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2018 Writers Magazine

Mon, 29/01/2018 - 2:40am
2018 Magazines

Designed to contain much to amuse and entertain - and updated every month.

Inclusion

22 January 2018 - What's new

Thu, 25/01/2018 - 6:56pm
22 January 2018
  • 'If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.
  Read more

Women write literary fiction’s big hitters. So where are their prizes?

Thu, 25/01/2018 - 6:29pm
22 January 2018 Women write literary fiction’s big hitters. So where are their prizes? website

On the face of it, the revelation that female writers dominated the UK literary bestseller lists in 2017 might seem cause for celebration, a long-overdue correction that seems especially welcome in a year that exposed systemic bias in many forms across the creative industries.  Read more

Extract

If you were to take at face value the discrepancy in coverage in major newspapers and journals so faithfully recorded and analysed each year by the non-profit organisation Vida, you might conclude that men are simply producing more "serious" fiction than women. But as Francine Prose pointed out 20 years ago in her essay Scent of a Woman's Ink, this is largely to do with an inherent bias in the way men's and women's work is perceived. When a male author writes about a family, it's regarded as social commentary; when a woman does, it's a domestic tale.

What Are You Even For?

Thu, 25/01/2018 - 6:24pm
22 January 2018 What Are You Even For? website

The question of how to make a living as a writer is at its surface very simple. The answer is, you write whenever you're not doing your real, proper job. The proper job, where you earn your proper living. The answer is, you feel grateful to have a job at all. The answer is, you tuck your writing away, like a cyclist rolling up one trouser leg so the cuff doesn't get caught up in the chain.  Read more

Extract

We all know that it's out of the ordinary for writers to make much money. When you visit the government's Careers website, there is a special page to describe Writer, and there is a sign like one of those Fire Danger Today indicators that you see on hot country roads. Only in this sign it's an indicator for good jobs, as in, "Probability of a Good Job Today," and the arrow is pointing decidedly to Poor. I recently won a literary prize, a truly wonderful and absurd amount of money out of the clear blue, and I was struck how the news here in New Zealand described me as "pocketing" that money. That sly verb "pocket"-because writers glide around in huge coats lined with pockets in case the opportunity should arise to pinch something to which they feel entitled, like a scented candle or another coat lined with pockets. But, mostly, writers come across as these slightly otherworldly desperate fairy creatures, and if they have any monetary success at all, it's novel. It's amusing. They've bucked the system-the status quo of writers being poor.

Poetry world split over polemic attacking 'amateur' work by 'young female poets'

Thu, 25/01/2018 - 6:09pm
22 January 2018 Poetry world split over polemic attacking 'amateur' work by 'young female poets' website

Giving a fresh meaning to the notion of a poetry slam, the august poetry journal PN Review has published a stinging critique of the "rise of a cohort of young female poets" led by the likes of Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish and Rupi Kaur, describing their work as characterised by "the open denigration of intellectual engagement and rejection of craft".

Extract

The essay in PN Review has split the poetry establishment, with some praising it as "stonking stuff" and "brilliant". PN Review editor Michael Schmidt showed the Guardian some of the many supportive responses to Watts's essay the journal had received. "Many of our readers seem relieved that literary criticism is at last being applied to writing that has, hitherto, been welcomed with open arms by journalists because it is easy to read, contains few challenges ... to insist that it can stand on a sure footing beside poetry in what I have now too often seen described as ‘dusty old books'," Schmidt said.

Indie Authors and the Value of Free Content

Thu, 25/01/2018 - 6:04pm
22 January 2018 Indie Authors and the Value of Free Content website

A publishing success story that continues to receive mainstream (and industry) media attention is that of Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey. One wonders how many more profiles can be written of Kaur, though the story offers multiple angles: her work was first self-published, for example, and it's a collection of poetry. Who reads and buys poetry anymore?  Read more

Extract

It does little good for writers to complain to their readers or to the industry that their writing isn't properly valued. Piracy isn't something that people will be shamed into abandoning, or that will go away only if we put more effort toward stamping it out. Writers (and publishers, too) receive better rewards for their time and energy when they consider the packaging and context that can be charged for-and that people are happy to pay for.

A life in quotes: Ursula K Le Guin

Thu, 25/01/2018 - 5:56pm
22 January 2018 A life in quotes: Ursula K Le Guin website

Ursula K Le Guin, award-winning fantasy and science fiction author and pioneer of feminist speculative fiction, has died age 88. Her extensive catalogue of published works includes novels, essays, poetry and children's books.

