1144 posts tagged with writing.
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one weird trick that makes a novel addictive

Catherine Nichols on the technique of adaptation. [more inside]
posted by flex on Feb 8, 2016 - 27 comments

Who Tells Your Story? Historical Fiction as Resistance

What my favourite historical fiction has done for me, besides make me happy in the way that good books do, is teach me more about justice, and silence, and perspective. These are the questions I want to spend my time examining and writing about. The limits placed on many women’s lives are the very reason they are conveniently written out of the dominant historical narrative, in a circular argument as old as misogyny itself: “Women do not appear in the record because they didn’t do anything of note, and they didn’t do anything of note because they don’t appear in the record.”
posted by sciatrix on Feb 8, 2016 - 11 comments

Does this mean I have to be /me/ for all eternity?

A Visit, by Bette Howland. [more inside]
posted by solarion on Jan 24, 2016 - 6 comments

Think You're Done? You Thought Wrong.

25 Steps To Being A Traditionally Published Author: Lazy Bastard Edition. Your brief guide through the process, from drafting (5. All First Drafts Are Word Vomit Made Of Horse Shit) to querying (14. I Have Queried Every Agent In The Entire Universe, And No) to post-publication (25. My Book Sales Did Not Exceed My Wildest Dreams And I’m Disappointed Because My Publisher Didn’t Get Me Enough Publicity And Barnes And Noble Doesn’t Carry It And I Wasn’t On Oprah And 50 Shades Sucked Butt And Wah). [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Jan 22, 2016 - 13 comments

“When one burns one's bridges, what a very nice fire it makes.”

No trolls allowed: Seattle advertises a writing residency … in a bridge. by Marta Bausells [The Guardian] The US city’s transport department offers $10,000 for a ‘unique’ residency in a bridge tower – in return for ‘an in-depth exploration’ of the space.
“The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS), in partnership with Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) seeks a practicing, published poet, fiction, or creative non-fiction writer for a unique project-based artist residency in the northwest tower of the Fremont Bridge. The selected writer will undertake an in-depth exploration of the bridge and write a piece in response to the experience.”
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Jan 21, 2016 - 48 comments

By Wambui Mwangi

Silence Is a Woman
posted by infini on Jan 15, 2016 - 4 comments

“A tear in this fabric is all it takes for a story to begin.”

Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories by Colleen Gillard [The Atlantic] Their history informs fantastical myths and legends, while American tales tend to focus on moral realism.
If Harry Potter and Huckleberry Finn were each to represent British versus American children’s literature, a curious dynamic would emerge: In a literary duel for the hearts and minds of children, one is a wizard-in-training at a boarding school in the Scottish Highlands, while the other is a barefoot boy drifting down the Mississippi, beset by con artists, slave hunters, and thieves. One defeats evil with a wand, the other takes to a raft to right a social wrong. Both orphans took over the world of English-language children’s literature, but their stories unfold in noticeably different ways.
posted by Fizz on Jan 10, 2016 - 89 comments

Power of Asian superheroes

To say that Asians cannot be superheroes because of “Asian values” erases traditional and contemporary Asian superheroes, assumes all Asians are the same, and echoes a long history of racist oppression. It tells Asians that we can only be part of someone else’s story, and never make our own stories. Having Asian superheroes is a way of changing all that.
In response to their compatriot Umapagan Ampikaipakan's New York Times piece about the "oxymoron of Asian superheros", fellow Malaysian writers Amanda Ng Yann Chwen and Louise Tan speak of the importance of having relatable role models in fiction.
posted by divabat on Jan 8, 2016 - 60 comments

The internet has made defensive writers of us all

“I realize I’ve begun writing defensively on the web, putting in hedges and clarifications that really aren’t necessary for a charitable reader. I’ve also taken to toning down any rhetorical flourishes that could be interpreted uncharitably in a way that annoys some people. The result: boring writing stripped of a lot of my own personal style.” Paul Chiusano discusses how online feedback has affected our writing styles.
posted by Rangi on Jan 7, 2016 - 114 comments

Memory, Law, and Recording

Sci-Fi Author (and Metafilter's own) Charlie Stross has an interesting thought experiment: Could you get to a technological society without the use of writing? And if so, what would that look like?
posted by The Whelk on Jan 3, 2016 - 58 comments

215 Of The Best Longreads Of 2015

215 Of The Best Longreads Of 2015 [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger on Jan 1, 2016 - 19 comments

How to write comics

Comics writer Kieron Gillen answers the question How do you go from story idea to finished script? Further tips from Kelly Sue DeConnick, Warren Ellis and Mort Weisinger via Alan Moore.
posted by Artw on Dec 27, 2015 - 8 comments

Is this a kissing book?

