aetles + writing   12

Classic Urban Legend: NASA Space Pen -
NASA did not spend millions of dollar developing a pen that would work in zero gravity while Soviet cosmonauts opted for using pencils. Pencils were used in early missions into space by both the Americans and the Russians, but other solutions were sought when pencils were discovered to be a potential danger. Exclusive of NASA’s influence and financing, Paul C. Fisher and the Fisher Pen Company invented and designed the AG-7 “Anti-Gravity” Space Pen which was patented in 1965. It is estimated that Fisher spent roughly $1 million dollars of his own money designing the AG7 over a period of several years.  The Fisher Space Pen was eventually pitched and sold in bulk to NASA in 1968 and then to the Soviets in 1969. It is still manufactured and carried into space today by American and Russian space agencies.
history  innovation  urbanlegends  space  nasa  gravity  writing 
september 2015 by Aetles
10 top writing tips and the psychology behind them - without bullshit
There are plenty of folks happy to tell you how to write better, just as any doctor will tell you to “eat right and exercise.” But changing your writing (or eating) habits only happens when you understand why you do what you do. I can help you with that.

That proposal or email you wrote must now compete for attention with Facebook and the Huffington Post. Here’s how to compete more effectively, and why you’re not doing it already. (The wall chart for these is at the bottom of the post.)
may 2015 by Aetles
Typewolf → A Comprehensive Guide to Smart Quotes, Dashes & Other Typographic Characters
A comprehensive guide to using proper typographic characters, including correct grammatical usage.
design  typography  mac  osx  writing 
march 2015 by Aetles
The Middle of Things: Advice for Young Writers - The New Yorker
Rilke goes on, “It is clear that we must trust what is difficult; everything alive trusts in it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself any way it can and is spontaneously itself, tries to be itself at all costs and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.” The Romantic sublime entails the exchange of easier for more difficult pleasures. This is an attractive bargain only when more difficult pleasures are more propitious than less difficult ones. What Rilke is suggesting is not simply that we give up easier pleasures because the best things in life happen to be difficult, but rather that the difficulty itself is what makes those efforts so rewarding—that we need not merely endure difficulty to get to a goal, but must understand difficulty as part of the goal. That sounds masochistic, but it is masochistic only insofar as the act of writing is masochistic: insofar as the burdensome activity of marrying words to experience is a source of pain as well as pleasure.
writing  life  experience  advice 
march 2015 by Aetles
Nuts and Bolts: “Thought” Verbs | LitReactor
In six seconds, you’ll hate me.

But in six months, you’ll be a better writer.

From this point forward – at least for the next half year – you may not use “thought” verbs.  These include:  Thinks, Knows, Understands, Realizes, Believes, Wants, Remembers, Imagines, Desires, and a hundred others you love to use. 

The list should also include:  Loves and Hates.

And it should include:  Is and Has, but we’ll get to those, later.
tips  writing  books 
december 2014 by Aetles
Style Manual
I will always stick to British (Australian) spelling, but the rules of punctuation vary more subtly between British- and American-English; I’d like to pluck the most common sense rules from both.

This is an absolutely incomplete, personal reference. When something is in question, I plan to document the opinions of multiple books, drawing my own conclusions and setting my own rules for style.
style  english  writing  language 
april 2014 by Aetles
The Value of Content — I. M. H. O. — Medium
I made a Tumblr that accidentally went viral. For a year or so I’d been collecting screengrabs of websites that obscure their content behind modal overlays, begging for newsletter signups, follows, likes, or even adverts that direct you to another site entirely. In the words of Brad Frost, bullshit. Throughout that year they were becoming more and more prevalent and more and more invasive.

I made a Tumblr site to collect them on, called it Tab Closed; Didn’t Read and posted one lone tweet announcing it to the world.

I quickly discovered I was not alone. Thousands of people tweeted the URL, it made the front pages of Hacker News and Reddit, and submissions started pouring in.

What we’re witnessing here is the first wave of the second world pop-up war. Those of us who lived through the first one can only describe the horrors to our disbelieving children. This time though, the pop-ups are winning because we don’t yet have the tools to fight back. The web has seemingly evolved into something that actively antagonises people — why would anyone in their right mind hide the content that visitors are there to see?

In short, maybe they’re not in their right mind. This is what happens when analytics make decisions for you.
analytics  content  writing  publishing 
december 2013 by Aetles
ZenPen ~ Minimal Distraction, Maximim Zen
A minimalist writing zone, where you can block out all distractions and get to whats important. The writing!

To get started, all you need to do is delete this text (seriously, just highlight it and hit delete), and fill the page with your own fantastic words.

You can use bold, italics or both just by highlighting the text and selecting them from the tiny options box that appears above it.

Quotes are easy to add too!
Then save and share your writings... everything is passed via url, so none of your information is stored.
editor  tools  writing  wysiwyg  webapps 
january 2013 by Aetles
The Web Is a Customer Service Medium (
Why Wasn't I Consulted?

“Why wasn't I consulted,” which I abbreviate as WWIC, is the fundamental question of the web. It is the rule from which other rules are derived. Humans have a fundamental need to be consulted, engaged, to exercise their knowledge (and thus power), and no other medium that came before has been able to tap into that as effectively.
web  writing  publishing  media 
september 2012 by Aetles
How One Response to a Reddit Query Became a Big-Budget Flick | Underwire |
Now, in response to The_Quiet_Earth’s question about time-traveling marines, Erwin started typing. He posted his answer in a series of comments in the thread. Within an hour, he was an online celebrity. Within three hours, a film producer had reached out to him. Within two weeks, he was offered a deal to write a movie based on his Reddit comments. Within two months, he had taken a leave from his job to become a full-time Hollywood screenwriter.
writing  scifi  reddit  screenplay  successstories 
march 2012 by Aetles
Hit record - Kerry Lauerman - Open Salon
So let me explain exactly what I mean by it: Short (a few hundred words) summaries or explainers about a major news event covered more in depth by somebody else. In its best form, we wrote short little decoders of a big  story, and tried to link generously to the original source. At its worst, we monitored Twitter and Google for trending topics, and dispatched an intern to cobble together our own summary, posted it quickly, then prayed to the Google gods that the effort would win, if only briefly, their favor. 

I'm not proud of that last approach, a mandate from above, which we were able to quietly scuttle after it was proven to have absolutely zero impact.
content  media  publishing  writing  journalism 
february 2012 by Aetles

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