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Literati cities: just the spot for networking, less so for writing a great novel

theguardian.com – Monday December 14, 2015

What happens when all the culture capital is concentrated in one place? Take Brooklyn, which the New York Observer called “a zone of infestation, not only of novelists but reporters, pundits, poets, and those often closeted scribblers who call themselves editors and agents”.

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What Jules Feiffer taught me about writing for kids

boingboing.net – Saturday December 12, 2015

25 years into creating my comic strip “Tom the Dancing Bug,” I’ve just embarked on another venture: writing books for kids. My series of books, The EMU Club Adventures, began in April with Alien Invasion in My Backyard, and the second installment, Ghostly Thief of Time, was released last month.

Now, “Tom the Dancing Bug” is certainly not for kids, but writing for kids was something I’ve always wanted to do. I love kids’ literature and culture, and I love kids; if I’m at a gathering of friends and family, you’ll probably find me laughing it up with the kids.

But as I started this new task, I was kind of worried about whether I could write for an audience that wasn’t me. My comic strip is pretty much what I would want to read – would consciously writing for another audience render the work stilted, off-target, or even pandering?

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What’s the secret of good writing?

theguardian.com – Friday December 11, 2015

I first encountered Robert Boice’s name about three years ago, somewhere online; after that, it started popping up every other month. Boice, I learned, was a US psychologist who’d cracked the secret of how to write painlessly and productively. Years ago, he’d recorded this wisdom in a book, now out of print, which a handful of fans discussed in reverent tones, but with a title that seemed like a deliberate bid for obscurity: How Writers Journey To Comfort And Fluency. Also, it was absurdly expensive: used copies sold for £130. Still, I’m a sucker for writing advice, especially when so closely guarded. So this month, I succumbed: I found a copy at the saner (if still eye-watering) price of £68, and a plain green print-on-demand hardback arrived in the post. So if you hunger to write more, but instead find yourself procrastinating, or stifled by panic, or writer’s block, I can reveal that the solution to your troubles is…

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A Simple 4-Step Process for Writing Your First Book in 100 Days

entrepreneur.com – Thursday December 10, 2015

It's on a lot of people's bucket lists, along with "go to space” or “walk through Central Park naked.” Okay, maybe that’s just my bucket list.

But my guess is, somewhere on your list too is the desire to write a book. I also know that the very thought of writing a book generally feels like a monumental task, probably something akin to launching a rocket into orbit.

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Portico prize winner Benjamin Myers: 'Why bother chasing the big publishers?'

theguardian.com – Wednesday December 9, 2015

After being turned down by ‘every major publisher in London’ for his Portico winning novel Beastings, the author says landing the £10,000 prize ‘felt like a vindication’.

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Should Writing Be an Art or a Career?

newrepublic.com – Tuesday December 8, 2015

There’s a very funny photograph taken by Brassaï of Pablo Picasso posing in his Paris studio. Picasso had acquired a giant oil painting of a nude woman from an antique shop, and he strikes an affected pose before it, his brush poised and his little finger extended, as though he’s preparing to make the finishing touch on a masterwork. The actor Jean Marais is stretched out on the floor beside him, pretending to serve as the model despite being fully dressed. The target of the joke is clear: Picasso was ridiculing the pretensions and conventions of the professional painter. “I am not a professional artist,” Brassaï recounts him repeating, “as if he were claiming innocence of a slander.”

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What Acclaimed Authors Love About Writing

huffingtonpost.com – Monday December 7, 2015

Over the years, I've had the incredibly good fortune of interviewing many of the most widely-read novelists on the planet. I often (but not always) ask certain questions of each author. One of my favorites is: What do you love about the writing life?

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Rude rejection letters could cost you the next JK Rowling or George Orwell, publishers warned

independent.co.uk – Monday December 7, 2015

JK Rowling was advised not to quit her day job, George Orwell was informed there was “no market” for animal stories and Rudyard Kipling was told he clearly did not understand the English language.

There are countless such tales of writerly brilliance being turned away with a snooty dismissal. But in an age when it is increasingly easy to self-publish, whether  online or in print, one publishing house has warned others to think again before sending rude rejection letters, for the sake of future profits.

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The idea that rude publishers force future literary stars to self-publish sounds like codswallop

independent.co.uk – Monday December 7, 2015

There were some house rules: no film scripts, plays or poetry. Want to publish a children’s book? Not with us you don’t. A book on self-help? Give us a break.

For an arrogant almost graduate with an inflated sense of literary worth, it seemed the perfect job. Read the stuff the great unwashed think is a future bestseller then, with nary a thought for the pain it would cause, tell them what utter drivel it was and why, even if they were the last words on earth, you still wouldn’t read them.

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Eschew thesaurophilia

economist.com – Friday December 4, 2015

It’s rare for a bit of writing advice to get something quite this wrong. The headline from theWall Street Journal says it all:

‘Use More Expressive Words!’ Teachers Bark, Beseech, Implore. To encourage lively writing, instructors put certain words to rest; no more ‘fun’

Though it purports to be a trend piece, it is an old practice: teachers not just encouraging but requiring students to vary their vocabulary by banning certain common, plain English words, and making the students to choose from a list of bigger and fancier words to replace them.

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