OMG, this changes my entire perception of everything I’ve ever known about my keyboard layout:
The first time I heard the lie, I was in fifth grade. Mr. Ward took me aside (or maybe he told the whole class, it was a long time ago) to tell me about the wonders of Dvorak, a different keyboard layout that was scientifically designed to be more efficient than the standard layout. That layout was called QWERTY, he explained, and it had been created to slow typists down. You see, in the olden days, mechanical typewriters could jammed if people hit the keys too quickly, so they had to put the common letters far apart from each other. The modern keyboard, I was told, was a holdover of the mechanical age.
Read the truth that they’ve been trying to conceal from you here: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/the-lies-youve-been-told-about-the-origin-of-the-qwerty-keyboard/275537/
We prefer short science fiction between 1000 and 5000 words in length, though we’ll consider stories that are longer. Ideally, we’d like to receive fiction that is intelligent, with well thought out plots and characters. Beyond this, exactly what happens in your world with your characters is up to you. We enjoy a broad range and don’t want to stifle author creativity by having elaborate expectations. Often enough, the best stories come as a surprise.
Although Kasma is a science fiction publication, we have been known to (rarely) make an exception and wander into other genres (e.g. fantasy).
Full submissions guidelines here: http://www.kasmamagazine.com/submissions.html
Lisa Jackson on her experience at a writers’ conference, and how she wishes she could’ve absorbed more of the experience:
Writing can be a solitary life, right? Even when working in a noisy cafe, I can encapsulate myself as I focus on my work – be with/around people, yet still alone.
So when I purposely join a group of writers for a couple hours or more, it’s a bit of a emotional overload. I go from my own thoughts to learning about other writers, what they’re passionate about, what they enjoy reading and writing, and what they are currently working on.
I enjoy hanging out with fellow writers too, but I agree that the wave of personalities and stories and works in progress can be a little overwhelming. I wonder if there’s a way to compartmentalise without being utterly anti-social; some way to get the best of both worlds…
I’ll think on it and let you know if something springs to mind.
Read the full post here: https://nhwn.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/hanging-out-with-writers-is-exhilarating-and-exhausting/
We can use books to make art installations now, right, because we don’t need to read them anymore, right?
[FullyBooked] brings together a collection of books and related products which celebrate the distinctiveness of materials, production methods, techniques and workmanship, pushing the limits of these approaches in the context of the medium of print.
Check some of the artworks out, they really are great: http://www.designboom.com/design/fully-booked-ink-on-paper-gestalten-publishers/
This is just a quick post to let you know we haven’t abandoned you. I’ve had a week off from the day-job to do more Literarium work with Lucas. Things are looking pretty cool! I can’t wait to start putting my own submissions into the system so I can obsess over statistics and the like.
There will be a Monday Market as always, and then regular posts again next week.
I still love you chumps, it’s true.
Oh, also, it’s my birthday on Saturday. I’ll be Old ™.
I remember seeing this concept many moons ago as a web page, but it has since been refined into what is probably the most demanding (literally) writing application out there.
The app launches with a full-screen editor and a countdown timer. You select the amount of time you want to write and start typing away. Sounds like a pleasant experience until you stop writing to look at your tweets and gasp in horror as your wonderful prose is deleted by the app.
It’ll delete your writing if you exit the app too. No messing around here. Write or die. It’s around $2 on the iOS app store.
It’s a little like chaining your muse to the back of your open skull while climbing the caldera of an active volcano.
Check it here, if you dare: http://www.tuaw.com/2013/02/19/daily-ipad-app-flowstate-is-a-brutal-writing-app-that-produces/
So I’ve chosen a cranky title for this post, because it makes me cranky. Terry Deary, author of the (admittedly awesome) Horrible Histories books, is complaining about public libraries allowing people to read books at the expense of authors:
“Because it’s been 150 years, we’ve got this idea that we’ve got an entitlement to read books for free, at the expense of authors, publishers and council tax payers. This is not the Victorian age, when we wanted to allow the impoverished access to literature. We pay for compulsory schooling to do that,” said Deary
I think his use of the word ‘entitlement’ is ironic here.
