Have you ever been reading a story, supposedly set in a past time period, and spotted words you just know don't belong? Hugo-award winning author Mary Robinette Kowal has, and she's determined to not let it happen in her books. So she did something ingenius. She compiled a huge list of words from the collected works of Jane Austen and hopes to apply them to her spellcheck dictionary in order to weed out inappropriate usage in her novels. She just needs a little help.
Barbara Cartland is best known for penning "risqué" (though they rarely contained anything of an, ah, suggestive nature) thrillers, plays, and romance novels with titles like The Bitter Winds of Love, and The Wicked Marquis, and penning a lot of them. She holds the world record for most books written in a single year (twenty-three, in 1983 when she was fifty-eight), and has been named the top selling author in the world by Guinness. She sold more than a billion books over her career, with a total of nearly nine hundred novels, one hundred and sixty of which were published posthumously.
But what she isn't well known for, as io9 shows us today, is her contributions to aviation and, relatedly, the war effort in England during WWII.
Author Neil Gaiman recently gave the Commencement Address to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia chock-full of advice for aspiring artists of all kinds. He started his speech by admitting he never continued on to higher education and then talked about he simply started writing, wrote some more, and never stopped. Hit the jump to watch the speech in its entirety and find out why I'll be directing aspiring writers to it in the future.
According to her mom, Annie Clark seemed overwhelmed when contest organizers from textbook publishers Zaner-Bloser announced that she was the winner of a national penmanship contest, but as the first grader received her trophy, things appeared to sink in, and a big smile made an appearance. Though Annie was born without hands, her adoptive parents say she's determined to do pretty much anything the other kids can do, whether it's bike riding, swimming, or even simply writing, and she's succeeded on all fronts.
It’s unfortunate that my list of tips for writers was published when it was this week. If it had only been a day or two sooner, it maybe could have saved Kotaku a major headache. Jen Schiller, an intern at Kotaku, published a rather dismissive article about professional gaming this past Tuesday that was based on an interview over at Alienware Arena with David "Zaccubus" Treacy. The final tip I gave in my list was to know your audience and, sadly, it looks as if Schiller might have misunderstood exactly who it was she was talking to and what she was talking about.
At best, her article was insulting, dismissive, and poorly-sourced. At worst, it was full of falsehoods and a great example of negligent journalism. It takes more than a snippet of a quote or a quick skim of an article to fully understand the intent. As some have pointed out, it’s not as if there aren’t many an example out there of, shall we say, less-than-stellar journalism. Sometimes this is intentional trolling or sensationalism while a post of this kind from an intern feels more like a misstep and an opportunity to learn.
As you read this, another aspiring writer is attempting to craft something that they hope someone else will pay them to publish. Hundreds of aspiring writers, if not thousands, are working on blog, Tumblr, or Facebook posts or, well, dozens and dozens of different kinds of writing. There’s a lot of room out there for growth as a writer—even one as niche as being a geeky writer—but the waters are hazardous and the heading uncertain.
It doesn’t help that there isn't one unifying career path that will lead folks to being a writer of geeky caliber. Ask five writers how they managed to get where they are today and you’re liable to find five varying degrees of training with possibly more than five stories as to how they eventually did it. Sometimes it takes a failure to launch before the big break.
The point is, formal training is sometimes hard to come by. There are some things you just have to learn by trial and error. That, or from a list on the internet with tips for becoming a geeky writer.
Every writer's nightmare is the blank page. Aaron Sorkin has an excellent quote about it: "I love writing but hate starting." Well, what if there was a thing that put your script in motion at the push of a button? Well, that's what this is about: a Plot Device. Get it?
(Geeks Are Sexy)