Tag Archives: writing tip

Writing tip Wednesday: “Fighting words”

Fighting words

 

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Writing tip Wednesday: “Tinker Mountain Writers”

2018 Tinker logo 100dpi copy

2018 Tinker Mountain Writers 100dpi

Date: June 10 -15, 2018 at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. Details at www.hollins.edu/tmww.

From novice to advanced. Since 2005, Tinker Mountain Writers has been nuturing and empowering writers though workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

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Winning Writers Submission Manager – Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (no fee)

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (no fee)Ends on April 1, 2018Submit one humor poem, up to 250 lines. First prize of $1,000 and second prize of $250. Ten Honorable Mentions will receive $100 each. The top 12 entries will be published online. There is no fee to enter. Judge: Jendi Reiter, assisted by Lauren Singer. In addition to English, your poem may contain inspired gibberish. You may submit published or unpublished work. Please omit your name from your entries. We prefer 12-point type or larger. Please avoid fancy, hard-to-read fonts.Please submit only one poem to this contest.

Source: Winning Writers Submission Manager – Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest (no fee)

Ends on April 1, 2018

Submit one humor poem, up to 250 lines. First prize of $1,000 and second prize of $250. Ten Honorable Mentions will receive $100 each. The top 12 entries will be published online. There is no fee to enter. Judge: Jendi Reiter, assisted by Lauren Singer.

In addition to English, your poem may contain inspired gibberish. You may submit published or unpublished work. Please omit your name from your entries. We prefer 12-point type or larger. Please avoid fancy, hard-to-read fonts.

Please submit only one poem to this contest.

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Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

Ends on April 30, 2018

$20.00 USD

Submit stories and essays on any theme, up to 6,000 words each. The winning story and essay will each receive $2,000. Ten Honorable Mentions will receive $100 each. The top 12 entries will be published online. Judge: Dennis Norris II, assisted by Lauren Singer.

For this contest, a story is any short work of fiction, and an essay is any short work of nonfiction. You may submit published or unpublished work. This contest accepts multiple entries (submit them one at a time). Please omit your name from your entries. We prefer 12-point type or larger. Please avoid fancy, hard-to-read fonts. Double-spacing is recommended.

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Writing Tip Wednesday: “The Missouri Review » Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize”

Discovering the best in fiction, essays, and poetry

Source: The Missouri Review » Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize

27th Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize

$5,000 Fiction | $5,000 Nonfiction $5,000 Poetry 

DEADLINE: October 2, 2017

Winners receive publication, invitation to a reception and reading in their honor, and a cash prize.

Guidelines

  • Submit one piece of fiction or nonfiction up to 8,500 words or any number of poems up to 10 pages. Please double-space fiction and nonfiction entries.
  • Multiple submissions and simultaneous submissions are welcome, but you must pay a separate fee for each entry and withdraw the piece immediately if accepted elsewhere.
  • Entries must be previously unpublished.
  • Entry fee: $22
  • Each entrant receives a one-year subscription to the Missouri Review in digital format (normal price $24) and a paperback copy of the first title of our new imprint, Missouri Review Books, The Trail of the Demon by Jane Gillette (normal price $14.95).

Eligibility

  • Previous winners of the Editors’ Prize and current University of Missouri students and faculty are ineligible.
  • Previous Editors’ Prize finalists are welcome to enter again.

Submit

Winners will be announced in early 2018.

Questions? E-mail contest_question@moreview.com.

Read a prizewinning story by Melissa Yancy, an essay by Peter Selgin, and a selection from poetry winners Katie Bickham, Kai Carlson-Wee, and Alexandra Teague.

27th Annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize$5,000 Fiction | $5,000 Nonfiction | $5,000 Poetry DEADLINE: October 2, 2017Winners receive publication, invitation to a reception and reading in their honor, and a cash prize.Guidelines Submit one piece of fiction or nonfiction up to 8,500 words or any number of poems up to 10 pages. Please double-space fiction and nonfiction entries. Multiple submissions and simultaneous submissions are welcome, but you must pay a separate fee for each entry and withdraw the piece immediately if accepted elsewhere. Entries must be previously unpublished. Entry fee: $22 Each entrant receives a one-year subscription to the Missouri Review in digital format (normal price $24) and a paperback copy of the first title of our new imprint, Missouri Review Books, The Trail of the Demon by Jane Gillette (normal price $14.95).Eligibility Previous winners of the Editors’ Prize and current University of Missouri students and faculty are ineligible. Previous Editors’ Prize finalists are welcome to enter again.Submit Online By mailWinners will be announced in early 2018.Questions? E-mail contest_question@moreview.com.Read a prizewinning story by Melissa Yancy, an essay by Peter Selgin, and a selection from poetry winners Katie Bickham, Kai Carlson-Wee, and Alexandra Teague.

