1. Eleanor Catton Sets Up Grant To Give Writers 'Time To Read' →

    cloudunbound:

    It’s like I always say: reading is writing. Good on Catton.

    The grant has yet to be given a name, “in case a nice philanthropist hears about this and would like to lend their name and support to the project”, but Catton said that the word which keeps coming to her as a possibility “is the horoeka, or lancewood, a native tree that begins its life defensively, with sharp rigid leaves and a narrow bearing, and at a certain point transforms into a shape that is confident, open and entirely new – so different, in fact, that the young and old versions of the tree look absolutely unalike. That is what I believe that reading can do.”

  2. thepierglass:

politicsprose:

Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules for Writing Fiction
1 Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a charac­ter’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead look­ing for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.
2 Avoid prologues: they can be ­annoying, especially a prologue ­following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, but it’s OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks.”
3 Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled”, “gasped”, “cautioned”, “lied”. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.
4 Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs”.
5 Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.
6 Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.
7 Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.
8 Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, what do the “Ameri­can and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story.
9 Don’t go into great detail describing places and things, unless you’re ­Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.
10 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

I think the best thing about this is that he notes the exception to every rule. Which is basically a way of saying “Do this only with real artistic intent.”

He will be missed. What was your favorite Leonard novel?

    thepierglass:

    politicsprose:

    Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

    1 Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a charac­ter’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead look­ing for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.

    Avoid prologues: they can be ­annoying, especially a prologue ­following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, but it’s OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks.”

    Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled”, “gasped”, “cautioned”, “lied”. I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.

    Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely. To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances “full of rape and adverbs”.

    5 Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

    Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

    7 Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apos­trophes, you won’t be able to stop. Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range.

    Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, what do the “Ameri­can and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story.

    9 Don’t go into great detail describing places and things, unless you’re ­Margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don’t want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.

    10 Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them.

    My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

    I think the best thing about this is that he notes the exception to every rule. Which is basically a way of saying “Do this only with real artistic intent.”

    He will be missed. What was your favorite Leonard novel?

  3. It really came as no surprise to me to learn that at the time she was writing Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh had been a butch known within the lesbian community as Willie. When she came into a large inheritance, she bought men’s clothes and had them tailored for her, vowing never again to wear women’s clothes. I don’t know if she consciously thought of Harriet as cross-dresser, but I am certainly not the only one to have recognized her as a kindred spirit. →

    maudnewton:

    bennettmadison:

    Kathleen Horning in the Horn Book on Harriet the Spy as a queer text.

    Yesss. God, I was obsessed with this book as a kid. And I agree with Bennett that it stands up really well to re-reading.  “While most people remember the book as a book about spying, or, even more inaccurately, as some kind of vaguely detectivey story, I think what it’s really about is Harriet’s development as a writer and artist and how that alienates her from her peers,” he says. “(Basically writers are always in a terrible mood is the gist.)”

    What impressed — and depressed — me about it as a third-grader with a diary was that Harriet was destined to keep those notebooks about her friends and the people she met, but keeping the notebooks meant she could never fit in the world the way other people did. 

    Holla Maud Newton!

  4. When I first started writing I didn’t even think about it. I wrote about what I knew. Growing up biracial, I was always trying to figure out how to define myself racially. Was I a white kid? A Mexican kid? The problem was, I never felt I actually deserved either label. Not full time. I was a white boy among the Mexicans and a Mexican among the white boys. I started out writing a lot of spoken word poetry about identity, trying to figure myself out. Then I was introduced to Sandra Cisneros and Toni Morrison and Alice Walker and Junot Diaz. I fell in love with literature through books that had characters that were “other.” I also realized that the little poems and stories I was working out might be worthy of publication, if they were good enough. Now I’m very aware of the characters in my books — though for me it’s as much about class as it is race. My goal is to dig into identity and expose readers to the moments of grace and dignity that exist on the “wrong side of the tracks.”

    — CBC Diversity: Industry Q&A with author Matt de la Peña (via sdiaz101)

  5. therumpus:

What was the last book you loved? Tell us!
Starting February 1st, we’ll be posting our absolute favorite submissions by Tumblr users about the last book (any book!) they loved—an extension of The Rumpus’s ongoing series. Part book review, part love letter, your piece should communicate everything that’s wonderful about your chosen title. Every Friday, one submission will go up on Tumblr Storyboard, The Rumpus, and of course, your humble Rumblr.
Submit today!
(image via)

If there is one group of people I know who excel in talking up much-loved books (preferably Satanism), its you, my much-loved tumblarians. <3 <3 <3

    therumpus:

    What was the last book you loved? Tell us!

    Starting February 1st, we’ll be posting our absolute favorite submissions by Tumblr users about the last book (any book!) they loved—an extension of The Rumpus’s ongoing series. Part book review, part love letter, your piece should communicate everything that’s wonderful about your chosen title. Every Friday, one submission will go up on Tumblr StoryboardThe Rumpus, and of course, your humble Rumblr.

    Submit today!

    (image via)

    If there is one group of people I know who excel in talking up much-loved books (preferably Satanism), its you, my much-loved tumblarians. <3 <3 <3

  6. Call for Reviewers!
The Library Journal Book Review needs writers!
Our newest editor, the super sharp and incredibly talented Annalisa Pesek needs reviewers in business, economics, careers, and education. Email her at apesek@mediasourceinc.com for more information!
Your Library Journal tumblrer (me) is looking for people to review plays. Email me at mmcardle@mediasourceinc.com for more information!

