Archive for April, 2010

Got a self published book?

April 29, 2010

Why not enter it in Writer’s Digest’s Self Pub Competition? You can win up to $3,000, gain international exposure for your book, catch the eye of editors and agents… it could be just the boost your self-published book needs. The contest deadline is being extended to May 17.

For more information click here

Writer’s Online Workshops

April 29, 2010

If you’ve been thinking about taking advantage of an online writing course, now’s a great time. Writer’s Online Workshops is offering a 15% discount with the code APR10.

Topics include:
Elements of Effective Writing II: Form and Composition
Essentials Of Mystery Writing
Essentials Of Writing To Inspire
Focus On The Novel
Focus On The Personal/Family Memoir
Fundamentals Of Fiction Writing
Fundamentals Of Nonfiction Writing
Write Great Fiction: Dialogue
Writing the Breakout Novel
Writing The Novel Proposal
Writing the Young Adult Novel

and more!

Learn more here

Fish out of water

April 28, 2010

My sister recently told me she was frustrated with a martial arts class she’s been taking. She’s new to the class, but after having been to the class several times began to feel angry with herself for not being able to get her body to move the way she wants it to. She told me that logically she knew that she needed to give her self time, but couldn’t help feeling like a fish out of water.

My advice to her was to embrace the “fish out of water” feeling instead of fighting it. By that I meant that she should take advantage of the fact that she felt like a complete beginner, setting aside any preconceived notions and simply allow herself to listen to her instructors and learn. It’s easier said than done, of course. But this concept of “beginner’s mind” (something I learned about in my own martial arts classes and try to implement in my own life) can be applied to everything, including writing. If you approach every subject as a beginner- ready to explore and learn something new- then you’ll undoubtedly get much more out of the experience. If you’re writing about something and set aside everything you think you know when you begin your research then you’ll learn new things and your final piece of writing will be that much richer and well informed.

As always, I wish you the best with your writing and all endeavors.

Check out the Writer’s Digest Shop Deal of the Day

Your Story, BONUS contest

April 22, 2010

Writer’s Digest is publishing a special “Big 10” themed issue for September (10 Q&As, top 10 lists, 10 breakout books, 10 featured markets, and so forth…). It’s going to be a really cool issue.

We’re also running a special version of the Your Story Contest for the issue and will feature the 10 best opening sentences for a story that we receive. Here are the details:

BONUS Your Story: Special “Big 10” Issue Prompt

We’re featuring the 10 best story openers based on the photograph below incorporating the number 10.
(This is a bonus contest that was not announced in the magazine.)

Here’s how it works: Simply write the opening sentence to a story based on the picture below. Please limit your sentence to 35 words or fewer.

10 winners will be chosen by the staff of Writer’s Digest and receive publication in our September 2010. The deadline for this contest is May 14, 2010.

To submit your opening sentence by May 14 , click on the link below:
Your Story submission form

subscribe to Writer’s Digest today

Project update

April 22, 2010

Hi all. It’s been a busy few weeks for me. I’ve had a couple of books nearing their final stages and have been in heavy proofread mode (headphones on and head down). But I had a minute to come up for air so I thought I’d post about the great projects that are in the works.

First, Anne Stilman’s 2nd edition of Grammatically Correct. Whew! Attempting to edit a grammarian’s book is tough. Stilman is very detail oriented and meticulous… and it shows! The 2nd edition of this classic reference is chock full of great information and we’ve taken great care to make this one even easier to navigate than the previous edition. This belongs on everyone’s bookshelf, whether you’re a student, a writer or simply a lover of language. Keep an eye out for this one. It will be available in June.

I’ve also been proofreading The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th Edition. This is a mammoth book of publishing know how from Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier. It’s must-have knowledge for anyone whose thinking of self-publishing their book or aspires to start a small publisher. Due in July.

Other projects in the works include Dinty Moore’s Crafting the Personal Essay (August 2010) (I love this thoughtful and insightful book on creative nonficition) and Jeff Gerke’s Plot Versus Character (October 2010) (a great book on an important topic – perfect for writers seeking balance between these two essential elements of fiction writing).

A recent book I edited is now available as a digital download: Showing and Telling by Laurie Alberts. This is a great book that will challenge your way of thinking about the old writing axiom “show don’t tell.”

Buy a copy of the download here

Digital Publishing and You

April 20, 2010

One of the topics I discuss most often with other writers these days is the state of the publishing industry today and the fact that more and more things are moving to digital formats. It’s an important issue for every writer and one that you should learn as much as you can about whether you’re writing a novel or if you are making a living as a freelance writer.

This Thursday Writer’s Digest is offering a special webinar on the topic hosted by our very own Jane Friedman (the publisher of WD). Check it out.

Learn more here


April 15, 2010

It’s that time again. Yesterday the WD staff and I sat down and went through 296 submissions for the March/April Your Story contest. The prompt was “Two boys attempt to pull an April Fool’s Day joke on a female classmate, only to find out that she’s the one fooling them.”

We always enjoy keeping track of monsters, fantastic creatures, and obscure pop-culture references when we read through the submissions. I’m pleased to say that this batch didn’t disappoint. In fact, when I got home my wife took a stab at the cast of characters that might have played a role in this fictional April Fool’s prank. “Lemmie guess… Shatner?” she asked. “YES!” I was able to reply. (It was actually a group of people wearing Captain Kirk halloween masks a’la Michael Myers… but, hey, I’m counting it because the words “The Shatman” graced the pages).

Without further ado, here is our tally:

  • Vampires- 3
  • Anthropomorphic animals- 3
  • Werewolves- 2
  • Zombies- 2
  • References to Axe® body spray- 2
  • Angel- 1
  • Transvestite- 1
  • Out of body experience – 1
  • Cannibal- 1
  • Witch- 1
  • Living doll- 1
  • Ninja- 1
  • Half-unicorn- 1
  • William Shatner- 1

Writers Digest University

April 7, 2010

Check out the new Writer’s Digest University site.

You’ll find lots of great online education, as well as up-to-date lecture supplements and creative exercises to help you reach your writing goals. Over the next couple of months, look for even more educational and interactive opportunities.

Check out a free mini course on putting together a salable nonfiction book concept.

Showing & Telling

April 5, 2010

The advance copies of Showing & Telling by Laurie Alberts just arrived. I’m very excited about this book–it’s one of the most straightforward and helpful books I’ve had the pleasure of editing. It challenges the well-worn old writing adage “show don’t tell,” pointing out that effective stories need to do both. For a piece of writing to really come together it needs both scenes and sections of summary (areas where details are condensed to keep the pace of the story moving along).

This book is a welcome re-examination of these two important narrative tools and I think many writers will benefit from Alberts’s advice.

Preorder a copy of the book

Read an excerpt

Read an interview with the author