November/December 2013 Issue
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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
Amazing First Lines: How to Write Great Openings — Aug 15 Webinar With Critique by Agent John Cusick
Using examples from young adult fiction, literature, pop culture, film, and television, this 1-hour presentation will explore the craft of startling, intriguing, and unforgettable openings. Discover how to capture and hold a reader’s— or agent’s or editor’s— attention, interest, and excitement from word one.
In this live webinar, “Amazing First Lines: How to Write Great Openings,” instructor John Cusick (Greenhouse Literary) uses his unique expertise as both an agent and author to explore the power of opening lines to establish a relationship with the reader, create a strong first impression, and even encapsulate the whole of a story and theme in a single sentence or paragraph. The whole thing happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, and lasts 90 minutes. Don’t forget that agent-instructors Louise Fury, Barbara Poelle and Kathleen Ortiz have all signed clients after critiquing their work as part of a WD webinar. Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Amy Gail Hansen, author of THE BUTTERFLY SISTER. 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. Amy’s literary agent is Elisabeth Weed of Weed Literary.
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. (UPDATE: Debbie won.) Read more
This is part 4 of an 8-part series on what I’ve gone through to get my debut full-length poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems, published by Press 53 (click here to learn … Read more
Here’s another example of a fiction synopsis. This time it’s THE WAY, WAY BACK (2013), and, yes, the synopsis below has spoilers. If this were a book, it would probably span the bridge between young adult and middle grade. The biggest challenge with this one was cutting down on which characters to give attention to. You’ll notice how the chatty neighbor is not mentioned, nor is Steve Carell’s daughter, and the neighbor friends are barely mentioned. A synopsis is not designed to introduce everyone; it’s designed to show the main characters and the story’s three acts. Read more
1. Because it’s fun. If you don’t enjoy writing short stories, then never mind: you probably shouldn’t be doing it. But if you’re avoiding writing them because you believe that you have to write a novel in order to have a career as a writer, I beg you to reconsider.
GIVEAWAY: Suzanne is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners can live anywhere in the world to win. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: Kris won.) Read more
For this week’s prompt, take the phrase “Holy (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Example … Read more
1. Rejection is required. I used to see rejection slips as the bane of my existence. Every rejection felt like a backwards step in my writing career. But every writer has been rejected at one time or another—usually before ever being accepted. Once I began to look at each rejection as a necessary step on the road to acceptance and publication, rejection slips stopped being bad news and started being good news. Every rejection brings you a little closer to your goal.
GIVEAWAY: Charlie 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: August Priest won.) Read more
Please welcome Melissa Carl to Poetic Asides! Melissa is a teacher and poet who lives in York, Pennsylvania and Oak Island, North Carolina. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various … Read more
About Sharon: Sharon Pelletier is joining DGLM after working for Europa Editions, Vantage Press, and Barnes & Noble. She graduated with English and History majors from Hillsdale College in Michigan in 2006, and moved to New York in 2009 to work with books in the city of skyscrapers and brunch. Born in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, she now lives in Astoria.
She is seeking: Sharon is interested in witty literary fiction and smart commercial fiction featuring female characters who are strong but not necessarily quirky. She is also interested in compelling narrative nonfiction that tells a little-known story. Read more
Writing the Thriller: The Secrets to Keeping Readers Up All Night — Aug. 8 Webinar by James Scott Bell
Thrillers are enormously popular today, constantly appearing on bestseller lists every week. To write them successfully you need more than a penchant for action—you must understand the foundations of what makes the best thrillers work every time. So why not get advice from a published thriller author who also teaches on writing and structure?
