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1. Fan Mail Wednesday #194: Writing Advice

postalletter-150x150

Here’s a letter that did not have to travel very far. However, it’s a little tough to read, but I’m sharing it anyway. So there:

Scan 4

 

I replied:

Tyler,

Wow, thanks for the letter and thanks, too, for reading so many of my books. You inspire me to write more. Here are three titles that are coming out in the near and distant future: Scary Tales: Swamp Monster (Spring, 2015), The Fall (Fall, 2015), and Dead, But Cautiously Optimistic (Spring, 2016). 

paperback-cover-six-innings-203x300I hope that by now you’ve been able to track down a copy of Bystander. Usually I describe that book as best for grades 5-up, but I’d never stand in the way of a motivated reader. I have a deep affection for Six Innings, and I’m proud that it was named an ALA Notable Book. I poured a lifetime of baseball obsession into that single book, while also writing about my own son’s struggle with a serious illness. 

I have to confess that I always feel a shiver of uneasiness when asked about writing advice. I know many authors who give it confidently and freely. In my case, despite all these books, I still feel like I’m someone who should be taking advice rather than giving it. 

But, okay, fair enough: I must know something. Right? So read, read often and read widely. Read for pleasure, yes, but also read like a writer. By that I mean, pay attention to what’s happening on the page. Be aware that there’s a real person, an author, behind those scenes on the page, making choices with every word, every sentence. If you are excited, or scared, and laughing out loud — if you feel anything at all while you read — go back and try to figure out what the writer did to cause you to feel that way. We learn best by reading other writers. 

Also, of course, you’ve got to write. And by that I mean, write anything at all — notes, poems, song lyrics, snippets of dialogue, true stories, anything at all. Purchasing your own blank journal. I love those ordinary composition notebooks you can find at CVS. It’s so important to have a place you can go with your thoughts. Remember that it’s impossible to write without deep thought. Writing is an act of concentration and focus. You’ll need to give yourself the greatest gift of all: time to think. Space to feel. It requires that you turn off the television, shut down the computer, put away the phone and games. Hey, I love all that stuff, but in order to write, you must go inside your own skull for entertainment.

At your age, I think it’s best to concentrate on short pieces. Little stories. Scenes. It’s very common for young writers to imagine a great, long, complicated story that would require a 100,00 words to tell properly. Problem is, 99% of the time those ambitious stories are never completed.

tools-belts-xxcge4-296x300I believe there’s value in finished work, and sometimes that’s a matter of adjusting your goals. Imagine that you were beginning to learn carpentry. You’d need to familiarize yourself with the tools of the trade. A hammer, some nails, a screwdriver, scraps of wood, a monkey wrench, etc. You’d begin, I’d hope, by attempting to build something relatively simple: a birdhouse, perhaps. You wouldn’t attempt a structure that was, say, a 2,000 square-foot log cabin for a family of five. Same thing with writing. Explore the tools. Play around with them. Write a scene with a heavy use of dialogue. Put together characters on a park bench, get them talking about something, anyway. 

Also: slow down. That’s one I have to keep learning in my own writing, over and over again. Don’t be in a hurry to get to the next scene, and the next, and the next. Instead, take your time with the scene you are writing. Go deeper, think harder. Find the details that are worth sharing. Decelerate. 

Anyway, Tyler. Do you see what I mean? It’s so hard for me to say anything that’s truly helpful. I wish I could give you the magic key, but I can’t. In the end, writing is all about you and the blank page. No one can really help all that much. I wish you the best of luck in your writing life. If somebody like me can do it, I’m sure that you can, too.

My best,

JP

 

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2. Shark and Lobster's Amazing Undersea Adventure, 1996

My first picture book was "Shark and Lobster's Amazing Undersea Adventure", I think it came out in 2001.
I started working on it in 1996 when I was still in school in Germany.

Early picture book script, 1996

Weird, huh?
We had a leak in the studio above my storage boxes, that's why I am going through all my old scraps and notes and artwork. Lots of fun stuff.
Childhood photo of me working on a travel journal.

Me as a student, 2003 or so

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3. New Literary Agent Alert: Melissa Edwards of The Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Melissa Edwards of The Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 11.45.41 AM

 

About Melissa: Melissa is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Vanderbilt Law School. She is a member in good standing of the New York State bar. While Melissa began her career as a commercial litigation attorney, she always maintained aspirations to work in publishing. At present, Melissa handles foreign rights for Aaron Priest and is actively reading to develop her own list.

(Listen to agents define what makes a writer an ideal client.)

Melissa is seeking: Melissa’s taste ranges in genre from classic Victorian literature to hard-boiled crime dramas. She is interested in reading international thrillers with likeable and arresting protagonists, lighthearted women’s fiction and YA, female-driven (possibly small-town) suspense, and completely immersive fantasy. Ultimately, Melissa is looking for a book that will keep her glued to the couch all day and night, and continue to occupy her thoughts for weeks later.

