Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System
Editor: Howard Denson
STUFF FROM A WRITER’S QUILL
I wish I had a formula, I wish I had a way of proceeding that would
be kind of, you know, this is what Chapter One is always like, and
this is what Chapter Two is always like. But it isn’t. I
just have to plunge into it. And it’s usually the one . .
. that the voice of sanity and reason is telling me not to
write. It’s usually that one that I end up
writing. —Margaret Atwood
In this issue:
Stuff (and links) from hither and yon
· Why most academics
will always be bad
· Can campuses
produce good writers or is it a lost cause?
· How to Write a
Novel, Explained by a Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
· How to Use Real
People in Your Writing Without Ending Up in Court
· Publishing Can
Break Your Heart
· Here’s how your
favorite classic novel made a computer feel
The next quarterly meeting of the N.F.W. will be Aug. 13 at Avondale
Amelia writers to hear about “Fun in Different Genres” at July 21
BookMark welcomes Bowen, Finder, and Berry
FWA blog for Northeast Florida
Clay Writers focus on techniques to critique
REGULAR POSTINGS: Writers Born This Month. . .Keep up with the NFW
on our Facebook page. . .Meetings of NFW and Other Groups. . .Useful
Links. . .Need someone to critique a manuscript?. . .The Write Staff
STUFF FROM HITHER AND YON
Click on the links below to read each article.
Why Most Academics Will Always Be Bad Writers
Noah Berlatsky, a freelance writer and independent scholar, declares
that no one should be surprised if much scholarly writing continues
to be mediocre and confused.
Can campuses produce good writers or is it a lost cause?
opinion piece explores some of the same territory as
Berlatsky’s piece above. It points the blame on the Academic Power
Dialect (which may teach students to churn out papers, theses, and
dissertation, but fail to make good writers of them). It argues that
most student writing isn’t worth reading a day, year, or decade
later. The language has been defended by Fowler, Orwell, Cowley, and
others, but ivy-covered departments turn up their noses at grammar.
to Write a Novel, Explained by a Booker Prize-Winning Novelist
DBC Pierre, as told to John Doran. DBC Pierre is the penname for
Peter Finley, who has lived a fast life of pleasure, drugs, and fast
cars. One day, however, he started to write a novel (not having
attempted one before), and the completed manuscript “Vernon God
Little” went on to win Booker Prize for fiction, becoming the third
Australian-born author to be so honored. He also won the Whitbread
First Novel Award, becoming the first writer to receive a Booker and
a Whitbread for the same book. The book also won the Bollinger
Wodehouse Everyman Prize for comic literature at the Hay Festival in
2003 and earned the author a James Joyce Award from the Literary and
Historical Society of University College Dublin.
How to Use Real People in Your Writing Without Ending Up in Court
Helen Sedgwick, the author of “Self Publisher’s Legal Handbook,”
explores the pitfalls of using real persons, even if thinly
disguised, in your work. She says, “Writers face three big risks
when using real people in their writing: defamation, invasion of
privacy, and misappropriation of the right of publicity.”
Publishing Can Break Your Heart
A flood of bad luck has kept Helen DeWitt’s “The Last Samurai” out
of print. Christian Lorentzen wonders if a new edition will finally
cement her place as one of the great American novelists.
The article states, “At the core of ‘The Last Samurai’ is the
notion that most people don’t meet their potential because the
culture teaches them to assume there are things they just can’t do.
The central example is Ludo reading Homer in the original Greek.
‘The Greek alphabet looks more daunting than it really is,’ DeWitt
how your favorite classic novel made a computer feel.
Adi Robertson discusses how big data meets high school English
classes—and Harry Potter. MIT has a program that analyzes works
according to their plot devices. It tracks happy/sad events in a
binary method to reveal the ups and downs of the classics, plus
THE NEXT QUARTERLY MEETING OF THE N.F.W. WILL BE AUG. 13 AT
AVONDALE WATSON REALTY
The next quarterly meeting of North Florida Writers will be
Saturday, Aug. 13, at 2 p.m. in the meeting room of the
Riverside-Avondale Watson Realty branch (on the corner of Herschel
and San Juan).
