1057 posts tagged with Writing.
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"Women like me are very lucky and exceedingly rare."

"I've collected the suffering that men so recklessly visited on myself and other women and fashioned it into a livelihood. It is not a fortune but it is a tasteful empire of pain. I might be unlovable but I am not unsellable. I know some women who drink from mugs labeled 'Male Tears.' That's what I've labeled my checking account." Alana Massey for Medium: The Monetized Man.
posted by divined by radio on Sep 30, 2015 - 50 comments

Solidarity in Space

Really, though, shouldn’t authors be more likely to write about unions now that labor is so gravely imperiled? Don’t we need more novels about what unions are capable of, now that pencil-necked geeks like Scott Walker are eviscerating them in public? - The Seattle Review of Books reviews Windswept, a new science fiction book by MeFi's own Adam Rakunas. Interview. He also posts fiction on Twitter at Adam's Bedtime Story.
posted by Artw on Sep 25, 2015 - 16 comments

Take *that*, assholes

A Modest Proposal - David Sedaris talks about the pros and cons of getting hitched
posted by a lungful of dragon on Sep 21, 2015 - 30 comments

Wait, wait, have you written this down? Aren't you a writer?

SOUNDS LIKE YOUR NEXT STORY!: a short play with infinite scenes by Rebecca Makkai.
posted by divined by radio on Sep 21, 2015 - 5 comments

“We are thrilled when fragments of reality become utterable.”

The Mysterious, Anonymous Author Elena Ferrante on the Conclusion of Her Neapolitan Novels [Vanity Fair]
Passions run high when you’re talking about Elena Ferrante and her work, particularly her sensational, highly addictive Neapolitan novels, which paint a portrait of a consuming female friendship against the backdrop of social and political upheaval in Italy from the 1950s to the present day. My Brilliant Friend,The Story of a New Name, and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay have made Ferrante, an enigmatic figure who writes under a pseudonym, and is widely regarded as the best contemporary novelist you’ve never heard of, a worldwide sensation.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 3, 2015 - 17 comments

A Critical Library

What books should a critic own? "Each week, the National Book Critics Circle will post a list of five books a critic believes reviewers should have in their libraries." Here are all the lists, from 2007-2011. [more inside]
posted by thetortoise on Aug 29, 2015 - 14 comments

#9 Inadvertent, Manitoba. #33 Wintergreen Slap. #39 Don Henley Tirade.

Superego's Mark McConville (previously: 1, 2, 3, 4) is making some very specific Top 50 lists:
    Top 50 Nastiest Black Diamond Ski Runs in the World
    Top 50 Retired Price Is Right Games
    Top 50 Canadian Ghost Towns
    Top 50 Vape Flavors in America for 2015

posted by Room 641-A on Aug 28, 2015 - 26 comments

“producing much fruit, or foliage, or many offspring”

Can a Novelist Be Too Productive? by Stephen King [New York Times] [Op-Ed]
“No one in his or her right mind would argue that quantity guarantees quality, but to suggest that quantity never produces quality strikes me as snobbish, inane and demonstrably untrue.”

posted by Fizz on Aug 28, 2015 - 112 comments

correctness rests upon usage; all usage is relative

"What of those grammar rules that were entirely dreamt up in an age of moral prescriptivism, reflecting nothing of historical or literary usage, to encourage the poor English language to be more like an entirely different (and entirely dead) language, namely Latin? Wait, which rules are those? It seems pretty crazy but the popular grammar rules familiar to most of us may in fact be completely fake and have no basis in linguistic reality. The English language didn't change to make those rules obsolete, they were simply fictional from the start." || Dear Pedants: Your Fave Grammar Rule is Probably Fake, by Chi Luu.
posted by divined by radio on Aug 25, 2015 - 170 comments

