- Even published writers need advice about how to start a first draft--again. In a plaintive letter to "The Writing Teacher" at The Millions, a novelist asks:
Where do I start? What do I need to know about my story and my characters before I begin? What should I just figure out as I go? Suddenly, the idea of writing that first draft seems impossible, and I am terrified.
"For the first draft I need to know only enough to keep going. No more, no less."
- Even poets get the copyright blues. The lines between fair use, mash-ups, sampling, and other practices of using the published work of other poets are not always clear. As a report from the Center of Social Media explains:
Poetry, as a highly allusive art form, fundamentally relies on the poet’s ability to quote, to copy, and to “play” with others’ language, and poetry scholars and commentators equally rely on their ability to quote the poetry they are discussing. In fact, poets generally acknowledge that essentially everything they do in their workaday lives, from making their poems to writing about poetry to teaching poetry, builds on the work of others.
- In "How to Win at the Women's Memoir Game," Michelle Dean at New York Magazine discusses complaints of sexism in the way critics past and present have characterized the work of women memoirists, novelists, and poets. Often such criticisms accuse writers of trying to parlay their personal experiences--particularly when it involves sex--into material success (because all authors long for poverty and obscurity?). She also delves into the way such books are marketed before suggesting
. . . there are, actually, degrees of craft involved in writing yourself, as Nora Ephron put it, as the heroine of your own life. Women who win at the memoir game know the rules and decide to game the system. And then their talent and savvy can take them a long way.