Tag Archives: writing

Back from Computer Hell

News flash. My computer crashed nearly a week ago. I’ve been unable to access my online accounts for that period of time. Continue reading

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BIG NEWS! FIZA PATHAN, One of my clients, took awards at the London Book Festival and …

Award winning fiction Continue reading

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All Is Well That Ends Well – Goodreads Catastrophe Reversed!

FINALLY the problem seems to be solved.  I’m holding my breath, though. Shouldn’t have taken so long IMHO in view of the length of my membership, my activity as a reviewer and author. Anyway, dear friends, WHEW!!!

Posted in Book Reviews, Goodreads, Reading | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

THE ART OF MEMOIR by Mary Karr (author of The Liar’s Club)

[NOTE: Having just finished editing two massive and interesting/ well written memoirs, ‘The Art of Memoir’ by Mary Karr is of immense interest to me. Questions are raised that can’t be answered conclusively, yet they must be raised. Very intelligent … Continue reading

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Why Every Writer Needs a Good Copy Edit – Great Advice from Freelancers Union!

My lovable, esteemed writing colleagues, most of you know by now that in addition to being an “author” (more than 20 books so far, about half of them ghostwritten on a contract basis for public figures), I am also a … Continue reading

Posted in book critics, Effective persuasive writing, freelance writers, novelists, online communication, poets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

“It all comes out of that first line.”– E.L. Doctorow, 1931-2015

Writing advice and memories from prolific, revered literary American Novelist, E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime, The March, Billy Bathgate and more!) From The New York Times (with video interview!) E. L. Doctorow: 1931-2015   (link) By Emily B. Hager | Jul. 22, … Continue reading

Posted in American Literature, American novels, Book Reviews, fiction, Literary Lions, Literature, New Yorl Times Book Review, NYTBR, publishing | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A List of Creative Writing Competitions in 2015

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:
Start reading Infinite Waters for free with Kindle Unlimited You all know how much I love short stories, right? Well, enough to have published two collections so far, Infinite Waters being the latest one.…

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What’s the Big Idea?

I was scratching my head yesterday at the astronomical number of new books on writing on the market today–most by people I’ve never heard of before with slim writing resumes and credentials.  If you take the time to examine enough … Continue reading

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“Omit needless words!”–William Strunk Jr.

Patient blogging, book-loving followers, I have just finished editing a 385 page manuscript, and I am here to report that such a long editorial stint is corrosive to one’s own writing. Many of you may be aware that I wear … Continue reading

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Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

Where have I been? What have I been doing? Working! Some of you may know that I run a professional editorial and writing business Margaret Langstaff Editorial. Well, lately I’ve been swamped with book and poetry manuscripts to copy edit, … Continue reading

Posted in editing, Literature, writing | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writing

As you know I in the habit of publishing “writing rules” from various well-known writers as I stumble over them on the web. They won’t write your books for you, but they are food for thought. For what it’s worth … Continue reading

Posted in American Literature, writing | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Writing Rules: Avoid the Hoopdedoodle

Elmore Leonard, the modern master of the “low life” detective story and mystery, was one of my favorite contemporary writers and when he died a few years ago I felt a personal loss of a very unique, important voice on … Continue reading

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Writers, Is it a calling or a job? NYTBR

I don’t know how something can be both interesting and pedestrian at the same time. In this case it may be that it’s interesting that the New York Times Book Review has chosen to spotlight so pedestrian an essay about … Continue reading

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The Rigours of Publishing

I don’t know where this came from and I’d like to credit the source but can’t. Found it on Amazon.UK and had to pass it along.  The Big Ouch all writers go through countless times.  Get used to it. One … Continue reading

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Harsh Truths About Writing from Some Writing Legends

Writers, if you are struggling, you are not alone. It’s the typical state of mind for a serious writer! I stumbled on this and thought it worth sharing here. No endorsements intended or implied. Just food for thought and a … Continue reading

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Marlin, Darlin’ by Margaret Jean Langstaff

Originally posted on Rosie Amber:
Marlin, Darlin’: Garnet Sullivan Live from Florida #1 by Margaret Jean Langstaff My rating: 5 of 5 stars Marlin, Darlin’ is a very well written and fun mystery set in Florida. Garnett Sullivan earns her…

