Monday, July 9, 2012

Around the Word

Freelancing, Contently. We all know the freelancing paradigm is shifting in a big way, leaving the field wide open for evolution, and our friends over at Contently are trying their hand at building a new model. Contently has positioned itself as an all-digital "project management platform" that provides a place for freelancers to brand and market their services, facilitates client-writer relationships, and provides easy access for clients to post projects, audition writers, and provide input. One of the features that separates Contently from the myriad other freelancing sites is the quality of its writers, who are required to apply and submit to a rigorous vetting process in order to get on the roster. Another great feature is Contently's blog "The Freelance Strategist"—which, in case you missed it, recently posted an article featuring thoughts from GG's fearless leader Dan Gerstein.

Editor and Writer: The Special Relationship. The writing process can be highly personal, and the ideal relationship between editor and writer is like a sacred bond. Last week's New Yorker featured an illuminating piece by John McPhee, which gave a glimpse into his relationships with the the three very different personalities that shape the magazine during his tenure: William Shawn, Robert Gottlieb, and Roger W. Straus. McPhee describes Gotlleib's ability to digest entire manuscripts in a single sitting and steadfast unwillingness to allow the f-word to grace the magazine's pages, Shawn's careful deliberation and insistence that "the subject shall not be the title," and Straus' effusive commentary and loyalty as a publisher who kept authors' works in print.

Food Puns Gone Stale. Here's a cautionary tale about the fine line between pun use and abuse. Someone in Mayor Bloomberg's communications office is in hot water for a speech written for his appearance at the 2012 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hotdog Eating Contest, which featured no less than a dozen hotdog-related puns. One cringe-worthy example: "This is one of my favorite traditions; I relish it so much." The mayor had a hard time, er, digesting the remarks, and in classic Bloomberg fashion asked an aide "Who writes this sh-t?" Remember, "too much of a good thing" not only applies to our favorite foods, but to puns about them as well.

Farewell to Arms: 39 Flavors (And Then Some). One of the greatest legends in literary lore is that of the myriad alternate endings to Hemingway's classic Farewell to Arms, which the author rewrote "thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.” It turns out that there are actually forty-seven endings, which have been locked away—until now. A recent agreement between Hemingway's estate and Scribner has paved the way for the publisher to release a new edition of the beloved novel that includes all the alternate endings as well as early drafts of the work. One of the most notable alternates, excerpted in the Times, is "No. 34, the 'Fitzgerald ending,' suggested by Hemingway’s friend F. Scott Fitzgerald. Hemingway wrote that the world 'breaks everyone,' and those 'it does not break it kills.'"

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