How to submit: Submit a one-page query letter via e-mail that describes your work and your background to queryedwards [at] aaronpriest.com. Do not send an attachment, but if interested, you can paste into the body of the email the first chapter of your manuscript.

(Can writers query multiple agents at the same agency?)

 

2015-GLA-smallThe biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.

 

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

 

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more.
Order the book from WD at a discount.

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4. Knowing Your Brand





I came across this on Pinterest one day and it struck a chord with me because it speaks to a blog post I've been wanting to write for a while.

Before we ever write a book or put ourselves out there as authors, agents and editors we're creating a brand. When we're in any public forum where we present as an author, an agent, an editor or whatever it is we are professionally, we need to think of that brand. 

What does it say about you and your brand if you show up at an appointment in jeans? What about a suit? I think most of us choose something in between. What does it say to you about an agent who shows up to an appointment in jeans or a baseball hat versus the one that wears a suit versus the one who wears a skirt and simple top? 

How we present ourselves is the first impression an agent or editor gets not just about us, but about our books. If you show up to an appointment in a baseball hat and yoga pants I'm going to wonder if you've bothered to polish your book or if you're really serious about your career. And I imagine if I showed up in workout clothes you're going to wonder where my priorities as an agent are.

What I really like about this quote is the part on trademark. It's something I've often thought about, but never put words to. I hear stories all the time about agents who are nasty or harsh or scary or snobby or sweet or funny or charming.... What about authors? Are you kind and thoughtful? What kind of trademark are you presenting to other authors, readers, agents and editors? Are you too busy to stop and chat, are you kind and present even if the conversation is boring you to tears? All of this is part of your Author Brand and all of it needs to be considered beyond just the hook, title and writing.

--jhf

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5. Indies First & Gloria Steinem Get Booked

Indies FirstHere are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Children’s author Maureen Kanefield will appear at the University Avenue Discovery Center to deliver a reading. See her on Monday, November 24th starting 3 p.m. (Madison, WI)

(more…)

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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6. Bedbug Books Now Available at Facebook

Bedbug and Mouse are excited to announce that Facebook users can now find Bedbug Books via a new store at Facebook. Jumping Bedbugs, how convenient is that? The store is new, so more books will be added over time but already, Bedbug and Mouse books are there! If you are at Facebook, visit Studio Seven Store. hit the Shop tab to see all the book listings. check out the Christmas deals!

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7. Calendar 2015



Calendario 12 mesi

edizione limitata di sole 50 copie
Carta patinata, 30x24cm

Monthly calendar, limited edition of 50 copies only
Matte Finish paper,  11,81x 9x44 inch. Italian language.

Price € 15,00 + spedizione (shipping)

Shipping/Spedizione
Italia                           raccomandata   € 3,00

Europa                       priority mail (not registered)   € 7,oo

                                   registered mail € 9,50
                          

for more info contact: blog.aris.blog@gmail.com

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8. Indies First Day

See this?

It’s IndieBound’s list, by state, of which authors and illustrators will appear at their local indies as volunteers on Saturday, November 29, for Indies First Day. Nashville folks, I’ll be volunteering at Parnassus Books from 10 to 11, and I’ll do story time during that hour with my friend, author Jessica Young. Bring your wee ones to us!

Sherman Alexie started Indies First Day last year, encouraging authors to work a shift in their local independent bookstore on Small Business Saturday. This year, Indies First is being spearheaded by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.

Hope to see you there!

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9. Getting Your Book Reviewed

It never hurts to ask nicely if you want someone to review your book. 

http://taralazar.com/2014/11/06/piboidmo-day-6-sudipta-bardhan-quallen/

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10.


I can't go a day without a little music. Music is like air to me. I need it. Hope that you are having a wonderful day? By the way, what are you listening too right now? Just wondering...

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11. Highlights Foundation!

Follow the links to highlightsfoundation.org





Unworkshops: Your Room to Create with Writer in Residence Dec. 14-20, 2014

December 14 – December 20, 2014
Clara Gillow Clark will be joining us as the writer-in-residence for this week’s unworkshop! She will be available during the week to meet with writers to discuss craft, career goals, and offer manuscript advice. All writers and artists need to …
Workshop Faculty: Clara Gillow Clark

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12. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/24/14: No one remembers this old DC series, but what it says could change yor life

§ In case you missed it, that half million dollar Tezuka Kickstarter missed the mark by a huge margin. Johanna Draper Carlson has commentary. DMP publisher Hikaru Sasahara will probably have more to say about his, as they are examining their whole Kickstarter policy.

§ A misleading headline obscures the fact that a piece of Corto Maltese art sold for a record amount—a record for a piece of HUGO PRATT art. A page from “Les Ethiopiques” sold for €391,800 ($485,500), more than twice the estimate.

a38d32d0a83d5f126d0d9bfd3482d52b Kibbles n Bits 11/24/14: No one remembers this old DC series, but what it says could change yor life

§ John Kane looks back at TWILIGHT, a “prestige” mini series that came out from DC back in 1990, written by the greatHoward Chaykin and drawn by the great Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. DC is releasing a collected edition next month, and you may just want to pick it up.