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“Authors are Upset at Amazon. Again.” — New York Times

[In a surprisingly candid and forceful piece the NYT 12/27/14 covers the widespread  Kindle author rage at Amazon’s latest bells and whistles–“enhancements” which cost ’em big bucks. Some best-selling authors have seen income drop by as much as 75%—] Brief … Continue reading

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Are You a Writer? Most of the Followers of This Blog Are…

I am too, have been for nearly 30 years.  I also own a Writing and Editorial Consultancy firm, Margaret Langstaff Editorial. I work every day with writers trying to make their books better before publication. But even the best book … Continue reading

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I don’t get it, but “toot-toot” anyway, book sots

I wrote this book more than four years ago, the first in a series of over the top, raucous Florida based mysteries featuring a red haired wild woman, Garnet Sullivan.  It was the first novel I wrote under my own … Continue reading

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100 Notable Books of 2014 – NYT

[Just another tidbit of wit (?)] The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Worth reading (pardon the pun), the list, that is. FICTION & POETRY ALL OUR NAMES. By … Continue reading

Posted in Commercial Fiction, Literature, New Yorl Times Book Review, NYTBR, Reading | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Apropos of Twitter Self-Promotion and New “Authors?”

“The better the writers, the less they will speak about what they have written themselves.” —Ernest Hemingway http://bit.ly/1n7nZpz THE PARIS REVIEW

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“How to Write a Sentence” from the New Yorker (seriously)

[The following are, verbatim, the first several paragraphs of this profound and priceless sentence-writing guide as it appeared in the august New Yorker magazine. ]   Well, here you are, looking at this, trying, hoping, floundering, scrabbling, wishing, dying to … Continue reading

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Skimming over the Surface of Our Lives and Missing the Point

A disturbing and all too true assessment of our writing, lives and our times. Read it. Your life depends on it. A Memoir Is Not a Status Update  by Dani Shapiro On the absence of depth, insight and hard won … Continue reading

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The Writing Life and Dealing with the Inevitable Failures (from the New York Times)

[An excerpt from an honest and compassionate look at the terrors and disappointments unique to the writing life.  Recommended!]    “In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do … Continue reading

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Word Crimes – “The Movie” Cute, Clever!

Posted in Humor, Literature, writing | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Like running on a tight-rope – Elizabeth Gilbert on Writing

[This is a shorty and to the point, interesting and worth considering. Elizabeth Gilbert is an accomplished writer, and offers here some controversial, though perhaps helpful, observations about writing while describing her own way of going at it. Confession: the … Continue reading

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Writers & Reviews

Though many author friends of mine claim they “never look at reviews” of their books, assuming the transparently fake pose of pretending utter indifference and total superiority to what the mass of the reading public may actually think of their … Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Literature, New and Recent Books, writing | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

“Some Place” (is better than no place at all)

In the rural South, if you are a newbie in town, or just passing through, and pull into a truck stop or Mini-Mart, for however brief a time and however chintzy a purchase, you are sure to be asked a … Continue reading

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Sometimes It’s Hard to Get Any Work Done Around Here

Riley’s tongue merged with my lips in this photo (his intention surely), and my lips are not a threat to Angela Jolie, I promise you, but you get the picture.  I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I live on a small farm … Continue reading

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“A Good Man Is Hard to Find”– A “Perfect” Short Story?

(c) Copyright  2014 Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved It occurs to me as I approach writing an appreciation of this story that a reader’s ability to respond to it, let alone appreciate it, is not a sure thing anymore today. … Continue reading

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The Library of America

If I am not careful, I am going to start sounding like a stodgy member of the literary establishment–NOT!  I think serious writers have to keep their distance–a safe one–from received opinion in order to access what it is that might … Continue reading

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WHERE DO GOOD STORIES COME FROM?

