Donald Maass is both a legendary literary agent and an incomparable writing teacher. His most recent blog in Writer Unboxed is about the relationship protagonists have with the worlds they inhabit. An excellent article for authors who want to create believable worlds, regardless of genre.
Writers tend to write what they know, and this includes the ethnicity of characters. At the same time, there's the desire to be inclusive and to express diversity, which can result in the best friend or confidant being a person of color. Hallmark movies often have this, and I find myself wishing the roles were reversed. This terrific article by Jason Evans discusses this pitfall, and even better, identifies how to avoid it. I especially like the term "agency" that Jason uses to describe the process of creating believable secondary characters, which should be the standard for ANY secondary character.
Indie authors, this is for you.
One of the most difficult hurdles writers face is letting go of a project so others can offer their analysis. If a writer wants to be published, one good way to jump into the pool is through writing contests. It's one way of garnering feedback and developing contacts. Regardless of the genre in which a writer is working, there are contests, some with cash prizes, and some with the real prize -- the chance to get the work in front of an acquiring editor. Becky Tuch makes a good argument in her article that encourages writers to take the plunge.
The question authors considering self-publishing ask: Do I really need an editor. The short answer is, "Yes!." Even the most polished and experienced writer benefits from being edited.
Are you a fiction writer in need of an editor? Come check out my services.
"'I just sit down and write, each and every day, following my gut, listening to my characters, and eventually the magic happens.'
And so, hungry writers who hear this may lean into the belief that the craft of writing a good novel is inexplicable."
Larry Brooks shares the crafting a novel goes quite a bit beyond this fantasy that many writers would like to claim as true
This advice from John Grisham is basic, but is like the need to exercise regularly. A "conditioned' body that has regular exercise probably works better than one that sits on the counch all the time. A "conditioned' writing mind is the same thing.
This is powerful advice for writers. "With characterization, you have to let go. You’ve got to release yourself from your grandiose intentions, your ambitions, your ideas about humanity, literature, and philosophy by focusing on the being-another-person aspect of it—which, by the way, is freeing, delightful, and one of the few real joys of writing. Stop worrying about writing a great novel—just become another human being." This is from Canin, author of the Doubter's Almanac Authors always think publishing is difficult, and 2016 was no exception. The Atlantic has gathered these observations and advice over the last year.
If you know someone who is ready for editing support, please share my information. Thanks!
I love this blog about staying focused -- since you're reading here, this may be an issue for you, as well (though I'm very glad you are visiting).
Terrific advice to create authentic historical characters and settings.
Have you ever thought about turning your novel into a screenplay? If so, there is still time to register for an online class at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Check it out! #fictionwriting #screenplays #rmfw
This article was written a while ago, but is still excellent advice.
Almost every day, I encounter people who ask about publishing on Amazon, but who believe they don't need an editor. I think part of the reluctance is not knowing how to find the right editor.
This article by Harry Dewulf sheds important light on the topic.