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Gregory Brown and Mitchell Moffit, the co-creators of the AsapSCIENCE YouTube channel, have written a poem called “English Is Crazy!” The two collaborators posted a poetry video on their second channel, AsapTHOUGHT, featuring Moffit as the narrator.
The Huffington Post lists some of the reasons why English can cause frustration; “grammar rules can be inconsistent, spelling nonsensical and don’t get us started on plurals, pronouns and pronunciation. Tough, cough, bough and dough. Enough said.” What do you think?
Do you regularly use the oxford comma in your writing? The animated video embedded above features a three-minute TED-Ed lesson called “Grammar’s Great Divide: The Oxford Comma.”
This linguistics lesson provides information on the debate between those for and against what is “perhaps the most hotly contested punctuation mark of all time.” Back in 2011, the University of Oxford Writing and Style Guide noted that use of the serial/oxford comma should be generally avoided.
Moleskine has introduced a new kind of notebook, letting you completely personalize your writing notebook by including your own photos, art and drawings.
You can design every single page of the $50 notebook, even adding inspirational notes or quotes alongside the pictures. The notebook will have 96-pages, sized at Moleskine’s familiar dimensions of 5.12 x 8.19” for a book.
If you don’t want to customize the entire notebook, you can use the FiftyThree’s Paper app, you can create 15-pages of digital art and publish them inside a customized Moleskine notebook.
Since freelance writers do not typically make much money, the insurance exchanges will afford them the opportunity to choose from 4 health plans, platinum, gold, silver, and bronze and receive government subsidies, based on their adjusted gross income. The subsidies vary between 93 percent and 100 percent of the premium, based on the silver plan premiums.
Despite the federal government shutdown, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Marketplace is now open, a way for people to compare health insurance options under the new policy also known as “Obamacare.”
The Best American Nonrequired Reading is out this week, collecting “the country’s best fiction, journalism, essays, comics, and humor” for readers of all ages. Below, we’ve collected all the information you need to submit your work to the anthology.
A group of high school students in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Bay Area help choose the stories and edit alongside Dave Eggers. The editorial team also includes managing editor Daniel Gumbiner and assistant managing editors Henry W. Leung and Jia Tolentino. Check it out:
The Best American Nonrequired Reading committee —comprising students from dozens of different high schools —meets nearly every week of the year to read, debate, and compile this offbeat but vital anthology. Want to say something to us? Contact the BANR committee at nonrequired [@] gmail [dot] com. We’ll read everything you send us.
You can also mail print submissions (“whole periodicals or specific pieces”) to this address:
Best American Nonrequired Reading
826 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
Above, we’ve embedded a video tutorial about the reference tool. Check it out:
For a two week period, the entire Oxford Reference site will be freely accessible as millions of scholars, students, and researchers are cut off from crucial tools during the U.S. Government shutdown. NEW USERS: Start exploring over 125 titles in Oxford Quick Reference as well as nearly 200 titles in Oxford Reference Library by entering the following information into the lefthand “Subscriber Login” box on the homepage: Username: tryoxfordreference Password: govshutdown
Do you wish the publishing industry used some other standard besides Microsoft Word?
Novelist Charles Stross published an anti-Microsoft Word manifesto recently, inspiring debate among writers with a revolutionary thesis: “I want Microsoft Word to die.” Check it out:
It imposes its own concept of how a document should be structured upon the writer, a structure best suited to business letters and reports (the tasks for which it is used by the majority of its users). Its proofing tools and change tracking mechanisms are baroque, buggy, and inadequate for true collaborative document preparation; its outlining and tagging facilities are piteously primitive compared to those required by a novelist or thesis author: and the procrustean dictates of its grammar checker would merely be funny if the ploddingly sophomoric business writing style it mandates were not so widespread.
Narratively, the year-old New York-centric website, consists of writers, photographers and reporters who want to share in-depth human interest stories with the world.
The site values long form writing, and instead of sections or columns, they have weekly themes. As editorial director Brendan Spiegel says, “Our motto is: Any way you want to tell your story, we can do that.” All of the site’s content is generated by freelancers:
[The pub] has earned its reputation on the long-form text, [but] storytellers of all media are encouraged to pitch Narratively. Photo essays, short films, audio stories and comic boards are all game… In Narratively’s first comic text story, “The Real Mermaid,” an illustrator told a narrative non-fiction story about Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade.
The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.
The “Writing Tips” PDF collects George Orwell‘s writing rules, Edward Tufte‘s presentation rules, Strunk and White’s principles of composition and Robert Heinlein‘s writing rules in a single page you can keep on your writing desk.
How much can fantasy authors expect to earn when they publish books? Few writers actually share their earnings, but it can be enormously helpful for aspiring authors.
On Reddit, traditionally published fantasy author Paul S. Kemp and self-published fantasy author Michael J. Sullivanpulled back the curtain on their yearly earnings. Kemp said that he does not “expect to quit my day job anytime soon.” He spoke frankly about his writing finances:
I’ve been doing this twelve years now. When I started, I earned $5-7K per year. As my backlist and audience grew, so too did my earnings. My best year has been roughly $70K and an average year these days runs between $35-45K. Setting aside outlying years, my income from writing has been on a reasonably steady upward trajectory (ebooks are helpful here, in that your backlist stays in print essentially forever). Next year will probably be another year in the 70-100K range (due to an upcoming release and the way the payment schedule shakes out), but after that I expect things to once more regress to the mean.
