Archive for the ‘Writers’ Resources’ Category

More Salinger Stories

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Last Thanksgiving, Magazine History: A Collector’s Blog posted an amazingly comprehensive list of links to 22 of JD Salinger’s uncollected stories, courtesy of the excellent site Dead Caulfields:

Spanning his literary career between the years 1940-1965, these stories display changes in both the author’s style and message. While some are plainly of commercial quality, most are serious works containing an expansive gift of enlightenment and self-examination: that very-satisfying “Salinger moment”.

Each link is accompanied by a brief description of the story and bibliographic information. A taste:

“The Young Folks”
Story March/April 1940. “The Young Folks”, was Salinger’s first published story. It was published in Whit Burnett’s Story magazine. Burnett was the teacher of short story writing at Columbia where Salinger took his course. Salinger himself was twenty one at the time of its publication. The story satirizes the selfish concerns of a pair of young adults at a party and the festering shallowness of their lives.

Happy reading.

“Stylized”: The AuthorScoop Review

Friday, November 13th, 2009
STYLIZED: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style.
By Mark Garvey.
Illustrated. 208 pp.
Touchstone/Simon & Schuster.
$22.99

It was my first day of seventh grade, and there on my school supply list—along with the requisite pencils and notebooks—was a book called The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. I knew nothing of it at the time, though I was aware of E.B. White through my childhood readings of Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. That evening, my mother took me to the bookstore, and I read Elements cover to cover than night.

This slim volume (and, it must be said, the teacher who’d assigned it) had a significant impact not only on my growth as a budding writer, but on my very understanding and appreciation of the English language. So it was with great interest that I cracked open my review copy of Mark Garvey’s Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.

And “slightly” obsessive it is. Garvey’s devotion to the classic is evident on every page, but it’s hardly the empty flattery of a mere fan. Indeed, his recounting of Elements’ history—as well as that of its authors—is at once scholarly and accessible. Tracing its evolution from Strunk’s privately-published 1918 grading guide, through White’s 1959 commissioned revision, and on to its subsequent life as an indispensible tool for writers, Garvey, in many ways, also traces the evolution of twentieth century American letters.

His jackpot raid of Strunk and White’s letters from the Cornell archives provides immediacy and humanity, allowing the authors’ own words to define the complex nature of their relationship, one that transcended mentor and pupil to the uncommon bond of mutual intellectual respect. Also highlighted are assorted letters containing praise, suggestions and (occasionally) condemnations from both fans and detractors, the responses to which reveal White’s extraordinary patience and deliberation and, quite often, his unique brand of wry humor.

Garvey’s love for Elements is echoed by a rich array of notable writers (including the late Frank McCourt), whose comments illustrate the impact—and the enduring influence—of Strunk and White’s “little book.”

An excellent companion to the iconic classic it celebrates, with enough substance to stand as a reference book in its own right, Stylized is a perfect holiday gift for the writer in your life.

I just flew in from Nashville and, boy, are my…

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

… oh wait.  I didn’t fly.  I drove.  But as my insufficiently padded little car has about a four hour butt-limit, there’s a pair of tired spots (could actually be closer to pulverized) right in the vicinity of where I’ve been attacked by the driver’s seat.

I attended the Killer Nashville Literary Conference this past weekend and, as usual, it ended too soon.  Wonderful production, Killer Nashville.  Geared towards writers of mystery, crime, and thriller fiction, this annual event features scores of lectures and panel discussions on writing craft, the publishing business, and a string of presentations for source material presented by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and other experts.  This year there were classes on the art and science of surveillance, reconstructing shootings, poisons, real case studies, and an excellent primer on psychopathy, just to name a few.

The TBI also stages a crime scene contest each year, in a light version of the course they use to quiz professional law enforcement.  Yours truly got to help set up this time and it’s probably not hard to imagine how much fun it is playing go-fer for two career sleuths oooh-ing and ahhh-ing over the realistic consistency of their secret-recipe fake blood.  See for yourself the fruits of our labor -

(photos courtesy of C.H. Valentino, because I’m simply too dumb to remember my camera)

I can’t decide if I should say what they used for brains.  You’ll never look at a child’s kitchen playset the same way if I do.

I gained new appreciation for my friend, Butch Wilson, over at www.tech4writers.com.  He’s an angel anyway, but his knowledge of how to get the best freeware/shareware/open source tools for writers easily filled the two presentations he gave during the weekend.  Need nifty technology?  Click above and you will not be sorry.

And finally there was me.  On Sunday morning, I gave a talk, Write What You Know – Learn What You Don’t, and if I was a little long-winded on the philosophical side of telling the truth in fiction, I did at least leave the attendees with a list of internet resources that is by no means complete.  It’s reprinted here, at Tech4Writers, and I hope more than anything, it sparks a notion of all the things we could get right, if only we’d ask.  My little group of Sunday morning diehards battled their (and my) party fatigue and made something quite fine of the whole affair.

Special thanks to a few people, out of a terrific group as a whole, who made the bruising to my tailbone more than worth it:  Beth Terrell; Clay Stafford; Philip Lacy; Butch Wilson; Special Agent Mike Breedlove, TBI; Special Agent Dan Royse, TBI; Addie King; C.H. Valentino; and Dr. Stephen Benning, Vanderbilt University.

Only three hundred and fifty-some days until next year’s Killer Nashville.  See you there!

Random Cool Things: Zeroland

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Navigating the web, even with a capable search engine, is often an excersise in ambiguity, if not outright distraction. One remedy is a clean and comprehensive portal, and few (in the realm of arts and artists) come as close as Zeroland.

With dozens of categories spanning a wide range of disciplines, Zeroland is always one click away from a wealth of manuscripts, archives, biographical information and much more.

Check out their full listing of categories here. For more writer-centric stuff, take a look at their main Literature directory and their listing of Famous Authors.

Dumas Rediscovered

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

I ran across this interesting BBC story by Hugh Schofield that takes a look back at the life and work of Alexandre Dumas, his enormous contribution to French historical awareness and his 2002 interment in the Paris Pantheon, all within the context of the recent discovery of his once-lost final work, The Last Cavalier.

A taste:

The novel, I am pleased to say, is vintage Dumas, perhaps not his very top form, but full of all that we fans love best: the pace, the plot, the death and honour, the villains, the battles, and the history.

For, as usual, The Last Cavalier is peopled with real-life historical characters, and the fictional story is skilfully woven into events that really did take place.

Here the prime mover is Napoleon Bonaparte, the arch-baddy is his police minister Fouche, and the main set-piece is the naval battle of Trafalgar.

Check out the entire article here.

A Reader’s Manifesto

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Patrick Appel, filling in at Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish, has dusted off an excellent column from the July/August 2001 Atlantic—B.R. Myers’ A Reader’s Manifesto.

A taste:

For years now editors, critics, and prize jurors, not to mention novelists themselves, have been telling the rest of us how lucky we are to be alive and reading in these exciting times. The absence of a dominant school of criticism, we are told, has given rise to an extraordinary variety of styles, a smorgasbord with something for every palate. As the novelist and critic David Lodge has remarked, in summing up a lecture about the coexistence of fabulation, minimalism, and other movements, “Everything is in and nothing is out.” Coming from insiders to whom a term like “fabulation” actually means something, this hyperbole is excusable, even endearing; it’s as if a team of hotel chefs were getting excited about their assortment of cabbages. From a reader’s standpoint, however, “variety” is the last word that comes to mind, and more appears to be “out” than ever before. More than half a century ago popular storytellers like Christopher Isherwood and Somerset Maugham were ranked among the finest novelists of their time, and were considered no less literary, in their own way, than Virginia Woolf and James Joyce. Today any accessible, fast-moving story written in unaffected prose is deemed to be “genre fiction”—at best an excellent “read” or a “page turner,” but never literature with a capital L. An author with a track record of blockbusters may find the publication of a new work treated like a pop-culture event, but most “genre” novels are lucky to get an inch in the back pages of The New York Times Book Review.

Check out the full article here.

Site of the Day: Written in Stone

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

MacAllister Stone, owner and operator of Absolute Write, has created a sister site for avid readers called Written in Stone.

A link to the site has been added to our Friends category on the right, and we wish MacAllister the best of luck with her new project.

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Site of the Day: The Dorothy Parker Society

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

While digging around for some Dorothy Parker clips today (see below), I was pleasantly surprised to find The Dorothy Parker Society, which offers an astounding variety of media devoted to the author.

Most surprisingly, the site features 35 recordings made by Ms. Parker of her writings, in addition to a handful of videos related to her life and work.

From the site description:

Dorothy Parker made two full-length LP recordings of her work in 1964. A record company, Verve, asked her to read her poems and stories for a record called The World of Dorothy Parker (Verve V-15029). Her other LP is from Spoken Arts called An Informal Hour with Dorothy Parker (Spoken Arts 726). It is the best of the two: Parker reads more than two dozen of her favorite poems. It is from the latter that most of these audio clips are taken.

At the time of the recording sessions, Mrs. Parker was approaching age 71. Her voice ravaged by years of Chesterfields and Johnny Walker, this offers a peek at the real Mrs. Parker. She died three years after recording her work.

Special thanks to Jon Bradley Snyder of Spokane, WA, and Catherine Chodack of New Jersey for loaning me recordings of these 2 LPs. Note: The NAACP owns the copyright to these recordings, so copying them for commercial use or performance is prohibited.

The recordings require Real Player. If you don’t already have it, you can download the free player here.

Get Thee to the Quill and Parchment

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

A friend passed along a link to a new writers’ community, and I spent some time poking around there this morning. I liked what I saw and thought I’d pass it along to you. See how that works?

The Quill and Parchment Writers’ Pub had now been online for a little more than a month, with rooms dedicated to research, prompts and games, general writing discussion and much more.

We wish them great success and you can always find them linked in our “Friends” section on the right.

 

Writers’ Rooms

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Big thanks to Andrew Sullivan for sharing this. As part of an ongoing feature, the Guardian presents photographs of the rooms of famous writers, accompanied by blurbs describing them, penned by various notables.

Below is the room of Rudyard Kipling. Click here to see it in its original context, with a beautifully written essay by David Gilmour.

Today in Literature

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

For a daily dose of literary history, few (if any) sites can compete with Today in Literature.

Launched in 2001, TinL posts compelling “on this day in history”-type articles, offering the most recent three days’ worth for free viewing.

But these are only the tip of the iceberg for premium members, who have access to more than 500 stories via their list of writers, each of whom have an author page with invaluable information on their works and lives.

Literary Criticism-o-Rama

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

I stumbled across this wonderful site this evening and thought I’d share:

The IPL Literary Criticism Collection contains critical and biographical websites about authors and their works that can be browsed by author, by title, or by nationality and literary period.

Dig it.

Writing Links? Pack a Lunch!

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Looking for “lists within lists within lists of links you can use to write articles, find inspiration or take care of business matters”?

Internet-resources.com has got you covered.

I attempted a cursory count of exactly how many links to writing resources they have and began suffering dizzy spells. Let’s just say, on the conservative side, it’s in the tens of thousands—possibly more.

Don’t believe me? Go look.

In Praise of Bartleby

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

“Ah, Bartleby!  Ah, humanity!”
- Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street by Herman Melville

Hardly a new presence on the web, Bartleby.com has been a well-known resource for readers and writers for nearly a decade now. But for those not familiar with it, it’s a eye-popping treasure of resources and texts, and thus certainly worth a post.

From reference resources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, religious texts, quotations and writing guides to a broad selection of verse, non-fiction and fiction works, Bartleby.com is both an ideal destination for quick and dirty research and a place to lose oneself in the great works of the ages.

I Heart the Internet

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Any writer who’s been online for more than 10 seconds of his or her life is certainly aware of the multitude of resources for writers (and readers). In my experience, at least, they’re often wedged into lists of links and, time being what it is, well—there’s just never enough of it.

In order to give some manner of description to some of these great sites and hopefully lead new folks to them, we’ll try to blog as many as possible. We’ve also created a Writers Resources link in the categories to your right, so that we can compile them for easy reference.

But, for tonight, I want to point readers to The Literary Encyclopedia:

The Literary Encyclopedia is an expanding global literary reference work written by over 1800 specialists from universities around the world, and currently provides more than 4800 authoritative profiles of authors, works and literary and historical topics and grows by over 60 articles per month. We also list more than 21,000 works by date, country and genre. The Literary Encyclopedia offers good coverage of canonical literature originally written in English, French, German and Russian, and is extending its coverage of Spanish, Latin and Greek. It is built on historical principles so that all our data can be arrayed by date, country and genre and readers can explore writing in its historical context. We are now beginning to add annotated lists of recommended reading which will be of particular value to those studying literature. The publication is very much a living relationship between current scholars and readers and not a repository of information formerly published in printed works.

Though they offer subscription-based premium services, the free articles and biographies are worth their weight in gold.

Writers on Writing

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Here’s a virtual treasure trove for you: The New York Times maintains an excellent (and growing) archive of writers discussing the craft, aptly enough called Writers on Writing.

Diverse and deep, the listing includes heavyweights like Updike and Vonnegut, along with some of the best contemporary writers on the scene.

Highly recommended (and addictive…)

“Why I Write”

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

The Guardian Book Page offers up a monthly feature probing an eclectic group of writers from around the globe on their motivations, inspiration and influences. April’s installment features crime writer Reginald Hill.

Be sure to check out the entire listing of authors here.

30,000 Books—One Click Away

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The fine folks over at the Online Book Page have been busy this month, adding several hundred new titles to their ever-growing catalog of more than 30,000 books.

With links to a healthy mix of literary luminaries and obscure and/or niche works, the Online Book Page is a useful and entertaining resource for both writers and readers.

Oh. And, if you head over, definitely check out Banned Books Online.