For all the written works in the world there are two types of writers

Thursday, 7 July, 2016

There are two types of writers, bashers and swoopers, says Ollie Campbell.

Bashers write one sentence at a time, and do not move onto the next one until they are finished. After that they never come back to it. As far as they’re concerned, it is ready to go.

Swoopers, on the other hand, might write different parts of the story during a single sitting. They might start by working on an idea in the middle, then go to something near the beginning, then jump to another towards the end of the story. That sounds familiar.

For Swoopers, writing is about gradually getting a jumble of ideas into shape. And these kinds of writers are used to working around the limitations of their tools. A writer I spoke to recently said “I normally have six different Word documents open at once with different parts of what I’m writing. Then it’s just condense, condense, condense.”

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Why would a writer want to be rejected 100 times each year?

Tuesday, 5 July, 2016

New York City based author Kim Liao suggests that aspiring writers should strive to have their work rejected one hundred time each year. That may be one hundred too many rejections for some of us, but to collect that many knock-backs hopefully means one or two ideas end up being accepted.

Last year, I got rejected 43 times by literary magazines, residencies, and fellowships – my best record since I started shooting for getting 100 rejections per year. It’s harder than it sounds, but also more gratifying.

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Book covers that have been judged, the best of 2015

Friday, 1 July, 2016

You should never judge a book by its cover, that we all know, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy, or otherwise, the actual cover of a book. Here are the fifty best book covers for 2015, as selected by the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and Design Observer.

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Not for publication, the book title of your choosing

Friday, 27 May, 2016

Are you writing a novel, and have an idea for the title? It may not make it to publication however, if it’s not deemed marketable enough. A shame, as I think an author would be the best person to title their book, in that they probably have the best understanding of the subject matter.

When I was readying my first novel for publication, it struck me that writers have far more control over what’s in their books than what’s on them – the cover art, blurbs, jacket copy, but especially the title, where the author’s concerns overlap with marketing ones. Deciding on a name for your life’s work is hard enough; the prospect of changing it at the eleventh hour is like naming your newborn, then hearing the obstetrician say, But wouldn’t Sandra look amazing on the certificate?

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Read once, write always, should software developers read novels?

Wednesday, 25 May, 2016

Could reading the novels of Virginia Woolf hone the skills of a software developer?

It may help, possibly:

But if anything can be treated as a plug-in, it’s learning how to code. It took me 18 months to become proficient as a developer. This isn’t to pretend software development is easy – those were long months, and I never touched the heights of my truly gifted peers. But in my experience, programming lends itself to concentrated self-study in a way that, say, “To the Lighthouse” or “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” do not. To learn how to write code, you need a few good books. To enter the mind of an artist, you need a human guide.

How about the works of Jane Austen? I’m reading Mansfield Park at the moment… it makes me feel as if I am parsing code at times.

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Artists don’t judge books by their covers, they’re inspired by them

Tuesday, 15 March, 2016

If filmmakers can be influenced by paintings, it surely stands to reason that the work of painters will be inspired by book covers. Makes sense to me.

Lately, a handful of well-read visual artists have looked to book design – specifically, the classic covers of the 20th century – as a source of raw material and inspiration. Some paint book covers straight up, carefully replicating type and illustration, as well as the marks of wear and tear on particular copies. Others alter existing designs or invent their own jackets and titles. It’s surely no coincidence that artists are choosing the book as a subject in this era of new reading technologies.

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Books that have been read by the famous, that can now be yours

Monday, 15 February, 2016

Read By Famous is a book seller with a difference, the books they stock have already been read. But not read by just anyone, rather by notable, or famous people. And what you’re buying is the actual title they’ve read, not a copy of it.

We sell books that were owned and read by people who have achieved high levels of recognition in their particular fields. Not copies of titles they have read, but the actual books that these people owned and read. The proceeds from the sales benefit book and literacy focused non-profits.

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Yoda, a nasty little green oven mitt, until proved otherwise?

Tuesday, 19 January, 2016

It’s fair to say that US scientist and science fiction author David Brin takes a reasonably dim view of the Star Wars films, especially the first six movies. It’s series creator George Lucas’ “sneering contempt for democracy and the common man”, that particularly gets on Brin’s goat, to say nothing of that “nasty little green oven mit” Yoda:

Yoda is pretty much, inarguably, the most evil figure ever in the history of any human mythology. I have defied folks to name one time when he says or does anything that is indisputably wise. The trail of destruction that follows him and every decision that he makes is inarguable and overwhelming.

Evil, and not much of a strategist either. Or was he?

I do hope folks will notice, for example, that Yoda, in Attack of the Clones, orders the Jedi into a suicide charge that kills most of them, then conveniently shows up with the new clone army that he ordered. An act of treachery and betrayal so stunning that I had to watch the movie twice. Perhaps that was Lucas’ evil plan.

Brin has written a book, Star Wars on Trial, that examines the good and bad aspects of the saga in court case fashion, where he, unsurprisingly, acts as the prosecuting attorney.

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Need somewhere to stay in Tokyo? Book a stay at the Book hotel…

Friday, 27 November, 2015

Book And Bed hotel

Book And Bed is not so much a bookshop, as it is a library where you stay overnight. With a tariff of about A$40, or US$30, per night for a “compact” room, cost would be no excuse for not partaking of the experience, for at least one night, while visiting Tokyo.

See more photos of the Book And Bed on Instagram.

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Warning, reading this may be detrimental to your health

Tuesday, 10 November, 2015

I would like to read a bit more than I do, but between work, writing, and procrastinating, little time is left in the day for such things.

Maybe this difficultly in reading is not so bad though, thinkers and experts in such matters have had reservations about reading for millennia, fearing those who partook might be doing themselves all sorts of mental and emotional harm. Booksellers it seems were deemed to be especially vulnerable, on account of the volume of reading they surely did:

By the late 18th and early 19th century, science was invoked to legitimise health warnings about reading. In his Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon the Diseases of the Mind (1812) – the first American text on psychiatry – Benjamin Rush, a founding father of the United States, noted that booksellers were peculiarly susceptible to mental derangement. Recasting Seneca’s ancient warnings in the language of psychology, Rush reported that booksellers were prone to mental illness because their profession required the “frequent and rapid transition of the mind from one subject to another”.

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