So, we’ve gone and done something kind of crazy. But, in our personal nerdy estimations, rather awesome.
At our editorial calendar brainstorm last year, a WD editor pitched the idea of doing a top 10 issue, in which everything in the magazine, literally, in one way or another, would be organized by a factor of 10.
On the hunt for a fresh and unconventional way to approach different topics—and an entire issue—we decided to give it a go.
The result was training ourselves to think in terms of 10s, from breaking things down into lists of 10 to choosing quotes with “10” in them to soliciting writers’ best advice in 10 words or fewer to receiving an e-mail confirmation from one of our favorite interview subjects saying, simply, “10 ten yes?” And, ultimately, the result was the Big 10 September issue of WD.
In it, we have 10 experts, from Natalie Goldberg to Donald Maass, arguing for and against 10 “rules” of writing (a la Show, Don’t Tell); 10 bestsellers, from Jodi Picoult to Chuck Palahniuk, offering top 10 lists of their own (see the links below); 10 Ways to Be a Productivity Pro; 10 ways to use frustration, hurt and anger to fuel your writing; 10 Tips for Delivering a Killer Reading; 10-Minute Fixes to 10 Common Plot Problems, and so on.
In further nerd-like confessions, it’s my favorite issue since the 90th anniversary magazine (which I tend to secretly geek out about when anyone says anything resembling the first syllables of “Ferlinghetti”). And the WD team wasn’t exempt from the 10 antics, either—in the InkWell section of the magazine, we threw in an array of our own tongue-in-cheek staff lists. One of them, the Top 10 Unlikely Writer Collaborations We’d Love to See, is below. Want to get into the top 10 mindset and post your own list about the writing life? Drop by our online community to check out other writers’ lists, and to share your own.
And to read online exclusive lists from YA bestseller Ellen Hopkins (Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming a Bestselling Author) and hilarious memoirist Wade Rouse (Top 10 Ways to Stay True to Yourself in Publishing), click the respective links above.
A writing prompt follows. Here’s to hoping your Wednesday is an excellent one. (I might also note that today is the 28th … 2 +8 = 10. Of 2010. OK, time to get out of the Big 10 mindset now …)
WD Staff Picks: Top 10 Unlikely Writer? Collaborations ?We’d Love to See
 Danielle Steel + Stephen King: ?This would just be scary sexy.
 Maeve Binchy + ?Bret Easton Ellis
 Dr. Seuss + ?William Golding
 Charles Bukowski + Hunter S. Thompson: OK, so they probably wouldn’t get too much actual writing done, ?but still.
 Truman Capote + ?Ernest Hemingway
 J.R.R. Tolkien + ?J.K. Rowling: All the initials a fantasy ?fan can handle!
 Nicholas Sparks + Elmore Leonard
 Helen Fielding + ?Dan Brown: ?“Smoked three fags whilst deciphering symbols. Noticed sideways glances from v. sexy librarian. Spanx boxer-briefs must indeed make tweed jacket look slimming. Am irresistible professor of impeccable taste.”
 Stephenie Meyer + William Shakespeare
 Aldous Huxley + ?Neil Gaiman
WRITING PROMPT: Opposites Attract/Detract
free to take the following prompt home or post a
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings (next one: Friday—last chance to get a story in!).
you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.
Imagine, in scene, two unlikely writers meeting up for a drink to discuss a collaboration. Naturally, things don’t go exactly as planned.
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