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All I remember about it was that I was having sex with Pierce Brosnan in a hot tub. Except that he had a vagina.

"Emma Stone was my dream best friend for a number of weeks. We'd see movies together. Get drinks and gossip. I remember one dream where we just texted. She resurfaced as my best friend last fall after I saw The Help. An actual friend of mine once told me a story about meeting Andrew Garfield's best friend, which meant Andrew Garfield and I were dream best friends for the following few nights. Again, there was texting." The Awl asks people: What Was Your Weirdest Celebrity Sex Dream?
posted by The Whelk on Nov 15, 2012 - 113 comments

 

Medieval Writing

Medieval Writing is your one-stop shop for all things medieval paleography. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Nov 15, 2012 - 9 comments

"Who needs to read one more mediocre book?"

"At the end of his life, the boxer Joe Louis said, ‘I did the best I could with what I had.’ It’s exactly what I would say of my work: I did the best I could with what I had.” [The New Yorker] "The writer Philip Roth announced his retirement in a little-noticed interview with a French magazine [Les Inrocks] and said that Nemesis, which was published in 2010, would be his last book."
posted by Fizz on Nov 10, 2012 - 29 comments

Convince me. Convince me. Convince me.

Charlie Pierce is a longtime sportswriter and author who has, among other things, reported for Grantland, Slate, and the Boston Globe, paneled on more than a few games of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, and fished diapers out of trees as a state forest ranger. He's also made a name for himself as one of the sharpest and most incisive political columnists since Molly Ivins. The lead writer for Esquire's Politics Blog ever since a caustic article on former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell cost him his Globe job, Pierce has churned out an uninterrupted stream of clever, colorful, and challenging commentary on the 2012 election season and its implications for the nation's future, dispatches often seething with eviscerative anger but shot through with deep love of (or perhaps grief for) country. Look inside for a selection of Pierce's most vital works for some edifying Election Eve reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 5, 2012 - 73 comments

So f*>%ing future

"Yelp Reviews As Poetry". "A guide to the queer teen stars of YouTube." "Can a video game company save capitalism?" "In Defense of Ke$ha." "Playing golf inside Louisiana's largest prison." "What getting an abortion is like in a Red State." "We may have reached peak infographic." Here ye Here ye! The first (& only?) issue of Tomorrow Magazine [founded by fired Good Magazine editors] is out! [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 1, 2012 - 9 comments

Are literary journals comatose?

Have literary journals lost their cultural relevance? Ted Genoways, former editor of the Virginia Quarterly suggests they have, and are relegated to publishing masses of material, often submitted by waves of new MFA graduates, that few read. Others question the definition of relevance. The journals do continue to proliferate, generating constant fresh material for a review that reviews them, a database that writers use to sort through them, and agents who comb through them looking for the next literary sensation. Perhaps only print journals are in real trouble?
posted by shivohum on Oct 30, 2012 - 39 comments

There are sixteen panels I can put in this grid. Six are televisions, three are flashbacks, six are close-ups of objects falling through space. The other one... hurts.

Away From Human Memory: Editing And Composition In Frank Miller's 'The Dark Knight Returns'
posted by Artw on Oct 26, 2012 - 17 comments

Professor Serling

Rod Serling discusses writing. A conversation.
posted by timsteil on Oct 21, 2012 - 13 comments

Commissions and Fees

Mad Men season five in review (audio) - As the latest season is released on DVD the Nerdist Writers Panel talks to creator Matthew Weiner, showrunners Andre and Maria Jacquemetton, and writer Erin Levy about the show.
posted by Artw on Oct 16, 2012 - 11 comments

"To most Americans, there is something inexplicably foreign about cricket"

Wickets and Wonders: Cricket’s Rich Literary Vein - a meditation on the literary history of cricket, and a few of the more well-known books surrounding gigaioggie.
posted by Wordshore on Oct 11, 2012 - 14 comments

Songs in the key of H

Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, and Peter F. Hamilton discuss their books with fans (video). The Hydrogen Sonata, the 10th of Bank's Culture books, will be released October 12th, read the first chapter here. Meanwhile it's 20 years since Reynolds first started work on Revelation Space.
posted by Artw on Oct 7, 2012 - 94 comments

This will sell us another 25,000 copies for sure.

