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September 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting August 21st
- Focus on the Short Story
- How to Blog a Book
- Outlining Your Novel
- Freelance Writing
- Query in 14 Days
- Creativity and Expression
- Fundamentals of Writing for Children 101: Picture Books
- Conflict and Suspense
Workshops Starting August 28th
- Focus on the Short Story
Is Your Manuscript Ready for Publication?
Is Your Manuscript Ready for Publication?
After an evaluation of your submission, one of the professional 2nd Draft critiquers will provide feedback and advice. You’ll not only learn what’s working in your writing, but what’s not, and—most important—how to fix it.
2nd Draft provides a high-level review of your writing, pointing out reasons your work may be getting rejected, or may not meet the standards of traditional publication.
Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents Blog
Chuck Sambuchino is an editor and published author who runs the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, one of the biggest blogs in publishing. His site has instruction and information on literary agents, literary agencies, query letters, submissions, publishing, author platform, book marketing, and more.
Let’s Start Training. The bulk of marathon training consists of longer runs interspersed with rest and recovery days. Your writing schedule should follow the same premise: A few short writing stints, followed with a longer write on Saturday or Sunday (your Long Writing Day, or LWD). A good beginning might be 30 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and two hours on your LWD. Use this time to refine your voice and familiarize yourself with characters and motives. You may feel “sore” after these sessions, but no matter: You’re building up your writing muscles. Read more
4. The Distractor. She wants to talk about anything and everything but writing. Her children started swim lessons last week, her mother-in-law is visiting Paris next month, it’s windy (cold, hot, rainy, etc.) outside, her favorite hairstylist is moving salons… you get the idea. She often has to leave the group session to take phone calls or return text messages. While I love the fact I’m more than just writing to my wonderful writing group, when we get down to business it’s ALL about the writing and that time is precious.
GIVEAWAY: Donna 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. (Update: Sprunty won.) Read more
It’s no secret that one of the biggest stories of the past few years is the rise of e-books and the potential money to be made selling them. It seems like each week we hear about some author — either an established one or a new scribe — who recently made a mint selling e-books. With all this in mind, we wanted to design/offer a brand new webinar all about how to make money off e-books and navigate today’s complicated digital waters. We’ve enlisted storytelling master James Scott Bell to teach the 90-minute webinar, “How to Make a Career Out of eBooks,” at 1 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2013. Read more
1. Research Comes First. Because I new little about tuberculosis or life on a farm in the 1920’s, I began reading novels set in that time period, North Carolina history books, memoirs written from sanatoriums, and doctors’ accounts of the disease. I consulted experts at the North Carolina Museum of History and the Swannanoa Valley Museum. It took about six months of dedicated research before I was ready to write.
GIVEAWAY: Shannon 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. (Update: madeline40 won.) Read more
I’d like to take a minute to introduce blog readers to writer Madeline Wahl. Madeline is the recent awesome winner of the name-that-tune “Tunesday” contest I hosted several weeks back. She, like many readers of this blog, is a cool writer looking for an agent and for her writing to find a home. Learn more about her and connect with her on Twitter. Read more
He is seeking: “Fantasy/sci-fi (particularly of the young adult variety) has long been my default, but I also appreciate and am actively looking for women’s fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, and historical nonfiction. While I love escaping into an incredible new world, I’m a big sucker for really well-done literary fiction (something like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which sheds light on who we are as humans).
“As regards my first love, fantasy, I am very selective. I strongly prefer fantasy that is somehow grounded in the real world, be that through the integration of mythology (as in the Percy Jackson series) or through a fantasy universe being hidden inside our own (as in the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia series). Read more
Writer’s Digest’s new Premium Collections are a pretty cool deal. What happens is that a bunch of our products and/or services are bundled together and sold at a ridiculous discount. For February 2013, the “Writing for Children & Young Adult” collection is 10 awesome products bundled together and sold at 83% off. Each collection has a limited number — and is sold for a limited time — so check out this amazing premium collection (and get your book for kids published!) before it sells out. Read more
Where writers are concerned, there are plotters and there are pantsers. Pantsers fly by the seat of their pants when they write a story. They start off with no more than a kernel of an idea or a first sentence or a character, and away they go. They have no idea where they are going, but somehow the story takes over, and they make it—I would say, miraculously—to the end with a complete book.
Writing a book this way gives plotters hives. I’m a plotter and thinking about writing a book pantser-style puts me into a panic and gives me an irresistible craving for a pitcher of margaritas or a package of Oreos. Read more
Cute baby photo warning! My first baby — daughter Geneva Rose Sambuchino — turns 3 months old today. She was our precious Halloween arrival, and each day she continues to wow us with her absolute cuteness. Here are some pictures of this little angel growing bigger by the day. I figured I would share them for any readers who love baby pics. (I also posted pictures of her a few days after she was born.) Enjoy! Read more
1. Write the book you want to read but can’t seem to find. Of course, by doing this, you run the risk of writing a book that no one but you wants to read! But what the hell, right?!? There’s no guarantee that anyone else will want to read your story anyway! And seeing as you’ll be re-reading it and revising it for months, maybe years, you probably ought to like it to begin with, if only for your mental health! I also like to think that this technique will help make your novel as unique and strange, and hopefully as interesting, as you are.
