Curious Rat

The Clicks and Clacks of The London Times →

NPR’s Robert Siegel interviews The Times Diary editor Patrick Kidd about the paper’s decision to pump the sounds of mechanical typewriters into its newsroom:

SIEGEL: I’m sure it is nostalgic to some of the older folks in the newsroom, but what do the younger journalists who didn’t experience this sound in the past make of it?

KIDD: Well, I’m in my late ’30s. I never worked on mechanical typewriters. I think on day one it was mildly irritating. (Laughter) But, as it went on - it becomes soothing actually; you get used to the rhythm. You start typing in concert with it. I think there were still some colleagues who’d get annoyed but, actually, my desk is the closest to the speakers and I - it’s a bit of fun.

I love this. Free idea for the fine folks at Coffitivity: A “1930’s newsroom” setting.

Midori Traveler’s Notebook Overview →

Pen Paper Ink Letter has a great overview of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, which has quite a following online. I recently purchased my own Traveler’s Notebook and can’t wait to really dig into it. I plan on using one notebook for fiction drafts, one for story ideas and notes, and one for to-do lists and random scribblings.

Pinterest Boards for Book Lovers →

Publishers, authors, and bookstores are chock full of great boards, from literary quotes to classic bookcovers. It’s easy to get lost perusing these.

David Foster Wallace On Writing →

I can’t pick just one quote from this Brain Pickings piece. David Foster Wallace was brilliant and his ideas about writing, teaching, and getting better should be mandatory reading for all writers.

Actually, I can pull one quote: Good writing isn’t a science. It’s an art, and the horizon is infinite. You can always get better.

Parenthood and Writing →

James Parker for The New York Times:

These things I learned by reading books aloud, into the pricked and critical ear of my son, and they are writing lessons too. Keep it crisp; tell a good story; don’t muck about; don’t be afraid to say the same thing twice, if it’s important; respect the reader; have some loyalty to your characters; and when you feel the urge to get descriptive, sit on it. (Much of this comes under Elmore Leonard’s 10th rule of writing: “Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.”) They strike me as solid tips for narrative fiction, even though I’ve never published any. My own little stock-in-trade — the 1,200-word pop-cultural think piece — did not feature largely, for some reason, in our evening sessions.

There’s an old editing trick I learned: Read your draft aloud. You catch quite a bit when you hear the words leave your tongue. Depending on the genre, those with young children might have a built-in audience to test their prose. I just wouldn’t try out the next 50 Shades on them…