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How to write a novel by author & commissioning editor Phoebe Morgan

marieclaire.co.uk – Tuesday October 16, 2018

In the second instalment of our Writers Bloc series, we get the inside scoop on how to write a novel from commissioning editor and author, Phoebe Morgan

A commissioning editor by day and novelist by night, Phoebe Morgan is the author of The Doll House, published this month, and The Girl Next Door which is released in February 2019, both psychological thrillers. She is 28, and lives in Clapton, East London, with her boyfriend.

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Why can’t life begin after 40 for a writer?

irishtimes.com – Friday October 12, 2018

Last year, at a writing festival in rural Ireland about 60 attendees sat listening to presentations from publishers and agents. It was the kind of segment that has been popular on the writing festival circuit for quite a while now. The attendees hear a lot of familiar advice from people in the industry, both domestic and overseas. And there are occasional insights into the metamorphic and precarious state of the publishing industry.

At this particular event, there was a lot of advice about presentation, synopses and introduction letters, how authors should market themselves and their books, and the common mistakes made by aspiring novelists.

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How Do You Write A Short Story? 11 Easy Tips For Writing Your First One

bustle.com – Wednesday October 3, 2018

Today's the day. It's happening. You've decided to write your first short story. Maybe this story idea has been kicking around your head for the last 10 years, or maybe you just googled a list of writing prompts and want to give one a whirl. Perhaps you're an accomplished essayist looking to try fiction on for size, or it's possible that you've never written anything in your life outside of school assignments and Instagram captions. Whatever your level of writing expertise, you are perfectly qualified to write a short story. All you strictly need is willpower, paper, and a large cup of coffee. But here are a few extra tips to get you started, because staring at that empty page is the absolute hardest part.

First things first, though: what exactly is a short story? Typically, a short story is defined as a work of fiction between 1,500 and 5,000 words (although 5,000 is a bit long for some publications). Under 1,500 words is considered flash fiction, and under 350 words is sometimes called micro fiction. You don't have to start with a specific word count in mind, but make your peace with the fact that you probably won't have time for those twenty pages of exposition up top. If you want to write a true short story, then here are some suggestions for nailing both the "short" and the "story" aspects:

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Why we need an award for writers who start later in life

theguardian.com – Wednesday October 3, 2018

Sitting in a coffee shop just around the corner from the publishers, Canongate, of which Christopher Bland had once been chair, members of Christopher’s family and of the Royal Society of Literature were brainstorming a title for the new prize to be announced in his name. “Late writers” risked conjuring up the dead, while “older writers” raised the question of what, in an industry that is often obsessed with youth, would be considered old: Google this query and you will find writers over 30 bemoaning the fact that they will soon be over the hill.

In the end we opted for a prize in Christopher’s name, to be awarded to a first novel or work of non-fiction published when the winner is 50 or older. Not before, however, we had worried about the quality of future entrants: what kind of writer, we wondered, apart from Christopher, who published two novels while in his 70s, would be eligible for such a prize?

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(Don’t) Relax (Too Much)

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

firstwriter.com – Monday October 1, 2018

I told my friend about a grammatical glitch I found in Outside magazine:

A man came upon a dead bear cub and leaned over and touched it, but the bear had been electrocuted by a downed electrical wire, and the man, too, was zapped. (He lived but had terrible physical damage.) At any rate, the article said the bear had been laying on a live wire. Of course, obviously, the bear had been lying on the wire. (I tweeted the editor and was ignored—so much for the power of social media.)

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How to write a killer crime novel, by Val McDermid (who’s sold 15 million of her own)

marieclaire.co.uk – Tuesday September 25, 2018

For the first in our new Writers Bloc series, prolific crime writer Val McDermid tells Charlotte Philby the secret to writing 32 books in as many years

Val McDermid is the multi award-winning author of 32 crime novels, which have sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and been translated into 40 languages. She is married to the professor Jo Sharp, and has a teenage son. McDermid divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh. Her latest novel Broken Ground is published by Little Brown (£18.99)

You’ve written 32 books in as many years with no signs of abating, and had your work adapted for TV. What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt about successfully drawing readers into the worlds you create?

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The Writing Dead

nytimes.com – Friday September 21, 2018

The mystery novelist Reed Farrel Coleman was watching TV in May 2013 when his agent called and asked him, “How would you like to be Robert B. Parker?”

