Where Dreams Meet the Business of Writing

Archive for June, 2016

Gathering Courage to Write — Reprobate Typewriter

I have a few good friends–mostly scattered over the internet–who are writers. I’ve been part of some great communities. Gotten to know people. Had fun with people. Shared ideas with them. And I’m incredibly grateful for the internet. It’s the thing that makes it possible to find people who share my interests and goals. And…

via Gathering Courage to Write — Reprobate Typewriter

5 Tactics to Master Killer Short Story Endings

Sacha Black

Killer EndingsI’ve always thought the ‘short story’ was one of those irritating elephants in the room. My particular brand of short story elephant, is made of shiny gold, and spends 100% of his time glaring at me from the corner of the room looking down his extra long trunk nose to make me feel woefully inadequate.

Every author knows they should be able to write a short, but not everyone can.

I can’t.

I’m so inept at writing short stories, I wrote a piece of flash fiction last year and the fucking things turned into 30,000 words of what will be a novel. Apparently I didn’t get the ‘SHORT’ memo.


All I can do is write full length novels, or blink-of-the-eye flash fiction. Something about that smug middle man puts me in a catatonic state of ‘fuck-you-upitus-writersblock.’

However, Esther Newton, is a master of the short. I’ve just finished reading her collection of award-winning short stories:

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So Take a Letter, Maria

Betsy Lerner

45bf51994e779d764df10e907e30a7bbI’m sorry, but it’s time to go back to basics. I have been receiving the most cuckoo for cocoa puffs query letters lately. It’s like watching a person shoot himself in the head instead of pitching his book. I can see the blood spatter on the wall.

I’ve said a zillion times: the letter has to be professional, but should give a sense of the writer’s style or sensibility. The letter should be three paragraphs: 1) introduce the project; 2) expand on it in an interesting way via the themes or good comps or most salient details  (no plot points please!);  and 3) your credentials. Writers often ask me, what if I don’t have any credentials? I always answer: get some! What if we can’t, they cry? It’s strange to think that you can sell a book before you’ve ever sold a story or an article. THough stranger things have…

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Wordless Wednesday

writers zen photo

How to Make Readers Stick To Your Blog — Mostly Blogging

How To Make Readers Stick On Your Blog Over 3 million blog posts are published daily. Guess how many of these blog posts would see the limelight? If you ask me, I would say 10%. I think my guess is even higher. Maybe it’s somewhere around 5%. Well, all that doesn’t matter. There’s a reason…

via How to Make Readers Stick To Your Blog — Mostly Blogging

Why Should YOU Meditate? — Neat Habitat

PHYSICAL BENEFITS: It slows your respiration, and leads to longer and deeper breaths It reduces the stress hormone cortisol, and in return boosts your immunity Boosts the serotonin production, leading to a happy you! Works as your brains’s volume knob. Overtime it allows you to tune out what is unnecessary, in order to prioritize and give……

via Why Should YOU Meditate? — Neat Habitat

Writing Process

Here’s some interesting thoughts on a writer’s process.

I especially liked this comment under ‘Distractions’.
“At last fall’s New England Crime Bake (a mystery writer’s conference), a best-selling author I admire said her latest book would have been published a year earlier if it wasn’t for Facebook. “

Live to Write - Write to Live

writingprocessSMALLBack in college, I had an English professor who talked about her “process” all the time. She talked about slaving over a piece day and night until worried friends finally took the type-written pages from her sweaty hands and turned them in for her because she never felt like her writing was good enough. Of course, once it was submitted, it was accepted and praised. The message my eighteen-year-old self took from hearing a semester’s worth of this kind of talk was that a writer’s process was necessarily difficult and even painful. I didn’t take any more English classes during my undergraduate career.

For years I thought all writers had the same process and I thought it was more difficult that a career in medicine.

Now, many years later, I realize each writer has their own process, and it’s up to each writer to figure out what process suits them…

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Best Practices for Building Sales

Kobo Writing Life

By Toni Anderson

I was a little taken aback when asked to write a blog about how I’ve grown my sales on Kobo over the last two years for the simple reason I didn’t do anything special. No magic formula. No voodoo. No massive advertising budget. I just do what I consider to be the basics for any author on any platform.

My sales have grown though—up nearly 6000% between 2013 and 2015, and the fourth quarter of 2015 being up 500% on the first quarter of the same year.

So maybe the basics are worth restating, especially for those new to self-publishing.

Let’s assume you’ve written fantastic stories, had them vigorously edited, packaged with professional, eye-catching covers. The novels are perfectly formatted and you write in a genre that sells (as opposed to a niche market like “How to Grow Vegetables on Mars.” Although I hear the fictionalized version…

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Why You’re Starting Your Novel in the Wrong Place

Carly Watters, Literary Agent

coffeeDoes your book start at the most interesting point in your character’s life? It should. 

The number one problem I see with sample material, and even client material sometimes, is that the book doesn’t start in the right place. If you are starting with the beginning of the day (waking up or eating breakfast) I don’t trust it’s starting in the right place. If you take 50 pages to introduce the conflict there is no way you’re starting in the right place.


  1. At the end, go back and rewrite your beginning. There is no way by the end of your novel you should have the same opening when you started the draft. Characters change, plot trajectories change. You don’t know what your novel is going to fully become until it’s over. So why keep the same opening? Revise to make sure…

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Navigating #Writing Contests — Ronel the Mythmaker

Most writing competitions are in the form of short stories or flash fiction. Though there are quite a few that involve novels, I’m going to talk about short story competitions. [Writing novels take a lot of energy and time which makes me wonder if competitions involving them are truly worth the prize at the end […]

via Navigating #Writing Contests — Ronel the Mythmaker

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