“Rather than outlining your plot in chronological order, try outlining your plot as if it were a candle burning at both ends. Begin the process by writing your first and last chapter simultaneously.” Amazon Author Insights gathers, well, insights on writing from Dan Brown and other famous crime and thriller novelists. (Full disclosure: Amazon helps us pay the bills around here!) We will also never not recommend this evergreen piece from our own archives, of writers on the best advice they ever received.
Masha Gessen has been busy of late. Within months of publishing her investigative look at the charges for Russian punk band, Pussy Riot, Gessen has also co-edited a book entitled Gay Propaganda: Russian Love Stories. Over at The Independent, you can check out a review of the two projects, and over at Guernica, you can read an interview in which Gessen discusses both works.
Julie Delphy's second film as writer/director/actress is released in Europe this month. The subject is 16th century Hungarian/Transylvanian countess Erzsébet Bàthory, known for murdering young girls to bathe in their blood and considered by some the first female serial killer. Judging from the trailer, Delphy's film doesn't appear to equal earlier visions of the Bloody Countess (French Surrealist Valentine Penrose's hallucinatory biography, for example, or Terry Gilliam's Mirror Queen (Monica Bellucci) in The Brothers Grimm).
Recommended Reading: On lyric essays and trauma at Ploughshares. “I didn’t start writing lyric essays until I found out I had cancer. The melanoma buried in my right cheek was at first missed, and then misdiagnosed in its severity. Clark’s stage IV, they told me. Likely in my lymph nodes, but they wouldn’t know until my third surgery, the excision and biopsy.”
Chilean Communists want to exhume Pablo Neruda's body to determine his actual cause of death. The endeavor is being undertaken because Neruda's "former driver said he received an injection which provoked a heart attack."