Skip to main content

The Weird Week in Writing: Literary fights, Spider-Man reviews, new J.D. Salinger yarns

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

Image placeholder title

EXISTENTIAL PHILOSOPHY FALLOUTS! HEAD BUTTS! The HuffPo polled readers for their favorite literary fights, and the results and brief explanations made for one of the most fascinating reads of the week. In the ring: C.S. Lewis Vs. J.R.R. Tolkien. Norman Mailer Vs. Gore Vidal. Arthur Rimbaud Vs. Paul Verlaine (stabbings + shootings). And, in Ernest Hemingway Vs. Wallace Stevens, Stevens broke his hand punching Hemingway in the face. I blame the legendary beard.

INSECTICIDE! The reviews for the much-hyped Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark are in. The results? Unrecountably bad. One of the main cited reasons in this roundup—the storytelling. “What’s apparent after 170 spirit-snuffing minutes in the Foxwoods Theater—interrupted by the occasional burst of aerial distraction—is that director Julie Taymor, of The Lion King fame, left a few essential items off her lavish shopping list: 1. Coherent plot. 2. Tolerable music. 3. Workable sets.”

MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS: By now, you’ve probably heard that AOL bought The Huffington Post for $315 million. Since writers are still unlikely to be paid, maybe they can reimburse them with the digital Nehru collar that is an AOL e-mail address.

In this short recent video for Save Our Libraries Day, graphic novel genius Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell) riffs on the role of libraries in his personal writing career. Unweird, but important. However, the thing to the left of his face in the video—weird, and a delightfully strange complement to the entire piece.

MAKING A GROWN MAN CRY: The Rolling Stones’ latest tour may not be happening because of a little something Keith Richards included in his memoir, concerning, um, er, Mick Jagger.

A 10TH STORY:A new glimpse into the odd but always fascinating universe of J.D. Salinger, via the tale of a single awesomely strange night.


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, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and
I’ll make sure it gets up.

The call came in at the newspaper reporter's desk late on a Sunday. Finally, he wanted to meet.


Want more writing prompts and exercises? Brian Kiteley has packed more than 200 wildly original ones into his 3 A.M. Epiphany. Check it out here.

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

Writer's Digest Best Writing Advice Websites for Writers 2022

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

5 Things to Know When Writing About the Music Industry

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

10 Tips on Covering Events as a Freelance Journalist

10 Tips on Covering Events as a Freelance Journalist

From planning ahead to staying late, Alison Hill shares 10 tips for journalists while covering events as a freelancer.

From Script

Character Studies, Writing the Immigrant Experience, and Six Adaptation Steps Before You Adapt a Book (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, navigate different character study approaches in your writing, and tracking emotional journeys.

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Author Lora Senf discusses how one chilling text message led her to writing her new middle grade horror novel, The Clackity.