The result is the new webinar, “Writing the Thriller: The Secrets to Keeping Readers Up All Night,” at 4 p.m., EST, Thursday, Aug. 8. 2013. It lasts 90 minutes. By the time this webinar is over, attendees will understand what keeps readers turning the pages, common writing pitfalls in the genre, and how to attract the interest of thriller agents & editors. Read more
The gwawdodyn is a Welsh poetic form with a couple variations. However, both versions are comprised of quatrains (4-line stanzas) that have a 9/9/10/9 syllable pattern and matching end rhymes on lines … Read more
I am now going to give you the super-secret key to being a good writer. You will probably read it and say, “Phoo, Chapman, I’ve known that for years.” That may be, but if you are honest with yourself, you struggle with it, as I do, every time you sit down to write. Good writing is the successful communication of a truth. In retrospect, it seems self-evident, but I’ve read plenty of stories where the writer was trying to convince me that there was significance in his or her gossamer. Literary trickery can’t substitute for honesty. Read more
This is part 3 of an 8-part series on what I’ve gone through to get my debut full-length collection of poetry, Solving the World’s Problems, published by Press 53 (click here to … Read more
Not human babies, silly. More “word babies” — a.k.a. books. I cannot believe how many people write only one book and lay all their hopes and dreams on it. I never went that far, but I was guilty of putting my one book on through the submission process and endlessly obsessing over it for a long time before starting a new one.
1.) Most published authors can tell you that their first few novels were rejected before they made their big break. Stephen King had several novels and countless short stories rejected before he wrote CARRIE and became my hero. The fact is the majority of first novels fail. Most published authors didn’t land a book deal until their second, third, or even fifth manuscript. In my case it was my third. Don’t be disheartened. Your first manuscript provides priceless value in learning your craft. There may even be a few spare parts you can recycle. Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Natasha Yim, author of pictures books, including SACAJAWEA OF THE SHOSHONE. 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: Natasha is excited to give away a free copy of her picture book 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: burrowswrite won.) Read more
Good morning, poets! I have a couple announcements this morning: First, I announced the the winner of the WD Poetic Form Challenge for the Cinquain yesterday. Click to continue. Second, the results … Read more
1. Once you have finished a good first draft don’t look at it for a while. Go back to it after having some space and you will see it afresh. This is even more important for novels. When you have spent such a long time on a piece of prose you really need to get some distance from it to be able to see it clearly.
GIVEAWAY: Jenni 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: Inkstrokes won.) Read more
2. Keep a writer’s notebook. Brilliant thoughts are fleeting. You need to pin them down before they get away. Because I write about the sixties, I often find character traits and plot points when reading obituaries in the New York Times, for example, and if I don’t capture those flashes of insight, they will leave me. I annotate my clippings and put them in my bulging notebook. Some ideas are for the second book I’m writing now, while others will fit in the third or fourth of my Austin Starr series. I’ll be delighted to find the clippings a few years from now when I start writing the relevant stories. My mind is like my bulging notebook, and sometimes things fall out because of crowding. It’s far easier to keep the physical clippings together.
GIVEAWAY: Kay 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: annemarielacy won.) Read more
As I was going through all the cinquain submissions, I saw a few poets muse over how I must go through all the poems. So before I share the winner of this … Read more
She is seeking: “I am only accepting middle grade and young adult fiction manuscripts. I’m open to any genre within those age groups, but prefer speculative fiction. Contemporary is not my favorite, but I will look at it. I am not interested in seeing poetry, novels in verse, short stories/novellas or anything focused on saving the environment (I’m all for recycling, but don’t want to represent it).” Read more
Expert Advice on How to Write a Query Letter: Literary Agent Kate McKean Explains How in Her Aug. 1, 2013 Webinar, and Critiques Attendees’ Queries
It’s no secret that a writer’s query letter is extremely important in their quest to get a literary agent and get published. Agents evaluate dozens of queries a day, and make requests for more material from the few letters that impress them. They’re crucial, and that’s why people never get enough articles or advice or samples concerning them. If you’re having trouble with your query letter, why not let a literary agent not only instruct you, but also critique your letter, as well? Sounds pretty sweet to me. The agent in question is the awesome Kate McKean, and the webinar is “The Anatomy of a Query Letter” at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. Don’t forget that at least 3 agents have signed clients after critiquing their work as part of a WD webinar! Read more
This is part 2 of an 8-part series on the process I went through to get my debut full-length collection of poetry, Solving the World’s Problems, published by Press 53. Click here … Read more