To do good writing, read good writing. Here’s the good writing I’ve been reading this week.
You could call this the audio edition of my weekly round up of recommended reading for writers.
Over the past week, I’ve heard not one but two radio interviews with well-known authors who’ve shared insights into their writing process. I don’t know about you, but I’m always fascinated to learn how other writers create, compose and think about their work. Hearing about what inspires another writer, when they do their best work, or how they share questions and frustrations with writer friends makes me feel more connected to the profession.
Here’s the stuff:
Jean Auel on OPB’s Think Outloud – Emily Harris, host of Think Outloud – the thinking man’s version of a morning talk show – interviews the Pacific Northwest author of the Clan of the Cave Bear series. Before she was a bestselling author, Auel worked at a Portland area electronics company and got an MBA. The idea for the first Clan book just “buzzed” into her head, Auel tells Harris. After thinking about it all day she told her husband she was going to try writing a short story about it, sat down at her kitchen table that night and wrote until 3 a.m. The rest, as they say, is literary history.
Jonathan Frazen on WHYY’s Fresh Air – Acclaimed for his 2001 novel, The Corrections, Frazen is back again, finally, with Freedom, which is already drawing raves. Frazen, who’s 51, tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross he didn’t really feel like a grown up until he worked on this book and dealt with the emotional aftermath of the suicide of his close friend and fellow writer David Foster Wallace.
Also of interest this week:
Twitter literature contest – Write a killer simile in 140 characters or less and win lunch with former Booker Prize judge Frank Delaney. This is the latest Twitter writing contest – he calls them Twallenges, but I’ve had it with the “Tw” words – staged by Delaney, a writer and former BBC broadcaster. The simile contest starts Monday, Sept. 13. Three winners will be chosen; if you can’t make it to New York for lunch, choose a copy of Delaney’s next novel, The Matchmaker of Kenmare, out in February, instead. The simile challenge rules are here, or follow along on Twitter at #FDsimile.
- Alex Bogusky Tells All (Fast Company) – Extended profile of a real life Don Draper who ditched it all to find his bliss.
- Manners Count: 3 Rules if Social Media Success (Kristen Lamb’s Blog) – Online or off, it pays to play nice.
- Welcome to the Nerd Blog (ProPublica) – New playground for programmer-journalists, or is that journalist-programmers?
- I write a nasty book. And they want a girly cover on it (The Guardian) – Frazen’s new novel (see above) prods feminists and women writers to complain about bias in the publishing industry.