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Writing the novel you want to see in the world

irishtimes.com – Saturday March 2, 2019

In 2014 Lisa Coen and I put out our first book under the Tramp Press banner. We were young. I was bullish, irritated by the over-productive, under-resourced, gate-keeping male-centric world of publishing we’d experienced as office juniors or unpaid interns.

We wondered: what if we could secure funding from the Arts Council to help us start out on our own, publishing just a few titles a year, focusing on nothing but their extraordinary quality?

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To Prescribe or Not to Prescribe: My Unsolicited Writing Advice

swarthmorephoenix.com – Thursday February 28, 2019

There is no one way to write. End of sentence. Fullstop. The level of self-righteous prescriptivism within the realm of writing frustrates me to no end, and in my experience as a writer, absolutist advice is oftentimes the worst advice of all. In fact, absolutist advice isn’t advice at all, but rather, a command, as if to say, “You have to write in a certain way to let me justify my own beliefs about the proper way to write.” To express my frustration at literary prescriptivists, I compiled this list of the five best and worst tidbits of writing advice that I’ve ever received. (A bit hypocritical? Maybe.) Of course, not every piece of advice will suit every person’s writing, but following the good tips and maintaining a level of skepticism for the bad ones has allowed me, personally, to develop my craft.

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Agent as editor

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Tuesday February 26, 2019

Agent as editor. An oxymoron?

Some authors want their agents to act as first editor of the book and some don’t. Often agents will suggest changes even before they accept the writer as a client. Then you’re the one who will have to decide how badly you want that person to represent you. 

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Avoid These Bad Habits in Your Writing

lifehacker.com – Tuesday February 19, 2019

The top copy editor at Random House has a book out about what you should and shouldn’t do in your writing, and people are already arguing about it. All writing advice is relative, because language is not physics, it’s something people made up. That doesn’t mean writing advice is useless, so if you like to write and are trying to get better at it, you should read this excerpt from Benjamin Dreyer’s book Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style.

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Writing a Book: It’s Harder than You Think

goodmenproject.com – Sunday February 17, 2019

If I have heard it once, I have heard it one hundred times. “I can write better than that. I will just write my own book.” Or another one is “that book had so many grammatical errors. I can do better than that.”

The same mantra goes for web articles, blogs, case studies, and more. However, let’s look at this realistically. Writing a book is a lot harder than you think. It takes longer, saps more of your energy, and requires a determination that frankly, most people don’t have, at least not for writing. I’ve written 12 so far, and I can tell you this for sure. It doesn’t get any easier.

So, what is it like to actually write a book, front to back, opening to the end? Here are a few reasons writing a book is harder than you think.

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Bestselling authors “spread their wings and challenge themselves,” an interview with authors Sara Connell & A.G. Howard

thriveglobal.com – Tuesday February 12, 2019

As part of my series on the “5 Things You Need to Know to Write a Bestselling Book,” I had the pleasure of interviewing A.G. Howard.

A.G. Howard, the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of young adult retellings and adaptations. Her titles include theSplintered series,a gothic Alice in Wonderland spin-off; RoseBlood, a Phantom of the Opera–inspired adaptation; and her latest release, Stain, a gritty fairy tale/high fantasy inspired by The Princess and the Pea.

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When Social Media Goes After Your Book, What’s the Right Response?

nytimes.com – Thursday February 7, 2019

The culture of internet book criticism is passionate and intense. Last week, Amélie Wen Zhao, a debut author, canceled her young adult fantasy novel after early readers accused her of racial insensitivity online. Here are two different perspectives from writers who have had similar experiences.

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Query the Agent(s)

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Monday January 28, 2019

How Many at a Time?

Writing the novel was easy—not! But now comes the hard(er) part. Getting an agent. Well, just take this trip one step at a time—or should I say several steps at time because you need to send out queries as if you were a query-packaging machine. 

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If I Hate Violence So Much, Why Do I Love Writing About It?

vulture.com – Thursday January 24, 2019

If anyone asks how I came to be obsessed with wrongdoing in all its most perverse manifestations, I always blame Sunday school. I think back to those weekly lessons in murder, jealousy, lust, betrayal, and revenge that made up an integral part of my childhood. My all-time favorite pulp classic is the biblical tale of King David, who sent a romantic rival to certain death on the battlefield because he’d slept with and impregnated the guy’s wife after spotting her bathing on a rooftop. I like to imagine what the lurid paperback cover for that story might look like: God made him a king. Lust made him a killer.

I recall this upbringing when I consider how exactly I ended up writing crime novels. I am a pacifist by nature — hell, I’m Canadian, which is halfway to being a Quaker — and I favor strong gun control, criminal-justice reform, and turning the other cheek over an eye for an eye. I also spend part of my days willingly and even enthusiastically imagining the most creatively gruesome methods for killing people. I’ve written three crime novels, and they aren’t parlor-room mysteries: Two of them star a gleefully murderous hit man as the hero and one centers on a community of criminals so vile that they’ve had their most brutal memories erased.

I’m definitely interested, maybe unhealthily so, in humanity’s darkest proclivities. Yet I’m also reliably shaken by tragedies like Parkland or the horrific recent story of Jayme Closs, a 13-year-old girl abducted from her home after watching her parents get murdered. I struggle to reconcile my aversion to real-world violence with my willingness to conjure it on the page. My mother, a very supportive and loving person who taught Sunday school, had this reaction when she finished my first novel: “I just kept wondering what kind of person could think of such things.” Me, Mom — I’m that kind of person. And I wonder about that, too.

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A Famous Sci-Fi Author Just Gave the Best Piece of Writing Advice You'll Read All Day

inc.com – Monday January 21, 2019

Is it possible to force inspiration?

Not really, but a famous science fiction author just gave some advice about being in the right place at the right time to receive it.

For anyone who writes for a living or who aspires to that calling, the advice will seem all-too-familiar. To those who are a little unsure about choosing writing as a profession or are just starting out, it's pure gold as far as how the process works.

That's right--writing is a process. I've always thought it felt like chiseling a statue, and you have to work hard to make it all turn into something genuinely useful.

Sir Philip Pullman is a famous author who wrote the trilogy His Dark Materials. Recently, another author asked a question on Twitter about how to find inspiration.

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