    Call for Reviewers!

    The Library Journal Book Review needs writers!

    Our newest editor, the super sharp and incredibly talented Annalisa Pesek needs reviewers in business, economics, careers, and education. Email her at apesek@mediasourceinc.com for more information!

    Your Library Journal tumblrer (me) is looking for people to review plays. Email me at mmcardle@mediasourceinc.com for more information!

  7. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. Books are proof that humans are capable of working magic.

    — Happy birthday Carl Sagan! (via mrmullin)

  8. The Electronic Corpse: Remaining →

    electroniccorpse:

    Apocalypse, after all, was a kind of liquid state. We had been warned and threatened and steeled against the inevitable and full-scale. This particular explosion, it would turn out, was just a localized attack on the forty-third floor. But we’d had monthly evacuation rehearsals and knew what to do. Our president’s jowly face dominated every available screen, repeating herself.

    A la the exquisite corpse, a communal writing (or drawing) exercise made famous by the Surrealists, Tumblr is home to the Electronic Corpse, the older form’s 21st-century equivalent. Follow along for great writing and great tumbling.

  9. To be an American writer or to be interested in American literature and not to have read “Beloved,” in my insufferable calculus, is like calling yourself a sailor and never having bothered to touch the sea.

    — PREACH JUNOT, PREACH. (via mollitudo)

  10. Great Librarian Write-Out →

    thepinakes:

    Follow these simple steps:

    1. Write something positive about libraries.
    2. Get it published before ALA Midwinter 2013 in a non-LIS print publication (newspaper, magazine, etc.). A letter to the editor could be enough.
    3. Win $500 from the Great Librarian Write-Out.

    You don’t need to be a librarian to win — you just need to have something (good) to say about libraries. Go to P.C. Sweeney’s blog for more details.

    From Great Library Roadshow vet P.C. Sweeney!

  11. 10 Excellent Essays About Words →

    tetw:

    A Tetw reading list

    How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard - Not reading is our main way of relating to most literature, find out how to make the most of your ignorance.

    Tense Present by David Foster Wallace - In one of his finest essays, DFW reviews a dictionary of English usage, thereby tackling everything from democracy and free will to racism in academia.

    The Rise of the Essay by Zadie Smith - Why do novelists write essays? And what excatly is an essay these days?

    Words by Tony Judt - One of the very best essayists refelcts on his relationship with words.

    The Birth of ‘The New Journalism’ by Tom Wolfe - Who put the ‘I’ in journalism? Tom Wolfe seems to think it was him and his friends.

    Own Your Own Words by Steven Johnson - The ubiquity of Google has made it easy to gain control of a word or phrase, what effect is this new power having?

    A Linguistic Big Bang by Lawrence Osborne - “For the first time in history, scholars are witnessing the birth of a language, a complex sign system being created by deaf children in Nicaragua.”

    Cyber-Neologoliferation by James Gleick - A guided tour through the strange world of the lexicographer.

    The Language of the Future by Henry Hitchings - A fascinating look at how English is mutating as it becomes the world’s lingua franca.

    Printed Words, Computers, and Democratic Societies by Irving Louis Horowitz - This essay from 1983 looks forward to the advent home copmuting and the “videotext revolution.”

    (Source: tetw)

  12. If you mean literally how did I sustain myself, it was a weird combination of taking good physical care of myself and drinking more than is perhaps strictly advisable. I don’t want to mythologize or glorify the difficulty of writing this book. Writing is just hard.

    But this project was harder than the book about my father because I knew my mother would see it. And I knew there were other people waiting for it with certain expectations. No one was waiting for the book about my father, or expecting anything from it—I was completely free when I was writing Fun Home. But I had to write this second memoir with a huge boulder strapped to my back.

    — Alison Bechdel, from this excellent, excellent Q&A conducted by Heather McCormack.

  13. Hey! Do you want to review for Library Journal?

    We’re always looking for reviewers. In particular, I (@mollitudo) am looking for reviewers.

    Are you a die hard fan of Planet Money and want to learn more about Keynes? Or do you love Suze Orman and want to read more titles like hers?

    Do you want to read about nonfiction ghost stories (a la The Amityville Horror), astrology guides, or spell books? 

    Do you love big beautiful art books, especially about nonwestern art, textiles, drawings, biographies, or contemporary art?

    Do you want to read grisly true crime stories or gripping tales of serial killers?

    Do you love the Law part of Law & Order, or did you dive into Jeffrey Toobin’s the Nine, or are you curious about what the Constitution actually says?

    Do you want to read sex guides? Memoirs by writers struggling with bipolar disorder? Guides to treating depression (or Alzheimers or autism or claustrophobia)? Biographies of Freud? Quirky explorations of the brain?

    How about diet or exercise books? Exhortations to take up plant-based eating? Explanations of health care reform or guides to a disease you happen to know a lot about?

    I’ve got books for you. Email me at mmcardle at mediasourceinc dot com. Free books, your name in print, and bragging rights: what’s not to like?