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Writers' News

New Magazine Listing: Story Unlikely

firstwriter.com – Wednesday January 4, 2023

Seeks short stories of all genres and styles - as long as it's a story, we'll consider it. We prefer shorter fiction, but will accept up to 10,000 word pieces. We are concerned only with the quality of the story (both by the author's ability to write clean prose and their ability to in how to tell a story), and not by their pedigree (or lack there of).

[See the full listing]

New Literary Agent Listing: Kara Grajkowski

firstwriter.com – Wednesday January 4, 2023

Looking for contemporary middle grade fiction; contemporary young adult fiction; and own voices.

[See the full listing]

Female-only Welsh publisher invites submissions from trans authors

telegraph.co.uk – Tuesday January 3, 2023

As part of a call for new writers, Honno says that the criteria for ‘women’ means ‘women or those who identify as women’

Trans and non-binary authors can submit work to a state-funded publisher intended for female writers, prompting concerns that it has “caved to ideology”.

Honno was established as an independent press in 1986 to promote writing by female authors in Wales, and receives government grant funding to continue its mission of exclusively putting out women’s literature.

However, the publisher has now issued a call for new writers that has invited those who “identify as women” to submit their work, stating that what it takes as the criteria for a woman will include people who are “non-binary and transgender”.

The open invitation has caused concern among authors who have worked with Honno, who fear the organisation has “caved to ideology” and removed a valued female-only service.

[Read the full article]

How to navigate the closed world of publishing

heraldscotland.com – Sunday January 1, 2023

Three hundred million self-published books are sold each year and as with any new booming industry there are people willing to help you navigate the once closed-off world of publishing.

The market is growing, $1.25 billion worth of self-published books are sold each year and the number of self-published books has increased 264% in the last five years.

I began my book writing process 17 months ago. I had no plan or concept of how my memoir would look, let alone the publishing process. I had an inkling that the world of publishing is complex and daunting – only slightly less arduous than the book editing process.

[Read the full article]

Are you bored yet? Maybe it is time to write that great novel – here are some tips to get going

theguardian.com – Sunday January 1, 2023

Creative writing is generally an activity best conducted alone. So, if the festivities are getting on top of you, this could be the ideal time to squirrel yourself away with a notebook. Tell your partner, guests or children that this really is the ideal moment for you to kick off the novel or short story you have been planning in your head for years. Arm yourself with a cup of tea or a mug of mulled wine. Find a quiet room. Close the door. Breathe.

Now, open your notebook or turn on your computer. Do not stare too long at the blank page or screen in front of your or it will become a vortex that threatens to swallow you whole. You are not going to allow this to happen. Instead, you are going to forget about whatever it is you might think you are going to write – a series of beautifully pared-back, emotionally raw stories reminiscent of Raymond Carver, perhaps; or a historical magnum opus to fill the gap left by the much-missed Hilary Mantel – and you are going to do one of the following:

[Read the full article]

Four myths about writing

irishtimes.com – Saturday December 31, 2022

Rosemary Jenkinson challenges four preconceptions about the writing life

Writing is a serious job. Susan Sontag wrote, ‘I always begin with a great sense of dread and trepidation,’ and Nietzsche compared the decision to start writing to ‘leaping into a cold lake,’ but for me it’s like diving into a hot tub with champagne and a bevy of hot studs. I understand that some authors can be crippled by self-expectation, but writing is such a joy I sometimes wake up like a child on Christmas morning longing to unwrap my toys. While I take writing seriously, I can’t, however, take the writing world seriously. Nor should you. Byron hilariously punctured Wordsworth’s pomposity by calling him Turdsworth. Being tongue-in-cheek and laughing at the litterati is great for your mental health. It was Oscar Wilde who recognized the paradox by claiming that, ‘Some things are too important to be taken seriously.’ It’s all to the better if people don’t know whether you’re being serious or not. To quote Wilde again, ‘I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood.’

[Read the full article]

The best way to polish your writing? Read it aloud.

smileypete.com – Friday December 30, 2022

In 2009, the internet was blessed with a comment on 4chan’s video games board that can only be described as a monument to the importance of reading aloud: “Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?” Users shared their confusion across various platforms and eventually made it into a meme.

