Friday Links: Literary Inspiration for All Genres

Happy Friday! This week just flew by and I’m afraid I am a tad light on the links selection today as a result. But I do have a number of good ones so I hope they will suffice to offer up some encouragement and inspiration to you all. Never can tell what will set your imagination twitching.

This weekend is the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, which I am sad not to be attending this year. I love this event and try to go whenever I can, but I’m out of the office the beginning of next week for the Futurescapes Workshop (which I’m very excited about), so I’m taking the weekend to get some things done beforehand. If you’re in the LA area, I highly recommend you swing by the USC campus to check out the book festival. It’s always a fabulous event.

With that, I’m going to move on to this week’s links. You’ll note a bit of an old school, literary bend this week, but I firmly believe that all good writing advice and all good reading applies to any type of writing efforts. Quality work is quality work, and you can always learn from it. I hope you find these interesting, and that whatever your plans for the weekend, you get in some good reading and/or writing time. Enjoy!

Ten Breathtaking Nature Poems – A little poetry in honor of National Poetry Month.

The Time I Spent the Night in Hamlet’s Castle – Author M.L. Rio shares how she won a contest, went to Denmark, and partied like it was 1599.

Charles Bock Recommends… – Tips on how to get back into the writing flow when you sit down at your desk each day.

The Notorious Legends and Dubious Stories of 10 Literary Deaths – Fanciful and odd aspects of the deaths of these famous writers.

David Mamet Teaches Dramatic Writing – Working on a play? Interested in adding dramatic tension to your work? Sign up for Mamet’s online master class.

Secrets of the Slush: An Interview with Editor and Author, Michael Nye – Some advice on how to get your writing to stand apart from the masses.

 

Friday Links, Absent a Clever Subtitle, Because My Writer’s Brain Is on Strike

In case it hasn’t been obvious from the unusual level of quiet around here, I’ve been having a bit of a nose-to-grindstone month. My apologies for the shortage of posts but there’s only so much brain power to go around and it’s being funneled into a few other things right now. I hope October will give me time to be a bit chattier.

However it is Friday, which means Friday Links, and I definitely have some of those to share. I think there’s a decidedly autumnal flavor this week, unsurprising given tomorrow is the first day of October. Think of it as the literary equivalent of pumpkins everywhere. Or maybe it’s just that ongoing back-to-school vibe. I’m still feeling the need to go buy new notebooks and pens. Maybe over the weekend.

So without further ado I’m going to get right to the links. Fair number of titles to plump up that TBR, among other things. Enjoy, and don’t forget to work a little writing time into your schedule. Happy weekend!

The Haunting of Shirley Jackson – On ghosts and literary traps.

Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Gramercy Park – A brief profile with some gorgeous photos of the author’s NYC apartment. His office will give you bookcase envy. Also, his debut novel, Rules of Civility, which came out a few years back, is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in years. I’m twitching to find time to read his latest.

Shakespeare Lives 2016 – The Globe in London streamed a live performance of their recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream a few weeks ago, and you can still view the video on the site.

Win a Writer’s Retreat in Iceland – Details on how to enter to win a free spot at the Iceland Writers Retreat.

The Time I Wrote a 150,000-Word Pulp Novel in a Month to Win a Bet – A fun tale with some interesting details about the pulp genre. Perhaps inspiration for anyone gearing up for NaNoWriMo in November.

Tana French’s Intimate Crime Fiction – A profile that looks at what French has brought to the genre with her popular Dublin Murder Squad series.

Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors 2016 – Mostly who you’d expect, though there are a few nice surprises. Still, an uncomfortably white selection of writers, though a fair number of women have managed to make the list.

 

Friday Links: Time and the Writer

Happy Friday! I’ll kick off this weekend with a reminder that tomorrow, April 30th, is Indie Bookstore Day. It’s a wonderful excuse to hit your favorite local indie bookstore and browse those shelves. Many stores have events scheduled and assorted special merchandise available for the occasion. It’s also a wonderful way to spend a few hours with the kids in your life, so be sure to take them along.

This weekend is also another good chance to check in with your writing goals for the year. End of April means we’re a third of the way through 2016, as hard as that might be to believe, so take a moment to assess where you are and where you’d like to be. Maybe set some mini goals for May — a task per week — to get yourself back on track or to make a bit of quick progress.

To help you on your way, I have both writerly and bookish links for you today. Several have something to do with time, and timeliness, and though I by no means encourage anyone to wait around for fate to determine their course of action, sometimes it steps in when we least expect it. I hope these links give you some inspiration for your own work, and maybe an idea or two of something to pick up on your bookstore visit. Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!