Meta, Irony, Narrative, Frames, and The Princess Bride - Jo Walton takes a look at William Goldman's (or if you will S. Morgenstern's) classic novel.
posted by Artw on Dec 26, 2015 - 38 comments

“Our Christmases together were simple. ”

“My Christmas in New York” by Harper Lee, Illustrations by Bill Bragg [The Guardian]
“Several years ago, I was living in New York and working for an airline, so I never got home to Alabama for Christmas – if, indeed, I got the day off. To a displaced southerner, Christmas in New York can be rather a melancholy occasion, not because the scene is strange to one far from home, but because it is familiar: New York shoppers evince the same singleness of purpose as slow-moving southerners; Salvation Army bands and Christmas carols are alike the world over; at that time of year, New York streets shine wet with the same gentle farmer’s rain that soaks Alabama’s winter fields. I missed Christmas away from home, I thought. What I really missed was a memory, an old memory of people long since gone, of my grandparents’ house bursting with cousins, smilax and holly. I missed the sound of hunting boots, the sudden open-door gusts of chilly air that cut through the aroma of pine needles and oyster dressing. I missed my brother’s night-before-Christmas mask of rectitude and my father’s bumblebee bass humming Joy To The World.”
posted by Fizz on Dec 24, 2015 - 9 comments

Da Art of Storytellin' (A Prequel)

I already knew OutKast; I loved their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, in part because of the clever way they interpolated funk and soul into rap. ATLiens, however, sounded unlike anything I’d ever heard or imagined. The vocal tones were familiar, but the rhyme patterns, the composition, the production were equal parts red clay, thick buttery grits, and Mars. Nothing sounded like ATLiens. The album instantly changed not just my expectations of music, but my expectations of myself as a young black Southern artist.
posted by ellieBOA on Dec 15, 2015 - 10 comments

When Popular Fiction Isn't Popular

Genre, Literary, and the Myths of Popularity: The massively popular books are very rarely among the best, whether shelved as “genre” or as “literary.” Want to know what the best-selling book of the year has been? Go Set a Watchmen, a cash-grab novel that many have argued was unethical to even publish. The second? Grey, another cash-grab where E. L. James rewrote 50 Shades from a male point of view. (And, yes, Hollywood “reboot” culture is absolutely coming to the literary world in the near future. I mean, hey, it’s popular.) (Lincoln Michel for Electric Lit) [more inside]
posted by frumiousb on Dec 3, 2015 - 24 comments

Good and hard

Health of Hard Science Fiction in 2015 (Short Fiction) - Greg Hullender of Rocket Stack Rank looks at whether this years stories support claims of doom for Hard SF.
posted by Artw on Dec 1, 2015 - 73 comments

Goodnight Moon and Gertrude Stein

In the Great Green Room: This dovetailed with another observation: my students are not as puzzled by Stein as I expect them to be. Stein writes: “Glazed Glitter. Nickel, what is nickel” and my students recognize the moment of wondering. This habit of wonder is familiar in part because we have been raised on the lists of Goodnight Moon. [more inside]
posted by frumiousb on Nov 24, 2015 - 5 comments

#myH1Bstory

November 29th marks the 25th anniversary of the US H1-B visa, a highly-coveted three-year employer-sponsored visa for skilled workers that can eventually lead to a Green Card - eventually. SmithsonianAPA presents a collection of art about the H1-B experience, primarily from people that have held or are holding H1-B visas (mostly South Asians, since Indians make up the majority of H1B applications), as well as some H-4 dependent spouses. H1-B visa holders are also sharing their experiences on Twitter. (previously)
posted by divabat on Nov 23, 2015 - 20 comments

The Perfect Republican Stump Speech (sl538)

We asked former Republican speechwriter [for Mark Sanford, an experience he describes in The Speechwriter] Barton Swaim to write a ​totally pandering stump speech for an imaginary GOP presidential candidate — one who ​espouses only positions that a majority of Republicans agree with. ​Here’s the speech he wrote, including notes to explain his phrasing, behind-the-scenes pro tips on appealing to Republican voters and the data he used to decide which positions to take.
posted by Going To Maine on Nov 23, 2015 - 72 comments

So what’s your solution?

