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Éilís Ní Dhuibhne: The writer as an older human being

rte.ie – Friday December 4, 2020

I am a short story writer. I write in many other genres - novels, children's books, plays, non-fiction - but my favourite literary form is the short story. Why? I think it is partly a lazy reason. When I started writing, and publishing, way back in the 1970s, short stories were what I wrote. And although I moved on to novels in due course, I became more and more interested in finding ways to create short stories. I like writing them because they can be written quickly - the first draft can be scribbled down within a day or two. Even if the rewriting takes weeks, the heart of the story is pinned down fast.

That means I can catch the idea, the mood, the feel, of whatever inspiration is concerned and preserve it, before it flies away. A character in an Alice Munro story, Family Furnishings, compares writing to grabbing something out of the air. It’s like that with a short story. It’s like catching a leaf as it falls from a tree, putting it between the pages of a book, then examining it, reading it, finding out what it has to tell you. That may be a lot more than you thought when it came floating down, red or gold or russet, in the autumn air. But no matter how much you develop it, it will still be that leaf that you caught at a certain moment in time.

A novel is quite different.

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How I Got Here: Stellar and Body+Soul’s editor-in-chief on how she went from receptionist to the job of her dreams

fashionjournal.com.au – Tuesday December 1, 2020

Have you ever stalked someone on LinkedIn and wondered how on earth they managed to land that wildly impressive job? While the internet and social media might have us believe that our ideal job is a mere pipe dream, the individuals who have these jobs were, believe it or not, in the same position once, fantasising over someone else’s seemingly unattainable job.

But behind the awe-inspiring titles and the fancy work events lies a heck of a lot of hard work. So what lessons have been learnt and what skills have proved invaluable in getting them from daydreaming about success to actually being at the top of their industry?

Welcome to How I Got Here, where we talk to women who are killing it in their respective fields about how they landed their awe-inspiring jobs, exploring the peaks and pits, the failures and the wins, and most importantly the knowledge, advice and practical tips they’ve gleaned along the way.

This week, Stellar and Body+Soul‘s editor-in-chief, Sarrah Le Marquand, tells us how she made it in the highly competitive world of women’s publications. Sarrah initially wanted to be a political reporter and completed an honours degree in government. While completing her honours thesis, she worked as a receptionist for Pacific Magazines, and it was here she realised her passion for media, dreaming up feature article ideas while manning the switchboard.

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The Monster Publishing Merger Is About Amazon

theatlantic.com – Thursday November 26, 2020

Penguin Random House purchasing Simon & Schuster is not the gravest danger to the publishing business. The deal is transpiring in a larger context—and that context is Amazon.

In 1960, Dwight Eisenhower’s attorney general, William Rogers, read the paper with alarm. He learned that Random House intended to purchase the venerable publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Rogers began making calls to prod his antitrust division into blocking the sale. In those days, monopoly loomed as a central concern of government—and a competitive book business was widely seen as essential to preserving both intellectual life and democracy. After checking with his sources, Rogers discovered that the merger would yield a company that controlled a mere 1 percent of the book market, and he let the matter drop.

Not so long ago, Democratic and Republican administrations alike wouldn’t hesitate to block a merger like the one proposed today, which intends to fold the giant publisher Simon & Schuster into the even more gigantic Penguin Random House. How big would the combined company be? By one estimate, it might publish a third of all books in the U.S. This deal is so expansive that it’s hard to find an author to write about it who isn’t somehow implicated. Based on the odds, I suppose, it’s not terribly surprising to reveal that I’m published by Penguin Random House.

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Publishers are 'scared' of funny novels

chortle.co.uk – Friday November 20, 2020

British publishing is scared of funny novels, according to Caimh McDonnell

The former stand-up, turned author said he first released his witty thrillers himself because he couldn’t find a publisher who would take them.

Even though his next title, The Stranger Times, is being released by a traditional company,  Transworld, he said: ‘A couple of editors said they didn’t want to put in a big offer because they were scared of the funny.

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Paranormal and romance- a shared magic by Tracey Shearer, author of Raven

femalefirst.co.uk – Tuesday November 17, 2020

Two years ago, when my literary agent had to suddenly retire to take care of her ailing hubby, I prepared to pitch to new agents at a local writers’ conference. Before I could join the pitch session, an agent buddy pulled me aside and told me not to tell anyone my book was a Paranormal Romance. Call it anything else, but not that.

