dressed in flowing black robes, this 59-year-old American has spent the past 13 years roaming from the Balkans to the Middle East in an effort to save Christian and Islamic manuscripts threatened by wars, theft, weather—and, lately, the Islamic State."
posted by Hypatia on Feb 25, 2017 - 5 comments

When Your Greatest Romance Is a Friendship [SLNYT, will make you cry]

When Your Greatest Romance Is a Friendship [more inside]
posted by limeonaire on Feb 25, 2017 - 17 comments

The Anton Chekhov-George Saunders Humanity Kit

A little over three years ago I asked George Saunders whether I could sit in on one of his MFA classes at Syracuse, and, flabbergastingly, he said okay. In an effort to transmit the benefits of the taking the class to readers more widely, Maria Bustillos put together the Chekhov–Saunders Humanity Kit.
posted by AceRock on Feb 17, 2017 - 9 comments

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