…But a few rare people will point out the stuff that they like, call you out on some of the dumb shit that you’re writing, and gently but forcefully suggest ways to make your dumb shit better. Treasure these people. Learn to recognize them. These people are your only hope. [...] You’re going to find them, and you’re going to hang out with these people as much as possible. You’re going to go drink coffee with them at 2am in shitty diners; you’re going to become new best friends with them; you’re going to call them at all hours on the phone.
How to be a writer
, by Oliver Miller.
posted by Taft
on Feb 26, 2011 -
"On February 2, 2011, Harper’s Magazine and New York University’s Creative Writing Program held a discussion between Harper’s New Books columnist Zadie Smith and Reviews editor Gemma Sieff.
The following is a transcript of their conversation, which covered such topics as the influence of motherhood on female novelists throughout history, the peculiar pitfalls faced by authors who write both fiction and criticism, and the place of Eminem in the hip-hop canon. Smith’s first New Books column for Harper’s appears in the March 2011 issue, now available on newsstands and to subscribers on harpers.org."
posted by chunking express
on Feb 23, 2011 -
, I type many things – sincere and not – that I would never say in person because it’s easy, when typing certain things into a box, to forget whom you are typing to." From Thought Catalog
, writer Caroline Bankoff lists 45 things she thinks about when she thinks about google's chat service. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue
on Jan 6, 2011 -
"They're not out to make a quick buck, they're looking to protect the integrity of the franchise and its mythology."
1998's Star Trek Insurrection
went through a number of different plots before becoming the film we ultimately saw. Starting out as Star Trek: Stardust
, the first take on the idea involved Captain Picard going all Heart of Darkness
on a former friend from his Starfleet Academy days in a bid to find the Fountain of Youth. That treatment evolved into a remarkably Avatar
ish story called simply Star Trek IX
in which Picard must go upriver to kill a malfunctioning Data as part of a Federation/Romulan alliance to displace strange alien natives from a planet teeming with a valuable and rare ore (spoiler: Picard actually kills Data in this treatment, and Tom Hanks was supposed to have a major role somewhere).
Let the late Michael Piller
guide you through the writing of Insurrection
in his unpublished book Fade In: The Making of Star Trek: Insurrection
(his "last great gift to the fans and to aspiring writers everywhere") in which he presents his original story treatments, story notes from his bosses at Paramount, surprisingly reasonable Trekker-type reactions from actors Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, and much more. First made freely available by TrekCore.com
, Piller's family has since asked that it be removed, but you'll still find the file roaming the Internet if you boldly go looking for it
. [more inside]
posted by Servo5678
on Dec 31, 2010 -
is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied.
A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop
, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light.
Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 27, 2010 -
Zombie Baby, Fucking Jane Austen, The Last Witch Hunter, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, American Bullshit, Better Living Through Chemistry... just some of the titles that made this year's Black List
, a list of the best unproduced screenplays of the year as voted on by industry insiders. LA Times
and Deadline Hollywood
have pieces on it and here's an October audio interview with Franklin Leonard
, creator of the Black List. In past years, aspiring screenwriters could find PDFs of the scripts online. It's gonna be a lot
posted by dobbs
on Dec 13, 2010 -
Working on the Ending.
Writer Gail Godwin reflects on the way she works now: "Inevitable for the old writer is the slowdown of word retrieval... All it once took was the slightest tug at the bell for the vigorous servant, accompanied by backup synonyms, to report for duty... You can rail at your 'senior moment' like those tiresome people who bring a conversation to a halt because they can’t remember the name of a place or person... Or you can leave a blank, to be filled in later... For me, a consolation prize of word delay has been an increased intolerance for the threadbare phrase. I don’t want anyone on my pages to 'burst into tears' or 'just perceptibly' do anything, ever again."
posted by ocherdraco
on Dec 10, 2010 -
is a new, free community and platform for young people to share their fiction writing, "connect with other readers and discover new stories and authors. Users are invited to write novels, short stories and poems, collaborate
with other writers and give and receive feedback on the work posted on the site." (Via
posted by zarq
on Dec 5, 2010 -
In Hoxton, there's a shop.
Run by the Ministry of Stories (and funded by the National Lottery), the Hoxton Street Monster Supplies shop provides a free space to stimulate creative writing with workshops, publishing projects and one-to-one mentoring. [more inside]
posted by jim.christian
on Nov 28, 2010 -
Hilary Mantel's Diary
Three or four nights after surgery – when, in the words of the staff, I have ‘mobilised’ – I come out of the bathroom and spot a circus strongman squatting on my bed. He sees me too; from beneath his shaggy brow he rolls a liquid eye. Brown-skinned, naked except for the tattered hide of some endangered species, he is bouncing on his heels and smoking furiously without taking the cigarette from his lips: puff, bounce, puff, bounce. What rubbish, I think, actually shouting at myself, but silently. This is a no-smoking hospital. It is impossible this man would be allowed in, to behave as he does. Therefore he’s not real, and if he’s not real I can take his space. As I get into bed beside him, the strongman vanishes. I pick up my diary and record him: was there, isn’t any more.
posted by adamvasco
on Nov 4, 2010 -
Past, I'd like to introduce you to the present.
"Letters Home relies on contributions. We are nothing without readers who are willing to share their stories or respond to others. We don’t think we’re alone in wondering what’s happened to our childhood homes since we left. Or in wanting to share an important event that occurred there – from a birthday party to a marriage proposal, a secret revealed to a lie concealed.
Write a letter to the present occupant (even if it’s still family), the owner of the store that now stands on that lot, whatever or whoever might be there now, and share your memory. Ask them to respond with their own story and photo. Their letter and photo will then be added to your post." How Letters Home works?
posted by Fizz
on Oct 14, 2010 -
The biggest literary influence on my approach to game design, however, was one of the writers I worshipped as a teenager: Alice Sheldon, aka James Tiptree, Jr. Tiptree had one particular recommendation for starting a story: “Start from the end and preferably 5,000 feet underground on a dark day and then don’t tell them.” This is precisely how we begin Half-Life. It was a deliberate antidote to the many game openings that involved pages and pages of backstory presented in scrolling text.
- An interview with Marc Laidlaw
, writer for the Half Life series.
posted by Artw
on Oct 13, 2010 -
This is all rooted in a vision I had, of William S. Burroughs as a CIA agent, and Philip K. Dick as his young henchman, going head-to-head with notorious gangster and pervert Adolf Hitler somewhere in Hamburg to find out where Hitler is shipping all the computers he can get his hands on.
- In another world Charles Stross wrote this sprawling work
of Alternate History
instead of the Merchant Princes
books. Fictional books are of course themselves a common them in Alternative History stories, from The Grasshopper Lies Heavy in The Man in the High Castle
to Adolf Hitlers pulp novel Lord of the Swastika
in The Iron Dream
. Stanisław Lem was particularly enamoured with the idea of the fictional book, and wrote two volumes of reviews and introductions for them, lovingly described here
by Bruce Sterling.
posted by Artw
on Sep 23, 2010 -
Click "Write". Get a prompt. And a timer that will all too quickly hit 0:00. That's when you don't get to edit anymore. It's Six Minute Story
, and it's among the most fun/frenetic (or perhaps fun/harrowing) 360 seconds you'll have today. [via mefi projects
posted by davidjmcgee
on Sep 20, 2010 -