FROM the ANC Writing Resources Tumblr, 8/7/2015
SEE this detailed post in its entirety HERE.
[EXCERPT] Remember the basics of a plot:
By guest poster Lisa Alber on Writer Unboxed 4/16/2014
I once had a wise-woman teacher who said, “Your story is only as good as your villain.”
Being a new writer, the word “villain” confused me. It had me imagining serial killers and blood-sucking demons, which wasn’t my thing. I didn’t truly understand what she meant until I started thinking of villains as tricksters. In mythology, the trickster deities break the rules of civilized life. They’re often malicious, but not always. They exist to cause transformation. They upend. They are catalysts. This is why the better your villain (trickster), the better your story. Another way to think about it is that without a good villain, your conflict can go flat. This potential story flaw applies to everything from literary novels to high-octane thrillers to romances. No writer is exempt from creating conflict, and for conflict you need upheaval. And for upheaval, you need trickster energy. To get your trickster groove on, consider the following....
(con't on Writer Unboxed)
7/27/2013 0 Comments
From Susan May Warren at MyBookTherapy.com 4/16/2013
Today I’m pumped to have agent Amanda Luedeke with MacGregor Literary as a guest here on the MBT blog. Tuesdays are all about marketing around here…and if there’s anything Amanda knows, it’s marketing.
Well, that, and the awesomeness of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Which she may or may not appreciate me mentioning, but now that it’s out…
Anyway, before she entered the world of agenting, Amanda worked in marketing at a number of top companies and she just recently released her book, The Extroverted Writer: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform (available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble). Connect with Amanda on Twitter (@amandaluedeke) or on Facebook. She’s here today with some helpful Q&As.
1) So, let’s say a pre-pubbed writer comes to you and asks why they should think about marketing before they’re even contracted? How do you answer?
For fiction, so much of it comes down to the writing and the story. So I can see how platform takes a back seat. But because marketing and promotions are such big deals these days, and because much of the responsibility falls on the author’s shoulders, publishing houses are always impressed and attracted to writers who navigate social media well, have an online presence, and can prove that they’re not going to shy away from the marketing angle.
So if anything, I’d say the case for having a presence BEFORE the book deal comes down to the fact that it increases the likelihood that you’ll make a good impression, and it might even help your project edge out over the others that the pub committee or agent is considering at the time.
2) What would you say might be the top three most important marketing strategies or efforts a writer should focus on?
(Con't HERE at My Book Therapy)
photo by kirstyhall
Written by Chuck Sambuchino at Writer Unboxed 4/22/2013
In a previous Writer Unboxed column, I discussed the value of starting your story strong and how an “inside-out” approach to narrative action can help your case. But just as important as knowing what to do when beginning your novel is knowing what not to do.
No one reads more prospective novel beginnings than literary agents. They’re the ones on the front lines — sifting through inboxes and slush piles. And they’re the ones who can tell us which Chapter 1 approaches are overused and cliche, as well as which techniques just plain don’t work. Below find a smattering of feedback from experienced literary agents on what they hate to see the first pages of a writer’s submission. Avoid these problems and tighten your submission!
“I don’t like it when the main character dies at the end of Chapter 1. Why did I just spend all this time with this character? I feel cheated.”
- Cricket Freeman, The August Agency
“I dislike opening scenes that you think are real, then the protagonist wakes up. It makes me feel cheated.”
- Laurie McLean, Foreword Literary .... (Con't on Writer Unboxed)
"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)
WHAT TO WEAR TO THE APOCALYPSE: WALKING DEAD COSTUMER EULYN WOMBLE ON TELLING A STORY WITH WARDROBE...
BY: SUSAN KARLIN
The disheveled garb of The Walking Dead’s survivors is actually carefully designed to inform character arcs and storyline. Costume designer Eulyn Womble lifts the veil on how wardrobe impacts narrative, and how she keeps zombie hunting just a little bit sexy.... (con't)
By Jane Friedman of the Virginia Quarterly Review (formerly of Writers Digest)
On July 11, I was a featured speaker at True Theatre. True Theatre is a Cincinnati storytelling event, where everyday people tell true stories about their lives to a general audience.
Each evening has a specific theme—independence was last week’s theme—and I told a story about traveling to Thailand on my own, and getting stuck.
To prepare for this spoken word event, I had to spend time, at first, reading the story out loud, then memorizing and rehearsing it.
Aside from the lessons I learned about storytelling (to come in another post), I learned the value of reading a piece out loud.
Now, up until this point, I was probably like most of you. I’ve seen the advice to “read your work out loud” many, many times. I didn’t practice this technique (except for poetry), and found it irrelevant, unhelpful, uncomfortable, and time consuming. Who cares how something sounds when read aloud, unless it was meant to be heard?
But for important short stories or essays, I’ll be using this technique. Why?
(And, if you live near Cincinnati, I encourage you to check out True Theatre for wonderful storytelling.)
Have you ever felt the wonderful, addictive rush of adrenalin when a great story idea invades your gray matter, only to lose it when, as time goes on, the idea peters out and you don't know where to go from there?
It's a common problem. We've all been there.
Nine times out of ten, that means there was some story planning you rushed past. Just put the vehicle in reverse, and go back and do that now.This blog post by Janice Hardy of The Other Side of the Story should give you plenty of help with that, so dig right in. ~ Premise and theme.