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
BY DAVID WOLMAN Bad news first. That page on your website so lovingly curated and carefully updated with links to your published work? No one reads it. OK, maybe your Mom and … Read more
Help WD Choose Our Next Annotated Classic. We’re Considering Huck Finn, Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes, and More!
Have you ever wondered how your favorite literary classic became a celebrated work of fiction, or how the works of Dickens, Twain, or Conan Doyle have stood the test of time? With Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics, you can explore the most memorable and important works in literature through the lens of a writer. By studying the authors’ uses of plot, structure, theme, character, setting, dialogue, and more—and by assessing how each decision affected and influenced the story—you’ll learn valuable lessons you can apply to your own novels.
Right now, we need help picking the next classic to annotate. To formally vote, take our short survey (2 questions). Read more
I apologize for the tardiness of today’s prompt; I had some unexpected news last night that I’m still trying to process. That said, it did inspire this week’s prompt… For this week’s … Read more
You have ideas for stories, but when you launch your word processor, you stare helplessly at a blank page. Every time you try to write, you end up spending the evening watching videos of cats on YouTube instead. Why is this happening? We’ve all been there. Here are a few things that might be getting in your way:
1: You don’t know which story to pick. You don’t just have one idea, you have several. Writing a book is a big commitment. You want to take time to carefully consider what you’ll be spending the next year slaving over. No sense rushing in to things, right? Read more
Time for another WD Poetic Form Challenge. This time around, we’ll be writing the bref double, a 14-line French poetic form that is not a sonnet. Like many French forms, there’s a … Read more
About Jessica: Jessica Watterson joined SDLA in late 2013, and currently assists Sandra Dijkstra and Elise Capron. She graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a degree in Sociocultural Anthropology and English. Jessica has made books a serious part of her life for many years. During college, she started an indie review blog which has featured author interviews and has reviewed several self-published books that eventually ended up on the New York Times Best Seller list.
She is seeking: Jessica is most interested in all subgenres of adult and new adult romance, and women’s fiction. She is looking for heartfelt and unique romance that will instantly draw a reader in and keep them hooked. Read more
Agent One-on-One Boot Camp: Your First Ten Pages — Starts May 16, and Includes an Agent Critique of Your First 10 Pages
As many writers know, agents and editors won’t give your work more than ten pages or so to make an impact. If you haven’t got them hooked by then, it’s a safe bet you won’t be asked for more material. Make sure you’ve got the kind of opening they’re looking for! In this invaluable weekend event, you’ll get to work with an agent online to review and refine the first ten pages of your novel. You’ll learn what keeps an agent reading, what are the most common mistakes that make them stop, and the steps you need to take to correct them. The best part is that you’ll be working directly with an agent, who will provide feedback specific to your work. It’s all part of the Agent One-on-One: “Your First Ten Pages” Boot Camp that begins on May 16, 2014. Seating is limited. Read more
When friends know that we’re writers, they sometimes ask us to read and critique their works-in-progress. Handling these requests can be awkward. As friends, we want to help; as writers, we want to protect our own writing time. If we offer professional critiquing services, as many of us do, we also want to protect our earning time. Here I offer several perspectives, from rather delicate situations, on how to handle friends’ requests.
When You’re a Fellow Writer: Pearl told me a truly horrendous story about helping a colleague. She had met Lydia (names changed for protection) in a local coffee shop. They bonded over a mutual devotion to mystery novels, respective blocks, and laptop frustrations, and started meeting monthly… Read more
Whew! After poeming every day in April, it feels a little awkward going a whole week without a prompt and poem, doesn’t it? But that’s okay, we’ve still got Wednesdays! For this … Read more
I’ve always been an admirer of French poetic forms, and I’m really digging the unusual flexibility offered with the bref double. It’s a quatorzain, which is any stanza or poem of 14 … Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring A. Lynden Rolland, author of the YA supernatural novel OF BREAKABLE THINGS. Her agent is Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent.
