November/December 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting October 23rd
- World-building in Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Writing Personal Essays 101
- Fundamentals of Nonfiction
- Essentials of Mystery Writing
- Creative Writing 101
- Breaking into Copywriting
- Query in 14 Days
Workshops Starting November 1st
- World-building in Science Fiction & Fantasy
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
Do you happen to live anywhere near Lexington, KY or Clarksville, TN? If so, there are some great (and affordable) writing events coming up in June 2013 that feature literary agents in attendance taking pitches. I have the honor of teaching at both events and look forward to meeting writers at both. The first conference is the Clarksville Writers Conference, June 6-7, 2013. The second conference is the Carnegie Center’s “Books in Progress” Conference, June 7-8, 2013. Read more
Emma is seeking: “I am on the lookout for literary and commercial fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, historical fiction, narrative nonfiction, pop culture, memoir, food writing, and YA and MG fiction and nonfiction. I’m open to mostly any project with strong writing, an original premise, and a story that immediately grabs me – and I still think about weeks after I’ve finished reading it. I’m especially drawn to stories that make me cry, laugh, or transport me to a world that’s new to me. So long as the writing is strong, I don’t shy away from dark or quiet stories. I don’t tend to like category or genre fiction.” Read more
2. “The Stalking Test” — Staring at a boy or girl from a distance is fine, every once in a while. Especially if the staring shows something he/she is doing that helps the reader get to know him vs. telling how attractive he/she is. A few mentions of observation/appearance are plenty. If your main character or main love interest spends an unhealthy amount of time observing another person without that person knowing, it’s probably gone a bit overboard.
GIVEAWAY: Kasie 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: Rosi won.) Read more
Consider James Lee Burke. Sure, his novels are everywhere these days. Bookstores. Airports. Bestseller lists. But here’s how they got there. As Lindsey O’Connor detailed in our profile of the author, Burke published … 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 61st installment in this series is with agent Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary Agency) for author Mike Martinez’s Fantasy/Steampunk novel THE DAEDALUS INCIDENT (May 7, 2013; Nightshade Books). Read more
Please welcome Karen Rigby to the Poetic Asides blog! Rigby is the author of Chinoiserie (Ahsahta Press, 2012), winner of the 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize, and of the chapbooks Savage Machinery and … Read more
1. Know Your Process. Before I even got my agent or my books found a publisher, I had a writing schedule, and set deadlines for each stage of the process. At the time, it felt a little ridiculous, but I’m glad I did this now. I know exactly how fast I can write a first draft, or how long it takes me to do a deep edit. So when my editor asks me to complete a task by a certain time, I know what it’ll take to get me there.
GIVEAWAY: F.T. 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: Linda Hatton won.) Read more
Agent John Cusick Teaches How to Create Great Characters — New May 16 Webinar (With Query Critique!)
Every novel is driven by character. We fall in love with heroines, cheer for heroes, and loathe our villains. Characters draw us in, and through them we experience our favorite stories. Without a compelling cast, even the most engrossing tale can fall flat. What makes some protagonists iconic, while others go up in smoke? How can we create rich motivations without burdensome back-story, or nuanced supporting characters without stealing focus from our protagonists? How can we populate our novels with an unforgettable ensemble our readers will love? The answer involves giving your characters a great blend of relationships, history and motivations.
That’s why we’re excited to have a new webinar taught by literary agent and author John M. Cusick (Greenhouse Literary) called “FULL CAST: How to Enrich and Expand Every Character in Your Novel from the Leading Man to the Background Extras.” The event happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, June 16, 2013, and lasts 90 minutes. Read more
For today’s poetry prompt, write an “on the run” (or “on the loose”) poem. Could be a person on the run, or an animal, or even an idea. Here’s my attempt: “stopping … Read more
Perhaps because I’m in the process of revising a novel manuscript myself, the advice in the May/June 2013 Writer’s Digest Guide to Pain-Free Revision really resonated with me as I pieced it … Read more
1. While you should certainly feel free to include characters of whatever age you choose, make sure there’s at least one teenager. While young adults often read books without teenaged characters (I was partial to Somerset Maugham stories and Solzhenitsyn, to cite a needlessly bizarre example) those generally aren’t considered part of the YA genre.
