Saturday December 02nd 2006, 4:47 pm

Sometimes I get really depressed about the novel industry, in inability to make a living, the lack of promotion by publishers, the way the whole system seems rigged against the writers. Sometimes I think, you know what? I should just be a screenwriter. They have to go through all the same kind of bullshit as […]

The worst sentence in the history of language

Saturday November 25th 2006, 7:28 pm

I have found it. From the novel Triplanetary by E.E. “Doc” Smith, serialized in 1934-35 and collected in 1948:
“Of course,” she said again, as steadily, thrilled this time to the depths of her being by the sheer manhood of him who had thus simply voiced his Code; a man of such fiber that neither love […]

RIP YankTheChain

Wednesday November 22nd 2006, 10:31 pm

Recently I decided not to renew the domain of, the site of the web ‘zine that J.F. Quackenbush and I spent the years of 1998-2003 working on. YankTheChain was the site that I cut my teeth on, that in a very real way taught me how to write. It wasn’t always good, in fact […]

John Updike on his writing regimen

Monday November 13th 2006, 12:34 pm

Subjects: writing

Dave Sim on writing

Saturday November 11th 2006, 10:38 am

Here’s a really interesting “Blog and Mail” from Dave Sim on writing

Compliments are very stingily granted in our society so the occasional compliment is usually well-deserved and can tell you what your personal strength(s) is/are. “You write good dialogue”. So I wrote a lot of dialogue. “Your work actually makes me laugh” so I wrote […]

Nature of Fun

Thursday July 27th 2006, 11:12 am

DFW on Writing
Read this awhile ago in an issue of The Writer. It’s an interesting essay, though the background they put on the web page is absolutely awful.

Subjects: writing

Codifying the short story

Friday February 03rd 2006, 4:23 pm

reprint of william boyd’s “brief encounters’’ article | Donavan’s News |

Consequently, I decided it might be worth trying to categorise the short story in a bit more detail, to try to classify its multifarious forms. Looking at collections by other writers, I gradually came to the conclusion that there are seven types of short […]

In humiliation and degradation is to be found truth: American writers are losers

Friday February 03rd 2006, 4:11 pm

Telegraph | Arts | Prophet of the neon wilderness

Nelson Algren’s 1956 novel A Walk on the Wild Side made a mockery of the American dream. Set among the pimps, whores and con men of New Orleans, it was a brave - and prescient - exposé of the nation’s contempt for its own people, says Richard […]

The Book Babes: The Writer’s Lottery

Friday July 29th 2005, 12:20 am

The Book Babes: The Writer’s Lottery part 2

There are always success stories in publishing—but then again, someone eventually wins the lottery jackpot, too. What bugs most wannabe writers is the arbitrary nature of it all. Why does one writer succeed and the other languish in obscurity? What nags at novelists is that they suspect that […]

The Book Babes: The Fiction Writer’s Lottery, Part I

Saturday July 23rd 2005, 7:24 pm

But let’s not stop there. Even though Tin House commits to using at least one unpublished writer in every issue, greenhorns face even more audacious odds: maybe 1 in 1,000, Spillman conceded later—odds also suggested for aspiring novelists at a subsequent panel featuring four prominent book agents.

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