“It took me about a nanosecond to say yes,” Coleman wrote on his website. “We all dream about unexpected magical moments — chance encounters, phone calls, emails — that will transform us, but do we ever believe they will happen?”

These days, when a popular author dies, financially savvy heirs often commission someone to keep writing his or her books. (There’s even a term for this: “continuation literature.”) Sophie Hannah writes Agatha Christie novels; David Lagercrantz channels Stieg Larsson; Anthony Horowitz has taken on Ian Fleming. That’s what Robert B. Parker’s family decided to do when the crime novelist died in 2010. “Spenser was a cash cow,” Parker’s wife, Joan, told The Boston Globe in 2012, referring to her husband’s most beloved character, a Boston private eye. “And we felt that Bob would want to see Spenser live on.” In 2011, they hired Ace Atkins to write more Spenser novels, and in 2013 they asked Coleman to take on a different series, the one starring the Massachusetts cop Jesse Stone.

For Coleman, saying yes was the easy part. “It’s one thing to be offered to step into a great man’s shoes. It is quite another to stare at the blank screen and figure out what to do,” he says ruefully. So he called Atkins. “He gave me some tips on how my life was about to change,” Coleman says. “He suggested that I never go to the fan sites. Of course, that was the first thing I did.”

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11 Tips On Writing Horror From The Greats Of The Genre, Including Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, And Tananarive Due

bustle.com – Friday September 21, 2018

As the autumn mists roll in, and prestige horror movies make their triumphant return to cinemas, it seems like the perfect time to settle in with your beloved word processor and your favorite hot beverage and write some ghost stories. But how does one make a piece of writing scary? Where's the line that turns a cheesy people-eating demon into the stuff of nightmares? How does a writer create a spine-tingling atmosphere of tension and fear while staring at a computer screen and eating cereal directly out of the box? Here are a few tips from the horror greats for writing creepy fiction (and quite possibly terrifying yourself in the process).

Of course, as with all writing, there is no one-size-fits-all method for crafting a great horror novel. You might be a person who is entirely unfazed by classic monster movies, and who rolls their eyes at creepy campfire tales. Or you might be someone (like me) who routinely has to hide their novelty clown-shaped pencil cup for fear that it will spontaneously come to life. Your fears and your writing methods are all your own. But no matter what your approach, these horror-writing tips will give you a few extra thoughts to mull over as your write your tales of terror:

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Penguin Random House Is Building the Perfect Publishing House

newrepublic.com – Wednesday September 12, 2018

When Penguin and Random House announced in the fall of 2012 that they intended to merge, Hurricane Sandy was barreling toward New York City, America’s publishing capital. It was an instant metaphor for headline writers: “As Sandy Loomed, the Publishing Industry Panicked.” People inside both companies worried about their jobs; people outside the companies worried about the market power of a new conglomerate comprised of the country’s two largest trade publishers. Agents and authors, meanwhile, worried that the consolidation would further drive down advances.

Random House’s top brass insisted that there was no need to panic. “The continuity will far outweigh the change,” Markus Dohle, the CEO of what would become Penguin Random House, told The New York Times when the merger was completed the following summer. “We have the luxury to take the time before we make any strategic decisions. There is no need to rush.”

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Scottish crime author Val McDermid got into writing for the money – and reveals why she loves ‘books with dead bodies’

thescottishsun.co.uk – Tuesday September 11, 2018

AUTHOR Val McDermid remembers the exact moment she knew she’d be a writer — when she read in a kids’ story that you could get PAID to pen books.

Award-winning Val, who has sold more than 40 million of her crime novels, said it was the popular Chalet School stories that sparked her future career.

She said: “The moment of realisation came for me when I was nine years old.

“I used to read the Chalet Girls books and one of the characters grew up to become a writer.

“I remember distinctly reading it — it was on a right-hand page about halfway down, about her getting a cheque from her publisher.

“I thought, ‘Oh my god, you can get paid money for this?’ I don’t know if I thought people maybe just wrote out of the goodness of their heart and the books arrived on the shelves.

“But I thought I could do that, I could tell stories and lies, and I could get paid money for it.

“From then, when people asked what I was going to do when I grew up I said a writer and people would laugh, people from my background didn’t do that.”

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