How to Jumpstart Your Creative Process with William S. Burroughs’ Cut-Up Technique

≡ Category: Writing |1 Comment

The inner critic creates writer’s block and stifles adventurous writing, hems it in with safe clichés and overthinking.

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Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing & The Social Network) to Teach Online Course on Screenwriting This Summer

≡ Category: Film, Online Courses, Television, Writing |Leave a Comment

Sports Night, The West Wing, The American President, The Social Network — hardly shameful items to appear on anyone’s résumé.

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Walt Whitman Gives Advice to Aspiring Young Writers: “Don’t Write Poetry” & Other Practical Tips (1888)

≡ Category: Literature, Poetry, Writing |1 Comment

Some of the best, most succinct writing advice I ever received came from the great John McPhee, via one of his former students: “Writing is paying attention.” What do you see, hear, taste, etc.? Questions of style, syntax, and punctuation come later.

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Bertrand Russell Lists His 20 Favorite Words in 1958 (and What Are Some of Yours?)

≡ Category: English Language, Literature, Philosophy, Poetry, Writing |20 Comments

Image via Wikimedia Commons
Is it possible to fully separate a word’s sound from its meaning—to value words solely for their music? Some poets come close: Wallace Stevens, Sylvia Plath, John Ashbery. Rare phonetic metaphysicians. Surely we all do this when we hear words in a language we do not know.

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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 |5 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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