Matt Kahn has read and reviewed every bestselling novel of the last 100 years, starting with The Inside of the Cup (1913), including masterpieces like s like All Quiet on the Western Front (1929) to the surprisingly dark E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) to a reluctant slog through John Grishham, ending with The Fault in Our Stars (2014). Interview.
And the Man Next to You... An oddly compelling tumblr with the tragic backstory of every character killed in the movie Under Siege
Creative writing professor Hanif Kureishi says such courses are 'a waste of time' [The Guardian]
Buddha of Suburbia author, who teaches subject at Kingston University, added that many of his students could 'write sentences' but not tell stories.
Got writer's block? Cartoonist's block? Songwriter's block? Stuck for stocking stuffer? Storymatic to the rescue. It's a box of 500 cards, each of which supplies a few words of inspiration, created by a Brian Mooney, a teacher of creative writing. Storymatic Project: there are only two rules.
The Nation's William Deresiewicz looks at Ann Beattie's evolution as a writer.
The Guardian has a new series of webchats with various people in the publishing industry starting with literary agent Karolina Sutton. Also various writers are asked: Can you teach creative writing?
"While going through my archives, I found this piece and emailed it to my friends -- most of whom didn't get it at all. There's usually only one way that change ever comes to the eternal childhood immortality of a comic strip, and that's by the strip being cancelled -- and sometimes not even then." How it turned out.
In the final pages of his book, drawing up the merits of programme writing, McGurl ultimately falls back on the one thing the programme really does teach: technique. Countering Eliot’s dictum that ‘art never improves,’ he proposes that literature might, rather, resemble technology or sport, in which ‘systematic investments of capital over time have produced a continual elevation of performance.’ Hasn’t ‘the tremendous expansion of the literary talent pool’ and its systematic training in the ‘self-conscious attention to craft’ resulted in ‘a system-wide rise in the excellence of American literature in the postwar period’? It has. If you take ‘good writing’ as a matter of lucidity, striking word combinations, evocative descriptions, inventive metaphors, smooth transitions and avoidance of word repetition, the level of American writing has skyrocketed in the postwar years. In technical terms, pretty much any MFA graduate leaves Stendhal in the dust. On the other hand, The Red and the Black is a book I actually want to read.Get a Real Degree by Elif Batuman is a critique of creative writing workshops and a review of Mark McGurl's The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing. Louis Menand wrote a review of the same in The New Yorker which was both more appreciative of the book and creative writing programs. It was discussed previously on MetaFilter.
rialtoscuro n. disorientation when you step outside a movie theater into unexpected darkness, a twinge of jet lag from two hours of escapist fun which only diverts you from making the sequel to your youth—an old cult classic with wild shifts in tone, dropped subplots, major characters that appear out of nowhere only to vanish without explanation, and an ambiguous ending—but this time, it’s personal. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
WritingFilter: Got the urge to write, but not sure what to write about? Want to practice your freewriting skills? Try these short story idea generators. [more inside]
Louis Menand in The New Yorker surveys American creative writing education, past and present, and asks whether it should still be taught. (via) [more inside]
We're getting married. Aren't you happy for us? "We would rather sell ourselves to a meat packing plant than acknowledge the union of you and this gold-digging hussy. In fact, we already have." A fun little creative writing site that will let you unleash your inner, bitter socialite.
I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado... An 1994 New Yorker story chock full of presumably sensical words that look wacky without their negating prefixes. A Smackeral from the great beebo.org
Fragment: a writing meme. For creative writers who might need a small nudge in the ribs, three sentence fragments posted once a week "for you to fit into a bit of fiction/stream of consciousness/what-have-you... a quick bit of dirtiness to get your creative energy flowing". Write your bit and post your link. (via the ever-enlightening Anne, of Fishbucket.)
writingclasses.com "The largest private creative writing school in the United States" they claim. Everything is covered, yet nothing on weblogs. How is it possible.