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Archives: November 2011

Keep Writing Every Day: NaNoWriMo Tip #30

National Novel Writing Month reinforces the most basic and important aspect of any working writer’s life: Keep writing every day.

Now that NaNoWriMo has concluded, you should continue writing every day. If you are really ambitious, one Reddit user created a spreadsheet to track your daily writing after NaNoWriMo. You can also follow Easily Mused’s example and keep a writing journal about your daily progress.

Check it out: “I’m just suggesting you use a writing journal (or even a section in your writer’s notebook or on your blog) to note your moods, give yourself pep talks, or blow off some steam.  You can use it to: Set goals, celebrate accomplishments, and write about your feelings. Make it a word, a sentence, or answer a question: How did it go today? Did you meet your goals or set any new ones? Kill anyone off in you WIP?”

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Mediabistro Course

The Art of the Book Review

The Art of the Book ReviewStarting August 4, learn how to get paid to write reviews that will influence the publishing landscape! Taught by a Publishers Weekly book critic, you'll learn how to recommend a book to its audience, write reviews of varying lengths, tailor a review to a specific publication and more! You'll leave this course with two original reviews and a list of paying markets for book reviews. Register now! 

Quentin Rowan Publishes His Confession

A few weeks after his debut was pulled for plagiarism, novelist Quentin Rowan has written “Confessions of a Plagiarist” for The Fix, a website dedicated to addiction and recovery.

“Here I am, ready to dodge bullets from the folks in the comments section. Fire away,” he wrote in the essay. Rowan published Assassin of Secrets under the pen name Q.R. Markham, lifting passages from numerous spy novels into his well-reviewed novel. In the essay, the disgraced writer talked about his time in Alcoholics Anonymous and detailed the personal fallout from the scandal.

Check it out: “But in a very short period of time—we’re talking hours—the revelation of my crimes turned my life upside-down. I lost my job in the Brooklyn bookstore where I was a part owner, my beautiful girlfriend left me (and the apartment we were going to share), and my future in the only field I know anything about, books, came to ignominious end. Many of my friends and associates turned their backs on me right away. Others stepped forward to provide comfort and solace. Some felt like they had probably never truly known me and it made them uncomfortable.” (Via Sarah Weinman)

Free App Building Tool for Writers

Authors interested in building book apps for tablets and mobile devices can download the currently free Demibooks Composer tool in the Apple App Store, a DIY app that helps writers add “realistic physics, animation, sounds and visual effects” to their books.

We caught up with Demibooks founder Rafiq Ahmed to get DIY advice for children’s authors looking to create interactive children’s book apps. If you want to learn more, join us at the Publishing App Expo in December 7-8, where Ahmed will be part of our “App Building 101″ session. For writers on a budget, you can register for a one-day pass or a one-track pass to focus on the DIY part of the conference.

Below, we’ve collected three pieces of design advice from Ahmed–check out the Composer User Guide (PDF) for more information.

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Tom Hanks Could Star in Adaptation of ‘In the Garden of Beasts’

Universal Studios has acquired the movie rights for In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Oscar winner Tom Hanks and his producing partner Gary Goetzman may produce the project. Hanks could star in the movie as well.

Here’s more from the article: “The book tells the true tale of William Dodd, the United States’ reluctant and mild-mannered ambassador to Berlin in 1933, and his daughter Martha, a vivacious socialite who had romantic affairs with a Gestapo official and a Soviet spy.”

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Curbside Haiku Safety Signs Posted in NYC

The New York City Department of Transportation has posted 216 “Curbside Haiku” signs around New York City.

Here’s more from The Gothamist: “[Each haiku expresses] a different safety message by focusing on one transportation mode. For example, our favorite one spreads this message: ‘Cyclist writes screenplay / Plot features bike lane drama / How pedestrian.’”

Follow this link to see all the locations where the signs can be found. Poet John Morse wrote the haikus, creating 12 different poems for the signs. The project was funded by Driving-While-Intoxicated (DWI) fines.

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Harry Connick, Jr. Publishes Picture Book

Musician Harry Connick, Jr. has published a picture book inspired by his song, The Happy Elf.

In the video embedded above, the author performs the original song. Connick also talks about his thoughts behind the picture book project with illustrations by Dan Andreasen.

The Happy Elf song was originally released in Connick’s 2003 Christmas album, Harry for the Holidays. It has has also spawned a 3-D animated film (2005) and a musical stage production (2007). In the film, Connick served as the narrator, the composer and an executive producer. For the stage production, he created five additional songs.

Mark Twain Receives Google Birthday Present

To celebrate the 176 birthday of Mark Twain, Google released a Google Doodle depicting a scene from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (embedded above).

The picture shows a a team of kids tricked into whitewashing a fence in the classic novel. Follow this link if you want to download a free copy of the novel.

Here’s more from eBookNewser: “Twain was born during the visit of Halley’s Comet, and he died shortly after the next visit 74 years later. He had many jobs during those years, including reporter, author, gold miner, lecturer, and malcontent.”

Charlie Stross: ‘DRM Has Proven to Be a Hideous Mistake’

Author Charlie Stross thinks that if publishers released DRM-free eBooks, they would be less beholden to Amazon’s Kindle ecosystem.

In a blog post from earlier this week, the British science-fiction author argues that Amazon’s domination of the eBook market makes them ruthless when it comes to supplier discounts. He writes: “Amazon has ruthlessly used its near monopoly of online sales to exert monopsony buying pressure against suppliers, forcing the likes of Holtzbrinck or Penguin or Hachette to give them a deep discount on ebooks. In the past they have de-listed publishers’ paper editions during negotiations, chopping their sales off at the knees in an attempt to force them to grant favourable sales terms.”

Stross, who is published by Ace Books, a Penguin imprint, thinks that to survive, the Big Six should publish DRM-free eBooks. He writes: “As ebook sales mushroom, the Big Six’s insistence on DRM has proven to be a hideous mistake. Rather than reducing piracy[*], it has locked customers in Amazon’s walled garden, which in turn increases Amazon’s leverage over publishers.” (Via Boingboing).

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Gets Storybook App

When Charles Schultz‘s classic comic strip Peanuts was adapted into A Charlie Brown Christmas back in 1965, a legend was made. Digital publishing company Loud Crow Interactive is trying to do a 21st century update with an app version of the cartoon.

The app is a digitized storybook based on the cartoon. It is laid out like a storybook with a narration track that highlights the words as they are read. The story is narrated by Peter Robbins, the voice of the original Charlie Brown. The pages include animated features like dancing kids and snow falling.

eBookNewser has more: “There are also interactive elements such as a play-along piano. Readers can play along on Schroeder’s piano while learning how to read tablature by following notes that are highlighted on a black-and white piano keyboard. The above video shows how it works.”

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Matthew G. Kirschenbaum Celebrates Word Processors

Have you ever used a word processor? Author Matthew G. Kirschenbaum will headline a brown bag lunch talk at the New York Public Library called “Stephen King’s Wang: The Literary History of Word Processing.”

Here’s more about the event: “Mark Twain famously prepared the manuscript for Life on the Mississippi with his new Remington typewriter, and today we recognize that typewriting changed the material culture (and the economy) of authorship. But when did literary writers begin using word processors? Who were the early adopters? How did the technology change their relation to their craft? Was the computer just a better typewriter, or was it something more?”

Check it out on Friday, December 16th at 12 p.m. at the NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Kirschenbaum is an English professor at the University of Maryland and associate director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. In an upcoming book, he will  book delve into the history of writers and word processors.

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