Archive for June, 2009

For Comedy Writers…

June 30, 2009

Z1028A recent book we published is getting some great press. The book is And Here’s the Kicker by Mike Sacks and it features conversations with 32 top humor writers who discuss the craft of writing. There’s lots of great people in the book including David Sedaris, Dan Clowes, Harold Ramis, and many others.

Here’s a few links to some coverage:

http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/comedy/75977/mike-sacks-and-heres-the-kicker-interview-excerpts 

http://www.tabletmag.com/arts-and-culture/before-%e2%80%98year-one%e2%80%99/ 

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2009/06/qa-the-colbert-reports-allison-silverman.html 

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/oscars/2009/06/the-sacha-baron-cohen-method.html 

Got a Case of the Mondays?

June 29, 2009

Our company had an Office Space themed party this afternoon to help boost Monday morale. Complete with a Milton-style sheet cake, TPS Reports, Cheetos, and the destruction of some outdated computer equipment with a ball bat in the parking lot.

The ratio of cake to people is not the same.

The ratio of cake to people is not the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye fax machine.

Goodbye fax machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...it feels good to be a gangsta.

...it feels good to be a gangsta.

Finding Inspiration

June 29, 2009

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been working on editing a science fiction and fantasy reference that combines a couple of bestselling backlist titles into one expansive text. It’s a really cool project, and I started discussing covers and illustration ideas with the book’s designer. I got kind of excited about some ideas I had to look back to some vintage style sci fi covers in the vein of Edgar Rice Burroughs books and the artwork of Frank Frazetta–I used to love looking through the paperbacks that lined the book shelves in my dad’s “office.” My dad is fond of buying up books at flea markets and has amassed a collection (though he doesn’t think of it as such) of books with neat old covers.

Just thinking about those old books not only gets me psyched about possibilities for the illustration style that we’ll eventually decide upon for the Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy, but also makes me want to write some vintage pulpy sci-fi of my own. 

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Books I’m Working On

June 26, 2009

Thought it might be cool to post the cover images for the books I’m currently working on.

 

Write Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison

Write Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write Like the Masters by William Cane

Write Like the Masters by William Cane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine

The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine

Tuesday afternoon

June 23, 2009

Hi all. Taking a quick break from all the editing projects this afternoon to do a quick post. I’ve been working on The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine (I’m very excited about how this one’s coming together and I’m not just saying that because I know Becky checks in on this blog from time to time [hey Becky]).  I think everyone will get a lot out of thinking about better ways to work with a writing group (or if you don’t already have a writing group… this book will likely convince you of what a good idea it is to have one). 

I’m also thinking way ahead to Spring of 2010 and working on a book about “Showing and Telling” by Laurie Alberts and finishing up reading through a manuscript about writing Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Also I’ve booked my plane ticket for the upcoming September Business of Getting Published Conference in NYC. This is going to be a cool conference, so check out the details.

Lots of great stuff going on. OK. It’s time to dive back into some Word documents and my giant sweet tea from McAlister’s (anybody else a fan?)

Editor’s Intensive

June 21, 2009

I had a break in appointments at the WD editors intensive (which I’ve posted about a couple of times). It’s been a nice event. Yesterday I sat on a panel with some fellow editors and addressed writers about the topic of “Why I Stop Reading,” essential giving writers a list of “don’ts” (and a few dos) to think about when they approach their work. 

Here’s a list of some of the things most editors agreed upon:

  • Be careful of inserting too much exposition into dialogue–this makes the dialogue seem unnatural and can jar the reader out of the story
  • Be very selective about the details you reveal as backstory for your characters–only give the readers what’s necessary or you run the risk of overwhelming them or boring them
  • Never begin your story with a flashback or dream sequence
  • Introduce your protagonist early on (don’t wait until several chapters into the book)–some writers tend to want to start out with the villain or a victim, but make sure we get to know the protagonist soon; don’t wait too long
  • Make sure your characters are likable (even if they are villains they should have some traits that at least make them seem like real people–everyone has redeeming qualities)

Lots of questions on craft were discussed. These are just a few of the conversations that ran on for a while.

