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October 2014 Issue
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Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards—Deadline Coming Soon!
Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards—Deadline Coming Soon!
Hurry—submit your short story by October 15!
Submit your best short stories in the Romance, Thriller, Young Adult, Crime, Horror or Science Fiction genres for a chance at the Popular Fiction Awards Grand Prize of $2,500 cash and a trip to the 2015 Writer’s Digest Conference!
Enter as many stories as you like in multiple genres, but all entries must be fewer than 4,000 words. Don’t delay—this could be your winning year!
Writing Editor Blogs
Guide to Literary Agents Blog
by Chuck Sambuchino
GLA Editor Chuck Sambuchino keeps track of all news related to literary agents and writing conferences on his blog. Common features include agent interviews, new agency listings, agency profiles, upcoming conferences of interest, contests and other publishing opportunities, valuable writing resources, submission tips and information, and a blogroll of other agent blogs. Read Chuck’s Blog
There Are No Rules
by the editors of Writer’s Digest
Get on the cutting edge of today’s publishing trends and how authors can succeed in a world of fast-paced technological change, guided by the editors of Writer’s Digest. You’ll get an inside look at the work, play, and passion of the publishing business and find practical tools for success. Read There Are No Rules
Questions & Quandaries
by Brian Klems
Don’t know the difference between “who” and “whom”? Facing an ethical dilemma about accepting gifts from subjects? Let the informative (and humorous) columnist Brian A. Klems answer some of your most pressing grammatical, ethical, business and writing-related questions. Check out his advice and don’t hesitate to ask a question—your writing career will thank you. Read Brian’s Blog
by Robert Brewer
Published poet Robert Lee Brewer blogs on issues affecting poets from the poet’s perspective. As the editor of Writer’s Market, Brewer also shares insights on the publishing industry, especially as it relates to poetry and the poetry markets. He also explains poetic forms, interviews other published poets, and provides the occasional poetry prompt. Read Robert’s Blog
I’m sorry for taking so long to share the winner of the madrigal challenge. I’ve known for a week or two now, but you know what they say about good things coming … Read more
About Julie: Before joining The Seymour Agency, Julie Gwinn most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press and before that served as Trade Book Marketing Manager and then Fiction Publisher for the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group, a Division of LifeWay Christian Resources. Last year she was awarded Editor of the Year from the American Christian Fiction Writers and won B&H’s first Christy award for Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel Words.
She is seeking: Christian and Inspirational Fiction and Nonfiction, Women’s fiction (contemporary and historical), New Adult, Southern Fiction, Literary Fiction and Young Adult. Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Lori M. Lee, author of GATES OF THREAD AND STONE. 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 of good luck and quick signings.
GIVEAWAY: Lori is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. Read more
“Find an Agent and Get Published” — WD Premium Collection is 11 Great Items Bundled Together at 80% Off
Are you ready to get your book on the shelves? Whether you’re just starting to write your novel or have dozens of submissions under your belt, this new “Find an Agent and Get Published” collection includes everything you need to successfully get your work into the market. Learn how the publishing industry has changed and how you need to format and submit your proposal in order to build a solid reputation. Get insight from experienced agents on common mistakes writers make and how to craft an irresistible query letter. If you’re serious about having a long-term, prosperous career as a writer, you need to develop the business-savvy skills necessary to land an agent and get published. And the 11-item kit is yours for 80% off. (Not too shabby!) Read more
2. Be a dedicated reader for at least two people. Funnel some generous literary karma into the writing community by offering to be a reader, even if you don’t have a dream reader of your own. (Such relationships are often not mutual, anyway.) Never doubt that in your writing life, what goes around, comes around. Besides, critiquing the work of another writer hones the ability to self-critique. I’m fortunate enough to trade “Monday pages” with a stellar writer named Heather Sellers. It’s a work relationship so intense I call her my “writing wife,” but I also read frequently for another excellent writer who doesn’t read for me.
GIVEAWAY: Dylan is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. Read more
If you haven’t heard yet, we’ve completed the list of finalists and winners from the 2014 April PAD Challenge. 300 finalists, 30 winners. Click here to view the results. And then, share … Read more
1) Structure Scenes like Mini-Novels: Each one should contain its own narrative arc, with rising action and a climactic moment that signals the end of the chapter. It’s good form to finish most chapters on a cliffhanger—especially the first one. A major dramatic question should be raised in the opening scene, and then resolved in an unexpected or unfavorable way to hurl the main character further into the conflict (and thus drag your readers into the story). Get your protagonist in trouble as soon as possible and never let her get too comfortable or too safe. As far as chapter length, I’ve found that an average of five pages (double-spaced, size 12) works well for keeping up the pace.