The American Heritage Dictionary has added a number of writers to its usage panel, including Katherine Boo, Michael Chabon and Amy Tan. See all the 2012 and 2013 additions to the panel below…
The panel is a collection of about 200 novelists, linguists, editors, journalists, poets, and other wordsmiths who guide ”hundreds of supplementary notes inform the reader about usages that are contentious.” They guide readers with extra context for words like “irregardless“ ”affect“ or “impact.” Here’s more from the release:
Since 1964, five years before the publication of the first edition, the editorial staff has turned to the Usage Panel for feedback and guidance. Because we have collected five decades’ worth of information, we can show the change in opinion over time (as at ). Of course the makeup of the Panel has changed over the years. Only one member from the original panel, William Zinsser, remains. Usually panelists stay on until their deaths. We received James Michener’s final ballot, for example, very soon after his death; the ballot is quite likely one of the last items he worked on. Occasionally, a member will ask to retire. As a result, each year we invite a handful of people to join the ranks of the Usage Panel.
On today’s Morning Media Menu, Berkun shared insights that can help editors, publishers and writers cope with the rapidly changing digital workplace. Press play below to listen, but here’s an excerpt:
Working remotely at all is considered taboo at some companies, but I think that is foolish. It should all be focused on the results instead of these superficial characteristics. If someone can work well remotely, then where they are in the world shouldn’t really matter that much. It should be focused on their output and their results.
Writer Adam Weinstein published a scathing essay railing against people who accuse Generation Y of entitlement and unrealistic expectations. His profanity-laced essay has already counted more than 700,000 views on Gawker’s publishing platform.
Weinstein has written for Mother Jones, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Village Voice and the Tallahassee Democrat, but his situation will be familiar to many writers: lack of job security and dwindling pay scales. Check it out:
I once listened to a professor, who is in his sixties, read us the first published piece he’d been paid for, in the late 1970s. A thousand words or so. The rate, he says, was something like two bucks a word. That’s four times what the Village Voice pays today, even for an award-winning investigative cover story. It’s geometrically greater than what most writers can earn today writing daily brilliance for nationally renowned publications online. And writing daily brilliance, which many of them do, is hard goddamned work. If I had a dollar for every older writer or editor who confided to me that “I don’t know how young writers do it today; I certainly couldn’t,” I could buy every property that publishes them. So no, we shan’t be doing as well as our parents, and no, we shan’t be shutting up about it.
Lots of writers like to map out their stories, but deviantART member Appylon has created a beautiful structure map.
As you plan the events in your next short story or novel, make sure your story follows the “major arcs of a story” sketched out here: “Beginning, rising actions, twist, climax, falling action, conclusion.” We’ve embedded his chart above–what do you think of the simple story map?
Many aspiring writers struggle to find beta readers to help them polish a manuscript.
Over at Reddit, self-published new adult author Aubrey Rose shared her secret for finding early readers for your work. Writers of all different genres can benefit from her advice. Check it out:
Don’t ask family or friends; their critiques are worthless. Are you part of any writing groups? You should be! Go join a few now for your next novel. I have a group of awesome friends online who have been invaluable beta readers for me. For now, go to Goodreads and find an author who writes the same kind of stuff as you. Look at the people who’ve reviewed his stuff, and consider if their reviews are accurate and insightful. Message 5 of them and ask them if they would read and critique your work. But really, fellow authors are the best because they can point out tangles in your structure and help you fix them better than readers can.
Notebook maker Moleskine has extended its partnership with Evernote, building a new Moleskine Sketchbook that makes it easier to digitize doodles and notes with sketches.
You can tag handwritten pages with Evernote stickers and take a picture of the notebook page to upload to the online storage and sorting service. Check it out:
With cloud-enabled sketching the creative process is not restricted by the boundaries that lie between analog and digital … The Evernote Sketchbook makes it easier for visual note-takers who use techniques such as sketchnoting to record important information and moments on paper. Its pages are subtly marked with a dot grid that optimizes image quality when scanning to Evernote; automatically correcting contrast and cropping the edges of the page in preparation for sharing with others.
Community creator Harmon writes using a story circle, making sure that every script meets his eight steps of a satisfying story. As you can see by the chart embedded above (filled with spoilers), Breaking Bad contained all eight elements and can help aspiring storytellers master the elegant structure. Here’s more from Wired about Harmon’s method:
So he watched a lot of Die Hard, boiled down a lot of Joseph Campbell, and came up with the circle, an algorithm that distills a narrative into eight steps … Harmon calls his circles embryos—they contain all the elements needed for a satisfying story—and he uses them to map out nearly every turn on Community, from throwaway gags to entire seasons. If a plot doesn’t follow these steps, the embryo is invalid, and he starts over. To this day, Harmon still studies each film and TV show he watches, searching for his algorithm underneath, checking to see if the theory is airtight.
Teen novels ideally feature protagonists between the ages of 14 and 19. We also accept New Adult novels which feature protagonists ages 19-23. Novels can be set anytime, anywhere – and can be realistic, supernatural, dystopic, historical, comedy, inspirational, suspense or a mash-up of any sort. Stories can be happily ever after…or just happily for now. Girl/boy, girl/girl, boy/boy – just wow us with the intense romance of your story.
Do you struggle to meet your writing goals? Try the free Pacemaker tool online, a way to experiment with different writing schedules and keep track of your work.
Software developer Sarah Williams created the writing tool. Simply visit Pacemaker online, choose your word count, intensity level and weekend writing plans–the program will generate a customized writing schedule you can follow.
You can approach your writing target in various ways to suit your style : Steady – write the same amount of words every day. Try It. Rising to the Challenge – start off small and increase your word count quota every day. Try It. Biting the Bullet – bite off large chunks of your writing goal at the beginning of your schedule so that the pressure is off at the end of your schedule. Try It. Random – each day is a surprise, you may need to complete 5 words or 500! Whether heavy or light, you’ll reach your word count goal at the end of your specified schedule. Try It.