"The perfect writer is is entirely focused on accuracy; entirely fearful of litigation; and possesses a keen sense of dramatic scene."
Edan Lepucki’s novel, California, will launch next week as one of the most pre-ordered debuts in the history of the publisher Little, Brown. It has become, in recent weeks, an unintentional emblem of the war that Amazon is currently waging on Little, Brown’s parent company, Hachette, as the focus of a campaign by Stephen Colbert to “not lick [Amazon’s] monopoly boot” by pre-ordering it from independent bookstores. In some ways, it’s a fitting choice, since it tells the story of a couple, Frida and Cal, making their way in the world after the collapse of society as we know it. But it’s about much more—love, marriage, [...]
Hamilton Nolan's stern post on Gawker, "Twitter is Public," spoke the thoughts of many a journalist yesterday. Those who write for a living (and are therefore themselves occasionally trussed, spit and taken for a spin on the rotisserie of public opinion) can't help but goggle in disbelief that the concept of "public" can be misunderstood. Journalists think about this all the time because the right to report and publicize has often been under attack, such as when the police try to stop someone recording or filming in the street, or when a celebrity or politician objects to the publication of public information, or when [...]
I attended my first writer’s conference in 2012. Those ten or so days among meadows and butter yellow cottages were rewarding but fraught. The conference was rewarding in that it was fruitful. I met a lot of great people, collected from the craft courses and workshops some useful habits and things to consider, and was introduced to contemporary writers I’ll be reading, and hoping to run into again, for years. ("Oh, I know her," I can’t wait to say. “She was, um, cruel in workshop.”) I left the conference with a much clearer sense of what I would need to do if I wanted to turn this hobby of [...]
It had been six months since I quit, but I still managed to bring up the blog within 15 minutes of meeting Lauren.
We were at my go-to first date spot, a subterranean bar with shuffleboard and ping-pong in case the conversation flagged. When she asked what I did for a living, I dispatched with my day job in a few sentences before admitting, with false embarrassment, that I was also an aspiring writer.
The required follow-up question—"What kind of stuff do you write?"—was barely out of her mouth before I slipped into my spiel: "It’s a little embarrassing, but I used to be a dating blogger for Glamour [...]
There's at least two really great pieces of writing advice from Sebastian Junger in this annotation/interview of "The Storm."
• "You know, I spent a lot of time with American soldiers, and the standard news reporting — if you’re talking to a soldier and quoting him — is to say where he’s from and whether he likes the Red Sox. People just don’t give a shit. I really try to avoid the details that seem kind of perfunctory, not necessary, and ultimately not that interesting."
• "I try to edit my work in different states of mind. So I’ll go running on a really hot day and then [...]
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 [...]
"I mostly write out of disgust and dissatisfaction. I want a beautiful life but I’m stuck in this Garbage World with you people. Very slowly, I’m figuring out I probably should not waste any more time on writing. It seems increasingly passive and banal, the whole exercise." —An interview with writer and self-help guru Ken Layne.
The new Hemingway App site yells at you for using long words, adverbs, long sentences, complex structures, and passive voice. I ran a post I wrote about "The Real World" through it, because I always thought ol' Ernie would really enjoy gabbing at length about a show that is seriously not even good, and here's what I got:7 of 44 sentences are hard to read. 16 of 44 sentences are very hard to read. 14 adverbs. Aim for 3 or less. 11 words or phrases can be simpler. 11 uses of passive voice. Aim for 9 or less.
It's kind of a dickish website but, like, so was Hemingway.
Adam Klein has the kind of life that many of us, chained to our desks, might envy. A wanderer and frequent expatriate, he has lived and taught in places as disparate as Bangladesh, India, Beirut and Kabul. He is the singer and co-songwriter for San Francisco-based band The Size Queens, as well as the author of the Lambda Book Award-nominated short story collection The Medicine [...]
"The question remains, why do people have such a high regard for authors, even when they don’t read?"
Elizabeth Wurtzel is writing a new book. You may have accidentally read some of it already. Her piece published on Thought Catalog earlier this month is an excerpt from it. The book is titled Yes because that is Elizabeth Wurtzel's favorite one-word sentence. She told us so last night, during her reading at "Addiction Literature," hosted by the No. 8 Literary Society at the bar No. 8, which is the descendant of Bungalow 8. The working subtitle of Wurtzel's book is "A History Of Love At First Sight In New York."
The excerpt—as it first appeared on Thought Catalog—is titled "Just That Way." It is about how she has [...]
I am a dumb writer, perhaps one of the dumbest that's ever lived. Whenever I have an idea, I question myself whether it is sufficiently dumb. I ask myself, is it possible that this, in any way, could be considered smart? If the answer is no, I proceed. I don't write anything new or original. I copy pre-existing texts and move information from one place to another. A child could do what I do, but wouldn't dare to for fear of being called stupid.Tonight Kenneth Goldsmith will appear on The Colbert Report. This year he has been the Museum of Modern Art's first poet laureate, [...]
You’ve probably seen the “business person writing about writing about business,” a recursion that only ends because the plug for an e-book has to go somewhere. People, it turns out, will read anything business-related, even blatant ads. But business news sites have become so flooded with editorial junk written by executives that they’ve started hiring journalists to ghostwrite #content that will stand out.
For a while, Amy Westervelt supplemented her freelance reporting income by ghostwriting content under various executives’ names for Forbes, VentureBeat and Entrepreneur.com, among others, sometimes earning a thousand dollars for just a couple of hours work. But she recently gave it up and called [...]
Flappy Bird Think Pieces Dot Tumblr Dot Com has helpfully aggregated segregated all the long pieces of writing about the short-lived app sensation Flappy Bird, so that they will not appear anywhere else on the Internet and you won't be disturbed by them. LOOK ONLY IF YOU DARE. An emotional winter is coming. No but seriously, the trick is picking the good one!
"Writer’s block is a tough thing to deal with, but one we’ll all have to tackle at some point – either at the start of our training while we’re writing outlines and proposals, at the end when we’re writing up manuscripts and theses, or afterwards, as we’re working on papers and other documents. As science communicators, the toughest part is often figuring out exactly how to begin, and how to frame the core message that we want to get across – a process that can be incredibly frustrating. So the question becomes, [...]
If real Manic Pixie Dream Girls existed outside movies and pop culture critiques, eventually, in the course of the male ego stroking to which they owe their being, they’d wind up producing some sons and heirs. Being nubile, impulsive, and brimming with consent is essential to the Manic Pixie dream, so Manic Pixie pregnancy has got to be inevitable. It’s all right. A vital element of male self-obsession has always been the belief that their DNA must abound on the Earth forever and ever. Who better to make this a reality than dream girls already conjured out of male self-obsession?
In maternal form, the trope of the Manic Pixie Dream [...]
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 [...]