Shakespeare and His Stuff — As part of the ongoing celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, an interesting look into what he know of the man through his things.

Alexander Chee on What Writing Parties Reveals about Characters — How to make those group scenes really work for you.

Ondaatje: Embrace Creativity in Your Writing — The author shares his approach to creating. Please note that this site, rather than requiring registration or a subscription, asks readers to take a very short survey before loading the article.

On Finding the Right Book at the Right Time — An author shares two occasions when a book particularly entwined with her experiences.

Jonathan Coe on the Top 10 Books Written about Books – Pretty much as described.

Paula Hawkins: The Woman Behind The Girl on the Train — A brief background on the author and discussion of her break-out work.

Writing for a Better World — Author Christopher Golden shares his keynote speech from the recent DFW Writers’ Conference.

Friday Links: A Hodgepodge of Inspiration

TGIF! I’m currently in Las Vegas on the fringes of the RT Book Lovers Convention (meaning I’m not really attending, but I’m there in the background, holding a few meetings), but I cannot leave you without Friday Links! So here are this week’s goodies. Whatever your plans for the weekend, I hope you squeeze in a bit of time to write. After all, every word counts, even those that end up being part of what gets cut in a revision. The most difficult thing to fix is a blank page, so fill your pages with words and go from there. Enjoy!

Why You Should Write Something Pointless – Some helpful tips to take the pressure off.

9 Websites for Readers Who Think about Books All Day, Every Day – You probably know most of these, but just in case…

Shakespeare on a Stamp – In honor of the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard, the Royal Mail has put the man on the stamp. Or at least his words.

We Want to Hear New Voices: Diversity in Sci-fi and Fantasy – An interview with Zen Cho and Andre Carrington on diversity in sff, with some great reading suggestions from both the speakers and the folks calling in.

Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest – Deadline approaching May 15th, so check it out.

Ruth Sepetys at LA Times Festival of Books

Friday Links: Writing Inspiration Through Example

Happy Friday, all! Apologies for the late post, but I was at the main Knight Agency office for a team meeting this week. As a result, I spent most of today on an airplane headed home, and then stuck in good old Friday afternoon Los Angeles traffic. That said, I do have links for you, and I hope you find them a good kick off for this holiday weekend here in the U.S. (Monday is President’s Day.) and the regular weekend everywhere else. There should be plenty of writing inspiration to get your creativity flowing. Due to the late hour — and the fact that I’m nearly ready to fall into bed — I’m just going to jump right to it. Enjoy, and happy writing!

The Perfect Notepads for Traveling Writers – Fun pads based  on literary/filmic hotels.

From ‘The Remains of the Day’ to ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ Bestselling Books Written in Six Weeks or Less – A bit of writerly inspiration.

The Speculative Fiction of UB Faculty Member Nnedi Okorafor – A look at the writer’s work and inspirations.

Writers to Watch Spring 2016: Anticipated Debut Fiction – A peek at some fabulous sounding new titles on the horizon.

Is it Worth Writing? – Thoughts on completing projects that might not sell, from author Jami Attenberg.

Shakespeare Solos – Video clips of some fantastic performances from a number of Shakespeare’s plays.

Ian McDonald Explores What it Takes to Develop a Society on the Moon – For sff fans, or anyone curious about the concept of inhabiting another planet.

Friday Links: Messing with Shakespeare and Other Rewrites

TGIF! I hope you’ve all had a terrific week, and that you have some excellent weekend plans lined up. I’ll be a the Writer’s Conference of Los Angeles tomorrow, and then Sunday I’ve got some more work ahead of me, but I’m also looking forward to a few hours with my TBR pile.

But first, I have links for you! I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about what makes a story. How much can you change or subtract from a work without making it into something new? If I were to give a thousand writers the same prompt, they’d come up with a thousand different stories. We go to the movies and see adaptations of novels all the time. There’s a recent resurgence of transforming fairy tales into modern novels and movies, giving the old stories a twist or simply updating them for a current (or future) setting. I’ve read a few articles about translating works, and the importance of adhering to not just the writer’s original story but the mood and feel of the language if possible, so the reader-in-translation has as much of the intended experience as can be managed.

All this of course is a lead in to the recent declaration by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that they’ll be getting 36 playwrights to rework the plays of Shakespeare into more modern, understandable language, an announcement that resulted in quite a backlash in both traditional and social media. What makes those plays Shakespeare’s work? Is it the story or the language? After all, many of those tales were reworked from old myths and history and other source material.

This week also saw the tenth anniversary of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, and the release of a new gender-switched version of the book. Many fans are excited about this, but I can’t really say I am all that worked up over the chance to read about Edward and Bella as Edythe and Beau. Does it really make it a fresh story? Someone else will have to decide.

