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Changing the Creepy Guy Narrative

How being a writer helped me rewrite a sexist trope...for real. Submitted for your approval: a writer (Chris Brecheen) uses his narrative skills to turn the tables on an everyday creeper.
posted by ShutterBun on Jul 13, 2013 - 166 comments

Omniscient spung

"Imagine a female pov character is going along about her protagonist adventure, seeing things from her perspective of the world as written in third person. She hears, sees, considers, and makes decisions and reacts based on her view of the world and what she is aware of and encounters. Abruptly, a description is dropped into the text of her secondary sexual characteristics usually in the form of soft-focus Playboy-Magazine-style sexualized kitten-bunny-I-would-fuck-her-in-a-heartbeat lustrous-eyes-and-nipples phrases. Her breasts have just become omniscient breasts." -- Kate Elliott on the male (and female) gaze in literature.
posted by MartinWisse on Jul 5, 2013 - 132 comments

Cor, a slap up feed of comics links!

In the wake of the rumoured demise of The Dandy, artist Jamie Smart writes about the necessity of All-ages comics and how to make them work. Bonus links: The origins of new British weekly kids comic, The Phoenix. Al Ewing on that most British weekly comicsy of institutions: The readers voice. Tips for aspiring comics creators.
posted by Artw on Jul 4, 2013 - 18 comments

"Directing is about deciding - when you direct, DECIDE."

Stuart Cohen on when The Thing became John Carpenter's The Thing. [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jun 28, 2013 - 33 comments

Bewilderment, speculation and plain old fashioned abuse

"If Shirley Jackson’s intent was to symbolize into complete mystification, and at the same time be gratuitously disagreeable, she certainly succeeded" - The New Yorker takes a look at the over 300 letters in reaction to The Lottery
posted by Artw on Jun 27, 2013 - 44 comments

The Cosmology of Serialized Television

Perhaps the most dangerous effect of the Big Crunch mentality has been to make television creators think of themselves as auteurs, to convince them that in spite of the massive interference with their work, they can somehow create a work of aesthetic integrity and sociological insight even if they don’t know where it’s going. Well, sometimes you get lucky, but more often, the result is disaster, and the effort spent toward that failure is redirected from where it would be better put: creating great trash. An essay on the challenges and pitfalls of writing serialized TV plots from The American Reader. [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Jun 23, 2013 - 48 comments

Once you have found her, never let her go.

Your parent dies. You hurt. You weep. You mourn. You do and say the necessary things even as your daemon’s disciplined askesis has you (against your will) coldly taking notes on what the emotion feels like, how others around you react to the death, what the corpse of your parent looks like, how you feel while looking down at it, what voids there are in that feeling, what pretenses, what posturings. It's all part of finding your daemon that dwells perpetually in the Condition of Fire. Other entries in Dan Simmons' series On Writing Well.
posted by shivohum on Jun 11, 2013 - 29 comments

Beyond ‘Game of Thrones’

The LA Times Hero Complex looks at diversity in SF and Fantasy fiction.
posted by Artw on Jun 9, 2013 - 45 comments

I type therefore I am

This sheer quantity is in itself something new. All future histories of modern language will be written from a position of explicit and overwhelming information — a story not of darkness and silence but of data, and of the verbal outpourings of billions of lives. Where once words were written by the literate few on behalf of the many, now every phone and computer user is an author of some kind. And — separated from human voices — the tasks to which typed language, or visual language, is being put are steadily multiplying. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 7, 2013 - 11 comments

Writers manipulating readers

"I've been thinking recently about the way readers come to be in sympathy with characters in a story. This is something that isn't talked about much, and when it is it seems to be in terms of how to manipulate the reader. Indeed, I stopped reading Orson Scott Card for a different reason than the reason everyone else stopped reading him -- long ago he said in a book on how to write that you get reader sympathy by taking a sympathetic character, preferably a child, and doing something terrible to them, like for instance torturing them. Once I knew he was doing this on purpose it was like "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", I couldn't enjoy reading because I felt manipulated. Also, torturing children? Really? That's the only way to make me care? I don't think so." -- Jo Walton's Wiscon speech on how to make readers care about your characters.
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 5, 2013 - 42 comments

