Tag Archive 'Writing on the Ether'

You Are So On (Because They Are, Too)

My address is 2025 Avenue of the Stars. 

This is as it should be, of course. 90067.

With my sunglasses so firmly in place that I can barely read anything on the screen, I’m writing to you on the eve of Phil Sexton’s Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference in Los Angeles. It’s at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza again this year, the kind of hotel that’s designed to look good on you.

My Unboxed co-star Barbara O’Neal will be here at #WDNWC this [...]

Free the Writers! (From Each Other)

Image – iStockphoto: Paha_L / In the Moscow subway system

 

We’ve had a lot of laughs at publishers’ expense lately, about how many “actual readers” they may have met, right? What if our writers know even fewer “actual readers” than our publishers? 

 

You’ve been around too much lately, Helen, you ought to stay at home more.

Scanned title page from Noel Coward’s “Design for Living” (1933) from the Internet Archive

That sentence, husband-to-wife, from Noel Coward’s Design for Living, was one [...]

Sir Hugh and the Snail

When Mollusks Attack

We don’t know why images of armed knights fighting snails are common in 13th and 14th century illuminated manuscripts. 

Through a tweet from one of my favorite authors, William Gibson, I found my way to a post by Sarah J. Biggs at the British Library. “One of our post-medieval colleagues noticed a painting of a knight engaging in combat with a snail.”

Knight v Snail V: Revenge of the Snail (from the Smithfield Decretals, southern France (probably Toulouse), with [...]

When They Talk About You at #DBW14: You’re Branded

Image – iStockphoto: Mysh Kovsky

 

NEW YORK—The Digital Book World Conference & Expo (DBW) isn’t designed for authors.

And that’s fine. Various sectors of the industry! the industry! have every right to get together by and among themselves to consider things from their own viewpoints and on behalf of their own interests.

At Digital Book World Conference & Expo 2014 – Photo: Porter Anderson

As good as our authors are at contorting themselves, day by day, in the search for how to exercise [...]

Scale: That All the Books Should Be Counted

 

Caesar Augustus: All Is Forgiven

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
Luke 2:1, King James Version, New Testament

That glow on the faces of so many of us Protestant ministers’ children this time of year is a reconnection. Like sticking our fingers into the science-project sockets of our childhoods, we sit around tempting mythology to fry us again, gazing at this verse and [...]

Leveling Up: In Praise of Writer Dads

Image: iStockphoto – FunSand

 

According to my kids I’m “funny a lot” and make them laugh. I’m a goofball. My wife says I’m excited because I have my perfect audience right now. I’m yucking it up for all I can get, because I know that shit’ll evaporate come twelve or thirteen. Hopefully by then they’ll like video games, or books, and we can continue bonding there.

Tobias Buckell

New York Times bestseller Tobias Buckell is a Hugo-, Nebula-, Prometheus-, and John [...]

“The Inflexible Routines”

iStockphoto: 33ft

 

I was withdrawing deeper into myself, isolating myself from my surroundings, settling into the routines—the inflexible routines—I have before each match and that continue right up to the start of play.

This is from Rafael Nadal’s sometimes surprisingly candid book, Rafa, written with John Carlin. Listen for that light, self-effacing Majorcan accent, our Mediterranean catch of the day, emphasis mine:

I repeat the sequence, every time, before a match begins, and at every break between games, until a match is over. A sip from one [...]

Are You Lonesome Tonight? The Dreaded Solitude of Writing

Evening off Skiathos – Porter Anderson

 

Provocations graphic by Liam Walsh

It’s right there on the Beeb:

This week Robert [McCrum] contemplates the loneliness of writers, and the things they give up to spend hours in their rooms with only their novel for company.

Ah, yes, the fabled “loneliness of writers.”

Where the pleasures of solitude are sometimes indistinguishable from the perils of isolation.

It’s thanks to one of my favorite colleagues, Sheila Bounford in the UK, that I’ve found this BBC Radio 4 [...]

A Major Publisher Jumps the Shark

[Publishers'] savings on printing, binding and distribution make up for the lower revenue from lower ebook prices– and increased profitability is coming entirely off the backs of authors.

Those are Brian DeFiore‘s words, emphasis mine, in an article important to writers.

The 10 salient words here are suitable for memorization:

Increased profitability is coming entirely off the backs of authors.

 

DeFiore’s article is headlined eBooks and profitability– What we’ve always said and publishers have always denied.

Here’s what you need to know to understand why I’ve [...]

Book as Symbol: Perennial as Spring

Convenience comes at the cost of a grave loss: that of the book as a symbol, as an artifact of learning, poise, wisdom and moral fortitude. While this loss may seem trivial, a simple matter of changing times and customs, the symbols we are losing permeate society and have long been shaping the fortunes of publishing.

 François Joseph de Kermadec, Publishing needs to build new symbols for the digital age at O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change

What [...]

Maybe If We Tried Writing Well

Bath’s Prior Park in England’s West Country features a rare Palladian bridge in a landscape garden devised in the 18th century by Alexander Pope and Lancelot “Capability” Brown. Photo: iStockphoto / Eric2x

 

I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.

– Marshall McLuhan

 

I’ve been putting together some thoughts recently on our collective readership.

Not us when we read. Not our delegation here of Unboxed Writers.

And not even the wider community of writers, local and [...]

‘Social’ Media: Author Ignorance

Though our publishers will tell you that they are ever seeking “original” writers, nothing could be farther from the truth. What they want is more of the same, only thinly disguised. They most certainly do not want another Faulkner, another Melville, another Thoreau, another Whitman. What the public wants, no one knows. Not even the publishers.

Henry Miller, as quoted by Jon Winokur at AdviceToWriters.com

Henry Miller (1891-1980)

I count Henry Miller among my favorite authors. [...]