GIVEAWAY: Lynn 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 print book, whereas other readers worldwide can win the ebook. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: naturalred78 won.) Read more
He is seeking: Regarding fiction: “I love literary, commercial, and upmarket fiction. Thrillers with tremendous commercial appeal and strong writing are of particular interest to me—I’m a fan of anything from Lee Child to John le Carré. As a reader, I enjoy period novels in any genre. 20th century wars provide some of my favorite temporal settings, for instance. I love novels with high concepts (think THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker, or LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson) and books that can teach me about new cultures and transport me to new countries are always among my favorite.” Regarding nonfiction: “A self-avowed foodie, I avidly devour cookbooks and am interested in working with authors who share this passion of mine. My tastes veer towards books with a strong narrative element—I’m seeking political books, memoirs, investigative and journalistic works, or titles that place a specific region, historical event, person or thing under a microscope. For instance, I’d love to read more about the Middle East, especially works in which contemporary issues are explored in new ways.” Read more
In this new boot camp starting May 8, the agents at Foreword Literary will help you understand New Adult fully from all aspects of the business. Whether you need to know the rules of the category, how to pitch it to agents, or how authors are hitting the bestselling lists with modern marketing techniques, Foreword has the answers for you.
Once you register for this May 8 One-on-One Agent Boot Camp, you’ll be assigned your own personal agent for the event. He or she will review the first 1,200 words and 1-page synopsis of your work-in-progress. You’ll get personalized feedback on the quality of your writing, as well as insights into how to generate the most revenue in today’s market. At the end of the boot camp, you’ll have a greater understanding of which publishing options to pursue and how to make the most of them. Read more
Whew! What a poetry challenge! Here are some raw numbers: 30 days 35 prompts (including 5 “Two for Tuesday” prompts) 21,515 comments (and counting) 30 guest judges 1 amazing month! So, what’s … Read more
Ack! Today is the final day of the challenge! For people catching up, I’m giving a 5-day buffer between each day’s prompt–so the cut-off will be 11:59 p.m. on May 5 (Atlanta, … Read more
Here’s a quick behind the scenes of the April PAD Challenge: I always get the prompts set in stone before the month begins. There are a couple reasons for this, though the … Read more
Another poetic form challenge, another round of great reading–and tough decisions! The problem with these form challenges is not finding 10 great poems, but limiting it to 10–and then, choosing a winner. … Read more
Note: Today is the final day to sign up for a special poetry boot camp with Daniel Nester. Learn how to free up your creativity with this special event. Click to continue. … Read more
Agent Maria Ribas is seeking: She’s interested in cookbooks, self-help, health, diet, home, parenting, and humor, all from authors with demonstrable platforms. She’s also interested in narrative nonfiction and select memoir, but she’s looking for a story that is absolutely un-put-down-able. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and proficient in Italian and will be working with select foreign authors. Read more
I hope everyone’s having a great time with the challenge; I know I am! But I’m already looking ahead to what’s happening on the blog in May and beyond. I’ve interviewed more … Read more
Poetry is so much bigger than any one poet, genre of poetry, or school. It’s also bigger than any one blog or website. So I want to share a few of my … Read more
Writer’s Digest wants to recognize the hard work that you have been putting into your book. That’s why, every year, we look for the best from authors in their self-publishing ventures. Whether … Read more
There have been two new (really cool) developments in the April PAD Challenge this year: the guest judges and the anthology. Speaking of the anthology, there is a pre-order deal for 20% … Read more
Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day! My choice for a poem today is “The Problem Is With Semantics,” by Tammy Foster Brewer (yes, my wife!). If you want to learn more about … Read more
I scare children for a living.
As the author of a middle grade horror series, my job is to deliver stories that frighten and thrill my readers. Those readers tend to range in age from ten to fourteen, which makes delivering on that task more difficult than you might imagine. My readership is growing up in the age when video games are rife with monsters and violence, when YouTube offers limitless access to scary independent films and, of course, when “The Walking Dead” is the number one show on television. So, if I want to inspire some good old fashioned fright in my fans, I need to do more than yell “Boo!” Here, then, are seven tips for scaring the pants off of young readers:
GIVEAWAY: Ty 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: Lisa won.) Read more