Author Archives: Chuck Sambuchino

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7 Things I Learned So Far, by Heather Sellers

3. Come in through the side door. If you are too on the nose, you lose your reader. Coming in through the front door means your piece is about exactly what it says it is about. But our pleasure in reading is figuring things out. Set up the writing so your reader gets to...

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16th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Middle Grade Fiction

Welcome to the 16th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA Blog. This is a recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if...

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New Literary Agent Alert: Mackenzie Brady of New Leaf Literary

She is seeking: Her taste in nonfiction extends beyond science books to memoirs, lost histories, epic sports narratives, true crime and gift/lifestyle books. She is particularly interested in projects with a strong narrative and a female bend. She represents select adult and YA fiction projects, as well. Her favorite novels are almost always dark,...

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Self-Editing Advice: How to Tackle Character Consistency

Keeping your character(’s) traits consistent is very a important step in polishing your manuscript, especially if it’s written from multiple points of view (POVs). For example, if you have one character who constantly swears, and has a tendency to lose his/her temper at the drop of a hat, you do not want your other...

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Authors Lisa Gardner and M.J. Rose Talk Character, Genre Definitions, Writing Process & More

On Wednesday, bestselling authors (and recent coauthors) M.J. Rose and Lisa Gardner held a session on creating compelling characters and suspenseful narratives at ITW’s ThillerFest. Here are some takeaways from their advice, and some excellent quotes from the Q&A that followed. Lisa Gardner on perfect heroes: “A character needs flaws to seem real. Without them,...

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The 7 Essential Elements of a Bestselling Novel

On Wednesday afternoon, legal thriller author and writing instructor William Bernhardt (the Ben Kincaid series) outlined the 7 elements he says make for an unputdownable novel--be it thriller, mystery, suspense or other. Here are his his guidelines for crafting a blockbuster. 1. Readability. All authors should strive for clarity, but bestselling authors go beyond simply...

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New Literary Agent Alert: Paul Lamb of Howard Morhaim Literary

About Paul: Paul Lamb of Howard Morhaim Literary Agency is a graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and was a recipient of a POSSE Scholarship. Paul joins the agency after nearly a decade in Marketing at both Penguin and Random House, with various imprints. Owing to his professional experience in trade publishing, Paul...

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Genesis of a Memoir: How I Came to Write My Story

In the fall of 1986, I was ten years old, and I found myself sleeping on the muddy ground of a temperate rainforest on an island in Washington State. The muddy bed was supposed to be temporary. My alcoholic Salvadoran stepfather was building a wooden pyramid for us to live in, one that would...

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How I Got My Literary Agent: Jessica Arnold

“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Jessica Arnold, author of THE LOOKING GLASS. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are...

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New Literary Agent Alert: Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary

She is seeking: Whitley is primarily interested in Young Adult, Middle Grade, and select Upmarket Women's fiction. She likes characters who are relatable yet flawed, hooks that offer new points of view and exciting adventures, vibrant settings that become active characters in their own right, and a story that sticks with the reader long...

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Successful Queries: Agent Allison Hunter and “A Royal Pain”

This series is called “Successful Queries” and I’m posting actual query letter examples that succeeded in getting writers signed with agents. In addition to posting these query letter samples, we will also get to hear thoughts from the writer's literary agent as to why the letter worked. The 68th installment in this series is with...

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Author Interview: Lindsay Cummings, Author of THE MURDER COMPLEX

I love interviewing debut authors on the blog. This is because aspiring writers can look at their path to publication and identify what they did right. Today's featured author is Lindsay Cummings, author of the YA futuristic thriller, THE MURDER COMPLEX (June, Greenwillow Books). Lindsay Cummings is a 22-year-old author of YA and MG books...

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Author John Searles Proves Nice Guys Finish First

Someone once told me, “You can't get by on just being nice.” But in the publishing world, if you're nice to readers they will adore you and you'll sell more books. Here's proof. I had no intention of buying John Searles' novel Help for the Haunted when he visited Colorado recently. I have two shelves...

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New Literary Agent Alert: Alexander Slater of Trident Media Group

Alexander is seeking: Alexander is interested in children’s, middle grade, and young adult fiction and nonfiction, from new and established authors. As he says, “I’m looking for projects that will rise above the rest…characters you’ll remember well past childhood…books that translate well to film because within them contain incredible stories, not because they’re...

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How I Got My Literary Agent: Kristi Belcamino

“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Kristi Belcamino, author of BLESSED ARE THE DEAD. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others...

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7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Sally Koslow

5. Read your work aloud. You may sound full of yourself, but this is the best way to listen for rhythm--or lack of it, to zone in on klutzy spots and to hear words you may overuse: all, always, just, so, usually, very, perhaps, really… If you repeat words, be intentional about it. This...

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How I Got My Literary Agent: Natalia Sylvester

“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Natalia Sylvester, author of CHASING THE SUN. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are...

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New Literary Agent Alert: Mary Krienke of Sterling Lord Literistic

She is seeking: Mary represents literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and realistic YA that pays close attention to craft and voice. She is especially drawn to new and emerging writers who seek to push boundaries of form and content, and she responds most strongly to writing that reaches great emotional and psychological depths. She is...