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Robin Robertson: 'Writing poetry has very little to do with the intellect'

theguardian.com – Saturday December 8, 2018

Robin Robertson is an acclaimed poet who has won all three of the Forward poetry prizes. His latest work, The Long Take, a narrative poem, is set in the years immediately after the second world war. The story unfolds in New York, San Francisco and, most importantly, Los Angeles, and follows Walker, a traumatised D-day veteran from Nova Scotia, as he tries to piece his life together just as the American dream is beginning to fray at its edges. It was shortlisted for the Booker prize and, last month, won the Goldsmiths prize for fiction, awarded to works that “open up new possibilities for the novel form”. Robertson also works as an editor at Jonathan Cape, where he publishes, among many others, Michael Ondaatje, Alice Oswald and Adam Thorpe.

[Read the full article]

Widely Published Author Discusses Art of Writing the ‘Tiny Story’

newhaven.edu – Friday December 7, 2018

Jeff Foster is the master of the tiny story. Give him just 200 words – 300 tops – and he’ll fashion characters, a plot, and everything that lives within the landscape of a short story.

He’ll take an iconic figure and place him in an unusual setting “to humanize him” – like the Dalai Lama at a drive-thru picking up some coffee. “My stories pivot on character,” he says.

A lecturer in the University of New Haven’s English Department, Foster has published more than 25 flash fiction stories – fictional works of extreme brevity that still offer character and plot development – in highly regarded nanofiction journals and online magazines.

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Writing Short Fiction, Then and Now

dagblog.com – Thursday December 6, 2018

I used to write short stories. Then, for many reasons, I stopped writing fiction. Today I had my first story published in more than twenty years. (It will be posted on the web in two weeks, and I will link to it then. If you can't wait, the issue's for sale here.) More stories may be along; we'll see. If it takes another twenty-one years, I'll have something to look forward to in 2039.

It's a little strange returning to an art form after two decades away. One of the things it means is that in my old stories, no one has e-mail. Most people didn't. Or cell phones. Any temptation to dredge up old pieces is held at bay by the fact that they've become historical fiction.

So what else has changed?

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Nine things not to do if you want to write/paint/create

smh.com.au – Sunday December 2, 2018

A decade ago this week the Sydney Opera House architect Jorn Utzon died. I was on the other side of the world when this happened, living in San Francisco driving across the Golden Gate Bridge when his obituary was read out on the BBC World Service. Listening to this Dane’s extraordinary story about the building he dreamt up but never saw complete, I knew this most Sydney of stories would make a great book. By the next month I had pitched the idea to a publisher and spent the best part of the next decade wrestling to find the time to research and write it.

A lot happened in my personal life over those 10 years. But I also spent a lot of time procrastinating. So I dreamt up some tips, from my own hard-wrought experience about what NOT to do if you want to write a book, or indeed undertake any creative endeavour. If the fire burns in your belly for such an undertaking (which is a core ingredient to success) you might find them helpful.

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How To Get A Book Deal From Your Instagram Account

forbes.com – Sunday December 2, 2018

If you’re hoping to snag a book deal based on your Instagram account, the good news is you don’t need anywhere close to Kim Kardashian’s 121 million followers. The photo-sharing platform has become a source for books and a gateway to publishing for many who started their accounts on a whim or simply as a creative outlet.

Look through Publishers Marketplace’s book deal listings and you’ll see plenty of phrases like “Instagram influencer,” “Instagram artist” and “Instagram poet.” Books have sold based on all sorts of Instagram accounts, from We Should All Be Mirandas(@everyoutfitonsatc) to Bento Power (@shisodelicious) to Baseball Card Vandals (@baseballcardvandals), and far beyond. But how many followers do you need to rack up before publishers and literary agents are eager for you to turn your photos, artwork or poetry into book form?

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Jonathan Franzen’s puffed-up advice for novelists turned simple by Charlie Connelly

theneweuropean.co.uk – Friday November 30, 2018

Jonathan Franzen is a Serious Writer, the sort of Serious Writer who requires capital letters whenever you describe him as a Serious Writer. Most of us are serious writers inasmuch as we take our writing seriously and try to make it as good as we can, but that’s just peanuts compared to how seriously Serious Writers like Jonathan Franzen take their writing and how seriously they’d like us to take their writing too. These guys – and it is usually guys – have serious things to say that need to be not only said seriously but read seriously, interpreted seriously and discussed seriously, for writing is a serious business.