Look, I agree libraries are shifting in focus – certainly going to a library to do research is becoming an antiquated concept. However, reading fiction books from libraries is a fundamentally useful thing. I can’t help but feel that Terry sounds like a libertarian complaining about having to pay tax: he has benefited from people becoming readers on the back of library access, but now that he has his success he doesn’t want to have to contribute to the society that enabled his success.
I don’t want to get too reactionary, but…shut the fuck up, Terry.
Let me make a stand here: No writer deserves to be paid for their work. Being paid to make art instead of toiling in the fields is a goddamn privilege of civilisation. It’s an amazing privilege for which we authors should drop to our knees and give praise every – single – fucking – day.
If you forget that for even one minute, you’ll turn out like Terry.
Read it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/feb/13/libraries-horrible-histories-terry-deary?INTCMP=SRCH
This is a brilliant idea by Mary Robinette Kowal to avoid anachronistic language in her period fiction:
One of the things that’s tricky about writing historical fiction like Shades of Milk and Honey is getting the vocabulary right. There are a lot of words which are obviously anachronisms but there others which aren’t. Short of looking up every word in a novel, there’s no way to really know if a seemingly innocuous word like “hello” exists yet.
So here’s my plan for Glamour in Glass.
I’ve created a list of all the words that are in the collected works of Jane Austen to use for my spellcheck dictionary. It will flag any word that she didn’t use and I can then look those up to see if it was in use in 1815. It also includes some of Miss Austen’s specific spellings like “shew” and “chuse.”
It won’t be perfect. For instance it won’t flag words whose meanings have changed, like “check” or “staid” but it will be an improvement.
This really is fantastic, and would avoid some of those tiny anacrhonisms that make you, the author, look like someone who hasn’t done their research when in reality you’ve done 10 hrs research, not the 10.5 hrs required to avoid that tiny mistake.
For the curious, there are 14,793 words on the list.
Read more about it here: http://www.maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/the-jane-austen-word-list/
I think this is definitely something to bear in mind:
I recognise [that] different modes of communication demand different voices. The way I write a story for Lifehacker is quite distinct from how I express myself on Twitter or in a text message to friends. The vocabulary, tone and structure will all vary. But one key element won’t.
In all those contexts, I use capital letters and punctuation correctly, and aim for accurate spelling. I don’t say to myself “this doesn’t matter”. It always matters. To gain the habit of accuracy, you need to aim for accuracy all the time.
I think that when it comes time to write that perfect introduction, query or cover letter, you will thank your deeply-ingrained habits.
Read it here: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/01/why-the-habit-of-accuracy-matters-whenever-you-write/
Saladin Ahmed writes for NPR about the appeal of Fantasy fiction:
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend an informal lecture/pep talk for up-and-coming fantasy writers by the man Time called “the American Tolkien,” the now-world-famous Martin. The grizzled master described the very early days of Tolkien’s cult popularity to a room of us wide-eyed newbies. When college students and hippies started hanging up Lord of the Rings posters, Martin pointed out, “It wasn’t the book covers or some artist’s conception of Frodo that went on our walls. It was the map of Middle-earth.”
His argument is that particularly in epic fantasy, it is the world more so than the characters that compel our attention. Certainly exploring fantasy worlds in my reading youth was a huge appeal, and I crafted plenty of unused new worlds with maps and all sorts of elaborate histories (this spilled over effectively into my role playing hobby, where a small group of ‘readers’ can explore a world without having to worry about complicated things like marketing and publishing contracts and being paid).
Even among writers and readers who agree upon the importance of world-building, there is great disagreement over how to do it right. A thousand blog posts have been launched arguing over how much detail ought to be revealed to the reader. Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, in particular, is a sort of perennial target of parody, even among die-hard fans, padded as it can be with relentless descriptions of clothing, hairstyles, furniture and food. And Martin can spend page after exhausting page detailing the coat-of-arms of every attendee at a royal banquet. For readers used to the protocols of literary fiction, novels that come with glossaries and appendices can feel distinctly like homework.
Disclosure: I dislike Jordan’s WoT series and enjoy LotR more as an academic text (I have an Arts degree somewhere relating to Medieval/Renaissance Literature) than a fun read.
Original here: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/06/168631403/at-home-in-fantasys-nerd-built-worlds