On the plus side, I didn't try it in my best fabric, it wasn't really wasted time as I was having a quiet weekend with my visiting and cold-stricken Youngest Sister, and if I don't manage to get something ordinarily wearable out of this version, it may yet make be a warm pyjama top. But aargh! So this is a definite thumb's down for Grainline's much-vaunted Linden sweatshirt pattern and people being wrong (as far as I'm concerned) on the internet.
Two thoroughly exhausting (but mostly in a good way) weeks are behind me; first the Frankfurt Book Fair, then a workshop (in a splendid environment, but still, it was work from morning till night). Hence no posts; I could only get online very briefly.
( Macron, Merkel, Rushdie, Atwood et all under the cut )
Cover art and design by Ron Miller.
The vendor-page copy will read:
"In this sequel novella to "Mira's Last Dance", Temple sorcerer Penric and the widow Nikys have reached safety in the duchy of Orbas when a secret letter from a friend brings frightening news: Nikys's mother has been taken hostage by her brother's enemies at the Cedonian imperial court, and confined in a precarious island sanctuary.
Their own romance still unresolved, Nikys, Penric, and of course Desdemona must infiltrate the hostile country once more, finding along the way that family relationships can be as unexpectedly challenging as any rescue scheme."
I don't have a firm release date yet, though I'm hoping for launch in not more than a few weeks. I will, of course, post the news here when it goes live.
Ron, by the way, has two books of his own out this month:
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on October, 21
Yesterday was the official pub date of the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2018, though it’s been available in bookstores and on Amazon beforehand.
The new edition is updated and packed with brand new info. While there are plenty of places you can turn to for information on the children’s publishing industry, CWIM has always prided itself as being the biggest print edition and the most thorough. It’s the Yellow Pages for children’s markets, with interviews, roundups, and informative articles. That’s why it’s in its 30th edition. In honor of this edition, here’s 30 reasons why you should pick up your copy of CWIM—or enter the competition below to win a free one!
A GIVEAWAY: Send me an email at email@example.com, with the subject line “What I Love About CWIM” and tell me the thing you enjoy the most about the print edition of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. In three weeks (deadline November 10, 2017), I’ll pick 3 random winners to win a copy of the book! And if you optionally tweet news of this giveaway and the publication date of CWIM, I’ll give you 2 entries into the contest instead of just the one. Just tweet the following, then email me with your Twitter handle: @WritersDigest is giving away 3 copies of the new 2018 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market – http://bit.ly/2hSgVUm via @crisfreese.
1. The Same Great Content. Hundreds of updated listings for book publishers, magazines, conferences, contests, and agents—all with a focus on picture books, middle-grade, and young adult audiences. Plus informative articles and interviews to help you grow as a writer. It’s the same Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market that you’ve come to expect over the years, just with a new editor.
2. More Original Content. I commissioned brand-new articles, interviews, and roundups for this issue—content that hasn’t been seen online, in Writer’s Digest magazine, or in Writer’s Digest Books. This is the only place you can find this content, and it’s entirely tailored for children’s writers.
3. Authors Breaking Out and Leading the Way. Looking for inspiration? This edition features 21 writers who broke out, signed with an agent, and got published. If you’re writing middle-grade fiction, young adult fiction, or crafting a picture book, turn to the Debut Authors Tell All feature to discover how these authors made their way.
4. More Debut Authors! I needed a second point to talk about the Debut Authors Tell All feature, because I love it so much. Seven picture book authors, eight middle-grade authors, and six young adult authors. That includes Mike Malbrough, Alyson Gerber, Jodi Kendall, Corabel Shofner, Ellie Terry, New York Times bestselling author Angie Thomas, Tiffany Jackson, and more. At least one of these awesome authors will motivate you with their story.
5. An Exclusive Webinar. The amazing Jennifer De Chiara—who heads up her own literary agency—provided an exclusive webinar on perfecting your query letter for the children’s market. You can only view it if you pick up a copy of this book.
