The Power of Perseverance

By Kristin Bair O’Keeffe My debut novel Thirsty chronicles the story of one woman’s unusual journey through an abusive marriage, set against the backdrop of a Pittsburgh steel community at the turn of the twentieth century. Thirsty is a pretty serious literary novel with a thread of magical realism woven through it. Now that it’s in bookstores, has gotten the thumbs-up from readers in its first weeks of life, and is going into a second printing, I’m ecstatic. But it wasn’t a quick, easy sell. In fact it took 16 years from the time I wrote the first scene to […]

NaNoWriMo: Writing with the Bulls

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is fast approaching. Here one writer shares why she takes up the challenge of writing a novel in 30 days. By Alegra Clarke I have to admit, I am a bit of NaNoWriMo bully. It brings out my evangelistic side. When listing reasons that a reluctant writer buddy should join this year’s NaNoWriMo, I pound the desk like it is a pulpit (because pounding the desk always goes a long way to convince people). As October gains momentum towards November, I dust off last year’s manuscript like it is a holy book of inspiration. I […]

One Year of Great Writing Advice

Today is a very special day here at the Editor Unleashed world headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s the 1 Year Anniversary of this site! Yep, 1 year and still alive and kicking in the blogosphere. My first post: So Here’s How I Got Here.. I decided to celebrate by sharing some of my favorite pieces of writing advice gleaned from interviews and guest posts from the authors, agents and editors who have graced this site in the past year. Enjoy! “Never give up, no never means no. Keep writing. As my mentor Howard Fast (author of Spartacus and 80 other […]

The Real Cost of Free

By Laura Benedict Borrow a book from the library…free. Borrow a book from a friend…free. Receive a book as a gift (or promo)…free. Download an illegal torrent mp3 or .doc file from the Internet…free. It occurs to me that the actual dollar value of storytelling has decreased exponentially of late—specifically since the advent of the Internet. Everybody writes. And when it comes to available manuscripts, the supply seems to outstrip the demand by a considerable margin. In the rational world, this means that stories are and should be available at rock-bottom prices. It doesn’t get any cheaper than free. Add […]

5 Evergreen Editing Tips

I’m deep in editing mode and I keep coming across common editing problems that add up to weak manuscripts. The truth is, they’re problems that are easy to fix with some extra time and a good editing eye. If you’ve spent a considerable amount of time writing and rewriting a piece, don’t let these 5 common editing mistakes leave a negative impression of your work. When you think your piece is finished, go back into your draft and do a final check for 5 common problems: 1. Run-on sentences: Check for sentences that are more than three lines long or […]

The 10 Best Books for Writers

Writers certainly have strong opinions when it comes to writing books. For the past two months, we’ve been collecting recommendations on the Editor Unleashed forum. Here are the books that were mentioned over and over again—the classics, you might say. On Writing by Stephen King “It tells the trials and pitfalls of being a writer and then tells what you need to do in order to write well, short and to the point.” -JRTomlin Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell “Bell takes a realistic approach to constructing a solid plot.” -Warren Darcy A Dash of Style by Noah Lukeman […]

How to Build Your Twitter Cred

I wrote a post a few weeks ago, Twitter Tips for Writers + 25 Good follows, that continues to generate waves of traffic to this blog. So apparently a lot of you are on Twitter now and that’s great. I think it’s the best medium of the moment to network and reach out to others in your niche. A common problem seems to be not knowing what to do on Twitter once you’re on there. Here’s what seems to happen: You sign up. You look around for a few interesting looking peeps to follow. You’re now privy to a confusing, […]

Q&A: Literary Agent Michael Bourret

Michael Bourret is a literary agent at the fabulous Dystel & Goderich Literary Agency. He has wide-ranging tastes, and a special fondness for YA fiction and serious nonfiction. Here, he answers 5 questions about the state of the industry and what he likes in a pitch. Mark your calendar: Michael will be visiting the Editor Unleashed forum for a live chat, Wednesday, March 11, 1-2 p.m. (EST). 1. What kind of work are you looking for right now and are you open to submissions from new writers? I’m definitely open to submissions from new writers. I’m looking for the same […]

Writing Prompt: Word Play

Magnetic poetry inspired this prompt, which is really a writing exercise that plays with words in a creative way, much like you’d play with magnetic words. Here’s the prompt: Free write complete nonsense for five minutes. Now go back and take a close look at the words. Use words taken from your free-write composition to create one great sentence. If you like, feel free to do this exercise here in the comments or on the forum. -Maria Schneider You can subscribe (free!) to this blog’s feed and get daily updates delivered right to your e-mail box or RSS feed reader.

The Query Letter in 3 Parts

Is there anything that causes more writerly angst than the query letter? So many writers can write wonderful 4,000 word essays and novels and book-length memoirs. But for some reason, these same talented writers lose sleep over the 1-page query letter they need to write to sell their work. It can really help to think about a query letter broken down into three essential parts. In fact, three paragraphs will often accomplish what you need to do in your query. Whether you’re writing a query letter for a magazine or a full-length novel, the anatomy of the query is essentially […]