#inden {text-indent: 25px }

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Peek into Pitching

Anxious about dealing with editors? You want to publish narrative nonfiction, so you'll have to gird up your loins and do it. Here's a look at pitching editors in person (which you'll only rarely get to do) from the Media Bistro people.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Freelancing 101

Inkthinker has the some basics if you're wondering how to get going with freelance writing. What's the point of writing narrative nonfiction if you don't try to get some of it published?

category: resources

Thursday, May 17, 2007

So Many Ways. . .

People love to hear about a writer's work habits, judging from every Q&A session with a writer I've ever attended. Someone always asks about it. The overwhelming answer I've gathered is: Everyone does it differently.

I love having a writer's journal, where I jot down all sorts of tidbits and do writing exercises. I know a woman who has no clue what to do with a writer's journal. When we were at Goucher, we had Lee Gutkind as our teacher the same semester. Lee required that we include photocopy pages from our writer's journal when we turned in our assignments; he believes in the value of a writer's journal. After a couple of months, he excused my friend from turning in pages because it clearly was doing nothing for her (and apparently boring him to death). But she has already published a book.

Lots of advice givers say to put your butt in your chair every day. Campbell McGrath, a fabulous poet who won a MacArthur genius award several years ago, shrugs that off. He teaches college professor and has young kids, so he writes mostly during the summer--that's what was working for him when I saw him at a reading for Florida Poems.

I say, try different on different methods from other writers' modus operandi. Take what works for you, and leave the rest without a shred of guilt. As long as you're writing, that's what counts.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Resources to Procrastinate With

It's a self-deceptive way to procrastinate: Do things that are useful but that aren't related to your project.

Having done a little of that today, let me pass along a pleasant place to browse when you're unwilling to buckle down and work: SPAWN. Don't jump to conclusions: it's an organization for writers, artists, and small publishers.

Most of the info is restricted to members (a free newsletter is available; it gives you a couple of tips and lots of prodding to become a member), but there's a handy section on resources on the organization's home page for everyone (on the left column), where anyone can take a gander at the following:
  • Recommended Books on Writing, Illustrating, and Publishing
  • Articles on Writing, Illustrating, Publishing, and Marketing
  • Book Printers
  • Book Services
  • Other Organizations
  • Other Resources
category: resources

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Plot of an Essay

My fellow Goucherite Janet Alexander Pell sent me a collection of quotes for writers that she pulled together. Today, I like this one in particular:

Essays are not arranged by plot, but by anxieties. They don't wonder, "What next?" Instead, like a worried parent they ask, "Now what?" with a groan.
--Steven Harvey

Friday, May 04, 2007

Another Thought on Theme

I'm loving this book I'm dipping into, Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias. It's for screenwriters, but all the advice applies to anyone who wants to tell a story well. Here's a paragraph in the chapter on theme:
Preaching is frowned upon in dramatic writing because it's telling. . . . Show your theme in action, and make the reader feel it instead. . . . But don't be heavy-handed, and have your characters scream, "Hey, this is my message!" It's more like sweetening a glass of ice tea. Mix in regular sugar and it will sink to the bottom, making it bitter, except at the bottom, which will be too sweet. But try it with Sweet N' Low and the tea will be sweet throughout. Sweetness is your message, and it must be completely diluted to disappear into the beverage of storytelling.

category: craft