But enough rattling on. I hope I’ve given you a few things to ponder. In the meantime, enjoy the links below, and have a wonderful, productive weekend. Happy writing!

Why We (Mostly) Stopped Messing with Shakespeare’s Language – A review of the history of rewriting the Bard, and why it’s not necessary.

Twilight Surprise – Announcing Stephenie Meyer’s gender-swapped rewrite.

A New Chapter in the World’s Oldest Story – Researchers discovered twenty additional lines to The Epic of Gilgamesh, a small piece of good news in the turmoil taking place in Iraq and Syria.

Before You Launch Your Author Website: How to Avoid Long-Term Mistakes – A few excellent tips.

Fantasy Calendar Generator – Creating a fantasy world for your novel? Use this fabulous calendar to help keep your world-building consistent.

The Writer I Was: Six Authors Look Back on their First Novels The Millions interviews six now-established authors on what it was like for them starting out.

The Uses of Orphans – Why orphans make such wonderful protagonists, and a look at a few of the more popular orphans in literature.

A Happy Birthday to the Bard

We observe William Shakespeare’s birthday today, April 23rd, and since I’m only a couple of weeks back from merry old England, I feel the need to get into the spirit. So, for your listening pleasure, I offer up this video on how Shakespeare’s works would sound in the original pronunciation. I believe I posted this before, but it’s been quite a while and bears repeating. Enjoy!

Friday Links

TGIF! I am very much looking forward to my weekend, which includes some catch-up housecleaning, followed by brunch (at my place, in case that wasn’t made obvious by the previous comment) with friends. With some reading and a smudge of work in there, as well, no doubt.

Those of you participating in NaNoWriMo no doubt have some major writing time blocked out over the weekend. As for the rest of you, I hope you still intend to write, and maybe hang out with a great book. Per usual, I have a collection of links for you today to get you through the weekend whatever your plans. Enjoy, and happy writing!

Reading a Poem: 20 Strategies – Great tips for folks who want to get into (or maybe back into) reading poetry and perhaps feel a little out of their depth or unsure how to read it outside an academic setting.

Coming Out and Coming of Age: YA LGBTQ Novels – A round up of diverse young adult books that address a broad range of sexuality and gender identities.

Globe Player – A new site from the Globe Theatre in London, featuring free videos of interviews and more, plus performances available for rent or purchase. They seem to still be getting up to speed, so not all plays are available in all regions yet, but there’s already some wonderful media uploaded.

17 Writers on the Importance of Reading – Wonderful quotes on what reading and books mean to some terrific writers.

12 Literary Magazines for New and Unpublished Writers – Markets open to writers just starting out.

Birthdays with the Bard

It’s quite a literary day, today, being the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. I know there are all sorts of theories about the possibility or likelihood that Shakespeare penned all the works attributed to him, and regarding the chances that the man from Stratford-upon-Avon was sufficiently well educated to have been capable of such a feat. But today I just want to give him all the credit, and marvel that such a body of work has survived and thrived for so many centuries. We continue to produce the plays, both in direct theatrical productions and varied adaptations in multiple mediums, and they continue to be relevant even after all this time. The breadth of characters, the human emotions touched upon… there’s a great deal to admire there.

So, in honor of the Bard, I offer you all sorts of mid-week reading to put you in a Shakespearian frame of mind. Enjoy!

450 Years of Juliets: On Women Making Shakespeare

Shakespeare, Heartthrob: Reclaiming the Bard for the Common Man

Why Shakespeare Belongs in Prison: The incarcerated may be the Bard’s ideal modern audience

Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday with Some of His Best Insults and Pick-up Lines

50 Everyday Phrases that Came from the Bard

As Shakespeare turns 450, ‘Hamlet’ Tour Makes the World a Stage

 

Friday Links

Drive-by links this week, as I’m trying to get some stuff finished up before the weekend officially starts, and it’s going to be a close call. However, I’ve got some great sites to share, so I hope that makes up for any lack of chattiness on my end. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and some terrific writing time!

World-building with Lucienne – For anyone who missed it, my fellow agent Lucienne Diver is doing a multi-part world-building workshop on her blog. Parts two and three are also up.

The Moment When Science Fiction Split Off from Competence Porn – A look at how sf characters have changed in film and TV; interesting analysis of trends.

Edwidge Danticat: By the Book – Brief New York Times interview with the author.

Silent City: Serial Story – A serialized online story with illustrations, mixing fantasy, romance, horror, and some great steampunk-esque flavor.

In Search of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady – A look at the identity of the Bard’s mystery woman.