Archive for November, 2009

Your writing wish list

November 20, 2009

Got a wish list of things you want to accomplish with your writing? The WD book shop is running a contest where you can set up your wish list of items from the store and you’ll be entered to win your entire wish list. Not a bad deal, huh?

In the very least, you can tell family and friends where to look to find the books and references you need to accomplish your writing goals. Just in time for the holidays.  

Check out the details and set up your wish list here

A chance to get face time with editors

November 20, 2009

The WD Editor Intensive event for December is coming up:


Got a Writing Group?

November 13, 2009

Z4813c_SurvivalGuideWriter’s Digest is compiling a registry of writing groups to help writers find groups to fit their needs. It’s a great way to make connections and find new members. Plus, if you join the registry you’ll receive a free PDF of The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine.

Click here for for more info on the WD Writing & Critique Group Registry

Author Interview: Pat Pattison

November 10, 2009

pattisonPat Pattison is a professor and the author of Writing Better Lyrics, a book that has been a staple for songwriters for nearly 20 years. He has written three courses for Berklee College of Music’s award winning online school: “Tools and Strategies,” “Writing Lyric to Music,” and “Writing from a Title.” They are available at I recently worked as Pat’s editor for the 2nd edition of this well-loved book. Pat was gracious enough to take some time out of his busy teaching schedule to answer a few questions. (A portion of the interview appears below… a more in-depth version is posted on

Writing Better Lyrics has been a go to guide for songwriters for nearly 2 decades. What did you set out to accomplish with the new edition?

Songs are your best teachers. I try to learn something from every song I hear. I try to see what’s working, and why – where the song connects with me – where it makes me feel something. Then I look under the hood to see how it was put together, to extract tools that I can pass on to my students. I’ve learned a lot since I published WBL, and I’ve tried to pass those new ideas along in this edition.

 I usually ask authors about their favorite books, but I think in this case I’m curious about your top 5 record albums of all time.

Pirates, Ricki Lee Jones

Hearts and Bones, Paul Simon

Der Rosenkavalier, Richard Strauss Jr.

Revival, Gillian Welch

Continuum, John Mayer

What can a writer working in any genre learn from looking at song lyrics?

Think of melody as nouns, chords as adjectives, and rhythm as verbs (from Bernstein’s lectures). Watch how they support and transform each other. The same melody with major chords sounds different when minor or other chords are substituted. Melody and harmony together are activated by rhythm and tempo, again creating many options for expressing an idea effectively. All writers are interested in coloring ideas in different ways, and making them move forward at tempi and, if not rhythm, flow.

 The effective combination of melody, harmony, rhythm and tempo with lyric and its structure can create a force to be reckoned with. It can change lives. It can topple empires.

Read the complete interview

Quick Project Update

November 5, 2009

Z4814c_SaveANovelEvery once in a while I like to post about the projects I’m currently working on… It gives me a chance to talk about why I’m excited about all of the great books that cross my desk.

Right now I’m working on final manuscript revisions for Peter Selgin’s 180 Ways to Save a Novel, a book that a copyeditor I work with gushed about. Her exact words were, “I love this book. It’s one of the most enjoyable writing books I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot of them.”  A nice endorsement from someone in the trenches, don’t you think? The book is a collection of meditations on ways to improve your novel and your craft in general.

I’m also reading the revised manuscript for The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier (link is to current edition). The book is a staple for any writer thinking of going the self publishing route (this will be the 5th edition!) The authors have updated it to include material on self promotion using social media (which, as anyone writing today knows is becoming more and more crucial).

Plus, an article I wrote on book contests for the February issue of Writer’s Digest magazine is off to design and I just sent The Writer’s Digest Guide to Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card and the editors at WD off to be indexed.

As Elvis used to say, “TCB, baby. TCB.”

Check out other WD titles at





November 2, 2009

What do editors and publishing people do for Halloween? Same thing everyone else does. Here’s some pics from the unofficial WD Books Halloween Party Official Disclaimer: Not a company sanctioned event.


Sales vs. Production. Cage match?


The Design Police interrogates a suspect.


An Evil League of Editors