November/December 2013 Issue
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Is Your Manuscript Publication-Ready?
Is Your Manuscript Publication-Ready?
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Haven’t Written Anything Yet, Writing for Beginners
If you’ve only just begun to develop your writing talent, whether for fiction or nonfiction, you’ll find invaluable guidance on writing for beginners right here. You’ll learn how to start thinking like a writer, examine your work with a more critical eye, and turn it into something others will pay to read. You’ll also find resources to help you learn how to write a novel in three months or fewer.
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
Everyone struggles with how to write an ending, regardless of whether it’s a novel or a short story. Sometimes our perfect endings come to us in a dream-like vision, and other times … 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
Writing dialogue to suit the gender of your characters is important in any genre, but it becomes even more essential in romance writing. In a romance novel, characters of opposite sexes are … Read more
Writers are often worriers. We’re plagued with indecision about the choices we make for our stories. We doubt the quality of our writing. We wonder if we’ll ever break through into the … Read more
Powerful, surprising, and fascinating personal essays are also “reader-friendly essays” that keep the reader squarely in focus. So how do you go about writing one? In this excerpt from Crafting the Personal … Read more
There’s no question about it: The young adult (YA) audience is a hot market, one that is steadily growing in popularity and garnering attention from young readers as well as literary critics. … Read more
Not long ago I was standing in a hotel lobby, formally done up in an evening skirt, sparkle top and lipstick, making small talk and waiting for the doors to open for … Read more
Writers differ in their opinions of the revision process. Some balk at it–they see it as the “no fun” part of writing, and much prefer drafting and creation to fixing and rethinking. … Read more
In your novel, the inciting incident is the first sign of trouble for your protagonist: it’s the catalyst, the chemical reaction, that sets the plot into motion. But the inciting incident isn’t … Read more
Ideas often percolate and simmer over time, but every once in a while lightning strikes—and a sudden flash of creativity can alter a writer’s career forever. Take, for example, these 10 famous … Read more
The auditorium was dark except for a pool of light at the center of the stage. One of my all-time heroes, Joyce Carol Oates, was giving a guest lecture at my school, … Read more
I was reading through some of our older science fiction titles, and I came upon Worlds of Wonder by David Gerrold (published in 2001). As I was flipping through the book, I … Read more
I trust that you all know the difference between who and whom, and I trust that typos are the only reason you use the wrong it’s. It happens to the best of … Read more
Whenever I think of the word gatekeeper, a little film clip from The Wizard of Oz starts up in my head, where the fearsome palace guard denies Dorothy and friends access to … Read more
In fiction, story matters more than anything else. Yet too often authors forget this and, in their zeal to impress readers or wow editors, pepper their writing with distracting devices that only … Read more
Your story’s opener is your one opportunity to capture an editor’s or agent’s attention. Learn how to avoid the critical mistakes (such as providing too much backstory) that lead to rejection and … Read more
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave Sherlock Holmes a full panoply of supporting characters. There was Dr. Watson, the quintessential “sidekick,” to act as a sounding board; Scottish landlady Mrs. Hudson, to cook … Read more
Getting started on any writing project is always the toughest. For years I talked about turning an idea I had from college into a novel so amazing that Oprah would beg to … Read more
Your closer is the most important incident in the novel, bar none. Yes, the opener is critical, but only second in importance to the climax. The opener must impress an agent enough … Read more
As wordsmiths, many of us rejoice in a single fact every day: Writing is not math. But still, in creative writing classes and workshops, at conferences and indeed here and there in … Read more
It’s not enough to love our story ideas. We need to weigh their suitability as subjects for fiction, and then figure out how to go about making use of them. This means … Read more