It Takes a Community

Writing is a lonely job. I wish I was one of those writers who can sit in a busy coffee shop and scribble away with dozens of conversation snatches floating by, but I’m too easily distracted by what’s going on around me. Here’s a conversation I once heard between an elderly couple that completely derailed […]

Those Early Readers

In Those Early Drafts, I looked at the sometimes complex task of getting a messy first draft edited and refined into a legible manuscript. I briefly touched on the importance of reader input in the early editing process of a story and thought those readers deserved more than just a passing mention. Because the details […]

Those Early Drafts

When is a story fit to be read? It depends on who’s reading it. Your family may seem genetically programmed to love every word you write. A potential publisher, not so much. By the time you submit your manuscript for publishing, it better have been read by a few more people than just your Mom. […]

Follow-Up and Follow Through

Writing a blog about writing has led me to a lot of cool websites and other writing blogs. I’ve found more tools than I’ve ever had to help me get my stories written. As I’ve researched individual topics, I’ve discovered some great resources that I wish I’d found in time for some of my earlier […]

How Young is a Young Adult?

The science fiction novels I read as a teen weren’t written for that age group. The themes were adult, as were the character dynamics and main issues. There just weren’t enough young adult books to keep me satisfied – at least any that spoke to the issues that were important to me at the time. […]

Life Cycle of a Novel

Some writers work from an outline, others just wing it. They start at page one and write one scene after another, with only a vague idea of where they’re headed. I know a guy who’s been working on his medieval war novel for nearly ten years, an endless campaign of bloody battles and skirmishes that […]

An Interview with Author Astra Crompton

Writing a novel is a huge amount of work. A giant commitment and accomplishment that shouldn’t go to waste – especially if it’s good stuff. But the lineups at the doors of the traditional publishing houses get longer all the time and the manuscripts can start to pile up. A fire hazard, at the very […]

Buddy, can you spare some time?

Writing a book takes up a good chunk of your time, something that’s always in short supply. With the busy lives we lead it’s a wonder any books get written at all, but someone is finding the time to slap some words down because new books pop up every day. Most articles about writing suggest […]

The Long and the Short Of It

So you’ve got this great idea bouncing around in your head. It’s been following you around for a while now. You’ve worked out a few details, maybe sketched a basic outline, and now it’s time to actually sit down and write a story. Will it be a snappy short or an epic novel? I’ve often […]

I’ve Got This Idea…

When I was a kid I was awed by the adult section of the library. So many books! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. Where would I start? I was a voracious reader and by the time I was finally allowed to borrow from the main floor I’d long run out of […]

That Next Project

So you’ve finally finished writing your book. The manuscript has been edited more times than you care to remember and now you can just sit back and wait for the reviews and fan mail to start rolling in. What do you do in the meantime? Sure, go ahead and update your author website, plan a […]

Edit Edit Edit Edit — Are We Done Yet?

So, your manuscript keeps getting rejected, again and again. You’ve researched the market and submitted it to only those houses that publish your genre. You’ve consulted their guidelines for word count. You may even have read their latest titles for a taste of what they like these days. You’ve written several drafts so far and […]

Zoe Duff – Independent Publisher

What do you do when you’re writing in multiple genres and don’t quite fit into contemporary classifications? If you’re Zoe Duff, you start up an independent publishing house and learn the process of printing and selling your own books. For Zoe, it wasn’t just about seeing her books in print – though that’s been the […]

Rejection Slip Scrapbook

We all deal with rejection in our own way. To some, anything that feels like the slap on the hand they got from touching something forbidden as a child can discourage them from trying again, certain that their manuscript isn’t worth the paper it was printed on. But a rejection slip doesn’t necessarily mean your […]

To Query or Not to Query

There are two words in the English language that never fail to give me a painful case of writers block: Query Letter. Just the thought of it has me wiping sweaty palms on my jeans. Writing a query letter often feels like an exercise in futility, like I’m sending out a request for another rejection. […]

A Novel Dilemma

How do you get published when the rules and the markets are constantly shifting? Book stores are closing, mega-publishers are adopting their smaller cousins as in-house imprints, and the internet has made the leap from fad to indispensable. I can hardly keep up. A friend told me recently that he’s too busy with blogs, Facebook […]

Nothing New Under the Sun

How does an editor manage to still be moved by a story when she has to sift through ever-growing stacks of unsolicited manuscripts, looking for a nugget of something new? I mean, how many ways can you write a romance? Or a murder mystery, a space opera or zombie invasion? Sure, there are tried and […]

It’s Getting Crowded In Here

Who decides what makes a good book? How does an editor know what readers will want? A writer’s friends and family might thrill at every new story but it still has to impress an agent, editor, publisher, reviewer and reader before it’s considered successful. Popular genres can fluctuate and morph, so that by the time […]

What Was I Thinking?

I’ve never written a blog. I’ve never had the urge to write a blog. So imagine my surprise when I bumped into a fantastic opportunity that I couldn’t resist: writing a weekly blog for Amazing Stories Magazine. I could barely contain a fangirl squee! So. Much. Fun. The timing was a little awkward since I […]