Turning Forward the Clock

Hi Writers,
You may or may not realize that Writer’s Digest has been around for a long, long time—nearly 90 years, in fact. One of my favorite things to do here is peruse our archives. And I nearly always find fascinating stuff, such as an essay on writing by H.G. Wells, or an article touting the young upstart F. Scott Fitzgerald.

As I’m responsible for finding ways to integrate our historic magazine into the digital realm, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately, not only reading industry news, but just thinking about our changing world and what this all means to writers.

I could send you to dozens of news reports and analyses about magazines moving to the Internet at a furious pace. But I’m sure you’ve read plenty of these on your own and don’t need me to point them out to you.

What I would like to propose to you is this creative exercise:

Think about what our famous writers of centuries past would be doing in the year 2007.

Would Shakespeare be hosting a poetry forum? Would Mary Shelley be making slasher films? How about good old Lord Byron—what the heck would he be doing with himself? Writing for the soaps, perhaps?

Let your imagination run wild. Go ahead and post here in the comments section. And I’ll publish my favorite responses in the December issue of Writer’s Digest.

Keep Writing,

p.s. Update on my last post: unfortunately my dastardly scheme to make Cincinnati the worldwide hub of publishing has been thwarted, as lots of midwest editors have admitted they like to nap, too.

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5 thoughts on “Turning Forward the Clock

  1. Julie Webb Kelley

    I’m just sure that Flannery O’Connor would be teaming up with Gary Larson (The Far Side) for something really big. Since one can hardly tell the difference between one of Larson’s anthropomorphic characters in uncomfortable social situations and O’Connor’s bizzare humans hanging in the balance between heaven and hell, it just makes sense. Their collaboration would produce a short story/cartoon combo with a grotesque peacock standing in judgement of overweight cows strapped to a flying contraption called, "Beyond Everything That Rises". Thank goodness God is present in both of their collections of work.

  2. Debbie

    I’ve just re-read The Great Gatsby by our hero F Scott Fitzgerald. The first time was about 300 years ago when I was in high school. I remember loving it then but didn’t remember why. Now I realize it must have been for descriptive powers, his effervescent use of language. Judging by this love of description and abundance of adjectives, I think if he were writing today (assuming Zelda was out of the way so that he could), he would be in a constant clash with his editor about shortening and cutting out all those supposedly superfluous adjectives that (almost) no one understands anymore. I grant you, he does go a bit over the top with them, but I found myself getting high on his word paintings. Since FSF didn’t get on with Hollywood in the 40s, I doubt he’d be keen to work with them now. I would like to believe he’d have become reclusive, freeing himself from the bad influences of parties and booze, to do what he could do brillantly: write stories that make a language lover’s heart beat faster. Of course I’m probably way off the mark. He would probably have caved in, sold a slew of stories to Hollywood and be living it up with a blond 20 years his junior! C’e la vie!

  3. Jen

    I think Mark Twain might be working his characters into an episode of The Simpsons. Actually, when you think about it, Bart and Millhouse are eerily similar to Huck and Tom, no?


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