TWILIGHT is the story of a bunch of people who all get what they want and it ends up doing none of them any favours whatsoever. The bunch of people in question are mainly rejigged DC sci-fi characters who had lain mostly fallow since the ‘50s and ‘60s. Tommy Tomorrow, Star Hawkins, Manhunter 2070, Space Cabbie, etc. Even Chaykin’s own Ironwolf appears briefly, and his ridiculous wooden space ship proves pivotal to events. (If Adam Strange seems conspicuous by his absence; Richard Bruning had first dibs there). There are plenty of new characters but the gist of the thing was that these were yesterday’s characters of tomorrow, today. Oh, you know what I mean.


So yeah, Watchmen for Adam Strange. In all the talk last week about Morrison and Quitely’s Pax Americana, I recalled that there have been a LOT of Watchmen-type reëxaminations of the superhero. Rick Veitch’s Brat Pack, John Ridley’s The American Way, Dawryn Cooke’s The New Frontier, The Twelve by J. Michael Straczynski. NOT all of them are even negative. CALLING ALL THESES.

§ First Second editor Calista Brill remembers late copy editor Manuela Kruger.

§ Juliet Kahn interviewed Noelle Stevenson who will probably be an even bigger breakout comics star in 2015.

I don’t think that webcomics and Kickstarter and Patreon have made print comics obsolete by any means; god, no. If anything, we just have so many more paths to succeed. We’re defining this new wave of comics for ourselves. How can you not see how exciting that is? There’s no right or wrong way to do it. That’s why I like comics! They are limitless. There are people with webcomics who are pushing the limits of what comics can be — Emily Carroll, Ava’s Demon, etc. Some comics are made to be displayed digitally and it doesn’t degrade them. And there are innovations happening in print comics too. Anyone resisting that, clinging to some kind of idea of a golden age that we’re defiling somehow… well. That’s what’s becoming obsolete. Also I think one of the big sore points that the Sturm comic inspired — and honestly, the comic itself referenced this, so I think this may have been the point that it was trying to make — is that this idea of competition isn’t actually healthy for creativity. Someone else who succeeds isn’t ‘stealing’ your success. You gotta keep your eyes on your own board and do the best you can. The more good stuff exists, the better we make the field, and the more people can succeed within it.



§ I’m not sure if I linked to this before, but Megan Byrd has a very useful The Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching Your Comic For Review

§ Tom Spurgeon interviews Andrew Farago about his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book and Farago touches on not TMNT affected so much of late-80s-early90s comics history

I could have spent a lot more time talking about the black-and-white publishing boom of the 1980s, but had to settle for making sure that I fit Dave Sim and Wendy and Richard Pini into the book. There was probably another full chapter to be had on the dual influences of Jack Kirby and Frank Miller on Eastman and Laird. And Tundra! Can’t forget about that. I’d have loved an entire chapter on Tundra and The Words and Pictures Museum and all of the fun stuff Kevin Eastman did during the Turtles’ biggest years. Every cartoonist I know swears that if he had millions of dollars, he’d start a publishing house and give all of his buddies all the money they needed so that they could focus on making comics without having any financial worries or editorial interference. And Kevin Eastman actually did that, and it was a wonderful, amazing, chaotic mess. A few all-time great comics came out of it, at least. Thank Kevin Eastman the next time you read From Hell or pull a copy of Understanding Comics off your bookshelf.

§ This interview reminded me that TMNT co-creator Peter Laird has a very active blog.

htdtreasury Kibbles n Bits 11/24/14: No one remembers this old DC series, but what it says could change yor life

§ The Comics Reporter also ran one of those weekend listicles about Howard the Duck and I was reminded that the above comic is the favorite comic of 13 year old me until the universe ends.

§ Speaking of Howard the Duck, Steve Murray, whose pen name is Chip Zdarsky, get the Hometown Hero story of the weekend with “Marvel revives Howard the Duck with help of Toronto artist/”

§ Many people in my social networks were sharing this Name that Comic Book Artist quiz. I got 21/25 which, considering m profession, is pretty bad. I confess, I guessed the ones I wasn’t certain of by thinking “Who would be most likely to make that drawing error?”

§ Along similar lines, CBR is poling people on their all time favorite Wonder Woman artist. The top vote getters will Shock you! NOT REALLY.

§ And as for Wonder Woman, the new creative direction continues to be…controversial. Geek Mom Corinna Lawson writes Memo to DC: Wonder Woman Likes People. Honest And J. Caleb Mozzocco writes:

As a comics critic, I never quite know what to do with terrible comic books when I come across them. I never go out of my way to read a comic book that I suspect will be terrible without any mitigating circumstances, and, when I do read one, I then wonder if it’s better to just not mention it anywhere at all, under the ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away school of thought, or if I should go out of my way to discuss the book and its negative qualities, so as to not let the only reviews of the book to get written by positive ones.

