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Thread: A Thread About Writing

  1. #111
    AMERICANS UK Jef UK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Brooklyn, NY

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    I thought y'all might be interested in this:

    Send your schmuckiest, most happless, awkward, embarrassing and/or clumsy personal story, 800 words or less, by May 7 and I’ll pick the top three which will then be read by a jury comprised of Emmy Award winning cartoonist, Dean Haspiel (Bored To Death, Billy Dogma), Eisner award winning cartoonist Nick Abadzis, (Laika, Hugo Tate), and poet/author Sandra Beasley (Don’t Kill The Birthday Girl, I was The Juke Box) who will pick the first, second and third place winners. All will be published on, one per month, from least schmucky to most schmucky, between June and August.

    Fr prizes and futher details, click the hide button:

    The following prizes will be awarded:

    1st Place – A signed copy of Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics by Christopher Irving and Seth Kushner

    2nd Place – A signed copy of Seth Kushner’s limited edition CulturePOP Photocomix book.

    3rd Place – A signed copy of the TRIP CITY Visitor Guide

    Please, amateur schmucks only—no pros!!


    Read SCHMUCK, Seth Kushner’s “comix neurotica” and prose at TRIP CITY

    The Jury

    Emmy award winning artist, Dean Haspiel, created the Eisner Award nominated, "Billy Dogma," and illustrated for HBO's "Bored To Death." Dino has drawn many superhero and semi-autobiographical comic books and graphic novels for major publishers, including collaborations with Jonathan Lethem, Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Ames, Inverna Lockpez, and Tim Hall. Dino also won the 6th Anniversary Literary Death Match in NYC with his "brute charisma" and curates cool multimedia projects at

    Sandra Beasley is the author of I Was the Jukebox (winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize), Theories of Falling (winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize), and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a memoir. Her essays have appeared in the Oxford American, and Washington Post Magazine. Her poetry has turned up in such venues as The Believer, Slate, and The Best American Poetry 2010. She keeps her heart in a suitcase and her groceries in Washington, DC.

    Nick Abadzis is a cartoonist, writer, graphic novelist and editor of international renown who has been honored with various awards including the prestigious Eisner in 2008 for his graphic novel Laika. He recently relocated from London in the UK to New York City where he continues to work both as a storyteller and editorial consultant. His next major project is a revamped and digitally-restored collection of his first ever strip Hugo Tate, originally published in legendary UK music and comics magazine Deadline. This will be published by Blank Slate Books in 2012, and other graphic novels are in the works.

    Seth Kushner’s photography has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, L’Uomo Vogue, The New Yorker and others. He was chosen by Photo District News magazine as a three-time winner of their Photo Annual Competition. Seth’s first book, The Brooklynites, (with Anthony LaSala) was published by powerHouse Books in 2007. His next book, Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics (with Chris Irving) will be released in May 2012.
    Click on AM/UK Banner for Rock n' Comix:

  2. #112
    Right Guy Shisho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Charlotte, NC

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    I know it's probably going to sound really weird, but I've taken to brainstroming/mind mapping on Prezi lately in order to help me map out the plot of a story. I tend to be a scatterbrain (I know, shock), and it helps me put things down in a way that's more linear. If you're not familiar with Prezi, it's actually a presentation software platform that I use for work instead of Power Point. You can get a free account here:

    Some people don't like it because it gives some people motion sickness, but I find that allowing for a flexible "path" when throwing out ideas for plot helps me put things in their place. I don't know if that will help anyone out there, but it's a toy/tool that helps me visualize.
    "The computer's kaput, and we're drifting through space towards certain oblivion." -- Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, Cowboy Bebop.

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  3. #113
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    The antagonist and the protagonist in my screenplay are the exact same person. She's incredibly self-destructive, due to trauma. So she manages to destroy herself.

  4. #114

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    My tips for writing:

    1) Write something every day (as some people have stated). Even if its small. Practice makes perfect.

