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
I’ve been having a wonderful April, and I hope you have too. Counting this morning’s poem, I think I’ve already written more than 30 poems this month (not all of my writing … Read more
Nothing in the world of writing can cause anxiety-induced panic attacks quite like waiting on a response from a literary agent. And crafting that perfect query letter is as important as anything … Read more
A few people have sent me e-mail messages asking if I’m going to favor this type of poem or that type of poem; if I’m looking for this kind of poet or … Read more
Before we get started today, I just want to take a moment to thank all our guest judges for volunteering their time, energy, and talents to this year’s April PAD Challenge. Be … Read more
Agent Michelle Richter is seeking: Michelle is primarily seeking fiction, specifically book club reads, literary fiction, well-crafted women’s commercial fiction, thrillers, and mysteries. For nonfiction, she’s interested in fashion, film, television, science, medicine, sociology/social trends, and economics for trade audiences. Read more
Recently I gave the keynote speech at the 2014 Northern Colorado Writers Conference. The whole event was an amazing blast. The NCWC is based in Fort Collins, CO, an amazing city to visit. It’s filled with college students, fun people, indie shops, microbreweries, and the like. I have pasted some fun pictures from the event below in the post. If you like anywhere in the area of Fort Collins, check out this event in years to come. It’s hosted in the spring (usually March or April) and has great people, agent pitching, sessions, gatherings, critiques, and more. It’s my second time teaching (after 2008) and I’m glad I went again. Read more
I’ve been playing with forms a little this month. It’s something I do when I start to feel a little stuck in my writing. Imposing rules–oddly enough–seems to free me up a … Read more
At the beginning of the challenge, there’s a lot of excitement about starting; at the end of the challenge, there’s excitement (and sadness) over finishing the challenge; but in the middle, it’s … Read more
One of the cool things I was asked to do already this year is to be a guest judge at the InterBoard Poetry Community for the first three months of the year. … 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 66th installment in this series is with agent Sara Megibow (Nelson Literary) for Stefanie Gaither’s young adult novel, FALLS THE SHADOW (Sept 2014, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Kristi Helvig, author of BURN OUT, said of the book: “[It's] a smart, futuristic thriller that grabs you and doesn’t let go until the very last page. This is a fantastic debut.” Read more
Yesterday afternoon, I posted about the value of poetry (at least in my eyes). Spoiler alert: It’s more than just publication credits and rolling around in hundred dollar bills. In fact, it … Read more
In the opening poem (“matters of great importance”) of my collection, Solving the World’s Problems, I ask a simple question: what’s more important / writing a poem / or building a bridge… … Read more
BY EVE BRIDBURG, Executive Director of GrubStreet The first time I heard the term “publishing agnostic” was in November of 2011 at the Park Plaza hotel in Boston. Barry Eisler used it … Read more
I can’t help it. Days 15 and 16 of these challenges always gets a certain song stuck in my head. You know, this song by an American rock band from New Jersey … Read more
I am speaking at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR, on May 3, 2014. It’s the Arkansas Writers MFA Spring Publishing Conference. The university was nice enough to invite me down to speak for a day. It’s a quick, simple day of sessions that can help writers, and includes my talks on:
1) How to Get Published: What Writers Can Do For Their Career Right Now
2) Everything You Need to Know About Literary Agents and Query Letters
3) Book Publishing Options Today: Your Paths Explained Read more
Want to learn more about me than you thought you could possibly handle in one interview? Great! One of my favorite poets, Nin Andrews, interviewed me over on the Best American Poetry … Read more
Yesterday, I mentioned how guest judges Daniel Nester and Vince Gotera suggested possible poetry prompts. Well, today’s guest judge, Jericho Brown, is only one who requested a specific day to be a … Read more
Genre Preferences: Rebecca Podos of Rees Literary Agency is primarily interested in Young Adult fiction of all kinds, including contemporary, emotionally driven stories, mystery, romance, urban and historical fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. Occasionally, she also considers literary and commercial adult fiction, new adult, and narrative nonfiction. Read more
I often come up with prompts for my weekly Wednesday Poetry Prompts on the fly. However, I try to get all my prompts for the monthly challenges set before the month starts–to … Read more
Wow! What a turnout this year for the poetry challenge! Chances are pretty good that by the end of the weekend, we’ll have more than 10,000 comments on the prompts–with a chance … Read more
One of the refrains from the Austin International Poetry Festival was, “Buy the book!” During poetry month, it’s not a bad refrain. In that vein, I want to remind people about pre-orders … Read more
The most difficult aspect of revision is that the process requires seeing our own mistakes. That speck of dust in our neighbor’s eye is a lot easier to see than the log in our own. I learned most about sentence-level revision from Richard Lanham, distinguished scholar, writer, and UCLA professor, who has written a number of books, including Revising Prose, in which he develops the “Paramedic Method” (PM), a series of steps that help writers find both the sound and the sense of each sentence. Sound and sense: that’s what I like most about the PM. Aside from pushing us to see the ethics of writing, Lanham’s method reinforces the impossibility of separating structure from idea. The PM helps us see the axis of the sentence—both the actual main subject and verb, as well as the unacknowledged subject and verb. If we can see a difference between the actual and the unacknowledged in any sentence, it’s time to revise, to look again. Read more
Quick note on selecting poems for the anthology: I plan to pull poems on average 5-7 days after the prompt is first posted. So I’ve pulled poems from days 1-3. Poets can … Read more
So you’re working on a story, and there comes a point where it really ought to have a fight scene. But you’re sitting there thinking, “I’m not a martial artist! I have no idea how to fight!” Or maybe you’re thinking, “Fight scenes are so boring. I’d rather just skip over this and get back to the actual story.” Or something else that makes you dread writing that scene, rather than looking forward to it with anticipation.
To the first group, I say: the details of how to fight are possibly the least important component of a fight scene. The crucial components are the same ones you’re already grappling with in the rest of your writing—namely, description, pacing, characterization, and all that good stuff. To the second group, I say: it’s only boring if the author does it wrong.
GIVEAWAY: Marie is excited to give away a free copy of her e-book [mobi or epub formats] to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners can live anywhere. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: Debbie won.) Read more
“The High Concept Novel: How to Create a Premise that Sells — Agent One-on-One Boot Camp With Critique Starts April 11
The idea’s the thing. If you build your story around a unique and compelling idea, your odds of selling it increase dramatically. Often, a perfectly good project will go unsold because the premise on which it is based is too predictable, commonplace, or over-published. Whether you’re writing a novel or a short story, a screenplay or a memoir, you need to find a way to set your story apart from the competition — and the competition is tougher than ever in today’s marketplace.
But in this one-of-a-kind boot camp — “The High Concept Novel: How to Create a Premise that Sells Boot Camp” (starting April 11) — you will learn the ins and outs of high-concept, as literary agent, author, and content strategist Paula Munier reveals how you can transform your story idea from “same old same old” to “high-concept hit.” Read more