Filtering by Tag: WRITING
On Madd Fictional, Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys reveals why you shouldn’t question a writer’s motives:
“[T]he writing process has it’s own way of weeding out the fly-by-night scribblers, posers and pretenders with the obstacles it scatters on the long and winding path to a completed project. Whether your driving force is money, fame. to impress a person/people, burning need, or love of the artform, you will still experience your fair share of procrastination, anxiety, writers block, time crunches, lack of motivation, fear of rejection, judgment of peers, and impatience of selling a piece.
If you can repeatedly bash your head into these walls, get up, dust yourself off and continue to write, who am I to question your motives?”
Read the rest here.
Get a copy of my acclaimed story, “The Tumor.” It’s “a masterpiece of short fiction.”
If you’re a freelance writer, there are three factors to weigh when you’re conceiving or contracting a piece. Typically, whether or not you write a freelance article will depend on three reasons: money, subject, and byline. Ideally, you’ll get two out of those three. If you’re only getting one, you may need to restrategize.
Sometimes you’ll write an article for one reason: cash. I’ve written articles for glossy magazines that paid $2 a word. Oftentimes, the subject matter of those stories was somewhat less interesting to me, or an editor hacked my prose to death prior to publication. For $1 or $2 a word, sometimes we make concessions.
Sometimes, you’ll write an article because you love / are fascinated by / want to explore a certain subject. This is a perfectly reasonable reason to write an article. In fact, if you love the subject enough, you may be willing to write the piece for a pittance. Let’s say, for example, $150 for 750 words. You’ll get a great clip out of it.
One of the ways to get other editors to give you freelance assignments down the line is to list all the outlets that you’ve written for before when you send them your pitch. The better those outlets are, the more impressed the editor you’re pitching may be. So, if you’ve only written for small websites, but you write something for, say, Slate, that’ll give you leverage.
Buy a copy of my acclaimed story, “The Tumor” … “a masterpiece of short fiction.”
Over on Facebook, I’m raising money for Girls Write Now, which helps “underserved young women to find their voices through the power of writing and community.” So far, I’ve raised $255 of my $1,00 goal. Donate! It’s a great organization.
According to GWN:
“We are a community of women writers—educators, editors, poets, novelists, playwrights, journalists, literary agents, publishers, and more—on a mission. Since 1998 we’ve provided guidance, support, and opportunities for New York City's high school girls to develop their creative, independent voices, explore careers in professional writing, and learn how to make healthy choices in school, career, and life.”
Want more? Buy "The Tumor." It’s been called "a masterpiece of short fiction."
“For me, deeply immersive experiences have been both fascinating and disorienting. Spending long periods of time with people different from ourselves can affect our own sense of identity. When I return to my regular life, I think of it not like shedding a skin but like releasing the tension in a rubber band. My immersion stretched my somewhat flexible sense of self; returning home, the rubber band snaps back into its previous shape mostly … but not entirely. After all, rubber bands once stretched aren’t exactly the way they were to begin with. They hold more. And so I usually feel larger, in a good way, from having been stretched.”
Buy my short story "The Tumor" — it’s been called "a masterpiece of short fiction."
A room with a view that doesn’t entice one to leave it
Your blancoat (a coat that is so warm and cuddly that it feels like a blanket but has sleeves and a hood so that if you leave the house for food you appear to be dressed like a normal person)
The vague belief that well-told stories manifest their fictional realities
Caffeine of choice
An internal sea of self-dissatisfaction
Somebody else’s beautiful creation (ie “Roma”)
Lying to yourself: “You’re almost done,” “You can do this,” “This is going to be amazing”
Buy "The Tumor" — my short story that’s been called "a masterpiece of short fiction."
I have an essay forthcoming in the “Fine Lines” series on Longreads. It’s called “Ravaged,” and the series itself is about aging. This piece isn’t like anything I’ve written … in a while? … ever? After the last round of edits I did on it, I clicked send to the editor and then thought, Well, I’ll never get another date or another job after this gets published. But that’s probably a sign of good writing. Or at least writing at the risk of embarrassment. I’ll post a link here when it’s online.
Buy "The Tumor" — my short story that’s been called "a masterpiece of short fiction."
As the editor of Forbes Vices, I oversee a team of contributors that cover the business of vice on the website. That includes the cannabis, gambling, firearms, smoking, drinking, and sex business. If you’re a writer with a track record of published work in established outlets covering those beats, drop me an email.
Buy "The Tumor" — my short story that’s been called "a masterpiece of short fiction."
If you're a creator, you should own a copy of Lynda Barry's What It Is. It's an amazing exploration of the creative process. This is one of my favorite panels, which explains what to do when you don't know what to do. It's inspiring.