GIVEAWAY: Kira is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. Read more
How do you hook an agent right away, keep them hooked, and make the most of your new publishing relationship? In this Boot Camp starting Oct. 1, 2014, “How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent,” you’ll learn how to get a literary agent’s attention through a great submission, and also how to navigate the process of working successfully with an agent. You’ll also work with an agent online (the instructing agents are from Sandra Dijkstra Literary) to review and refine your all-important query letter and the first five pages of your novel. As always, seats in the boot camp are limited, and many WD camps sell out — so consider signing up sooner rather than later. The Oct. 1 camp is a great opportunity to get professional feedback on your writing. Read more
It’s that time again: time for another poetic form challenge. And, as you may have guessed, we’ll focus on the terzanelle this time around. Click here to read the guidelines on writing … Read more
He is seeking: “Middle Grade: for younger readers I am on the hunt for a humorous, intelligent fantasy; a scare-the-pants-off-me ghost or haunting story; fast-paced literary writing similar in style to Jerry Spinelli and Cynthia Lord. I have soft spots for larger-than-life characters and atmospheric setting (creepy and/or quirky). Young Adult: I’m always looking for genre-bending books that can be an exciting puzzlement when thinking about how precisely to market; specifically mystery and crime for teens, the grittier the better; high-concept contemporary stories with addicting romantic tension. I’m a sucker for themes of finding your place in the world, new beginnings, and summer-before-college stories. New Adult: my tastes in New Adult tend to be more darkly skewed but I would love a well-executed story that shares the same excitement, wonder, and invigoration of books like LOSING IT. Although I appreciate any story that’s told well in great language, in New Adult I’m more concerned with being entertained and gripped by the edge of my seat than in being stimulated. Adult: I would love a psychological suspense based on actual events, i.e. CARTWHEEL by Jennifer Dubois which fictionalized the Amanda Knox trial and hooked me from beginning to end. Alternatively, I’d love high-concept women’s fiction; either an exquisitely told story huge in size and scope, or a less ambitious novel that simply warms my heart.” Read more
Please welcome Glenda Council Beall to the blog. She was inspired to write a guest post after reading Jeannine Hall Gailey’s post on poetry book reviews last month. I really enjoy the … Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Margo Kelly, author of the YA thriller WHO R U REALLY? 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 of good luck and quick signings.
GIVEAWAY: Margo is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. Read more
There’s never been a better time to be an author. It’s an oft-stated truth, as the digital technology driving the publishing revolution now enables creative people around the globe to develop and market content in truly unique ways. But with anything new and unfamiliar, questions are sure to follow … Read more
Before we get into today’s prompt, be sure to check out my first year as a traditionally published poetry author. In the post, I share things that I think I did right, … Read more
My debut full-length poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems, was released by Press 53 last September. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at what has happened since then … Read more
BY AMY PARKER “Write what you know,” the adage goes. But when my heart pulled me way outside my knowledge base to help Rwandan Frederick Ndabaramiye write his unbelievable story, I knew … Read more
What do you get when you mix two super popular Italian poetic forms, specifically the terza rima and villanelle? The terzanelle, of course! It combines the lyricism of the terza rima with … Read more
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 66th installment in this series is with agent Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary) for Stefanie Gaither’s young adult novel, FALLS THE SHADOW (Sept 2014, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Kristi Helvig, author of BURN OUT, said of the book: “[It's] a smart, futuristic thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very last page. This is a fantastic debut.” Read more
BY RENÉE THOMPSON Ray Bradbury once said if you’re a writer and you’re blocked, well, you’ve picked the wrong subject then, haven’t you? At least he had a subject. For me, writer’s … Read more
She is seeking: Young Adult/Middle Grade Fiction: Contemporary/realistic, mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, historical, horror, sci-fi. Adult Fiction: Literary thrillers, sci-fi, horror, romance, erotica, women’s literary fiction. Adult Nonfiction: Pop culture, blog-to-book, literary memoir. Lean more about querying her by clicking on the blog link and seeing her entire spotlight. Read more
Above your desk is a bulletin board, crammed with outlines, assorted index cards with character descriptions, fliers from places you went for research, cards from agents and editors you met at assorted writers conferences, a postcard from a favorite book (note to self: next query don’t forget to mention your story is just like this one!), yellowed movie stubs from Crazy Stupid Love and Pride and Prejudice, a calendar indicating all the dates from sent queries, and a plethora of erratically stuck Post-it notes of varying colors and sizes holding minutiae ranging from brilliant snippets of dialogue to the color of the suit your villain will wear when he jumps the hero behind the warehouse. Read more
You know those times when you wish you were completely alone? Not because you wish for peace and quiet, but because you hate the fact that others witnessed what just happened to you? I’m talking about those embarrassing moments, the ones when your face burns so hot that you feel like you might just melt down into the ground – and you wouldn’t mind if you did! You know, those moments!
Here’s my advice for what to do next time you have a mortifying moment: harness it. Use it to fuel your writing. Allow yourself to be empowered by embarrassment. It can add humor to your writing and boost audience appeal. Trust me, humiliation is hot. It is!
GIVEAWAY: Kami is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. Read more
BY KELLY JAMES-ENGER I’ve been writing about making money as a freelancer for well over a decade now. I have written five books, dozens of articles and hundreds of blog posts about … Read more
The new 2015 edition of the Guide to Literary Agents is out, all updated and packed with info. I realize there are other places you can turn to for information on agents, but the Guide to Literary Agents has always prided itself as being the biggest (we list almost every agent) and the most thorough (guidelines, sales, agent by agent breakdowns, etc.). That’s why it’s been around for 24 years and that’s why it’s sold more than 320,000 copies. It works—and if you keep reading, I’ll prove it to you below with proof from 47 people.
THE GIVEAWAY!!! Comment on this post and just say anything nice about any element of Writer’s Digest you enjoy — from a blog post to a class or a book or anything else. In two weeks (Sept. 25, 2014), I will pick 3 winners randomly to win a copy of the book! It’s that easy. Read more
I’m on vacation this week, which means I’ve been trying to stay as far away from the computer as I can most of the time. Mostly, I’ve just been messing around in … Read more