The Mark Program


WRITERS' REEL: David Foster Wallace on Ambition

"If your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything." - David Foster Wallace

Here's an interview with David Foster Wallace by Leonard Lopate recorded on March 4, 1996. In it, Wallace discusses perfectionism, receiving (and neglecting) constructive lessons, and ambition.

MOMENTUM: Writing Flow Exercises

This has been a busy year. Life is like that: you can’t schedule the unforeseeable. Bathrooms will flood, new bosses will pop up, people will die, and loved ones will need help.

BOOKMARK THIS: Putting Rejection Into Perspective

It's easy to feel delegitimized after your manuscript gets declined by a publisher. There are, however, innumerable factors that go in to a publisher's decision on what to print and what to deny. To put it into perspective, here's a list of famous titles, compiled from Michael Larsen's book Literary Agents, that went on to exceed the foresight of a publishing house's expectations.

WRITERS' REEL: Language as a Window into Human Nature

In this new RSA Animate, renowned experimental psychologist Steven Pinker shows us how the mind turns the finite building blocks of language into infinite meanings. Taken from the RSA's free public events programme


Although it would be nice, I’m not writing this from Dalmatia. However, in many ways, I may as well be. Most of my manuscript takes place on or around islands on the Dalmatian coast. Ironically, I haven’t visited this part of the world in a decade, so I’m constantly trying to conjure up the landscape to help with writing the setting.

BOOKMARK THIS: Famous Books You Didn’t Know Were Censored

This week we have been examining banned and challenged pieces of literature that continue to face attempted censorship. Flavorwire compiled a list of famous books that most people would be surprised to find were censored. The article reads:

To Outline or Not To Outline

I tend to cringe at formulas, probably because I was never any good at math or chemistry. If I studied hard enough before a test, I might do okay. But in due time, I’d forget everything. So it stands to reason that when it comes to writing fiction, I tend to reject anything that smacks of formula on principle.