A grab bag of common writing mistakes to ponder
startribune.com – Saturday August 24, 2019
Lest you come home from the Minnesota State Fair empty-handed, here’s a grab bag of parting gifts — a collection of common writing mistakes and ways to correct them.
Why Beatrix Potter Ended Up Self-Publishing The Tale of Peter Rabbit
mentalfloss.com – Friday August 16, 2019
The Tale of Peter Rabbit was Beatrix Potter’s first book—and is still her best known. But had the beloved author not had the confidence to publish the book on her own terms, we might not have ever known her name (or Peter Rabbit's) today.
The origin of Peter Rabbit dates back in 1893, when Potter wrote the beginnings of what would become her iconic children’s book in a letter she sent to Noel Moore, the ailing five-year-old son of Annie Carter Moore, Potter's friend and former governess. “I don't know what to write to you, so I shall tell you a story about four little rabbits whose names were—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter,” the story began.
Cheating on my crime series to write a romcom on the side
irishtimes.com – Tuesday August 13, 2019
About five years ago, I found myself with a dark secret. Instead of writing about the murders, lies and traumas I was contracted for, with my Paula Maguire crime series, I was sneaking off behind that book’s back. I was writing about love, flirtation, a turning-30 life crisis. I was making jokes about Beyoncé and online dating. I was writing….a romcom.
Chick lit. Rom com. Commercial women’s fiction. We don’t have a good way to describe this kind of book. When I say I write crime fiction, people get it right away. But when I say I also write another kind of book, under the name Eva Woods, I start to stumble. “It’s like romance,” I might say. “But it deals with serious issues.” Or: “It’s called uplit now.” Turns out no one outside publishing has heard this term, coined to describe a kind of sad-but-happy book in the vein of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, or my own How To Be Happy. My agent describes the tone as “laughter through tears”, and the books often cover death, abuse, serious illness, suffering. Despite this they are extremely likely to be given a pastel-coloured cover.
Why is Irish literature thriving? Because its writers and publishers take risks
theguardian.com – Tuesday July 30, 2019
Much has been written about the boom in Irish writing, buoyed by the apparently ceaseless tide of new voices: not a smattering of talent making a splash but waves and waves of writers, going beyond much repeated names such as Sally Rooney and Eimear McBride to the equally talented and ambitious Mike McCormack, Sara Baume, Colin Barrett, Anakana Schofield, Gavin Corbett and Lisa McInerney.
Now there’s more. Having been an all-American affair in 2018, this year the shortlist for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award (the world’s richest short story prize – £30,000 for a single story!) is dominated by the Irish: Kevin Barry, winner of the award in 2012 and just longlisted for this year’s Booker; Danielle McLaughlin from the Republic and Louise Kennedy from Northern Ireland. Joining them on the shortlist are Joe Dunthorne (Welsh), Paul Dalla Rosa, based in Melbourne, and Emma Cline, the sole representative of the US.
James Patterson: ‘I've got too many ideas to write all my books myself!'
express.co.uk – Sunday July 28, 2019
THE WORLD'S biggest-selling thriller writer has told how he relies on an army of co-authors to create his books - because he has too many stories in him to write them all himself.
James Patterson has a 4in-thick file where he stores the torrent of ideas pouring out of him every day. He says: "I have so many stories to tell. There are only so many books you can put out there and I could not possibly do all of them myself, so this is one of the attractions of co-writing." By outlining the plots and using emerging talent to write the first draft, which he then edits and rewrites, Patterson has become a one-man publishing phenomenon. With more than 200 adult and children's books to his name, he has sold 385 million copies across the globe.
Hooray for Hollywood
By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach
firstwriter.com – Sunday July 28, 2019
The movies didn't spoil my books. They're still on the shelves.—James M. Cain, author of The Postman Rings Twice
One writer told me that she had been advised to hold onto the film rights to the book she’s currently making an effort to place. I looked at her blankly. Discussing the sale of film rights to an unsold book is a pretty minuscule—not to say completely irrelevant—consideration. Sell the book first. Moreover, very few books are optioned for film, much less actually turned into one. That said, of course you want to keep whatever rights you are able to, or as large a percentage of them as you can, but never let that be a dealbreaker.
Publishizer Is Building An International Virtual Agency
publishersweekly.com – Saturday July 27, 2019
Can a nomadic Australian tech entrepreneur transform literary agenting? Guy Vincent thinks he can. Vincent says that in 2013 he was living in Singapore and working for Tien Wah Press, one of the region’s largest printers, when his friend Jackie Treagus asked for help publishing her book—a pocked-size cookbook for adventurers titled The Backpacker Chef. Vincent helped Treagus raise $5,220 through crowdfunding, garnering 522 preorders, and thus Publishizer was born.
