I myself am in no position to be giving out any advise on writing. Instead this page is to let you know about resources that have helped me or other writers I know, which you may also find useful. Hope this helps =]
Writing: The Business
So if you want to be a successful writer, it pays to know at least a little about the business of publishing.
My first point of reference for the business side of writing is literary agent Kristin Nelson’s blog, Pub Rants. This blog not only follows the daily dealings of the agent but also gives fantastic advise on the dreaded query letter, submission pitches, and the ins and outs of publishing contracts.
The Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook is arguably an essential for any would be author. It is the bestselling guide to markets in all areas of the media, completely revised and updated every year. It also contains a wealth of practical information on a huge range of topics including copyright, finance, submitting a manuscript and e-publishing, as well as being a comprehensive up-to-date directory of media contacts.
Finding an Agent
The vast majority of professional authors have an agent. Most big publishers won’t accept unsolicited manuscript submissions and if you want to be considered by them, you’re going to have to get an agent too. They also deal with the corporate side of writing, so you can focus on the creative side.
First you need to write an awesome query letter. If you are asking yourself what that is or how to write one, then I would suggest heading over to author Susan Dennard’s site where she breaks it down and gives a step by step guide. She also has some great advise on how to write a synopsis, which may also be needed.
Now you need to do some research. Find out what agents represent your genre and how to submit to them. It’s also a good idea to try and learn a little bit about each of the agents you plan on querying. The internet is a busy place and not everything is up to date. That’s why I would suggest using Querytracker, and then back up the information there by searching through Agent Query, Publishers Marketplace, Absolute Write, and the agency website if they have one.
Then you send off your query and wait. Remember to always be professional and keep your chin up. Rejection is a part of the business and if you work at it hard enough, things will happen.
In Need of Inspiration and a Laugh
Okay so you have had writers block for a whole week. Your computer has just died and you have lost your entire manuscript. Yet another rejection letter has came through the mail. You feel as if you are going nowhere. You are questioning if this writing business is really for you. If you find yourself in any of these situations then check out these links for much needed inspiration and giggles.
Author Jackson Pearce has a number of funny and inspirational videos on her YouTube channel. She also has clips giving great advice on critique partners, stealing inspiration, giving up, revising, outlining, and wish lists.
- Jane Wenham-Jones has a fabulous book titled ‘Wanna Be a Writer’. This is a witty, light read that is a great starter book without being overwhelming. It had me laughing throughout and have read it numerous times.
- One place where I always head for some great advice and inspiration is Let The Words Flow. This is an awesome blog run by a group of authors and agents, both aspiring and professional and is a great source of knowledge. They also have a YouTube channel which you will find here.
- If you are feeling particularly evil and wish to rejoice in other peoples (hilarious) queries then hop over to Slush Pile Hell. The blog is owned by a grumpy literary agent wading through query fails and posting the funny to the down right bazaar.
No great story is complete without a host of amazing characters. If you are having some trouble with creating believable characters here is a list of places to go for further info on what to do and avoid.
Some people find it hard to create a fully developed character out of nowhere. To help you understand the people living in you head here is a basic character profile sheet to fill in. These profiles ask you questions about you characters that you may not have considered. Some profiles are genre specific but this one can be used across the board.
- Still having issues creating believable characters? Check out what author Maria V. Snyder has to say on the subject. This link gives advise on how to put emotion into your characters through motivation and backstory.
- You don’t necesarily need to know the motivation and backstory of every single character that pops up in you story. James Patrick Kelly explains the different types of characters that exist and how they fit and function in your novel.
So you have your characters – now what? Plot is character revealed by action, it is not a single entity that exists outside the other aspects of your story. Everything is interconnected and can sometimes be overwhelming trying to fit it all together.
If you like things explained is a visual format, Simon Haynes discusses how to plot your novel with the use of diagrams.
- Want some advise through showing examples of different outlining? Lynn Viehl’s article Novel Outlining 101 should be your next stop.
- Does your character have a lightning shaped scare on his forehead and has just be told he is a wizard? Is there a ‘precious’ ring that threatens to destroy your world of hobbits? D’oh! If you are writing a fantasy or science fiction novel and want to avoid using cliches go to Amethyst Angels ‘Not So Grand List’.