Monkeys, Shakespeare, Writing and Me
huffingtonpost.com – Thursday March 10, 2016
There's an adage that says, "If you put 100 monkeys with typewriters in a room long enough, eventually they'll write Hamlet." It requires just a nanosecond of reflection to realize that the monkeys wouldn't actually be writing. They'd merely be typing. But the idea is they'd be typing fast and furious and eventually create something worth reading.
This is the biggest year I've ever experienced as a writer and there are indeed times when I feel like the aforementioned monkeys. I have four books being published in 2016 -- one each in January, March, April and May. When I mention the four books in conversation, people often regard me with incredulous shock. How is such a thing possible? Do you write non-stop? Did you write all four books simultaneously? Were you actually just monkey-typing?
Evelyn Conlon: prize culture devalues art of writing
irishtimes.com – Wednesday March 9, 2016
I am saddened for the apprentice writers who think that the only way their work can be judged is by a prize listing. What an awful thing for the industry to subject writers to.
My fear is that we’re in danger of losing the challenge of [the independent bookshop]. What happens now is that the window can be bought and that all that exciting innovative work has been bulldozed by giddy marketing. Too many people now make straight for the prize-winning shelf. I am not averse to the notion of the occasional prize, and yes I understand that it is a method of bringing attention to the as yet unknown, but when the bookshop experience seems like you’ve been tipped into a tombola then clearly we have lost sight of the art of finding our own books.
Save dragons, save books! Three authors give tips on children's writing
theguardian.com – Wednesday March 9, 2016
It’s a perennial bugbear among children’s writers that every other writer thinks it’s an easy thing to do when, in fact, children are among the most discerning readers, with an intimate relationship with the on-off switch. Three leading authors will be passing on the tricks of the trade in a Guardian Masterclass on Sunday, 20 March. We asked Philip Ardagh, author of the Eddie Dickens series; How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell; and Laura Dockrill, author of the Darcy Burdock books, to explain the challenges and the rewards of specialising in literature for young people. They also give some useful tips for anyone hoping to follow them into this most demanding of areas.
For writers: To agent or not to agent?
wnd.com – Wednesday March 9, 2016
Writers who want to be published (or who have already been published) are constantly in a state of turmoil trying to answer the question: Do I need an agent?
A writer's lament: Literary efforts are labors of love, but bittersweet
duluthnewstribune.com – Sunday March 6, 2016
Someday I’m gonna sit down, open my old files and figure out how many book signings, library talks, book festivals, craft fairs and book clubs I’ve attended over the 25 years I’ve been writing. In summary fashion, I can safely say I’ve been as far west as Calgary, Alberta, as far east as Youngstown, Ohio, as far north as Winnipeg, Manitoba, and as far south as Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The mistakes writers make
barrowjournal.com – Thursday March 3, 2016
As an editor of a homeschool magazine, I get a lot of queries (i.e. “pitches” in the form of letters or e-mails) from writers wanting to write for us. I rarely respond to any of them because they rarely warrant a response. While I wish I could return each message with an instructional guide on how to make a proper pitch, it would be a waste of my time. Still, my heart goes out to these wannabe writers because many years ago, I didn’t know how to make a pitch either.
Ross MacKenzie's whirlwind guide to writing mystery
theguardian.com – Wednesday March 2, 2016
When I first sat down to write The Nowhere Emporium, I didn’t really think of it as a mystery novel at all. It was just a story I knew I really wanted to tell. It began with the vision of an enchanted shop, a shop that moved around, appearing anywhere, at any time. But I didn’t know why this happened. So I wrote the rest of the book to find out. And as the story developed, I slowly realised that I was writing a mystery book.
Things that nearly put me off writing my first novel
femalefirst.co.uk – Monday February 29, 2016
I don't know what the statistics are but I have a feeling that journalists don't automatically make very good fiction writers. It's a different part of the brain. And it's a different business model. When you're a journalist you write a thousand words or so are about someone, somewhere, something else. Very often, no personal opinion required. After a thousand words or so, you get paid. You park that feature and start on the next one. You also have an editor, mostly at the end of an email, saying (hopefully), 'thanks for that - good job'. And (hopefully) your byline will pop up somewhere. Both these are a journalistic equivalent of hearty pats on the back. Reasons to carry on.
What Even Great Writers Do Badly: How to Up Your Game as an Author
huffingtonpost.com – Friday February 26, 2016
Literary agents often get a reputation for being cruel and heartless. It is true that not a one of us has escaped sending out many, many rejection letters. I am sure that there are a few slightly sadistic agents out there, but for the most part, authors, please know that we take no pleasure in saying no to you and your project!
Sylvester Stallone's sneaky good writing advice
chicagonow.com – Monday February 22, 2016
I believe everyone has, at least, one story in their head that is begging to be put down on paper. Could be a novel, screenplay, non-fiction, memoir, a book of poems, doesn’t matter. We tell stories all the time, over dinner, over the phone, a good ol Facebook rant but when it comes time to open up a blank Word document, take a deep breath, something changes. The story ends at Once upon a time...