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Why I stopped writing

palatinate.org.uk – Wednesday November 28, 2018

What does it mean to write black?

It means that the style of writing, storyline, the whole plot, characters, the book should be based on the only supposedly important aspect of your life, which is your race. The outcome of this is that many upcoming black novelists find it hard to come forward with their own pieces. Unique writings which do not particularly sit well with what a black book is understood to be, and which eventually causes a lack of uniqueness in writing style and diversity in storylines and plots. Battling the preconceived conception of your non-existent novel is one of the many problems that black authors face in the literary industry.

‘It is true that black authors are expected to write what they know- and apparently, in our case, that is ghettos, slavery and racism. You want to write romance, crime, blockbusters or sci-fi? Sorry, people, that’s not your thing’- Dreda Say Mitchell.

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The app that makes writing less lonely

bbc.co.uk – Monday November 26, 2018

If you see a writer in a movie, most likely she (or he) will be tapping on a laptop. But many young writers are doing it on mobile phones, and sometimes in teams.

Daniel, who uses the pen name LisVender, begins the story, which his writing team decides to call A Small Case of Writer's Block.

The tapping of Sara's pen against her glasses became so rhythmic that it sounded like a metronome set to allegretto. She spun in her swivel chair, watching the bookcases in her study swing by. She had to admit it: her story was stuck, her characters were stuck, and so was she.

Ella, pen name Elle, who has 313 stories under her belt, then picks up the tale.

Sighing, she slumped forward, forehead hitting the desk with a thump. How was she going to keep the plot rolling forward, give her characters the development they needed? Her eyes swivelled to the window, the glass frosted over with thin ice. Maybe a walk outside in the cold

At 276 characters, Elle has nearly reached her 280 limit, so she stops mid-sentence and passes the story to the next writer. (You can read the rest of the story at the bottom of this page.)

Welcome to the world of Inkvite, one of a number of creative-writing platforms popular with teenagers and young adults in the US. It allows users to share stories, comment on them, and also collaborate.

Here, five Inkvite authors explain its appeal.

[Read the full article]

Jonathan Franzen was mocked for sharing his writing tips. Me? I’m all ears

theguardian.com – Saturday November 24, 2018

Poor Jonathan Franzen, as literally no one says these days. Last week the acclaimed novelist and, to many, human embodiment of white male privilege published his 10 rules for aspiring novelists and, as tends to happen any time Franzen dares to open his mouth, he was thanked for his trouble with derision.

Small sidenote here, but I really don’t get the Franzen loathing. Sure, he could lighten up on the constant talk about birdwatching, but otherwise the things Franzen is hated for are either not really hateworthy or not actually his fault. This all began in ye olden times of 2001 with the famous, nay, legendary saga of Oprah Winfrey choosing Franzen’s novel, The Corrections, for her book club and him saying he’d rather not, thanks. Winfrey’s book choices were often, he said, not incorrectly, “schmaltzy”. It was the snub heard around the world and Franzen was for ever cast as an elitist snob, his every pronouncement since (he hates social media! He likes nature!) taken as further evidence of his hatefulness, even though surely most people would love to live a nice, Twitter-free, nature-based life in California, as Franzen does.

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What Authors Should Do When Their Publisher Closes

forbes.com – Saturday November 24, 2018

Mystery author Kellye Garrett found out that her publisher, Midnight Ink, an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide, would be closing to new author submissions next year on the same day the news was announced publicly in October, when she received an email from the publisher.

Garrett has two current titles in her Midnight Ink Detective by Day series for sale: Hollywood Homicide, published in August 2017, and Hollywood Ending, published in August 2018, with a third, Hollywood Hack, scheduled for an August 2019 release. Hollywood Homicide was widely lauded in the mystery community, winning the coveted 2017 Agatha Award for Best First Novel and 2018 Anthony Award for Best First Novel, among others.

[Read the full article]

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