Manuscript Rejected After Only 20 Pages? What gives?
A lot of new writers are being told to start right in the action, and this tip needs to be clarified. We need some kind of conflict in the beginning to make us (the reader) choose to side with/like the protagonist. This conflict doesn’t necessarily have to do with the main story problem (directly).
Fiction Writing: 7 Elements of the First Page
r am I jaded? More often than I care to admit, a book’s finely crafted opening pages evoke lovestruck stars in my eyes, much as one too many nervous cocktails over tentative introductions.
Critiquing Other People’s Writing: 7 Tips for Making Manuscripts Better
When you make friends with the red pen pointing out weak story points, redundancy or grammar errors, you give yourself the opportunity to grow as a writer and refine your final product. But is the job of the red pen wielder easier than that of the writer?
Do Readers Care About Your Fiction Characters?
Action is my habit. When I briskly type out an initial draft of a scene, the early rendition reveals a pesky ritual of churning my characters through conflict after conflict, plowing them through troubles, smacking them in the forehead with insult and treachery–often at the expense of breathing space or time for reflection. What am I? some brutish, merciless warden […]
14 Rocking Good NaNoWriMo Tips
With an entirely out-of-control outline tipping the scales at over 12,000 words, I dove headfirst this fine November 1st on a journey to make a messy manuscript my own personal heaven. Yes, I wrote fast and furiously, throwing editing, self-censorship and occasionally good taste out the window. I loved every minute of it. I wish […]
Act One: 10 Essential Elements
I’m a little addicted to the The Script Lab. As I worry over and scrutinize my fiction novel, tweets about screen-writing from @TheScriptLab interject with lucid, helpful, applicable ideas. My blog is for creatives of all stripes, and ideas for good writing can come from any genre. I really like this list of elements; it reminds […]
5 Key Questions Every Book Proposal Must Answer
The book proposal may require as much time to prepare as your first draft of your manuscript. Or perhaps your fifth. While there are several schools of thought on what agents specifically look for in an effective book proposal, Gary Smailes, the author of several history books for children including the Brave Scots and Modern Hero series, […]
“How I Evaluate Full Manuscripts” (Porn for aspiring authors)
But high as my standards are and tough as my editorial vision is, I do love the whole process of reading a potential client’s manuscript — from the exciting request to the potential treasure trove of the full to the rare manuscripts that sparks my imagination.
Television as Teacher: 5 things we can learn from TV writers and their characters
A few weeks ago I attended the Writers Faire at UCLA. There were over 45 seminars on the craft of writing, presented by a humbling variety of the nation’s finest authors, poets and screenwriters—who just happen to teach at UCLA. (I’m salivating as I write this. I live just a few hours south–too far to […]
What Took You So Long? (I’ve been too scared to try)
It’s difficult to say “how long” I’ve been writing Radio Head. What’s that, now? Aren’t I writing a fiction novel about a “hopelessly dysfunctional Orange County family unraveling at the seams”? Why yes, but the truth of the matter is that (way back in 200…3?) I queried a few agents with a book idea I […]