September 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting July 31st
- Build Your Novel Scene by Scene
- 28 Days to Your WordPress Site
- Essentials of Mystery Writing
- The Art of Storytelling 101: Mapping & Pacing
- Writing the New Adult Novel
- Blogging 101
- Essentials of Technical Writing
Workshops Starting August 7th
- Build Your Novel Scene by Scene
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.
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
For this week’s prompt, write a poem about something in the room (or space) you’re sitting. The poem could be about a physical object in the room (or space). It could be … Read more
1. Create a question in the reader’s mind right at the beginning. This might seem like a cheap trick, but even a literary writer like Marquez uses it at the beginning of a novel: “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” What? The Colonel is facing a firing squad? How did he get there? Will he survive? And notice the secondary information: ice in this world is a novelty. Where is this place? How long ago is it? In my own first novel, the beginning is tighter: “The Senator’s wife was late. Very late.” Hopefully the reader is intrigued: Who is this woman? Why is she late? Will she show up? And as the protagonist of my novel waits for the Senator’s wife, the reader waits, too, and gets sucked into the story. Read more
Making Your Children’s Book Shine and Stand Out Above the Rest — Aug. 22 Webinar With Critique by Agent Danielle Smith
Picture this: You’re sending your children’s book manuscript off for its very first round of submissions, but you hesitate. Everyone questions their work and often wonder if it’s “finished.” After dozens and possibly hundreds of revisions when do you say enough is enough? When your hard work is ready to put into the hands of an agent, editor, or reader you want it to shine from the first to the last line. So how do you best accomplish this?
In this brand new live webinar, “Making Your Children’s Book Shine and Stand Out Above the Rest,” instructor and literary agent Danielle Smith will show you how to put the finishing touches on a manuscript and enable you to feel confident when sending it out to agents & editors. In addition to sharing her own tips and tricks, Danielle will examine pages from recently published picture and chapter books to show you examples of those spots that can often make or break your manuscript in the eyes of readers. It all happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, and lasts 90 minutes. Don’t forget that at three literary agents have signed writers after critiquing their work as part of a WD webinar! Read more
Please join me in welcoming Shaindel Beers back to the Poetic Asides blog. If you follow me on social media sites, you may already know Shaindel’s most recent book, The Children’s War … Read more
Before I learned to ride my own motorcycle, I rode a hundred thousand miles on the back of my husband’s. I’d prop a book on his back and read during the boring stretches. One day, outside Kernville, California, a dog ran in front of the bike. After a gut-clenching scare, he trotted back the way he came. But it gave me a germ of an idea for a story that wouldn’t leave me alone.
I debated for over a year. Who was I to write a book? Authors were way smarter than I. One day, while staring at a blank Word doc, I looked down. Hey, I had a ‘delete’ key! I could write the book, and no one would ever have to see it. So that’s what I did. But a year and a half later, when I finished, I had a new goal. I wanted to hold a book in my hand with my name on the cover.
So I sent queries to agents — 170 of them. I had a few requests for full manuscripts, but ultimately, everyone turned me down. Read more
August 26-29 Boot Camp: How to Submit Your Work. Agents at Kimberley Cameron Literary Critique Queries, Synopses, Manuscripts & More
When your submission materials – a query letter, synopsis, manuscript, or book proposal – arrive in an agent’s inbox, they land among hundreds of others. Our all-new August 2013 Writer’s Digest Boot Camp is designed to help you streamline your submission materials to stand out in a good way. Attendees will learn how to write a dynamite query letter, tackle a one-page synopsis (for fiction) and a book proposal (for nonfiction). The instructing literary agents will also explain the importance of author platform in addition to basic etiquette in dealing with an agent and manuscript basics.
Lastly, all attendees will have an opportunity to interact one-on-one with an agent at Kimberley Cameron & Associates and submit 10 double-spaced pages of materials (in any combination–query, synopsis, book proposal, first pages of your manuscript) for valuable feedback provided by successful literary agents. It all happens starting Aug. 26, 2013. WD Boot Camps often sell out, and there is a limited number of seats. Read more
After writing the poems, organizing the poems, submitting the poems, getting an acceptance, blowing the collection up, promoting the collection, and securing blurbs for the collection, the poet’s job surely must be … Read more
He is seeking: As an agent, Jacob is particularly committed to working closely with writers to bring their work to a higher editorial level. He is currently looking for journalists, bloggers, academics, Sci-Fi/Fantasy writers, playwrights, and memoirists contemplating relevant social and philosophical issues in new and creative ways. Read more
This interview features Frank Weimann of Folio Literary Management. The founder of the Literary Group International since 1986, Frank and LGI joined Folio Literary Management in July 2013 as Senior Vice President and Director of Operations. He has worked with celebrities, athletes, and novelists, as well as Pulitzer, Caldecott, and Nobel Prize winners, and his client list has included Joe Bonanno, Larry Bird, Terry Bradshaw, Bill Russell, Britney Spears, Gregg Allman, Sammy Hagar, Maria Menounos, Rodney Dangerfield and Nancy Grace. In addition to book sales, he has optioned and licensed numerous titles for film and merchandise, including October Sky, Flags of Our Fathers, and I Heard You Paint Houses.
He is seeking: Narrative and prescriptive nonfiction, memoir, military, history, diet & fitness, science, as well as young adult. He does not seek: Poetry, screenplays, or YA paranormal Read more
Kerri Majors is the editor and founder of YARN, the Young Adult Review Network, an online literary journal of YA short stories, essays, and poetry. As if this role doesn’t keep her … Read more
3. Publication will happen when you least expect it. You’ve sent in your amazing manuscript, one that will have editors clamoring to publish it, pushing the advance into the stratosphere. For the next two weeks, you sit by the phone (or carry it with you wherever you go) willing it to ring. With each little beep and buzz, you fish it out of your purse or run from the bathroom with your pants around your ankles so you don’t miss “the call”. Yeah, right. I was offered my contract while my husband and I were on a freeway off ramp, trying to keep the mattress we were moving from sliding off the truck. He was miffed I chatted on the phone instead of helping. He got over it. Hard as it is, it may take a while for you to hear – if you ever do. Send it in and move onto the next project. Read more
Aaron Belz is no stranger to the Poetic Asides blog. He’s been interviewed here after his Lovely, Raspberry collection was released, and he participated in my Google+ Hangout experiment in April. But … Read more
1. Stay scared. If you want to really scare people with your writing, you need to keep your fear close. You need to experience that fear. Often. Memory is a poor substitute for the real thing—that cold sweat heart-thumping spine-shaking hair-raising feeling of total, mind-numbing terror. That abandoned house you walk by on the way to work? Go explore it. The old insane asylum at the edge of town that was recently converted into apartments? Move in. See what happens. The neglected cemetery with all the ghost sightings? Be there, at midnight. That creepy pitch-black basement in your grandparents’ hundred-year-old farmhouse? Go down there, alone, after everyone else has gone to sleep. Leave the flashlight upstairs. Read more
Sorry for the late prompt today. Busy, busy morning. Totally unrelated, I just wanted to share this list of the Top 200 Advocates for American Poetry put together by Seth Abramson for … Read more
Falling out of a writing mood can happen to the best of us, and getting back in can be tougher than talking your way into a secret, after-hours, invite-only nightclub. But if … Read more
Please join me in welcoming Victoria Chang to Poetic Asides! It’s rare we get a poet with degrees from Harvard University and Stanford Business School, but Victoria has degrees from there, in … Read more
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that, as the name suggests, comes from the idea that technology never developed beyond steampunk. The science can deviate a bit from there, but that’s generally where it all starts. It’s a look into what could have happened had science and industry taken a different turn, but didn’t.
Guest column by Matt Betts, author of the 2013 steampunk debut ODD MEN OUT. Read more
It’s time for another poetic form challenge, and this time we’re focusing squarely on the 4-line Welsh form, the gwawdodyn. Here are the basic rules for the gwawdodyn: Quatrain (4-line stanza) with … Read more
Julie is seeking: “Right now I’m especially interested in YA and middle grade fiction, and I’m always on the lookout for original and un-put-downable graphic novels and nonfiction — a great crossover genre that can work equally well for adults and young readers. In YA fiction I love smart, funny writing and complicated emotions (check Peter Cameron’s Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You: for me, a perfect novel), and stories that are so extraordinary they cross genres and audiences (The Golden Compass). In both YA and middle grade I love adventure, fantasy, friendship, romance, mystery, and the occasional fast-paced thriller.” Read more
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