Day Eighty

20 Mar

Welcome to lots o’ links, the literary version. Today I’m giving you all the interesting things I’ve found around the web in the past week that pertain to literature or writing.

First up, my favorite short story of the past week: “What You Don’t Know” by R.J. Spears on Shotgun Honey. I picked this one for its style more than anything. The pacing is lightning quick – the entire story happens in just a few minutes. There is literally no time to develop the scene or the characters, yet Spears gives us everything we need to know. He also manages a great POV switch right in the middle. It could have been a very jarring change, but Spears makes it a smooth transition. A hell of a story for less than 700 words.


These words from Ira Glass are one of the reasons I took the leap and became a writer. I find a lot of hope in them:

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap.”

The full quote and video is on The Writer Underground. I was convinced I was the only writer who ever experienced that gap. I know what I want my words to say, but getting them from my brain to the page in exactly the right order is a struggle. I’m so glad Glass said this, so I know I’m not alone.


I have a thing about writing advice. I don’t give it unless asked because I am no where good enough, or experienced enough, to dole out words of wisdom in this most precarious of careers. In the same respect, I’m dubious of most writerly advice. Unless you can prove that you’ve been around the block a few times, I’m taking what you say with a grain or two of salt. That said, I think John Steinbeck is a pretty good source for practical writing advice. An article in The Atlantic, “6 Writing Tips From John Steinbeck“, offers just that, plus links to other articles that are worth a look.


If you’ve never heard of Rookie, chances are you’re not a teenage girl. Rookie is an online magazine full of articles, interviews, photography, and video for and by teenage girls. It’s also home to some of the most talented female writers on the internet. I’m not at all ashamed to admit that I read Rookie often. I really wish this had been around when I was a teenager. This isn’t your average teenybopper rag. My favorite article of the past week is “Literally The Best Thing Ever: Star Trek: The Next Generation” by Stephanie Kuehnert.


Not really literary, but pretty neat anyway is this post from Lifehacker in their “Weekend Project” section: “Build an Expandable Dining Table that Can Seat Ten and Fit in a Closet“. I have a special obsession with minimalist and multifunction furniture, and this table fits in both categories. Plus, the instructions are really easy to follow if you have some degree of experience building things.


Last but certainly not least… Writers and publishers know that the average reader doesn’t have a copy of Book List lying around to help them decide which books to buy. Most readers depend on online reviews to steer them one way or the other. Bad reviews can kill sales, but bad reviewers can provide hours of entertainment. That’s the premise behind Least Helpful, a site providing “daily dispatches from the internet’s worst reviewers”. The site isn’t very old, but they got off to a great start. My favorite so far – an all-caps anonymous rant on Lois Lowry’s The Giver.


That’s all I have for you today, kids. Tomorrow I’ll be talking reviews (helpful ones, that is) and Looking For Alaska by John Green. See you then.

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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Daily


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