The Secret of Life and Love, According to Ray Bradbury (1968)

≡ Category: Life, Literature, Writing |1 Comment

“Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.” This—writes Sam Weller in his introduction to a 2010 interview with sci-fi and fantasy luminary Ray Bradbury—was the author’s “lifelong credo.


A Reading of Charles Bukowski’s First Published Story, “Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip” (1944)

≡ Category: Literature, Writing |Leave a Comment

“Everyone’s got to start somewhere,” a banal platitude that expresses a truism worth repeating: wherever you are, you’ve got to get started. If you’re John Updike (who would have been 82 years old yesterday), you start where so many other accomplished figures have, the Harvard Lampoon.


William S. Burroughs Teaches a Free Course on Creative Reading and Writing (1979)

≡ Category: Literature, Writing |2 Comments

According to Ted Morgan, author of William S. Burroughs biography Literary Outlaw (which Burroughs hated), the hard-living Beat writer added “teacher” to the list of jobs he did not like after an unhappy semester teaching creative writing at the City College of New York.


Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers

≡ Category: Writing |23 Comments

In one of my favorite Stephen King interviews, for The Atlantic, he talks at length about the vital importance of a good opening line. “There are all sorts of theories,” he says, “it’s a tricky thing.” “But there’s one thing” he’s sure about: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen.


Stephen King Creates a List of 96 Books for Aspiring Writers to Read

≡ Category: Books, Writing |1 Comment

I first discovered Stephen King at age 11, indirectly through a babysitter who would plop me down in front of daytime soaps and disappear. Bored with One Life to Live, I read the stacks of mass-market paperbacks my absentee guardian left around—romances, mysteries, thrillers, and yes, horror. It all seemed of a piece.


The Roving Typist: A Short Film About a New York Writer Who Types Short Stories for Strangers

≡ Category: Creativity, Film, Writing |1 Comment

C.D. Hermelin, a literary agency associate with a degree in Creative Writing, is the self-proclaimed Roving Typist. It’s an apt title for one who achieved fame and fortune – okay, rent money – by appearing in various public spaces around New York City, typewriter in lap.


Kurt Vonnegut Diagrams the Shape of All Stories in a Master’s Thesis Rejected by U. Chicago

≡ Category: Design, Literature, Writing |8 Comments

“What has been my prettiest contribution to the culture?” asked Kurt Vonnegut in his autobiography Palm Sunday. His answer? His master’s thesis in anthropology for the University of Chicago, “which was rejected because it was so simple and looked like too much fun.


New “Hemingway” App Promises to Make Your Writing “Strong and Clear”

≡ Category: English Language, Literature, Writing |7 Comments

I confess, I prefer Faulkner to Hemingway and see nothing wrong with long, complex sentences when they are well-constructed. But in most non-Faulkner writing, they are not. Stream of consciousness is a deliberate effect of carefully edited prose, not the unrevised slop of a first draft.


The Very First Written Use of the F Word in English (1528)

≡ Category: History, Writing |13 Comments

English speakers enjoy what seems like an unmatched curiosity about the origins and historical usages of their language’s curses. The exceedingly popular “F word” has accreted an especially wide body of textual investigation, wide-eyed speculation, and implausible folk etymology.


David Foster Wallace Creates Lists of His Favorite Words: “Maugre,” “Tarantism,” “Ruck,” “Primapara” & More

≡ Category: English Language, Literature, Writing |6 Comments

Everyone I know has a list of least-favorite words. For various reasons, “moist” always seems to make the top three. But perhaps it takes a writer—someone who savors the sounds, textures, and histories of peculiar words—to compile a list of their most-favorites.


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