If you’re like me, you’re bombarded with information such as newsletters, blog posts, articles, short and longs sales forms, etc. that find their way into your inbox on a daily basis. Take a bite out of information overload with the 35 Killer Writing Resources below. You may be familiar with some of these writing resources, and others could be new to you. Refer to the ones that work for you. Enjoy! [Read more...]
Are you still trying to get the attention of a publisher or literary agent? Haven’t they noticed you and your writing? What’s the deal with that? Perhaps, they’re too busy reading about James Erwin. If you don’t know the story of James Erwin and how his responses to a Reddit question landed him a deal with Hollywood, here’s the scoop from Wired magazine:
James Erwin, writes software manuals for an Iowa financial services firm. The pay and short commute aren’t too shabby. One day at work (on his lunch break) he logged into Reddit and decided to answer the following question posted by Reddit user ‘The_Quiet_Earth,’ “Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit?” [Read more...]
I resisted for a long time, but I read The Hunger Games. I thought it was okay. I expected the book to ‘hook’ me from the beginning. But, I didn’t become interested until page 58. Even then, I found myself ‘speed reading’ through some chapters. There’s pressure on the movie to do well at the box office. But if it’s made a splash with tweens and teens, it could be as successful as the Twilight series. Anyway … Let’s find out what it takes to go from books to movies. [Read more...]
Are the best writers’ thieves? According to history, the answer is yes. Oscar Wilde stole from everyone. It’s speculated (some believe) that William Shakespeare didn’t write his plays, but rather Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe or Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford did. Some historians believe that Thomas Jefferson plagiarized the Declaration of Independence by stealing from John Locke. That’s John Locke, aka The Father of Liberalism, not John Locke from Lost. Good show, by the way. Anyway … I digress.
It’s illegal to violate copyright laws or claim a work of fiction or non-fiction as your own. But it’s not illegal to observe and learn from other writers and adapt whatever it is they do for your own work. After all, you’ll want to put your own ‘spin’ on anything you publish. Otherwise, it will be bogus and inauthentic.
1. Vampires, werewolves, hybrids, witches, warlocks, outcast/loner, headhunters, magical lands, fairies, far-away lands, etc. can be found in many books. Change the names, time, setting, and tweak the plot, and you basically have the same book.
2. Mysteries are no different. Whether it’s a retired cop or rookie detective, a mystery’s a mystery. The case will be solved and it will be closed … or will it? Trilogies happen.
3. Horror is no different. Slashing, thrashing and bashing can occur throughout the pages of a book or graphic novel. Whether it’s a guy with a chainsaw or some out-of-this-world creature, the horror of it all will continue.
Tip: The best horror books don’t contain a lot of blood and guts. They build suspense and ‘suck’ you into the story. They keep you on your toes and make you want to turn the page to find out how it ends.
4. Historical novels contain the same basis of the story … history. You can’t go back and change the War of 1812 to the War of 1814. However, you can change the character names, plot, scenes, dialogue, etc.
1. Have you ever been down the self-help aisle of a bookstore? Pick up a couple of books and compare them. They probably contain the same information but are packaged and written differently because people are different. An author who resonates with your friends may not resonate with you.
2. Do you know how many baby name books can be purchased online or in a bookstore? A lot. Pick up any book and you’ll find the meaning for the most popular baby names. Again, the packaging and verbiage are different but the origin of Emma is still Old French and Old German.The meaning is still entire or universal.
Let’s face it; you may think your idea is original, but the reality is another writer probably already wrote a book or screenplay using ‘your’ idea or is in the process of writing something along the same line as you. It’s the same situation with blogs and articles. It’s not a big deal because readers know what they like and will choose to ‘follow’ authors and writers who appeal to them. The key is to observe and learn from the ‘best writers’ and take what they’re doing and apply it to your own writing career. History has shown us that this happens time and time again.
In a couple of weeks, we’re about to bid farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012. For authors and writers, this translates to sorting through the enormous amount of writer’s conferences and choosing a few to attend during the New Year. Before you pack your bags and fly or drive to your destination, read the don’ts and do’s of attending writer’s conferences.
1. Don’t sit at table with grumpy look on your face. All of us know that writers are ‘supposed to be’ solitary people however, when you’re at a conference, you may want to loosen up.
2. Don’t insult other authors and writers. This is bad business acumen and downright unacceptable. There’s room for all writers.
3. Don’t monopolize editors and publishers. You’re not the only one at the book or writer’s conference. Give your 30-second elevator speech and ask to schedule time with editors, literary agents, and publishers during classes and workshops.
4. Don’t dress sloppy. Like it or not, your appearance is just as important as your manuscript. Iron your clothes and or pack wrinkle-free clothing.
5. Don’t forget to bring your iPad and or laptop.
6. Don’t forget to bring marketing materials such as business cards, postcards, flyers, etc.
7. Don’t forget to participate in classes and workshops. You’re not in elementary or high school anymore. It’s alright to raise your hand. If you give the wrong answer, you’ll survive.
1. You’ve probably heard the phrase “Dress for success” a million times but there is truth to it. If you dress professionally, you’ll feel like a million dollars. Before you attend a writer’s conference purchase new clothes and get your haircut, styled and colored. When you look better, you feel better.
2. Do get over your shyness. You may want to get to the ‘root’ of your shyness and dissolve it. Life’s too short to be afraid to speak up and speak your mind. Walk up to someone you don’t know and say, “Hi! My name is (fill in the blank). It’s nice to meet you. What do you think of the writer’s conference?” It may take you a couple of times but once you do this, you’ll be able to speak to anyone, including your fans.
3. Do send hand written ‘Thank You’ notes to editors, literary agents, and publishers. Remember to ask for a business card.
4. Do network as much as you can. If you want to collaborate with another writer, conferences are the best places to find the ‘right’ writing partner.
5. Do bring paper and pen along with a recorder (if permissible). You never know, there could be a power outage and you may not have time to charge your laptop.
6. Do learn all you can about the publishing process. The more you know the better you’ll become at writing and sending query letters and understanding what agents and publishers want.
7. Do prepare a list of questions. When it’s time for the panel discussion, be prepared to ask your questions. Do your homework and learn all you can about the conference, panel, etc. Know before you go!
- Literary Agents – Here Is What You Need To Know (smartwrite.com.au)
- “How can writers meet editors in person?” Part II: Conference Connections (sellyournonfiction.wordpress.com)