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 -
"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 -
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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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
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 -
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 -
(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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -