Posts Tagged: Writers
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Why Screenwriters Should Never Read Your Screenplay So Just Don't Ask

If you want an established screenwriter to hate you, ask them to read your screenplay.

Don’t ever use the words “Lynchian” and “will you read my screenplay” in the same breath.

— Duncan Birmingham (@DuncanBirm) July 31, 2014

I will agree to read your script if you will agree to be lied to by me about what a great job you did in, say, three or four weeks from now.

— Franklin Hardy (@franklinhardy) August 1, 2014

I'll read your screenplay as soon as I can. Gotta get through this stack of Sinead O'Connor open letters first.

— Todd Barry (@toddbarry) October 3, 2013

[...]
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How To Work From Home With A Baby

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, Sad Desk Salad author Jessica Grose tells us about the travails of freelancing.

The heart break of a home office. pic.twitter.com/jDjKvgM15l

— Jessica Grose (@JessGrose) November 22, 2013

Jessica! I’ve been meaning to ask you about this one for a while. So what happened here?

This was the first time my daughter, who at that point was about 11 months old, realized that when I closed the door to my room I still existed. Or at least that was the first time [...]

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Inside The Minds Of Men: Junot Diaz In Texas

It was 6:17 on a hot September evening and I was already in the front row. In Houston, you don’t want to bet against the traffic. I had breezed by three girls sitting on the sidewalk waiting to get in—they didn’t have tickets for Junot Diaz, so they hoped for the best. There’s an article floating around about how Facebook makes you all depressed because your life isn’t as fabulous as the newsfeed you see everyday, but that’s ridiculous. Thanks to Facebook, I got my ticket to the reading at the Brazos Bookstore within minutes of them being on sale. So there I was, not depressed at all, armed with [...]

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Ask Polly: Jesus, My Struggling Writer Friends Never Shut Up!

Appearing here Wednesdays, Turning The Screw provides existential crisis counseling for the faint of heart. "Because you're still fucking up in the same ways you were before, only now you're too arrogant to notice."

Dear Polly,

How many times is too many to listen to a friend discuss their problems? I have several friends (mostly unemployed writers) who talk about the same thing over and over: namely, that they're not successful and don't know people who will help them, and yet don't do anything to change it. I literally have listened for over 30 minutes at least four times this week to the same friend who kept repeating him/herself [...]

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"Daily Show" Writer Jason Ross On Writing For Free and Breaking Into Comedy

Since 2002, Jason Ross (@jasonjross on Twitter) has been a writer for "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," where his team has won a half-dozen Emmy Awards for outstanding writing and produced the best-selling America: The Book and Earth: The Book.

Jason Ross: Here I am.

Ken Layne: Hello, sir! I'm in the middle of the greatest consumer survey in human history.

Jason: That is a fairly low bar to clear.

Ken: Disneyland is building Star Wars Land. This will make Disneyland much more tolerable for me:

Which of the following Star Wars locations would you be especially interested in visiting at the Disneyland Resort? [...]

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"The fiction of my time is about dysfunctional American suburban families."

"Maybe, as I’ve gone on, what I’ve learned as a writer is that you do as little as possible. And part of it is leaving a lot of it up to the reader. And a lot of it is realizing you don’t have to do that much if you do the right thing. [Makes clicking sound] That’s enough. So my writing has tended to be shorter and more allusive than it used to be. I was re-reading The Lathe of Heaven — which I’m still fond of, which I still think is funny — but, boy would I cut it if I could. They talk too much. They explain [...]

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Becoming Stephen King

“Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors,” Ernest Hemingway once wrote, with typical pugnacity. But are the critics sometimes right? In this occasional series we'll examine the early careers of now-beloved authors to see what the critics first made of them.

Carrie, the high-school revenge fantasy that launched a thousand tampons, started out in Stephen King’s mind as a short story. He intended to place it, according to his memoir On Writing, with the magazine Cavalier. (Cavalier was a Playboy/GQ precursor that is still published today in a slightly less exalted form.) He’d been writing a lot [...]

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To Karl Ove Knausgård, Re: Your Tortured Feelings for the Gays

Dear Karl Ove,

I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but as curious as I've been about your work, I had to overcome my suspicion and jealousy resulting from the onslaught of critical praise and (though I wish I could ignore such things) rock-star photographs of your L'Oreal hair and heavy smoking habit. In any case, with the understanding that the third volume of My Struggle (Boyhood Island) was recently published in the U.S., I just finally finished the first one (A Death in the Family). I have to admit, I was impressed by the opening section. Your meditation on the decay of a human [...]

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All The Drunk Dudes: The Parodic Manliness Of The Alcoholic Writer

It’s difficult not to romanticize a link between writing and drinking. Wisdom hurts, so the more wisdom a writer has, the harder the writer will try to drown it with alcohol. Or maybe it isn’t wisdom that needs to be drowned; it’s the inner editor. Or maybe the great passion that leads to great writing also leads to great drinking. Or maybe… anyway, there must be some connection, so can we please put down our horrible manuscripts and pour ourselves some bourbon already?

