After pouring hours, months, and even years of hard work into a manuscript, few things are as crushing as the rejection a writer receives when they are striving to become published. Yet, the truth is, some manuscripts don’t even get read before they’re tossed into the slush pile. Sometimes the reasons are obvious, and other times, not so much. But writers may be surprised how often the reasons could have been prevented.
Here are some simple steps every writer can take to decrease the slush-pile odds. (more…)
I remember the first time I saw “NaNoWriMo” mentioned in an online writer’s forum. I immediately thought it must be some new, millennial slang term or text-cronym that I had yet to learn the meaning. So when I Googled it, I was thrilled to discover it instead to be an incredible, month-long challenge presented to writers everywhere: 50,000 words in 30 days. (more…)
All writers have experienced the first draft blues. The idea for the story came to us in a flurry of inspiration; the characters sauntered through our door, greeting us with their riveting personalities. Yet, as we sat down to write the story, the sentences stumbled and clanked together in an oafish web of prose. Too many writers have sat and stared at these first drafts thinking themselves too unskilled to give justice to their stories and characters. Yet, with only six simple steps writers everywhere can begin writing with style today. (more…)
“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway
It didn’t take long for me to realize that my first draft sucked with a capital “S.” Halfway through chapter one, I wanted to take it out back and beat it with a hockey stick for wasting my time. I’d like to say this feeling dissipated as I got further along, that my confidence grew word by word, sentence by sentence. But I’d hate to lie to you. The truth is that I became more sure of the inevitable failure looming ahead of me, blocking my path to success. (more…)
Poetry is the ultimate baring of the poet’s inner thoughts. Not to say all poetry will be deep and serious (just as our inner thoughts can be lighthearted and fun, so can poetry), but that regardless of the tone the poem, you can always be sure that it’s a reflection of the poet’s mental state when they wrote that particular poem. As such, the poet must carefully construct each poem with full consideration of tone, word choice, and structure. (more…)
When it comes to grammar, writers tend to divide into two separate groups: the grammar police, known to frantically run down those guilty of petty grammatical crimes, and the grammar hippies, who believe that creativity shouldn’t be stifled by the archaic rules of English professors long dead. Personally, I fall somewhere in between. I have been known to obsessively scour my writing for grammatical errors and to proudly pinpoint mistakes discovered in novels or on corporate websites, and other times, I recklessly break all the rules. Writing is an art, and with any art, there are times to scribble within the lines and then there are times to push the boundaries. So, how does a writer know which rules to break and when to break them?