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Why I plan every novel I write - and how to plan yours

theguardian.com – Thursday August 6, 2020

There’s no denying that around 90 per cent of novelists asked will say that they don’t plan their books before they begin drafting, and they will often follow that up with a comment that implies planning would somehow take the fun/creativity out of the process for them.

The opposite is true for me. And, since so many people at festivals and talks I have done have found this helpful to hear, I’ve decided to write about it. Maybe it will be helpful for you too?

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12 (Plus 1) Ways to Promote Safely at Home

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

firstwriter.com – Sunday August 2, 2020

When I first published a couple of books, of course I went to all the conferences in various cities to speak on panels and promote. I did readings in bookstores.

Those were the days.

Those days are gone.

Now, while we might deliver hometown bookstore readings in some locales, in other towns and cities, we might not be able to. We’d certainly have to think twice about the risks anywhere (if the stores are even open).

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Creative writing – how to begin

argyllshireadvertiser.co.uk – Friday July 31, 2020

For me, there are two essential ingredients when it comes to setting out as a creative writer: time and space. By creative writing I mean poetry, short stories, novels and children’s writing: everything involving the use of the imagination.

When someone claims they don’t have time to write, I don’t believe them as it’s a question of making time.

PD James started writing when nursing a dying husband: he needed care all through the day. There was a part of the night when finally he went to sleep and she had the chance to put pen to paper, so that was what she did. If we are serious about wanting to write, we will make time.

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Why are women now dominating the literary landscape?

irishtimes.com – Thursday July 30, 2020

he past few years have been a boon for women novelists, often young and often literary debutantes. Sally Rooney is the standard bearer of this trend. And though we should resist comparisons between two successful female writers simply for the sake of it, snapping at Rooney’s ankles is Naoise Dolan (28) with her accomplished (if slightly naive) debut Exciting Times.

Dolan’s refreshingly sharp perspective on how women are perceived, coupled with Rooney’s stratospheric success, and Anna Burn’s Milkman winning the Man Booker Prize in 2018 all point to one thing: books by, and about, women are in vogue.

This upsurge in commercial success and critical acclaim is not just the preserve of Irish women, of course. In 2019 the Booker Prize was awarded to two women (that the award was split between Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo was a disappointingly lazy cop-out from the judges and no comment on the inimitable talents of either author). And so too this year the Booker Prize longlist contains just four men out of the total 13. Women’s domination of the literary landscape seems all but complete. But of course it raises the question: Why? And why now?

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How These Writers Got a Literary Agent

thecut.com – Friday July 24, 2020

What do you do if you think the document you’ve been working on maybe, just maybe, might possibly be a book? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but for some writers, the next step is to look for a literary agent who will work to sell your manuscript to a publishing house and help guide your career from a business standpoint (typically for a fee of 15 percent). Below, eight writers explain how they connected with their literary agent.

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So You Want to Write?

thecut.com – Wednesday July 22, 2020

When it comes to making it as a writer, there’s no magical shortcut to success: You just have to show up and keep doing the work. But there are some things that might be helpful to know and bits of wisdom to encourage you to keep going. Below, nine writers share what they wish they’d known and the advice they would give fledgling writers.

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Writing Probably Won’t Pay the Bills

thecut.com – Tuesday July 21, 2020

It probably won’t shock you to hear that it can be difficult, if not downright impossible, to make a living as an author. Successfully selling a book doesn’t often lead to financial security, and the publishing industry hasn’t been known for its transparency on these subjects (which recent conversations like #PublishingPaidMe have worked to correct, specifically when it comes to racial inequities). In practice, making any kind of money as a writer can mean a million different things: holding down a full-time job and writing on the side, steadily applying for grants, cobbling together some combination of teaching and freelance writing gigs.

Below, six writers talk about how they make writing work financially.

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Busting writer's block: Creativity-boosting writing exercises to get you going

theguardian.com – Tuesday July 21, 2020

Many of us suffer from a lack of confidence when engaging in creative projects, assuming that – to be any good – a piece of work has to wholly originate in some almost mystical act of inspiration. Anyone who works professionally as a writer will often simply realise that a looming deadline is the greatest spur to creativity.

There are no rules to being an effective writer, and when working with students I spend quite a lot of time helping them discover the times and places when they work best. For some, inspiration is most likely to strike when in they’re able to observe the bustle of life; for others it comes during absolute quiet, when the family is asleep or (in my own case) when walking. That said, whatever sparks your desire to write, you need to be able to turn it into a habit if you’re going to succeed.

The following simple exercises will help you strip away the mystery from the craft of writing. Grab a pen and paper – or your laptop – and give these a whirl…

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Character Backstory?

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

firstwriter.com – Saturday July 4, 2020

One question that often arises for an author is what comes first, the protagonist’s backstory or an introduction to the character in action.

Well, the reader might not care about the protag’s history immediately, but a quarter of the way through the novel, once we readers have seen her in action—her heroism, her vulnerability, the sacrifices she makes for others—we might wonder how she came to be this way. Well, let the author finally tell us…

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Naomi Alderman Was Writing a Pandemic Novel Before the Pandemic Hit

nytimes.com – Tuesday June 23, 2020

For two years, Naomi Alderman, the author of the 2017 dystopian novel “The Power,” had been working on her next book.

Then in February, with 40,000 words already written, she decided she had to stop. The story she had devised, about tech billionaires fleeing a pandemic, now seemed a little too close to reality.

“I just thought, ‘Bollocks! I am not going to be able to write this book,’” Alderman said in a phone interview. “It just felt incredibly disrespectful to the many people who had lost loved ones. And I thought, ‘God knows where this pandemic is going to land, and what is possibly going to be the world that comes after it.’”

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