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Writers' News

Thomas C. Foster on the Seven Deadly Sins of Writing

lithub.com – Friday September 16, 2022

If you hang around the writing racket long enough, you will see every sort of writing success and failure imaginable—and some you can’t imagine. I spent forty years teaching courses in writing and in literature where writing was a major component. Both during and after that time, I have been writing more or less steadily, sometimes frantically, once in a while ecstatically.

Through all that time, I have seen—and accomplished—all manner of failure. For some reason, students would sometimes come to my office to apologize for their poor (in their estimation) efforts, as if they had let me down personally. Often it turned out that the writing was anything but a failure, but it didn’t strike the student as a winner. Lacking any means of absolving themselves, they were asking me to do so for them. After offering what help I could, I obliged. In one terrible case, a brilliant mature student, although far too young for this fate, closed my door (something I never did on my own) and told me that trying to read and write for my course had revealed a change in her brain, an early-onset, not-yet-specified dementia. We wept together. Usually, such talks were much more mundane, with students seeking help after tying themselves up in knots. Help was one thing I had plenty of, both on my own and in sending them to our excellent writing center where their peers had knowledge and skills under less threatening rubrics than “professor.”

[Read the full article]

How Dealing in Facts Helps Fiction Writers Hone Their Craft

lithub.com – Wednesday September 14, 2022

When I left my career in journalism in 2018 to study creative writing, I was worried that my training as a news reporter might make it hard for me to write fiction. After all, if there was one thing my time in newsrooms taught me, it was that I wasn’t allowed to make things up. The facts were the facts. Dates and stats needed to be tripled-checked, statements and names confirmed, timelines cross-referenced, and if I ever got anything wrong, a correction had to be issued as I sulked in embarrassment.

And so, getting started in fiction felt like pulling teeth. I continuously doubted myself, unsure if the characters and events I concocted were believable. For months I wrote while looking over my shoulder, as though the Fact Police were going to tackle me to the ground for daring to do make things up. But as I kept writing, spinning up my novel, All That’s Left Unsaida literary mystery about a young woman who tracks down the witnesses to her brother’s grisly murder, determined to find out what happened and why they each claim to have seen nothing—much of my journalism training, which I’d thought would hold me back from writing fiction, actually helped me draft, revise, and sell my novel.

Below are some of the skills I picked up as a journalist that, rather than being a hindrance, have been an enormous help in writing fiction.

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Five Writers on How Writing with Creative Constraints Unlocked Their Projects

lithub.com – Tuesday September 13, 2022

I have long been an anxious writer. Every sentence written reminds me of the hundreds more that could have stood in its place, missed opportunities for assonance or characterization, clauses left dependent that could have—should have—been made independent. Often it takes all the perseverance I can muster not to leap up and gaze out the window, or better yet, flip open a book by somebody who’s already figured it all out.

For me, the anxiety of writing is the anxiety of possibility. Musical performance—despite all its lore of stage-fright, jitters, and choking—has been my salvation. When performing in front of an audience, a wrong note can’t be taken back; the audience hears it immediately. I find this precariousness strangely freeing. Rather than obsessing over what was previously played, I’m forced to move forward, adapt, and accept my failings. Mistakes become opportunities; a wrong note may suddenly evoke some new cluster of tones I wouldn’t have found otherwise, or veer a solo into provocative territory.

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Thwaites becomes head of books at Curtis Brown as new children’s division announced

thebookseller.com – Tuesday September 13, 2022

Senior literary agent Steph Thwaites has been appointed head of books at Curtis Brown amid a raft of promotions within the agency’s book division, and she will be setting up a new children’s division.

In her new role as head of the Books Department, she succeeds Sheila Crowley and Gordon Wise, joint managing directors of the Book Department over the past three years, who continue in their book board and senior agent capacities.

[Read the full article]

Val McDermid, Michael Robotham, J.P. Pomare on writing crime

rnz.co.nz – Monday September 12, 2022

Three of the world's finest crime writers; Val McDermid, Michael Robotham and J.P. Pomare join Kathryn in the studio. The trio are touring New Zealand this week, with an event, Crime after Crime.

