True crime is more than a recent podcast trend—just take a look at Casey Cep’s forthcoming Furious Hours. The book tells the tale of Harper Lee’s journey to Alexander City, Ala., in the 1970s to write about a gruesome murder that was staged to look like a car accident. A video produced by Dustin Stephens from CBS recounts the famous author’s attempt to learn more about the crime, with “Lee [deciding] she was going to try her hand at crime writing, showing up at the two-day trial.”
It has become increasingly common for publications to charge a fee upon submitting work. According to The Atlantic, this practice spells disaster for the writing community at every level. Quit paying out to big journals and just charge yourself the fee instead–here’s a piece on the efficacy of self-publishing.
“I war-gamed out everything. My biggest fear was that somebody tries to play out my book and finds out it won’t work.” At The New York Times, Alexandra Alter writes about the new Minecraft novel by Max Brooks, author of World War Z: “In the process, he may have also created a strange new entertainment category, one that hovers somewhere between fan fiction, role-playing games and literature — a novel set in a game, that can itself be played within the game.” And while we’re on the topic of games, let’s also talk about geekdom and race.
I’ve written before about the First Sentence series at Granta. The magazine asks a prominent writer to explain how they came to write an opening line. Recently, they asked Bear Down, Bear North author Melinda Moustakis to talk about the beginning of her story “River So Close”: “She’s a good-for-nothing chummer.” You could also read Jonathan Russell Clark on the art of the opening sentence.