July/August 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting July 24th
- Writing Personal Essays
- Fundamentals of Nonfiction
- Creative Writing 101
- Essentials of Business Writing
- Fitting Writing Into Your Life
- Writing Online Content
Workshops Starting July 31st
- Writing Personal Essays
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
Agents Barbara Poelle and Holly Root Cover It All With Their “How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies” Webinar on March 28
If you don’t know who Barbara Poelle and Holly Root are, I’ll tell you. They are both awesome literary agents who both sell a lot of books and also are extremely good at teaching writers how to improve their work. Basically, they’re super-cool and super-smart. And now, somehow, the planets have aligned and they are teaching an intensive new webinar together while offering critiques for all registrants.
The cover-all 90-minute webinar is called “How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies,” and it happens at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 28, 2013. Every registrant will get feedback from the agents on their query letter and first page. 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 installment in this series is with agent Alyssa Reuben (Paradigm Literary) for Moses Gates’s travel memoir, HIDDEN CITIES: Travels to the Secret Corners of the World’s Great Metropolises; A Memoir of Urban Exploration (Tarcher, March 2013). Publishers Weekly said, “Urban exploration with Gates makes for wildly entertaining reading. A solidly entertaining ride for those seeking a gritty travel experience.” Read more
Using emotion to create strong, emotional characters and move a plot is critical for any writer in any type of genre. Knowing what kind of emotion to use and how to use it … Read more
This is not technically a New Agent Alert because William is actually an established rep in the business. That said, this post will resemble such an agent spotlight because William wants writers alerted that he is actively building his client list right now. Such a call-out from an established agent happens rarely, so learn more about William Callihan of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency and see if he is a good fit for your book.
He is seeking: “I am currently most interested in narrative nonfiction and memoir, comedy and pop culture, American history, crime and commercial thrillers, and literary fiction.” Read more
2. Picture book language is often more sophisticated than the first chapter books that children read, and therefore an excellent way for children to learn language. It is here that children, and others, can learn vocabulary, imagery, rhythm, shape, structure, conciseness, emotional power.
3. The picture book is the most flexible of all literary formats. You can do almost anything in a picture book. This flexibility encourages creativity, in both writer and reader. It broadens the mind, and the imagination. And given today’s challenges, we desperately need more creativity, broadened minds and imagination. Read more
Find your device early in your planning or drafting process. Laura Whitcomb included devices in a book about first drafts for a reason. In The Anatomy of Story, John Truby puts the device fourth in a twenty-two step process. He uses the term “designing principle,” and while we can debate whether he means a precise synonym for “device,” it’s clear from the word “designing” and from its early appearance in the process that this element should be groundwork for your story.
Remember Aaron Sorkin: Once he had his “recent past” device, he undoubtedly knew his next step was to choose the time period. That decided, he had a wealth of material where he previously had a gaping hole. A strong device guides you, first draft to last. Read more
This installment features Brooks Sherman of FinePrint Literary Management. After a two-year stint with the Peace Corps in bucolic West Africa and a one-year stint in the savage jungles of Hollywood, he is thrilled to be living once more in Brooklyn. As befitting his chosen career in publishing, he subsists on a diet of breadcrumbs and bourbon.
He is seeking: Adult fiction that runs the gamut from literary and upmarket to speculative (particularly urban/contemporary fantasy rooted in realistic settings, horror/dark fantasy, and magical realism), as well as historical fiction and crime fiction. On the children’s side, he is seeking middle grade novels of all genres (but particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), and is open to YA fiction of all types except paranormal romance. He would especially love to get his hands on a dark and/or funny contemporary YA project Read more
Please check out the latest WD Poetic Form Challenge. The current form is the rispetto. For this week’s prompt, write a walking poem. The poem can incorporate any type of walk or … Read more
This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers (this installment written by Chandler Klang Smith, author of GOLDENLAND PAST DARK) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent — by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.
GIVEAWAY: Chandler 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: CheffoJeffo won.) Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Julie Kibler, author of the literary fiction debut novel, CALLING ME HOME (2013). 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: Julie 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: alshultz won.) Read more
Before we get into the full onslaught of the April PAD Challenge, let’s complete one more WD Poetic Form Challenge. This time, we’ll be writing the rispetto. There are two versions of … Read more
Ask any writer—at any level—what writing program he or she would most like to get a glimpse inside of, and chances are the answer will be the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The first … Read more
Kaylee is seeking: Kaylee is actively seeking to build her client list in the genres of sci-fi, fantasy, speculative fiction, and young adult; bonus points if there are elements of steampunk, coming-of-age, urban fantasy, espionage, social commentary, or counter culture. Kaylee is drawn to exciting, thought-provoking stories with a fresh perspective that explores what it means to be human. She accepts queries from new and emerging writers. Read more
Story Physics: How to Craft Your Best Fiction — New March 21 Webinar With “Storyfixer” Larry Brooks (With Synopsis Critique!)
We all know that writers want to take their novel (or screenplay) to the next level. That’s why we have “The StoryFixer” Larry Brooks teaching the all-new webinar “From Good to Great: How to Apply the Principles of Story Physics to Craft the Best Fiction of Your Life” at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 21, 2013. It lasts 90 minutes. (All registrants will get a one-page synopsis critiqued by instructor Larry Brooks!) Read more
Who better to ask for advice on how to keep an agent’s attention than an agent? Carlie Webber of CK Webber Associates maintains an excellent blog on all kinds of writing and … Read more
Need the advice of a master? Have you tried asking? You wouldn’t listen to a record by Bob Dylan and then drop him a note, tell him what a fine record it is, and that you, too, write songs and are wondering if he has any advice for a struggling musician.
It’s preposterous, of course. But you can write to writers. There’s even a fair chance—and what more can you ask than a fair chance?—they’ll read your notes and write back. They’ll look over your scars and show you theirs, and in that way spur you on like no one else could. Read more
For this week’s prompt, write a baby poem. The poem could be about a human baby, animal baby, or any other type of baby (alien, plant?). Remember: Baby could be an expression … Read more
1. High Concept is easier to sell. Within three years of writing fiction, I had a couple of books, a few partials and had a lot of story ideas in my head, but agents kept telling me that The Colony was my best shot at getting published. They said the premise was high concept: When a supercolony of one trillion ants attack Manhattan, two divorced entomologists are brought together to stop the invasion before the president nukes the city. A high concept novel can be summed up in one sentence that instantly gets the listener excited and paints a visual image of what the book is about. It should have broad appeal and a killer title, like Jurassic Park, The Godfather, or Jaws. It’s easier to sell because it’s pitch-driven, not sold on execution. Considering how hard it is to publish a first novel, that’s definitely something to keep in mind.
GIVEAWAY: AJ 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: missnelso04 won.) Read more
Few questions inherent to the writing process spark as much passionate back and forth among writers as this: To outline, or not to outline? In my years as editor of Writer’s Digest … Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Tessa Harris, author of THE DEAD SHALL NOT REST, whose literary agent is Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency. 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