David Kirkpatrick

November 12, 2010

Adventures in bad writing

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:43 pm

Hate to pick on an otherwise fine article, but this really stuck out: “For security reasons, never leave your laptop unsecured.”

And for daily nutrition reasons, always take in daily nutrition.

Makes you wonder where the editor was at Forbes that day.

August 20, 2010

Don’t piss off a writer

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:58 pm

Especially if they work in television.

Tread lightly honorable blog reader or, er, well, you know.

From the link:

After several seasons of disappointing reviews, writers on the USA network’s mystery series “Psych” decided to get revenge. They crafted an episode involving a psychotic killer doctor. The deranged murderer’s name? Ken Tucker, who in real life is the mild-mannered, 57-year-old TV critic for Entertainment Weekly magazine.

“It was never ‘Dr. Tucker’ or just ‘Ken.’ It was always ‘Did Ken Tucker eviscerate the body?'” says USA original programming chief Jeff Wachtel.

Hell hath no fury like a TV writer scorned.


The practice isn’t all puerile payback. A sharp pen and the threat of an unappealing storyline can help TV writers keep a production—and the egos involved—in check. In popular imagination, Hollywood is a place where luminous actors reign supreme and the brains behind the operation are secondary.

In reality, crossing a TV writer is “suicide,” says actor Ed O’Neill, who played sad-sack dad Al Bundy on “Married with Children” and now plays the patriarch on “Modern Family.” “I’ve heard many stories of someone getting brutally murdered on a show because they insisted on a bigger trailer,” he says.

February 16, 2010

Book authorship made easy

Filed under: Arts, Business, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:28 pm

Via KurzaweilAI.net – This idea goes a bit past simply hiring a ghostwriter …

FastPencil lets thought leaders publish books without the hassle of writing them
VentureBeat, Feb. 16, 2010

Self-publishing site FastPencil has launched a new program aimed at helping aspiring thought leaders publish the books in their heads:

  • A personal book authoring team to manage the entire book writing process. You run your business, they co-write your book.
  • Full print and eBook distribution services to Amazon and elsewhere.
  • Social media promotion services.
    Read Original Article>>
  • January 15, 2010

    So you think you want to be a writer?

    Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:26 pm

    I tend to hope for the best, but plan for the worst in all endeavors, and I never want to be a dark cloud over my, or anyone else’s, dreams, but the reality right now for anyone hoping to earn a living as a writer is the shot is very long and the hope for success is very small.

    Newspapers are drying up left and right, online content (an area I have substantial experience in at very high levels) simply does not offer a living wage and the world of fiction is more difficult to break into than ever before (if the prospect of being more difficult is even possible). I’m seeing ads looking for very precise skill sets seeking writing that would easily command $1 per word, or more, just a few years ago offering much less than ten cents per word. Some even dropping below a penny per word. As a freelance writer of many years this is simply staggering.

    And if you hope to be discovered as a writer of fiction? Don’t look to major magazines, and certainly not to publishing houses. They aren’t even reading the unsolicited manuscripts that go into the slush pile. I can’t speak for the smaller literary journals and periodicals, but I hope they remain viable outlets for burgeoning fiction writers.

    I really don’t have any decent advice for hopeful writers except to keep up your personal writing, do keep a journal, track markets that are open to new writers and above all, don’t stop creating. Our world and culture is more rich because of the multitude of voices out there. It is a shame and a crime that commercial publishing is silencing the majority of those voices.

    Self publishing and promotion through blogs, websites and print-on-demand (POD) books is an option, but that option rarely pays the bills. For artists it’s hard to keep a head in the ether of creativity when the nose is pressed firmly against the grindstone.

    My website homepage offers this quote from Henry Miller, “A man with talent has to make his living on the side or do his creative work on the side. A difficult choice!” Right now a writer with talent is faced with a market where it’s very hard to reap the benefits and rewards of that talent.

    Our culture is more poor because of this fact.

    From the link:

    In 1991, a book editor at Random House pulled from the heaps of unsolicited manuscripts a novel about a murder that roils a Baltimore suburb. Written by a first-time author and mother-to-be named Mary Cahill, “Carpool” was published to fanfare. Ms. Cahill was interviewed on the “Today” show. “Carpool” was a best seller.