Frankenstein’s Mother

"Since I was a little girl I’ve been afraid of monsters. I’d put garlic on my window ledge to ward off vampires and sage in the corners to protect me from zombies. Even as a young adult I lay on my ratty futon surrounded by library books terrified someone or something would break into my apartment. After my daughter was born, my fear escalated. I’d check the front door several times a day to make sure the deadbolt was secure and the chain latched. At night I lay in the dark, my mind sending out waves of panic."
posted by ellieBOA on Aug 24, 2015 - 7 comments

A different breakfast every day

Breakfast -- Eating the World Every Morning is a series of dispatches about breakfast around the world. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Aug 18, 2015 - 35 comments

July in Osaka

You’ve decided on a life of letters. You’ve got that manuscript you workshopped getting your MFA, an agent, and a publisher. Congratulations! You’re well on your way to being a critical darling. Now all you need is a catchy title. Lucky for you, this handy guide will help you title your book, and every book you write in your illustrious career. Janet Potter (previously) at The Millions (previously)
posted by davidjmcgee on Aug 17, 2015 - 85 comments

Honest tales from the trenches of AAA game writing

“Even that didn't work," she said. "One of the directors on God of War 3 said, 'I need your input on this, this is what design's doing. And I said ‘this is bullet proof, there is no way you can ruin my narrative moment.’ -- "I come back the next week and they ruined my narrative moment."
Gamasutra talks about writing for AAA games
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 14, 2015 - 36 comments

Gatsby to The Shining

William S. Burroughs Teaches a Free Course on Creative Reading and Writing
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 13, 2015 - 10 comments

you write because no one is coming

An essay somewhat in the spirit of Montaigne that discusses reading and writing, Nigeria and Biafra, bystander reactions to tragedy, an novel I've never read named Half of a Yellow Sun, early Christianity, and more. As is often the case on Crooked Timber, many of the comments are worth reading too.
posted by kingless on Aug 12, 2015 - 2 comments

“Late” according to whom?

Welcome to Bloom — a literary site devoted to highlighting, profiling, reviewing, and interviewing authors whose first major work was published when they were age 40 or older. Bloom is also a community of artists and readers who believe that “late” is a relative term, not an absolute one, and who are interested in bringing to attention a wide variety of artistic paths — challenging any narrow, prevailing ideas about the pacing and timing of creative fruition. (via Ask)
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on Aug 10, 2015 - 10 comments

“He’s got a dragon in his book,” she said. “A very limp one."

Portlander Ursula K. Le Guin is Breathing Fire to Save American Literature - Portland Monthly, Taylor Clark. “I just played with words all my life,” she told me. “I kind of went to my room and found out what was going to happen that day.” [Previously: "How are things in the Land of Youth?" Ursula Le Guin blogs from 85 | Ursula K. Le Guin on writing and freedom at the National Book Awards]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 5, 2015 - 31 comments

Homme de Plume

What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under a Male Name: I sent the six queries I had planned to send that day. Within 24 hours George had five responses—three manuscript requests and two warm rejections praising his exciting project. For contrast, under my own name, the same letter and pages sent 50 times had netted me a total of two manuscript requests. The responses gave me a little frisson of delight at being called “Mr.” and then I got mad. Three manuscript requests on a Saturday, not even during business hours! The judgments about my work that had seemed as solid as the walls of my house had turned out to be meaningless. My novel wasn’t the problem, it was me—Catherine.
posted by frumiousb on Aug 4, 2015 - 64 comments

Shirley Jackson on writing

The New Yorker has recently put online three short essays on writing by novelist and short story writer Shirley Jackson, author of The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House. They are Memory and Delusion, On Fans and Fan Mail and Garlic in Fiction, where she sets out her methodology of writing fiction. You can read one of Jackson's short stories on The New Yorker's website, Paranoia, and an interview she did with her son.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 4, 2015 - 12 comments

"working with words is a kind of love, it's like being in love"

Words (part 2) is a performance by Scottish novelist and stand-up comic A. L. Kennedy about working with words. Kennedy has reflected quite a bit about the craft and practice of writing, including a blog called On Writing that ran in The Guardian from 2009-2013, and was collected into a book of the same name.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 3, 2015 - 2 comments

Beyond fantasy monoculture

“As a black woman,” Jemisin tells me, “I have no particular interest in maintaining the status quo. Why would I? The status quo is harmful, the status quo is significantly racist and sexist and a whole bunch of other things that I think need to change. With epic fantasy there is a tendency for it to be quintessentially conservative, in that its job is to restore what is perceived to be out of whack.”