Source: The Missouri Review » Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize

 

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Writing tip Wednesday: “How to find free classic books online — Quartz”

How to access free and legal copies of English and American classic literature online

Source: How to find free classic books online — Quartz

Add up all the textbooks and calculators that students need to buy and September can be rough for American parents and their children. While schools require purchases of the latest textbook editions each year, parents can acquire some books that never go out of date—and cost nearly nothing.

Many of the American and English literary works that are required reading are available online. You don’t need to know how to torrent, or hurt your eyes reading poorly scanned illegal PDFs, either; these books are available legally through publisher licenses. Here’s a few resources for finding To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, 1984, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, and other commonly required reading for free:

Your library and a device

If you’re not a member of a public library, join one. Many public libraries use OverDrive, an app that lets you borrow ebooks and audiobooks. Download OverDrive on a device, or use the site on your computer browser, and log in with your library card number. You could also try Libby, an app recently released by OverDrive with the same functionality and a better interface.

Availability depends on your branch, but there will be tons of classics. Some of the most popular may be on hold, but here are some currently available at my libraries in New York City and central New Jersey.

Available: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird; Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God; Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club; George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm; Toni Morrison’s Beloved and The Bluest Eye; Lois Lowry’s The Giver; The Elements of Style; William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies; John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

Project Gutenberg (Australia)

Project Gutenberg collects ebooks in the public domain in the US. Its Australian counterpart does the same thing for books in the public domain in Australia, where laws are more lax than the US.

Available on the US site: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Emma; Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities; Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace; Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis; James Joyce’s Ulysses; Beowulf; Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray; Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha; Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein.

On the Australia site: George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm; Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One’s Own, and To the Lighthouse; Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here; Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night.

Open Library

A project of Internet Archive, Open Library plans to catalog every book in existence. A subset of the books in the database are accessible for free right now; others you can borrow after you join a waiting list. Below are some of the ones perpetually available.

Available: Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina; Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness; Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, The Ambassadors, and Daisy Miller; Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome; Jane Austen’s Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility.

For any work by Shakespeare

All of Shakespeare’s poems and plays are in the public domain. MIT has a complete database.

Available: Every written work.

Scribd

Scribd is a subscription-based database of books and audiobooks, along with articles from paywalled sites like The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. It costs $9 a month, but if you’re in a bind for one or two books, you can get a free 30-day trial.

Available: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451; Jack Kerouac’s On the Road; Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World; Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale; Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms.

Google Books

Google once had huge ambitions for a massive digital library of all the world’s books, but got defeated by copyright battles. If you choose “Free Google ebooks” when you search, you can find a few that are old enough to be in the public domain.

Available: Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights; George Eliot’s Middlemarch; Dante’s The Inferno.

Read.gov

The Library of Congress’s site has a few classics if you don’t mind reading directly in your browser.

Available: ‎Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables; Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.

 

 

Source: https://qz.com/1064159/how-to-access-free-and-legal-copies-of-english-and-american-classic-literature-online/

 

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Writing tip Wednesday: “Agents offer advice”

16 Agents Share 34 Tips for Success: From Studying the Market to Proper Querying

Source: http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/16-agents-share-34-tips-success-studying-market-proper-querying?utm_source=wir&utm_campaign=wir-nl-cmf-gla&utm_content=961824_EDT_GLA170809&utm_medium=email

Computers can be a pain to get to work rightBelow, 16 of our agents share tips that didn’t make the issue. Continue reading for advice on doing agent research, working with beta readers, establishing yourself as part of a community, writing query letters, and more:

The Market:

  • Read, read, read! The best way to become a successful writer is to be a passionate reader. —Susan Hawk, Upstart Crow Literary
  • Study the market and submit your best story for that market. Read the type of books you want to write to get a feel for the type of voice, story, and tone those publishers want. Put together the best proposal you can, including a professional head shot with your author biography. Write the proposal in third person. —Tamela Hancock Murray, The Steve Laube Agency
  • Read as much as you can in your genre. —Jennifer Johnson-Blalock, Liza Dawson Associates
  • Be aware of the market, but don’t spend too much time worrying about it – write the story that only you can write. —Susan Hawk, Upstart Crow Literary
  • Walk into a bookstore. Go to the section you think your book would go in. If you have a hard time deciding what section your book belongs in, you probably have some editing to do. It’s always better from a marketing standpoint if you can concretely place your book in a genre, or in this case on a shelf. —Vanessa Robins, Corvisiero Literary Agency

Research:

  • Do all the research you can. There are so many brilliant sources out there for free on how to pick an agent, how to write a query, and how to stay positive in a business that can be stressful and (at times) discouraging. And there are a lot of very friendly people in the community who like to give back and offer advice. —Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret
  • Do your research. You want to learn as much as you can about publishing, from how to query agents to how to promote your debut. —Jennifer Johnson-Blalock, Liza Dawson Associates

Beta Readers and Critique Groups:

  • I think the best thing a writer can do when they finish their first or second draft is solicit the help of fellow writers, critique partners, and beta readers in revising the manuscript. Agents can always tell when a book has or has not been workshopped and polished with the help of other writers and editors, so this is not a step to be missed! —Hannah Fergesen, KT Literary
  • Join a writer’s group. Getting supportive feedback on your work is invaluable. And, writing can be lonely. Finding your writing family is key to a long-term writing career. —Susan Hawk, Upstart Crow Literary

Community:

  • A literary community is probably your strongest ally. Join writing groups, go to open mic nights, follow other authors online, and just be present. —Vanessa Robins, Corvisiero Literary Agency
  • Writers should get in the habit of giving back to other writers as often as possible. It’s good karma, and it makes you a part of a community that, when you do publish your book, will help you support it. Your end game isn’t just to be published; it’s about having a career and about being a good member of the community you’ve chosen. Writers are amazing people, and you don’t need an agent or a book deal to be a part of the writing community. —Jenny Herrera, David Black Agency

Platform:

  • Try to have an online platform. You don’t have to have ten thousand followers or know how to market inside and out, but just seeing that you have a workable start helps! —Kaitlyn Johnson, Corvisiero Literary Agency

Editing:

  • A clean query is the mark of an attentive writer. While a small typo probably won’t lead to an automatic “no,” getting the agent’s name wrong from the get-go might. —Amelia Appel, Triada US
  • Put your differences aside and become besties with editing. Even when you polish the thing shiny, your beta readers will have edits, then your agent, then more beta readers, then your agent again, then editors, and more editors. Basically, even when you think you’re done editing, you’re probably not. —Vanessa Robins, Corvisiero Literary Agency
  • Your manuscript is your resume. It should be as polished as possible and show exactly what your talent is as a writer. —Quressa Robinson, Nelson Literary Agency

Queries:

  • If you’re querying you should be making regular trips to bookstores. There’s so much to learn just by browsing displays. —Steven Salpeter, Curtis Brown
  • When it comes time to query, make sure your pitch is crystal clear and to the point. It’s said over and over again, but it’s true that agents won’t have the time or patience to read a long wind-up to the book’s description. —Rachel Vogel
  • Once you’re ready to query, try to remember you’re attempting a working relationship with someone. It’s no different than a job interview: practice respect, give your best work, and follow directions given. Agents notice when a writer proves they’d be great to work with, but they also take note when they see the opposite. —Kaitlyn Johnson, Corvisiero Literary Agency
  • Make sure you are ready to query and make sure you know what you’ve written. There’s nothing as disheartening for an agent as requesting a full manuscript only to be told it isn’t ready yet. —Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary Agency
  • When mapping out your sections on marketing and promotion, think outside the box: Who is this book written for? Who will those readers recommend it to? Don’t limit your readership by believing only one type of reader would be interested in it such as “romance readers” or “history buffs.” Readers are hungry for new experiences and your book could be just what they’re looking for—but they need to find it first. The more options you add to your proposal, the better armed your editor will be to go in and fight for your book in the war room. —Stacey Graham, Red Sofa Literary
  • I don’t read queries that aren’t specifically addressed to me; that are written in the voice of a character; that admit the manuscript isn’t complete (for fiction only); that are intentionally disrespectful. Your goal is not to shock me with your query, but to get me to read your sample pages. And in those pages, novels that begin with a dead body, a sweeping panorama of an exotic locale, a first person introduction (“Hi reader, my name is…), a character waking up, commentary on the weather or a dump of expository information are not interesting to me. —Noah Ballard, Curtis Brown
  • Even if you’re not certain something would be of interest to me if it falls within my ranges of interests I would always rather see something and decide for myself. When in doubt, query me. —Steven Salpeter, Curtis Brown
  • Agents are notorious for having a wide variety of guidelines. Oftentimes they will be in correlation to the overall guidelines for their specific agency, but they can also be guidelines that the agent has specifically created to further help writers with their submissions. It’s important to remember that these guidelines are there to help you. I understand that it can sometimes feel like a lot of hoops to jump through, but having guidelines allows for you as the writer to be able to create stronger and more impactful queries. When you’re working on your queries, always remember to include the submission guidelines within your overall research. The lack of effort when following submission guidelines is one of my biggest pet peeves as an agent, and if I can tell that a writer blatantly disregarded my guidelines, it results in an automatic dismissal of the query. —Justin Wells, Corvisiero Literary Agency

