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Writers' News

A.R. Capetta’s Top Ten Tips For Writing Speculative Short Stories

i0.wp.com – Sunday February 12, 2023

To celebrate the release of their sensational new YA sci-fi anthology, Tasting Light: Ten Science Fiction Stories to Rewire Your Perception, co-editor A.R. Capetta, shares their top ten tips for writing speculative short stories.

1. Write that first draft as quickly as you can get it down—without giving yourself time to judge it. If your story involves worldbuilding or even research, like many of the science and tech-inspired stories in Tasting Light, you can do that beforehand and layer in more afterward. But as you write a first draft try not to interrupt your brainwaves while they’re chasing the single, brilliant beam of light that is your idea.

2. Speaking of light! A great speculative short story is like a beam of light that’s gone through the facet of a prism. It is focused and transforming. As part of your writing process, read some of your favorite SFF stories. Look for the focus. Look for transformation—both in the story itself and in how it changes things for the reader.

[Read the full article]

Why publishers are such cowards

spectator.co.uk – Sunday February 12, 2023

After publishing 17 books, I’m no stranger to the publicity campaign. In my no-name days, my publicist would purr that my novel’s release would be ‘review-driven’ – which decodes: ‘We don’t plan to spend a sou on your doomed, inconsequential book.’ By contrast, as we’ve seen writ large with Prince Harry’s Spare, your volume can be cast upon the public waters as not a mere object but an event. The intention is to convince book-buyers that unless they snap up a copy sharpish they’ll be caught up short at cocktail parties.

Thus quite some time ago, some editorial Baldrick at William Collins must have whispered to Nigel Biggar, a newly signed author at the HarperCollins imprint: ‘I have a cunning plan.’ Clearly the concept driving this week’s release of the Oxford professor’s Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning, which before our current Year Zero would never have caused a stir, was to convert misfortune to opportunity, much as manure can convert to fuel.

As I’ve read the story in some ten different articles, interviews and reviews, including in last week’s Spectator, we’ll keep the recap short: Bloomsbury commissions book on British Empire; Bloomsbury loves book on British Empire; Bloomsbury gets the willies about too-hot-to-handle manuscript claiming British Empire did some good things as well as bad and pays off author to go away. Behold, yet another ‘cancellation’ in an industry that once audaciously scandalised genteel sensibilities with the likes of Ulysses or Lady Chatterley’s Lover and is now renowned instead for cravenness, fearfulness and slavish conformity.

[Read the full article]

Tony Lee Launches £2500 Caliburn Prize To Aspiring Graphic Novelists

bleedingcool.com – Friday February 10, 2023

The Caliburn Prize is Tony Lee's new UK comic-based literary grant, recognising fresh and unpublished voices in the world of comic and graphic novel creation.

During lockdown, comic book writer Tony Lee of Hooded Man Media became bestselling novelist Tony Lee under a couple of pseudonyms. Now he is looking to share the love. The Hooded Man Caliburn Prize for Comic Creation, or The Caliburn Prize for short is a new UK comic-based literary grant, recognising fresh and unpublished voices in the world of comic and graphic novel creation. The Caliburn Prize is a £2,500 grant aimed at helping unpublished UK-based creators get a foot on the comics ladder.

"When I started in comics, it was a different world," Tony Lee explained. "I was able to walk into a publisher with experience in other media under my belt, but many of today's creators don't have the same advantages I did, as the industry has massively changed over the last twenty years, and the doors I entered through are now boarded up. The prize fund is a way to help the next generation of comic creators find their own route into the room where it happens."

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Caro Clarke

firstwriter.com – Friday February 10, 2023

I am actively building a list of authors writing fiction and non-fiction. I have very broad taste in fiction and I’m attracted to excellent writing, clever plots, unusual settings and complex characters. I love all types of stories from niche literary novels, to speculative fiction and fantasy, gripping crime and novels with wide appeal. I am partial to fiction that transports you, steals your heart and makes you think. On the non-fiction side, I’m looking for narrative non-fiction, memoir, popular science, big ideas, travel, culture, essays, queer culture and intersectional feminism. I’m also interested in food writing and cookbooks. I have a particular soft spot for nature writing of any type. What I look for in non-fiction are fascinating topics, a unique perspective or one that disrupts the status quo and an engaging voice. Most of all, I’m looking for writers who are passionate about the topic of their book.

[See the full listing]

One brash request, 7 books, and 34 bits of advice for writers

poynter.org – Thursday February 9, 2023

How a whimsical invitation featuring the Rolling Stones and a Shelley poem led to some essential writing advice.

Early in October I received a small package from England, which looked most interesting even before I opened it. The envelope celebrated “Her Majesty the Queen’s PLATINUM JUBILEE.” Five stamps carried the postage, each with a distinctive image: Soldiers from World War II; three lines from my favorite Percy Bysshe Shelley poem, “To a Skylark”; four members of the Rolling Stones; and a gray cat with its eyes closed.

When I flipped it over, it was sealed with a Mick Jagger stamp and a handwritten note: “He also can’t get no satisfaction …”

I was intrigued. Whoever sent this seemed to know something about my interests and sensibilities. The sender was a writer named Paul Khanna. He described himself as a scribe who was, like Jagger, not getting satisfaction from his work; no mention of his acting career. He had written three diet books and had taken a course on screenwriting during the pandemic. He experienced personal setbacks. Both parents suffered serious illnesses and his cat went blind. (I thought of that stamp of a gray cat with its eyes closed.)

What did he want from me? It turns out he had read two of my books and found them helpful. He then caught a notice of my new book, “Tell It Like It Is: A Guide to Clear and Honest Writing,” due out April 11. He wanted a preview copy. “Just like the Apollo 13 which launched on that day,” he wrote, “I’m feeling lost in space and can’t wait to find my way home.”

[Read the full article]

Women’s prize to launch annual award for women’s non-fiction writing

theguardian.com – Thursday February 9, 2023

The Women’s Prize Trust hopes to make the first award in 2024, after research showed female writers were far less likely than men to be reviewed or win prizes

The Women’s prize is to launch a non-fiction award to sit alongside its long-running fiction prize, in response to research that found that female non-fiction writers are less likely to be reviewed or win prizes than their male counterparts.

The new book prize, the Women’s prize for non-fiction, will be awarded annually and will be open to all female writers from across the globe who are published in the UK and writing in English. The winner will receive £30,000 and a statuette named “the Charlotte”, which have been given by the Charlotte Aitken Trust, a charity set up by the former literary agent Gillon Aitken on behalf of his late daughter.

[Read the full article]

UK publishers’ ebook sales fall

booksandpublishing.com.au – Thursday February 9, 2023

In the UK, sales of ebooks from the ‘Big Six’ publishers fell 8.3% in 2022, reports the Bookseller.

The publishers’ ebook volume to 43.6 million units in 2022, the lowest return since 2017 and the second-lowest total since the Bookseller began collecting annual ebook data from publishers.

[Read the full article]

Hachette Children’s Group to host Mo Siewcharran Prize 2023 with focus on picture books

thebookseller.com – Thursday February 9, 2023

This year’s iteration of the Mo Siewcharran Prize will be hosted by Hachette Children’s Group (HCG) and focus exclusively on writers and writer-illustrators in the picture book genre.

The Mo Siewcharran Prize, named in memory of Nielsen BookData’s former director of marketing and communications, was co-founded and sponsored by her husband John Seaton and aims to nurture talent from underrepresented backgrounds writing in English.

Sponsored by Nielsen BookData it is run as part of Hachette UK’s The Future Bookshelf scheme and is hosted by different divisions of the publisher each year. Last year it was hosted by Quercus and focused on the crime and thriller genre. Foday Mannah won for The Search for Othella Savage.

[Read the full article]

New Publisher Listing: Cranthorpe Millner Publishers

firstwriter.com – Wednesday February 8, 2023

An independent publisher based in Cambridge. Releases 20-40 titles per year. Operates a hybrid publishing model offering different kinds of agreements depending on the author and the manuscript. Some authors are offered a ‘traditional’ model, whereby the publisher covers the full cost of publication and the author is offered royalties (8-10%). Some authors are offered a partnership or contributory agreement, whereby the author is asked for a financial contribution. In this case, the author receives around 60-75% royalties.

[See the full listing]

Mysteries Contained Therein: In Praise of the Literary Journal Longform Interview

lithub.com – Sunday February 5, 2023

“I’ve never consciously strategized about how to make a sentence, let alone a poem. But I can see, even in the earliest poems, that my way of making a sentence involves enacting the push and pull of my interior life, a way of approaching a statement while also making room for its opposite.” In the year since the poet Carl Phillips wrote those lines in our conversation for Image, I’ve lingered over their sound and sense. Their wisdom. How we might discover ourselves through syntax.

No literary action is more instructive for me than the longform interview. At Image, we feature one interview per issue: an anchor for the surrounding words and art. I’ve long admired Phillips as a poet, but after our conversation I more fully appreciated his method. Interviews partially reveal the mysteries of process and vision. Literary magazines—spaces where craft and contemplation reside—are the perfect homes for these conversations.

[Read the full article]

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