"Is it safe?"
By Kenneth Mark Hoover at Hoover's Corner
A writer friend of mine, Sandra Wickham, was trying to brainstorm ideas and found herself, in her own words, “floundering.” She wondered aloud if people had any tips on how to dig deep for a big idea.
I expect she got lots of good advice, because if writers have anything in over abundance it’s advice. Myself included. But, here is what I told her:
“Take chances. Push the envelope. Think outside the areas you are comfortable in and imagine what makes you uncomfortable.”
This fits in with my own philosophy about writing. I don’t believe in playing it safe when it comes to writing. I don’t know if that has ever been part of my makeup when it comes to writing, but it may have been early on before I wised up. I grew up a big Henry Miller fan and he was a huge inspiration to me when I started to write in a serious way. You can’t delve into Miller and come away with the thought process that your writing should be dull and uninspiring. You may not like Miller, but you can’t argue he ever played it safe.
Remember Marathon Man, that movie with Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier? There’s a chilling scene where Hoffman is asked over and over again by Olivier, “Is it safe? Is it safe?“
As a writer I believe you should ask yourself the same question about every story you write. If the answer to any part of the story is Yes, it is safe…then you should probably pass it by unless you have a very good reason not to... (con't on Hoover's Corner)
By Jane Friedman, guest blogger at Writer Unboxed
We’re so glad that former WU contributor Jane Friedman agreed to visit today as a guest, to give us some updates on the state of the ever-changing publishing industry.
Most writers are aware that the publishing industry is undergoing a range of transformations, new beginnings, failures, and consolidations. But there’s so much change it can be difficult to weed out and understand the most relevant and important changes—especially when hundreds of opinions seem to surround the smallest change.
Based on industry conversations I’ve had in the last six months, as well as reports I’ve read by people I trust, here are five trends that writers should keep a close eye on.
1. Publishing Contracts
When I started working in trade publishing (1998), it was very rare that the company’s boilerplate contract would change. Obviously it was negotiated in minute detail by every agent that came into contact with it—so contracts differed from author to author—but the process always played out by a certain set of expectations or guidelines... (con't on Writer Unboxed)
By Lucy V. Hay at Bang2write
Many thanks to Carole Blake from the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency for providing a VERY comprehensive list on how NOT to submit to an agent. This is a fab list and I have actually had a number 27 myself!! Maybe it was the same lady? Enjoy …
1. No gimmicks. Don’t send food, flowers – or anything else. Food goes straight into the bin … just in case. I’ve read lots of crime fiction.
I once received a large parcel that weighed almost nothing. Inside was a rubbish bin and a letter saying the writer assumed the submission would end up there so was sending me one to speed up the process. The partial for a crime novel that was attached looked rather good. I left the bin, letter & ms on my desk. Next morning our office cleaner had removed the contents and put the rubbish bin neatly next to my desk. There was no way to contact the author despite a story on our website and some tweets … That was the end of that.
2. Your own cover design. They almost always look very amateur. A publisher will produce a professional design that takes account of the current market. Even thinking that they might take your design marks you out as amateur.
3. Any kind of jokey letter making fun of the publishing business – I bet this won’t get read etc. In the cold morning light of a busy office – not funny. See no 1.
4. Don’t trash other authors – they might be my clients. (CON'T on Bang2write)