NK Jemisin on upending the fantasy literature status quo and getting beyond medieval fantasy Europe.
posted by Artw on Aug 2, 2015 - 51 comments

The Eviction Series

Paul Madonna (previously on MeFi) and his wife have been evicted from the home and workspace in which they've lived for ten years. In response, Paul is drawing and writing All Over Coffee: The Eviction Series about his life in San Francisco right now.
posted by mattdidthat on Aug 2, 2015 - 21 comments

Stars in His Pocket Like Grains of Sand

Science Fiction grandmaster Samuel R. Delaney interviewed by SF Signal, with a very long answer in part 2, and by The New Yorker where he talks about race, recent Hugo controversies being nothing new, and the past and future of science fiction.
posted by Artw on Jul 30, 2015 - 26 comments

“Writing is healing. Writing is art. Writing is learning.”

The Role of Writers in a STEM Obsessed Society
“As writers, it’s easy to think of how we matter to literature classrooms, but what the appointment of writers-in-residence in hospitals, history classrooms, foreign language learning spaces, and cooking schools reminds us is that we are relevant wherever there is humanity—which is to say, wherever humans are with their stories. Writing is healing. Writing is art. Writing is learning. As such, writing across the disciplines matters. Many models of artist residencies depend upon the retreat model, wherein the artist sequesters herself away with a small community of other artists. While these models have value, especially when considering how solitude relates to the creative process, it’s heartening to me to see more models catch on that value the place of the writer in society, rather than hidden away from it.”

posted by Fizz on Jul 30, 2015 - 44 comments

Books about women don't win big awards: some data

"When women win literary awards for fiction it’s usually for writing from a male perspective and/or about men. The more prestigious the award, the more likely the subject of the narrative will be male. I analysed the last 15 years’ results for half a dozen book-length fiction awards: Pulitzer Prize, Man Booker Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics’ Circle Award, Hugo Award, and Newbery Medal." Nicola Griffith notes the absence of stories about women from prize-winning novels--even when those novels are written by women. The Seattle Review of Books adds an interview with Griffith on the writing and aftermath of her original blog post.
posted by sciatrix on Jul 29, 2015 - 92 comments

Cargo cult of personality

The IBM Watson Personality Insights service uses linguistic analytics to extract a spectrum of cognitive and social characteristics from the text data that a person generates through blogs, tweets, forum posts, and more. Just enter a chunk of text with at least 100 recognized words and Watson will break down your (or Hitler's or Donald Trump's) personality compared to other participants. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 27, 2015 - 80 comments

The Eternal Champion

“I was very much into Freud and Jung when I was writing those books,” he says. “The whole point of Elric’s soul-eating sword, Stormbringer, was addiction: to sex, to violence, to big, black, phallic swords, to drugs, to escape. That’s why it went down so well in the rock’n’roll world.” - Michael Moorcock at 75 on his work, autobiographical fantasy, and why he thinks Tolkien was a crypto-fascist.
posted by Artw on Jul 26, 2015 - 69 comments

“always surprised people are surprised that people haven’t read things.”

