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9 Times An Editor Would’ve Helped

Editors are my favorite.

They are the unsung heroes of the content world. Writers get all the credit, but editors make the content sing.

If someone ever tells you that editing isn’t that important, or that anyone can do it, or that you don’t really need to hire an editor for your article or book, then you should know this: You’ve just received the worse piece of writing advice in the history of writing advice.

Everyone needs an editor. Even the President of the United States.

Need proof? Here are just a few of the many times using an editor would have been highly beneficial.  Read more

Can A White Author Get Inside a Black Character’s Head?

I tread lightly entering today’s topic, but it’s one that I can’t help but ask.

And it’s this exact topic that fueled a lot of the controversy surrounding William Styron when he won the Pulitzer for The Confessions of Nat Turner in 1968.

It’s simply this: What would an older, southern white man in the 1960s know about the mindset of a young black slave in the 1830s?

Remember, Styron is writing in the first person. The narrator IS Nat Turner, the leader of a slave rebellion. To write from that point of view had to be an unbelievably difficult task. He’s simply telling the story as an outside narrator, or even a Nick Carraway-style observer. Styron, as Nat, is the narrator.

Styron explained his thought process in a piece written by The Library of Congress: Read more

This Girl’s Boyfriend REALLY Loves The Lord of the Rings

I don’t know who this woman is, but she’s a keeper.

Watch as she tolerates her boyfriend’s incessant quotes from The Lord of the Rings—many of which scare the living crap out of her.

She has to be a Lord of the Rings fan herself to put up with this, right? Read more

William Styron On Creative Writing

A while back, I wrote a piece about why the Creative Writing MFA isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be in securing one’s future as a writer.

As a writer without one, I’ve done fine with just an English degree. But some writers swear by the Creative Writing MFA.

So as I was looking over a Paris Review interview with William Styron, these two questions piqued my interest: Read more

The Future Library: Why Didn’t I Think Of This?

A Scottish artist named Katie Paterson came up with the best idea ever.

Books, at least the traditional kind, need paper. And did you know paper comes from trees? How ’bout that?

With that in mind, Paterson developed a brilliant project.

Read more

Do You Care If A Book Is Self Published?

That’s my question for you today.

As I’m patiently waiting to hear from a publisher about my book idea, I’ve also considered self-publishing as a fallback. But is it really a “fallback?”

A few years ago, that was my impression. And let’s be honest, books like this one don’t help that perception.

But then I got to thinking. Truth is, if you’re a blogger, you self publish. Anyone can write a blog, just like anyone can self publish a book. There’s a wide variety of quality and depth throughout both. A blog, like a self-published book, is what you make of it.  Read more

Nat Turner’s Stolen Book

The Confessions of Nat Turner is a heavy novel.

But one of William Styron’s strengths is balancing that heaviness with light humor or just observations on the normal day-to-day lives of slaves in the 1800s.

Styron uses flashbacks to show how some events—such as Nat Turner witnessing his mother getting raped by a plantation manager —affected him throughout his life. He shows Nat’s desire to educate himself, despite the enormous obstacles in his way.

Even as a child, Nat Turner was extremely smart, risking a lot for a small pleasure so many of us take for granted—just the opportunity to “read” a book. Read more

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