Professor of Mathematics Izabella Laba's "A Response to … " Scott Aaronson's "Words Will Do". An exchange between a mathematician and a computer scientist, on the use of terms including: privilege, hegemony, false consciousness, mansplaining, etc., and the general problem of clear communication, when the social sciences are applied towards political causes. [more inside]
posted by polymodus on Nov 21, 2015 - 111 comments

“how does one reconcile writing “the end” when life is still unfolding?”

Begin Again: On Endings in Nonfiction by E. V. De Cleyre [Ploughshares.org]
Talking, or writing, about endings is hard—whether it’s the end of a marriage, the end of a life, or the end of a book (lest one spoil the conclusion). Life rarely offers sudden and definitive endings or epiphanic conclusions. Rather, events leading up to the end seem to be a slow unfolding, occasionally bleeding into a new beginning. For writers of nonfiction, dealing with actual occurrences often means there is no definitive end, and even if there were (such as a death), there comes the aftermath—the grief, the coping, the rebuilding.
posted by Fizz on Nov 20, 2015 - 2 comments

Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List 2015

The 2015 The Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List, selected collaboratively by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in the run up to the Nebula Award. Categories include novella, novellete and short story, within which most entries have links full stories.
posted by Artw on Nov 17, 2015 - 33 comments

Old habits ...die hard.

Somebody took out a full page ad in The Hollywood Reporter to pitch a Die Hard sequel
posted by The Whelk on Nov 12, 2015 - 66 comments

Getting Away from Legalese

Despite its reputation for being dense, awkward, and repetitive, legal writing can be simple, readable, and concise when done well. Legal writing blogs, such as Bryan A. Garner's Law Prose, are here to help. Non-lawyers may also find these useful when reviewing a lawyer's work, reading legal documents, or in their own formal writing. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Nov 12, 2015 - 33 comments

an azure & emerald tome describing a world made only of plates of beans

If you, too, tend to forget to visit MeFi Projects, possibly due to everything existing everywhere, simultaneously, then you ought to check out MagicRealismBot on Twitter. [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Nov 11, 2015 - 20 comments

“...the novella is not an immature or effeminate novel.”

The Novella Is Not The Novel’s Daughter: An Argument in Notes by Lindsey Drager [Michigan Quarterly Review] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Nov 10, 2015 - 37 comments

a mail-order house in Schenectady

In an essay originally published back in 2000, Ursula K. LeGuin takes a punt at the question any writer dreads to get asked: "so, where do you get your ideas from" and uses it as a springboard to examine the art of reading and writing and why Americans are afraid of dragons.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 4, 2015 - 15 comments

"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail.

"Do you know the young lady?" I asked.
"My Mary? Impossible!"
"Witness: I should prefer not to answer.
"Let us
"I have heard of you, Mr. Holmes."
"I trust that I am not intruding." I am well acquainted with the accused.
Well, she was just a-biling.
"Was you in my Room?"
"I always give too much to ladies." I am!
'Hold your tongue!' said the Queen, turning purple.

--I asked a computer to write a novel that it thought was similar to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 4, 2015 - 25 comments

Junot Díaz Just Lost an Award for Speaking Out.