The advice that one should read their work aloud before sharing it with an audience borders on cliché, but it remains a crucial part of the writing process. Some prefer the authorial voice that echoes in their heads as they silently review their work in dulcet tones to the potentially awkward experience of hearing their voice fill the room and finding it unpracticed and less self-assured. While you may feel a little silly, the wealth of information gleaned from the physical act of reading aloud is worth the embarrassment.

[Read the full article]

The “Plotter vs. Pantser” Writing Divide Has Been Exaggerated

tor.com – Wednesday December 28, 2022

When it comes to outlining vs. improvising, I’ve found that we all do the same steps in a different order.

Many writing conversations (whether on panels, in blog posts, etc.) discuss a plotter vs. pantser binary, plotters being outliners, authors who plan work thoroughly before beginning, while the pantser, from the expression “fly by the seat of your pants” plunges into writing the beginning without a plan. I myself am certainly the plotter archetype, producing reams of notes, spreadsheets, and outlining a whole series before beginning Chapter 1, but the more I talk with friends who fit the pantser archetype, the clearer it becomes that the two methods are not as different as they’re made to seem. The real difference is not what we do, but what order we do it in, which steps we do before, which during, and which after drafting the text.

[Read the full article]

Literary Agents

By Lakshmi Raj Sharma
Novelist and Professor of English

firstwriter.com – Wednesday December 28, 2022

Literary agents and their meticulous work fascinate me. I presume several other authors feel the same about them. Perhaps agents are equally immersed in and captivated by the publishing process. Theirs is most definitely a labor of love. Agents have to be fervent about good ideas, unstoppable at the bargaining table, shrewd in judgment and advice, and brilliant at editing. There's no doubt that we authors need literary agents in the contemporary publishing scenario. Without them we are like fishes out of water. They know things that authors do not. They, therefore, bridge the gap between publishers and them, and, in some cases, become protectors. Authors feel insecure in their professional worlds without supportive agents. Of course not all agents are the same. Some who fall into the wrong profession can become the cause of authors dwindling into nothing.

I propose to hold the mirror up to agents and do for them what they have very kindly been doing for authors. Fully realizing the complexity of their job, I will try to suggest how agents might help authors even better. I believe I can do this because the work of literary agents lures me and I read with interest virtually everything related to them. What I say here will include some of the problems faced by authors living in countries like India. Living in such countries and writing to the world at large is no easy task because of confusions that arise because authors and agents belong to different cultures.

[Read the full article]

Big Names in Little Magazines: On Thomas Pynchon’s Very First Literary Journal Appearance

lithub.com – Thursday December 22, 2022

“Thomas Pynchon is a young writer, just twenty, who has previously published fiction in Epoch. He is a Cornell graduate and now lives in Seattle.”

Writers know that the time between when a piece is accepted by a literary magazine and when it is actually published can be rather protracted—my longest span was three years—and by the time Thomas Pynchon appeared in the Spring 1960 issue of The Kenyon Review, he was a still-young 23. He’d just graduated from Cornell, his time there split by a stint in the Navy. He worked for Boeing in Seattle—writing for Bomarc Service News, an internal newsletter.

Although tasked with writing technical pieces about anti-aircraft missiles, Pynchon was characteristically wry. In “The Mad Hatter and the Mercury Wetted Relays,” Pynchon informs readers that Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter had gone mad from “chronic mercurialism” or “hatter’s shakes,” which could affect Boeing workers if certain wire-wrapped glass capsules explode. “When dealing with mercury,” Pynchon warns, “even in small amounts, respect it and play it safe. Don’t become a ‘Mad Hatter,’ you might find it to be much more unpleasant than attending a mad tea party.”

The same jaunty rhythms mark “Entropy,” Pynchon’s story in The Kenyon Review. Although he would later dismiss the piece as an example of “overwriting,” something “too conceptual, too cute and remote,” the story is playfully chaotic—the type of glorious excess for which literary magazines are made.

[Read the full article]

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