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'It's no longer about the vanity press': self-publishing gains respect — and sales

cbc.ca – Sunday March 19, 2017

Vancouver-based author Sharon Rowse was thrilled when after years of trying she finally landed a book deal with a New York publisher. 

"It had always been my dream to be published," Rowse said. 

Her novel, a historical crime story that takes place in her home town, had been "a bit of a hard sell" for the American market. 

But reality poured a big bucket of cold water on her dreams when the publisher was bought out, and its mystery section discontinued. 

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Is writer’s block a real thing, or just a figment of the imagination?

theguardian.com – Friday March 17, 2017

What do you do when you get writer’s block?” someone asked me the other day. I was happy to answer. I get up from my desk and wander around with a self-pitying expression on my face, sometimes clutching at my scalp in an agonised fashion. I buy sour gummy chews and eat too many; I compulsively click “refresh” on Twitter; I start to hate myself, and express it by snapping at others.

On reflection, I see why this response didn’t satisfy my questioner: he wanted to know what I do to overcome writer’s block. I’ve no idea. I keep eating the chews and snapping, and eventually it’s bedtime, and in the morning the block has usually gone. Feel free to try this solution yourself.

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The sums on creative writing degrees don't add up. So why do we do them?

theguardian.com – Monday March 13, 2017

When I tell people I’m doing a creative writing degree there are two questions that people usually ask: the first is “Why?’” and the second, “How?”

The “how” is an interesting place to start. With university course fees rising and incomes for writers falling, the financial outlook of a creative writing degree is at best optimistic, and at worst downright crazy.

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Don’t like the way you write? An artificial intelligence app promises to polish your prose

qz.com – Friday March 10, 2017

I am a professional writer, but I often hate my writing. I wish it was more concise and powerful. And it certainly doesn’t read as smoothly as the work of my literary heroes. Recently, I began to wonder: Could a software program make me better at my job?

The Hemingway App, an online writing editor created in 2013 by brothers Adam and Ben Long, promises to do just that. “Hemingway makes your writing bold and clear,” the site claims, so that “your reader will focus on your message, not your prose.” If you listen to the app’s advice, it will rid your writing of run-on sentences, needless adverbs, passive voice, and opaque words. There’s no guarantee you’ll crank out the next Farewell to Arms—but the goal is to get you closer to Ernest Hemingway’s clear, minimalist style.

[Read the full article]

From 'alibi' to 'mauve': what famous writers' most used words say about them

theguardian.com – Friday March 10, 2017

When Ray Bradbury was asked to contribute his favourite word for the 1995 book The Logophile’s Orgy, he chose cinnamon: “The word cinnamon derives, I suppose, from visiting my grandma’s pantry when I was a kid. I loved to read the labels on spice boxes; curries from far places in India and cinnamons from across the world.”

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Writing poetry in the age of Twitter and Facebook: 'there are no answers, only questions'

list.co.uk – Wednesday March 8, 2017

Poet Christodoulos Makris did something very brave for his assignment at StAnza. With the best intentions in mind, he asked people to send him links to 'anything they found interesting on the internet'. The first question I ask him is the obvious one: did you get sent anything, well, dodgy? 'No,' he laughs. 'Just links to things I wouldn't normally have come across.'

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Learning to code can transform your writing, not just your website

thebookseller.com – Tuesday March 7, 2017

I came to coding like a mute. When I went to a conference presenting a new coding language from Google called Go last month, I realised I couldn't understand what was being said. Later I met with Inês Teles, director of London coding bootcamp Founders & Coders, curious to learn how coding could push my own writing project. But I couldn't explain my ideas as my language wouldn't translate into hers.

“What do you want to do with it?” A simple question I was unable to answer. However, I was told that, if you know how to write code, you can pretty much do anything. So I went along and started learning the basics of web development, starting with HTML and CSS. Little did I realise just how much learning code would teach me about language of the other kind.

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The 10 Best Interlinked Short Story Collections

publishersweekly.com – Saturday March 4, 2017

The interconnected stories in Knight's exquisitely crafted collection Eveningland explore the lives of characters living in and around Mobile, Ala., in the years preceding the destruction wrought by a fictional hurricane. Funny, wise, and heartfelt, the stories stand on their own, but also add up to a stunning whole. Here are Knight's picks for 10 interlinked short story collections.

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Thinking About Writing Literary Fiction?

psmag.com – Tuesday February 28, 2017

In 2013, James Patterson, the paperback writer whose volumes are typically consumed somewhere between 25,000 and 32,000 feet above ground, made $90 million from book sales. Ninety million dollars. With publishers finally quashing the old-school idea that big-name authors should release no more than a book a year, Patterson opened the floodgates. After assembling a 16-member gang of ghostwriters (provided by Little, Brown and Company, his publisher) and sketching a series of boilerplate plot lines, Team Patterson started cranking into the lowbrow literary universe two to four “BookShots” a month. He says he looks at writing “the way Henry Ford would look at it.” He also says he’s responsible for about one-third of his publisher’s overall book sales.

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Susan Hill: ‘Can I be a serious writer, keeping such casual hours?’

theguardian.com – Saturday February 25, 2017

The past is another country. I wrote things differently there. First it was the school day: O-levels, A-levels. I was always writing. Some paint, some play an instrument, some swim fast, some run. I wrote: poems, plays, stories – anything, so long as it was words on paper. During O-levels I started a novel, because I asked advice from the writer Pamela Hansford Johnson, who told me I should.

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