§ KONVENTION KORNER. Rob Kirby went to Short Run in Seattle and wrote a super chatty, comprehensive piece for Festival Season:

Tabling for me is above all a social event – I don’t make a living through my comics so I can be a little more relaxed and less mercenary about the money thing than others (though perhaps I could stand to be a little more mercenary, but let’s not talk about that now). MariNaomi and I have been friends for several years now, having met at APE back in 2008. She’s great to table with. She brought an extra tablecloth (I hadn’t thought to bring one) and shared snacks with me. She helped me through a couple of Square mishaps: I kept swiping the card wrong before finally getting the hang of it. I hadn’t tabled since SPX last year and was a little rusty. She didn’t mind if took off to take photos and hobnob a little (like John Porcellino, Zan Christensen and other cartooning people I know, Mari doesn’t like to leave her table too much). What more can I say, she’s the best. Her new book, Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories (2D Cloud & Uncivilized Books), did brisk business all day long and yay, because it’s one of the finest books of the year and you should totally get it. And just because I’m biased doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to me on this.

§ BTW someone once complained to me about a con report here that began with getting up and getting to the train on time, and what he ate for breakfast and all that stuff. I find this kind of quotidian minutiae boring in most cases but for con reports it seems traditional! What do you think, readers?

§ Maia Kobabe has a list of Small Bay Area Comic Conventions that shows that the region isn’t entirely comics free.

§ 35,000 attended a comic in in Birmingham, UK that had nothing to do with comics, but did include stars from Red Dwarf and Breaking Bad. NEWSPAPER EDITORS: please include some teeny tiny mention of comics in your coverage of “COMIC CONS”.

§ Finally, according to my ancient obsolete RSS feed, John Jakala blogged for the first time in 10 months. Combine this with a coffee I had the other day with Matt Maxwell and the dream of the Aughts is alive in cyberspace.

1 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/24/14: No one remembers this old DC series, but what it says could change yor life, last added: 11/24/2014
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13. Why Am I Getting The Complaints??

Can I make this very clear: I was NOT involved in the organisation of last Saturday's Bristol farce.  Yes, I publicised the event  but I am in no way associated with the organisers and have made it very clear that I am distancing myself from them as much as possible.

I'm popping into town tomorrow to the Small Claims Court to sue for a refund.

End of story.

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14. Why I am the REAL Elf on the Shelf

It's a l--o--n--g story!

Deedy (Dorothea Jensen) actually wrote down the story in 1991 of how I was packed by accident inside a bookcase and delivered to children by Santa and then they had to figure out how to use their imaginations to get me back home. She called my story The Elf on the Shelf. Yes,  in 1991. She even formally copyrighted it in 1999. (Of course, it was actually under copyright in 1991. That's twenty three years ago!)

Then much, much later she realized that those kids in my story were actually her grandboys, Alex and Owen. By the time my tale was ready to be published, she found out that someone else had used that title!

So Deedy had to make up a new title for my story, Tizzy, the Christmas Shelf Elf. 

I really don't like it that much, as it is a little tricky to say. (Try saying it 10 times really fast and you'll see what I mean.)

So what do we Izzies think of this other interloper so-called Elf on the Shelf?

We have our Opinion but don't like to talk about it.

(Those of you who have read Blizzy, the Worrywart Elf might remember that Bizzy let slip his opinion on this subject in that story.)

Bizzy is sometimes a Bit Indiscreet. But we love him anyway.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know how my book got its name.

And now you do.

Much love,

Tizzy (The Actual Original Genuine Elf on the Shelf)







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15. New Voice: Cori McCarthy on The Color of Rain

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Cori McCarthy is the first-time author of The Color of Rain (Running Press, 2013). From the promotional copy:

If there is one thing that seventeen-year-old Rain knows and knows well, it is survival. Caring for her little brother, Walker, who is “Touched,” and losing the rest of her family to the same disease, Rain has long had to fend for herself on the bleak, dangerous streets of Earth City. 

When she looks to the stars, Rain sees escape and the only possible cure for Walker. And when a darkly handsome and mysterious captain named Johnny offers her passage to the Edge, Rain immediately boards his spaceship. Her only price: her “willingness.”

The Void cloaks many secrets, and Rain quickly discovers that Johnny’s ship serves as host for an underground slave trade for the Touched . . . and a prostitution ring for Johnny’s girls. 

With hair as red as the bracelet that indicates her status on the ship, the feeling of being a marked target is not helpful in Rain’s quest to escape. Even worse, Rain is unsure if she will be able to pay the costs of love, family, hope, and self-preservation.

In writing your story, did you ever find yourself concerned with how to best approach "edgy" behavior on the part of your characters? If so, what were your thoughts, and what did you conclude? Why do you think your decision was the right one?

