This Website Maps Your Literary Tastes and Tendencies

Books, culture, maps, writing

Literature Map says:

What else do readers of [any other famous author] read? The closer two writers are, the more likely someone will like both of them. Click on any name to travel along.

Did it map you right?  Tell us in the comments.

This Sentence Has Five Words (Practical Advice on Better Writing)

culture, pedgogy, teaching, writing

A good and very practical demonstration on what the ear wants from the late Gary Provost:


“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.”

The Pen, Then the Sword: John Brownee Defends the New Lightsaber, Is Totally Right

culture, design, movies, Star Wars, writing

Christopher Cocca

If you don’t read Fast Company, you’re missing a lot.  Look at the way senior writer John Brownlee deconstructs a few seconds of footage and comes up with basically everything we need to know about Star Wars VII’s new Sith.  Even if you don’t like Star Wars (click around Rad Infinitum for tons of Batman), anyone interested in story-telling should read this excellent piece. It’s about crafting far more than an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

 

Thinking About Chicago

culture, music, spirituality, writing

 

This is an except from something I wrote a few years ago.  Below it is a Spotify link to the song.

It’s possible to encounter O’Connnor’s stories (you never really just read them) without explicitly discerning her deep, abiding belief in literary art as Christian vocation or her mission to show, as she said, “the action of grace in territory held largely by the devil.” Clear as day about these motives in her essays and letters, she’s almost never so obvious in her fiction. Perhaps because she uses the evangelical cosmologies of her neighbors as Tolkienesque proxies for her own traditional Catholic systems it’s easy to infer a sort of distance between O’Connor’s art and faith where she in fact saw none. In the same way, it’s possible to listen to Stevens’ biggest hit, “Chicago,” without immediately sensing the plaintive Christian hymn at its core, but “Casimir Pulaski Day,” “Oh God Where Are You Now?,” “The Lord God Bird,” “To Be Alone With You,””God’ll Ne’er Let You Down”… well, these and others comprise a body of work that, like O’Connor’s, raises and answers questions about what makes art “Christian.” Like O’Connor, Stevens operates outside of expectation: his confessional work is among his best, but you’d never call him a Christian artist the way, say, Amy Grant is a Christian artist.