Writers and Editors (Pat McNees's blog)
RSS feed

Great covers sells books, but what makes for a great cover?

February 1, 2017

Tags: book jackets, cover art

What about the best book covers makes us look at the book? We can see them from afar as well as in thumbnails. They ask a question rather than provide the answer. They elicit an emotional response.They're not too cluttered with copy and information and backstory. They make clear what genre the book (more…)

Fake news and media literacy

December 12, 2016

Tags: conspiracy theory, media literacy, clicks

Pat McNees, updated 2-7-17, 1-11-17
To begin with: We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned (Laura Sydell, All Tech Considered, NPR, 11-23-16) During the run-up to the presidential election, fake news really took off. "It was just anybody with a blog can get on there and find a big, huge Facebook group of kind of rabid Trump supporters just waiting to eat up this red meat that they're about to get served," (more…)

Editing checklist

November 19, 2016

Tags: Editing

by Pat McNees
What to do at various stages of editing a manuscript: the PRE-EDIT (as you interview, edit, and write), the SUBSTANTIVE EDIT (for content, organization, and approach), the LINE EDIT (for effective line-by-line writing), the COPY EDIT (for grammar and style), the PHOTO (AND CAPTION) EDIT, the PERMISSIONS EDIT (for copyright issues), PROOFREADING (for errors and formatting in final copy) , PRODUCTION EDITING (double-checking all formatting issues), and INDEX EDITING. (more…)

Storytelling, Part 1

October 10, 2016

Tags: oral storytelling

At the Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD, I recently participated in a panel on oral storytelling of true stories as a way to work out a story before writing it. Panel co-organizer Ellouise Schoettler, a nationally known storyteller, has a sign hanging in her office: "Tell your story before someone else does it and gets it wrong." (more…)

Addictive and wonderful TV and cable shows

September 26, 2016

Tags: best TV shows, series, great TV

I created this list for friends, but send it so often I decided to post it here. It is not at all organized, and I did not try to cover the universe.
Friday Night Lights. Avoided it for years because I thought it was about football (which is incidental). Gave it 2 or 3 episodes and then I was hooked, right through the ending.) Read this: Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Couldn't Lose: An oral history of Friday (more…)

Do blurbs help sell books?

May 24, 2016

Tags: blurb, testimonial

by Pat McNees
My first experience asking experts to read and maybe praise a book was with DYING, A BOOK OF COMFORT, an anthology I put together after my father's death. It was designed to sooth the frightened and bereaved. The Literary Guild asked me for a list of people who might comment, which I provided, (more…)

Who owns an interview? Who controls the right to use it?

May 18, 2016

Tags: copyright, rights, intellectual property

by Pat McNees
Who owns (or is assumed to own) the copyright in an interview seems to vary among professions (say, journalists and oral historians) and sometimes those doing the interviewing seemto be taking too much advantage of the people they are interviewing. (more…)

The Hubbub About Sci-Hub

May 4, 2016

Tags: Sci-Hub, open access, Elsevier, pirated papers

Welcome to Sci-Hub, the Pirate Bay of science. "A researcher in Russia [ Alexandra Elbakyan} has made more than 48 million journal articles -- almost every single peer-reviewed paper every published -- freely available online. And she's now refusing to shut the site down, despite a court injunction and a lawsuit from Elsevier, one of the world's biggest (more…)

The Panama Papers: Exposing the rogue offshore money maze

April 7, 2016

Tags: investigative journalism, ICIJ, Panama Papers, offshore accounts

filed by Pat McNees

The Panama Papers: Politicians, Criminals, and the Rogue Industry That Hides Their Cash

Panama Papers: Exposing the Rogue Offshore Finance Industry (International Consortium of Investigative Journalism) Giant leak of offshore financial records exposes global array of crime and corruption. Millions of documents show heads of state, criminals and celebrities using secret hideaways in tax havens. Brilliant coverage by the (more…)