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The Weird Week in Writing: Authors love Eminem, Humpty Dumpty seeks vengeance, Sylvia Plath draws hot dogs


Freaky Friday—the latest from the often weird and wonderful world of writing
this week (followed, as always, by a prompt). Happy weekend!

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STILL BETTER THAN KID ROCK: Charles Bukowski loved Wagner. Oscar Wilde loved Haydn. Turns out 71-year-old Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, Janet Evanovich and others have a different audio hero: Eminem.

EGGLAND’S BEST: I suppose most of us are used to Humpty Dumpty just falling off walls and permanently breaking, etc., etc., in three sentences or fewer. Now, though, in an upcoming movie and graphic novel, he has a new mission: Vengeance! Bonus: He’s half alien.


AS GOOD AS WORD: Sylvia Plath cartooned about a dream of being chased by a hot dog and marshmallow. David Foster Wallace drew fangs on Cormac McCarthy. Nabokov scrawled some bugs, appropriately, on The Metamorphosis. Kafka drew mad men. Meet the amazing world of author doodles.

KEATS, GINSBERG, TYSON:
In short, Maria Shriver is guest editing O, The Oprah Magazine’s poetry issue. It will feature contributions by the likes of Demi Moore and Mike Tyson. Maybe hubby Arnold Schwarzenegger will grace us with a villanelle, rondeau, or one of his trademark sonnets?

DISCLAIMER: While the Weird Week in Writing usually goes for the comically weird, our second-to-last item today focuses on something in the literary world that is just, well, grim: The goings-on at Harper’s Magazine, where this week the publisher rejected $50,000 in reader donations to prevent staff layoffs.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE: What was the success secret behind the Earl of Rochester’s bestselling 18-century poetry collection? Turns out he was a bit of a poetic pornographer, offering readers a secret folio of naughty rhymes (beware some mildly explicit, but bestselling, phrasing, after the link…).

***

WRITING PROMPT: Lost Translation
Feel
free to take the following prompt home or post a
response (500 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. If you’re having trouble
with the captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me
at writersdigest@fwmedia.com, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and
I’ll make sure it gets up.

She'd passed him the note years ago, when he was studying abroad. He'd never had it translated. Until now.

A Conversation With Jaden Terrell on Writer Expectations, Part 1 (Killer Writers)

A Conversation With Jaden Terrell on Writer Expectations, Part 1 (Killer Writers)

Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford continues his series of interviews with mystery, thriller, and suspense authors. Here he has a conversation with novelist Jaden Terrell about writer expectations and success.

Connecting the Dots vs. Drawing the Whole Damn Picture: A Veteran Ghostwriter Takes Back His Pen and Finds Something To Say

Connecting the Dots vs. Drawing the Whole Damn Picture: A Veteran Ghostwriter Takes Back His Pen and Finds Something To Say

Writing for oneself after a decades-long career as a ghostwriter is a challenge unto itself. Here, author Daniel Paisner discusses his career as a ghostwriter, how the process differs from writing his own work, and if the two ever intersect.

Who Are Sensitivity Editors? And How Much Does Sensitivity Reading Pay?

Who Are Sensitivity Editors? And How Much Does Sensitivity Reading Pay?

Sensitivity readers offer a very specific and focused edit to manuscripts. Here, C. Hope Clark shares what a sensitivity editor is, how much it pays, and where you can start.

Kate White: On Building In Brainstorming Time

Kate White: On Building In Brainstorming Time

New York Times bestselling author Kate White discusses the process of writing her new psychological thriller, The Second Husband.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 615

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a desire poem.

Writer's Digest Best Writing Advice Websites for Writers 2022

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Here are the top writing advice websites as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

Love the Art. Work the Business. | Nikesha Elise Williams

Nikesha Elise Williams: On the Power of Self-Publishing

In this indie author profile, novelist Nikesha Elise Williams shares her path to self publishing and the creative marketing strategy that's led to her success.

Change of Plans

Change of Plans

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, there's been a sudden and unforeseen change of plans.

5 Things to Know When Writing About the Music Industry

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Author Ashley M. Coleman gives you her top five tricks for writing about the music industry—even if you're not an industry expert.