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Writers blocked: Even fantasy fiction is now offensive

spectator.co.uk – Thursday May 16, 2019

It was Lionel Shriver who saw the writing on the wall. Giving a keynote speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival three years ago in which she decried the scourge of modern identity politics, Shriver observed that the dogma of ‘cultural appropriation’ —which demands no less than complete racial segregation in the arts — had not yet wrapped its osseous fingers around the publishing industry. But, she warned: ‘This same sensibility is coming to a bookstore near you.’ Reader, it has come.

[Read the full article]

Jeffery Deaver interview: The secrets of writing a bestseller

cambridgeindependent.co.uk – Wednesday May 15, 2019

Thriller writer Jeffery Deaver was penning award nominated novels - but for some reason they weren’t selling.

After his sixth book - a mystery in the Poirot vein - came out to critical acclaim, but little money, he knew he had to act.

“They were well received, but they didn't do extremely well in terms of sales. Then I re-read them and I realized they weren’t as good as I had hoped,” says Jeffery.

That’s when he began working on something he calls his ‘mint toothpaste’ business plan.

“I’m a big list maker and I was aware that I needed to be more scientific about it. So it was in my late 30s I outlined a book for the first time - after writing half a dozen. That book was exponentially better and so I have been following that model ever since.”

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How to write a novel – four fiction writers on Danielle Steel’s insane working day

– Wednesday May 15, 2019

She might be the world’s most famous romance writer, nay the highest selling living author bar none, but there’s little room for flowers and chocolates in Danielle Steel’s writing regime. In a recent interview she laughed at the idea of young people insisting on a work-life balance, and has claimed she regularly writes for 20 to 22 hours a day, and sometimes 24. The result: 179 books in under 50 years, selling about 800m copies.

Some aspiring novelists might just have cancelled their entire lives to get on the Steel plan, but many more are probably wondering if it’s time to try something less demanding. We asked four creative writing teachers for their perspective:

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Dear Will… creative writing courses matter more than ever (but not for the reasons you think)

thebookseller.com – Wednesday May 8, 2019

Dear Will, 

We’ve never met, though I am familiar with your work, and your opinions about the world, as you have over the years, built up many column inches to your name, especially, recently, on the value of creative writing courses, and the fact that no one is making money as a literary novelist anymore. I also want to note that your controversialist's question is often on heavy rotation in the literary press - Hanif Kureshi had a similar conniption last time he had a book to promote. But since this is a matter quite close to my professional heart, I would like to point out a few glaring errors of logic in your critique.

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Will Translated Fiction Ever Really Break Through?

vulture.com – Tuesday May 7, 2019

In May 2018, Olga Tokarczuk and her translator Jennifer Croft won the Man Booker International Prize for Flights, a novel that was published in Poland in 2007. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, for which Tokarczuk is a Booker finalist again this year, was translated a bit faster; it only took a decade. One of the biggest stars in translation of this century, Roberto Bolaño, author of 2666 and The Savage Detectives, fared no better. Back in 2003, when New Directions put out his first translated book, By Night in Chile, Bolaño had already passed away; he was a famous writer by then, at least in Spanish.

The process of literary translation takes time, obviously, but there’s something else at play when it takes a decade or more for incredibly renowned authors to reach our shores. This is part of a much larger problem, frequently referred to as the “3 percent problem” by publishers of translation (like myself), which should be troublesome to anyone who believes the world is better off when cultures are in conversation with one another.

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Here’s how busy poets and authors can create their own writing retreats

pe.com – Saturday May 4, 2019

Attending a writing retreat is up there on the list of perfect vacations for me; idyllic location ripe for creativity, workshops, a secluded world of like-minded people, and stimulating literary conversation.

However, the cost can be steep, vacation time may not coincide with the scheduled retreat, and the amount of time at the retreat is usually limited from a few days to a week.

As a solution, I decided to create my own private retreat that requires no submission fees, and has only minimal program costs for itinerary, travel, food and lodging, and I didn’t have to wait to see if I was accepted. I can align it with my vacation time and take a weekend here or there for a mini retreat.

There are four key elements I used to create my private writing retreat.

[Read the full article]

More About Agents

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

firstwriter.com – Friday May 3, 2019

Are you talented? Are you lucky? For you, then, agents count. Read below.

Agent Location

Does it help if your agent is in Manhattan, if she’s agoraphobic and never leaves the house? 

My opinion is an agent with a Manhattan address is probably more impressive (even if she doesn’t lunch), than an agent who lives in Butte, Montana. Of course most authors who live all over the place won’t understand the cachet of the city address or 212 area code (though many Jane-come-latelys or folks who’ve moved may find themselves stuck with a 646 telephone code).

[Read the full article]

How to Write a Great Query: Insider Secrets for Success

authorlink.com – Wednesday May 1, 2019

Most writers put a tremendous amount of effort into their content, spending months or years with their manuscripts, agonizing over word choice, scene order, character development. Yet when it comes time to write a query letter, they will often write something off the top of their head, sometimes with a mere hour’s effort, and let this suffice to represent their work. They rush through the letter process so that the agent can get to the book itself, which they feel will explain everything. They feel that if an agent just sees the writing, nothing else will matter, and that a poor query letter will even be forgiven.

This is faulty thinking. For agents, the query letter is all. If it’s not exceptional, agents will not even request to see the writing, and writers will never even get a chance to showcase their talent. For most writers, the query letter—which they rushed through—becomes the only piece of writing they will ever be judged by, and unfortunately, the only chance they ever had.

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Don't ditch the adverb, the emoji of writing

theguardian.com – Monday April 29, 2019

Should we brazenly ditch the adverb? For those who spotted the nerdy linguistic pun in that question, my bias may be already abundantly clear.

But maybe I’m wrong. Plenty of writers offer lexical advice - both solicited and not. The adverb gets people weirdly fired up; many are less fond of it than me. I spent recent months devouring writing about writing as I complete the first draft of my first novel, so the recurring themes are fresh in my sun-kissed skull.

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The problem with authors writing fan fiction

theweek.com – Friday April 26, 2019

The internet was abuzz a few weeks ago after author J.K. Rowling revealed that the characters Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald had an "incredibly intense" and "passionate" relationship with a "sexual dimension." Though this unsolicited declaration was especially bizarre and meme-worthy, it was only the latest of several years worth of post-series changes to the Potterverse. Hermione is (possibly) black, Nagini is an Asian woman, wizards don't have indoor plumbing, etc. Since the final book of the original Harry Potter series was published in 2007, Rowling's website Pottermore has become a fountainhead for excess information about the wizarding world. Conveniently, much of that information has fallen into the category of diversity, as if Rowling thought she could retroactively add queer wizards and wizards of color and pretend they were there all along. Perhaps, like the horcruxes, we just didn't know they existed until the end.

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