Proletariat isn’t just the name of a race horse my family owns

I’m 23 And I Still Have A Babysitter! I Really Hope This Is How You File For Divorce! Wait, What is the Stock Market? There’s Nothing Punk Rock About Sriracha Anymore. All this and more from Thought Brochure: Where Thoughts Are Thinked. (some stuff NSFW) [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on May 30, 2013 - 58 comments

from "proteaform" mass of modern learning to "faustian fustian" of words

Finnegans Wake, Joyce's famously unreadable masterpiece (read it online here), was considerably more readable in one of its earlier drafts. Watch Joyce cross out decipherable words and replace them with less decipherable ones! Watch him end, not with a whimper, but with a slightly less impressive whimper! Sadly, Shem's schoolbook, which in the finished version is a House of Leaves-esque compendium of side columns and footnotes, was not written until much later (according to the footnotes of that section). The introduction to this draft by David Hayman, who assembled it, is worth a read.
posted by Rory Marinich on May 20, 2013 - 54 comments

"Learn as much by writing as by reading."

First editions, second thoughts. [The Guardian] "Interactive: From Amsterdam to Wolf Hall, Booker winners and bestsellers – authors annotate their own first editions.
posted by Fizz on May 18, 2013 - 2 comments

"A finished work is exactly that, requires resurrection." ~ John Cage

In the beginning, Phillip Patterson decided to write out every word in the Bible.
posted by Fizz on May 15, 2013 - 21 comments

Jacques Barzun, Grandfather, Advisor, Editor, Scholar

Two lengthy appreciations of Jacques Barzun's influence: Barzun's grandson remembers the letters of his well-known grandfather, and Helen Hazen reminisces about Barzun's unexpected effort to help her write her first book.
posted by cgc373 on May 15, 2013 - 2 comments

“Don’t go around asking the question, ‘Is this character likeable?’

Claire Messud: “A woman’s rant” [National Post] "Over the last week, discussion surrounding Claire Messud’s new novel, The Woman Upstairs, has shifted from the book to an interview its author recently gave to Publishers Weekly, in which Messud took issue with the following question: “I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.” [more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 10, 2013 - 23 comments

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

My Psychic Garburator by Margaret Atwood [The New York Review of Books]
"Most dreams of writers aren’t about dead people or writing, and—like everyone else’s dreams—they aren’t very memorable. They just seem to be the products of a psychic garburator chewing through the potato peels and coffee grounds of the day and burping them up to you as mush."
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 8, 2013 - 17 comments

"Publishing is tremendously susceptible to the availability heuristic"

What Is the Business of Literature?
Publishing is a word that, like the book, is almost but not quite a proxy for the “business of literature.” Current accounts of publishing have the industry about as imperiled as the book, and the presumption is that if we lose publishing, we lose good books. Yet what we have right now is a system that produces great literature in spite of itself. We have come to believe that the taste-making, genius-discerning editorial activity attached to the selection, packaging, printing, and distribution of books to retailers is central to the value of literature. We believe it protects us from the shameful indulgence of too many books by insisting on a rigorous, abstemious diet. Critiques of publishing often focus on its corporate or capitalist nature, arguing that the profit motive retards decisions that would otherwise be based on pure literary merit. But capitalism per se and the market forces that both animate and pre-suppose it aren’t the problem. They are, in fact, what brought literature and the author into being.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 27, 2013 - 62 comments

Bolaño Dia 2013

Sunday, April 28, would have been Roberto Bolaño's 60th birthday. The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona is holding an event that day, in conjunction with their recent exhibit of Bolaño's archive, to celebrate the life and work of the writer. Or if you're not in Barcelona, the celebration is #DiaBolaño on twitter. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 25, 2013 - 10 comments

Life is a little like lion-taming, wouldn’t you say?

Joe Posnanski, 2011's National Sportswriter of the Year, has an incredible portfolio of work. He also wrote 'Paterno', and writes for Sports on Earth. Previously, we addressed our tremendous respect and adoration for renowned film critic, courageous fighter, and man-about-town Roger Ebert. Today, on Posnanski's personal blog, an incredible treat: Roger Ebert's Opening Sentences. [more inside]
posted by eenagy on Apr 22, 2013 - 10 comments

How I Met My Dead Parents

Going through my parents' stuff didn't make me suddenly miss them, but I became more intrigued by them every day. I wanted to know more and more about them, to solve their mysteries. At the same time, I felt a corresponding, if conflicting, urge to speak, or write, about what many people seemed to think was unspeakable: my ever-present lack of grief. So I decided to combine these seemingly divergent impulses into an Tumblr blog called My Dead Parents, which I kept anonymous both out of respect for my family and because, after years of writing fiction, I wasn't sure if I could handle revealing so much about myself in writing.
Anya Yurchyshyn writes about rediscovering her parents through their letters, after their deaths.
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 20, 2013 - 12 comments

"I'm yours again. I always enjoy seeing what happens to me."

