George Orwell’s Six Rules for Writing Clear and Tight Prose

≡ Category: Politics, Writing |1 Comment

Image via Creative Commons
Most everyone who knows the work of George Orwell knows his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language” (published here), in which he rails against careless, confusing, and unclear prose. “Our civilization is decadent,” he argues, “and our language… must inevitably share in the general collapse.

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A Clever Supercut of Writers Struggling with Writer’s Block in 53 Films: From Barton Fink to The Royal Tenenbaums

≡ Category: Film, Writing |1 Comment

Quite patiently, Ben Watts cut apart and stitched together scenes from 53 films (find a complete list here) showing characters suffering through writer’s block. Adaptation, Barton Fink, Shakespeare in Love, The Royal Tenenbaums, and, yes, Throw Momma From the Train–they’re among the films featured in the 4-minute supercut above.

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Download 834 Radical Zines From a Revolutionary Online Archive: Globalization, Punk Music, the Industrial Prison Complex & More

≡ Category: Magazines, Music, Politics, Writing |2 Comments

Whatcha mean, “what’s a zine”?
Some say Thomas Paine originated the concept in 1776, when he self-published the pamphlet, Common Sense… an assertion author and cultural critic Greil Marcus would likely find a “spurious” attempt to confer legitimacy on a movement that occupies the societal fringes by definition.

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Walter Benjamin’s 13 Oracular Writing Tips

≡ Category: Literature, Philosophy, Writing |Leave a Comment

Image by Walter Benjamin Archiv, via Wikimedia Commons
The probability of Walter Benjamin‘s name coming up in your average MFA workshop, or fiction writers’ group of any kind, likely approaches zero.

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Umberto Eco Dies at 84; Leaves Behind Advice to Aspiring Writers

≡ Category: Life, Writing |7 Comments

Umberto Eco, the Italian semiotician, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist — and, of course, author of Foucault’s Pendulum – has died at his home in Milan. He was 84.

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“20 Rules For Writing Detective Stories” By S.S. Van Dine, One of T.S. Eliot’s Favorite Genre Authors (1928)

≡ Category: Literature, Writing |4 Comments

Every generation, it seems, has its preferred bestselling genre fiction. We’ve had fantasy and, at least in very recent history, vampire romance keeping us reading. The fifties and sixties had their westerns and sci-fi. And in the forties, it won’t surprise you to hear, detective fiction was all the rage.

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Ursula Le Guin Gives Insightful Writing Advice in Her Free Online Workshop

≡ Category: Writing |2 Comments

Image by Gorthian, via Wikimedia Commons
Though it’s sometimes regarded as a pretentious-sounding term for genre writers who don’t want to associate with genre, I’ve always liked the phrase “speculative fiction.” J.G. Ballard, Philip K.

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John Cleese’s Advice to Young Artists: “Steal Anything You Think Is Really Good”

≡ Category: Comedy, Creativity, Writing |1 Comment

So you want to be a rock and roll star? Or a writer, or a filmmaker, or a comedian, or what-have-you…. And yet, you don’t know where to start. You’ve heard you need to find your own voice, but it’s difficult to know what that is when you’re just beginning.

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28 Tips for Writing Stories from Edgar Allan Poe, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway & F. Scott Fitzgerald

≡ Category: Literature, Writing |2 Comments

Most writers find their individual voice only after they sojourn through periods of imitation. Though it’s an excellent way to appropriate experimental techniques and move out of comfortable ruts, imitation can only take us so far. But more prescriptive guidelines from famous authors can offer ways to refine our individual styles and visions.

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George Saunders Demystifies the Art of Storytelling in a Short Animated Documentary

≡ Category: Literature, Writing |3 Comments

An interesting thing happens when you read certain of George Saunders’ stories. At first, you see the satirist at work, skewering American meanness and banality with the same unsparing knife’s edge as earlier postmodernists like John Barth or Donald Barthelme.

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