Chinese Author Hailong Hao: “If a Thing Is Worth Writing and Only I Can Write About It, Then Putting It Into Words Is My Responsibility”

Hailong Hao is a jack of all trades. He earns a living as a teacher, but also hosts a blog and a podcast. As a translator, he was responsible for the Chinese version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm; as a writer, he recently published his debut novel. In our interview, Hailong talks about his desire to express himself through fictional texts, and the switching of roles between translator and writer.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

My name is Hailong Hao. I am originally from China, but I live in Canberra, Australia’s capital. Canberra is a city planned from scratch and constantly reminds me of Trantor, the capital city in the Galactic Empire series by Isaac Asimov.

Hailong Hao (Chinese: 郝海龙)

Teaching is my bread and butter. I coach students for GRE and SAT (GRE and SAT are admission tests for grad schools/colleges in North America), and I teach logic and rhetoric courses that prepare scholars to study abroad. In China, people know me as a podcaster of BitVoiceFM and KeepCalmPodcast and as the translator of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I also define myself as a writer. In my spare time, I write poems, lyrics, and, occasionally, reflective essays on technology. Although my current work engagement doesn’t allow me to write full-time, I still manage to find the time. In the future, I’d like to flourish and grow as a writer.

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How to Write a Novel With Ulysses, Part II: Research, Editing, and Export

Cover of Matt Gemmell's novel TOLL

Matt Gemmell is a thriller writer from the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. He wrote his recent book, TOLL — which was published less than two weeks ago — using Ulysses. We invited him to share a few details of his writing process and how he uses several of the app’s features to help him. Last week, he covered his project structure, the manuscript’s organization, and the writing process; plus he explained his use of keywords and word count goals. In today’s post, Matt shares how he is going about reference and research related to his novel and treats the subjects of editing and export.

Reference and Research

When I wrote my first novel, I didn’t fully plan it out beforehand, and I ended up having to do an enormous rewrite after the first draft. It was a horrible process, and it dented my confidence (and motivation). I learned my lesson! For the second book, I fully outlined the entire novel before I started working on the first scene, and the writing process was much, much easier because of it. Read …

How to Write a Novel With Ulysses, Part  I: Organization and the Writing Process

Cover of Matt Gemmel’s novel TOLL

A Guest Post by Matt Gemmell

Matt Gemmell is a thriller writer from the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. He wrote his recent book, TOLL — which is out this week — using Ulysses. We invited him to share a few details of his writing process and how he uses several of the app’s features to help him. In this post, he covers his project structure, the manuscript’s organization, and the writing process; plus he explains how he is making use of keywords and word count goals. In a second post, Matt will talk about how he is going about reference and research related to his novel, and treat the subjects of editing and export.

TOLL is the result of two years of work, and is the second book in my KESTREL series. It’s around 100,000 words long, and required a great deal of planning, research, and organisation. I used various tools for the planning stages, but ultimately I moved almost everything into Ulysses, to keep all my book-related material in one place and easy to access.

Here’s how I went about it. Read …

Novelist Jeanine Krock: “Writing Is a Lonely Job, so You Need to Be Comfortable in Your Own Company”

Jeanine Krock
Jeanine Krock

Sometimes, life takes unexpected turns. It was a severe riding accident that forced Jeanine Krock to change careers. That was fifteen years ago; today, Jeanine makes her livelihood as a novelist. She has published numerous books with various publishing houses and acts as a coach to aspiring writers of all ages.

A German version of this interview is available on the website Die Wortfinderinnen.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

My name is Jeanine Krock. I’m a novelist. Most of what I write I publish under my name, but there are times when I’m using a pen name. Right now, for example, I’m writing as Kiri Johansson, and have just completed the first draft of a novel called Islandsommer (“A Summer in Iceland”), to be published by Heyne in May next year. It’s now with the editors, which, for me, is always a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

I trained as a costume designer, but have also worked as a scout and booker at a model agency, as a relocation consultant, waitress, cook, and in a call centre. At one point, I even ironed shirts for a living. Oh, and I’m a committed European.

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“When I Started the Book Project, Ulysses Became My Lifesaver”

As a consultant and trainer, Barbara Hoisl helps tech companies to turn innovations for the Internet of Things into successful products. The challenge for these companies isn’t merely technical; they also need to embrace the mindset, strategies and business models from the software world that greatly differ from their own industry. Barbara’s book “Produkte digital-first denken” (“Inventing products digital-first”) is based on her work with decision-makers on this subject. Writing it did not turn out to be as easy as she had hoped.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

Barbara Hoisl
Barbara Hoisl

I’m a computer scientist by training and have been working in the software industry since the early nineties.

In 2010, I started my own consulting business, focused on strategy and business planning for software and Internet companies.

