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
Category Archives: Professional Advice
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
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.
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
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: