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Writing Insights

Behind the scenes on writing, editing and publishing.

Agents: How Do I Get One?

Pub Date: Jul 1, 2016 | Columnist: William Kowalski, reprinted from WRITING FOR FIRST-TIME NOVELISTS, Practical Thoughts on the Creative Craft. Kowalski is a bestselling author and independent publisher

First, let’s review what an agent actually does, in case this is new for you.  In business parlance, an agent is anyone you have appointed to act on your behalf.  In this case, since you are not allowed to just waltz into the offices of any old publisher in Manhattan and plunk your manuscript down Read more »

What Is Theme and Why is it Important?

Pub Date: Jun 28, 2016 | Columnist: Joan McCord (republished by popular demand from November 1, 1996)

“People sometimes confuse plot with theme.” What Is Theme and Why is it Important? By Joan McCord Writing Lecturer, Teacher, Member DFW Writers Workshop  A theme is a dominant thought, a unifying vision, a moral. It is the central idea behind your story. Kirk Polking, editor of Writing A to Z, defines theme as “the Read more »

Agents: Do I need one?

Pub Date: Jun 1, 2016 | Columnist: William Kowalski, reprinted from WRITING FOR FIRST-TIME NOVELISTS, Practical Thoughts on the Creative Craft. Kowalski is a bestselling author and independent publisher

Agents:  Do I need one?  That depends on your goal.  If your goal is publication by a large commercial publishing house with a good reputation and far-reaching distribution, then yes, you need an agent.  The reason for this is simple: lots of other people want large commercial publishing houses to publish their work too, and Read more »

Warren Adler

Writer’s Dilemma: How Much Description Is Enough?

Pub Date: May 31, 2016 | Columnist: Warren Adler, bestselling author

One of the imponderables of the fiction writing trade is just how much physical description is enough in order to fully flesh out a character’s identity. In years past many novels contained illustrations that purported to show images of the characters as conceived by the author. A prime example would be the work of Hablot Knight Read more »

Lisa Dale Norton

Grounding Your Memoir in Space and Time

Pub Date: May 31, 2016 | Columnist: : Lisa Dale Norton, memoirist and gifted writing consultant

I’ve read thousands of manuscripts and worked with hundreds of writers over dozens of years in myriad venues, and the one habit all but the most practiced of memoirists fall victim to is lack of attention to the space/time continuum. What is the space/time continuum? The foundation of the world you create with your writing, Read more »

Warren Adler

Why I Write, A Novelist’s Reflection

Pub Date: Apr 29, 2016 | Columnist: Warren Adler, bestselling author

WHY I WRITE: A NOVELIST’S REFLECTION ON THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF GEORGE ORWELL’S PIVOTAL ESSAY People often ask, and I ask myself on a daily basis, why I have spent more than six decades writing novels, short stories, essays, poems, plays and occasional reportage, continuing to ply this obsession into the cusp of my dotage Read more »

The Business of Publishing

Pub Date: Apr 29, 2016 | Columnist: William Kowalski, reprinted from WRITING FOR FIRST-TIME NOVELISTS, Practical Thoughts on the Creative Craft. Kowalski is a bestselling author and independent publisher

They say that if you love to cook, the last thing you should do is open a restaurant, because it will ruin cooking for you forever.  I won’t go as far as saying that becoming a professional writer will ruin writing for you.  I don’t know what it will do for you, frankly.  I can Read more »

Middles

Pub Date: Mar 31, 2016 | Columnist: Columnist: William Kowalski, reprinted from WRITING FOR FIRST-TIME NOVELISTS, Practical Thoughts on the Creative Craft. Kowalski is a bestselling author and independent publisher

If the first 50 pages can be said to be the beginning of a book, then from page 51 up until about maybe thirty pages from the end can be called the middle.  The middle is the longest part of any book, just like a chess game’s longest part is the mid-game.  This is where Read more »

Warren Adler

Practices I’ve Lived by as a Storyteller

Pub Date: Mar 31, 2016 | Columnist: Warren Adler, bestselling author

I’ve spent my whole life writing, thinking about writing and publishing, and, lately, about the dramatic changes taking place in the way we communicate with each other and how it impacts our future as writers. So here’s where I am these days on the most important things to remember if you want to succeed. • Read more »

Warren Adler

Now What? Why Resilience is Necessary

Pub Date: Feb 29, 2016 | Columnist: Warren Adler, bestselling author

You’ve spent months, perhaps years, composing your novel. You’ve read and reread it hundreds of times. You’ve rethought it, rewritten it, and revised it, changed characters, dialogue and plot lines. Writing your novel is the most important thing in your life. It has absorbed your attention, almost exclusively. You have read parts of it to Read more »