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Trans Women's Lit

Trans women writers Jeanne Thornton, Imogen Binnie, Red Durkin and Casey Plett read from their recent works for Talks at Google. [more inside]
posted by emmtee on Jul 6, 2014 - 11 comments

"I think I'm an okay writer, but a very good storyteller."

World's best-selling author James Patterson on how to write an unputdownable story. Interview with James Patterson. 'Patterson recently earned the distinction of being the best-selling author since 2001. Just to be clear, one of the author's books wasn't merely declared "the #1 bestseller," a blurb that pops up on front covers regularly. Rather, James Patterson is the top selling author in the world for the last 14 years. An estimated one out of every 17 hardcover novels purchased in the United States is his, dwarfing the sales of both Harry Potter and the sparkly Twilight vampires.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on May 1, 2014 - 92 comments

Miles and Miles of No-Man's Land

"Certainly, there appears to be a large correlation between artists and depression. But I would argue that artistic expression is not a symptom of depression so much as a response to it. I see writing as an act of resistance against an occupying enemy who means to kill me. It’s why I’m writing this now." YA author Libba Bray on living with depression.
posted by changeling on Mar 6, 2014 - 15 comments

Amtrak choo-choo-chooses writers for residencies

One writer's Tweet wishing Amtrak had residencies for writers results in just that.
posted by wintrymix on Feb 24, 2014 - 95 comments

Putting off writing

Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators "Over the years, I developed a theory about why writers are such procrastinators: We were too good in English class. This sounds crazy, but hear me out."
posted by dhruva on Feb 16, 2014 - 84 comments

The Daily Routines of Famous Writers

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” The daily routines of famous writers. [more inside]
posted by SpacemanStix on Dec 29, 2013 - 36 comments

The New York Review of Books turns 50

In February 1963, a new publication took advantage of the New York City printers strike and launched with a daring editorial: It does not, however, seek merely to fill the gap created by the printers’ strike in New York City but to take the opportunity which the strike has presented to publish the sort of literary journal which the editors and contributors feel is needed in America. The New York Review of Books is now 50. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Oct 21, 2013 - 7 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

Write till your fingers bleed

25 new years resolutions for writers for 2013 (or any other year) by Chuck Wendig.
posted by Artw on Jan 1, 2013 - 69 comments

Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers.

Writers No One Reads
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 17, 2012 - 34 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

something about bells, balls and bulls

“Vermin!” “Abortion!” “Sewer-rat!” “Crritic!”
posted by latkes on Mar 29, 2012 - 12 comments

Writing machines

Previously the Guardian has done a series on Writer's Rooms, now they have started on Writer's Desktops - "where writers show us around their working lives by revealing what's on their computer desktops" (Previously)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 19, 2012 - 10 comments

Writers are always selling somebody out.

"To really love Joan Didion—to have been blown over by things like the smell of jasmine and the packing list she kept by her suitcase—you have to be female. … Women who encountered Joan Didion when they were young received from her a way of being female and being writers that no one else could give them. She was our Hunter Thompson, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem was our Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He gave the boys twisted pig-fuckers and quarts of tequila; she gave us quiet days in Malibu and flowers in our hair. … Ultimately Joan Didion’s crime—artistic and personal—is the one of which all of us will eventually be convicted: she got old. Her writing got old, her perspective got old, her bag of tricks didn’t work anymore."
posted by Houyhnhnm on Jan 11, 2012 - 45 comments

“This is not a definition, it is not true—and, therefore, your questions do not make sense.”

In reflecting on the project, McAllister feels “caught between the intimacy of each individual response, and the pattern of the cumulative replies.” The question remains: Why did they answer? McAllister claims no credit, describing his survey form as “barely literate.” He recalls that in his cover letter (no examples of which exist) he misused the word precocious—he meant presumptuous—and in hindsight he sees that he was both, though few writers seemed to mind. “The conclusion I came to was that nobody had asked them. New Criticism was about the scholars and the text; writers were cut out of the equation. Scholars would talk about symbolism in writing, but no one had asked the writers.” Sixteen year old boy dislikes English homework, goes outside the chain of command.
posted by villanelles at dawn on Dec 5, 2011 - 55 comments

Being Gay in YA

Last Monday, young adult author Jessica Verday announced that she'd pulled out Wicked Pretty Things, an anthology forthcoming with Running Press, after the anthology's editor asked her to change a romance between two teenage boys to a heterosexual pairing. The editor responded, "These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language. I assumed they'd be light on alternative sexuality, as well. Turns out I was wrong!" [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Mar 29, 2011 - 121 comments

“I found the action exciting writing skillful.”

Novelist Bill Morris on the lost art of the rejection letter (via) [more inside]
posted by otio on Oct 29, 2010 - 23 comments

Audio / Video of some great writers

Archives of the Fellows from the Kelly Writers House - mp3s and videos from some great writers, including David Milch, Joyce Carol Oates, Joan Didion, Art Spiegelman, EL Doctorow, Richard Ford, Robert Creeley and many others.
posted by dobbs on Oct 3, 2010 - 2 comments

"Writers are sexy. No argument. Some people think this about heroin addicts, too."

Nitsuh Abebe dissects a rather twee post on why it's great to date a writer. Bonus writer links: Why you should just punch yourself in the face instead of becoming a freelancer, and why it's good despite all the face punching.
posted by Artw on Sep 16, 2010 - 19 comments

How to Pay the Writer

Writers get pirated too - so how can they still earn money? Here are some ideas, but are they workable? [more inside]
posted by divabat on May 3, 2010 - 184 comments

A Blog About Plays

Blog: Daily Plays. "Reading a play a day and writing about what I read."
posted by grumblebee on Mar 9, 2010 - 4 comments

Cormac McCarthy's Typewriter

In 1963, in a pawnshop in Knoxville, Tennessee, Cormac McCarthy bought an Olivetti Lettera 32 manual typewriter for $50. After typing 5 million words on it - including all his novels - he replaced it with an identical model purchased by a friend for $20. Last month, the original typewriter was auctioned for $254,000 to benefit the Santa Fe Institute. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Jan 29, 2010 - 36 comments

So what?

STEP 1 Buy 100 pieces of crap from thrift stores and garage sales.
STEP 2 Get 100 authors to write a fiction about pieces of crap.
STEP 3 ???
STEP 4 Profit!
Significant Objects hosts the stories for all 100 pieces of crap/art, but the last six are still available for bidding: Blue Vase by Lauren Mechling, Umbrella Trinket by Bruce Holland Rogers, Lighter Shaped Like a Small Pool Ball by Rob Agredo, Bar Mitzvah Bookends by Stacey Levine, Geisha Bobblehead by Edward "ed" Champion, and Missouri Shotglass by Jonathan Lethem.
posted by carsonb on Nov 14, 2009 - 12 comments

Writers on writing

In How to Write a Great Novel authors such as Edwidge Danticat, Hilary Mantel, Orhan Pamuk, Junot Díaz and Margaret Atwood speak about their writing process. If you want your thoughts on writing in a longer format, you could do a lot worse than The New York Times' Writers on Writing series, which features short essays by, for example, Kurt Vonnegut, Saul Bellow, Louise Erdrich and Annie Proulx. Should you thirst for meditations longer yet, Barbara Demarco-Barrett has on her Writers on Writing radio show interviewed a boatload of authors and it is available as a podcast [iTunes link]
posted by Kattullus on Nov 11, 2009 - 22 comments

Background to Danger

For Graham Greene he was "unquestionably our best thriller writer". John le Carré once called him "the source on which we all draw". With the six novels he wrote in the years leading up to the second world war - five of which have just been reissued by Penguin Modern Classics - Eric Ambler revitalised the British thriller, rescuing the genre from the jingoistic clutches of third-rate imitators of John Buchan, and recasting it in a more realist, nuanced and leftishly intelligent - not to mention exciting - mould. - The writing of Eric Ambler
posted by Artw on Jun 6, 2009 - 14 comments

Infinite Summer

Infinite Summer - "The Challenge: Read Infinite Jest over the summer of 2009" [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on May 21, 2009 - 118 comments

What are you reading, charming writer?

What are writers reading? An eclectic mix of authors answer the perennial question. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher on Apr 21, 2009 - 10 comments

"this chattering-class version of Heat magazine"

The novlist Julie Myerson has written a book, The Lost Child, about her son's addiction to cannabis, the violent behaviour she says this caused and her tough love policy. Extract. Her son is angry that she's published it, and says his parents over-reacted: "I wasn't doing anything that most other teenagers do, but such was their naive terror of drugs they were acting like six-year-olds". It comes out through MumsNet that Julie Myerson was the anonymous author of a Guardian column, "Living with Teenagers," which described her children's behaviour candidly without their knowledge. Extract. Myerson first denied this. The Guardian discusses whether it was right to publish the columns. Myerson is interviewed about whether she was right to publish The Lost Child. Her partner, and son's father, Jonathan Myerson supports her: This is an emergency. Her son says she's addicted to writing. [more inside]
posted by paduasoy on Mar 15, 2009 - 160 comments

In case you were wondering

Joyce explained. (via)
posted by kliuless on Nov 15, 2008 - 23 comments

Literary Voyeurism

Writer's Rooms, portraits of the spaces where authors create: Martin Amis. Simon Armitage. Diana Athill. Jane Austen. Berly Bainbridge. JG Ballard. John Banville. Nicola Barker. Ronan Bennett. Alain de Botton. William Boyd. Raymond Briggs. Charlotte Bronte. Carmen Callil. Jung Chang. Roald Dahl. Charles Darwin. Margaret Drabble. Geoff Dyer. Anne Enright. Joshua Ferris. Jonathan Safran Foer. Margaret Forster. Antonia Fraser. Michael Frayn. Esther Freud. Simon Gray. Mark Haddon. David Hare. David Harsent. Seamus Heaney. Russell Hoban. Eric Hobsbawm. Michael Holroyd. Siri Hustvedt. AL Kennedy. Judith Kerr. Rudyard Kipling. Hanif Kureishi. Penelope Lively. David Lodge. Michael Longley. Hilary Mantel. Eamonn McCabe. Charlotte Mendelson. John Mortimer. Kate Mosse. Andrew Motion. Julie Myerson. Edna O'Brien. Andrew O'Hagan. Adam Phillips. Caryl Phillips. Craig Raine. Ian Rankin. John Richardson. Michael Rosen. Will Self. George Bernard Shaw. Alan Sillitow. Posy Simmonds. Helen Simpson. Ahdaf Soueif. Graham Swift. Adam Thirlwell. Colm Toibin. Claire Tomalin. Sue Townsend. Barbara Trapido. Rose Tremain. Sarah Waters. Jacqueline Wilson. Virginia Woolf. (Step into the reading room for a wee bit more...) [more inside]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow on Aug 8, 2008 - 28 comments

Condensed: 'Care, constraint, concise, cut, character, clarity, and charity.'

How to Write With Style.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Jul 13, 2008 - 36 comments

'Roid Writer

Canadian writer Craig Davidson is pretty intense (read mad) when it comes to research and promoting his work, entering into an officially sanctioned boxing match to promote The Fighter. But even he thinks he went a bit too far when he went on a full 'steroid cycle'.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on May 19, 2008 - 58 comments

Dianetics is one of them, ho ho.

50 best cult books from The Telegraph.
posted by Artw on Apr 26, 2008 - 85 comments

Post-War Brit Lit

The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. A few interesting choices here... the 'novelist's poet' at #1 seems fair enough, but this one, this one and this one?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 7, 2008 - 107 comments

Improve Your Writing

Writer's Links. Write better, or at the very least, more authentically, with this list of hundreds of resources for writers of all shades. For example, writing a jazz age screenplay? This guide to 1920's slang will be handy. Need help getting your procedural legal drama accurate? Try the Jurisdictionary. Enjoy tormenting your readers? This list of Tom Swifties will do the trick nicely. [more inside]
posted by jonson on Sep 9, 2007 - 14 comments

Interviews with the Writer

Writers on Writing: Interviews with Paul Bowles, David Markson, and Harry Mathews.
posted by mattbucher on Jul 2, 2007 - 11 comments

Flaubert on Structural Unity

Flaubert on Structural Unity. "I’ve just read 'Pickwick' by Dickens. Do you know it? Some bits are magnificent; but what a defective structure! All English writers are like that. Walter Scott apart, they lack composition. This is intolerable for us Latins". Extracts from the letters of Flaubert (via the very awesome book coolie)
posted by matteo on Jul 29, 2005 - 12 comments

Speechifying

Do you know your rhetoric? You can hear how it is used in the top 100 American speeches of all time, 63 of which have the original audio recordings! (prev.) The list has some odd omissions, such as the Gettysburg Address (and here in convenient presentation form) and non-American speakers like Churchill, so this shorter international list may be useful. While the slow decline in the quality of presidential addresses is much lamented, scriptwriters are stepping up, see for example, top movie speeches of all time ("Smells like victory" beats "You can't handle the truth"). So, MeFiers, do any of these still inspire, or is rhetoric dead?
posted by blahblahblah on May 24, 2005 - 31 comments

Verne's Cerntury

Mythmaker of the Machine Age. In the statue erected above his grave in Amiens, in Picardy, Jules Verne, who died exactly 100 years ago, resembles God. He is, after all, the second-most-translated author on earth, after Agatha Christie. To celebrate the anniversary, there's a Verne exhibition at the Maritime Museum in Paris, one of a series of events from Paris to the western city of Nantes, where Verne was born on Feb. 8, 1828, to the northern town of Amiens, where he died on March 24, 1905. His many fans, some of them quite famous, will be treated to exhibits, concerts, films and shows in Verne's honor. “Underground City”, a lost classic written by Verne and never before published unabridged in English, emerges this month in not one but two new unique editions.
100 years later, questions remain about his life: Why did he have two homes in Amiens? Why did he burn all his private papers? Why was he shot in the foot by his nephew, Gaston, in 1886? Gaston was locked in an asylum for 54 years after his attack on L'Oncle Jules. Was Gaston, in fact, Verne's natural son? More inside.
posted by matteo on Mar 23, 2005 - 8 comments

Gulp, type, gulp, type

Two Writers Drinking, Sitting Around, Talking About Stuff. That about says it! Two online veterans get drunk and exchange e-mails. (An ongoing series. The above link is part one. Part two is here, and part three can be found right here). (Via Maud)
posted by braun_richard on Aug 22, 2004 - 4 comments

What Makes A Writer A Writer?