    2) READ. Anything and everything. Reading is the greatest tool for writing, and don't just read specific things, branch out. Go from reading your favorite stories, in whatever from, to reading the works of 'big thinkers' of stories, like David Bordwell, Levi-Strauss or Aristotle even.

    3) I think this comes under reading. But 3 is 'research'. Its fun and interesting and it lest you delve deeper into your 'world' or the mind of the character your writing about. It also lets your readers know you care about what you are handing out to them.

    4) Work-shopping your piece with other writers or industry pros. This opens your mind up to things you may not have noticed about your work, and allows you to gain opinion on the piece before its published.

    5) My last bit of advice (and this only matters in some cases, depending on what your writing), is to put something of you in the mix, something you want to say about this world. You might only be doing a short run, or a one page prose, or a novel series, don't waste that time you have with a reader, whoever long or short. I don't mean to say you should be preachy. But its your art, its your time. Think about what you want to leave behind when your gone, and all that's left are your words and stories.

    Hope this is helpful. And thanks to all the others posting really great advice.

  5. #115
    Trouble Boy brettc1's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    The next time a goddess asks you if you want to have a say YES!!!!

  6. #116
    Right Guy Infra-Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Brooklyn, NY

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    Lots of talk about fiction, but was curious if anyone is working on some non-fiction, like a memoir, an essay, academic writing, a book-length non-fiction piece about some subject, long-form magazine-style journalism, feature writing, cultural criticism, etc.

    If so, any unique challenges or insights into non-fiction? Anything distinct to your approach to writing non-fiction?
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  7. #117
    Gunsel Dan-C's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    Although it could probably go a lot of places, I thought this interview with Aaron Sorkin fit well here. While there's a lot of conversation about things that aren't writing, he does talk a fair amount about his writing style, and where some of it comes from.

  8. #118
    Chiseler Dragonbat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    I'm working on a fan-fiction best practices manual at the moment. (Term assignment for Technical Writing II. Essentially, write a manual on any subject. Past projects have included "How to make a steel drum," "How to eat sushi," and "How to look like Audrey Hepburn," so I'm seriously not worried about the topic.) It's passed the peer review so far. Working on the document design elements.

  9. #119

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    100 Bad Ideas

    I can't take credit for this. That goes to the wonderful Jane Espenson. Nevertheless, I use it myself and it's one of the most popular tips that I share in my classes. Here's the gist:

    It's a brainstorming tool. Take a sheet of paper or open a document. Title it "100 Bad Ideas for _____", with "_____" being whatever you're looking to accomplish. Might be "100 Bad Ideas for Protagonist's Name" or "100 Bad Ideas for a Title". Whatever. Now, start writing down ideas. Whatever comes to mind - good, bad, ludicrous. Don't think. Speed is key. Do it for 15 minutes. Most folks burn out well before then, but wind up with 50 or more entries. Some are obvious, most are crap - but a few of them.... You will have spit out a few winners that your mind wouldn't have come up with otherwise.

    Two things make this work. First, the "don't-stop-stream-of-consciousness-go-go-go" nature of it. Second and just as important - the labeling of the exercise as "100 Bad Ideas" gives you permission to include rubbish, to let it ALL out. Note that this doesn't mean you should try to come up with only crap. That defeats the purpose. It's telling you not to worry about quality at all. Just kick your brain into overdrive, get the critic out of the way, and open up your fountain of ideas.

    I've used this for titles, character traits, locations, motivations, emotional responses, and more. I've even used it in the real world.

  10. #120
    Right Guy stealthwise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Re: A Thread About Writing

    More than half (I don't know, maybe 60, 70, 83%) of writing is re-writing. Those extensive first-draft sessions are great, but unless you take the time to polish and go over it again and again, it ends up being just a good-to-great (hopefully) first draft.

    Mileage may vary on that one, but I found it to be true whether we're talking about a story, essay, poem, or just about any kind of writing.
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