When I sat down to write what would become my debut, The Color of Rain, I knew that I was going to be stepping right off the edgy map. You see my main character, Rain, is a prostitute.

A space prostitute to be exact.

I suspected that I’d get frowns from parents, be banned from “clean” YA bookshelves, and that my oh-so-proud mom would not be able to hand this book around to her church friends. And yet, Rain’s story was more important to me than its obvious obstacles.

You might ask why.

Well, while there are a multitude of great stories about noble sacrifice and the glory of love, I felt compelled to talk about the other story—what happens when someone goes too far for love—when love leaves you with regret and shame instead of Happily Ever After feelings.

It does happen. It happened to me. And it definitely happens to teenagers more regularly than the rest of the population. So I wrote this super edgy story for those people with the hopeful message that there is a light at the end of the tunnel no matter what—or in Rain’s case, a light at the end of the Known Universe.

In my new book, Breaking Sky (Sourcebooks, 2015), I’ve come up against a whole new world of edgy complications.

My new main character, Chase, is unlikeable. Capital U. Self-centered, showoff, maverick—she’s a top fighter pilot at an Air Force academy for teens who keeps her eye on breaking a cold war standoff with Asia—and not on the people in her life.

Like Rain, Chase’s backstory harbors great disappointment, and in response to that hurt, Chase has closed herself off.

How is this edgy? Well, Chase has a reputation for leading on romantic interests for nothing more than a quick make-out session. Nothing deeper.

My beta readers for this story wondered where Chase’s heart-breaker status came from, and the answer to that has become as important to me as showing teen readers the flipside of love in Rain. In short, Chase’s story is about being careless with others. About isolating yourself from anyone who can hurt you—and then the long road back to caring.

After these two books, what I’ve learned about “edgy” is that it can be a powerful force in telling the toughest of emotional stories. For Rain, I chose an edgy premise that was as impossible to swallow as the enormous feelings behind her regret, and with Chase, I created a girl who hurt others in an attempt to keep anyone from ever hurting her ever again.

Could I have told these stories without edgy red flags like prostitution, human trafficking, swears, and “make-out sluts?”

Maybe. But I doubt they would hit home, feel real, and echo through the reader’s deepest life turns.

In the end, I want every reader who identifies with my story to come away feeling like they’re not alone. That may seem a little hokey, but hey, books have always been there for me.

If I can contribute to the great emotional library in any way, I’ll die happy.

As someone with a MFA in Writing for Children (and Young Adults), how did your education help you advance in your craft? What advice do you have for other MFA students/graduates in making the transition between school and publishing as a business?

Vermont College of Fine Arts
I would not be an author without the education I received at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Basically, my MFA turned my passion into a career.

I started writing when I was thirteen, poems mostly and a few memoir-type short stories. From eighth grade on, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I was a bit overwhelmed by the naysayers. The people who believe that paying money to study fine arts is a waste.

Luckily for me, I had parents who encouraged me to major in creative writing in undergrad. I attended Ohio University, which had an underdeveloped creative writing program and workshops that were overwhelmed by geology majors. I was depressed to be writing with people who took my major’s classes as a joke or an “easy pass.”

Relief came via a year abroad in Dublin, Ireland where I wandered constantly and filled notebooks full of poetry. When I came back to Ohio, I finished my degree and set my sights on film school and screenwriting.

Secretly, I still believed that I would not be able to be a writer unless I made money, and film…that’s where the money had to be, right? Wrong.

Years later while still scribbling in notebooks and writing a fantasy story that had 200 pages of backstory—no joke—I found out about VCFA.

With fellow YA author Amy Rose Capetta
The program completely changed my life overnight.

It taught me hard things, like throwing out that evil temptress of a fantasy novel, and glorious things, like how I could put myself into anything I wanted to write.

I recently heard another author ask what an MFA is good for if you don’t want to write the Great American Novel or short stories.

I was so appalled by that question.

No one at VCFA told me what to write.

No one told me how to write it.

What my mentors and my peers in workshop did for my work was to read whatever I was writing and talk about it openly and honestly.

They taught me how to recognize the easy shortcomings in my writing and how to take the criticism on the not-so-easy shortcomings.

Beyond the glorious craft talk at VCFA, there were many open discussions about literature, the market, the publishing industry, the importance of networking, and the ups and downs of this business.

This proved to be essential in launching my career.

After I graduated, I landed my top agent, but not because she fell in love with my creative thesis—because I didn’t run away with my fingers in my ears when she asked if I had something else.

Not even a year later, that something else sold as The Color of Rain.

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16. If you’re writing for #NaNoWriMo (or any time) keep going!

writing-20141124_111949

If you’re writing a novel, you have something you want–or maybe need–to say. Something that’s important to you. Keep going! Keep writing, listening to your heart and letting the words flow from your heart to your fingertips, and out into your pen or your keyboard.