So You Think You Might Be A Writer? Just because you write? An astute essay by Joseph Epstein poses the uncomfortable question: are you weird enough? There's something very unnatural and unhealthy about writing (as opposed to reading, for instance) - but what is it? [Via Arts and Letters Daily.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Apr 19, 2004 - 51 comments

Chuck Palahniuk's writers' workshop

Chuck Palahniuk (the author of such brawny reads as Choke and Fight Club) has an online writers' workshop that has monthly assignments subject to peer review, essays on writing by Chucky P., and a real smoove interface. I'm not a big fan of the guy or his work, but his "distinction essays", which are only posted to the site for a limited time, do contain the kind of solid instruction you'd hafta pay money for at a real writers workshop. The quality of the submissions varies, but seems to me to be a bit better than most online freebie writers-circle-jerk sites. Just don't choke on the ego.
posted by BitterOldPunk on Mar 30, 2004 - 6 comments

vanishing world

For the adventurous reader Dispatches From The Vanishing World a collection of environment themed travel articles by Alex Shoumatoff. Observe the "skeed row" behaviour of The Alcoholic Monkeys of St.Kitts, or travel to the worlds largest swap almost twice the size of England in the Amazon, this site presents magazine articles by Alex over the last 30 years as seen in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Rolling Stone.
posted by stbalbach on Feb 20, 2004 - 6 comments

Great Prose Stylists

A.J. Liebling; H.L.Mencken; E.B.White: Are The Great American Prose Stylists Long Dead And Gone? Perhaps it helps to have two initials. In any case, Gore Vidal apart, I'm afraid sheer opinionated and passionate prose, backed up by knowledge of the world, unorthodox views and uplifting prose that is simultaneously workmanlike and deliciously readable is a thing of the past in American journalism. Sameness; political correctness and sensitivity have all had their deleterious, neutering effect. Are there any exceptions?
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jan 29, 2004 - 36 comments

William Gibson on William Gibson

William Gibson now on William Gibson then. Yep, that is indeed me, though nothing I'm saying there, at such painful length, is even remotely genuine. They were offering $500 for someone to monologue about the summer of lurve, etc., and I was (1) somewhat articulate, and (2) wanted desperately to get my ass out of Yorkville ... $500 was serious money
posted by delmoi on May 1, 2003 - 10 comments

Yaddo

Yaddo: The Artist's Retreat. "Collectively, artists who have worked at Yaddo have won 55 Pulitzer Prizes, 55 National Book Awards, a Nobel Prize, and countless other honors. Visitors from [John] Cheever's day include Milton Avery, James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, Aaron Copland, Philip Guston, Patricia Highsmith, Langston Hughes, Ted Hughes, Alfred Kazin, Ulysses Kay, Jacob Lawrence, Sylvia Plath, Katherine Anne Porter, Mario Puzo, Clyfford Still, and Virgil Thomson." A place to go to get your mind off war.
posted by adrober on Mar 19, 2003 - 4 comments

Typewriter Dependency (common disorder resulting from metaphysical thinking about punctuation)

Typewriter Dependency (common disorder resulting from metaphysical thinking about punctuation) [nyt reg req] "A recent survey of the top 1,000 living English-language authors finds that more than 80 percent own manual typewriters averaging 43 years in age and three broken functions, with a per-unit resale value of $4.75 and slipping. Yet in a questionnaire about their response if brigands should invade their homes and demand either their beat-up old manual typewriters or their spouses on pain of death, a whopping 96 percent wrote ''Spouse.''
posted by Voyageman on Jun 9, 2002 - 23 comments

AfterDinner relaunches!

AfterDinner relaunches! Man, where have I been? Or did I just hit it at the right moment? This is what the web is about.
posted by rich on Apr 19, 2002 - 13 comments

This article

This article was mentioned briefly in another thread several days ago, but I thought it was time it had its own forum, since it's quite possibly the stupidest, most infuriating article you'll read all year (and it's only February). Let's see: poverty is positive because, "hey, I'm a writer!" Right. Now go get a job. (Scalzi has a fine piece about the article).
posted by sassone on Feb 10, 2002 - 98 comments

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