We stood in a quiet hallway at the conference while I tried to process what she’d just shared. Then she leaned in close and whispered, “Tracey, Paranormal Romance is dead.”

I couldn’t hold back my disbelief, mouth dropping open, eyes blinking, seeing nothing. Paranormal Romance dead? How could that be when I see bookshelves, both physical and virtual, filled with books in this genre? Readers are hungry for these stories.

The agent went on to share that the Big 5 publishers weren’t actively acquiring Paranormal Romance. They had too much already on their author roster. So agents were steering clear of anything with even a whiff of Paranormal Romance. It would be a hard “no.”

I believed my friend, I truly did. But in my heart, I knew that nothing would ever kill this genre.

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NaNoWriMo: how to make best use of the annual writing month

theguardian.com – Monday November 2, 2020

If everyone has a book in them, then November is the month that many of those books are conceived. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, comes of age this year with its 21st birthday, and the concept remains as simple as it was in 1999: over 30 days, write at least 50,000 words of your novel.

Almost 368,000 novels have been completed by participants. There are no prizes or league tables, just the satisfaction of taking part – and the potential creation of something publishable.

There remains some sniffiness over NaNoWriMo in some quarters, usually published novelists who like to point out that some people write all year round. Half the world wants to write, it seems, and that means they think they can. Yes, writing a novel is hard work. And for every author that gets published, hundreds – possibly thousands – fail. But does that mean that we shouldn’t write novels just for sheer enjoyment?

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Making $$ Editing Freelance With Your Skills

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Wednesday October 28, 2020

Writers can always use “extra” dollars, and these days the “extra” is very much necessary. Okay, we may not know how to do much other than push words here and there, but if we do that well, our abilities, honed over the years, may bring in the hoped-for bucks—freelancing as an editor for other writers. The nice thing about taking on projects this way is that we can sleep late and work at home in our sweats, another important point these days. Some of us do it, so why not you?

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Hilary Mantel, Lee Child, Elizabeth Day and more novelists reveal their secret writing habits

inews.co.uk – Saturday October 17, 2020

Anthony Horowitz is two chapters away from finishing his latest “whodunnit” murder mystery and something is worrying him. If anything should happen to him before he has finished, how will anyone know whodunnit? This week he revealed that, when a book is in progress, he puts the name of the killer in an envelope to be opened by his wife, Jill Green, just in case.

“I am terrified I will die before I actually manage to [finish a book],” Horowitz said at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. “There will be a car crash or a trip going down stairs or something. This is such a fear for me, such a paranoia that I actually write the solution to my murder mysteries and I put them in an envelope to be opened in the event of my death and stick it in my desk.”

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Top 10 books about creative writing

theguardian.com – Thursday October 15, 2020

The poet Rita Dove was once asked what makes poetry successful. She went on to illuminate three key areas: First, the heart of the writer; the things they wish to say – their politics and overarching sensibilities. Second, their tools: how they work language to organise and position words. And the third, the love a person must have for books: “To read, read, read.”

When I started mapping out How to Write It, I wanted to focus on the aspects of writing development that took in both theoretical and interpersonal aspects. No writer lives in a vacuum, their job is an endless task of paying attention.

How do I get myself an agent? What’s the best way to approach a publisher? Should I self-publish? There is never one way to assuage the concerns of those looking to make a career out of writing. Many labour tirelessly for decades on manuscripts that never make it to print. The UK on average publishes around 185,000 new titles per year, ranking us the third largest publishing market in the world, yet the number of aspiring writers is substantially greater.

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How to Find Your Own Writing Style

authorlink.com – Saturday October 3, 2020

The definition of what style in writing represents is often blurry and elusive. While some authors are very distinctive when it comes to their wordiness, syntax, tone, and mood, others seem to stand out by nothing in particular—yet create high-quality works and are inspirational and praised nonetheless.

Finding your writing style can last for a year, two, three, or become a journey that never ends: for some authors, experimentation and adaptation are the most exciting parts of the writing process.

Before getting to work on your voice and tone and coming up with a great book title, the first thing you should do is decide what type of writing you’re the most interested in. This decision will help you direct your attention appropriately once you begin to practice your wordcraft.

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