For non-writers, yet voracious readers, this has always been a question tantamount to asking where did the universe come from? The sources seem so mysterious, inexplicable and almost supernatural. Veteran writers, on the other hand, writers who have been at … Continue reading

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Flannery O’Connor on Writing: You Are Always Bounded by What You Can Make Live …

Here  are a few short ones (all I have time for right now, apologies) but they may keep a certain sort thinking, chewing on them, for a while in spite of their brevity– “The sense of place is very highly developed in Southerners.” The … Continue reading

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Fllannery O’Connor on “The Meaning of a Story”

From THE HABIT OF BEING: THE LETTERS OF FLANNERY O’CONNOR, P.437 [O’Connor was frequently aggravated and frustrated by mis-readings and misunderstandings of her work by people who she felt should know better and who should have had the intellectual background … Continue reading

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Art Is Not for Everybody

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A Rare and Precious Gift – “What’s So Funny” Part Two

“Humor has in it a liberating element … “It refuses to be hurt by the arrows of reality or to be compelled to suffer. It insists that it is impervious to the wounds dealt by the outside world, that these … Continue reading

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The Rigors of Writing and The Shocking Plunge into Reality

Though I still have my hair and teeth, I can attest to the truth of O’Connor’s ballsy statement. I would  add that The Plunge into Reality is also often highly disruptive, can make a mess of the rest of one’s life, … Continue reading

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Finally! A Tutorial for Book Busters and Writer Biters!

[Just have to pass this on] Attn.:  Book Trolls, Author Flamers Running out of helpless, vulnerable life forms to torment? Can’t get a rise outta any old author anywhere anymore? Check it out, you vermin and varlets– 14 Ways to Tick Off … Continue reading

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Flannery O’Connor “My Dear God”

Followers of this blog who have taken the trouble to wade through my whimsical though approximately accurate “About” page will have discovered that I am a great admirer of the short stories and novels of Flannery O’Connor.  We are co-religionists … Continue reading

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Emily Dickinson’s Encounters with the Sublime

© Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved.                                          Nature and God – I neither knew                    Yet Both so well knew me                    They startled, like Executors                    Of My identity.—E.D. I’ve read, studied and written about … Continue reading

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Name That Chick

I have been scarce around here because of 1) weather related events (featuring falling trees and tree frogs)  2) a contretemps with a “publicity consultant” 3) a nuclear war with my husband  (he lost as far as I am concerned, … Continue reading

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Charming Paintings of Vintage Books That Smoke, Drink, and Slip on Banana Peels

I’ve imagined these … and bet other writers have too but the images were hardly as whimsical and wonderful as these …  What fun these illustrations are ….

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Have you read or are you reading PRESENT SHOCK by Douglas Rushkoff?

I am midway through it now and finding it disturbing, stimulating, revealing about many burning issues of our time. Particularly what Rushkoff has to say about: THE COLLAPSE OF NARRATIVE THE FALSE NOW THE DISSONANCE BETWEEN OUR DIGITAL LIVES AND … Continue reading

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Writing 2.3 – A Contract with the Reader

Originally posted on brainsnorts inc.:
When I took a graduate class called “Writing the Novel” a few years ago, I learned two very important things.  First, if you tell a writer that her work in progress is a romance novel…

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You Can Always Count on NPR: “County sheriff’s dept to host several DUI checkpoints near the University of Florida”

[Recent local NPR public service announcement produced by college student interns] In other news …. this just in … a WUFT NPR special exclusive … Get to know your local law enforcement officials! You are cordially invited to attend one … Continue reading

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Bile Assaults: is bile really that bad?

Originally posted on Delight Through Logical Misery:
The four types of temperament proposed by humorism. Or how nobody has ever looked ever. Something had me thinking about bile recently. I can’t be sure what it was and I wouldn’t want…

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Until the Last Ding Dong of Doom: Faulkner’s Nobel Acceptance Address Still Speaks Volumes to Us as Writers Today

Ladies and Gentlemen, I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work – a life’s work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all … Continue reading

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Quote of the Week via www.WriterzBlox.net ~ May 17th, 2013

Originally posted on WriterzBlox:
“At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that — the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to…

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A Few Voice Lessons for Young Writers

(c) Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved There is a lot of Hoopdeedoodle (Elmore Leonard’s wonderful term) about the Secret Sacred Writing Mysteries only one click away and readily available to desperate earnest young writers. Publishers have clued into … Continue reading

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Some Telling Truths about Truth Itself by Authors Who Were or Are Intent on Telling the Truth

This is a thorny issue, and dangerous under the best of circumstances. But it is an inescapable one, an ongoing lifelong challenge, for serious writers.  So many acceptable dodges, evasions, even escapes, are handily available, and it’s far easier to … Continue reading

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