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We're winning the war on Word, fellow writers. Enjoy the freedom

theguardian.com – Sunday October 28, 2018

In a grim political season, there are signs that journalists are successfully challenging at least one odious tyrant.

In Slate, Rachel Withers has reported that in newsrooms throughout the United States, Microsoft Word is finally giving way to other programs, including Google Docs.

Some of the journalists Withers interviewed mentioned costs – Word may have become cheaper but in straitened modern newsrooms it’s hard to compete with free.

Others mentioned Google’s superiority as a platform for collaborative work. This is true, and it hints at a broader truth – Word is no longer fit for the purposes that many writers and editors need it to fulfil.

Word was launched in 1983. Then it was quite a simple program, running in DOS, and it emerged into a rich ecology of programs designed for writing.

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How Science Fiction Magazines (And Their Payment Rates) Shaped The Genre

forbes.com – Friday October 26, 2018

Today, prolific writers can earn six-figure incomes entirely through stories self-published on Amazon. If they'd lived in the mid-twentieth century, those same writers might have instead turned to science fiction magazines, a source of income that has all but dried up today.

"Payment rates haven’t kept up with inflation," says Alec Nevala-Lee, the writer and biographer whose latest book, Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, is out this week and covers the era that saw the rise of our modern conception of science fiction, the years roughly between 1939 and 1950. The book follows John Campbell, one of the genre's most influential figures and, not coincidentally, editor of the magazine that offered the highest rates on acceptance. Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction paid writers after accepting their work, rather than paying them only after publishing the story, as many other magazines did. It gave him outsized influence in the field. But that payment rate — and influence — has plummeted in the decades since.

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How Writers Map Their Imaginary Worlds

atlasobscura.com – Tuesday October 23, 2018

One of life’s great treats, for a lover of books (especially fantasy books), is to open a cover to find a map secreted inside and filled with the details of a land about to be discovered. A writer’s map hints at a fully imagined world, and at the beginning of a book, it’s a promise. In the middle of a book, it’s a touchstone and a guide. And at the end, it’s a reminder of all the places the story has taken you.

A new book, The Writer’s Map, contains dozens of the magical maps writers have drawn or that have been made by others to illustrate the places they’ve created. “All maps are products of human imagination,” writes Huw Lewis-Jones, the book’s editor. “For some writers making a map is absolutely central to the craft of shaping and telling their tale.”

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How to Find the Perfect Time to Write

lifehacker.com – Tuesday October 23, 2018

If you dream of becoming a writer, you have to eventually sit down and write. Whether you’re doing National Novel Writing Month in November, or you dream of being a writer “someday,” the first inescapable step is making the time to do it. Here’s a 15-minute exercise toward that end that you can do today.

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"Free is not fair" won't make authors richer, but fixing publishers' contracts will

boingboing.net – Monday October 22, 2018

Australia is about to radically expand its copyright and the publishing industry has forged an unholy alliance with authors' groups to rail against fair use being formalised in Australia, rallying under the banner of "Free is not fair."

Rebecca Giblin (previously), one of Australia's leading copyright scholars and the founder of a project to examine the way that authors' interests diverge from their publishers' interests.

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Selling Graphic Novels In a Changing American Marketplace

publishersweekly.com – Saturday October 20, 2018

Over the past five years, the North American graphic novel market has welcomed a wave of new readers and grown from about $805 million in sales in 2012 to more than $1 billion in 2017. At a panel titled “Comics Readers: Who They Are and Where to Find Them,” held during the recent New York Comic Con, a group of comics professionals focused on identifying some of the consumer and cultural trends driving this growth.

The panelists focused on a new generation of comics-loving librarians and comics shop owners, the bookstore market, and the ever-growing popularity of graphic novels for middle grade and young adult readers. Long dominated by the superhero genre, the North American comics market is now offering a wider variety of works thanks to growing numbers of women, girls, people of color, and LGBTQ fans. The panel also examined the growing popularity of translations from the European comics market and a wide range of nonsuperhero material that is now available.

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How to write a novel by author & commissioning editor Phoebe Morgan

marieclaire.co.uk – Tuesday October 16, 2018

In the second instalment of our Writers Bloc series, we get the inside scoop on how to write a novel from commissioning editor and author, Phoebe Morgan

A commissioning editor by day and novelist by night, Phoebe Morgan is the author of The Doll House, published this month, and The Girl Next Door which is released in February 2019, both psychological thrillers. She is 28, and lives in Clapton, East London, with her boyfriend.

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Why can’t life begin after 40 for a writer?

irishtimes.com – Friday October 12, 2018

Last year, at a writing festival in rural Ireland about 60 attendees sat listening to presentations from publishers and agents. It was the kind of segment that has been popular on the writing festival circuit for quite a while now. The attendees hear a lot of familiar advice from people in the industry, both domestic and overseas. And there are occasional insights into the metamorphic and precarious state of the publishing industry.

At this particular event, there was a lot of advice about presentation, synopses and introduction letters, how authors should market themselves and their books, and the common mistakes made by aspiring novelists.

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How Do You Write A Short Story? 11 Easy Tips For Writing Your First One

bustle.com – Wednesday October 3, 2018

Today's the day. It's happening. You've decided to write your first short story. Maybe this story idea has been kicking around your head for the last 10 years, or maybe you just googled a list of writing prompts and want to give one a whirl. Perhaps you're an accomplished essayist looking to try fiction on for size, or it's possible that you've never written anything in your life outside of school assignments and Instagram captions. Whatever your level of writing expertise, you are perfectly qualified to write a short story. All you strictly need is willpower, paper, and a large cup of coffee. But here are a few extra tips to get you started, because staring at that empty page is the absolute hardest part.

First things first, though: what exactly is a short story? Typically, a short story is defined as a work of fiction between 1,500 and 5,000 words (although 5,000 is a bit long for some publications). Under 1,500 words is considered flash fiction, and under 350 words is sometimes called micro fiction. You don't have to start with a specific word count in mind, but make your peace with the fact that you probably won't have time for those twenty pages of exposition up top. If you want to write a true short story, then here are some suggestions for nailing both the "short" and the "story" aspects:

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Why we need an award for writers who start later in life

theguardian.com – Wednesday October 3, 2018

Sitting in a coffee shop just around the corner from the publishers, Canongate, of which Christopher Bland had once been chair, members of Christopher’s family and of the Royal Society of Literature were brainstorming a title for the new prize to be announced in his name. “Late writers” risked conjuring up the dead, while “older writers” raised the question of what, in an industry that is often obsessed with youth, would be considered old: Google this query and you will find writers over 30 bemoaning the fact that they will soon be over the hill.

In the end we opted for a prize in Christopher’s name, to be awarded to a first novel or work of non-fiction published when the winner is 50 or older. Not before, however, we had worried about the quality of future entrants: what kind of writer, we wondered, apart from Christopher, who published two novels while in his 70s, would be eligible for such a prize?

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