The Smart Set: The Art of the Paragraph.
“There are pretty much only two ways to vary your paragraphs. The first is length. [snip] The second – and in my view the far more interesting lever – is to change the way you build sentences into paragraphs, and the way you move from paragraph to paragraph. How many sentences are there per paragraph, and what links the sentences?” Would that mastering the paragraph could prove the difference between popularity and obscurity ...
BBC: The subtle science of selling – a six-step guide.
These techniques are actually much more effective and widespread than this article would have you believe. I’m reading a book right now that’s peeling my eyelids off with revelations about how I’ve been played over the years. I’m only partway into the book now, but I already think it should be on every high school reading list. We have automatic reactions to stimuli that salespeople know, and we don’t. I don’t want to spoil it now; I’ll do a longer post when I’m finished with the tome.
Open Culture: 110 Drawings and Paintings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Of Middle-Earth and Beyond.
Smaug was more of the classic fashion than Glaurung. Goggles are so out, dude.
NY Times: What’s So Great About Young Writers?
“Perhaps I’ll be accused of sour grapes, but thankfully I have reached a point at which I care less about what people think. Partly, that is one of the true joys of middle age, and partly the Internet has taught us, if nothing else beyond the infinite appeal of cats, that someone will always think you’re being a jerk, so you may as well say what’s on your mind. Here’s what’s on my mind: Age-based awards are outdated and discriminatory, even if unintentionally so. Emerging writers are emerging writers.” Among younger writers, I find more of the particular malady, “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Likely because I am no longer a younger writer.
NY Times: Romanticizing the Reader.
The New York Review of Books: Sensual Sappho.
Variety: ‘The Little Prince’ Trailer Unveiled for Cannes.
I actually love that they linked it to ‘helicopter parenting’. With that one choice, it’s perfection. That will date the movie someday (I hope), but not eliminate its relevance.
Here’s to you, Saint-Ex.
The Morning News: Binge Reading Disorder.
“The typical American consumes more than 100,000 words a day, and remembers none of them. When everybody’s reading, but nobody’s smarter, what value has the word?” Personally, I don’t speed-read. I deep-read. If it’s not going to ‘stick’, I usually don’t bother. I just started ‘Outlander’ (I was curious). It may go into my ‘abandoned’ list. “The stone screamed ... (extensive snip) ... it was the sort of scream you might expect from a stone.” Really? Seriously? I expect the TV show is better? I’ll soldier on, however. Paid for it. Might as well bull through to see if it picks up. I hear more and more people discussing the show, so I feel I need to know something about it for my own adaptation to culture.
Paris Review: Wordsworth’s Most Famous Poem Turns 200.
“I am sure it is a great poem [snip] but every ten-year-old Indian is tortured and tormented by [it]... As a kid I remember I had to memorize pages dissecting this poem, but one question always remained — What the hell is a daffodil? No Indian kid ever laid eyes on that flower.” Pffft.
CityLab: An Interactive Map of Shakespeare’s London.
NY Times: Why Writers Love to Hate the M.F.A.
“Other realities conspire to make the M.F.A. one of the fastest growing graduate degrees. Among them: the pervasiveness of digital media and celebrity culture, where anyone with a blog feels like a best-selling novelist-in-waiting; the rise of memoirs, a natural extension of the online selfie writing culture; the popularity of magical realism and noir fiction novels, which have turned many 20-somethings on to literature; and changes in generational attitudes, aspirations and culture.”
Take the Little Black Classics for a spin.
“80 books for 80p each.” Interesting, yet slightly maddening, interface.
Günter Grass has passed away.
terribleminds: I Gotcher Blog-Writin’ Advice Right Here.
“One of the most recent posts is a promise to post more posts, to blog more blogs, to blargh more blarghs, and that post was three years ago. Two rats chew on a third rat. The ground is salted and dead.” All the uses of the word “blog” made me grab an entire package of toilet paper, in case the blogs leaked out of my monitor.
The Casual Optimist: Book Covers of Note April 2015.
Spectator.UK: Stolen kisses & naked girls - much to wonder about in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland
Shades of photographer David Hamilton (I won’t link; NSFW, perhaps distasteful to many).
Electric Literature and Catapult.co Launch New Series of Writing Workshops and Classes.
“MFA grads are welcome; so are MBA-holders/chefs/road workers/violinists/underwater basket weavers. Whether you’re polishing up your third novel, preparing work for submissions to journals or graduate programs, or are simply interested in finessing your craft, you’re welcome to join us.” You need to be in NYC or environs, however.
Paris Review: The Art of Fiction No. 21, Ernest Hemingway.
“I always rewrite each day up to the point where I stopped. When it is all finished, naturally you go over it. You get another chance to correct and rewrite when someone else types it, and you see it clean in type. The last chance is in the proofs. You’re grateful for these different chances.”
The Millions: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids.
“The perfect life does not and never will exist, and to assert otherwise perpetuates a pernicious fantasy: that it’s possible to live without regrets. Every important choice has benefits and its deficits.”
The Bookseller: Median author advance under £6,600.
~$9,700. Our culture still loves the archetype of the ‘starving artist.’ Rice and beans, that.
NY Times: Grown-Ups Get Out Their Crayons.
ArtDaily: Bound to please - book-making machines star at French fair.
Forget 3D printing for the moment. Is this a paradigm-breaker?
Collectors Weekly: Sex and Suffering: The Tragic Life of the Courtesan in Japan’s Floating Wor
Surprising, how much of this I already knew just from reading James Clavell’s Shogun.
OpenCulture: Umberto Eco’s How To Write a Thesis.
Medium: How Terry Brooks Saved Epic Fantasy.
Not quite. I was a big fantasy guy, and I couldn’t stomach Shannara. Cloyingly copied from Tolkein; the cover was so cutesy, we fantasy-buffs couldn’t stand to be seen with it. I got caught up in a darker series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the original trilogy, rather than Shannara. After Covenant depressed the hell out of me, I dove into Moorcock and The Eternal Champion. In other words, spare me the Brooks encomiums. Fantasy was not a wasteland in the 60’s or 70’s.