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Who is Kanishka Gupta? A book magician of sorts

uk.style.yahoo.com – Tuesday September 10, 2019

Ever spare a thought for how millions of Indian readers get their hands on a variety of amazing books? A great idea or story still needs to be considered by a publisher to make it to the shelves. A lot happens behind the scenes before a book sees the light of the day, and that's where the role of a competent agent becomes critical.

An aspiring author and a college dropout, Kanishka Gupta met with several disappointments with regards to finding the right publisher for his own manuscript. The agency he opted to go along with turned out to be phony, which left him further exasperated. When he didn't receive much guidance for his manuscript himself, he founded an assessment agency, Writer's Side, to systemise publishing. A one-of-its kind agency, Writer's Side brought immense success to Kanishka, the benefits of which he hopes to extend to authors worldwide. As Writer's Side completes 10 years, he has secured over 500 book deals for his authors. As of 2019, he represents over 400 authors from across the world.

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How to Get Started in Freelance Writing

chronicle.com – Tuesday September 10, 2019

The first essay I ever published online, "Coding ‘White Trash’ in Academia," was a rant I drafted in a few hours — about how my rural, small-town origins often left me feeling out of place in academic circles. I wasn’t thinking about publishing it. I saved it on my computer and forgot about it for months.

Then a friend mentioned that an online magazine was looking for submissions. I sent in my draft and it ended up being the first of many things I would write during graduate school for readers beyond my field. I wasn’t paid for that post. But in the five years since, I’ve gone from drafting tiny one-off articles for up-and-coming websites to writing longer, more substantive pieces in national magazines — and getting paid for it.

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My publishing journey

tns.thenews.com.pk – Sunday September 8, 2019

They say that in order to be a writer, you need to develop a very thick skin. Truer words were never spoken. On a number of occasions, we read news about a writer flooded with offers of representation from top literary agents, following which their book gets picked up for millions of pounds in a publishing auction, propelling the said writer into a world of glittering possibilities, movie deals and the prospect of making some more millions. Such things do happen, but they are few and far between. The reality of getting published is often very different and far less glitzy.

For starters, nobody will even look at your work unless it borders on perfection. Don’t get me wrong, writing is still a very subjective market, but agents today require you to submit a manuscript that has been edited as much as possible. And no, they do not suffer typos and grammatical errors gladly. Agents sometimes get more than a hundred submissions a week, so you can only imagine how fierce the competition is and how little a chance unedited drafts stand in the milieu.

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Writing with precision is not just a pet peeve

startribune.com – Saturday September 7, 2019

A hawk-eyed reader has delivered me a dose of comeuppance.

He challenged my assertion that there is no such word as “upcoming.” I recently described “upcoming” as an expedient combination of “coming” and “up” — designed to save money on telegraph service, which charged by the word.

“Hawkeye” pointed out that “upcoming” has become a dictionary-approved word. You can look it up.

I did.

Guilty as charged. 

It’s just that “upcoming” has been as much of a pet peeve to me as “hopefully” was to the late New York Times columnist William Safire.

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Habits of Highly Effective Writers

nytimes.com – Saturday September 7, 2019

Some always outline; others never do. Some write in cafes or Airbnbs; others don’t leave the house. Here’s a peek at the writing habits of authors on this week’s best-seller lists.

Jia Tolentino, the New Yorker journalist whose essay collection, “Trick Mirror,” has been on the list for four weeks, told The Creative Independent that when she got her book contract, “I found that I couldn’t switch into book-writing very easily … in part because I work at home. I needed to physically be totally alone and be in a different place to get going.” So she “started renting upstate Airbnbs for four days at the beginning of every month, as a way to bang out” her rough draft.

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Low-pay writing

By James A. Haught
Editor Emeritus, The Charleston Gazette

firstwriter.com – Tuesday September 3, 2019

Moliere said: “Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for the love of it. Then you do it for a few friends. And finally you do it for money.”

Unfortunately, many of today’s writers can’t attain the level of a self-supporting hooker, because markets and communications have evolved into strange new territory.

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Ten tips for writing for audio

thebookseller.com – Monday September 2, 2019

As a university writing tutor it can be embarrassingly tiresome to always practise what you preach. But 5,000 words is not a daunting challenge, not an Annapurna, nor even a Munro, except . . .

Except that these 5,000 words must lift themselves from the page and fly from the mouth of a narrator into the ear of a listener. They must convince by their authenticity. They must instantly engage, hold and persuade the listener to join in a secret communion. As a BBC radio producer, the watchword (we didn’t have mission statements or mantras back then) was always "take me there and make me care".

Our duty was to bring the listener on a journey, and make sure they stayed on the voyage until the final second. No small task these days with a magnitude of offerings to tempt us to detour this way and that.

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Writing Fiction about Real People

historynewsnetwork.org – Sunday September 1, 2019

Biographers can report what happened to their subject and when; they can also suggest reasons why it happened. But only a novelist can climb inside the subject’s head and describe their innermost thoughts and insecurities. It’s in that secret place, hidden behind the bare facts of a life, that I like to write.

The recent trend for biographical novels about strong historical women has produced some cracking reads: Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie’s My Dear Hamilton, Stephanie Marie Thornton’s American Princess, and the works of Paula McLain, of which my favourite is The Paris Wife.  In the UK Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory are perennially popular with their insider stories of the Tudor and Stuart monarchies, and many other novelists have dipped their pens in the biographical inkwell. None of them is attempting to rewrite history – it is always clear they are writing fiction – but they want to go deeper than the history books allow.

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Can You Write a Novel as a Group?

newyorker.com – Friday August 30, 2019

It all started on a weekend away for the Booksluts, a Sydney book club with the motto “We’ll read anything.” Six of the group’s eight regular members were discussing “Crime and Punishment,” and talking about the club’s upcoming tenth anniversary, which they dreamed of celebrating with a Trans-Siberian Railway trip. They jokingly decided that they would fund the trip by writing a novel together. Much vodka had been consumed by this point, and plot discussions degenerated into mass hysterics.

But the next morning the friends went out and bought butcher paper and Sharpies and spent all day brainstorming. They decided that their novel would be a rural romance, set in the Australian outback, and agreed on the backstory of their heroine, a city girl who inherits the farm where her father—now mysteriously disappeared—grew up. Sparks would fly when she meets the handsome (and engaged) cattle farmer next door.

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How I’m using AI to write my next novel

vox.com – Friday August 30, 2019

I expect to suffer some degree of writer’s block pretty much every day for the rest of my life. I’m a journalist and a novelist; it comes with the territory. But I have a feeling I’m going to suffer less from now on, thanks to my new best friend, GPT-2.

Let me back up a bit: Six months ago, the research lab OpenAI created an AI system that generates text — from fake news to poetry — that in some cases actually sounds like it’s written by a human being. The OpenAI team has been rolling it out in stages, each time giving us a more powerful version of the language model they dubbed GPT-2, and carefully watching to see how we use it.

They’ve just put out the most powerful version yet. It boasts 50 percent of the power of the full version, which has yet to be released. As you can tell by trying it out for yourself, this model is already plenty powerful.

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