6. Create Unforgettable Characters. Debbie Dadey, who has authors or co-authored 166 traditionally-published children’s books, shares ways writers can make readers fall in love with their characters.
7. Discover Your Writing Voice. Laurel Snyder, author of six novels for children, shares distinct methods and techniques for developing the writing voice you need to stand out. Consider it your “writing superpower,” with 12 ways to supercharge your voice.
8. Perfect Your Dialogue. Whether you’re crafting a picture book for young readers or working on a novel for the middle-grade and young adult audiences, dialogue is the tool for transporting readers through your story. Veteran teacher Kerrie Flanagan shows off techniques for mastering dialogue in each category.
9. Discover Supporters. If you’re going to succeed, you need people to get behind you. And as a children’s author, teachers and librarians can be a huge proponent for your career. Discover an article for tapping into the world of speaking at libraries and schools, and building relationships with librarians and teachers.
10. Target Your Short Writing. Windy Lynn Harris, author of Writing & Selling Short Stories & Personal Essays, has mastered the art of helping writers target specific markets to sell their short work. I asked her to find ten markets for children’s short fiction. She delivered (making your job easier in searching through the listings!), plus provided tips for writing a cover letter, formatting your manuscript, getting organized, and writing nonfiction articles for kids.
11. Kwame Alexander. The New York Times bestselling author took some time to sit down with CWIM to talk about the importance of always saying yes!
12. Kenneth Oppel. The award-winning author of The Silverwing Trilogy and Airborn, Oppel knows children’s fiction. He’s published more than 20 novels, and is only just getting started. Discover his advice for writers looking to break in, how to hook readers, and discovering your muse.
13. Dandi Daley Mackall. Dandi has written more than 500 children’s and adult’s books. Yet, somehow, she found time for an interview and enough wisdom to inspire anyone. She shares her writing process, how to handle bad first drafts, and dealing with rejection.
14. Mindy McGinnis. Her complex stories and compelling characters put you through the emotional ringer—you’ll fall in love, want to scream at them, root for them during trying times, cry during hardships, and triumph in their success. The author of Not a Drop to Drink, A Madness So Discreet, The Female of the Species, and Given to the Sea shares her story of how it took 10 years to get an agent, handling speaking engagements, and winning the Edgar Allan Poe Award.
15. Kirby Larson. A writer of historical fiction for children, Larson shares her experiences on collaborating with co-workers on fiction and reaching out within the children’s writing community.
16. Carolyn Crimi. Stuck in one genre or category? Read this interview with Crimi to discover how a bestselling picture book author learned to engage young readers with humor and transform her career into a successful novelist.
The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.
17. Handle the Change. Publishing is a rapidly evolving world—one that’s intimidating for newcomers and those writers just breaking in. Listen to three accomplished authors—Lisa J. Amstutz, Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton, and Dandi Daley Mackall—discuss the ways that the picture book market has changed, where it’s going, and which authors to really follow.
18. Small Presses. Look, it’s everyone’s dream to land an agent and nab a six-figure deal with one of the Big Five. But don’t discount small presses. Three authors share their stories, and the advantages and disadvantages, of working with small publishers.
19. Hear Directly from Agents! Kelly Sonnack, John Rudolph, Sara Megibow, and Jennifer March Soloway explain exactly what they’re looking for in today’s literary landscape, including what catches their eye, how to write a great query, and the importance of platform.
20. Breaking Into Nonfiction. A roundup of children’s writers, who write primarily nonfiction, talk about breaking into their respective market. Remember: You don’t have to write fiction to break out! This article is for all those looking to focus on nonfiction, or those looking to expand and stretch their own writing skills.
21. Dan Santat, author of Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World): “I began my career using Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market as a resource for getting my foot into the children’s publishing industry. I highly recommend this book for anyone!”
22. Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why: “Whenever anyone asks for publishing advice, I tell them to grab the latest edition of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.”
