By G. Robert Frazier
Every once in awhile I skim through my favorite websites or newsfeeds in search of interesting stories on writing and reading. I like to share those articles for other authors and readers who may like to draw inspiration from them. I haven’t posted one of these in a few weeks, so this one is extra long. Enjoy!
Author Anthony Hamilton grew up as a dyslexic who couldn’t read in an environment where reading wasn’t stressed as being important. Today, he’s a published author. Here’s his inspiring story.
Writer Alan Lewis shared this important story about a fellow writer who lost his battle with depression. It’s a moving story and something many writers experience. Writing is a difficult craft full of emotional ups and downs, self-doubts and personal triumphs. Sadly, it doesn’t always end well. I’m thankful to know Alan and many other writers like him in the Nashville Writers groups who meet each week to provide support and encouragement for each other, whether it’s in the form of a constructive critique or a simple conversation about the craft or life in general.
Literary Hub published this great article about How Books Can Help Us Survive A War.
Noir fiction is enjoying a renaissance. Author Nicholas Seeley expounds on why in this article.
Embracing intellectual messiness goes against our instincts and training as educated people, but writers and artists should accept and understand it as crucial to the creative process. That’s the gist of this message from author Malcolm Gladwell.
Another paying market for writers is falling by the wayside. Sadly, Thuglit announced its last issue will be published in May.
I came across this cool infographic depicting what 20 authors did for a living before they became famous. It’s particularly interesting that none of their previous jobs involved writing, which means when I become famous and join the list I will set a new precedent.
Columnist Leah Dearborn penned an article on the lifecycle of books, detailing how book production impacts the environment. While it’s eye-opening, I don’t think it will affect my book-buying habits.
Barnes & Noble’s longtime leader Leonard Riggio has announced his retirement. The big chain bookstore has oft-times been criticized for spelling the death of small, independent bookstores but at the same time turned his bookstores into a destination for book lovers. The New York Times says that today, the resurgence of indie bookstores has made B&N something of an underdog.
Sana Amanat, Katie Kubert and Emily Shaw all work at the comic book giant that is Marvel, and are helping change the way their stories reflect women and women superheroes. Hear what they have to say in this video from Today.
Writers interested in writing for TV or the film industry should keep a watchful eye on next year’s Writer’s Guild of America negotiations. The WGA’s current film and TV contract doesn’t expire for another year, but guild leaders already are gearing up for negotiations. Some of the hot-button issues it says need to be addressed at the next round of contract talks include cable parity, diversity, free rewrites, free pre-writes, sweepstakes pitching and “bake-offs,” late payments, packaging, creative rights, one-step deals, so-called “paper teams,” the erosion of the “quote” system, the guild’s ailing health plan and the steady decline in pay and jobs for feature film writers.
LitHub offers these eight writing tips from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, of all things. Just goes to show the power of the written word, regardless of format.
Keith McCafferty makes the case for why writing a short story is the key to becoming a better writer in this article in The Strand.
Paul Tremblay’s A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow) captured the top award in the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers Association. He and a slate of other winners will receive their prizes at StokerCon 2016 in Las Vegas.
There’s an interesting article on The Guardian’s website on How plot grips us. Writer John Mulan notes: “Plot involves the laying of clues, the implicit promise to the reader or viewer that the true significance of what we read or see is not self-evident, but will eventually be revealed. A good plot exploits not just suspense, but also a kind of retrospective curiosity.”
Novelist William Boyd is the latest author to share his process in My Writing Day, a recurring feature in The Guardian. Boyd explains how writing long hand is more conducive for him than pounding away at the keyboard, but adds that after about three hours of writing per day he’s spent. I sometimes feel spent before I can get in any writing. My brother says I stay up too late, which makes me tired all day.
If you need a reason to quit worrying and start writing, this column by Corey Mandell might help. I heard Mandell speak at the Screenwriters World Convention in sunny L.A. a few years ago and got a lot out of his discussion, but this column really drives home the point of putting away your fears and going for it.
Speaking of going for it, Steven Pressfield offers The Blitzkrieg Method as one way to power your way through your novel to the end without stopping or looking back. This is sort of the idea behind National Novel Writing Month as well, where you just sit and type furiously until you get to the end. I’ve been meaning to get to the end of my novel, aptly titled River’s End, for some time now and I’m going to try this method.
This is an oldie but a goodie. South Park writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone share an amazingly simple piece of writing advice on the importance of “therefore” and “but”.
Thriller writer John Gilstrap, who I met at the Killer Nashville Writers Conference last year, talks about one of the most important weapons in a writer’s arsenal: the query letter.
That’s all for now. Happy reading and writing! And if you come across a great article about the craft you’d like to share, just do so in the comments sections!