2. Make things more complex, not less. You may feel an impulse to simplify things in an attempt to make your story more accessible, but I would resist that. Read more
Recently I was asked to talk to a group of ‘beginning writers’. Mind you, these people were adults; it’s not like they were in the first grade just learning how to spell … Read more
William is seeking: “In fiction, I’m looking for strong voices that have the authority to draw me into a different world—even if that just means a fresh perspective on the world we live in day to day. I like novels of many different styles—Larry McMurtry, Ann Patchett, Walker Percy, Evelyn Waugh, and Daniel Woodrell are some favorites—but I always appreciate authors who strive for that challenging balance between inspired, inventive prose and a gripping, detailed story. Being a native North Carolinian, I love southern fiction, and would be proud to help keep the tradition going strong. I also have a soft spot for story collections, although the market for them is very tough these days. In nonfiction, I’m interested in literary memoir, popular science, narrative history, and smart sportswriting. I am not interested in practical nonfiction (cookbooks, diet books, how-to), YA, or genre romance/thrillers/fantasy.” Read more
2. Give yourself permission to keep writing. I’ve heard writers say, “If I haven’t sold something within the next two years, I’ll know I should give up.” Or, “If I don’t make money from writing by January, I’ll know I should stop spending so much time trying, because it’s disruptive to other areas of my life.” But by giving the universe an ultimatum, you’re letting external circumstances decide the course of your creative pursuits. Instead, take charge of your own future. Give yourself permission to keep writing despite discouraging feedback or missed timeline targets. Believe you deserve to continue, no matter what happens.
GIVEAWAY: Holly is excited to give away a copy of King Solomon’s Wives: Hunted to a random commenter. (Comment within 2 weeks.) The book is digital — for Kindle, Nook, and Android, and through the Kindle app on iPhone, iPad, PC, and Mac. (Update: souldancer won.) Read more
Please join me in welcoming S. Thomas Summers to the Poetic Asides blog. Summers is a teacher of Writing and Literature at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, NJ and an adjunct … Read more
Based on interviews with authors over the years, conferences, editing dozens of issues of Writer’s Digest, and my own occasional literary forays and flails, here are some points of consensus and observations: … Read more
5. Don’t stick to that same old familiar novel you’ve been working on for years. Writing a novel is like dating. When I was dating, every time I broke up with a guy, I’d think, “Oh, no. I have to start all over.” We’re afraid if we break up—either a relationship or leaving a book behind to start another–nothing better will come along. For that reason, we cling to what isn’t working. Yes, you love the characters you created. They are so clever and the chemistry or suspense is so strong—but they aren’t real. You’ll find your true love but you must keep learning. That won’t happen in a book you’ve written and rewritten. At some time, you have to move on and find a new love. Read more
For this week’s prompt, write a chapter poem. This could be the first chapter of a book…or last chapter. It could be the chapter of an organization. Or a chapter of your … Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Tiffany Hawk, author of LOVE ME ANYWAY. 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: Tiffany 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: Marie Rogers won.) Read more
This installment features Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC. After graduating from Ithaca College with a BA in English and minors in writing and theater, she completed a six-month internship with Sourcebooks before joining Talcott Notch. She also Tweets.
She is seeking: In fiction, she accepts young adult and middle grade, women’s fiction, romance, paranormal, and mysteries. She also considers nonfiction, with a strong interest in the arts. Read more
It took awhile, but here’s the winner post for the most recent poetic form challenge: the rispetto. I enjoyed reading both versions, though I noticed most poets favored the 8×8 version, including … Read more