Self-Publishing: Boon or Boondoggle?

GalleyCat just posted more news from the publishing world: Simon & Schuster is opening a new self-publishing service, Archway Publications. This is hot on the heels of its acquisition of self-publishing company Author Solutions in July. I think it’s a good omen that traditional publishing houses are seeing the value of self-publishing. However, self-publishing is […]

Are Hobbit Fans So Weird?

Agency Spy offers this little gem: Air New Zealand is debuting a new “Hobbit plane,” based on the assumption that “nerds will pay top dollar to ride it.” It seems to be nothing more than a regular passenger airplane with a “Hobbit” montage painted on its exterior, and, it seems, a safety film starring Peter […]

Tuesday’s Tips: Every Day or Everyday?

Another common mistake I see is the use of “everyday” (one word) when writers mean “every day” (two words). How do you know the difference? Everyday is an adjective; it describes some noun (person, place, thing or idea). It means daily, ordinary, or routine. E.g., “The Timex was his everyday watch; the Bulova was only […]

Elizabeth Smart’s Memoir Out Next Year

According to the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog, St. Martin’s Press has picked up Elizabeth Smart’s memoir, which will tell of her kidnapping at age 14, her subsequent nine-month captivity during which she was kept chained and raped, and her eventual rescue. Three books have already been written about this sensational case, but this […]

Black Friday Book Review: “That Might Be Useful” by Naton Leslie

When I saw Naton Leslie’s “That Might Be Useful: Exploring America’s Secondhand Culture” on the shelves of Fayetteville’s oldest used bookstore, it was kismet. About twice a year I ruthlessly go through my bookshelves, getting rid of anything that I don’t find interesting or useful anymore. Since I also believe in not letting anything go […]

Oxford Dictionary’s “Word of the Year”: GIF

Time’s newsfeed reports Oxford Dictionary’s 2012 “Word of the Year”is “gif,” from the file extension “Graphics Interchange Format.” Now it’s used as a verb meaning “to create a GIF file of (an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event): he GIFed the highlights of the debate,” according to Oxford. I’m not sure how […]

Tuesday’s Tips: Sight, Site, and Cite

Three words that get confused frequently are sight, site, and cite. Here are their definitions: Sight, a noun,┬árefers to both the sense of seeing (“he lost his sight in the explosion”) and a view (“we caught sight of the mountains”). Site, also a noun,┬árefers to a place, either in the physical world (“our house will […]

Tuesday’s Tips: The RAVEN

RAVEN is a mnemonic device to help you remember the difference between the verb “affect” and the noun “effect.” Remember: Affect, Verb; Effect, Noun. Examples: Don’t let one bad grade affect you so much. (Verb: the grade affects you) The flooding was an effect of too much rain and no drainage. (Noun: flooding is an […]

Tips from the Master: Stephen King

Wordplayer.com has an excellent essay from the master of the macabre, Stephen King, on imagery. He offers excellent advice on how to create good imagery in your work; namely, that you have to actually see the thing you’re describing, rather than labeling it. He gives the example: “A beginning writer may put down, ‘It was […]

Handwriting v. Typing

Patrick McLean on Lifehacker has a great post on the merits of writing longhand vs. typing. “Composition requires focus,” McLean says, continuing: “A pen and paper has but one functionality. It captures the marks I make so that they can be referred to at a later time. It doesn’t ring, it doesn’t bother me with […]