From Steinbeck to Cervantes: Confessing Our Literary Gaps by Sarah Galo, Elon Green [Hazlitt] Authors, journalists, and assorted literary stalwarts tell us why they’ve missed the famous books they’ve missed. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jul 22, 2015 - 78 comments

Scribe By Night

Scribe By Night is a calligraphy Tumblr which seeks out calligraphy to reblog, from people just starting out to people who are very skilled. [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on Jul 20, 2015 - 8 comments

"You can go wild on the wall, everything that comes to your imagination"

"The thing I find very exciting is waiting for the subway train and sometimes you'll get a glorious one that arrives decorated like a birthday cake!" Watching My Name Go By is a short 1976 BBC documentary about graffiti, artists, and graffiti artists in New York City. The film is based on Norman Mailer's 1974 essay for Esquire magazine, "The Faith of Grafitti." [via]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 16, 2015 - 5 comments

white privilege, white audacity, white priorities: Strange Fruit #1

J. A. Micheline on The White Privilege, White Audacity, and White Priorities of STRANGE FRUIT #1:
I was hardly surprised to find that for every white person who says something racist, there is always either (a) a white person to tell the other white person that they're wrong or (b) a black person to say nothing and show no resistance. (b) happens only once, while (a) happens pretty much throughout the work. It's a perspective common to stories of racism written by whites — in order to make white audiences comfortable, white creators (of any medium) frequently show that "not all whites" were pro-slavery or racist. It is simply inconceivable to write a story in which every white person is racist, because, in their minds, how could that possibly be true? You set the Klan up, the obvious racists, just to knock them down with white saviors, to remind readers/audiences that whites are still good people and knew better and wanted to help.
[more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 14, 2015 - 163 comments

the cool, the hard, the distant

Think of the ways we talk about manliness: as making necessary sacrifices, doing what needs to be done, choosing the ugly truth over the pretty lie. In all of those definitions, we're still just talking about being good, brave, responsible. And if that's what we mean by manliness, then we have to acknowledge the fact that women are now — and always have been — as good at it as men are. Which, in turn, means that men can, and ought to, learn manliness from women.
Franklin Strong for The Millions: The Manliness of Joan Didion. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 13, 2015 - 24 comments

What We Comment About When We Comment About Commenting

Queer women's web magazine Autostraddle, one of the few sites where it's safe to break the rule of "don't read the comments", muses about online commenting culture and how the move to social media commentary affects communities on comment-heavy sites like itself.
posted by divabat on Jul 9, 2015 - 13 comments

*During the course of reporting this story, The Verge's parent company..

Website, profiled While the rest of the content industry on the web coalesces around platforms, The Awl chases a small, "indielectual" readership. Why are the most important people in media reading The Awl? [more inside]
posted by General Malaise on Jul 9, 2015 - 30 comments

Only You Can Save Mankind

Ernest Cline’s Armada is everything wrong with gaming culture wrapped up in one soon-to-be–best-selling novel
posted by Artw on Jul 8, 2015 - 209 comments

Your World Will Never be the Same

Excerpts from either a memoir by a first-time parent or a post-apocalyptic novel.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jul 7, 2015 - 33 comments

Writing the memoir (or "memory war")

Harrison Scott Key, author of "The World's Largest Man" on the writing of memoirs
posted by ColdChef on Jul 2, 2015 - 1 comment

Elegy for a Dead World

Explore dead civilizations, write about what you find, and share your stories with the world.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 27, 2015 - 12 comments

Saga of the Sagas

This years proposed Worldcon rule changes included one introducing a new Hugo Award, for Best Saga:

A work of science fiction or fantasy appearing in multiple volumes and consisting of at least 400,000 words of which the latest part was published in the previous calendar year.

Initially the new award was coupled with the removal of an old one: Best Novellete. This raised some objections and that part of the proposal was removed. What would the winners of Best Saga Award look like? Brandon Kempner tries modeling it based on The Locus Awards and Goodreads.
posted by Artw on Jun 24, 2015 - 93 comments

the essential work of art is to magnify the ordinary

As with anything in this world, excess is excess, but inadequate is inadequate. A writer must know when the weight of the words used to describe a scene is bearing down on the scene itself. A writer should develop the measuring tape to know when to describe characters' thoughts in long sentences and when not to. But a writer, above all, should aim to achieve artistry with language which, like the painter, is the only canvas we have. Writers should realize that the novels that are remembered, that become monuments, would in fact be those which err on the side of audacious prose, that occasionally allow excess rather than those which package a story — no matter how affecting — in inadequate prose.
Chigozie Obioma for The Millions: The Audacity of Prose.
posted by divined by radio on Jun 23, 2015 - 9 comments