When you’re writing a first draft (or editing a second or fifth or tenth draft), there’s often a point about mid-way or three-quarters of the way through when you start to feel exhaustion from working so hard, or you may even start doubting your work. But don’t listen to that. You have something you need to say. Something that will matter to other people. So keep writing. Keep letting the words spill out onto the page. Someday, that novel may reach other people and change their lives for the better. Someday, your words may help others know that they’re not alone, or things can get better, or they may just help someone else escape from something painful in their life for a while and gain a little good feeling.

So keep going. Don’t stop now. You can do it!

Love from a fellow book lover and writer.

PS

This was my first year taking part in #NaNoWriMo (though I’ve written and published 6 books), and I LOVED it.

I love writing quickly. I always write first drafts of my books quickly; I think it keeps me firmly in my writing mode, where I’m deeply connected to my creativity, inner voice, and what I need to say, rather than my editor mode, where I’m looking at the language and content and picking it apart to make it stronger and better. I think first drafts are meant to be written quickly, so we stay in the hearts and minds of our characters and the writing. At least, that’s what works best for me.

So whether you normally write quickly or not, #NaNoWriMo may be the perfect time to jump into writing flat-out fast, getting all the words out on the page before the editor in your head chimes in. The perfect time to keep the words flowing forward.

Write what you want, what you need. Enjoy it! And if you reach your 50,000-word goal for #NaNoWriMo this year, take heart in seeing “winner” pop up after you validate your manuscript, or watching the video of other writers cheering and clapping you on. Writing can be such a solitary endeavor; I wish we always had “winner” pop up and a cheering crowd for every new book and every new draft we completed. But we can imagine our own cheerleaders, or let our friends know and celebrate with them.

Keep writing. Enjoy the process. You can do this!

And then take a well-deserved break. I know I am. (smiling)

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17. New Beginning 1034


To men who study war, and Col. Baron Patrick Callahan had been a student all his life, these great conflicts have a definite pattern. In the beginning, it is all hearts bursting with pride and dreams of glory. Too soon the gleaming brass buttons on crisp uniforms tarnish. Feet that marched smartly to a vibrant, tattooing, drumbeat grow weary and plod from one battle to another, scuffing up puffs of dust or sucking through mud deep enough to bury a good size mule and wagon. The days of family picnics on the hillsides as opposing armies gathered below to deal death were long over and the reality, the work, of war had set in.

Callahan had settled into war easily. It was as if something he had waited for all his life had finally arrived, wide-eyed and faunching at the bit to be off on the grand adventure. He would have loved it more, if that were possible, if its arrival hadn't also delayed something he had waited for just as eagerly, his marriage to Lorena Dobbs McKenzie.

His chest ached with the knowledge that they would have to move the date, losing, he was sure, the deposit on the church, so he distracted himself from the disappointment with the work at hand. 

This seashell brocade was completely wrong for a mountain pass battle after Labor Day, camouflage or no, and he wouldn't use it, no matter what General Carter had to say about it. Seafoam, though—that was a color for an epic battle. But not in bursting hearts this time; that pattern was so last season. No, this conflict's pattern definitely would be plaid and then, if he could talk the General into a second campaign . . . nautical! He just hoped his bolts arrived in time to redo the uniforms. Of course, he and his cadets still would be up all night stitching on buttons and polishing the boots, but they always managed in time for the carnage. 

And then, he promised himself, it was right back to designing the bridesmaids' dresses. 


Opening: Julie Weathers.....Continuation: anonymous

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18. How to Best Use the Final Week of NaNoWriMo

You've one final week to complete NaNoWriMo, though of course you can keep writing into December and all the way into 2015. Whatever you've written this month has moved you nearer to your goal of writing a story with a plot from beginning to end. Remember to celebrate all you have accomplished rather than moan over what you haven't. Even if you don't get to the 50,000 words, everyone who takes part is a winner.

For now, forget everything other than the final 1/4 of your story. Imagine where you wish your protagonist to be and be doing at the Climax in the scenes or chapter before the very end. Then write to get her there and do what she needs to do to show change or transformation by preforming and acting in ways she couldn't have anywhere else in the story and using what she learned in the middle from all the obstacles and antagonists. (For plot prompts in the final 1/4 of your story and everywhere else: The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing. As one writer proclaims: The PW Book of Prompts is my lighted path…)

The end defines the beginning. More important now to write the end than to stay stuck were you currently are. Writing the end will make the revision process that much easier.

Who is she at the end? Write that.

Then join us December 1st on the PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month blog tour (I'll post the schedule here in the upcoming days), glean revision tips, comment and enter to win an observer spot in an upcoming Office Hours for the opportunity to learn more. We're going on the tour to help spread the word about the benefits of PlotWriMo and how the video series helps you revision what you've written into a pleasing form for your readers.

