Wednesday, February 24, 2010

10 rules for writing fiction

A whole slew of writers provide lists that are simply fascinating to read, regardless of whether or not you're a writer. Link. Via.

The future of reading

This is an interesting think piece on e-books. Are we creating an elite who can afford these devices, and then eliminating alternatives, so that only the elite will be reading in the future? Scary thought. My personal hope is that the devices become cheap enough not to be for the rich only, but who knows?

From Karin Slaughter on According to the latest census statistics, the more affluent the members of a household, the more likely they are to own a computer. When income, race and education come into play, the percentage of people without a computer is cut by almost half. One can assume these skewed demographics translate to eBook readers. Minimum wage still trails behind the price of most paperbacks. Do we really expect a person who has to work roughly three and a half hours a day in order to earn the price of a hardcover book to shell out the money for an electronic reader? More...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Nebula Award Nominations

Writer John Scalzi publishes the list, with comments. Link.

What they say about writers in Hollywood is true

Witness the tale of Walter Kirn (from the HuffingonPost):

'Up in the Air' author Walter Kirn didn't receive an Oscar invite and he has taken to Twitter to vent. "Caution to writers: Don't expect that because you write a novel that becomes an Oscar-nominated film that you'll be invited to the Oscars," he tweeted on Tuesday. More...

Writing site for teens

The headline says it all.

From Publishers Weekly
: Inkpop had a soft launch in late 2009 and currently boasts more than 10,000 members ages 13 and up, and 11,000 written submissions, which include novels, short stories, poetry, and essays. An editorial board of Harper editors will review the top five member selections each month, offering feedback on their work as well as, potentially, the possibility of publication. As the inkpop community develops, Harper plans to announce partnerships for the site and expand options for teens whose creative interests might include video, photography, or other media. More...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bad titles

Recently we listed some odd titles. This time it's titles per se, as in, you're going to call your story what?

The There are many more bad titles than good ones. I’ve seen some jaw-droppingly awful titles, often from very gifted writers. And I’m not just talking about my students: The Great Gatsby is an inspired title, one for the ages, but it wasn’t Fitzgerald’s idea. He wanted to call the novel Trimalchio in West Egg, which sounds like something Dr. Seuss might have dreamed up for The Playboy Channel. More...


On the passing of Dick Francis

Dick Francis was among the most popular of our writers for decades, right up to his recent collaborations with his son Felix. The NY Times obituary is a fitting summary of the master's career.

NYT: "My ‘first draft’ is IT,” Mr. Francis revealed in his autobiography, noting that he never rewrote. “I’ve tried once or twice, but I haven’t the mental stamina and I feel all the time that although what I’m attempting may be different, it won’t be better and may very well be worse, because my heart isn’t in it.” More...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oddest titles of the year

I, for one, would vote for Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich. You can choose your own favorites here. (Via)

Norman Mailer and food

From an interesting piece by Dwayne Raymond on, a portrait of Mailer relatively late in life. So many writers often have something else going on:

DR: I spent an hour or two attempting to master a blend of oil, sorbet, balsamic and God knows what else. It was not a successful venture. In the end, I bought some Newman's Own raspberry vinaigrette, thinned it with water, and mixed it with a heaping tablespoon of sorbet in a blender. A bit later I made a salad for each of us. After a few bites he pronounced the experiment's outcome as being sub-adequate because, although it was not entirely bad, he was aware that one ingredient had come from a plastic bottle. Plastic, he maintained, adversely affected everything it touched. It didn't occur to him that the whole concept was dreadful; that wasn't the way his mind worked. Norman believed that anything awful could be fixed if enough work was put into it. More...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Virginia Woolf recording

According to the Open Culture blog, this is the only surviving recording of Virginia Woolf's voice. I don't know about you, but I would have guessed that this is exactly how she would have sounded. Link.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A surprise Italian bestseller

Every now and then you read a story that is simply baffling. Like the fact that good old Auntie Mame is now a bestseller in Italy. Auntie Mame? Well, life is a banquet, after all.

The NY Times: Perhaps no one is more surprised here than the book’s Italian publisher, Adelphi. “We’re completely mystified,” said Matteo Codignola, the Adelphi editor who translated the novel. “We thought it would appeal to a certain kind of public, but we didn’t expect this.” More...