Fast forward six years and Publishizer has become, Vincent says, “the world’s first crowdfunding literary agency.” He is speaking via phone from Amsterdam, where he lives after moving from Singapore to Bali, then Peru and New York City. The company is based in the Netherlands due to a $420,000 investment from Netherlands-based Arches Capital, which built on an earlier $100,000 investment from 500 Startups, a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley.
Initially, Publishizer launched its own crowdfunding platform to fund books that would then be self-published, taking 5% of the money raised as a fee for the service. As the company grew, it began seeing that publishers were interested in acquiring books that had garnered more than 500 preorders on the platform and began placing books with publishers on behalf of authors. Today, Publishizer takes a fee of 30% of the crowdfunding campaign’s earnings, but it gets no cut of any ensuing publishing deal, and authors are also free to sign up agents and publishers on their own.
Is the Internet Making Writing Better?
newyorker.com – Friday July 26, 2019
A common refrain from writers on Twitter is that writing is hard. Often, this insight is accompanied by the rueful observation that tweeting is easy. This is, of course, the difference between informal and formal expression, between language that serves as a loose and intuitive vehicle for thought and language into which one must wrestle one’s thought like a parent forcing his squirming kid into a car seat. We’ve long had both formal and informal modes of speech. The first pours from political orators; the second winds around friends at a bar. But, as the linguist Gretchen McCulloch reveals in “Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language,” her effervescent study of how the digital world is transfiguring English, informal writing is relatively new. Most writing used to be regulated (or self-regulated); there were postcards and diary entries, but even those had standards. It’s only with the rise of the Internet that a truly casual, willfully ephemeral prose has ascended—and become central to daily life.
McCulloch begins with a taxonomy; different cohorts of users have different linguistic tells. “Pre Internet People” (think grandparents) tend to avoid acronyms like “ttyl”—mostly because they don’t know acronyms like “ttyl.” “Semi Internet People,” who logged on, in the late nineteen-nineties and early two-thousands, as adults, are more likely to type “LOL” than “lol”; they don’t view digital conversation as the place for tonal subtlety. “Full Internet People,” who grew up with AOL Instant Messenger and joined Facebook as young adults, are fluent in text-speak but perhaps less steeped in the grammar of newer platforms like Snapchat and WhatsApp. (McCulloch identifies a source of mutual misunderstanding between Full Internet People, who “infer emotional meaning” in symbols like the ellipsis, and Semi Internet People, who perceive such additions as straightforward bits of sentence structure.) Finally, there are “Post Internet People,” who joined Facebook after, rather than before, their parents. They’re the ones to watch: the digital avant-garde.
'Ridiculed and not taken seriously': why fan fiction deserves more credit
smh.com.au – Saturday July 20, 2019
When Astrid Scholte was a teenager she was enthralled by the science fiction television series Farscape, a sweeping intergalactic space opera. She couldn't get enough.
The internet was a smaller universe in 2000, but online Scholte discovered a trove of fictional stories inspired by the characters and world of the show, written by other obsessed fans.
Soon, Scholte started studiously writing her own "episodes" to broaden the dimensions of her favourite television show.
"I didn't realise what I was doing was fan fiction. I did not realise there was a term distinctly defined back then," Scholte says.
These days, Scholte receives her own notes from fans after publishing her debut young adult fantasy novel Four Dead Queens in March.
Adventures in Script-Writing
counterpunch.org – Friday July 19, 2019
Over the years I’ve had approximately twenty scripts produced at small theaters in and around Hollywood and Orange County. None of these plays were celebrated or spectacular, mind you, just some offbeat comedies (in what might be called the “minimalist” tradition) that were fortunate enough to attract modest audiences willing to pay $25.
Live theater, particularly when you’re doing original scripts, is a fascinating process. You start by submitting a script to the artistic director of a theater. If they agree to produce it, you hold auditions, cast the roles, conduct rehearsals (usually four to six weeks), have your “tech week” (where the cast dresses in their costumes, and all the technical stuff—lights, musical cues, and special effects—are integrated into the performance), followed by opening night. Which is both exhilarating and terrifying.
Original plays are also challenging in ways that established plays are not. The difference between an actor doing material by a dead playwright like Arthur Miller or Agatha Christie, and doing material by a famous but living playwright like Christopher Durang or Beth Henley, is that the actor is never going to suggest to the director that the script be changed. Not in his or her wildest dreams would they suggest such a thing. (“Can’t we shorten that speech by Hamlet?” Make it lighter?”)
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