GIVEAWAY: Chris is excited to give away a free copy of his 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. (Update: ABLyttle won.) Read more
3. A Receptive Audience Will Await. Since Islandport Press released Strangers in October 2012, I’ve realized the extent to which people who love Old Orchard Beach (Maine) love the idea of a book set there. The town has only about 8,000 year-round residents, but the population swells to more than 100,000 in the summer. Since Strangers was released, I’ve been getting emails and Facebook messages from people who were previously … umm … strangers to me … saying they feel as though reading the book has allowed them to vicariously visit a place they love. Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Lynne Raimondo, author of DANTE’S WOOD. 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. If you have a literary agent and would be interested in writing a short guest column for this GLA blog, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk specifics.
GIVEAWAY: Lynne 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. (Update: lanieww won.) Read more
She is seeking: As a domestic agent, Rachel seeks children’s projects of all stripes, from picture books through to young adult fiction, as well as select fiction and nonfiction projects for adults that are wonderfully written and completely absorbing. “In terms of adult fiction, the strength of the voice and quality of the writing is what is most important to me. I am seeking literary as well as upmarket/commercial projects, and would love to see projects with crossover potential as well as those that blur the boundaries between genres – especially in the thriller, fantasy, and historical categories (but a polite no thank you to straight genre writing)…” Read more
Here are 6 things I learned from a pirate about writing. It turns out pirates and writers need the same things in their arsenal. Every pirate (and writer) needs:
1. A hook: Hooks grab the reader in the first few sentences or can be found at the end of a chapter to keep the pages turning. EXAMPLE: “Captain Hook stood on the edge of the plank. Below swam a wide-mouthed crocodile chomp-chomp-chomping at the air between Captain Hook and the sloshing sea…” Read more
Adam is seeking: Adam is interested in literary fiction and well-crafted commercial fiction; work that captivates the reader with its prose and its plot. He is also seeking humor, YA, smart thrillers, historical fiction, and debut literary novels. For non-fiction, he is interested in memoirs, politics, science, popular culture, and current events. Read more
3. Don’t invent a series character you wouldn’t marry. You may have to live with this character for a very long time. Agatha Christie famously wanted to throttle Hercule Poirot and his mustaches with her bare hands before she was done with him or he with her. By the same token, avoid Agatha’s mistake in inventing an elderly protagonist unless you yourself are elderly.
GIVEAWAY: G.M. 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. (Update: Julia Munroe Martin won.) Read more
Agent Jennifer Laughran Teaches the Webinar “Catching and Keeping an Agent” (and Critiques Registrants’ Queries!) on November 21, 2013
This week, literary agent Jennifer Laughran (Andrea Brown Literary) is going to provide a ton of instruction in her brand new webinar for WD. The webinar’s instruction is about both the process of finding & pitching agents as well as what to do after you have an agent. But to round out the presentation, Jennifer is critiquing the query letter of all registants. Virtually no topic of the publication path will go unaddressed.
Jennifer will teach “Beyond the Query: Catching and Keeping an Agent” at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, March 7, 2013. The webinar lasts 90 minutes, and each registrant gets their query critiqued by Jennifer. Read more
“Your Story’s First Pages: How to Engage Readers” — Jan. 24, 2013 Webinar With Critique by Agent Kathleen Ortiz
It’s no secret that the first several pages of your manuscript are of the highest importance. The truth is that agents and editors size up your writing within a minute at the most. If you don’t have their attention on Page 1, they stop reading. It’s that simple. Because it’s imperative that your work starts strong and avoids overused techniques or cliches, we’ve enlisted literary agent Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary to help. Kathleen is teaching “Your Story’s First Pages: How to Engage the Reader” – a new webinar (with a critique of your first 500 words!) on Jan. 24, 2013. Read on to learn more. Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Scott Dominic Carpenter, author of the short story collection, THIS JEALOUS EARTH. 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. Read more
It’s been 4 years since I featured an interview with literary agent Jessica Regel on this blog, so I thought now was as good a time as ever to touch base with her and ask what’s subjects and genres she’s seeking right this very minute. Seeing as how she is currently seeking new clients, she was happy to talk with us. Jessica is a literary agent at Jean V. Naggar Literary in New York City. Read what kinds of books she seeks on the full GLA page! Read more
Welcome to the 13th (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 you’re writing either a science fiction novel (adults or teens) or any kind of young adult novel, this 13th contest is for you! (The contest is live through January 31, 2013.) Read more
1) You can’t do too much research. In the military, we often say time spent gathering intelligence is seldom wasted. The same concept applies in writing a novel. You never know what little detail will give a scene the ring of authenticity. In a college creative writing class, I wrote about how a scuba diver got cut underwater, and in the filtered light at depth, the blood appeared green. Though the professor didn’t think much of that particular story, he did concede he liked that detail. In fact, he said, “The author must have seen that.” And indeed, I had. Read more