Posts Tagged: writing advice
Bestselling and award-winning writers Danielle Trussoni and Walter Kirn host the Writerly podcast, a weekly discussion of all things pertaining to the real lives of working writers. From getting and firing an agent, to book publicity, to contracts, to working with an editor, to writing your first draft—Writerly will cover it all....more
Lord knows the world has changed since I wrote this talk, but when the world falls to pieces around us, especially when the world falls to pieces, writers will still sit down to write. As Beckett tells us, even when we have “no power to express” and “no desire to express,” we still have “the obligation to express.” Telling stories allows the reader or the audience to see through the eyes of another, and generates empathy that we need now more than ever....more
Zines come and go. Editors move around. It’s rare that a story can’t possibly sell to anyplace but Grandiose Editor’s Power Trip Quarterly. I know when you’re new, anyone ahead of you on the track, or in an editorial position, seems like they have so much power, but honestly, you don’t need them.
Os&1s Reads’s The Art of Commerce talks with Merritt Tierce, author of Love Me Back, about the relationship between writers and money:
Publishing is a machine that does what it does. You’re grateful, of course, to have the connection to it, because part of what it does is present your book to thousands and thousands of readers.
One recent hot weekday afternoon, I told my partner—the guy who created the “Punk the Muse” logo and draws its cartoons—that I wanted to get out and about. We’d been sitting at home too long. Moon’s Handbook for Northern California revealed an abandoned mine, with a ghost town and an old Western cemetery, a half hour’s drive from our home by the Carquinez Bridge....more
Comedian Sara Benincasa is no stranger to being a working writer—in fact, she just wrote a book about it. Now, at Medium, she shares her secrets on getting published. Accessible and funny, Benincasa offers tips like “NO MONEY UPFRONT BECAUSE ANY AGENT WHO DOES THAT IS A CROOK,” details about advances and royalties, and the always-important advice to “mostly just keep writing a lot.”...more
As I processed a dominant Euro-American writing pedagogy from the perspective of an aspiring fiction writer and an immigrant critic of color, I couldn’t stop wondering: are we, in 21st-century America, overvaluing a sight-based approach to storytelling? And could this be another case of cultural particularity masquerading itself as universal taste?
I never heard editors talk about how disturbed and insecure writers might become as a result of relentless rejection, living every day with what James Salter called “the feeling of injustice.” It was more fun for editors to characterize their jobs as overseeing petting zoos full of needy misfits and narcissists, a point of view that was always amusing to other editors but infuriating to writers.
Writing for The Millions, M.C. Mah turns over all the cards in the deck on structure in storytelling. He gathers words of wisdom—and many metaphors—from luminaries like John McPhee, Borges, Vonnegut, and George Saunders, and then links the contemporary “horoscopic style” of structuring to an “anxiety about a better way to tell a story…” possibly “synonymous with aiming for the cheap seats of genre.”...more
For Catapult, Anuradha Roy talks about the process of receiving editorial feedback and how we’re inclined to react poorly to that feedback. Roy takes us from the phone call from her brand-new publisher, suggesting she re-think her first chapter, to her old-wisdom, pottery influenced conclusion:
I now see fiction—my own and that of others—as work paused but never finished.
As a writer, I always want to know where the light is in the room and how it’s striking the characters. Even if that description doesn’t make it to the end – maybe because the viewpoint character isn’t that observant – the echo of it there means that there’s a little bit more reality to the situation.
It’s time to write a column, paint a picture, compose a song, draft an outline: whatever. Creative expression doesn’t happen by itself, we have to work at it. You know where this is going, don’t you?...more
In the latest installment of “The Blunt Instrument” over at Electric Literature, Elisa Gabbert tackles the delicate question of bias in literary journals. Her answer? Take thoughtful reflections and make careful adjustments....more
Most writers, especially those who are just starting out, feel lost and lonely in a literary world that seems to have pre-constructed cliques that are so hard to infiltrate. Anne Korkeakivi, an ex-pat and ever-traveling author with literary connections spread around the world, tells us that we are all peripheral to the literary community, and that every writer constructs their own community in multiple places, especially in the age of social media, which allows us to limitlessly connect with other literary-minded people, no matter their time zone....more
Corporate escapee-turned-author Xu Xi shared a few choice fiction writing tips with the Jakarta Post. She suggests utilizing the formulas in spreadsheets to calculate timelines and characters’ ages, and recharging your writing energy by getting up from your desk and “being responsible for yourself”—which means cleaning up the house and doing other chores, simple tasks that teach the discipline needed to carry over into writing....more
The Internet is flooded with copied and re-copied lists of writing advice from “legendary” writers from all genres and time periods, shuffled over and over in “Top Ten Quotes About Writing” articles. At Lit Hub, Guy Gavriel Kay wants us to ditch these over-processed listicles, make our own rules, and remember that there is value in “being ‘alone’ in creativity.”...more
For The Millions, Marcia DeSanctis shares how she learned to become a “second-career writer” after resisting her literary ambitions while working as a television news producer:
A stifled artist was scratching through all of my work identities, and though my jobs were fascinating I never really had the mettle to soldier on.
I know of no level of success where writers stop getting rejected (and stop at least occasionally feeling bummed about it). People generally make more noise about publications than rejections, the same way people mostly share pictures of happy moments on Facebook, making their sad moments invisible.
Just as there is subjective rejection, there’s subjective acceptance—the editor who sparks to your characters, your plot, your manuscript because of their personal experiences—and you want someone who understands your story to be the champion it needs.
Let’s be real. Rejection sucks, especially if you’re a writer trying to get your work published....more