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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!

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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.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ending Your Story Too Soon

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ending Your Story Too Soon

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is ending your story too soon.

FightWrite™: Fight Scenes with Magic

FightWrite™: Fight Scenes With Magic

In this post, trained fighter and author Carla Hoch explores the process of writing fight scenes with magic—how to make the unbelievable believable, how limitations bring us closer to our characters, and more.

Invoice Template for Freelance Writers

Invoice Template for Freelance Writers

If you're a freelance writer who is able to secure assignments, an essential tool you'll need is an invoice. In this post, Writer's Digest Senior Editor Robert Lee Brewer shares a very basic and easy invoice template for freelance writers to get the job done (and get paid).

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

3 Things Being a Broadway Wig Master Taught Me About Storytelling

A career behind the curtain helped Amy Neswald in creating her own stories. Here, the author shares 3 things being a broadway wig master taught her about storytelling.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Out of Control

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let things get a little out of control.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 14th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

After an intense writing challenge, you might feel a little lost. Here are some tips from Managing Editor and fellow Wrimo Moriah Richard for capitalizing on your momentum.

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Ian Douglas discusses how he incorporated implausible conspiracy theories to uncover the truth in his new science fiction novel, Alien Hostiles.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 589

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 yesterday poem.