War has changed

I fell in love with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain the moment I tranquillised a goat and then kidnapped it. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Jun 11, 2015 - 42 comments

“I write while I’m walking, on little scraps of paper,”

Juan Felipe Herrera, From Farm Fields to Poet Laureate [New York Times]
The Library of Congress announced on Wednesday that Juan Felipe Herrera, a son of migrant farmworkers whose writing fuses wide-ranging experimentalism with reflections on Mexican-American identity, will be the next poet laureate. The appointment of Mr. Herrera, who will succeed Charles Wright, comes as the country is debating immigration, a recurring subject of his work, which has been collected in books like “Border-Crosser With a Lamborghini Dream” and “187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border.”
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jun 10, 2015 - 6 comments

"but was that really murder, though?" "was that really assault?"

This is hard, this divided attention. But it isn't just an emotional and intellectual focus divided by half. This is no mere doubled consciousness. Race in this country, with each successive generation, with every historical echo, and for all our technological advancement, has become a prism. This new racial prism — this 24-hour access to every horrible, three-dimensional detail of black trauma, requires constant, multiplicitous division. I can anticipate occasional euphoria, but I will always do so with the understanding that injustice will disrupt my joy. That is its own kind of violence, a forced splintering of identity, intellect, and emotion.
On the second day of her successfully crowdfunded trip to the THREAD at Yale program, stacia l. brown wrote an essay on race, consciousness, and black trauma in America as viewed through The Racial Prism. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jun 10, 2015 - 7 comments


Elena Ferrante, the author of the Neapolitan Novels, discusses how she shapes her stories, her characters, and her decision to remain out of the public eye
posted by PussKillian on Jun 10, 2015 - 9 comments

"How many Michaels are there in this world? Nobody told me!"

Michael struggles with this sudden loss of privacy. It's too much for him, and he wants to discuss it at the next meeting.

"I don't have time to myself, either, you know," the Replacement says bitterly.

Michael starts to interrupt, but Dr. Kenston reminds him that the Replacement has the talking stick right now. "You've lived a whole life on your own, Michael," it says. "I've never had that. I've never been by myself. Never even existed completely outside of your abdomen."
The New Middle Class, a short story by Dolan Morgan. [cw: body horror]
posted by divined by radio on Jun 9, 2015 - 14 comments

Sing with more terror!!!

The Average Fourth Grader Is a Better Poet Than You (and Me Too) [more inside]
posted by casarkos on Jun 8, 2015 - 18 comments

They Took Our Myths

So why does the Mythos have such draw? Is it because the Mythos is classic?

Absolutely not. It's because, comparatively speaking, it's modern.

The Cthulhu Mythos is almost 100 years old. And it's the most modern part of our mythology that we're allowed to access.

Hugh Hancock on copyright and ownership of modern mythologies.
posted by Artw on Jun 8, 2015 - 53 comments

"Why do you have to talk about that stuff?"

David Sedaris talks about surviving the suicide of his sister Tiffany
posted by a lungful of dragon on Jun 2, 2015 - 78 comments

the hush of the night sky is the silence of a graveyard

The Great Silence is a collaboration between artists Allora & Calzadilla and writer Ted Chiang. Transcript
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 30, 2015 - 5 comments


From plitter to drabbletail: a few writers choose the words they love. [The Guardian] [Books]
Dialect terms such as yokeymajig or whiffle-whaffle; all-time favourites like cochineal, clot or eschew; antiquated phrases such as ‘playing the giddy ox’ … leading writers on the words they cherish.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 29, 2015 - 32 comments

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