On the Reading of Books

   Posted by: Brent Toderash   in Books

There’s a book meme going around Facebook again, which I’ve seen there and on the Writers’ Collective website. It runs thusly:

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions:
• Copy this into your NOTES to respond on Facebook.
• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
• Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.

Older versions of the meme differ slightly, and include the instructions


The Mark of a Civilized Society

   Posted by: Brent Toderash   in Pens & Stationery, Writing Life

I really must lament the fact that Winnipeg doesn’t have anyplace to buy a decent pen. In Vancouver, this must represent mecca for pen-o-philes. A visit here was followed up with one to Paper~Ya on Granville Island, where I was pleased to find some Field Notes brand notebooks — yet another thing that can’t be found in Winnipeg. Add in some Montblanc blue-black ink to go with my new Lamy Safari fountain pen with extra-fine nib, and I’m set. For a little while, at least.


Margaret Atwood, Me & Stephen King

   Posted by: Brent Toderash   in writers

Grain of Salt I follow a number of authors and writers on Twitter, and today when I saw Margaret Atwood tweet that she writes like Stephen King, I was intrigued. Apparently an online tool can analyze a few paragraphs of your writing and tell you which author’s style yours most resembles. And I had to know. So it was that I discovered,

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Huzzah! That analysis is based on an excerpt from my unfinished novel, which according to the wisdom of some random autodrones, seems to be written at the same level as a couple of award-winning authors. Nice. As for my latest blog post, it turns out that


Writer’s Toolbox: Composing Thesauri

   Posted by: Brent Toderash   in Writing Tips, Writing Tools & Exercises

I’ve taken notice of something that Angela Ackerman does on her blog, The Bookshelf Muse. She’s come up with a set of thesauri for emotions, colours, textures, shapes, symbolism, and settings, and she adds to them periodically. Recently she posted Setting Thesaurus Entry: Courtroom, and As I thought about her process, it seemed to make good sense.

When I’m writing, I can tend to be too focused on the action and advancing the plot (which isn’t a bad thing!) but too much can leave the finished scene feeling a little sterile, needing deeper investment in descriptives. This is where a thesaurus like Angela’s could be helpful.

J.D. Salinger in 1988 The first letter I got from J.D. Salinger was very short. It was 1988, and I had written to him with a proposal: I wanted my tiny publishing house, Orchises Press, to publish his novella Hapworth 16, 1924. And Salinger himself had improbably replied, saying that he would consider it.

Read: How a Book Publisher Failed to Get J.D. Salinger’s Final Book ‘Hapworth 16, 1924‘ Into Print — New York Magazine.

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