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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Writer Resources, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 369
1. Does the English Language Drive You Crazy?

Does the English language drive you crazy?

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?

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2. Are You For or Against the Oxford Comma?

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.

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3. Moleskine Introduces Photo Notebook

photomoleskine

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.

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4. Freelance Writers & the Affordable Care Act

weights304

We collected some Affordable Care Act resources for freelance writers recently, but author Roberta Winter urged freelance writers to think carefully about these complex choices.

Winter wrote Unraveling U.S. Health Care: A Personal Guide, leading people through these tough decisions. She offered some advice for freelance writers:

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.

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5. How To Approach Other Writers About Blurbs

Author and Rock Plaza Central musician Chris Eaton wrote about scores of people online and offline who share his name in Chris Eaton, a Biography. Over at The Believerhe interviewed another writer with the same name and a small Internet footprint.

How many people share your name online? In this encore edition of the Morning Media Menu, Eaton shared advice for making a genuine appeal to a writer, artist or musician when searching for blurbs.

Press play below to listen on SoundCloud. We’ve collected a few excerpts from the interview…

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6. How Writers Can Pitch Online Outlets

Author and technology consultant Scott Steinberg shared some important advice for writers in this encore edition of the  Morning Media Menu podcast (embedded below).

Steinberg shared tips for pitching online outlets about your book. We caught up with Steinberg while he promoted The Modern Parent’s Guide to Video Games.

To promote his work, he shared columns and essays on a number of sites–reaching out to new readers at major outlets like CNN.comAll Things D and ESPN.com.

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7. What Writers Need To Know About the Affordable Care Act

affordable health care

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.”

Self-employed writers will have more choices under this act. Explore options for self-employed writers at the official site:

You can use the Marketplace to find health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs. You can compare important features of several plans side-by-side, all of them offering a full package of essential health benefits. You can see what your premiumdeductibles, andout-of-pocket costs will be before you decide to enroll. You can’t be denied coverage or charged more because you have a pre-existing health condition. If you currently have individual insurance–a plan you bought yourself, not the kind you get through an employer–you may be able to change to a Marketplace plan. Learn more about changing individual insurance plans.

Novelist and Writer Beware co-founder Victoria Strauss shared the news on Twitter.

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8. 3 Ways To Build a Healthy Writing Routine

weights304

Earlier this week, we linked to some Affordable Care Act resources for freelance writers.

Health insurance is a major step for writers, but you also need to stay healthy. And the writing lifestyle: sitting, thinking and more sitting, can be dangerous for your health.

Below, we’ve collected three ways you can plan for a healthier writing routine next week.

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9. How To Submit To The Best American Nonrequired Reading Series

nonrequired

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 TolentinoCheck 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

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10. Oxford Reference Library Free During Government Shutdown

To help scholars during the federal government shutdown, Oxford University Press has offered readers free access to hundreds of titles in the Oxford Reference Library.

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

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11. Charles Stross: ‘I Want Microsoft Word To Die’

strossDo 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.

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12. Narratively Seeks Storytellers Of All Media

Narratively

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.

For more details on pitching, read: How To Pitch: Narratively.

– Aneya Fernando

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.

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13. Finish Your Book with Mediabistro’s Self-Publishing Intensive

selfpubintensive

Struggling to finish your book?

No matter where you live, Mediabistro has a new online course designed to guide independent authors through the final and most important steps of the publishing process.

Smashwords co-founder Mark Coker, bestselling self-published author Melody Anne and WeGrowMedia.com founder  Dan Blank  will help you complete your book in Mediabistro’s Self-Publishing Intensive.

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14. Free Writing Cheat Sheet

penpaperlife304

Writers have been debating the Mike Shea‘s handy cheat sheet for writers this week.

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.

What do you think? Do these writing rules help or hinder writers? Shea has published some helpful tutorials on eBook publishing as well.

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15. How Much Do Fantasy Authors Earn?

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. Sullivan pulled 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.

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16. Katherine Boo, Michael Chabon & Amy Tan Join American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel

The American Heritage Dictionary has added a number of writers to its usage panel, including Katherine BooMichael 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.

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17. Designer Combines Bed & Writing Desk

Ever wish you could combine your writing desk and bed?

The video embedded shows off a bed that could change the lives of writers with limited apartment space. You can read more about Hopmans’ work at this link.

Industrial designer Thomas Hopmans has created “a pneumatic bed and desk with recessing dual monitors.” As you can see, his slick creation could help writers everywhere to cope with cheap apartments.

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18. Scott Berkun Shares Advice for Writers Working Remotely

In his new book, The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work, author Scott Berkun outlined what he learned while working as a manager at the major blog company.

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.

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19. Essay Railing Against Writing Economy Counts 700,000+ Views

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.

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20. Artist Creates Gorgeous Story Structure Map

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?

Instead of mapping your story on a black and white charts like the Hero’s JourneyKurt Vonnegut Story Grids or Freytag’s Pyramid, you can arrange your story along this beautiful piece of art. (Image via)

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21. How To Find Beta Readers for Your Work

roseMany 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.

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22. Moleskine & Evernote Team Up for Special Sketchbook

evernote304Notebook 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.

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23. Breaking Bad Mapped as Dan Harmon Story Circle

As Breaking Bad concluded its epic television run, one fan mapped out the epic TV series as a Dan Harmon story circle.

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.

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24. How To Submit To Macmillan’s Swoon Reads

swoon

Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has opened Swoon Reads, a crowdsourced romance imprint where readers help pick what gets published.

Follow this link to submit your work.  They accept both teen romance and new adult novels, but the work must be “original, completed novels that are not, and have never been under contract with another publisher.” The publisher shared a few author submission tips:

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.

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25. Free Writing Pacemaker Creates Custom Writing Schedule

pacemaker

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.

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