Agent-Author Relationship:

  • Whether you receive one offer of representation or ten, ask questions of the offering agent to make sure you are a good fit. Speak to them via video call in you’re not in the same city and don’t be afraid to ask for references. An author-agent relationship is a lot like a marriage and you want to make sure you’re partnering with someone who can sell your book and who you trust to advocate for you. —Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary Agency
  • The Call is when you and the agent assess each other. Do you fit? Are they really offering what you’re looking for? They are wondering the same things. This is a business partnership and like after any interview either party can decide that they aren’t a good match. But when the stars align, you both know it’s a good match, and now you have an agent! —Quressa Robinson, Nelson Literary Agency
  • Be polite and professional. When an agent takes on a client, they do so knowing that there is going to be a lot more to that relationship than just the written work. If an agent wants to work with you, it’s because they believe in your writing, but also in you. Agents want to take on clients they can see themselves successfully working with throughout their career. Given that, keep in mind that your query letter is your first impression, so it’s to your benefit to make it a good one. —Amelia Appel, Triada US
  • Be prepared to be a partner in your success. Your work as an author isn’t finished when you type, “the end.” It’s not over when you sign a publishing contract, either. Publishers love authors who are willing to learn how to be on social media, who will bring promotional ideas and opportunities to the table, and who can network. Don’t worry, if this sounds daunting, your agent will be there to walk you through it all. —Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary Agency

Perseverance:

  • Patience is by far the most important thing, for agents and authors. Even if you finally snag your dream agent, the process can be like a sloth using crutches, slow and painful (okay, only slightly painful). —Vanessa Robins, Corvisiero Literary Agency
  • Just like with finding a job it can be a long road before you get an offer and find the right spot, but it happens. Perseverance, dedication to your craft, adaptation, and a bit of gumption will lead you to success. —Quressa Robinson, Nelson Literary Agency
  • Hang in there! We completely understand that querying can be a nerve-wracking process and that rejection can be extremely disheartening. But, this is a super subjective business—what’s not right for one agent might be perfect for the next. Be open to feedback and don’t give up! —Amelia Appel, Triada US
  • Prepare for rejection. It happens to everyone, authors and agents alike (editors tell us no, too) and is part of the process of being published. As clichéd as it sounds, this is a marathon, not a sprint—this is especially true if you want to be a career novelist. —Joanna MacKenzie, Nelson Literary Agency
  • Rejections are opportunities. They teach us about the marketplace, and sometimes reveal insights about a manuscript that can be used to make a book better and bring an author to another level in her or his career. —Steven Salpeter, Curtis Brown
  • As with any job, an agent may read your query letter and decide from there that they are not interested in moving forward to your manuscript (typically a partial). This could be subjective. It doesn’t speak to them. Or you may not have conveyed your knowledge and story in the best light. If an agent does move onto the manuscript and still decide to pass, again this is the subjective part of the job. Your writing could be solid, the story well plotted, but if the agent doesn’t connect to it, if they don’t have passion for it, if they don’t love it, then they know they need to move on. And you should want them to! If they pass on your manuscript this means that you don’t get to move on to the interview stage of the process, which is the call. —Quressa Robinson, Nelson Literary Agency
  • As cliché as it might sound, I will always encourage writers to never give up. I discuss the subjectivity of publishing, and the agent world a lot with other agents. Once you get your manuscript to the point where you start seeking an agent you really need to remain determined throughout the entire process. The idea that all agents look at manuscripts differently can never be stated enough. Don’t let an agent passing on your manuscript keep you from pursing your goal. I’ve heard of quite a few cases where agents have passed on manuscripts because it personally wasn’t a good fit for them, and another agent felt it was a great fit and was able to land a deal for the author. It all comes down to finding that one agent who falls in love with your manuscript, and will work to get it out there to editors. —Justin Wells, Corvisiero Literary Agency

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