New York Times bestselling author Richard Kadrey wants to cram your skull full of writing knowledge

Richard Kadrey is a New York Times bestselling author and a friend of this website. His dark, horror-tinged urban fantasy books have been a fixture in bookstores and libraries since 2009. 11 books (and counting) into his Sandman Slim series, his novels have been optioned to become a film directed by John Wick’s Chad Stahelski. To say that he’s a success as a writer would be an understatement.

Now, he’s looking to help you build the skills to hone your literary talent as well.

Starting in March, Richard will be teaching a four-week online course on writing dark urban fantasy. Speaking to him from his digs in San Fransisco on Wednesday, he told me, “...during the class, I want to help students get a strong beginning to a story or novel. More importantly, I want give them the skills they need to keep creating new work.”

In order to do that, he’s laid out a clear road map to help get the asses of potential authors into gear.

From Richard’s Litreactor page:

Week One: What is Dark Urban Fantasy? What is dark or noir urban fantasy and how does it differ from horror? Who lives there and why? And why do we want to bring the strange and the dark into the world?

Week Two: Dark Urban Fantasy Characters

Who lives in these strange, invented worlds? How do you construct characters that walk the line between good and evil? Even in the most extreme world and stories, there must be some core of truth to it.

Read the rest

How to memorize an entire chapter of Moby Dick

Josh Foer is the author of Moonwalking With Einstein, a book that recounts how he practiced different memory techniques to win the United States Memory Championship.

In this video, Josh shows how he learned to memorize an entire chapter of Moby Dick. He used a mnemonic technique called the memory palace. It took Josh four days to memorize the chapter, and he spent 3-4 hours practicing each day.

Via Open Culture Read the rest

Improve your handwriting with this simple daily practice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzpmb0xBDzc

Despite taking pages of handwritten notes each day, my handwriting is hot garbage. After deciding that I wanted to improve the look of my penmanship, I set out to find a few ways to do it that wouldn't eat up a lot of my day. This video, featuring Nan Jay Barchowsky, is one of my favorites. Her suggestion to practice the up down motion we use to create most of the letters in our alphabet might seem kind of goofy at first, but it totally works. After a few days of practice, my writing is showing signs of improvement. Read the rest

What's your ikigai, your reason to get up in the morning?

Rob Bell lays out the basics of the Japanese concept of ikigai, the search for purpose and fulfillment in life. Illustrator Mark Winn created a Venn diagram often used to explain the idea: Read the rest

Howto: sustain long-haul creativity

With New Year's Resolution season on the doorstep, it's time for end-of-year articles about self-improvement, and despite the cliche and improbability of that species of endeavor, I'm recommending that everyone read "Secrets to Long Haul Creativity." Read the rest