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Recommended for writers & editors. A curated list of reference, exemplar writers, literary criticism, & books on writing, the forms of poetry and prose, memoir, & more.
 

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On Writing

 Articles on writing, memoirs, fiction, agents, etc.  


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J.M. Coetzee's Essays on Literature Examine the Role of the Author

"J.M. Coetzee’s clear-eyed, informative essays about fiction examine the relationship of the author with their published work.
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How To Make A Comic Book: Design, Characters, And Cover

Ever since you've read your first comic books, you were fascinated with them. And if you've got an artistic background you might have asked yourself how to make a comic book.
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Catapult | Magic and Echoes: How Music Helps Me Write

"For a long time, I would listen to Arthur Russell's "Being It" before I began writing. This was a practice, a sort of meditation, but it was one based on straightforward logic: If I listened to something I found extremely beautiful it would, I hoped, ease me into the sort of space in which making something beautiful was possible. The song would serve as a focusing object, a gentle and generative nudge—here it is, the kind of thing you want to make, remember? In this way it would function like a souvenir or a lucky charm—a pebble you plucked off a beach and kept in your pocket to rub.​ ...
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Literary Style and the Lessons of Memoir | The New Yorker

"Stephen Burt writes about creative memoirs inspired by poetry, including books by Paul Hunter, Jessica Anne, and Jasmine Dreame Wagner
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Goodreads Blog Post: An Interview with the Most Popular Reviewer on Goodreads

"Since joining Goodreads seven years ago, Emily May has amassed more than 80,000 Goodreads followers and has written 1,300 book reviews and counting—making her the most-popular reviewer on the site. She loves reading across all genres and completes an average of 200 books per year. Originally from Yorkshire, England, she currently lives in Los Angeles, where she works as a freelance editor and beta-reader, giving publishers feedback on soon-to-be-released novels. ​...
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Why learn ancient Greek? – TheTLS

"I have only just caught up with a poll on the Guardian website: "Is learning Classical Greek a good idea". The good news is that the votes went 80% in favour of learning Greek, 20% against. But the more disturbing thing (as always) was the reasons that people gave on each side. This poll is now closed, but it is still worth taking a look.​ ...
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80 Books Every Person Should Read

"What can we say? We messed up. Our list of "80 Books Every Man Should Read," published several years ago, was rightfully called out for its lack of diversity in both authors and titles. So we invited eight female literary powerhouses, from Michiko Kakutani to Anna Holmes to Roxane Gay, to help us create a new list. Each participant made 10 picks. It's a new year, a new Esquire.com. We're looking forward to reading and we hope you are, too.
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40 Books to Read Before You're 40 | Penguin Random House

"The books below cover nonfiction, fiction, and poetry to help navigate life in career, in family, or in loss. There are also a few classics that you should...
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Ten rules for writing fiction | Books | The Guardian

"Get an accountant, abstain from sex and similes, cut, rewrite, then cut and rewrite again – if all else fails, pray. Inspire by Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing, we asked authors for their personal dos and don'ts. Margaret Atwood, Geoff Dwyer, Diana Athill, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, AL Kennedy
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Why handwriting makes you smarter — Quartz

"Dear Jacob and Maya, I'm writing to share a secret. Now that you're both teens, almost, you're  old enough to receive it. Over the years, I've sent you many notebooks and pens ahead of this moment. Here's why. The reason your aunt has always provided apparently antiquated supplies was to hook you on handwriting before teaching...
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Take Fear By the Hand: 3 Fears That Writers Can Use for Inspiration

"Meera Lee Patel, author of My Friend Fear, knows that you must take fear by the hand. Here, she shares three fears that can inspire writers.
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The horror of female adolescence – and how to write about it | Books | The Guardian

"Why does literature so often depict the onset of sexuality – or indeed any aspect of girls’ growing up – as a strange, feverish thing? Two recent novels, by women, are redressing the balance with heartfelt depictions of teenagers that ring true
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Is deep reading in trouble? – The Mercury News

"THE OAKLAND apartment of Martha Mueller and her daughter, Nora, teems with books and magazines. Their library consists of fiction and nonfiction books, cookbooks and teen novels. Martha, a librarian, says she'll read just about anything.

"It can be the subject matter that attracts me or that perfectly written first sentence," she says.

She comprehends what she reads, too. Ask for her thoughts on the Millennium Trilogy by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, for example, and she'll weave a tale about how the books, while interesting reads, seem overly violent. The main character is a victim, she says, and a sad one at that.

While Mueller loves sitting down with a good book, she may represent a vanishing breed. ... 

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Confined By Pages: The Joy of Unread Books - The Millions

"An unread book is all possible stories. It contains all possible characters, styles, genres, turns of phrase, metaphors, speech patterns, and profound life-changing revelations. An unread book exists only in the primordial soup of your imagination, and there it can evolve into any story you like. An unread book – any unread book – could change your life.