Here are some of her most memorable quotes.

 

Extract

On books:

The book itself is a curious artefact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn't have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were 15, it will tell it to you again when you're 50, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you're reading a whole new book."

- Staying Awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading, Harper's Magazine, February 2008.

 

My Last Conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin

Thu, 25/01/2018 - 5:52pm
22 January 2018 My Last Conversation with Ursula K. Le Guin website

For the past 57 years, one of the most original imaginations ever to grace American letters has lived in a hundred-year-old house built from a kit from Sears.

"You could order it out of a catalogue," its owner, the writer Ursula K. Le Guin, told me three years ago.  Read more

Extract

In the 1960s realism dominated American letters. Science fiction was the bastion for engineer geeks. And then Le Guin emerged with a series of books that challenged the way we think of civilization: not just our technology.

Chief among them was The Left Hand of Darkness, Le Guin's 1969 novel set several thousand years in the future on an ambisexual planet, where men and women take on male or female sex characteristics depending on their relationships or desires.

Le Guin wasn't just ahead of the curve in contemplating the social construction of gender. While science fiction zoomed toward the technological future, she wrote about anarchist movements, the way societies create aliens within themselves, and climate change.

 

'Remake a world'

Thu, 25/01/2018 - 4:51pm
22 January 2018

'If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.  Read more

William Faulkner | 'Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, ...

Thu, 25/01/2018 - 4:47pm

'Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.'

William Faulkner

The Big Idea Competition 2018

Wed, 24/01/2018 - 12:51pm
Information Closing date:  23 February 2018 Entry:  Open to UK residents age 13 and over No entry fee Prize:  Winner £1,000 plus promise that idea will become a complete story written by a successful children's author, 5 Runners-up £1,000

Calling all storytellers: The Big Idea Competition 2018 has opened for entries!

Have you got an idea for a children's story? The Big Idea competition is on the hunt to unearth new storytelling talent.  Read more

15 January 2018 - What's new

Fri, 19/01/2018 - 6:47pm
15 January 2018
  • A story in the Bookseller, unfortunately behind the paywall, has provided encouragement for short story writers this week. Short story collections have sold 692,087 units or £5.88m in value in the UK during 2017. This is up 32% by volume and 45% by value over 2016. News Review
  • 'T. S.
  Read more

Short stories finding a market

Fri, 19/01/2018 - 6:13pm
15 January 2018

A story in the Bookseller, unfortunately behind the paywall, has provided encouragement for short story writers this week. Short story collections have sold 692,087 units or £5.88m in value in the UK during 2017. This is up 32% by volume and 45% by value over 2016.  Read more

Ten Tips for Autopilot E-book Marketing

Fri, 19/01/2018 - 5:13pm
15 January 2018 Ten Tips for Autopilot E-book Marketing website

Marketing is critically important to a book's success, yet time spent on marketing means less time for writing. Here, I share 10 set-and-forget tips to put an e-book's most important marketing on autopilot. These tricks work 24 hours a day to make an author's books more discoverable to readers.

Extract

Editing Turbocharges Word of Mouth

Good books aren't good enough anymore. An author only gets one chance to wow a new reader with a five-star reading experience. It's the five-star read that leads to the ultimate form of autopilot marketing: reader word-of-mouth. To maximize reader satisfaction, hire a professional editor, preferably one with experience editing other books that became bestsellers in the same genre or category. There are multiple types of editing: developmental editing, copy editing, and proofing. Each is critically important, and none can be skipped. Developmental editing is the most expensive but will have the biggest impact on reader satisfaction.

 

WikiLeaks shared the full ‘Fire and Fury’ book online. Here’s why that may be a problem.

Fri, 19/01/2018 - 5:08pm
15 January 2018 WikiLeaks shared the full ‘Fire and Fury’ book online. Here’s why that may be a problem. website

Not long after "Fire and Fury" reached the bestseller list, WikiLeaks tweeted what appeared to be a full-text copy of Michael Wolff's explosive book about a tumultuous Trump White House.  Read more

Extract

"If I upload an unauthorized copy of a book on my website and I share that link to everyone, that's clearly direct copyright infringement," Shyam Balganesh, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who specializes in copyright and intellectual-property laws, told The Washington Post. "On the other hand, if someone else uploads some infringing content and I just share its location, i.e., the link via a tweet, then it is unlikely to be direct infringement."