New York’s Dominican Consul General revoked Díaz’s Order of Merit last week, calling him “anti-Dominican.” Díaz was accused Thursday of being "antidominicano" by the Dominican Republic's consul in New York, Eduardo Selman. Díaz has also been stripped of the Order of Merit awarded to him by the Dominican Republic in 2009. Diaz lost the award after he and Edwidge Danticat were in Washington, speaking to congress about the anti-Haitian initiatives in the Dominican Republic. (These were discussed previously on MetaFilter.) [more inside]
posted by frumiousb on Oct 28, 2015 - 9 comments

"The unique platform and reach our site provide"

We’d like to publish a story you wrote! - Cool! What do you pay? Oh, we can’t afford to pay, but EXPOSURE! - How about no. Wil Wheaton being propositioned by big media.
posted by klausman on Oct 28, 2015 - 72 comments

The Zack Parsons Project

Zack Parsons, Something Awful's resident writer of much weirdness (oldest articles in that listing may be misattributed) has resumed his beloved series with Steve Sumner (the Max to his Sam), WTF D&D. While Zack still writes for Something Awful, he and Steve's reviews of weird pen-and-paper RPG sourcebooks and art, and their rollicking RPG campaigns, have resumed on Zack's new site, The Bad Guys Win, which also features other new articles from Zack (all of the new WTF D&D, currently a two-part adventure in the Ravenloft setting starring Steve as an idiot monk, is collected under Games). [more inside]
posted by BiggerJ on Oct 23, 2015 - 16 comments

He likes big butts and he cannot lie

Robert Crumb talks to The Observer about misogyny, sex, fame, cartooning and getting older in a sprawling interview.
posted by Artw on Oct 19, 2015 - 70 comments

“I do not consider literary forms to exist in a hierarchy,”

History v Historical Fiction by Jane Smiley [The Guardian] Historical fiction is not a secondary form – I was condescended to by a conservative historian who cannot see that he too constructs stories.
“The condescender was Niall Ferguson, a conservative historian about 15 years younger than me, who wanted to be sure that I understood that the historical novel is all made up, but that historical non-fiction, written by historians is truth. He referred to his research. I referred to my research. He wasn’t convinced. I suggested that the demands of history and fiction are slightly different – that since a novel is a story, it must be complete, and since a history must be accepted by the reader as accurate, it must be incomplete.”
posted by Fizz on Oct 15, 2015 - 43 comments

In Search of 'Desiderata'

"Desiderata" is a 1927 poem by Max Ehrmann. It's been subjected to misattribution and mutation (the second Google result is a typo-ridden version that's lurked on a .edu site since 1996 and substitutes "Neither be critical about love" for "Neither be cynical about love" and "Be careful" for "Be cheerful". Even Snopes prints a version with "careful" rather than "cheerful.) Daniel Nester digs into the history of the poem in a piece published on the website of the Poetry Foundation.
posted by larrybob on Oct 15, 2015 - 64 comments

“Poetry makes life what lights and music do the stage.”

A serial novel written in real time by Joshua Cohen, with illustrations by Leon Chang.
PCKWCK is a reinterpretation of Charles Dickens' first serial novel, The Pickwick Papers. That's about all we know so far, because it hasn't been written yet. Beginning Monday, October 12th at 1pm EST, Joshua Cohen will write PCKWCK over five days in front of the entire internet. Every day from 1pm-6pm EST visitors to www.PCKWCK.com will be able to watch Cohen write in real time, offer feedback that may affect the outcome of the novel, and talk with Cohen and other readers in a chat room.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Oct 12, 2015 - 15 comments

Dear Friends

A contemporary fictional account of promoting contemporary fiction.
posted by DarlingBri on Oct 8, 2015 - 4 comments

"Women like me are very lucky and exceedingly rare."

"I've collected the suffering that men so recklessly visited on myself and other women and fashioned it into a livelihood. It is not a fortune but it is a tasteful empire of pain. I might be unlovable but I am not unsellable. I know some women who drink from mugs labeled 'Male Tears.' That's what I've labeled my checking account." Alana Massey for Medium: The Monetized Man.
posted by divined by radio on Sep 30, 2015 - 59 comments

Solidarity in Space

Really, though, shouldn’t authors be more likely to write about unions now that labor is so gravely imperiled? Don’t we need more novels about what unions are capable of, now that pencil-necked geeks like Scott Walker are eviscerating them in public? - The Seattle Review of Books reviews Windswept, a new science fiction book by MeFi's own Adam Rakunas. Interview. He also posts fiction on Twitter at Adam's Bedtime Story.
posted by Artw on Sep 25, 2015 - 16 comments

Take *that*, assholes

A Modest Proposal - David Sedaris talks about the pros and cons of getting hitched
posted by a lungful of dragon on Sep 21, 2015 - 30 comments

Wait, wait, have you written this down? Aren't you a writer?

