H.P. Lovecraft’s Advice to Young Writers (HT: @muskrat_john)

Sometimes we post old articles here, but this one is a little older than usual. Writing on his blog in 1920*, H.P. Lovecraft gives some advice for young writers. It's a great little peek into almost 100 year old advice, regardless of your feelings about Lovecraft or his writing:

A review of the elements of English grammar would be foreign to the purpose of this department. The subject is one taught in all common schools, and may be presumed to be understood by every aspirant to authorship. It is necessary, however, to caution the beginner to keep a reliable grammar and dictionary always beside him, that he may avoid in his compositions the frequent errors which imperceptibly corrupt even the purest ordinary speech.

I particularly like how he reminds us to avoid things that...frankly...I can't see anything wrong with:

(2) Barbarous compound nouns, as viewpoint or upkeep.
(16) Use of words in wrong senses, as “The book greatly intrigued me,” [...] “He was obsessed with the idea,” or “He is a meticulous writer.”

Link here:

*the internet did not exist in 1920, I was lying for comedic effect.

Things Learned from Reading the Slushpile via @Nayad Monroe

Nayad Monroe writes the appropriately titled blog 'Never Forget That Writers Are Insane'. She lists things she has learned from her experience reading unsolicited submissions. It's worth checking out if you need some guidance on how to stand out in the crowd.

My personal favourite was number 5:

A person who has read thousands of story submissions doesn't have any patience left. I'm very sorry, but it's true. I get fidgety. I've read the beginning of so many stories, and I've seen so many of the common ideas that come through, and I've been so disappointed by stories that started well but ended badly. You might not believe the enthusiasm I feel when a story shows me something new, something expressed beautifully, with ideas thought through so that I don't get distracted by implausibility. I LOVE an excellent short story. I have low tolerance for a mediocre one.

Read the rest here: