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How to be a film writer

source.wustl.edu – Sunday February 9, 2020

Joey Clarke, AB ’07, moved to Los Angeles after graduation in hopes of making it as a film writer. He worked a variety of low-level jobs but admits he didn’t put the effort he needed into writing. A relationship and a change of scenery helped kick-start his film writing career, and in 2018 he won the Academy Awards’ Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting for his script Miles. Here, he shares some tips about what has worked for him and how writing for film is — and isn’t — the same as other types of writing.

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American Dirt’s problem is bad writing, not cultural appropriation

theguardian.com – Monday February 3, 2020

Sometimes, allies can be more harmful than enemies. American Dirt, a novel about a mother and son fleeing a drugs cartel in Mexico, has the literary world clutching its pearls. The problem? Does the writer, Jeanine Cummins (whose grandmother is Puerto Rican but who has identified as white) have the right (or the ability) to portray an authentic Mexican story? The background of the author, something that should have been an irrelevant matter, became the focal point of reviews.

In the New York Times, a white reviewer agonised over whether it was her place to review such a book at all. “I could never speak to the accuracy of the book’s representation of Mexican culture or the plights of migrants; I have never been Mexican or a migrant,” Lauren Groff wrote. To her horror, she discovers that the writer herself is not Mexican nor a migrant.

This well-meaning nonsense got us, the readers, nowhere. The question that a review answers is simply, is the book any good? If it were a work of nonfiction, all these questions about identity, access and the problematic “white gaze” as Groff called it, become more relevant. But American Dirt is a novel, and a thriller at that, so the angst over the accuracy of its portrayal, rather than whether the world feels authentic, seems misplaced and forced.

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Top ten writing tips and resolutions for aspiring writers by Jane Riley

femalefirst.co.uk – Saturday February 1, 2020

How satisfying is it to start the year off with a set of resolutions you assure yourself you’ll achieve – or, as my character Oliver Clock does in The Likely Resolutions of Oliver Clock, jots down goals in his ‘Notebook of Resolutions’ throughout the year? The problem is, however, that like Oliver, many of us never even start the resolutions we make, let alone achieve them. For all those aspiring writers out there, here are my top ten tips and resolutions that are, hopefully, achievable all year round.

 

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Publishing's 'American Dirt' Problem

publishersweekly.com – Saturday February 1, 2020

Ask someone who works in publishing what they think of American Dirt and they might tell you they’re not the best person to speak to the situation. Or that they haven’t read the novel. They might directly reference their privilege, then suggest you ask one of the handful of Latinx people who edit or sell books.

This was the reaction from myriad publishing professionals when questions were put to them about the latest controversy that has engulfed their business.

Two weeks ago Jeanine Cummins’s novel, about a bookseller from Mexico who flees to America with her son in tow to escape the local drug cartel, was a bestseller-in-waiting, riding a wave of critical support to its January 21 release date. Now it is a cultural lightening rod, and its author is at the center of a complex debate about power, privilege, and who should be given a platform to tell what stories. Though many insiders say they welcome the conversation that the book’s publication has inadvertently raised—about which books the industry chooses to elevate, and whether it’s properly equipped to champion the work of diverse voices—they’re stunned at the aggressive turn the debate has taken. And, even if they won’t say so publicly, they admit feeling sorry for Cummins who, as an author, should not have to answer for the shortcomings of the publishing industry as a whole.

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‘American Dirt’ was supposed to be a publishing triumph. What went wrong?

latimes.com – Sunday January 26, 2020

It was poised to be a blockbuster long before copies arrived in bookstores last week: a thrilling contemporary migration story following a mother and her son, desperate to cross Mexico and reach the United States.

Its publisher, Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan, paid a seven-figure advance after outbidding several competitors for the novel. It snagged a coveted selection in Oprah’s Book Club and had been shipped to key celebrity influencers, including Stephen King, Sandra Cisneros and Salma Hayek. A reported first run of 500,000 copies was printed. The film rights were sold.

But by week’s end, the novel “American Dirt” had garnered attention that its boosters likely didn’t expect: angry charges of cultural appropriation, stereotyping, insensitivity, and even racism against author Jeanine Cummins, who herself said in the book’s author’s note, “I was worried that, as a nonmigrant and non-Mexican, I had no business writing a book set almost entirely in Mexico, set entirely among migrants.”

Despite the backing of towering figures in American media, Cummins’ page-turning portrayal of a mother on the run is now at the center of the first bonafide literary controversy of the year, and is forcing a hard reflection on the state of Latinos in a cultural field that remains overwhelmingly white.

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5 Advantages of Publishing Your Work as an eBook

goodereader.com – Saturday January 11, 2020

A lot of authors are shy when it comes to the idea of publishing their work as an eBook. There’s something nostalgic about a print book – for some people it’s the smell of paper, for some people it’s just nice to mark their progress with the turn of each page.

Even so, eBooks are rapidly becoming more popular as a form of self-publishing. There are numerous advantages to publishing digitally rather than in print, and a few of these are outlined below.

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How to embrace your inner poet in 2020

harpersbazaar.com – Tuesday January 7, 2020

In 2017, Isabella Macpherson and Gala Gordon launched a platform for rising actors, directors and writers from all backgrounds, but particularly women. Since then, Platform Presents has grown in size and influence, evolving from a singular poetry evening to full play readings involving big star names.

Poetry is still a focus and passion for the company and on 9 February, Macpherson and Gordon will stage its 2020 Poetry Gala where high-profile actors and actresses will read the world's best-loved poems, as directed by Gemma Arterton. The line-up includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rhys Ifans, Holliday Grainger and Juliet Stevenson to name but a few.

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How to Land Your First Freelance Writing Gig in 2020

business2community.com – Monday January 6, 2020

In recent years, freelance writing has taken off and become a fruitful career for many. As more people gravitate towards working from home and being their own boss, freelancing gains popularity. In the U.S. alone, there are 57 million freelancers and 51 percent say they wouldn’t return to a traditional job.

Perhaps you’ve decided to leap into the world of freelance writing. You’re ready to ditch the nine-to-five life of an employee and become your own boss. But where do you start? How do you prepare yourself for your first writing client?

In this post, we’re going to give you a few tips to help you jumpstart your freelance writing career and land your first gig this year.

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'Fight Club' author Chuck Palahniuk takes readers to writing school in new book 'Consider This'

eu.usatoday.com – Monday January 6, 2020

It's no secret that going to school for a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in creative writing is expensive. But with the release of his new book, "Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different," Chuck Palahniuk is offering an alternative. 

"It costs a fortune to get a MFA degree in creative writing, and there are people who don't have that money and don't have that time and don't live anywhere close to a school that has a program like that," the author explains to USA TODAY. 

Now, the novelist who has published more than two dozen books, including "Fight Club" (1996), is looking to share the most important moments and lessons that helped mould him in his new book, which hits shelves Jan. 7.

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Author Elizabeth TenHouten: “To be a great author don’t be afraid of what others will think”

thriveglobal.com – Monday January 6, 2020

As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth TenHouten. Elizabeth is an international bestselling beauty author and poet. She has authored two beauty books with Random House and is currently working on her first poetry book, titled: The Softest Sting.

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