Stuff Writers Like

Fiction

Stuff that may or may not have happened.

18

Oct'17

“I Don’t Have Time to Read”

Every now and then, a self-identified writer will say something that makes the rest of us cringe. Writers come from all walks of life. There are no prerequisites to becoming a writer, except passion and dedication, so there aren’t many things that writers have to do in order to write good stories. But there are a few. Here are some statements that are sure to generate eye rolls from a room full of writers.

1. I don’t have time to read.

Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” Are you really going to argue with the king? Seriously, a writer saying they don’t read is like a painter saying they keep their eyes closed all day. If you don’t study your craft, how can you hope to create anything you’re proud of? Of course, there are times when life takes over and it becomes difficult to fit anything except breathing into the day. But writers are readers, too, and most of us will find a way to devour at least a few pages before bed. ...

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27

Sep'17

4 Productivity Hacks

Writers who are short on time need to be as efficient, effective, and productive as possible.

Writing sessions should be spent writing. That's why they're called "writing sessions". But oftentimes, things feel out of place, making effective writing time during designated writing sessions difficult. It's easy to let procrastination interfere, or to let excuses keep you from meeting your writing goals.

We need to set aside some time, whether it is five minutes or 15 minutes, before our writing sessions so that we can be prepared when we actually sit down to write.

Have you ever sat down to write, but couldn't think of anything to write? Or have you ever sat there with no words coming out because you weren't sure which scene you were going to write? Or maybe you wanted to write a particular scene, but some other scene wanted attention first and you fought with it?

I highly recommend setting aside some time to figure out your plans for your next writing session. That way, when you sit down to write, you can work on that plan and knock out a writing goal.

To help you have a productive writing session, here are some things you should do before you begin to write. ...

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13

Sep'17

World Building Tips [video]

Anyone who has ever tried building a fictional world from scratch has wished they had a road map, a compass, a starting point. This video is exactly that. TedEd videos pair experts with professional animators to create simple, entertaining videos to help you through difficult topics. In this installment, Kate Messner discusses what exactly makes worlds like JK Rowling’s so compelling and provides tips for how to create your own fictional world—one readers will fall into and never want to leave.

Kate Messner is an award-winning author whose books for kids have been New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. was the winner of the 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers. Kate also spent fifteen years teaching middle school and earned National Board Certification in 2006. This video was animated by Avi Ofer. ...

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23

Aug'17

Famous Writers’ Day Jobs

It’s a lean time for writers, as arts funding shrinks on all sides, journalists are laid off in droves, broadcasting budgets are slashed, and book publishing remains in a state of seemingly unceasing upheaval.

It often seems as if the age of living by the pen may be brought to a close by an increasingly rapacious approach to human affairs, interested only in hard numbers and bottom lines. Australian writers Frank Moorhouse and Ben Eltham have recently proposed several schemes to give writers a living wage to support their work.

And so it’s timely to reflect on some of the strange, desperate and occasionally dangerous ways in which writers have historically lived, if not always by their pens, then at least on their wits. Here’s twelve ways in which classics of western literature were written.

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26

Jul'17

Long Day’s Journey

When my first novel was accepted by HarperCollins — the HarperCollins, formerly Harper & Row, publisher of so many authors whom I adored — I thought that all my days of rejection were over. When my book began to be sold to foreign publishers via Harper’s Foreign Rights division, earning out the HarperCollins Advance within 6 months of acceptance, i.e., earning out its Advance before the book was published, I thought I was on the road to full-time writing. When the pre-publication and publication reviews for the first novel started pouring in — all good, and some absolutely stellar — I thought that all my years of hard work and ceaseless rejection had finally earned me a somewhat easier writing life.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The subsequent rejections started almost immediately.

With my editor. ...

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24

May'17

Three Surprising Sources of Writing Inspiration

Inspiration strikes in strange and unexpected ways. But when it doesn’t strike, there are lots of tricks to juice it along. Here are three that might surprise you.

1. Listen

StoryCorps creates an archive of oral interviews for future generations. It began in 2003 with a StoryBooth set up in Grand Central Terminal for family members to record their interviews with their elders; the results were archived for the rest of us to hear. These days, StoryCorps encourages the interviews to happen at family dinner tables after Thanksgiving, or anytime, anywhere, thanks to its free smartphone app. ...

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