Since 2014, I’ve been doing more and more consulting in the Internet of Things (IoT) space. For example, I’m working with vendors of high-tech industrial products who are developing smart, connected products for the Internet of Things. I help them leverage the mindset, strategies and business models from the software and Internet industry to turn their innovations into successful products. Read …

Architect and Book Author Geoffrey Makstutis: “There Is a Sense of Release as the Words Come out on the Screen”

Geoffrey Makstutis is an architect and works in one of the world’s largest education companies. He also writes books; the latest, Design Process in Architecture, will shortly be released with Laurence King Publishing. From having an idea for a book to its actual release, it can be a long journey. Geoffrey describes how his ideas take shape in Ulysses, how he’s handling images (his book contains a lot of them), and how copyright clearances, reviews and translations contribute to the complexity of the whole process.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

Geoffrey Makstutis

Originally from the United States, for the past 28 years I have lived and worked in London. I am an architect, educator and author. I studied architecture in the United States and the United Kingdom; with most of my professional practice being within different firms in the UK. I’ve worked on projects; ranging from small residential schemes to large cultural institutions, in the UK, US and Far East. In 2004, I became a full-time academic; running the architecture program for a UK university. Since 2016, I have been working for one of the largest education companies in the world, developing vocational qualifications related to construction, art & design and creative media production.

What is writing for you — a profession, a hobby, or a calling?

Writing plays multiple roles in my life. My professional work involves a great deal of writing; ranging from producing reports to developing qualifications to creating training materials. When my day-to-day work was purely academic, I did a good deal of research; so I was involved in writing research proposals and research reports. In addition, I was often reviewing and writing academic policy information.

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Read Short Stories, Write Short Stories

The Short Story Project is a digital platform for curated and hand-picked short stories, most of which are available in multiple languages and as audio versions. Just recently, the platform launched a short story competition. We talked with the initiator, the Israeli author Iftach Alony, about it.

Portrait of Iftach Alony in his office
Iftach Alony, initiator of The Short Story Project

Short stories, Alony says, always have been his passion. In his opinion, they suit the pace of our time: “I believe, life can be better explored and investigated through short stories rather than novels.” The wish to draw more people to a (wrongly) neglected genre was part of his motivation to start the project. Read …

Author and Teacher of Creative Writing E. Christopher Clark: “That’s My Mantra: Just Get to Work”

E. Christopher Clark writes fiction about fractured families, lust gone wrong, and memories as time machines. In October 2017, he published his first novel, derived from a one-act play written twenty years ago in college. In our interview, he talks about the process of writing and the things that helped him to go through with it. Also, he discusses the benefits of studying creative writing at the university. As a teacher and holder of two degrees in the field, he knows a thing or two about it.

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

My name’s E. Christopher Clark and I published my first novel, Missing Mr. Wingfield, in October 2017 to celebrate turning 40. In 2018, I’m aiming to top that by releasing not one but two new books: Bad Poetry Night, a collection of poems that came out in April to celebrate National Poetry Month; and The Seven Wives of Silver, a collection of pulpy 19th-century stories set on Cape Cod that’ll be out this fall.

E. Christopher Clark
E. Christopher Clark

What made you start writing in the first place?

In 2nd or 3rd grade, we were given the assignment to write the story of a picture we’d pasted to a piece of construction paper. That challenge — of turning visual inspiration into text-based storytelling — thrilled me, and working from photographs and drawings is still something I do today.

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Author Thomas Meyer: “I Think Most Couples Are Unhappy”

Thomas Meyer, Photo: Foto: 2teNaturManufaktur
Thomas Meyer, Photo: 2teNaturManufaktur

The Swiss writer Thomas Meyer used to earn his living with advertising copy before he started publishing books and essays. His debut novel, published in 2012, was a bestseller in his home country; it was also turned into a movie and will hit the theaters in October 2018. Meyer’s latest book is entitled Trennt euch! (“Break up!”); it is a treatise for unhappy couples aiming to help them break up. We asked Meyer a couple of questions about the book and the writing life.

Do you believe in the one great love?

I don’t believe in the singularity of great love. But I also don’t believe that a great love equals a great relationship.

Your book aims to encourage couples to end their relationships. Why did you write it?

It encourages only unhappy couples to break up. I wrote it because I think most couples are unhappy and because I wanted to show them a way to end their suffering. And to understand the reasons why they entered an unhappy relationship. Read …

Web Developer and Tech Blogger Tiffany R. White: “Teaching Other People Is a Great Way to Understand a Concept”

While Matt Gemmell gave up his job as a software engineer for writing thrillers, Tiffany R. White has gone her way in the opposite direction. She studied English and had plans to write a book, but then realized that she preferred writing code over writing fiction. Today Tiffany is a front-end web developer. Writing, albeit of a more technical kind, still plays a major role in her life.

Tiffany R. White
Tiffany R. White

Please tell us something about you and what you are working on.

I am a front-end web developer in Pittsburgh, PA, US. I am currently working on a web app called Check Yo Self (a riff on a 90’s rap song by Ice Cube) to check the spelling and grammar of your markdown blog posts. I am also working on a podcast with short episodes full of the latest developer news and insights.

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