Tomorrow is the end of Banned Books Week. It's been 30 years. The American Library Association has a list of frequently challenged books. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 5, 2012 - 48 comments

The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

How Philip K Dick transformed Hollywood, who could be Hollywood's next PKD and how PKD could change your life.
posted by Artw on Oct 3, 2012 - 74 comments

Brilliantly Bad Books

There has never been another literary figure remotely comparable to “the divine Amanda” (whose real name was Anna Margaret Ross, née McKittrick). She was, many discriminating readers believe, at once the single most atrocious writer who ever lived and also one of the most mesmerizingly delightful. She was supremely talentless—she was wholly incapable of producing a single intelligent or well-formed sentence—and yet her incompetence was so sui generis that it constituted a kind of genius. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Oct 3, 2012 - 75 comments

Take Those Damned Goggles Off

Television Without Pity re-capper Jacob Clifton has written a short steampunk story for Tor.com. “There’s a level on which the story is an indictment of using steampunk as a fashion or trend. It came about because I wanted to see what would happen if you substituted Jane Austen for Jules Verne in the steampunk equation...” The Commonplace Book
posted by The Whelk on Oct 2, 2012 - 19 comments

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, a podcast in which writer and game designer Robin D. Laws (Hamlet's Hitpoints, The GUMSHOE system) and game designer and writer Kenneth Hite (Tour De Lovecraft, GURPS Horror) (previously) talk about stuff. Stuffs include: Why vampires are assholes and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, stopping WWI and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Margaret Atwood and the difference between a mystic and an occultist, why no invented setting is as interesting as the real world and Woodrow Wilson, Gencon and sundry RPGs, Neil Armstrong, HP Blavatsky and theosophy, the ebook prcing settlement, what big publishing could learn from RPG publishers, and the many crazy fictional possibilities of Charles Lindbergh and his UFO investigating chums, and Dungeons and Dragons edition wars and Aliester Crowley.
posted by Artw on Sep 30, 2012 - 30 comments

A sea of words

Six years ago, New Dorp High School on Staten Island, NY, had a 40% dropout rate, and more than 80% of freshmen were reading below grade level. In spring 2013, the school expects an 80% graduation rate. What happened? New Dorp decided to teach its students how to write. [more inside]
posted by catlet on Sep 30, 2012 - 83 comments

Creative Director Starts Drinking Heavily

How Does An Idea Become A Book? (flowchart)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 29, 2012 - 25 comments

Rapscallion was robbed.

Starting with a bracket for every letter of the alphabet, a bracket suggested by readers and a "Fuck" play-in bracket, blogger Ted McCagg just finished a contest for the Best Word Ever. In the running were Umpteen, Eke, Isthmus, Skedaddle and Akimbo. The Final Four. The finals. The champion. [Via The Paris Review & Kottke.]
posted by mediareport on Sep 25, 2012 - 68 comments

"Are we the baddies?"

Danish author Sven Hassel (Wikipedia, official site) has passed away at the age of 95. (Danish - Translation) Hassel fought for the Germans during WWII and became famous after publishing Legion of the Damned, a semi-autobiographical account of the war. He went on to write thirteen more books following the adventures of his convict battalion, incuding Wheels of Terror which in 1987 was made into the movie The Misfit Brigade staring Bruce Davison and David Patrick Kelly (clip). He will be remembered fondly by all who browsed the bookshelves of charity shops as young men.
posted by Artw on Sep 23, 2012 - 31 comments

"The bookful blockhead ignorantly read" - Alexander Pope

A Short History Of Book Reviewing's Long Decline: 'By the time of the first quote “book-review,” criticism had been in circulation for centuries—long enough for writers to know how it can sting. Understandably, then, the critic’s skepticism of an artist's genius has invariably existed alongside the artist's doubt over the critic's judgment.' [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 22, 2012 - 11 comments

Talk bubbles and picture boxes

How not to write comics criticism
posted by Artw on Sep 20, 2012 - 82 comments

"If you’re not getting it wrong really a lot when you’re creating imaginary futures, then you’re just not doing it enough."

Wired talks to William Gibson: on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (Thankfully) Almost Always Wrong, on Twitter, Antique Watches and Internet Obsessions, and and on Punk Rock, Internet Memes, and ‘Gangnam Style’.
posted by Artw on Sep 15, 2012 - 55 comments

"Jumping the rope is not good exercise, for it jars the body too much"

Obsolessons: selected passages from the self-help and guide books of the past. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 14, 2012 - 17 comments

Don't even Blink...

Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
posted by Artw on Sep 14, 2012 - 64 comments

Get out there and bother each other! That’s what it’s all about.