SOUNDS LIKE YOUR NEXT STORY!: a short play with infinite scenes by Rebecca Makkai.
posted by divined by radio on Sep 21, 2015 - 5 comments

“We are thrilled when fragments of reality become utterable.”

The Mysterious, Anonymous Author Elena Ferrante on the Conclusion of Her Neapolitan Novels [Vanity Fair]
Passions run high when you’re talking about Elena Ferrante and her work, particularly her sensational, highly addictive Neapolitan novels, which paint a portrait of a consuming female friendship against the backdrop of social and political upheaval in Italy from the 1950s to the present day. My Brilliant Friend,The Story of a New Name, and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay have made Ferrante, an enigmatic figure who writes under a pseudonym, and is widely regarded as the best contemporary novelist you’ve never heard of, a worldwide sensation.
[more inside] posted by Fizz on Sep 3, 2015 - 17 comments

A Critical Library

What books should a critic own? "Each week, the National Book Critics Circle will post a list of five books a critic believes reviewers should have in their libraries." Here are all the lists, from 2007-2011. [more inside]
posted by thetortoise on Aug 29, 2015 - 14 comments

#9 Inadvertent, Manitoba. #33 Wintergreen Slap. #39 Don Henley Tirade.

Superego's Mark McConville (previously: 1, 2, 3, 4) is making some very specific Top 50 lists:
    Top 50 Nastiest Black Diamond Ski Runs in the World
    Top 50 Retired Price Is Right Games
    Top 50 Canadian Ghost Towns
    Top 50 Vape Flavors in America for 2015
    [h/t]

posted by Room 641-A on Aug 28, 2015 - 26 comments

“producing much fruit, or foliage, or many offspring”

Can a Novelist Be Too Productive? by Stephen King [New York Times] [Op-Ed]
“No one in his or her right mind would argue that quantity guarantees quality, but to suggest that quantity never produces quality strikes me as snobbish, inane and demonstrably untrue.”
posted by Fizz on Aug 28, 2015 - 112 comments

correctness rests upon usage; all usage is relative

"What of those grammar rules that were entirely dreamt up in an age of moral prescriptivism, reflecting nothing of historical or literary usage, to encourage the poor English language to be more like an entirely different (and entirely dead) language, namely Latin? Wait, which rules are those? It seems pretty crazy but the popular grammar rules familiar to most of us may in fact be completely fake and have no basis in linguistic reality. The English language didn't change to make those rules obsolete, they were simply fictional from the start." || Dear Pedants: Your Fave Grammar Rule is Probably Fake, by Chi Luu.
posted by divined by radio on Aug 25, 2015 - 170 comments

Frankenstein’s Mother

"Since I was a little girl I’ve been afraid of monsters. I’d put garlic on my window ledge to ward off vampires and sage in the corners to protect me from zombies. Even as a young adult I lay on my ratty futon surrounded by library books terrified someone or something would break into my apartment. After my daughter was born, my fear escalated. I’d check the front door several times a day to make sure the deadbolt was secure and the chain latched. At night I lay in the dark, my mind sending out waves of panic."
posted by ellieBOA on Aug 24, 2015 - 7 comments

A different breakfast every day

Breakfast -- Eating the World Every Morning is a series of dispatches about breakfast around the world. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Aug 18, 2015 - 35 comments

July in Osaka

You’ve decided on a life of letters. You’ve got that manuscript you workshopped getting your MFA, an agent, and a publisher. Congratulations! You’re well on your way to being a critical darling. Now all you need is a catchy title. Lucky for you, this handy guide will help you title your book, and every book you write in your illustrious career. Janet Potter (previously) at The Millions (previously)
posted by davidjmcgee on Aug 17, 2015 - 85 comments

Honest tales from the trenches of AAA game writing

“Even that didn't work," she said. "One of the directors on God of War 3 said, 'I need your input on this, this is what design's doing. And I said ‘this is bullet proof, there is no way you can ruin my narrative moment.’ -- "I come back the next week and they ruined my narrative moment."
Gamasutra talks about writing for AAA games
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 14, 2015 - 36 comments

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