Val McDermid is crime-writing royalty, with over 18 million copies of her books sold to date and several TV adaptions.

Michael Robotham is Australia's hottest crime writer; his Joseph O'Loughlin series was a worldwide bestseller and The Suspect is now streaming on TVNZ.

He's well known for The Secrets She Keeps, now an award-winning TV drama, and his latest book Lying Beside You is an international bestseller.

Rotorua-born J.P. Pomare is no stranger to Aotearoa's shores - his debut novel Call Me Evie won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel, and his second book In the Clearing will soon grace our screens via Disney+.  The Wrong Woman is his fifth book. 

[Read the full article]

Writing Science Fiction: Win a place on the Curtis Brown Creative Writing Course with Adam Roberts

scifinow.co.uk – Saturday September 10, 2022

Writing Science Fiction is a six-week online course from Curtis Brown Creative – the renowned writing school led by the major literary agency. Since launching in 2011, over 170 students have become commercially published authors.

Join prolific science fiction author Adam Roberts for a six-week voyage into the genre. Adam shares wisdom acquired from writing his 23 published novels, most recently Purgatory Mount (Gollancz 2021; shortlisted for the Prometheus Award) and The This (Gollancz 2022).  You’ll work through six modules comprising teaching videos and substantial notes from Adam. You’ll learn how to develop your novum (‘new thing’), build a compelling world, people it with extraordinary characters, and write a story that transports your readers to somewhere that’s entirely yours. Topics include worldbuilding, narrative structure and navigating beloved tropes of the genre while avoiding clichés.

[Read the full article]

New Publisher Listing: Arachne Press

firstwriter.com – Thursday September 8, 2022

A small, independent publisher of award-winning short fiction, award winning poetry and (very) select non-fiction, for adults and children. Only accepts responses to call outs (mainly for inclusion in anthologies). See website for full details and current calls.

[See the full listing]

New Literary Agent Listing: Rebecca Matte

firstwriter.com – Thursday September 8, 2022

Loves adult and YA science fiction/fantasy and queer romance. But no matter the setting—be it a far off kingdom beset by magic or around the corner in Brooklyn—she seeks out books that feature diverse, complex characters in deeply rooted relationships, platonic and romantic. A well-crafted romance will make her heart sing, while a beautifully detailed friendship will elevate any book to an instant favorite. She also gravitates towards inherently hopeful stories of self-discovery and reinvention at all ages, particularly those that center questions of gender and sexuality. She tries to bring magic to every moment of life, and loves books that do the same.

[See the full listing]

International Living is Looking for Writers…

internationalliving.com – Wednesday September 7, 2022

Here at International Living, we believe in one simple idea…in the right places overseas, you can live better, for less.

A healthier, safer, freer, more affordable retirement can be yours in one of the many retirement havens around the world.

We live in a world full of opportunities…for fun…pleasure…financial security and profits…romantic discoveries…and adventure. It’s a world full of things you can do to make your life more exciting—and more profitable—and we’d like you to write about them for us.

[Read the full article]

Publishing needs JK Rowling to be a monster

thecritic.co.uk – Wednesday September 7, 2022

The trouble with JK Rowling is that she has done nothing wrong. Back in 2020, she wrote a carefully worded, compassionate piece about sex and gender. It’s here if you want to read it. 

In it, she described “a climate of fear that serves nobody – least of all trans youth – well”. At no point did she express the even mildest disapproval of gender non-conformity, let alone call for “trans genocide”. “Trans people,” she wrote, “need and deserve protection […] I feel nothing but empathy and solidarity with trans women who’ve been abused by men.”

The response to this piece was obscene. Some of it’s here if you want to read it. I am aware, however, that checking original source material is not the done thing when it comes to having an opinion on Rowling. 

Shortly after the publication of her blogpost, countless op-eds appeared explaining what Rowling “really” meant. To summarise them all, Rowling was lying about not hating trans people and wanting them dead, and you could tell this by the fact she said she didn’t hate trans people and didn’t want them dead. 

[Read the full article]

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