Legendary curmudgeonly rockist Athens GA music zine Chunklet is still around, and teaming up with Vice magazine to bring you such new Classics of argument-fomentation as The Wheel Of Punk™ (and the Wheel of Punk™ in action). [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Sep 11, 2012 - 9 comments

South Wales, and Beyond the Infinite

What I wrote was unquestionably fiction — was fantasy. Among Others has magic and fairies. But I was writing fantasy about a science fiction reader who had a lot of the same things happen to her that happened to me. It’s set at the end of 1979 and the beginning of 1980, and it’s about a fifteen year old just when I was fifteen, and from a family like mine and in the time and place and context where I was. I was using a lot of my own experience and memories. But this is Mori, not me, and she lives in a world where magic is real. Jo Walton, who as editor for tor.com revisisted the Hugos 1953-2000, now has one of her own, taking home the 2012 Best Novel Award for Among Others. Other winners include Kij Johnson for her Novella The Man who Bridged the Mist (excerpt) and io9 regular Charlie Jane Anders for her novellete Six Months, Three Days. The Best Graphic Story award went to the webcomic Digger by Ursula Vernon. E Lily Yu took home the Bets New Writer award (technically not a Hugo) and was also nominated for her short story The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees. A couple of TV shows you have heard of also got awards. Links to many of the nominated stories here.
posted by Artw on Sep 3, 2012 - 51 comments

The Drowned World

J.G. Ballard and the alchemy of memory
posted by Artw on Sep 1, 2012 - 24 comments

The Iron Gall Ink Website

Presenting your source for all things iron gall ink. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Aug 28, 2012 - 8 comments

Comics writing craft extravaganza, true believers!

Decompressed is a podcast in which comics writer and former Rock Paper Shotgun journalist Kieron Gillen (X-Men, Thor, Phonogram) talks to artists and writers about the process involved in writing a single issue of a comic. Decompressed 6 broke format and is instead a discussion with Mark Waid and Matt Fraction about scripting comics using the "Marvel Method", or "plot first" - in which the artist draws the comic from a story outline and dialogue is added later, rather than the writer supplying a panel by panel script. For a while out of favour even at Marvel, the method is seeing a resurgance. The podcast page contains visual aids, and embedded version of the podcast, the script of DEFENDERS #9 complete with B&W art and additional links, including links to Warren Ellis’ 3-part tutorial on writing comics (1, 2, 3). Jamie McKelvie and a vultue put in guest appearances. Further example comicbook scripts are available at the Comic Book Script Archive (previously).
posted by Artw on Aug 26, 2012 - 29 comments

"No one but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money"

Tim Parks has two interesting articles at the NYRB: Does Money Make Us Write Better? and Does Copyright Matter?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 23, 2012 - 48 comments

How to have a career: advice to young writers

"Be relentless. All over the world, people are working harder than you." Unsentimental advice from poet and memorist Sarah Manguso about building a career as a writer. (via FSG Work in Progress.)
posted by escabeche on Aug 23, 2012 - 42 comments

28 seconds. Living to write about it.

Ex Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant (previously previously previously) reveals struggle with alcoholism, and his thoughts on cyclist's death in new memoir, 28 Seconds. CBC radio "The Current" interview, and CTV tv interview. Allan Sheppard, the deceased's father, asks people to scrutinize Bryant's story.
posted by kneecapped on Aug 21, 2012 - 49 comments

I want to plural, to discuss not the novel but novels, not the future, but futures.

China Miéville: the future of the novel [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 21, 2012 - 13 comments

Cynthia Ozick on Henry James: The Lesson of the Master

Cynthia Ozick on Henry James: The Lesson of the Master: ...in earlier days I felt I had been betrayed by Henry James. I was like the youthful writer in “The Lesson of the Master” who believed in the Master’s call to live immaculately, unspoiled by what we mean when we say “life”—relationship, family mess, distraction, exhaustion, anxiety, above all disappointment.
posted by shivohum on Aug 21, 2012 - 7 comments

"Very good, sir. Should I lay out your crazy adventure garb?"

What If Other Authors Had Written The Lord Of The Rings?...Wilde, Wodehouse, and more.
posted by The Whelk on Aug 19, 2012 - 50 comments

Needs More Surly Duff

Simpson Writers Pick Their 10 Favorite Obscure Characters (via)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 16, 2012 - 213 comments

Throw shit at the fan

"Last week, I graduated from the 2012 Clarion Writer’s Workshop. And everything people tell you about it is true—it’s incredible, it’s transformative, it will make you into the writer you were meant to be, it builds unbreakable bonds with a ton of other brilliant writers. AND you’ll be devastated when it’s over. As I attempt to process my grief at Clarion’s end, I thought I would transcribe the copious notes that I took during the course of those six weeks." Clarion 2012: Every Brilliant Piece of Writing Advice (via jscalzi)
posted by Artw on Aug 14, 2012 - 98 comments

