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Writer Resources

Merriam-Webster Names ‘Culture’ Word of the Year

Merriam-Webster Cloud

Merriam-Webster have chosen “culture” as the Word of the Year for the United States.

The other nine words that appear on this “top 10″ list include nostalgia, insidious, legacy, feminism, je ne sais quoi, innovation, surreptitious, autonomy, and morbidity. The team posted a word cloud image featuring all ten words on Twitter (embedded above). The web edition of this dictionary has listed several definitions for “culture”:

  • The act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education.
  • Expert care and training.
  • Enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training.
  • The integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.
  • The act or process of cultivating living material.

Here’s more from Merriam-Webster.com: “Culture is a big word at back-to-school time each year, but this year lookups extended beyond the academic calendar. The term conveys a kind of academic attention to systematic behavior and allows us to identify and isolate an idea, issue, or group: we speak of a ‘culture of transparency’ or ‘consumer culture.’ Culture can be either very broad (as in ‘celebrity culture’ or ‘winning culture’) or very specific (as in ‘test-prep culture’ or ‘marching band culture’).”

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Lauren Oliver Shares Her Thoughts on the Traits of Fiction Writers

Lauren OliverLast week, Lauren Oliver appeared at the “Epic Reads” panel hosted by Books of Wonder.

During the event, Oliver shared the three traits she feels that fiction writers must possess: (1) great self-awareness (2) radical empathy and (3) a deep interest in human beings. Do you agree with her?

Oliver also divulged that her book Panic was inspired by a Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale called “The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers.” Towards the end of the night, she revealed that she has a number of projects in-the-works: a young adult novel entitled Vanishing Girls, a middle grade series called The Curiosity House, and another young adult story featuring clones.

Follow-Up NaNoWriMo By Playing the ‘How to Be a Writer’ Board Game

latimesDid you take on the National Novel Writing Month challenge? Whether or not you finished your 50,000-word manuscript, we suspect that some of you may be curious about the career path to becoming a successful author.

Earlier this year, journalists Joy Press and Carolyn Kellogg conducted an informal survey and collected more than 200 responses at the The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. This data, illustrations from artist Paul Duginski, and programming from graphic designer Jon Schleuss were used to create the “how to be a writer” digital board game.

Some of the steps that aspiring writers can take include starting a diary, going to the Yaddo writer’s retreat, revising, signing up for a writing class with James Franco, and winning a National Book Award. What do you think?

NaNoWriMo Tip #20: Learn From 5 Established Authors

the guardianNaNoWriMo participants have less than 24 hours to complete their project. For our final tip, we’re sharing some of our favorite lessons from five established authors who contributed to The Guardian’sTen Rules For Writing Fiction” piece.

01. “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” — Elmore Leonard

02. “Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.” — Geoff Dyer

03. “Do back exercises. Pain is distracting.” — Margaret Atwood

04. “Remember you love writing. It wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back.” — A.L. Kennedy

05. “Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.” — Neil Gaiman

This is our twentieth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #19: Keep The Reader’s Perspective in Mind

Some writers feel that they must create the story that they themselves want to read. Does that mean you should disregard your potential audience?

In the video embedded above, The Fault in Our Stars novelist John Green advises that one should remember the reader’s perspective while writing. By putting yourself in the reader’s shoes, you will be able to figure out what are the most interesting parts about your story.

This is our nineteenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #18: Use Strong Metaphors

Writers are often advised to “show, not tell.” That’s why metaphors can be so very helpful.

The animated video above features a TED-Ed lesson called “The Art of The Metaphor.” When it comes to crafting a strong metaphor, keep in mind that “a metaphor isn’t true or untrue in any ordinary sense; metaphors are art, not science.”

This is our eighteenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #17: 3 Skills to Help With Writing Dialogue

What helps to bring characters to life? Dialogue!

The animated video above features a TED-Ed lesson called “Three Anti-Social Skills to Improve Your Writing.” Educator Nadia Kalman prescribes the following skills:

(1) Eavesdropping.

(2) Treat fake people (a.k.a. your characters) as though they were real human beings.

(3) Mutter to yourself.

This is our seventeenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

NaNoWriMo Tip #16: Write What You Don’t Know

Do you want to take your NaNoWriMo story in an unfamiliar direction? Back in 2013, Toni Morrison and Junot Díaz headlined a “Live From the NYPL” event.

The video embedded above features the entire conversation. During the discussion, Morrison shared this thought:

“I tell my students; I tell everybody this. When I begin a creative writing class I say, I know you’ve heard all your life, ‘Write what you know.’ Well I am here to tell you, You don’t know nothing. So do not write what you know. Think up something else. Write about a young Mexican woman working in a restaurant and can’t speak English. Or write about a famous mistress in Paris who’s down on her luck.”

This is our sixteenth NaNoWriMo Tip of the Day. To help GalleyCat readers take on the challenge of writing a draft for a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, we will be offering advice throughout the entire month.

Dictionary.com Picks ‘Exposure’ as 2014 Word of the Year

Dictionary.com has picked “exposure” as its 2014 Word of the Year. The video embedded above shares details about the major events that occurred throughout this year that prompted this choice. The website has listed the following four definitions for this word:

  • The condition of being exposed to danger or harm.
  • The act of bringing to public attention, especially through media coverage; publicity.
  • An act or instance of bringing to light, revealing, or unmasking crime, misconduct, or evil.
  • Disclosure of something private or secret.

Here’s more from the Dictionary.com blog: “From the pervading sense of vulnerability surrounding Ebola to the visibility into acts of crime or misconduct that ignited critical conversations about race, gender, and violence, various senses of exposure were out in the open this year. How did you see exposure in the news?” What do you think about this selection?

Hey Indie eBook Authors, Here’s How to Succeed

Smashwords

Smashwords

Attention, indie ebook authors. Mark Coker at Smashwords wants you to know that there’s never been a better time to be you. He writes, “Thanks to an ever-growing global market for your ebooks, your books are a couple clicks away from over one billion potential readers on smartphones, tablets and e-readers. In the world of eBooks, the playing field is tilted to the indie author’s advantage.”

Then, the wake-up call. Coker goes on to report that “the gravy train of exponential sales growth is over,” with indie (self-published) authors seeing “significant” sales decline at Amazon, especially since the July launch of Kindle Unlimited. He had predicted the slowdown and attributes it to the glut of high-quality low-cost eBooks, the increasing rate of eBook supply outpacing demand, and the slowing, much-discussed transition from print to eBooks. Read more

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