Good luck and happy plotting… er, writing…

Today I write!
For plot help and resources during NaNoWriMo

1)  The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories
2)  The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
3)  The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
  ~~~~~~~~
To continue writing and revising (and, lots of writers are finding PlotWriMo the exact right resource to help pre-plot for a powerful first draft. Knowing what to look for in a revision helps create a tighter first draft):
 ~~ View your story in an entirely new light. Recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your writing. 8 videos (5.5 hours)+ 30 exercises

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19. Yen Press’s Abigail Blackman on Editing and Lettering, Consumers, and Challenges

Hmm, not sure if this is a pardon my dust situation or what, but yeah, pardon the lack of articles from me recently, but work has been work, and I’ve done a terribad job of managing my time. That, and been reading Game of Thrones. Hopefully that time has past though, and I can manage my ... Read more

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20. Black Tower Price Changes

I have already begun the task of re-pricing books so that they are no longer "give-aways" but I have something else to do and have to go out.  If there is a book you wanted at the old low price get it now because tomorrow it's a 1000 hrs start re-pricing until it's all done!

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/hoopercomicsuk

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21. Writing Links

20141106_122026

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling :: Ragan’s PR Daily

The Love for Children :: Avi

Ten Tips for a Perfect Author Visit :: Nerdy Book Club

On Getting to Work :: Dani Shapiro

Put Your Best Work Out There: Avoid These 25 Newbie Writer Mistakes :: Jody Hedlund

Querying 101 :: Ingrid’s Notes

The post Writing Links appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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22. How to Effectively Price Writing Projects and Negotiate the Best Fees

Editor’s Note: The following content is provided to Writer’s Digest by a writing community partner. This content is sponsored by American Writers & Artists Inc. www.awaionline.com.

Win Win Puzzle ConceptThis month we’ve tackled two important steps to making a living as a writer:

  1. How to find the best-paying assignments.
  2. How to land the clients who have them.

And now, to wrap things up with a neat little bow, I want to close out this series by making sure you feel comfortable with the most uncomfortable subject for writers …

Pricing!

Specifically, how to get paid as much as possible, and get paid what you’re worth, but without overpricing yourself out of the running.

Today’s topic is a biggie, and while I’m going to give you some practical advice you can follow whenever you sit down to price a project, know this …

You’ll become more confident with pricing and negotiating the more you do it.

There’s no single “right answer” that works for everyone … because like writers, every project, every company, and every product or service is different.

Now don’t get me wrong, some paths come with pretty standard ranges clients expect to pay, where there’s only a tiny difference between the high end and low end of the scale. Things like case studies, press releases, non-selling video scripts, etc. …

But even then, you can add more services to the projects to increase their value — things like designing the case study, optimizing the press release and disseminating it to your press contacts, or preparing the slide deck for a video presentation.

But, if you’re doing anything where there’s a sale involved —where your copy directly increases the bottom line — there’s potentially going to be a wider range of “acceptable” fees.

(Note: If you don’t know the pay ranges for the services you plan to offer, don’t worry … I’ll give you some resources in a minute.)

Now, here are a few things you should consider before setting your fees:

  1. Are you pricing by the hour or the project?

Of course you need to decide what’s best for you, but my recommendation is to always price by the project …

As you gain more experience, you’ll begin to work faster and more efficiently. You’ll gain speed, and you’ll have solid processes in place to help you handle projects more competently.

For example, the first time you write a landing page, it may take you five hours. As you write more of them, each one should take you less time. If you charge by the hour, you’ll end up making less money each time! But if you charge by the project, you’ll be maximizing your earning potential the more experienced you get.

Bottom line is, you should be rewarded for the expertise you gain, and charging by the hour doesn’t work to your benefit.

  1. Are you trying to build up your portfolio or do you have a lot of experience?

When you’re just starting out, it may make sense to charge less. You’ll be able to build up your portfolio quickly. And, you’ll collect testimonials and promotion results to show new prospects.

On the other hand, if you’re a skilled copywriter with more work than you can handle, you should be working your way up the pay scale.

  1. Are you writing for small businesses or big-name clients?

You’ll want to consider the size of the business when quoting fees.

There’s a big difference between writing for a cabinetmaker in Austin and writing for the headquarters of KraftMaid® cabinetry. Not only will their marketing budgets be very different, the revenue they’re expecting from their marketing efforts will vary greatly, too.

Which leads me to the next consideration …

  1. What is the project value to your client?

Will the client potentially make $10,000 or $10 million from the promotion? Obviously, there’s a big difference, and the more your client stands to make, the more you’ll be able to charge.

  1. Is the project scope complex or on the simpler side?

