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Vetting for stereotypes: meet publishing's 'sensitivity readers'

theguardian.com – Saturday April 28, 2018

When reviewers first saw Keira Drake’s The Continent, this story of a teenager trapped by a war between two “native” tribes quickly found attention on social media – though not much of it was good. This young adult novel was attacked for its “white saviour narrative” and its stereotypical portrayal of people with “reddish-brown skin” or “almond-shaped eyes”. The author Justina Ireland called it a “racist garbage fire”.

Drake apologised, said she would “address concerns about the novel”, and delayed the release. Her publisher, Harlequin Teen, sent the book out to two “sensitivity readers”, who vetted the manuscript for stereotypes, biases and problematic language. Armed with a list of potential problems and possible solutions, Drake went back to the drawing board.

[Read the full article]

Book clinic: do editors often have to cut authors down to size?

theguardian.com – Sunday April 22, 2018

Nabokov called editors “pompous avuncular brutes”. Thanks, Vlad! Working with novelists, editors both try and help writers sharpen and structure the story they want to tell and use their experience to provide a sounding board as to how readers might react to it. I say “the story the writer wants to tell” because ultimately it is the writer’s creation.

When I read reviewers’ snarky comments about the fall in editing standards at publishers, I sometimes wonder how much – or how little – they know about the conversations that would have taken place between writer and editor. Ultimately, as an editor, you just have to stand back and say: “OK, it’s your book.”

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How did I get here? My Writer’s Journey from Reluctant Author to Movie Option

By Geri Spieler
Author

firstwriter.com – Sunday April 15, 2018

I have numerous requests asking me to write about my journey from a reluctant author to having a movie option for my book. It all startyed with a Tweet.

Here is how it goes:

I had no intention of writing a book. As I’ve said to many friends and strangers, I had no aspirations of being an author. Books take too long and are too difficult to write.

Well, we know that changed. It was a circumstance that turned me into an author. It began as a curiosity when I was approached by a would-be presidential assassin, Sara Jane Moore, the 45-year-old mother and doctor’s wife who pulled a gun from her purse, took aim and fired a bullet at the head of President Gerald Ford and missed his head by a mere six inches.

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Writing In Retirement: A Simple Formula To Get Started

forbes.com – Monday April 9, 2018

Are you interested in doing some form of writing in retirement?  Great, I’m going to share some simple ideas to make that a reality. Whether that means writing a book, blog, presentation or for a major media outlet like Forbes, writing is an effective way to add meaning and value to your life in retirement.

There are many benefits to writing including the ability to express yourself, share knowledge and experience, as well as to influence or support others.  Whatever the goal or objective of your writing, the important thing is getting started.

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Adam Kay: 'We're all obsessed about peeking under the hood of interesting lives'

list.co.uk – Monday April 9, 2018

Ahead of his appearance at the London Book Fair, the doctor-turned-comedian talks about why memoirs matter

The London Book Fair 2018 kicks off this week with 25,000 publishing professionals about to descend on London's Olympia for a jam-packed three days of everything literary. As expected the festival has secured a plethora of big-name authors to take part and discuss their work and issues in the industry. Ahead of the festival we spoke to Adam Kay: ex-doctor, comedian and best-selling author of This is Going to Hurt: Memoirs of a Junior Doctor. He'll be leading a session alongside publishers Pan Macmillan about the recent surge in popularity of memoirs by normal people.

[Read the full article]

How do you keep a non-profit literary magazine going for eight years? Ask the co-founders of ‘Spark’

scroll.in – Friday March 30, 2018

When Anupama Krishnakumar and Vani Viswanathan started the online literary magazine Spark in January 2010, they weren’t sure how many issues they would be able to put out into the world. In January 2018, they celebrated eight years of the magazine and in April, their 100th issue will be released.

Putting out a literary magazine every month for eight years has its challenges, especially when running it alongside professional and personal commitments. Each month, the magazine focuses on a theme, ranging from “Navarasas” to “Life Online” to “Shopping”, features writing across genres and is freely available to read without advertising or a subscription fee. In an interview with Scroll.in, the co-founders spoke about their individual understanding of how the magazine has survived, the practical approach to running a non-commercial venture, how they choose what submissions to feature, the pressures of multiple responsibilities, and the changes in creative writing online.

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9 tips for writing your own murder mystery, from a published author

cosmopolitan.com – Monday March 26, 2018

So, you’ve got a great idea for a murder mystery novel – what do you do next? Writing a book can feel daunting, but if you're dead set (wahey) on writing a thriller, AJ Waines, number one bestselling author on Amazon, shares the inside know-how on getting that brilliant story out of your head and on to the page below.

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Get lit(erary): Why writing drunk could save your grade

dailycal.org – Saturday March 24, 2018

One thing I appreciate about being a copy editor is never having to face the dreaded writer’s block — all of the content I’m working with is already finished and ready for me to edit when I show up at the Daily Cal office. I may face a momentary pause as I contemplate what the most appropriate headline might be for a piece or how to fit all the critical information into a photo caption, but I’m never left sitting for hours unsure of how to continue my writing or even how to start or what to write about in the first place.

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Why You Should Write for Free

lifehacker.com – Tuesday March 20, 2018

If you want to write for a living, you should write for free. Hell, if you already do write for a living, you should write for free. And that free writing should be some of your best work.

Unless you’re already famous for something else, you’ll write for free before you write for money. And if you try to make it your living, you might spend the rest of your life trying to make your paid writing look more like your free writing. Here’s the writing you probably should do for free, and the writing you probably shouldn’t:

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Odds and Ends: The false romance of writing

thepostathens.com – Monday March 19, 2018

A great book was written way back in 1918, then expanded on in 1959 and in other editions. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White is essentially the Swiss army knife of writing – small and bland, but wildly useful when you need it. The book aside, the foreword written by Roger Angell, White's stepson, resounds with all writers: “Writing is hard, even for authors who do it all the time.” 

There is a pretty big misconception about writing, and that is that it’s this romantic affair between the author and a blank piece of paper or an empty Word document. Media outlets make writing out to be some odd thing in which you go on a date with your words; in reality, it’s a long-term relationship in which you sit at opposite ends of the couch and argue over what to watch on TV. 

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