Spockanalia sounds dirty

Fan fiction has, arguably, existed in some form since 1614, and it has certainly been in existence since the Star Trek fanzine, Spockanalia was published in 1967, while derivative works and unofficial adaptations have long existed (such as Edison's Frankenstein) in the mass market, most obviously Nosferatu (unofficial trailer, whole film) and the infamous Tijuana bibles, but in the modern world of extended copyright and Internet commerce are fan fiction and fan art legal?
posted by Mezentian on Aug 14, 2012 - 66 comments

John Thorne

Food writing’s shameful secret, wrote John Thorne his seminal essay, “Cuisine Mécanique”, is its intellectual poverty. John himself is a notable exception. He is one of those rare authors who have the gift of transporting us into a world of their own creation which we are happy to occupy for a while in preference to any other. They are Virgils to our Dante, showing us around the territory and introducing us to the natives. In these magic realms, strangers speak to us immediately as old friends; arriving unexpectedly at dinner time, we find a place already set for us. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 11, 2012 - 26 comments

Zeppelin Vs Pterodactyl

100 Wonderful and Terrible Movies that never Existed
posted by Artw on Aug 10, 2012 - 66 comments

The story of OMG seriously?

Katrina Lumsden reads the Fifty Shades of Grey books so you don't have to:
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
(contains animated gifs)
posted by Artw on Aug 5, 2012 - 189 comments

Tea should be hot.

A Guide to Writing Sherlockian-Tea Habits. In which EnigmaticPenguin (of death) schools fanfiction authors in correct English tea theory and practice. Follow up: Biscuits.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 29, 2012 - 158 comments

The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books

The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books catalogs the top ten favorite books of over 140 major authors and growing, including Louis D. Rubin, Jim Harrison, David Foster Wallace, David Leavitt, Paul Auster, Michael Chabon, and many more. Here's the list of books rank-ordered by frequency and here are other lists compiled from the statistics.
posted by shivohum on Jul 28, 2012 - 40 comments

Text Editors

TextEditors.org: "the largest collection of text editor information on the web" (Because word processors are stupid and inefficient.) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Jul 27, 2012 - 123 comments

‎"[T]he only real way to do it is to tell an honest human story, but to do it in a way that people feel like they haven’t seen before."

A fascinating interview with Vince Gilligan, showrunner of Breaking Bad. The questions are as excellent as the answers.
This points to that quality of improvisation with the work you’re doing. In a traditional crime show, like “CSI,” if it were a big band, it’s a big band working off charts. The arrangements are very tightly controlled. And what I sense with “Breaking Bad” is a sense of, I don’t know, “John Coltrane on acid.” You have this sense of improvisation where you go with things you know, where you tell the story the length it needs to be told. You’re inspired collectively by a moment and you decide to go deeper into that moment. You’re in essence leading a parallel life with your characters and letting those characters take you where they want to go — not necessarily where the dictates of commercial convention say they have to go.
Meanwhile, Alan Sepinwall asks actors Bryan Cranston (2) and Aaron Paul about some of their most iconic moments on the show. [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jul 25, 2012 - 100 comments

Lee Child on writing rules

Break common writing rules, Lee Child says. The author of the Jack Reacher thrillers tells us to ignore that advice about "Show, don't tell." [more inside]
posted by BibiRose on Jul 13, 2012 - 98 comments

The WritersDiet Test Evaluates Your Writing

The WritersDiet Test, created by Dr. Helen Sword, allows you to enter a writing sample of 100 to 1000 words and have it graded from "lean" to "heart attack" on its level of excess verbiage.
posted by shivohum on Jul 11, 2012 - 39 comments

INTERVIEWER: "Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?" HEMINGWAY: "Getting the words right."

To Use and Use Not: [NYTimes.com] "In an interview in The Paris Review in 1958 Ernest Hemingway made an admission that has inspired frustrated novelists ever since: The final words of “A Farewell to Arms,” his wartime masterpiece, were rewritten “39 times before I was satisfied.” A new edition of “A Farewell to Arms,” which was originally published in 1929, will be released next week, including all the alternate endings, along with early drafts of other passages in the book."
posted by Fizz on Jul 8, 2012 - 19 comments

You eat too fast, and I understand why your antidyspeptic pill-makers cover your walls, your forests even, with their advertisements.

In 1891 author and lecturer ”Max O’Rell” (being the pen name of one Léon Paul Blouet) published an amusing account of his travels through the States and Eastern Canada - "A Frenchman In America" - that, along with the charming illustrations, reflect on then popular national stereotypes and character and is presented on Project Gutenberg in its entirely. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Jul 7, 2012 - 16 comments

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