This Week's Writing Links

This week’s writing links feature weird writing habits of famous authors, Flavorwire’s best debut novels of 2011 (including Karen Russell’s ‘Swamplandia!‘), famously outrageous opening lines in literature and a picture of the typewriter I got for Christmas.

So, my girlfriend was cool enough to get me a Remington typewriter for Christmas and I have been mildly obsessed with the thing since receiving it. I have been typing up a poorly spelled often incoherent storm, but enjoying myself nonetheless. So far, the typewriter’s best feature? No internet connectivity. This means there are minimal distractions while typing on it. A seriously underrated feature for the often distracted writer.

As backwards as it sounds, I have found myself writing more since getting a typewriter. Even though I have to transcribe whatever I write on the typewriter back into a word file and lose out on efficiency in the process, I still find myself writing a greater volume at a quicker pace. I’m not about to go full-on Cormac McCarthy, but I know that I will continue to use it to punch out some pages now and then. It’s a lot of fun to have around.

Also, it should be noted that December 26 – January 1 usually operates as an odd period of limbo for productivity, or well, really a virtual standstill for anything other than consuming leftovers, buying lottery tickets and returning that second snuggie/third pair of e-tip gloves gifted to you. It’s certainly fine if you want to take it easy until New Year’s, but I also feel that there’s no reason not to try to be productive in these couple of niche free days if you really want to get some forward momentum going into 2012. You’ve already got yourself a fresh snuggie and the number to Peapod’s delivery service. So, it’s time to conjure up your reclusive writerly best. Get going!


– Weird Writing Habits Of Famous Authors (flavorwire)

–  Top 10 Most Outrageous Opening Lines In Literature (alternativereel)

– Best Debut Novels Of 2011 (flavorwire)

– Av Club Reviews ‘The Life And Times Of Dave Grohl’ (avclub)

– Do You Even Need A Publisher Anymore? (writersdigest)

– Sci-fi Cover Smackdown (sfsignal)

– Concept For The Wachowski’s New Movie ‘Cloud Atlas’ (io9)

– Nebula Awards Interview: Jack McDevitt (sfwa)

– January Releases In Science Fiction (tor)

– KC Shaw’s Cover For Her January Novella ‘Goldie’ (knottedthicket)

– Suzy Turner: Indie Cover Love (suzyturner)

– 10 Science Fiction Movies For People Who Think They Don’t Like Science Fiction (io9)

– A Picture Of My New Typewriter (twitter)

Wednesday's Writing Links

This week’s writing links may be a little heavy on the film side of things, possibly necessitating a name change for the week to Christmas Writing/Movie Links With A Heavy Emphasis On Science Fiction And Nonsense, but brevity is the bread and butter of the internet, so we’ll keep it simple for now.

On the docket though we have the first trailers for ‘The Hobbit‘, ‘Dark Knight Rises‘ and Ridley Scott’s kinda-maybe-rumor-we’re-not-sure ‘Alien’ prequel ‘Prometheus‘ (which should not be confused with the ‘Wrath of the Titans‘ preview that went up yesterday too, starring the character Prometheus), a new self-publishing service and Writer’s Digest on the ‘18 Most Popular Writing Articles Of The Year.’

So, what are people reading/watching for Christmas/the Holidays? My approach so far has been a little unorthodox, having revisited ‘Die Hard’, ‘Trading Places’, ‘Muppet Christmas Carol’, assorted ‘Psych’ Christmas episodes and that one Chris Van Allsburg book that gave me nightmares as a child. That’s all I’ve gotten through this year to complete a pretty odd Christmas routine. Either way, I hope you have are having a Happy Holidays celebrating(or not celebrating) whatever religion, creed, belief, Festivus, methodology, football team, you follow(or don’t follow).


– The Hobbit Trailer (comingsoon)

– The 18 Most Popular Writing Articles Of 2011 (writersdigest)

– 50 Things We Learned From Harry Potter (totalfilm)

– Av Club Reviews Peter Nadas’ ‘Parallel Stories’ (avclub)

– How To Expand Your Platform Through Generosity (guidetoliteraryagents)

– Postcolonialism And Science Fiction: An Introduction (io9)

– Dymock’s New Self-publishing Service (sfwa)

– ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Trailer (youtube)

– Teaser Trailer For Ridley Scott’s Rumored Alien Prequel ‘Prometheus’ (io9)

– The Year’s Best Science Fiction And Fantasy (sfsignal)

– Kickstarter Project To Support: Realms Unreel (kickstarter)

NPR's Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Of 2011

Be sure to check out NPR’s list for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2011, as decided by Lev Grossman, who I swear has been a contributor to every genre “best of” list this year (other than being the author of this year’s ‘The Magician King‘, Grossman also happens to be the book reviewer for Time magazine).

NPR’s list, which of course features this year’s fantasy darling ‘A Dance With Dragons,’ also highlights lesser known entries like Catherynne Valente’s ‘The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making‘ and ‘Rule 34‘ from Charles Stross. I have read a grand total of zero books off this list, which bums me out, but they’re all getting added to the que and pegged for late January reading.

Check out the full list on their site.


This Week's Writing Links

In today’s writing links we have Time magazine’s 10 Best Books of 2011 (with George R.R. Martin’s long awaited ‘A Dance With Dragons’ appearing at the top of the fiction list), some exciting scientific news from CERNagent success stories along with some new agents on the literary scene, Sf Signal’s review of ‘Them or Us’ and Andrew David’s amazing new sci-fi EP available for download.

I am behind in my reading of the Game of Thrones series, still trudging through the fourth book, but it seems that critics think that Martin’s fifth book was worth the wait as it has received rave reviews and dispelled rumors that Martin spent the hiatus lounging on the beach, going to baseball games and trolling fan message boards (he was unfairly accused of a lot of strange things by eager fans). I’m happy for Martin, but as I make my way deeper into his series, I wonder if he’ll even have enough characters alive to write the sixth book. I though the first book was a blood bath, but the later books put it to shame. Good lord.

Anyways, I hope everyone is geared up to have a relaxing holidays with friends, family, good books and Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa episodes of their favorite TV shows. If people have time to catch up on their reading, I’ll be anxious to hear what they thought were their favorite books of 2011. We’ll probably do a feature on it at the end of the month. Until then, links.


– Time’s Top Ten Books Of 2011 (time)

– Top Ten Ways To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing (lifehacker)

– Sf Signal Reviews David Moody’s ‘Them Or Us’ (sfsignal)

– 50 Simple Ways To Build Your Platform In 5 Minutes A Day (writersdigest)

– The Best Unproduced Science Fiction Screenplays Of 2011 (io9)

– How I Got My Agent: JH Trumble (guidetoliteraryagents)

– The Hobbits Reunite (empire)

– Scientists Closing In On The Higgs Boson aka the God Particle (io9)

– Game of Thrones Season 2 Trailer (comingsoon)

– Andrew David’s Sci-fi EP Is Now Available (andrewdavid)

– Trailer For Luc Besson’s Sci-fi Movie ‘MS One: Maximum Security’ (aintitcool)

– 10 Satirical Novels That Could Teach You To Survive The Future (io9)

– Nebula Awards Interview: Pearl North (sfwa)

– New Agent Alert: Hannah Bowman Of Liza Dawson Associates (writersdigest)

Book Adaptations To Look For In 2012 And Beyond Part 2

There are a number of upcoming book adaptations that didn’t get covered in the first part of the feature I did last week, so I thought I would try to highlight some that slipped through the cracks. A few of these are high profile books that have remained in development limbo for whatever reason, but we’ll include them in case they gain some steam and suddenly find themselves back in good standing with the studio/network that snapped them up.

The Gunslinger aka The Dark Tower Series (2013) – With Universal passing on the Ron Howard/Javier Bardem pitch for Stephen King’s fantasy epic, this one might be in development limbo for some time. Because truthfully, if you pass on something with Javier Bardem as the proposed star, this doesn’t bode well for the overall health of the project. I don’t really know how the pitch is going to get much better than having Javier Bardem play Roland. However, the good news is that HBO is slated to produce a Dark Tower mini-series that was originally intended to fill in the gaps between the movies/books. Hopefully some small screen attention will get its big screen counterpart back in the good graces of Universal and on its way back into production.

Ender’s Game (2013) – Despite author Orson Scott Card receiving heaps of negative attention regarding some of his personal views, this sci-fi classic remains a hot property. ‘Hugo’ star Asa Buttefield is set to star as Ender while Ben Kinsley has just recently joined the cast in an unknown role (possibly someone intense, angry or fatherly). Harrison Ford’s name is also floating around the casting rumor mill, but no official word if Han Solo will take to space one last time.

The Sparrow (2013) – This is still listed as a 2013 release, but the truth is that this production will probably never see the light of day. I know Brad Pitt has made it a labor of love to get this book on the big screen, but never in science fiction history have I encountered a story that has such an excruciating gut punch of an ending. It’s beautifully written, but I don’t know how people would react to seeing this story unfold on the big screen. Absolutely brutal.

Y The Last Man (2013) – With the small screen success of similarly paced graphic novel ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Y The Last Man’ may finally get that final push it needs to get made. This fan favorite has been stuck in limbo since director DJ Caruso waffled on officially getting production underway. His version was also rumored to star Shia LaBeouf as Y, which may explain its quick descent into limbo status. Hopefully this one will find its feet and its Y, since, you know, he is the last man alive.

The Snowman (2013) –  Martin Scorsese is in talks to direct the seventh book in Jo Nesbo‘s series about detective Harry Hole. This Scandinavian serial killer thriller is being hyped as the unofficial successor to Stieg Larsson’s ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ throne. ‘The Snowman’ is the story of, “A child who wakes up to find his mother has disappeared during the night. Outside, a snowman has appeared out of nowhere, the calling card of one of the most terrifying serial killers in recent fiction. A letter from the perpetrator draws Detective Hole further and further into the case, and together with his new partner, Katrine Bratt, he hunts the Snowman through twists and turns that become increasingly personal and may drive Hole to the brink of insanity.” Only time will tell what kind of splash this overseas bestseller will make when it reaches U.S. theaters.

Silence (2013) – Scorsese will take on Shusaku Endo’s novel before he tackles Nesbo’s ‘The Snowman’. ‘Silence’ follows the tale of two Jesuit priests that face persecution when they travel to Japan to spread Christianity. With Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio Del Toro already onboard, this film does not sound like light popcorn fare.

The Bourne Legacy (August 3, 2012) – The fourth Bourne movie is supposedly a go next summer with Jeremy Renner taking over for Bourne staple Matt Damon. Author Eric Van Lusterbader penned this book after he inherited the series from Robert Ludlum when Ludlum passed away in 2001. No reports on what sort of household object/periodical Bourne may use to kill corrupt operatives with in this movie.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Killer (June 22, 2012) – The first of author Seth Grahame-Smith’s books set to be adapted by Hollywood, this satirical farce sheds light on President Lincoln’s fictional days as a vampire slayer and persecutor of their slave-owning helpers.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2013) – The second of Grahame-Smith’s adaptations is his re-imagining of Jane Austen’s classic, with added zombies. The production recently hemorrhaged writer/director Mike White, but still has Natalie Portman attached to it, which, as we know, has the power to get anything onto the big screen.

The Great Gatsby (December 25, 2012) – Baz Lurhman and Leonardo DiCapri reteam to take on this F. Scott Fitzgerald classic. Lurhman is expected to bring his bright and theatrical style, while DiCaprio will play the role of Jay Gatsby and Tobey Maguire will take on the role of Nick Carraway.

Life of Pi (December 21, 2012) – Tobey Maguire will also appear in the big screen adaptation of the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. ‘Life of Pi’ is the story of Pi Patel, the son of a zookeeper, who finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Although it has been a few years since I read it and the synopsis sounds like a game of Jumanji that got out of hand, I remember it as a well written, spiritually charged story. Should be interesting to see if it works as a film narrative.

On The Road (2012) – This adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s thinly fictionalized autobiography of the same name will cover a work that is often credited with being the soul of the Beat movement. Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi and Terrence Howard will all star in this 2012 release.

One Shot (February 3, 2013) – Based off a book in Lee Child’s crime series, this story follows a homicide investigator who probes a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. What is most notable about this adaptation? German director Werner Herzog will star as one of the villains. Sold.

Robopocalypse (July 3, 2013) – Daniel H. Wilson’s Asimov inspired tale is set for theaters in Summer 2013 with Steven Spielberg committed to directing. The story follows bands of survivors as they try to survive the robot apocalypse after a sentient artificial intelligence system is unleashed on the world.

Now Wait For Last Year (2014) – Another of Philip K. Dick’s stories is finding its way into theaters with ‘Lord of the Rings’ producer Barrie M. Osborne signing on to produce this adapation of Dick’s 1966 book. ‘Now Wait For Last Year’ is about an alien species that teams up with humans in the future to combat an invading species that wishes to eradicate them both.

The Host (March 29, 2013) – Stepheine Meyer tests her post ‘Twilight’ legs when her alien invasion book ‘The Host’ comes to theaters in Spring 2013. ‘The Host’ is about an alien species called Souls, who invade and inhabit humans. I smell a really weird love triangle somewhere in this story.

Look For 'The Exiles Of The New World' In January

‘The Exiles of the New World’ has officially been deemed a January 2012 release. When I signed my publishing contract in the summer, there was some hope that it might be out in time for Christmas, but the Holidays are the death knell for productivity in the publishing industry and the book is going to end up as a January release. It would have been nice to see it this month, but I am actually looking forward to it being a 2012 release.

Why am I looking forward to the January release you ask? Are there any advantages to releasing a book in January opposed to Christmas? Sure.

Really? I think you’re lying, what are they? Uh, let us pause while I make them up.

Well, for starters, if you wrote a book in a very obscure genre and it is the first entry of the year in that very obscure genre, you are afforded the privilege, however temporary and undeserving it may be, of being the best book of the year in that niche by default. So, for a handful of days, you can occupy the title of ‘Best Weight Lifting Murder Mystery’ or ‘Best Twilight Cookbook’ of the year until some competition comes along. It’s just a shame they don’t compile too many mid-January ‘Best of the Year’ projections, but you are still entitled to bragging rights for a couple of days.

Also, it’s cold outside and people don’t want want to go outside and socialize. To the best of my knowledge people generally just drink gin/hot chocolate and watch football/read in winter, so that also puts you in good standing in an odd way. People who do venture out, may take shelter from blizzards in the book store you’re doing a signing for, therefore creating unexpected foot traffic with a lot of time on their hands and a need for companionship/food.

Are any of these reasons legitimate? No. No, they’re not.

I can’t even fabricate especially compelling reasons for a January book release, but I was born in a January blizzard in the south, so I’d be more than happy to welcome my first book into the world in the same frigid, gloomy month that people generally associate with hypothermia, frostbite and aborted New Year’s resolutions. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, look for ‘The Exiles of the New World’ from Iconic Publishing in January, 2012. With my book’s 300 plus page hardcover girth, you can leave it in your car and it can double as a snow shovel in case you need to dig yourself out of any particularly comprising weather situations (E-book versions may be useless in such situations).

This Week's Writing Links

Not a whole lot happens in the publishing industry during the Holidays, so this is a great time to catch up on your reading and relaxing, and put the business end of things out of mind for awhile. Certainly many of us will continue to scribble away into the night, but I believe the helpfulness of a break is often undervalued. Take a break and take in some other things from other mediums/walks of life and I know it will go a long way toward inspiring some new ideas.

But if you have had a lethargic writing winter so far, and are looking for a goal to get back into the swing things, try January 20, 2012. That is the date of the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York. It is the perfect event if you’re looking to find an agent, sell your work, connect with industry professionals and attend seminars. So, if you are going to take a break, keep that one on your radar for a possible return to things of a productive nature. Until then, links.


– Amazon’s Best Science Fiction And Fantasy (amazon)

– New Agent Alert: Claire Dunnington Of The Vicky Bijur Literary Agency (guidetoliteraryagents)

– Writer’s Digest 2012 Conference (writersdigest)

– Nebula Awards Interview: James Patrick Kelly (sfwa)

– A Collection Of The Year’s Best Sci-fi Stories (io9)

– A 12 Day Plan Of Simple Writing Exercises (writersdigest)

– Av Club Reviews Gregory Maguire’s Out Of Oz (avclub)

– Kirkus Review: Best Nonfiction Of 2011 (kirkusreview)

– Report From The Hobbit Set (hobbitblog)

– Successful Queries Agent: Jen Rofe (writersdigest)

– The Great Alan Moore Reread ‘V For Vendetta’ Part 1 (tor)

– 10 Pieces Of Advice From Science Fiction And Fantasy Movies (io9)

– Scientists Discover Monster Black Holes (yahoo)

– Book Trailer For Michael Dempsey’s ‘Necropolis’ (sfsignal)

– Guy Pierce In The Trailer For Luc Besson’s New Space Prison Break Movie (io9)

Book Adaptations To Look For In 2012 And Beyond

This being the first year in quite some time that there is no Harry Potter installment (although I think there is an entry from the sparkling vampire franchise), it’s a free-for-all for new and exciting novels to throw their hat into the ring of being the next big thing on the silver screen. Whether it be for TV or packed cineplexes, fiction is being bought up at a fire sale rate and each one of them hopes to capture a new audience for their story. Although not all them will be ‘Harry Potters’, ‘Game of Thrones’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’, it will be exciting to see some new works of fiction come to life. These are just a few of the many adaptations headed to theaters/tv in the next year or so.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (December 21, 2011) – This technically falls under the late 2011 banner , but we’ll include it since it’s one of the heavy hitters. Director David Fincher (‘Fight Club’, ‘Zodiac’, ‘The Social Network’) will bring Stieg Larsson’s bestseller to theaters just in time for the Christmas season, making it probably the worst Christmas movie ever. Fincher’s adaptation will technically classify as a remake since the triology has already been covered by Swedish director Niels Arden Oplev and star Noomi Rapace, but Fincher’s take on the material looks like it will be worth checking out. Noomi Rapace was pretty amazing in the original, so it will be interesting to see how relative newcomer Rooney Mara matches up.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 14, 2012) – Peter Jackson, who is responsible for at least 85% of New Zealand’s tourism and prosthetic Hobbit feet exports, hops back in the director chair to bring Tolkien’s classic to the big screen in two parts. Part 1, which will arrive Christmas 2012 in 3D, will operate as a slightly more appropriate Christmas movie than ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.’ At least ‘The Hobbit’ has some singing in it and doesn’t feature any scenes of forced branding.

The Hunger Games (March 23, 2012) – Arguably 2012’s most anticipated adaptation, the ‘Hunger Games’ will bring the first part of Suzanne Collins’ ‘Battle Royale’/’Lord of the Flies’ inspired YA trilogy to audiences on the big screen. ‘Seabiscuit’ director Gary Ross spurs his equestrian roots to try his hand in the saturated YA movie market. Expectations are high, but for every ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’, there have been ten ‘Percy Jacksons’ or ‘The Dark Is Risings.’ Much of this series success will hinge on its young cast members, but so far, first impressions look pretty good.

John Carter of Mars (March 9, 2012) – Disney is bringing Edgar Rice Burroughs’ ‘John Carter of Mars’ books to life, with ‘Friday Night Lights’ alum Taylor Kitsch playing the lead role. Burroughs is more famous for creating Tarzan, but Disney hopes to mine that same adventurous vein and cash in with box office success and the beginnings of a new franchise. Hard to tell from the trailer if this will be a worthwhile cinematic experience or not. Being a fan of Taylor Kitsch, I’ll probably give it a shot.

The Magicians (Fall 2012) – Lev Grossman’s fantasy series jumps to TV with high expectations. Some are already calling this the next possible ‘Game of Thrones.’ While it will be quite a challenge to live up to GOT’s billing, the real challenge will be trying to get the viewing public to watch a show about magicians. This is a magic trick even David Blaine couldn’t pull off.

World War Z (December 21, 2012) – Brad Pitt will star in the adaptation of Max Brook’s (Mel Brook’s son) zombie epic. While there has certainly been a glut of zombie fiction/movies lately, ‘World War Z’ still remains a fan favorite that people should be willing to make the trip out to theaters to watch.

The Corrections (Fall 2012) – HBO recently snapped up Jonathan Frazen’s bestseller to bolster their 2012 lineup. The word on the street is that Ewan McGregor might be added to the cast with other possibles Anthony Hopkins and Chris Cooper coming up in conversation too. I don’t know if this is the dysfunctional family to replace ‘The Sopranos’ for HBO, but it should add a solid new drama to their network.

Satori (2013) – Leonardo DiCaprio is attached to a planned series of films based on the Don Winslow’s ‘Satori,’ about a martial-arts-trained assassin. Not much is known other than that. If DiCaprio bails, this one most likely will not see the light of day.

The Devil In The White City  (2013) – DiCaprio again headlines another adaptation, this time its Erik Larson’s popular nonfiction tale about a serial killer at the 1893 World’s Fair. The rumor is that DiCaprio will play the serial killer, which will be a notable change of pace for him (other than ‘Shutter Island’).

Concrete Island (2013) – ‘The Machinist’ duo Christian Bale and director Brad Anderson reteam to bring J.G. Ballad’s book about a man who drives his sports car off the highway and is trapped on a concrete island below to theaters. The book is often called an urban version of Robinson Crusoe. Needless to say, a descent into madness is expected for the protagonist and Christian Bale is just the man to do it. This should be an interesting one to watch.

Be sure to check out part 2 of this feature.