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May 18, 2012      

Notes From Elsewhere: A Word Riot Roundup

Notes From Elsewhere is a roundup of various literary things compiled by Sara Habein, along with news from past Word Riot authors. She makes no claims at being terribly current or the first to know anything, but hopefully you will find something interesting here.)

A little internal WR news first: Wigleaf recently released their Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions list, and three stories from here have made the cut:

Also, WR‘s Poetry Editor, Nicolle Elizabeth, has a story on the list with “The Four Horsemen.”

This week’s roundup has a lot to do with the actual craft of writing, if you were looking for a little extra inspiration to finally get that new thing (whatever it may be) started.

At NeuroTribes, Wired writer Steve Silberman gathers “Practical Tips on Writing a Book from 23 Brilliant Authors.”  Much of this is very helpful to non-fiction writers, which seems like a less common trait that I’ve seen in these sorts of lists.

I like this tip from Sylvia Boorstein (who is a wealth of wisdom on all manner of things): “When I do not like how what I’m writing is sounding, I quit. I leave the computer. I do something else, like cook soup. I ‘hear’ what I am about to type before I type it and if it is not sounding like me naturally talking, I know I am not clear or balanced enough to go on.”

J.R. Angelella has a good, short bit about the phrase “write what you know” over at Fiction Writers Review. It’s not so much about writing only to your own experiences, but about authenticity. “Our goal as storytellers is to engage our readers and spark a reaction in them through a relatable and believable world,” he says.

I stumbled across two great things at Brain Pickings this week: “10 Tips on Writing from David Olgivy” and Joel Robison’s “Whimsical Photographic Abstractions of the Joy of Reading,” which look like they were a lot of fun to create.

From the first:

Never use jargon words like reconceptualizedemassificationattitudinallyjudgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

Word.

At the New York Times, Roger Rosenblatt talks about what it means to be “The Writer in the Family.” Feel free to nod knowingly.

Blown Covers offers an lovely, touching comic by Art Spiegelman, depicting a conversation he had with the late Maurice Sendak: “We’ll Miss You.”

Flavorwire suggests “10 Feminist Poets You Should Know,” which is a tidy beginning to a wealth of reading material.

Speaking of good reading material, here’s Jess Walter‘s “Statistical Abstract for My Home of  Spokane, Washington,” which apparently appeared in McSweeney’s a year ago. I first heard him read it in Auntie’s Bookstore (an event he shared with Sherman Alexie), when I still lived in Spokane. This is my favorite part:

I think there are only two things you can do with your hometown: look for ways to make it better, or look for another place to live.

For the seven years I lived there, I looked (and sometimes successfully carried out) ways to make it better. Now I’m back in the town where I was born, Great Falls, Montana, doing the same.

Are you in the market for a thematically appropriate bookmark?

By the way, less than a month remains before the Fabri Literary Prize deadline. Bonus? No entry fee.

Finally, this doesn’t really have a lot to do with writing, but it does have a lot to do with being a badass: Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived.

See you all next week.

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