Josh Ownby

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How to Write Letters: A 19th-Century Guide to the Lost Art of Epistolary Etiquette

As a lover of old letters, I have a special soft spot for the lost art of letter-writing — an art robbed of romance and even basic courtesy in the age of rapid-fire, efficiency-obsessed, typed-with-one-thumb-on-a-tiny-keyboard communication. So I was utterly delighted to discover a rare and …

A Nigerian-'Americanah' Novel About Love, Race And Hair

School romances face a lot of obstacles: the big decision at graduation, the competing demands of two burgeoning careers, perhaps a period spent in a long-distance relationship. But the young lovers in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's latest novel, <i>Americanah,</i> must overcome even more challenges than …

James Patterson: a life in writing

Eyebrows were raised a few weeks ago when a series of full-page ads appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly and elsewhere in …

Sabres forward Evander Kane to miss 4-6 weeks with knee injury

Buffalo Sabres forward Evander Kane will be out approximately four to six weeks because of an injury to his left knee.<p>Coach Dan Bylsma provided the update after practice on Monday, two days after Kane was hurt in a 4-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Without revealing the exact nature of the injury, …

Truth in Fiction: What Can a Writer Do When Real Life Horror Catches Up to Her Imagination?

There are enough horrors, coming out of the Cleveland abduction story, to fill countless nightmares, not to mention books, movies and any number of paranoid delusions.<p>My own dark obsessions with the case center not so much on the actual events, but on their eerie echoes of a work of fiction, the …

Kaling And Daniels: Writing 'The Office'

<i>This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 2, 2006.</i><p>Between them, Greg Daniels and Mindy Kaling, wrote a number of classic episodes for NBC's <i>The Office</i>, including "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" and "The Dundies." Kaling, who plays Kelly on the show, has also appeared in <i>The 40-Year-Old Virgin</i> …

The Fascinating Stories Behind Classic Book Titles

A book title can make a big difference. After all, as much as our mothers warned us against it, as humans we can never seem to help ourselves from …

Books

From Maya Angelou to Abigail Adams to Anne Sexton, History’s Finest Letters of Motherly Advice

Last year, we celebrated Father’s Day with an omnibus of history’s finest letters of fatherly advice, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, Jackson Pollock, and Neil Armstrong. Later adding to them was more timeless epistolary advice from notable dads like Ted Hughes, Sherwood Anderson, …

‘Vigilante copy editor’ correcting placards in a Brooklyn park

When you see bad grammar or improper punctuation out in the wild, what do you do? Laugh? Fume? Post a picture of it on Twitter?<p>At least one staunch …

Five reasons 'Gatsby' is the great American novel

Is 'The Great Gatsby' The Great American Novel? USA TODAY's Deirdre Donahue gives five reasons why F. Scott Fitzgerald's Roaring Twenties classic makes the cut.<p>It's time to revisit that ultimate literary cage fight: Which classic deserves The Great American Novel victory belt. In March, a <i>Publishers</i> …

7 Underappreciated American Novels

What is there to add to the standard history of the American novel? Don't we already know which books are most deserving of our attention and respect? The answer is no. Over the past three decades, literary historians have studied many novels that early 20th-century critics deemed unworthy, but …

Can Science Fiction Writers Inspire The World To Save Itself?

The Hieroglyph project asks sci-fi writers to stop creating dark dystopias, and instead show us visions of a better future, so that we work harder to get there.<p>Science fiction has often predicted scientific advances, but what happens when scientists and sci-fi authors collaborate on visions of the …

The Writers' Group (EXCERPT)

<i>From POTTY MOUTH AT THE TABLE by Laurie Notaro. Copyright © 2013 by Laurie Notaro. Reprinted with permission from Gallery Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.</i><p>I have read Harry Potter erotica. Sometimes, life is like that. In one moment, you're getting ready to read what you think will be a …

Music to murder to: crime writers on their killer soundtracks

Music and crime fiction. They go so well together that it's become something of a cliche. You know the kind of thing: the lone detective who comes …

Mary Gordon on the Joy of Notebooks and How Writing by Hand Catalyzes Creativity

Every few years, a new anthology of essays on why writers write comes along. While most tend to be invariably excellent, one of the best presents I’ve ever received was a copy of the 2001 collection <b>Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times</b> (<i>public library</i>). What made this …

Artspeak alert: what not to write or say

<i>Visual by Tagul, which only works on the desktop version of this page – hover your cursor over the words to read in full</i><p>"There are so many beautiful …

Men's Fashion, Style, Grooming, Fitness, Lifestyle, News & Politics

What She Said<p>Master the fine art of managing (sexy) expectations.<p>By Sophia Benoit3 days agoView More<p>Ask a Bartender<p>Bartenders tell us what to do with …

Several Short Sentences About Writing

<i>“If there is a magic in story writing,”</i> admonished Henry Miller, <i>“and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another.”</i> And yet, famous advice on writing abounds.<p>In <b>Several Short Sentences About Writing</b> (<i>public library</i>), author …

Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers

Hemingway, Didion, Baldwin, Fitzgerald, Sontag, Vonnegut, Bradbury, Morrison, Orwell, and other literary icons.<p>By popular demand, I’ve put together a periodically updated reading list of all the famous advice on writing presented here over the years, featuring words of wisdom from such masters of …

The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses: Walter Benjamin’s Timeless Advice on Writing

<i>“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open,”</i> Stephen King advised. <i>“Do back exercises,”</i> Margaret Atwood suggested. <i>“Know everything about adjectives and punctuation, have moral intelligence,”</i> Susan Sontag counseled. Each accomplished author seems to have a different secret to the craft …

Who Invented Writing? An Animated Historical Detective Story

Theories of why humans write abound — for George Orwell, the impulse was driven by sheer egoism and aesthetic enthusiasm; for Joan Didion, writing provides vital access to one’s own mind; David Foster Wallace sought in it the nature of fun; for Joy Williams, it offers an escape from darkness into …

Siri, Take This Down: Will Voice Control Shape Our Writing?

<i>Do our writing means change our written ends?</i><p>In the future, you will talk to your computer. Voice, the predominant mode of human-to-human communication, has been migrating to silicon for more than a decade and is now poised to hit the mainstream.<p>Already, voice interfaces have become commonplace in …

How You Can Write The Next 'Da Vinci Code': Eight Crucial Steps Dan Brown Followed To Worldwide Success

Dan Brown didn't just sit down one day and decide to write <i>Inferno</i> or <i>The Da Vinci Code.</i> He approached the task in a methodical, logical manner. The rest, as they say, was history.<p>Many aspiring novelists believe that all they have to do to have the next New York Times bestseller spring from their …

The Writing Revolution

For years, nothing seemed capable of turning around New Dorp High School’s dismal performance—not firing bad teachers, not flashy education technology, not after-school programs. So, faced with closure, the school’s principal went all-in on a very specific curriculum reform, placing an overwhelming …

Greg Daniels on Writing the Final Season of “The Office”

The executive producer of The Office talks to Co.Create about the challenges of writing a final season for the long-running show, including how to make satisfying endings for so many characters.<p>Greg Daniels<p>When writer-producer-director Greg Daniels agreed to re-take the reins of <i>The Office</i> as show …