After years of silence, enigmatic programmer/musician/surrealist why the lucky stiff is publishing to the web again (temporarily). Five days ago he released a number of short collages; today, his site is outputting a number of stories and essays, which are being collected in several Scribd repositories. _why writes about a strange old Oprah show starring guests who've removed themselves from society [parts 2 3 4 5 6], discussing M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening with a friend [2 3 4 5 6], and suffering a personal crisis after reading the complete works of Kafka [2 3 4 5 6 7]. (One final story, "Dentist", has been uploaded to a public Dropbox account [2 3 4 5 6 7 8].) There's also this somewhat ominous web site. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Apr 18, 2013 - 25 comments

How amazing is my thought!

Lewis Thomas (1913-1993) was a physician and essayist, writing gracefully on topics as varied as language, nuclear war, and our excellent health and deplorable health-care system (PDF). He believed that the existence of Bach vindicates humanity, that "ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment", and that the Earth is perhaps best thought of as a cell. A three-time winner of the National Book Award, Thomas authored Lives of a Cell, which was voted the 11th-best nonfiction work of the 20th century by the Modern Library.
posted by seemoreglass on Apr 8, 2013 - 15 comments

Writers, rebels and diarists, remember rule #1: buy low, sell high.

The Italian producer of the restarted Moleskine notebooks has taken the company public. The IPO is being managed by Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, and UBS.
posted by rhombus on Apr 3, 2013 - 89 comments

________________________

Fuck the straight line. by Chuck Wendig
posted by Fizz on Apr 2, 2013 - 50 comments

“seeing is inescapably tied to scarring,"

STREET OF THE IRON PO(E)T, A Paris Diary by Henri Cole: "Today I visited the cenotaph to Baudelaire..." Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.
posted by Fizz on Mar 31, 2013 - 3 comments

"For what is manly mockery to me?"

Marcel Proust’s First Poem, ‘Pederasty,’ [Daily Beast] "Here is the first known poem by Proust, written when he was 17, that shows him struggling with his homosexual urges. The poem is dedicated to his friend Daniel Halévy, and he wrote to him in a letter: “Don’t treat me as a pederast, that wounds me. Morally I’m trying, if only out of a sense of elegance, to remain pure.” The poem is titled “Pederasty.”" [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Mar 27, 2013 - 41 comments

one great sentence can equal one great post

Stop Making Fun of Leaked Washington Post Blogger Job and Start Applying for It, Says Slate's Dan Kois
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 21, 2013 - 27 comments

Ask Nicola

Nicola Griffith recommends good lesbian science fiction novels.
posted by Artw on Mar 19, 2013 - 50 comments

"Please don't use any less than a 16px base font-size for body content"

Stop Using Small Font Sizes "I'm calling you out. All of you. The hackers, the designers, the code monkeys, the word-smiths, the editors, the CSS gurus, and everyone else who works on content management systems and style sheets for news sites. Stop using small font sizes." [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Mar 12, 2013 - 120 comments

"The new creativity is pointing, not making."

Proudly Fraudulent: [The Awl] An Interview With MoMA's First Poet Laureate, Kenneth Goldsmith. [Previously] [Previously]
posted by Fizz on Mar 9, 2013 - 19 comments

Aspiring Animators & Game Designers, Study Your Calculus & Combinatorics

Every film Pixar has produced has landed in the top fifty highest-grossing animated films of all time. What's their secret? Mathematics. Oh, and 22 Rules of Storytelling. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 8, 2013 - 40 comments

ENGLISHWOMEN: Express surprise that they can have pretty children.

You too can sound like tedious Second Empire bourgeois making small talk if you follow Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas! A satrical collection of cant, cliche, and "expected" opinions of the French middle-classes around 1870 - List Of Entrees alphabetical - List by subject.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 28, 2013 - 14 comments

Best Science Fiction Related Metafilter Post

The finalists for the 2012 Nebula Awards have been announced (list with free fiction links here), but there's still another two weeks to get in nominations for the 2013 Hugo Awards. However, for those works not fiting the regular award categories Tim Pratt and other science fiction writers, fans and interested parties on Twitter have been suggesting #FakeHugoAwardCategories . io9 collects some of the best.
posted by Artw on Feb 27, 2013 - 53 comments

Sweet Valley High Ghostwriters

In an essay in the Kenyon Review, former Sweet Valley High ghostwriter Amy Boesky, now an Associate Professor of English at Boston College, writes about her experience ghostwriting, how she got started, why she kept ghostwriting while also pursuing her Ph.D., and why she eventually stopped. Interviews with other Sweet Valley ghostwriters are here, here, and here.
posted by Area Man on Feb 26, 2013 - 28 comments

In fact-based films, how much fiction is OK?

With the "true story" films Argo, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty having been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, discussion has risen about storytelling accuracy: "Does the audience deserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? Surely not, but just how much fiction is OK?"
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston on Feb 20, 2013 - 160 comments

With malice, toward none

Lying in State: Advice for American Poets [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 19, 2013 - 7 comments

Mutant Women of Earth

How Chris Claremont Reinvented the Female Superhero
posted by Artw on Feb 19, 2013 - 54 comments

Schmucks with Underwoods

Vanity fair on the rise and fall and possible rise again of the spec script.
posted by Artw on Feb 11, 2013 - 44 comments

A Warning to College Professors From a High School Teacher

A Warning to College Professors From a High School Teacher
posted by SkylitDrawl on Feb 10, 2013 - 119 comments

Screenwriters on screenwriting

The Q&A With Jeff Goldsmith is an irregularly released podcast where Mr. Goldsmith interviews, at length (each episode runs an hour or more), working Hollywood and foreign screenwriters. The most recent episode is a panel conversation with the year's Oscar-nominated screenwriters. You can listen to the podcasts on his site or subscribe in iTunes or on Android.

Goldsmith is also the publisher of the terrific screenwriting magazine Backstory--currently only available for the iPad but coming (eventually) to the web and Android. You can download the first issue (which is wonderful, and contains full length scripts along with the interviews and stories) for free.
posted by dobbs on Feb 7, 2013 - 5 comments

Peace and Enlightenment Vs Close Harmony Girl Groups

Why Young Avengers #1, the "Perfect Pop" comic from Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, is the future of Suphero comics. Commentary Track: Gillen & McKelvie Discuss "Young Avengers" #1 - complete with the first few pages of script. Young Adult Library Association Names 2013's Great Graphic Novels for Teens.
posted by Artw on Feb 2, 2013 - 18 comments

Max Sebald's Writing Tips

"As far as I’m aware, nobody that term recorded Max’s words systematically. However, in the wake of his death, David and I found ourselves returning to our notes, where we’d written down many of Max’s remarks. These we gleaned and shared with our classmates. Still, I wish we’d been more diligent, more complete. The comments recorded here represent only a small portion of Max’s contribution to the class."
posted by Lorin on Feb 1, 2013 - 9 comments

X-Mensch

Magneto the Jew
posted by Artw on Jan 29, 2013 - 60 comments

"Most people are not aware how sensitive their writing style can be"

Why Hackers Should Be Afraid Of How They Write. Download JSAN here. (via)
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 27, 2013 - 43 comments

The Rules Of The Game

Anne Helen Petersen, the voice behind "Scandals Of Classic Hollywood" (previously) and "doctor of celebrity gossip" gives us an academic rundown of the hows and whys of the last hundred years of Hollywood Star Making, celebrity, PR, marketing, fandom, and scandal management.
posted by The Whelk on Jan 24, 2013 - 7 comments

30 Screenplays for 2012 Flicks

Links to 30 Screenplays from films released in 2012, including Django Unchained, The Master, Looper, Lincoln, Amour...
posted by dobbs on Jan 19, 2013 - 21 comments

Kurt Vonnegut's diagram of how a story works

Maya Eliam does a graphic representing Vonnegut's thesis of story-telling.
posted by angrycat on Jan 18, 2013 - 33 comments

Badgering the Publishers? The Publishers Badger You Back!

Shimmer Magazine reveals "The Truth About Rejection Letters" It involves badgers.
posted by oneswellfoop on Jan 11, 2013 - 3 comments

The Frightening Hungarian Crackdown

"The new constitution 'recognizes the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood,' and art that is deemed blasphemous or 'anti-national' is now the target of a full-blown campaign of suppression."
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jan 10, 2013 - 137 comments

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