    That was the last time Random House, the largest publisher in the U.S., remembers publishing anything found in a slush pile. Today, Random House and most of its major counterparts refuse to accept unsolicited material.

    Also from the link:

    Now, slush is dead, or close to extinction. Film and television producers won’t read anything not certified by an agent because producers are afraid of being accused of stealing ideas and material. Most book publishers have stopped accepting book proposals that are not submitted by agents. Magazines say they can scarcely afford the manpower to cull through the piles looking for the Next Big Thing.

    March 1, 2008

    Lede and graf

    Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:04 am

    With the advent of blogs and such, most readers likely know the definition of “lede” and “graf.” I use both occasionally and offer this post as an explanation for anyone who might not know.

    Lede is simply an alternate spelling of lead, as in “Obama’s leading the race.” It’s a journalism term that specifically refers to the opening graf or so of a story. In newspaper reporting a well-written piece should hit the reader immediately with all the important details and tail off to the least important. That means all a reader needs to read to understand the story is the lede.

    Extra factoid — newspaper writing is constructed this way because the bottom of the story might be physically chopped off at any point to make the story fit the page. As long as the details — who, where, why, how, etc. — are in the opening several sentences, the story can lose a few inches without losing any of the “story.”

    Graf is very simple. It’s just a shortened version of paragraph.

    At one point in time you probably needed to have gone to j-school, or worked as a journalist, to have any familiarity with the terms. Especially lede. Nowadays many bloggers fit one, or both, of the above qualifications and regularly use both words.

    Hell, the New York Times calls its blog “The Lede.” 

    February 28, 2008

    Writing tip #1

    Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:56 pm

    I’d probably be a terrible writing coach, but as a professional writer and editor I sometimes get asked for an easy way to improve any piece of writing.

    This tip will only work on shorter pieces, but do a universal “search and delete” for all instances of the word “that.” Then go back and work with the piece putting “that” back in everywhere it’s needed. I can guarantee you’ll end up with fewer “that”s.

    Many people tend to think about how they would say something before they write it. In speech most people throw in a lot of “that”s. They fit the conversation, sound fine and don’t detract at all. In writing they are often completely unnecessary and actually detract from the work.

    I think most people don’t realize how disjointed actual conversation — even what sounds like very polished conversation — is on the printed page.

    Sometime record about four or five minutes of a conversation (follow any local laws if you’re taping a phone conversation, of course) and completely transcribe that exchange. Leave in every “er,” every “I mean, like,” and carefully transcribe the exact words. Now read that transcription. The results may really surprise you. 

    February 19, 2008

    SEO website content

    Filed under: Business, et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:36 am

    SEO (search engine optimization) website content is a unique animal in the world of writing and content. This post is an example of SEO content. Not to give away the farm (this is among my commercial specialties), this post will exceed 250 words and the writing will be roughly middle-school aged reading level, contain easy to digest paragraphs and will not suffer from spelling or crippling grammatical errors.

    The concept of SEO goes far beyond content. There’s a great deal of back-end technology and coding involved in building a SEO website, but the “face” the end user sees is the writing (and, of course, design elements.) Search engine algorithms take this into account, and web page creators now take much more notice of the content than was the case even three or four years ago.

    I’ve done SEO website content for companies ranging from start-ups to global giants. A lot of these companies had existing content that was, “just thrown up there,” with little thought. Some smaller companies had major errors in existing website content, larger companies had some sloppy writing among other problems. The common theme was these companies didn’t think about the search engine impact of the website content.

    That has all now changed. Most everyone in the game understands there’s more to building SEO websites than meta tags and other coding tricks. Online writing that meets a few certain criteria — a lack of overt mistakes is an important feature — helps a site gain search engine traffic. And there SEO website content was born.

    Another trick is to provide crosslinks within a site to connect all the content. An example is this link. It leads to the “about” page on this blog. That page contains a way readers can get in touch with me. If you are looking for SEO website content and found this page, I’d have to say this SEO content was successful. Head over to my “about” page and get in touch. I bet I can help you with any SEO website content needs you might have.