23. Adam Shaughnessy, author of The Unbelievable FIB series: “CWIM was one of the first books I purchased when I decided to start the journey to get published. It’s a great resource both in terms of the information it provides and its welcoming, accessible tone.”
24. Deborah Marcero, illustrator of the Backyard Witch series: “I found my literary agent/art rep in the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.”
25. Wendy Toliver, author of Lifted: “If you’re serious about writing or illustrating for young people, the information, tools, and insights within the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market will get you started on the right path.”
26. Becca Fitzpatrick, author of Hush, Hush: “Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market is invaluable for writers of children’s books. Chock-full of publishing resources, it’s a must-have!”
27. Suzanne Kamata, author of Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible: “I look forward to Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market every year, and I use it all the time. This book is essential for both pre-published and pros.”
28. Jesse Klausmeier, author of Open This Little Book: “I buy a copy of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market every single year. It’s the definitive, must-have resource for children’s publishing.”
29. Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries: “Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market is a great resource for artists and writers who are ready to share their talent with the world.”
30. James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner: “CWIM is an invaluable resource for any aspiring writer hoping to get published. It helped me a lot and I recommend it to everyone.”
If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The post 30 Reasons to Read Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market 2018 (Plus a Giveaway!) appeared first on WritersDigest.com.
It's entirely true that I stole this ARC from the sleeping hand of MarcyKate Connolly's trusting agent, and slithered back to my office to read it posthaste.
And now my criminal spoils are yours for the winning!
The usual rules apply:
1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.
2. Use these words in the story:
3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order. They cannot be backwards.
Thus: flesh/fleshy is ok but flesh/flemish is not
4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.
5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first, then post.
6. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.
7. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)
8. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.
8a. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)
9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.
Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"
10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")
11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.
12. The stories must be self-contained. That is: do not include links or footnotes to explain any part of the story. Those extras will not be considered part of the story.
Contest opens: 6:37am Saturday 10/21/17
Contest closes: 9am Sunday 10/22/17
If you're wondering how what time it is in NYC right now, here's the clock
If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's
an .xls spread sheet here http://www.colindsmith.com/
(Thanks to Colin Smith for organizing and maintaining this!)
Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Oops! Too late, contest closed!
Closes at 9pm Eastern time!
If the bidding heats up, and there are several bids at high levels,
I'll critique more than one winner.
Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
(comments are closed cause I don't want to miss a question there)
Every writer I know who works from an outline tells me they depart from it, so my approach is to not bother. I depart quite enough from where I think a sentence is going when I start it by the time I reach the end without having an external scaffolding to ignore as well. 🙂
My “reviser” hat is not the same as my “compose the initial draft” hat, and I badly need my initial draft to be a completed, albeit badly written, version rather than something with planning scaffolding in it. I can tolerate going back and inserting a “fix this” note in chapter 2 when I’m trying to push forward at chapter 10, but putting in “fix this” notes at the forward edge of the initial draft is right out. And I’m wondering if putting a “fix this” note in an older chapter is actually not the best course for me either.
I need to do rolling revisions earlier and more often. Or at least I tell myself that. The reason I haven’t been is that revisions turn into slogs, which is depressing when I have unfinished initial draft waiting for me to work on.
At a tangent, I’d like to hear a word or three about revising outlines. I understand that Our Gracious Hostess creates an outline and then departs from it as she writes. So how is the outline revised as the first draft gets written? Or is it a case of coming to the end of the first draft with an outline that no longer bears much resemblance to the first draft’s actual plot?
As many of you know, book publishing industry professionals and readers alike have openly expressed their dislike of prologues.
Act first, explain later. Great advice from James Scott Bell. Be careful with backstory and prologues. #writetip
— Nat Russo (@NatRusso) September 30, 2017
— Auroris (@Auroris_) September 17, 2017
Love prologues and epilogues, separate from chapters, but it appears that the general public does not.
— Suzanne Berfield (@suzberf) September 27, 2017
Let’s lay a quick foundation:
Prologues aren’t inherently evil or indicative of poor writing. Prologues can—and have been—executed with skill. But are they necessary?
