Category Archives: Professional Advice

Story Grid: How to Revise, in Baby Steps

Like too many other budding novelists, I have been writing for years under the assumption that if I just keep putting in the hours I will somehow, magically, develop all the skills I need. Again and again I have finished a novel, tried to revise it only to make it still-lackluster, and moved on to the next new project thinking that this time I’d get it right. I thought, mistakenly, that I was simply bad at revising until I realized that it was just something I’d never learned how to do. After accepting the fact that revision was a skill set all its own, I went in search of how-to resources. There are a great many books out there aimed at helping writers improve their craft, books with advice on how to improve plot, pacing, characterization, etc. But I couldn’t find any with the basic, step-by-step instruction that I needed. Until now. Continue reading

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Just Trying to Help

Not all that long ago, I became a volunteer slush-pile reader for an online magazine. It has been an educational experience for me. And while I am not a bona fide professional when it comes to telling anyone why they did or didn’t get accepted to any particular publication, I do have some general advice. Maybe it’s not so much advice as a plea. (English isn’t easy, folks, but it’s not quite as hard as some people are making it seem.) Continue reading

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A Weather Eye…

Now that the holidays-and-bad-weather portion of winter has ended, I am finally tallying up the rejections from my inbox and scouting for new potential markets. In stumbling across some fledgling publishers, I’ve taken the time to research a few of them and make sure that they’re a reasonably safe bet. A fellow writer reminded me to visit the Predators and Editors website and I also discovered the Writer Beware site provided by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Along with the basics they offer a “thumbs down” list of agents and publishers to avoid.

 

 

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Matt Wallace’s Online Writing Workshop

I’ve blogged about it before, but Matt Wallace‘s online writing workshop “The Loose Cannon” is recruiting. I’ve been an attendee from the start, and while I owe some of my writing improvement to the Minnows Literary Group and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop I also have The Loose Cannon to thank. Besides being worth the time and money as far as Continue reading

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Agent Advice (from agents!)

I attended an agent workshop this weekend and listened to a panel discussion from 4 agents who offered advice on the do’s and don’t’s of agent-seeking.  It seemed like common sense, but from the sorts of submissions they described (and get a lot of), it must not be obvious to everyone.  Since a reminder won’t hurt, here’s some of things they stressed:

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