Last night I went to a reading in Echo Park. It was held at Time Travel Mart, which is ostensibly a storefront where you buy time travel related items, but is also 826LA. I didn't know anyone there and was late because traffic, so I sat by myself at a table. There were 3 x 5 cards and cups of pencils on every table, and I was instructed to write a writing prompt on the card, which I did: A GIRL WITH NO NOSE. Several people read. Then it was time for the intermission game, which was basically: two volunteers, one writing prompt selected from the bucket of them, and five minutes to write something. Then you would read what you wrote. Then the audience would vote on who won. So I volunteered because #YOLOLA. And I wrote a story about a man named Martin Feeble who meets a girl at a dance and the girl has an "attractively lumpy disposition." Then we read our stories. Then the two of us who were competing put our head on our table, and the rest of the room voted. It was a tie. Afterwards, I went and looked around in the faux storefront. It had curious things like a soda case of dinosaur eggs, and a TIME-FREEZY HYPER SLUSH machine. I decided to buy a can of PRIMORDIAL SOUP and asked the man, who was a bit rumpled, working the front desk what was in it. He stayed in time travel character and said some confusing things about the past, present, and future. In other words, he did not answer my question. Then he asked me if I enjoyed myself, and I said I did, but, I said, I was "angry" that I hadn't won the write-off, that it was a tie. I was staying in character: my character of a chagrined writer. I'm not sure if he thought I was joking or not. Then I took my can of primordial soup and left.
I can't recall if I already mentioned that I have a piece forthcoming in the newly launched LOST OBJECTS series. It's part of a bigger project called PROJECT:OBJECT. Twenty-five stories from some amazing contributors considering things they've lost.
"Perhaps when you die, suggests Nina Katchadourian in her LOST OBJECTS story, you’ll get to see all the lost objects of your life. The stories of these things having been finally resolved, she suggests, only then will you 'disappear into being a lost object yourself.' Lost objects weigh heavily upon us — this series explores the various mechanisms of that cathexis."
Keep an eye out here from my story about the time I lost a rubber vagina.
The other day, Dave Winer wrote about writing a State of the Blog. Intrigued, I expressed my interest in it. In return, Dave noted: "A good way to get the State of the Blog thing going is for everybody to think about the SOTB from their POV and then (of course) blog it."
I started blogging in 2002, as I recall. At the time, Salon had a clunky-but-cool blogging platform, and since it was attached to a publication, there was some promise of traffic, so I launched my blog there. It was called The Reverse Cowgirl, and it was rather successful. I remember getting a kind of high off what we called "hits" back then. I believe my first big influx of traffic arrived when I posted images of a woman who had streaked or half-streaked a golf tournament. Maybe she was a porn star. I remember I got something like 5,000 hits. Wow! I was really impressed. As it turns out, with a blog, you could do your own thing. You didn't really need an editor, or permission to write something, or a budget. You could just churn, and the world would burn. It was ... fun.
That blog, as one can surmise by the name, was about sex, mostly, as I recall. That's what I wrote about as a freelance journalist, and the blog was kind of a way for me to funnel some energy into an outlet where someone wasn't telling me "No" all the time. I really liked blogging. It felt like I owned it. It felt like it was all me. It felt kind of true.
Blogging isn't really like that anymore. Along the way, it got eaten by corporations, and some of the greats I loved died over time or were killed. What was once an outlier's art became a series of cubbyholes in which millennials sat to crap out shit that passed for what we used to think of as blog posts. What's a blog today? I don't know. The New York Times does it. Those idiotic sites for bros do it. Some people still do it for love.
These days, the blogs I read are limited, because I, too, get most of my feed of news from social media. For me, that's usually Twitter. But I do read some blogs, still. One example would be Kottke, which remains about as true to its original self as a thing can. (I've guest-blogged there a few times, and it was like praying in church.) Another blog I enjoy that is distinct, original, and unfaltering is BLDGBLOG. What is it? That's hard to say. It's about curious places in the world, and our curious place in the world, and how the curious never fails to delight us. Sometimes I read GOMIBLOG, which is like an anti-blog blog. Its primary stance is calling out bloggers for ridiculous or scandalous behaviors. It is the ouroboros of blogging.
For the most part, though, gone are the distinctive voices that rose to popularity in the early days of blogging. Its practitioners got hired away or started writing sponsored posts. And the very idea of a blog got sucked into the maw of capitalism, which has never really done anybody any good -- not creatively, anyway. Once upon a time, blogging was an act of rebellion. Nowadays, it's a lost art sacrificed to the gods of selling out and getting ahead.
Which is too bad, really. Because blogging was the bridge that brought us here. Social media gave everybody a platform, but when the chorus sings, the most singular, strident, and spectacular voices get lost in the din of the many clamoring for attention, showing their abs in hopes of parlaying their status into influencer, exposing their thirsty status in a short-term hustle for likes, clicks, and views that, in the end, signify nothing but vanity and vapidity.
What's next? A return to blogging! Or, no. Scratch that. Blogging is dead! Or, well. Maybe not. To blog or not to blog is the question I sometimes ask myself. Maybe the answer lies in pornography. When I started writing about the porn industry, it was the late 90s. A boom was underway, and the internet was taking X-rated content to the masses. But after the turn of the century, Porn Valley found itself flooded by production companies. The barrier to entry had lowered with the affordability of the technology required to make it, and "porn movies" rapidly morphed into "content." Then: piracy, the Feds, the economic apocalypse. By '08/'09, the adult movie industry, like much of the rest of the American economy, had shit the bed. But something interesting happened in the years after that. The competition was wiped out, and only the strong and the stalwart survived. Few remained, but they persevered. And in a lovely sort of mirroring, the audience changed, too. Tired of dreck smut shot on cum-stained couches, exhausted by masturbating to crap content shot by fly-by-night operations, bored with the ubiquity of gonzo-porno starring gaping assholes and cam-girls-gone-wild, consumers of porn surmised what they wanted was more. Not more of what had come before: the outrageous, the explicit, the deranged. They wanted quality, they wanted stories, they wanted craft. Now, the pornographers who survived the apocalypse are learning that if they make better porn, there are people out there who are willing to pay for it. Slowly, but surely, it appears, some 20 years (to the fucking month!) since I first set foot on a porn movie set, the industry has come circle. You can hear the wheels churning from here.
Maybe that's where blogging is. A few of us have hunkered down to wait out the storm. We watched from the sidelines when the clowns showed up and hijacked the show. As the masses move on to the next hot thing, we are finding there is a little elbow room in blogging again, and we are stretching ourselves -- tentatively, at first, to see if these muscles of ours still work -- and we are trying to figure out what it is we have to say. I'm still here. I know you are, too. I am setting out on a journey that is the unfolding story of my life. Will you come with me?
Jason Kottke has an interesting post here in which he compares blogging to vaudeville.
"Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on here before, but I often think of blogging as vaudeville to social media’s moving pictures (aka 'movies')."
His post was inspired by another post by Tim Bray about blogging.
"The great danger is that the Web’s future is mall-like: No space really public, no storefronts but national brands’, no visuals composed by amateurs, nothing that’s on offer just for its own sake, and for love."
I like both of these considerations a lot. Writing this post, a line from one of the world's greatest photojournalists, James Nachtwey, came to mind:
"I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony."
Here's what Merriam-Webster says about what it means to bear witness:
"to show that something exists or is true"
That's my experience of blogging. That it's the act of bearing witness to one's life, that writing it down in public is a way of showing that one exists and one's life is true, that to blog is to insist that one is real and that one's existence is deserving of being witnessed by the world.
The MacDowell Colony
We regret that we are not able to offer you a residency during this coming Summer 2017 period. Your work was appreciated by the admissions panel members, but the number of excellent applications has grown as has the competition for residencies.
We hope that this news will not discourage you from applying to the Colony again after two years’ time.
In the meantime, we send you our best wishes.
1) We can pay you $70 for writing 1000+ words content. We will do our part by promoting your work in our social network, but If you are ready to help us in promoting your published article we will pay you extra money, that is $30 for sharing of that article, but it should get on an average of 100+ likes from your Social Networks, so for writing and marketing of the same article we will pay you to total $100. You have to share an article on your social media networks as well as in groups, if it gets 100+ likes then only will pay you $30. Otherwise, you will get $70 for writing content. In addition to this, we will also feature you in our expert's panel: [redacted]. You can promote your courses, e-book, etc. through articles by adding links to the same at the end, in the author bio section. You can write on any topic of your choice ( should be related to health or you can see the categories we have covered on our website) or let me know if you want me to suggest a topic.
2) We will pay you $10 for sharing our three articles three times in a week. The article will be on health & fitness topics, that your audience will surely enjoy reading.
Let me know in which way you want to work with us.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
I spent some time recently rewriting a book proposal for a narrative nonfiction book. Some parts were easy. Some parts were hard. Here are my thoughts on the easiest parts and the hardest parts, ranked.
The Overview. This is the part of the proposal where you deliver the elevator pitch of what the book is. IMO, you can do this in one of two ways--although, of course, you could also think of yourself as blending the two. Either you can talk directly to the reader--which I think is a more masculine approach--or you can perform the act of being a writer on a stage--which I think is a more feminine approach. I actually did each one for two different-but-related iterations of this proposal. I ended up going with the former. Frankly, I think the former states its value and the latter asks the reader to state its value. In negotiating, the former is referred to as "anchoring." I found the more masculine way of doing it to be easier, but that's just me. Difficulty level: Medium. Rank: 7.