Today I’ve met with 5 writers and have one more appointment. Everyone has been really nice and I’ve read some nice ideas for stories. It’s interesting see all the different strengths and weaknesses that different writers may have. It really makes me think about how invaluable having a writer’s group can be as someone in your group may be good at one technique (such as dialogue) while someone else may be good at another (setting for example). Having multiple eyes take a look at your work is a big help, even if you get conflicting advice that you end up having to sort through later.

Keep in mind that you’ve been living with your story for a while now. A fresh set of eyes can always help you find some perspective.

This week is getting weird

June 17, 2009

So there’s a photo shoot going on for our line of crafting books–they’re doing a facepainting book. So for the past few days I’ve been rounding the corner to come face to face with staff members painted up like monsters and demons. It’s pretty surreal. 

Here’s a pic of my buddy Shawn looking all Robo-Zombie:

 

 

Shawn of the Upgradead

Shawn of the UpgraDead

Endless Summer

June 15, 2009

It’s Monday and I’m sitting here at my desk contemplating my week. There’s just so much stuff to do and things going on that my head is spinning.

  • I’m working with judges on getting all the rankings in from WD’s Annual Competition and then the team and I will go through the results to determine a grand prize winner. 
  • I’ve got several great book projects in the works including The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine, Write Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison, and The Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy. 
  • My Novel Writing issue of WD is headed off to the printer and will hit newstands next month.
  • This weekend we’ll be hosting another WD Editor’s Intensive workshop where writers get to listen to some great lectures and panels, and recieve one-on-one help with their manuscript.

Plus, in my free time I’m still training like crazy at the taekwondo school. I just competed in the Battle of Cincinnati where I got first place in sparring and board breaking. I placed second in forms. It was very exciting and has got me looking forward to my association test next month . I’m also planning on judging a test for under black belts at our school this weekend and hope to attend a special seminar with the grand master of our style.

 

Battle of Cincinnati 2009.

Battle of Cincinnati 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of this stuff is a lot of fun, but I’m hoping that soon I’ll get a chance to take a vacation.

Editor’s Intensive

June 8, 2009

We have another editor’s intensive event coming up next weekend. This has been a really popular event, and there’s still time to sign up. Check out the details below:

Writer’s Digest is throwing open its doors to a select group of aspiring writersand you’re invited to be one of them! 

 

You must register by June 10 to get the best deal. 

 

Meet with WD editors for one-on-one manuscript critiques 

 

Sharpen your publishing savvy at panel discussions 

 

Pick the editors’ brains at Q&A sessions 

 

Network with editors and fellow writers at a Saturday night reception 

 

Registrations after June 10 will be accepted as space permits, but will be subject to a higher fee and entitled to submit shorter manuscripts for review.

 

Click here for more info

New York Pics

June 8, 2009

Hi everyone. Sorry for the lapse in postings. I was a bit behind on a few of my projects after being out of the office for the NYC Writer’s Conference. I’ve been putting the final touches on my Novel Writing special issue of WD and had several book projects that needed some attention.

As promised, here are the pics from the writer’s conference and from hanging around in NYC with the Writer’s Digest team:

 

Agent Donald Maass enjoys the lunch time presentation.

Agent Donald Maass enjoys the lunch time presentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Peter Selgin enjoys taking in a session.

Author Peter Selgin takes in a session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a chance to talk with Write Like the Masters author William Cane

I had a chance to talk with Write Like the Masters author William Cane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane and I compare notes before the pitch slam.

Jane and I compare notes before the pitch slam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Shawn works the conference bookstore, which was very busy.

My friend Shawn works the conference bookstore, which was very busy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The editorial team got a chance to walk around NYC some. Here's a group shot at Madison Square Park.

The editorial team got a chance to walk around NYC some. Here's a group shot at Madison Square Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelly and Melissa pose with a display of WD books at the Madison Square Barnes & Noble.

Kelly and Melissa pose with a display of WD books at the Madison Square Barnes & Noble.