Weekly Round-Up: Author Insights and Challenge Winners

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Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we've created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week's posts all in one place. 

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Author Insights

Anxiety is a very common issue, especially when it comes to things we've lovingly, carefully created. Read 5 Ways to Combat Author Anxiety if you are among the many who have experienced this common phenomenon.

Less common, but still difficult, is co-writing. Here are 10 Great Tips on How to Write a Book with a Co-author so you can make that project productive instead of painful.

For less specific advice, check out Helen Klein Ross's 10 Rules of Writing a Novel7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Rachel Dunne, Debbie Macomber's answers to the novel-writing questions you should be asking. Then learn how to use moral stakes to create an emotional response or experience for a reader in this excerpt from Donald Maass's The Emotional Craft of Fiction.

Pique Your Interest

It's easy to get sidetracked from reading and writing by TV. Luckily, there's a lot to learn from the storytelling techniques of our favorite TV shows. Feel better about your latest binge-watching session by reading 5 Things Breaking Bad Can Teach Us About Writing.

And if you find yourself constantly tripping up when using homonyms in your writing, learn how to tell the difference between peak, peek, and pique.

Poetry Challenges

Congratulations to William Preston, winner of the WD Poetic Form Challenge: Haiku Sonnet. Read his poem "Waterfall" and find out if you made the top 10 here.

The 2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge is over. If you participated in the challenge, you have until January 15, 2017 to revise your poems and submit your manuscript for judging. Check out the PAD Chapbook Challenge Next Steps, and don't miss the last set of prompts:

  • Day 26: Write a visitor poem.
  • Day 27: Write a falling apart poem.
  • Day 28: Write a poem using "I Want (Blank)" as the title, replacing the blank with a word or phrase of your choice.
  • Day 29: Write a love poem or an anti-love poem.
  • Day 30: Write a last chance poem.


This week's new literary agent alert is for Serene Hakim of Ayesha Pande Literary. Serene is seeking young adult literature, especially science fiction and fantasy, women's fiction, and humorous and fascinating memoirs. She is particularly interested in underrepresented and/or marginalized voices, including stories dealing with the Middle East, immigrant experiences, and LGBTQ and feminist issues.

Throughout November, literary agents and editors put out calls for diverse books on Twitter. Check out the list of calls for #diversebooks and #ownvoices.

There are also two "Dear Lucky Agent" contests live through December 31. Check out the 28th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Memoir and the 29th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest: Historical Fiction.

Finally, don't miss our agent one-on-one boot camp, How to Find and Keep a Literary Agent, starting on December 12. Spots are limited, so sign up while you still can!


FightWrite™: Crime Fiction and Violence

Author and trained fighter Carla Hoch answers a writer's question about writing from the perspective of criminals and when best to utilize a fight.

Poetic Forms

Sedoka: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the sedoka, a 6-line question and answer Japanese form.


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Dream Sequence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your characters dream a little dream.

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Vintage WD: Don't Hide Your Light Verse Under a Bushel

In this article from 1960, poet and author Richard Armour explores the importance of light verse and gives helpful hints to the hopeful poet.


Tessa Arlen: On Polite Editorial Tussles and Unraveling Mysteries

In this article, author Tessa Arlen explains how to navigate the differences between American and English audiences and create a realistic historical mystery.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 547

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a lazy poem.


Denise Williams: Romance, Healing, and Learning to Love Revisions

Author Denise Williams recounts her experience with writing her first book while learning about the publishing industry and the biggest surprise about novel revisions.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Here are the final steps for the 13th annual November PAD Chapbook Challenge! Use December and the beginning of January to revise and collect your poems into a chapbook manuscript. Here are some tips and guidelines.