There is no romanticizing in The Trip to Echo Spring, British journalist Olivia Laing’s new group biography of six alcoholic writers—Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, [...]

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This Witch Wrote My Book!

August 11th was a huge day in my life. I was at Think Coffee on Fourth Avenue. I had just finished, at age 27, my very first novel. I told the barista, who gave me a high five. This was nice of him, given that this probably happens at said coffee shop way more often than we'd like to think.

I had been working on it for two-and-a-half years, showing it to no one, periodically reading it aloud to only two people—my partner and my ex. The book was a story about the Baba Yaga, the witch from Ukrainian folklore. I first encountered her as a child in Neil [...]

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Ars Longa, Medicinae Longa

"Anaesthetist Peter Morris says he was able to write a novel while his patients slept because surgeons took so long over operations."

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Writer Would Prefer You Not Mention Where She Lives, Because Categories Trouble Her

"Of all the things I’ve been called in my time, the one that surprises me the most is 'California Writer.' When I hear that, I look over my shoulder, certain that the phrase must apply to the writer behind me or to my left. It’s the way I feel when I am addressed by my husband’s last name. It takes me a moment to realize his mother is not in the room. Categories trouble me."

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Writer Awesome

A love letter to Ted Chiang.

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Magazine Writer Has Lots of Money

"My financial records revealed that I have way too much money in my checking account." —Former terrible New Republic blogger and current New York and GQ contributor Jason Zengerle gets VP-vetted as a GQ stunt and the facts that emerge (okay, just that one fact) may surprise you. Also I guess he is prepared for the IRS to come at him over that whole "paying undocumented workers" and "not reporting income paid to household help" thing? Guess he won't have trouble with the small fines.

[UPDATE: This is a dick post. It was supposed to be mildly amusing and to convey mostly friendly teasing, and instead it [...]

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Writers No One Reads

Between 1918 and 1928, Alexander Vasilievich Chayanov (1888-1937) wrote and published (at his own expense) five short Gothic-fantastic tales in separate volumes with print runs of no more than 300 copies, mostly under the whimsical pseudonym “Botanist X.” In his lifetime and until the 1990s, Chayanov was better known as an expert in agricultural economics, particularly peasant labor – and his objections to Stalin’s program of forced collectivization caused his arrest in 1930, exile from Moscow to Kazakhstan, and eventual execution.

Have you read Alexander Chayanov? Me neither! He is among the variety of things you may discover at Writers No One Reads Dot Tumblr Dot Com.

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Could A Young Bob Dylan Make It Now?

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask them—in this case, Esquire writer Tom Junod.

My daughter, watching a Bob Dylan documentary: "If he was around today, he'd just rap all this. And he'd have to be cute."

— Tom Junod (@TomJunod) November 21, 2013

Tom! So what happened here? We lost our dog in September. We just got a new one, five days ago. My 10-year-old daughter is obsessed with him, to the extent that she wakes herself up every hour or so to ask how he’s doing. That’s what happened when I was watching—again—Scorsese’s [...]

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How Writers Can Get Paid Now: Adventures In Invoicing Your Copyright Violators

In March, I put together the fourth annual March Madne$$: The School Tuitions Of The NCAA Bracket. A popular piece, I watched as numerous sites reposted the work wholesale and sold ads against it.

That's when I tried something new in the ongoing efforts of writers to get paid on the Internet. Instead of angry emails or cease and desist notes, I just sent invoices to site editors and managers.

To my surprise, one paid me.

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Chinua Achebe, 1930-2013

"The time has come round to a change in millennia when, history tells us, all kinds of excitable people are apt to go bonkers; when even more equable souls like ourselves may get high on prophecies. The last time around W.E.B. Du Bois had held high hopes for the twentieth century on the matter of race. Mindful of that, alas, unfinished business, my hope for the twenty-first is that it will see the first fruits of the balance of stories among the world's peoples. The twentieth century for all its many faults did witness a significant beginning, in Africa and elsewhere in the so-called Third World, of the process of [...]

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How Much Should A Writer Get Paid? A Conversation

In which editors and writers reveal many secrets!

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21 Lies Writers Tell Themselves (And How They Can Stop Lying To Themselves And Become Awesome!)*

1. Underwear is definitely pants.

This has been an issue, I believe, ever since the first writer ever worked at home.

A general guideline: underwear isn’t pants. That is, you can’t tell yourself, “At least I put on pants today,” if it was just underwear—and no, you shouldn’t sign for a delivery like that.

There's no shame in working in your skivvies, though. Victor Hugo used to get undressed and have his valet take his clothes away. Be proud; just know that it's not pants you've got on. Now go back to work.

2. All you need to be a writer is talent.

Despite the success of [...]