If you’re writing a sales page for a brand-new investment advisory service, your copy will inevitably be more complex than if you’re writing a product description for a new book by a renowned financial expert. You should expect to charge a higher fee for a more complicated project.

  1. What is your time investment and long-term income goal?

While I never recommend you charge by the hour, you still need and want to “take home” a rate you’re comfortable with. For every project, you should estimate how much of your time it will take to complete, and make sure the rate you quote provides you with a reasonable return for your time invested.

Remember, as you get more efficient and can do the work faster, the value of each hour goes up! Don’t charge clients less simply because it takes you less time.

And, if a client balks at your fee, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Resell the value. Show them what they’ll get in return for the expense.
  2. Revise the proposal taking away some of the services.
  3. Walk away. It’s going to happen! You’re going to pitch clients who simply can’t afford your fees, or don’t value enough the service you provide. But understanding the value of your time is an important lesson in building a successful writing business. And you may be better off in the long run spending that same time finding a new potential client.

Just remember, as a professional writer, you offer your clients an incredibly valuable service …

They NEED you, and should pay you well for your time and words.

But it’s important that you understand your own value too. If the thought of charging high fees for your services bothers you … well, you’re going to need to get over it.

I say that with love!

Because it’s true, you CAN make a living as a writer. But the only way to do it is to get paid what you’re worth.

To your success,

Rebecca Matter

P.S. I almost forgot the pricing ranges …

Since there are so many ways to make a living as a writer, it would be impossible for me to list all of the fee ranges in this blog post, but at AWAI, we typically include them in every promotion about a writing opportunity, and go over pricing in more detail within the program itself.

So, a good place to start is with the AWAI catalog and inside any programs you’re taking.

You can also check out a webinar I did for Writer’s Digest, Get Paid to Write: How to Land Paying Gigs Writing Copy and Content, where I go over a few of the best writing opportunities, including how to price and land them.

And then finally, we published Pricing Guides for two of the larger niches for writers that detail the various projects and their respective fees:

How to Price and Land the Top 7 Web Copy Projects

rebecca_matter-150How to Price, Quote, and Win B2B Writing Projects

If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, by all means let me know! You can post a comment here, or connect with me on Facebook at any time.

To your success,
Rebecca Matter

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23. [TAG] Liebster Award

[TAG] Liebster Award


Entrei na social dos blogs!
Aqui, você encontra informação sobre o trabalho autoral: direitos, contratos, técnicas, artes... Divulgue o seu material na rede junto!

   Provando que o ser humano é um ser sociável, fui indicada para responder uma tag. A tag consiste em escrever 11 fatos sobre mim, responder 11 perguntas do blog que me indicou, criar 11 perguntas para outros 11 blogs com menos de 200 seguidores - os quais eu vou taguear-, linkar de volta o blog que me tagueou e colocar meu selo do Leibster. Já perceberam que uma teia imensa de indicações e afins, né? Pois vamos lá. 
Perguntas que recebi da Ane Karoline do blog Rearteculando:


  1. O que te fez criar um blog? R: Difundir informação e buscar contatos.
  2. Qual o tema do seu blog? R: Minhas artes e dicas sobre carreira autoral e livros.
  3. Você tem o hábito de ler? Fale sobre isso. R: Sim, compulsivamente!
  4. O que você mais gosta de fazer? R: Conhecer coisas novas, artes, viajar.
  5. O que você mais faz no seu tempo online? R: Leio e estudo.
  6. O que é mais importante na vida, em sua opinião? R: Amizades, família.
  7. Indique alguma obra artística que você goste muito: uma música, uma banda, um filme, livro, espetáculo e etc. R: Livros da Diane Wynne Jones, por exemplo a série Crestomanci, ed. Geração.
  8. O que mais te irrita? R: Egoísmo da sociedade atual.
  9. O que é poesia para você? R: O que me sensibilize, transforme.
  10. Você fala algum outro idioma? Se sim, escreva uma pequena mensagem para mim nesse idioma. R: Avec plaisir, ma amie.
  11.  Diga um lugar no mundo o qual você quer conhecer e a razão. R: Patagônia (desconfio que iria querer morar por lá).


Minhas perguntas para os blogs que selecionei:

1. Já leu algum livro que te fez mudar sua vida?
2. Qual o melhor livro que já leu e por quê?
3.Qual o pior livro que já leu e por quê?
4. Se você fosse um livro, qual seria?
5. Em que mundo fictício da literatura gostaria de viver?
6. E qual seira sua profissão lá?
7. Qual o vilão mais irado da literatura?
8. Quais seus quatro autores favoritos?
9. Já escreveu um livro, qual?
10.Prefere cinema ou literatura?
11.Qual o melhor filme que já viu e por quê?

Os blogs para responder e tagearem:

  • Blogs para responder à tag

Escolhi os blogs com carinho, se curtiram, respondam. Grande beijo, nos vemos por aqui!

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    24. Slow


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    25. Dept. of Still a Ways to Go

    [Gillian] Flynn: I would love it if I could do an event without a very well-meaning man telling me, "I don't normally read books by women." Do you get that?

    [Cheryl] Strayed: All the time. [...]

    From "Gone Girls, Found," Cara Buckley's interview with Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl) and Cheryl Strayed (Wild), in the New York Times, Sunday, November 23, 2014.

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