The Pleasures and Frustrations of Collaborative Fiction Writing
conversations.e-flux.com – Saturday September 14, 2019
Writing a novel has traditionally been understood as a solitary and often grueling affair. Novels are frequently taken as the detailed expression of a single worldview or sensbility, even if this is distributed across multiple characters and plot points. In the New Yorker, fiction writer Ceridwen Dovey profiles three writing collectives that explode the traditonal view of the novel as an individualistic enterprise. These collectives (one working in romance fiction, another in erotic fiction, and the other in historical fiction) have each published multiple successful novels composed through elaborate collaborative writing methods. Together they demonstrate that writing doesn’t have to be the exclusive province of the solitary tortured “genius.” Check out an excerpt from the piece below.
What it really takes to be a writer, according to Roald Dahl
stylist.co.uk – Friday September 13, 2019
Ever dreamed of becoming a great writer? We’re pretty willing to bet that almost anyone reading this page has, at some point, felt a story bubbling up inside of them… but that, for whatever reason, they decided not to sit down and put pen to paper.
Of course, it’s not exactly unusual that so many of us have been scared off. After all, writing is hard work. Indeed, looking back on his years as a writer in Boy: Tales of Childhood, Roald Dahl contended that “two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained”.
The celebrated author continued: “For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock.
Events, dear boy … the reality of life as a children’s writer
irishtimes.com – Thursday September 12, 2019
When you imagine the life of a writer, you probably see us shut away in a room at a desk, scribbling or typing furiously, or staring into space hoping for inspiration. But if you write for children, you are likely to spend a good bit of your working life meeting your readers. At certain times of the year - especially now, with new books hitting the shelves for autumn and Children’s Book Festival on the horizon – writers can have a full timetable of events that leave them barely enough time to actually write.
I have two new books for children coming out this autumn – Laura’s Spooky Show has just hit the shelves, and Reindeer Down, a Christmas story for younger readers, will be published by the O’Brien Press in October. It’s exciting to be embarking on a new round of visits to schools, libraries and bookshops. Exciting, and terrifying.
Who is Kanishka Gupta? A book magician of sorts
uk.style.yahoo.com – Tuesday September 10, 2019
Ever spare a thought for how millions of Indian readers get their hands on a variety of amazing books? A great idea or story still needs to be considered by a publisher to make it to the shelves. A lot happens behind the scenes before a book sees the light of the day, and that's where the role of a competent agent becomes critical.
An aspiring author and a college dropout, Kanishka Gupta met with several disappointments with regards to finding the right publisher for his own manuscript. The agency he opted to go along with turned out to be phony, which left him further exasperated. When he didn't receive much guidance for his manuscript himself, he founded an assessment agency, Writer's Side, to systemise publishing. A one-of-its kind agency, Writer's Side brought immense success to Kanishka, the benefits of which he hopes to extend to authors worldwide. As Writer's Side completes 10 years, he has secured over 500 book deals for his authors. As of 2019, he represents over 400 authors from across the world.
Writing with precision is not just a pet peeve
startribune.com – Saturday September 7, 2019
A hawk-eyed reader has delivered me a dose of comeuppance.
He challenged my assertion that there is no such word as “upcoming.” I recently described “upcoming” as an expedient combination of “coming” and “up” — designed to save money on telegraph service, which charged by the word.
“Hawkeye” pointed out that “upcoming” has become a dictionary-approved word. You can look it up.
Guilty as charged.
It’s just that “upcoming” has been as much of a pet peeve to me as “hopefully” was to the late New York Times columnist William Safire.
By James A. Haught
Editor Emeritus, The Charleston Gazette
firstwriter.com – Tuesday September 3, 2019
Moliere said: “Writing is like pr__t_t_tion. First you do it for the love of it. Then you do it for a few friends. And finally you do it for money.”
Unfortunately, many of today’s writers can’t attain the level of a self-supporting h__ker, because markets and communications have evolved into strange new territory.
Ten tips for writing for audio
thebookseller.com – Monday September 2, 2019
As a university writing tutor it can be embarrassingly tiresome to always practise what you preach. But 5,000 words is not a daunting challenge, not an Annapurna, nor even a Munro, except . . .
Except that these 5,000 words must lift themselves from the page and fly from the mouth of a narrator into the ear of a listener. They must convince by their authenticity. They must instantly engage, hold and persuade the listener to join in a secret communion. As a BBC radio producer, the watchword (we didn’t have mission statements or mantras back then) was always "take me there and make me care".
Our duty was to bring the listener on a journey, and make sure they stayed on the voyage until the final second. No small task these days with a magnitude of offerings to tempt us to detour this way and that.
Writing Fiction about Real People
historynewsnetwork.org – Sunday September 1, 2019
Biographers can report what happened to their subject and when; they can also suggest reasons why it happened. But only a novelist can climb inside the subject’s head and describe their innermost thoughts and insecurities. It’s in that secret place, hidden behind the bare facts of a life, that I like to write.
The recent trend for biographical novels about strong historical women has produced some cracking reads: Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie’s My Dear Hamilton, Stephanie Marie Thornton’s American Princess, and the works of Paula McLain, of which my favourite is The Paris Wife. In the UK Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory are perennially popular with their insider stories of the Tudor and Stuart monarchies, and many other novelists have dipped their pens in the biographical inkwell. None of them is attempting to rewrite history – it is always clear they are writing fiction – but they want to go deeper than the history books allow.
Can You Write a Novel as a Group?
newyorker.com – Friday August 30, 2019
It all started on a weekend away for the Booksluts, a Sydney book club with the motto “We’ll read anything.” Six of the group’s eight regular members were discussing “Crime and Punishment,” and talking about the club’s upcoming tenth anniversary, which they dreamed of celebrating with a Trans-Siberian Railway trip. They jokingly decided that they would fund the trip by writing a novel together. Much vodka had been consumed by this point, and plot discussions degenerated into mass hysterics.
But the next morning the friends went out and bought butcher paper and Sharpies and spent all day brainstorming. They decided that their novel would be a rural romance, set in the Australian outback, and agreed on the backstory of their heroine, a city girl who inherits the farm where her father—now mysteriously disappeared—grew up. Sparks would fly when she meets the handsome (and engaged) cattle farmer next door.
Changing Agents Gracefully
By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach
firstwriter.com – Thursday August 29, 2019
I’m leaving Dork Associates, Mr. Dork. But it’s nothing personal.
Most agents are, in reality, pretty nice people. Your own current agent might be witty and charming—but you don’t have an agent for entertainment sake. You want someone to represent you who is both connected and knowledgeable.
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