Like most readers, I love browsing in bookshops and libraries. I like to run my fingers along the spines and read titles and authors' names. I pull the books out and flip through them, thinking about the stories inside them, the things I would learn from them, how my life would be subtly but surely different after I had read them. Sometimes I buy or borrow the books and read them. As much as I enjoy the books, I often find that the book I have read is somehow not as exciting as the book I had imagined reading. No book is ever quite as good as it potentially could have been. ...

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Simple Ways to Be Better at Remembering - The New York Times

"When the sum total of human knowledge rests an arm's length away in each person's pocket, why do we have to remember anything anymore?

On an average day most of us check our smartphones 47 times, and nearly double that if we're between the ages of 18 and 24, which might explain why some of us have such a hard time processing the information we take in to form memories. Smartphones alter the way we walk, talk and think, and we're barely keeping up.

"Everything is available through a Google search almost instantaneously, so what motive do you have to store useless info?" said Joseph LeDoux, who directs New York University's Emotional Brain Institute. ...

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This Is Your Brain on Metaphors - The New York Times

"Our brains are wired to confuse the real and the symbolic. And the implications can be as serious as war and peace.
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The Duty of Harsh Criticism | New Republic

"A literary manifesto for the ages by Rebecca West, 1915. 
“Today in England we think as little of art as though we had been caught up from earth and set in some windy side street of the universe among the stars. Disgust at the daily deathbed which is Europe has made us hunger and thirst for the kindly ways of righteousness, and we want to save our souls. And the immediate result of this desire will probably be a devastating reaction towards conservatism of thought and intellectual stagnation. Not unnaturally we shall scuttle for safety towards militarism and orthodoxy. Life will be lived as it might be in some white village among English elms; while the boys are drilling on the green we shall look up at the church spire and take it as proven that it is pointing to God with final accuracy. ​... ”
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THINKING IN PICTURES: Autism and Visual Thought

— by Dr. Temple Grandin — 
“I THINK IN PICTURES. Words are like a second language to me. I translate both spoken and written words into full-color movies, complete with sound, which run like a VCR tape in my head. When somebody speaks to me, his words are instantly translated into pictures. Language-based thinkers often find this phenomenon difficult to understand, but in my job as an equipment designer for the livestock industry, visual thinking is a tremendous advantage.Visual thinking has enabled me to build entire systems in my imagination. During my career I have designed all kinds of equipment, ranging from corrals for handling cattle on ranches to systems for handling cattle and hogs during veterinary procedures and slaughter. I have worked for many major livestock companies. ...”
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The Joyless Mind | New Republic

"Let’s get my judgment of Thomas Sowell’s new book out of the way first. There is not a single interesting idea in its more than three-hundred pages. Purporting to deal with the role that intellectuals play in society, it offers no discussion of literature, music, and the arts. While containing copious references to Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, its index lacks references to Lionel Trilling...
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The Library of Congress opened its catalogs to the world. Here’s why it matters | PBS NewsHour

"Catalog data are a library's most important map to knowledge. What does it mean that the Library of Congress just released 25 million records to the public?
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Bibliomania: the strange history of compulsive book buying | Books | The Guardian

"An essayist looks into the curious past of pathological collectors – and considers her own lifelong urge to hoard ever more volumes
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Taxonomy of the Logical Fallacies

"A taxonomy of all of the logical fallacies listed in the Fallacy Files, based upon the subfallacy relationship.

Beginning with Aristotle, the first logician to name fallacies, most logicians who have studied fallacies have classified them into types. Aristotle classified his list of fallacies into two types:

  1. Linguistic: Those that depend on language.
  2. Non-linguistic: Those that do not depend on language.

Subsequent logicians have usually extended Aristotle's classification by subdividing the second, non-linguistic, category into sub-categories―for instance, fallacies of relevance and fallacies of presumption. However, most such classifications have remained relatively "flat", with all fallacies on the same level. Unfortunately, a flat classification does not do justice to the complexity of the logical relations between different fallacies.

The Fallacy Files Taxonomy is a tree-like structure that classifies all of the fallacies in these files by the sub-fallacy relation. ... 

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Agents & Editors: A Q&A With Four Young Literary Agents | Poets & Writers

"It must be obvious to anyone who has been following this series that I have an unabashed affection for the old guard of book publishing—and an endless appetite for their insights, their war stories, and their wisdom. But after a year in which "change" of one kind or another was never far from anybody's thoughts, it occurred to me that the series could use a shake-up. Why not give the graybeards a breather and talk with some younger agents and editors? And while I was at it, wouldn't it be more valuable to writers if I could get a few drinks in them first?

With that idea in mind, I asked the editors of this magazine to select four up-and-coming literary agents...

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How to find a literary agent - Nathan Bransford

"How to find a literary agent. Read this guide to getting a literary agent written by a published author and former literary agent.



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