Elena Ferrante: ‘If you feel the urge to write, there’s no good reason to put it off’
theguardian.com – Saturday May 12, 2018
If you feel the need to write, you absolutely should write. Don’t trust those who say: I’m telling you for your own good, don’t waste time on that. The art of discouraging with kind words is among the most widely practised. Nor should you believe those who say: you’re young, you lack experience, wait. We shouldn’t put off writing until we’ve lived enough, read sufficiently, have a desk of our own in a room of our own with a garden overlooking the sea, have been through intense experiences, live in a stimulating city, retreat to a mountain hut, have had children, have travelled extensively.
Publishing, yes: that can certainly be put off; in fact, one can decide not to publish at all. But writing should in no case be postponed to an “after”. When writing is our way of being in the world, it continuously asserts itself over the countless other aspects of life: love, study, a job. It insists even when there’s no paper and pen or anything, because we’re worshippers of the written word and our minds dictate sentences even in the absence of tools with which to set them down. Writing, in short, is always there, urgent, and distances even the people we love, even our children who ask us to play.
Use a Placeholder in Your Writing to Keep From Getting Stuck
lifehacker.com – Friday May 4, 2018
Sometimes the hardest part about writing isn’t finding ideas or knowing how to begin, it’s maintaining a flow so you actually finish what you started. It’s not quite total writer’s block since you’re already on the move, but a writer’s road block, if you will. This trick that Star Trek: The Next Generation staff writers used can help you keep on truckin’.
The writers of TNG were great at coming up with interesting plot lines for the crew of the Enterprise, but they weren’t actual scientists or experts in space travel. So, when that kind of stuff came up in the script, they often used a placeholder word for the science-y things and worried about fixing it later. Writer Ron Moore explains the process to Syfy:
If Shakespeare were alive today, would he be writing crime novels?
telegraph.co.uk – Sunday April 29, 2018
There is no surer way to make yourself sound like a fatuous idiot than to speculate on what famous writers of the past would be doing if they were alive today – to suggest that Dickens would be scripting soap operas, Jane Austen would write chick lit, Blake would be penning hip-hop lyrics, Oscar Wilde would be a preening vlogger, and so on. And yet there is a part of me – the fatuously idiotic part, presumably – that nods along in agreement when people say that if Shakespeare were around today, he would be writing not plays but crime fiction, and we’d find him on the bestseller lists up with Ian Rankin, Lee Child and Val McDermid. The crime novelist Peter James made this point repeatedly as chairman...
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.
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.”
How did I get here? My Writer’s Journey from Reluctant Author to Movie Option
By Geri Spieler
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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