The About the Author. This is my favorite part of the proposal to do and for me the easiest. I think it's easy if you have a platform, but I suppose if you don't, it would suck. After I do this part--which I've done as anywhere from one to three pages; this time it was two pages--I tend to feel more positive about myself, like, look at all I've done! I guess if you don't have much of a platform, you could feel like you were trying to knit a sweater out of dental floss. Sucks for you. Difficulty level: Easy. Rank: 1.
The Marketing Plan. Man, are there a ton of ways to do this one. At one point, like, a year ago, I paid a young freelance editor to talk me about a different proposal for an hour, and she sent me another proposal that had sold. That author knew what was up; he'd worked in the industry. He had bullet points, and it was a plan. It wasn't some writer nattering on about things they may or may not do or may or may or not know how to do. I've worked in PR and gotten paid to make stuff go viral online, so I know how to do this stuff, and I ended up going with something pretty basic. I think, based on a lot of what I read, you want to make it clear that you get this is a hustle, and that you're a writer who can hustle, so I tried to convey that. Difficulty level: Medium-easy. Rank: 3.
The Comparative Analysis. This proposal has the best comps section I've written for any proposal. It has five books on it, and I read every one of them closely, and I thought about how mine was similar and how mine was different. In a way, my book doesn't have a lot of comps, but I think my analysis did a good job of positioning it in the market. Having access to that database that tells you what the real book sales numbers are would've been nice. Difficulty level: Medium. Rank: 4.
The Timeline. I wasn't planning on doing a timeline for this book, but along the way I saw another proposal that had sold, and that person had included a family tree, and I think that got me the idea of a timeline. Did you know there's a timeline-maker thing in word? True story. I LOVED DOING THE TIMELINE. It was SO MUCH FUN. I think I originally thought it would have like 15 things on it, but it ended up having 30. I loved that it looked really professionally laid out, and that it enabled me to combine visuals and text, and that it looks like art. If you get stuck on your proposal, make a timeline. It will make you see things clearer. Difficulty level: Medium. Rank: 2.
The Outline. I wrote another book proposal last year for a different book, and the outline for it was so easy. This time around, the outline was very challenging. It ended up being quite long, and it required me to interweave multiple stories. It was intellectually, emotionally, and structurally challenging. I think it asked me to go against how I operate, which is intuitively, and pushed me to think in a linear fashion, which I don't. I did not enjoy this experience. But I think it came out strong. There's so much interesting stuff in it. And some great writing. My hope is that it serves as an invaluable road map as I move forward. Difficulty level: Nigh impossible. Rank: 8.
The Sample Chapter. Compared to the outline, this is easy-breezy. Finally, you get to do what you do best: write! This is scenes and dialogues and humor and sly winks and action. In fact, I'd argue it's everything that a book proposal isn't. In a way, it's child's play. And that's nice. Difficulty level: Medium. Rank: 6.
Oh, and ... There's the title, the title page, and the epigraph. These things changed over time, but in the end I decided to go with the most high-impact choice that was the most simple. Difficulty level: Not bad. Rank: 5.
Bored? Get a shock when you buy THE TUMOR, a "masterpiece of short fiction" by Susannah Breslin.
In the last few years, I've undertaken some trips that revolve around writing. An investigative journalism conference in New Orleans. A storytelling conference at Yale. A month-long writing residency at the Carey Institute for Global Good. And another residency on Martha's Vineyard. There were pluses and minuses for all of them, but here are a few reflective thoughts.
Just go. I spent a fair amount of time trying to talk myself out of all these adventures. Because that's what they are: adventures. Here's what writers do too much of: think, talk themselves out of things, and sit at a desk. Whenever you're doing pretty much anything that isn't what you usually do but is in service of you, you're doing the right thing. You will concern yourself with real concerns: money, time, guilt, etc. But there are ways to manage all of these things. Once you start executing your plan, and, better yet, once you find yourself there, you will sense on some level, hopefully, that you're doing the right thing. Why it's the right thing may not be clear right away.
You take the bad. There were things I deeply didn't like at some point during these adventures. The investigative journalism conference was: not freelancer-friendly, overpopulated by FOIA nerds bragging about their data-driven discoveries, attended by a certain number of on-air news personalities including women wearing sleeveless dresses in primary colors. I felt like a dateless dipshit at the prom for much of the time. But it meant I got to spend several days doing nothing but thinking of myself as an investigative journalist. I learned a lot: about how to do those FOIAs, about how to win a Pulitzer, about how to be who I am.
You take the good. My favorite experience was the residency at the Carey Institute. It was in this amazing rural area in upstate New York, and the trees were aflame with autumn. We were the first group in the program, and it had this air of bristling excitement. I was woefully underproductive on the page--or so it seemed at the time. But that was the start of the journey that's taken me to the place I am today. And that? It feels like a good place to be.
Like weird things? Buy a digital copy of THE TUMOR, a "masterpiece of short fiction" by Susannah Breslin.