Jonny Geller: the future of books

Fri, 19/01/2018 - 5:01pm
15 January 2018 Jonny Geller: the future of books website

What is the biggest threat to reading in today's culture? Price-cutting Amazon, or ghost-written celebrities? Library closures, or dwindling literacy?

None of these, according to literary super-agent Jonny Geller. The answer is Netflix.  Read more

Extract

Selling, he says, is a matter of planting ideas in an editor's mind, so they think that they have done that work themselves, that the clever strap-line on a book's cover is their idea, not his. But does a writer need to have that strap-line in mind before they start writing? (I ask, because I never do this). It depends, he says, thinking of some of his illustrious clients. William Boyd knows exactly what he's doing before he starts writing. Howard Jacobson has a basic idea, but never plans ahead (like me). John Le Carre has a long thinking time, and then quite a quick writing time. "To sell a book, you do need to know what it's about, and to be able to put that into ten words or so."

TS Eliot prize goes to Ocean Vuong's 'compellingly assured' debut collection

Fri, 19/01/2018 - 4:52pm
15 January 2018 TS Eliot prize goes to Ocean Vuong's 'compellingly assured' debut collection website

Night Sky With Exit Wounds, the debut collection by a poet who is the first literate person in his family, hailed as ‘the definitive arrival of a significant voice'

After becoming the first literate person in his family and a prize-winning poet festooned with awards, Ocean Vuong has now won perhaps his most prestigious accolade yet for his debut collection: the TS Eliot prize.  Read more

Extract

Before announcing Vuong as the winner at a ceremony at the Wallace Collection in London on Monday evening, chair of judges Bill Herbert called Night Sky With Exit Wounds "a compellingly assured debut, the definitive arrival of a significant voice".

"There is an incredible power in the story of this collection," said Herbert. "There is a mystery at the heart of the book about generational karma, this migrant figure coming to terms with his relationship with his past, his relationship with his father and his relationship with his sexuality. All of that is borne out in some quite extraordinary imagery. The view of the world from this book is quite stunning."

 

These authors risk the wrath of readers to keep book franchises alive

Fri, 19/01/2018 - 4:47pm
15 January 2018 These authors risk the wrath of readers to keep book franchises alive website

Sue Grafton made her wishes clear: Her best-selling mystery series would die when she did. No other writers were to continue the alphabetical saga of detective Kinsey Millhone, who entered the world in 1982's "A is for Alibi" and carried on through 2017's "Y is for Yesterday."  Read more

Extract

For the man anointed with keeping Robert B. Parker's most beloved character alive and quipping, it's not a job, but a sacred trust.

Parker wrote nearly 70 novels, 40 of them about Spenser, the literary, wisecracking Boston private eye. He was writing yet another in January 2010 when his wife, Joan, found him dead at his desk, felled, at 77, by a heart attack.

"When my father died, there were a couple of unfinished manuscripts and we didn't know what to do," his son David told The Post. "The publisher suggested we find people to complete them, and it morphed into working with Ace Atkins, who's essentially a Robert B. Parker scholar."

 

The Novelist’s Complicity

Fri, 19/01/2018 - 12:34pm
15 January 2018 The Novelist’s Complicity website

No effort at putting Fitzgerald's novel on screen has ever been entirely successful, certainly not in terms of fidelity to his vision.  Read more

Extract

What I'm getting at with all this detail is that there's a basic difference between fiction grounded in the interiority of characters, on the one hand, and film and TV, on the other. Novels do interiority and the drama of the mind infinitely better than TV and film do.

The imminent death of the novel has been announced every year for as long as I can remember. (This doesn't mean that the novel won't die; it means that successive soothsayers haven't been very good at soothsaying.) In 2009, the American novelist Philip Roth predicted that within twenty-five years the readership of novels would amount to a cult. "I think people will always be reading them," he said in an interview, "but it will be a small group of people. Maybe more people than now read Latin poetry, but somewhere in that range."

 

'Reading other poetry aloud'

Fri, 19/01/2018 - 11:49am
15 January 2018

'T. S. Eliot said to me "There's only one way a poet can develop his actual writing - apart from self-criticism & continual practice. And that is by reading other poetry aloud - and it doesn't matter whether he understands it or not (i.e. even if it is in another language.) What matters, above all, is educating the ear."  Read more