The Best Writing Advice Changes Everything
huffingtonpost.com – Friday September 2, 2016
This summer I was invited to the Mendocino Writers Conference, where at the opening reception in downtown Mendocino (where one can’t help but evoke Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote) each presenter was asked to come to the microphone to share their best piece of writing advice. I was inspired by what people chose to impart, but more important, I was moved by how each person remembered who had imparted the advice, and how, in effect, that person’s wisdom lived on, carried along by the group share in the tradition of storytelling as it’s existed for thousands of years. It’s occurred to me since that good advice can only come from the heart, and its staying power is serious business.
Eimear McBride: Let’s write about sex
irishtimes.com – Tuesday August 30, 2016
The thing about sex is, it’s everywhere and for someone of my generation, that’s quite a reversal. When I was growing up it was nowhere. I harbour no nostalgia for that, though, because when Beckett’s characters at stool are more publicly acceptable than the merest intimation of physical desire, you know something has gone awry. Nowadays you can’t buy a yoghurt without fighting through a fug of heavy breathing, sexual cannibal is the de rigueur look for every woman from nine to 90 and the uniform sex-monkeydom of popstars is enough to put anyone off YouTube for life. The accessibility of internet pornography means that knowledge of the mechanics of sex is possible from an increasingly early age but, as porn mostly features the hairless engaging in the joyless, it’s a poor initiator into the wonders and horrors of what the average adult’s sexual life will be.
Writing your first novel: what you should know
marieclaire.co.uk – Monday August 29, 2016
Ex journalist Corrie Jackson, whose debut thriller is published this month, shares her advice for sharpening your story and getting it out there...
The Inevitable Death of Traditional Book Publishers
huffingtonpost.com – Saturday August 13, 2016
Traditional book publishers. They were once known as the titans of the book publishing industry. In the Baby Boomer era, self-publishing was an unknown concept. You needed a traditional publisher if you wanted the best chance to succeed with your book.
During that time, there was significantly less competition for publishers and authors, meaning more book sales for both parties.
Over time, traditional publishers (especially The Big 5) gradually started to exploit authors by offering lower royalties and seizing the author’s publishing rights.
Top 10 books writers should read
theguardian.com – Wednesday August 10, 2016
Writing a novel from scratch, which is to say without training, was such an unexpected odyssey that I was prompted to recall the discoveries in my new book, Release the Bats – as much to remind myself where the power lay as to pass the keys on to others trying their luck. I didn’t read a lot before writing a novel, but I realise now that certain books helped set me up. Writing fiction means writing vibrant human characters, and luck is with us in terms of research, as we haven’t essentially changed since we came down from the trees. So the best grounding for a fiction writer must be one that explores human nature with gloves off. There’s nothing like literature from ancient Rome bemoaning consumer culture to show that nothing is new, or literature from Habsburg Italy telling how to hire nuns for sex from the mothers superior of convents to put Fifty Shades in perspective. Which is to say that if we haven’t figured ourselves out by now, there’s still time: we’re not going anywhere.
Writers On Writing
huffingtonpost.com – Saturday July 30, 2016
There is no secret to success except hard work and getting something indefinable which we call ‘the breaks.’ In order for a writer to succeed, I suggest three things - read and write - and wait. - Countee Cullen
Knowledge is one of the most excellent purifiers of our mind and intellect. Books are one among many sources of knowledge. By means of the book, we can dwell and live through the mind of another person. It is one of the process of advancing ourselves to the full potential. There is nothing more valuable in life than learning. Learning awakens us, it guides and inspires us. Slowly and steadily, books have led little man to become giant men and redeemers of the society.
Poetic justice: the rise of brilliant women writing in dark times
theguardian.com – Thursday July 28, 2016
Hera Lindsay Bird has attracted the biggest hoo-ha with a poetry book I can recall,” wrote one reviewer of the New Zealand-born poet, whose recently released debut collection has become a cult bestseller in her home country. And rightly so: Bird’s frank, outrageous writing – see, for example “Keats is Dead so Fuck Me From Behind” – is in turns bleakly hilarious and peppered with pitch-perfect similes (“the days burn off like leopard print”; “Love like Windows 95”). It has made me, like many others, more excited about poetry than I have been in a long time.
10 Self-Publishing Trends to Watch
publishersweekly.com – Saturday July 23, 2016
The future of publishing is fraught with opportunity and peril. Here are 10 trends shaping your future as a writer and/or publisher.
The rise of e-books: Ten years ago, e-books accounted for less than 1% of the trade book market. Today, e-books account for about 25% of dollar sales and 40%–50% of units. Although the rate of growth has slowed for e-books, the affordability and accessibility of digital will continue to erode print readership.
How to Write a Thriller
wsj.com – Friday July 22, 2016
The works of Megan Abbott, Blake Crouch and James Patterson diverge in style and form, but they’re all about creating a thrill. The three authors, who all have new books out this summer, answered questions about the mechanics of storytelling, the genre’s best works and finding success for a round-table conversation. Here, an edited compilation of their responses from separate interviews.
5 Writing Tips: Donald Ray Pollock
publishersweekly.com – Friday July 22, 2016
Donald Ray Pollock's The Heavenly Table is one of the most delightfully twisted novels of the year, a terror ride through an early 20th century hillbilly hellscape that puts the family of a swindled, good-hearted farmer on a collision course with three brothers on a crime spree. Pollock, whose previous novel, The Devil All the Time, was named one of the 10 best books of 2011, shares five writing tips.
When I decided to learn how to write, I didn’t know any writers, or anything about how to get started. I was forty-five and had worked at the same paper mill in a small town in southern Ohio for twenty-seven years at that point. However, thanks to a program the mill had that helped with tuition for employees who wanted to go to college part-time, I did have a degree in English. Plus, I loved to read. I determined to devote at least five years to writing, and worked at it almost every day. By the time I turned fifty, I had published five or six stories in small literary magazines. Granted, this doesn’t seem like much, but over time, I slowly discovered that it was what I wanted to do; and that’s always a good thing, actually, the very best thing, knowing exactly what you want to do with your life, no matter how hard or frustrating it might be, and writing is, more often than not, pretty damn hard and pretty damn frustrating. Still, I wasted a lot of time in the beginning, and with that in mind, here, mainly for the benefit of beginners, are the major things I’ve learned about writing: