“Consider the stakes. The lack of diversity and equity in the publishing industry is not a theoretical issue for us to intellectualize over coffee. It is an injustice. The destruction of libraries and burning of books has historically been used to strip peoples of their history and culture. Those in power continue to limit the ability of those they have subjugated to share their stories. They retain ultimate control of the narrative and their power.”—
“Goodnight Moon does two things right away: It sets up a world and then it subverts its own rules even as it follows them. It works like a sonata of sorts, but, like a good version of the form, it does not follow a wholly predictable structure. Many children’s books do, particularly for this age, as kids love repetition and the books supply it. They often end as we expect, with a circling back to the start, and a fun twist. This is satisfying but it can be forgettable. Kids — people — also love depth and surprise, and “Goodnight Moon” offers both. Here’s what I think it does that is so radical and illuminating for writers of all kinds, poets and fiction writers and more.”—In a wonderful essay from NYT’s Draft series, Aimee Bender considers what writers can learn from the beloved 1947 children’s book Goodnight Moon. Pair with what editors and mentors can learn from the great Ursula Nordstrom, the legendary children’s book editor responsible for Goodnight Moon as well as other children’s classics like Where the Wild Things Are, Charlotte’s Web, and The Giving Tree.
“Auden said a poem should be more interesting than anything that might be said about it. If you take the theme out of a poem and talk about that theme, there should still be some residual being left in the poem that goes on ticking, something like, why not say it, color, something that has an effect on your central nervous system. It is not what a poem says with its mouth, it’s what a poem does with its eyes.”—Mary Ruefle, from Madness, Rack, and Honey (via bostonpoetryslam)
“Being published is not a necessary validation or a path everyone wants to take with their work. Writing—and finishing—a novel is a great thing in itself, whether or not the book is published, or becomes widely-read or not.”—Garth Nix, on the best ways to create.
Welcome to another round of the scary writing prompt game. Again, here’s how it works: I’ll announce the prompt, then you guys post your response in the comment section. At the beginning of each round, I’ll share my favorite bits from the previous month’s entries before announcing the next prompt. At the end of the year there will be a spooky prize drawing for two lucky winners.
*All* participants are automatically entered to win!
Prizes: Both winners will receive a Night of Horror care package from yours truly, containing everything you need for a spooky night in—a scary DVD, creeptastic snacks, something to keep you cozy while you cower in fear of ghosts and/or serial killers, and a few other horror-related knick-knacks that won’t disappoint. Maybe I’ll even throw in a bottle of True Blood.
Reminder: Now accepting entries via Tumblr! Reblog with your entry attached, then tag your post with the hashtag #scarywritingpromptgame and spread the horror love on your dash! (Even if you only do a Tumblr entry and never comment on the actual post, I will still enter it for the grand prizes at the end of the year.)
Hi! I love your books! You've totally inspired me to do something with the lesbian fantasy stories I've been writing for years. My issue is finding people to read my stories. I'm afraid of getting my ideas stolen through online groups. My friends are not interested. I've looked up editors but they don't read for content. I guess I just don't know where to start. Do you have any advice?
Thank you for the kind words!
The internet can feel like a cesspool of thieves and villains but I think it also can be a place to make real connections with real people. I’d suggest that you find an online writing forum that you really feel comfortable with (I know writers who have made great connections via the Absolute Write forums but there must be plenty of others — if anybody has suggestions please suggest them!), and hang out there for awhile (if you haven’t already). There will probably be people you get to know and trust in the online forum, and maybe you can form a little critique group? If all of you are trading your stories around for constructive criticism, then all of you will be accountable to each other, which lessens the possibilities for evil (I hope).
You can also look offline in your local community for writing workshops or writers’ groups. Check out your local community college or bookstore and see if they offer any leads to offline in-person writers groups. You might even enroll in a local writing workshop, and you can potentially meet people there. Again, if all of you are critiquing each other’s work, that means you’re all accountable.
“As people who work with youth, we must continually examine our culture and engage with teens to break down these harmful stereotypes. One way to do this is through collection development. Whatever our personal bias, we must actively develop diverse collections, and seek and purchase titles with varying discussions about teenage sexuality”—How Librarians Can Help Fight the Culture of Slut-Shaming | School Library Journal
I am writing a fantasy story about a boy who is an heteroromantic asexual. It is set in a world where they don't have terms for this so I am finding it difficult to describe. Do you have any advice for writing this character without it seeming like he is just scared of sex (or any other explanation)? Also my main character is a POC and the main woman is a lesbian trans woman. Any advice on not making it seem like these characters are just to add diversity (I didn't. They have important arcs)?
Sumy recommends this post as a starting place. (More suggestions welcome!)
Hey. I'm 14 and I write a lot in my free time. It'd be awesome if I could get published, even just through a minor company but I feel like my writing isn't that good. I also don't have money to pay for courses or editors. How can I improve my writing?
What do you think of people creating backstories for their characters in RPG games? Is there a specific way/style of writing that seems as though it would make for a better narrative in this case?
IMO there is no reason not to create a backstory for your RPG character if you want to. And if you’re playing the sort of RPG where your character’s personality/history have an actual effect on the game (ie not World of Warcraft), creating a backstory is probably essential for enriching the whole experience. I don’t think there’s any particular narrative style that works any better/worse, though. Just write it in whatever way flows best for you.
Nope, they don’t. And they may have experiences not indicative of yours. So what? What do you think everyone who isn’t like you has been experiencing all this time? That same feeling. And yet they still read Batman or watch the same television shows.
Confession time: I’m a jerky white dude. I’m clumsy in my assumptions and preconceived notions and — hey, I acknowledge my privilege. The privilege of privilege is being blinded by it and blind to it. You can walk around all day, whistling like a happy asshole, completely unaware of all the toxic douchebaggery splashing all around. We step on flowers we don’t even notice.
Sometimes, though, you have your eyes opened to it, and it’s a real holy-shit-we’re-in-some-kind-of-sexist-racist-Matrix moment. Rape culture doesn’t seem like a thing until someone starts pointing it out and then it’s a really awful Magic Eye painting, except instead of seeing a dolphin you’re seeing how we ask rape victims what they did to deserve getting raped. Once someone tells you, “That Terrible Thing is really an actual thing,” it’s ants, it’s dust, it’s fingerprints-on-glass. Didn’t notice it before, but now you realize it’s freaking everywhere.
And one of those “it’s freaking everywhere” moments is when you realize, oh, yeah, okay, our pop culture has been speaking very directly to heteronormative middle-class white-guy culture for a long time. Comics, television, novels, whatever. It’s time to share the storytelling. Time to pass the Talking Stick. Besides, maybe if we saw more diversity on the page, we might be willing to acknowledge the diversity outside our doors. I often say that the most valuable multitasking we can teach our kids and express in ourselves is to dual-wield Empathy and Logic, and if this helps in that, so be it. If this makes people more open? More aware? How is that possibly a bad thing?