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Writers' News

Low-pay writing

By James A. Haught
Editor Emeritus, The Charleston Gazette

firstwriter.com – Tuesday September 3, 2019

Moliere said: “Writing is like pr__t_t_tion. First you do it for the love of it. Then you do it for a few friends. And finally you do it for money.”

Unfortunately, many of today’s writers can’t attain the level of a self-supporting h__ker, because markets and communications have evolved into strange new territory.

[Read the full article]

Ten tips for writing for audio

thebookseller.com – Monday September 2, 2019

As a university writing tutor it can be embarrassingly tiresome to always practise what you preach. But 5,000 words is not a daunting challenge, not an Annapurna, nor even a Munro, except . . .

Except that these 5,000 words must lift themselves from the page and fly from the mouth of a narrator into the ear of a listener. They must convince by their authenticity. They must instantly engage, hold and persuade the listener to join in a secret communion. As a BBC radio producer, the watchword (we didn’t have mission statements or mantras back then) was always "take me there and make me care".

Our duty was to bring the listener on a journey, and make sure they stayed on the voyage until the final second. No small task these days with a magnitude of offerings to tempt us to detour this way and that.

[Read the full article]

Indies dominate CWA shortlist for best crime and mystery publisher

thebookseller.com – Monday September 2, 2019

Indie presses dominate the six-strong shortlist for the inaugural Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Dagger for the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year. 

Faber will go head to head with fellow indies Oldcastle Books imprint No Exit Press, Orenda Books, Pushkin Vertigo and Bloomsbury imprint Raven. 

HarperCollins scores two nominations with Harper Fiction and HQ both in the running for the award that is first new Dagger category created in over a decade.

[Read the full article]

New Magazine Listing

firstwriter.com – Monday September 2, 2019

Publishes: Fiction; 
Areas include: Short Stories; 
Markets: Adult; 
Preferred styles: Literary

Twitterzine publishing short stories up to 140 characters. Also accepts serials of up to 3-7 parts, though each must be able to stand on its own. Submit no more than once per week, by email.

[See the full listing]

Writing Fiction about Real People

historynewsnetwork.org – Sunday September 1, 2019

Biographers can report what happened to their subject and when; they can also suggest reasons why it happened. But only a novelist can climb inside the subject’s head and describe their innermost thoughts and insecurities. It’s in that secret place, hidden behind the bare facts of a life, that I like to write.

The recent trend for biographical novels about strong historical women has produced some cracking reads: Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie’s My Dear Hamilton, Stephanie Marie Thornton’s American Princess, and the works of Paula McLain, of which my favourite is The Paris Wife.  In the UK Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory are perennially popular with their insider stories of the Tudor and Stuart monarchies, and many other novelists have dipped their pens in the biographical inkwell. None of them is attempting to rewrite history – it is always clear they are writing fiction – but they want to go deeper than the history books allow.

[Read the full article]

Can You Write a Novel as a Group?

newyorker.com – Friday August 30, 2019

It all started on a weekend away for the Booksluts, a Sydney book club with the motto “We’ll read anything.” Six of the group’s eight regular members were discussing “Crime and Punishment,” and talking about the club’s upcoming tenth anniversary, which they dreamed of celebrating with a Trans-Siberian Railway trip. They jokingly decided that they would fund the trip by writing a novel together. Much vodka had been consumed by this point, and plot discussions degenerated into mass hysterics.

But the next morning the friends went out and bought butcher paper and Sharpies and spent all day brainstorming. They decided that their novel would be a rural romance, set in the Australian outback, and agreed on the backstory of their heroine, a city girl who inherits the farm where her father—now mysteriously disappeared—grew up. Sparks would fly when she meets the handsome (and engaged) cattle farmer next door.

[Read the full article]

How I’m using AI to write my next novel

vox.com – Friday August 30, 2019

I expect to suffer some degree of writer’s block pretty much every day for the rest of my life. I’m a journalist and a novelist; it comes with the territory. But I have a feeling I’m going to suffer less from now on, thanks to my new best friend, GPT-2.

Let me back up a bit: Six months ago, the research lab OpenAI created an AI system that generates text — from fake news to poetry — that in some cases actually sounds like it’s written by a human being. The OpenAI team has been rolling it out in stages, each time giving us a more powerful version of the language model they dubbed GPT-2, and carefully watching to see how we use it.

They’ve just put out the most powerful version yet. It boasts 50 percent of the power of the full version, which has yet to be released. As you can tell by trying it out for yourself, this model is already plenty powerful.

[Read the full article]

New Publisher Listing

firstwriter.com – Friday August 30, 2019

Publishes: Fiction; Nonfiction; 
Areas include: Short Stories; Translations; 
Markets: Adult; 
Preferred styles: Literary

Publishes literary fiction and nonfiction, including translations. Accepts submissions from anyone who identifies as Australian, particularly those who "identify as queer and/or trans and/or intersex and/or are of any colour, religion, or gender, and/or have a disability" [sic]. Submit via online submission system.

[See the full listing]

Publisher E-Book Revenue Decreased In First Half Of 2019

ellenduffer – Thursday August 29, 2019

A familiar story is told by recent statistics released by the Association of American Publishers: e-book revenues continue to decrease for many in the industry.

According to AAP's publisher revenue report, based on 1,360 participating publishers' figures, e-book revenues decreased in the first six months of calendar 2019 by 3.8% over the same period in 2018. E-books were one of only two format categories that saw revenue decreases in this period (the other category being physical audio).

[Read the full article]

Changing Agents Gracefully

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Thursday August 29, 2019

I’m leaving Dork Associates, Mr. Dork. But it’s nothing personal.

Most agents are, in reality, pretty nice people. Your own current agent might be witty and charming—but you don’t have an agent for entertainment sake. You want someone to represent you who is both connected and knowledgeable. 

[Read the full article]

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