The meeting will be devoted to critiquing and general discussion of
AMELIA WRITERS TO HEAR ABOUT “FUN IN DIFFERENT GENRES” AT JULY 21
Amelia Island’s Writers by the Sea will hear Paul Hayden discuss
"Having fun in different Genres” at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 21. Hayden
will share how he writes adventure, intrigues and so much more. This
presentation will be at the Amelia Island Museum of History (233 S.
3rd St., Downtown Fernandina Beach, FL 32034).
Born in New Jersey, Hayden lives in Jacksonville. He is a graduate
from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Besides writing, he
enjoys painting, crafts, and volunteer activities; and is a
long-time surfer and environmentalist with a deep love of nature.
He has written a novel “The Nonconformist,” his autobiography
“Chicken of the Sea,” and a children’s book, “Byron the Lonely
For more information, check out the group’s FaceBook
BOOKMARK WELCOMES BOWEN, FINDER, AND BERRY
Owner Rona Brinlee says The BookMark (220 1st St., Neptune Beach
32266) will be hosting these authors during July:
Brenda Bowen, Enchanted August (Penguin Books), Tuesday, July 19, 7
Joseph Finder, Guilty Minds (Dutton Books), Sunday, July 24, 3 p.m.
New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry (The 14th Colony),
will join Finder for the Sunday afternoon event.
For more information, go to http://www.bookmarkbeach.com
or email the store at email@example.com ; (904) 241-9026.
FWA BLOG FOR NORTHEAST FLORIDA
July means that it’s too darned hot to be outside, so it’s time to
retreat full time to the air-conditioned comfort of your keyboard.
If you want to confer inside with fellow writers, then check out
meetings of the River City Writers, the Clay County Writers, Writers
by the Sea, the Ancient City Writers, and the Ponte Vedra Writers.
For more information, contact Vic DiGenti, FWA Regional Director, at
www.fwapontevedra.blogspot.com or www.parkerfrancis.com
CLAY WRITERS FOCUS ON TECHNIQUES TO CRITIQUE
The Clay County Writers are tipping their hats to the Shanty Boat
Writers group and trying out the critique tips from Lynn Skapyak
Harlin at the meeting Wednesday, July 20, in the meeting room of the
Clay County Library (on King Street, just behind the Dairy Queen.
For more information, contact leader Maureen Jung or go to the Facebook
WRITERS BORN THIS MONTH
To check out the names of writers who were born this month, go to:
The list includes novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction authors,
writers for the small and silver screen, and others.
If you see that we have omitted a writer, give us his or her name
(and preferably a way to verify the belly-button day).
SOME USEFUL LINKS
Writers, poets, and playwrights will find useful tools at
NEED SOMEONE TO CRITIQUE A MANUSCRIPT?
If you have a finished manuscript that you want critiqued or
proofread, then look for someone at http://howarddenson.webs.com/potentialcritiquers.htm.
Check out their entries on the website to see if they suit your
They include the following:
Robert Blade Writing & Editing (firstname.lastname@example.org);
Frank Green of The Bard Society (email@example.com);
JJ Grindstaff-Swathwood (firstname.lastname@example.org);
Brad Hall (email@example.com);
Lynn Skapyak Harlin (firstname.lastname@example.org);
Joseph Kaval (email@example.com);
Richard Levine (http://hiddenowl.com/Contact%20form.html).
THE WRITE STAFF
President: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail. com)
Vice President: Joyce Davidson (davent2010@comcast. net)
Secretary: Kathy Marsh (kathygmarsh@bellsouth. net)
Treasurer: Richard Levine
Presidents Emeriti: Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate
Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag, Richard Levine, Bob
Alexander, JoAnn Harter Murray, Carrol Wolverton, Margie Sauls,