Joan Didion on the power of grammar

On the Brainpickings website today, I stumbled into a few collections of Joan Didion’s thoughts, loved everything she had to say, and immediately bought two Didion books. 🙂 ♥ Here’s a favorite quote from her talk on “Why I Write“… All I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of[…]

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

Beautiful treat for writers! An artist named James Harris has illustrated the main storytelling elements (story structure, plots, plot devices, character types, and production terms) in an elegant Periodic Table of Storytelling. Each element is linked to the relevant TV Tropes page, which just so happens to be one of the most fascinating rabbit holes of storytelling on the web. DOUBLE FUN. There’s[…]

David Foster Wallace on Television’s Value to Fiction Writers

David Foster Wallace, on how television can be great for writers… First, television does a lot of our predatory human research for us. American human beings are a slippery and protean bunch in real life, hard as hell to get any kind of universal handle on. But television comes equipped with just such a handle.[…]

The Scorpion Game, by Daniel Jeffries

Just started reading my copy of The Scorpion Game by Daniel Jeffries, which is now available to buy for the Amazon Kindle, and I’m excited about it all over again. I helped to co-edit this story, and re-reading it has reminded me how much fun it was to work on, and also how intimidating it was, because it’s just that[…]

Sentence-level switchbacks and conflict

Accomplished writers know that to write a great story, you need characters with internal conflicts that motivate them in a plot full of external conflicts. But something less often talked about is how to put conflict into language itself. Turning sentences or paragraphs on themselves with internal contradictions is what gives the writing life and[…]

Beautiful things

OK, I admit it, I’m addicted to quotes about books and writing and art. When I’m supposed to be taking a break from the computer, perhaps to go drink a tea at the window and let my eyes see the Outside World instead of just pixels, I usually come-to after about fifteen minutes and realize[…]

Writers on writing process

TREASURE! Today I stumbled upon this collection of short clips from the Writer’s Confessions series: writers talking about the writing process. They’re good! I watched them all… Here are some of my favorite quotes>>> Claudia Dey on how writing is like taxidermy. (I LOVE this one. Taxidermy totally captures the weirdness, darkness, beauty and deception of writing.) “I[…]

It’s hard to stay erect for two hundred days

I wasn’t going to dance in the Ray Bradbury parade because, to be honest, I’ve read far more of his writing advice than his fiction and there are already loads of way smarter people talking about him, but this interview is too good not to share. God he had a beautiful mind. “[Writing is] the[…]

Word Magicians

I love magic, and the neuroscience of magic, and I especially love the idea of the “attentional spotlight.” It’s fun to think about how we are these weird, sensitive mammals with semi-uncontrollable focus beams shooting out of the front of our heads (unscientifically speaking). And it’s even cooler that magicians can misdirect these focus beams,[…]