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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
7 Newsletters That Will Improve Your Writing
electricliterature.com – Saturday February 4, 2023
The resurgence of the email newsletter over the past couple of years is great news for writers. So much of our work requires probing our deepest thoughts in isolation, biting our cuticles, staring at cracked paint on the walls. Whether online or IRL, sharing insights and developing community is essential for survival. Subscribing to newsletters by writers, for writers is a way of staying in conversation with peers. Email newsletters can offer emotional support, tips and exercises for improving craft, and resources for getting published that might otherwise be inaccessible, especially to writers beginning their careers. Some even promote community-building by establishing writing challenges and providing platforms for writers to discuss their experiences. The seven newsletters below offer the best of craft and publishing advice, writing prompts, pitch calls, and encouragement and commiseration about the writing life.
What Is Tone in Writing (& Why Is It Important)?
thescriptlab.com – Thursday February 2, 2023
When it comes to learning about the many dynamics of screenwriting, including the key aspect of tone in writing, screenwriters are tasked with reading about the endless go-to elements of screenplays. Some of these elements include structure, conflict, genre, theme, and characterization. Books, workshops, classes, tutorials, and panels focus solely on these vital elements of screenwriting — and rightfully so. However, very little attention is paid to perhaps the most essential ingredient found within all screenplays and their eventual adaptations into movies — tone.
In cinema, the definition of tone is a mystery to most — lost in translation. People debate the difference between tone and mood in relation to the cause-and-effect elements of a screenplay. The atmosphere also plays a role in this discussion.
Let’s simplify the definition of cinematic tone, explain why tone is important, and learn how the tone of a screenplay and movie affects its cause and effect.
Bournemouth Writing Festival
dorsetview.co.uk – Wednesday February 1, 2023
Bournemouth is gearing up for its first Writing Festival in April with over 60 events and activities.
A mix of free and paid-for events and activities at Bournemouth Writing Festival will involve over 70 experienced writers and professionals from TV and film screenwriters to poets and writing coaches.
From creating credible characters to publishing contracts, writing compelling dialogue to landing an agent, there is something for every budding and seasoned writer to learn.
TV and film screenwriters, best-selling authors, poets, journalists, publicists, writing coaches, editors and publishers will be imparting their advice through talks and practical workshops to improve and progress delegates’ writing.
Free activities include “Writing on the Beach” with Richard & Judy winner Christine Aziz to a Poetry Hunt organised by Bournemouth Poet Laureate Myriam San Marco. There will be literary walks plus “genre breakfasts”.
Woke publishers don’t stand a chance against Jane Austen
telegraph.co.uk – Friday January 27, 2023
This week, during an insomniac night, I was yet again re-reading Persuasion – no one else soothes quite like Jane Austen. Delighting in its colourful characters and gentle humour, I paused when in the final pages I came across two references to property held in the West Indies. How is it this beloved book has escaped the cancel mob, I thought, given that the fictional Mr Smith can be associated with a plantation?