That, in my opinion, is the biggest question—not “should I write a prologue” but “does a prologue improve my story?”
Meg LaTorre-Snyder is a writer, developmental book editor, vlogger/YouTuber, and a literary agent apprentice with a background in magazine and book publishing, medical/technical writing, journalism, and website creation. Most recently, Meg took on the role of literary agent apprentice at the Corvisiero Literary Agency, representing authors who have written fiction manuscripts. On her YouTube channel, iWriterly, Meg geeks out on all things books—from the concept to the bookshelves (and everything in between). In addition, she works as developmental book editor for Advantage Media Group|Forbes Books, assisting professionals in developing nonfiction titles. To learn more about Meg, visit her website, follow her on Twitter/Facebook, and subscribe to her YouTube channel, iWriterly.
What is a Prologue?
Prologues come before chapter one and could be expository/introductory prose, a poem, diary letter, news clipping, or anything in between.
As a reader, when I start reading a prologue, I’m usually impatient to get to chapter one. But by the end of a good prologue, I’m wondering about the subsequent story and excited to see how the event fits into the rest of the plot.
That’s a well-written prologue, mind you. The bad ones I skim over.
If you’ve attended a writing workshop, you may have noticed literary agents voicing their dislike of prologues. Some even go as far as to say that when they see prologue pages in the query box, they are immediately wary of the story and submission.
Why such an immediately negative reaction?
This is largely due to the poorly-executed prologues littering query boxes and submission piles. You’d be surprised how many writers commit the deadly sins of prologues.
1. Using a prologue as a place for a massive dump… information dump.
Information dumps are one of the easiest ways to make readers’ eyes glaze over. Paragraphs of text that provide dense (albeit important) background information are tough to digest. Without strategically trickling this information throughout a scene or throughout the chapters/book, readers can be immediately turned off to a story.
Not to mention, the opening pages are a make-or-break moment. You have mere seconds to hook a reader (or industry professional—who are also readers!).
Many, many writers use prologues as a means to provide tons of background information to a story (rather than to slowly introduce these elements by weaving them into scenes throughout the book). Take a closer look at your opening pages to see if you have several stretches of paragraphs or sections of text that do this. If you do, it’s time to revise!
2. A boring prologue (that readers want to skip to get to chapter one).
Obviously writers don’t start writing a prologue saying, “What is the driest scene I can write? The more boring, the better!” If your scene lacks action or purpose that propels your story, you may be falling into this danger zone.
Look at your manuscript with the critical eye of a reader and ask: “Would I skip this prologue and go right to chapter one?” If so, consider what you can do to spice things up a bit (while keeping the prologue relevant to your story).
3. A prologue that has nothing to do with the main story.
Prologues need to somehow propel or impact your main plot. Period. If your prologue is filled with action, offers bite-sized pieces of background information, and weaves a compelling scene but is not relevant to your main plot, you probably need to re-think your strategy.
It doesn’t matter if your writing is solid if the scenes aren’t strategically moving toward that pretty plot arc—depicting an emotional journey for your character and exhibiting the stakes for your protagonist and the world at large.
4. Prologues that are too long.
The modern reader (often) prefers shorter chapters—prologues included. If your prologue is longer than most of your chapters (or if both your prologue and chapters are longer), it might be time to reevaluate the structure and pacing of your chapters.
5. Using the prologue to hook the reader as the sole purpose.
For this example, I’m thinking specifically of the prologues that throw the reader into the action—and I mean the middle of the action. Maybe it’s the center of a bloody battlefield or twisted in the sheets of a love affair. Whatever it is, the reader is unceremoniously plunked into the action in a world they’re unfamiliar with and whose characters they don’t yet know (and love).
While action scenes are a gripping way to begin a story, consider whether or not this action is important to the central plot and if this beginning isn’t too overwhelming/confusing for the reader to acclimate to.
6. Using the prologue strictly to provide atmosphere or to do some early-on world building.
World building is one of the things I love most about fantasy and science fiction. These delicious details are… well… delicious! The setting is described with enough detail to have the readers visualizing the character’s surroundings but not too much to bog down the pace of the scene.
Proceed with caution if the prologue is used strictly to set the tone and introduce world-building elements. Often, these details can be weaved into your chapters without the need of a prologue.
However, like anything in this industry—the type of prologue or the inclusion/exclusion of them altogether are subjective. Not to mention, skilled writers have a way of proving the rules wrong.
So, when should prologues be utilized? In other words: when are they an asset to your story?
According to Brian A. Klems, “A prologue is used when material that you want to include in the opening is out of time sequence with the rest of the story.”
Prologues should supply information that is—or will be—important to understanding the plot. Often, the prologue doesn’t include the protagonist and takes place outside of the central plot (though not always).
In The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings, author and literary agent Paula Munier shows you how to craft flawless beginnings that impress agents, engage editors, and captivate readers. You’ll learn how to develop the big idea of your story and introduce it on page one, structure opening scenes that encompass their own story arc, kickstart your writing with effective brainstorming techniques, and introduce a compelling cast of characters that drive the plot. You’ll also examine best-selling novels from different genres to learn the secrets that experienced writers use to dive straight into a story.
With thorough examinations of voice, point of view, setting, dialogue, and conflict, this book is a must-have tool for luring your readers in with your opening pages—and convincing them to stick around for the ride.
Types of Prologues
Here are a few examples of different types of prologues:
- Background/History: This type of prologue provides background to the history of the world and events that previously transpired—such as a major battle or betrayal. These events typically took place before the beginning of your story and somehow significantly impact the events going forward.
- Different Point of View (POV): As many of you know, debut authors are encouraged to minimize the number of rotating POVs in their manuscript (capping out at a maximum of six-ish). This type of prologue could be advantageous when diving into another character’s perspective—particularly when that character’s insight is only needed once and provides a foundation for the story.
- Protagonist (Past or Future): These prologues are great for showing a pivotal moment for the protagonist—either in the past or in the future (such as a defining moment years ago or after the main plot has taken place).
Strengths of a Prologue
Fear not, writers. Prologues aren’t all bad. In fact, they come in handy in a number of scenarios:
- To provide a “quick-and-dirty” glimpse of important background information without the need of flashbacks, dialogue, or memories that interrupt the action later on in the book.
- Hook the reader into the action right away while having the readers asking questions relevant to the central plot—and therefore eager to learn those answers in the opening chapters.
- Offer information the reader couldn’t otherwise glean from the plot (such as a break from the point-of-view narration or from a different character’s perspective).
- Introduce the antagonist—providing background motives that either humanizes the character or exhibits his/her evil intentions. This angle can be handy if the protagonist doesn’t meet the antagonist until later on in the book.
- Introduce a philosophy or religious belief important to the plot/setting.
- Foreshadow future events, thereby creating suspense for the reader and get them asking questions (and eagerly reading on).
Do I Need a Prologue?
Trying to decide whether or not you should keep (or even write) a prologue? Consider the following questions:
- What information am I providing in the prologue? Why is it important to reveal it up front? Can it be revealed throughout the story in smaller trickles and still be as impactful (or more)?
- Does this character’s POV come up again later in the story? If so, would this work as a first chapter instead?
If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at email@example.com.
I've been lucky enough to get an offer of representation for my first novel. Unsurprisingly, various top agents had passed on it, and the person who offered rep is relatively inexperienced (a few years in the business) and works for a relatively small agency.The most important thing to ask is "what have you sold?" And not just the young agent, the agency as a whole.
Are there any things to look out for in particular with inexperienced agents, or ways to help evaluate them given a shorter history of selling books? For example, how many sales (in PM) would you expect a good-but-young agent to have after 2-3 years of experience?
Nothing, absolutely nothing, takes the place of experience when problems arise on the path to publication. A youngish agent may not have the requisite experience, but someone at the agency should.
That means you look at what the entire agency has sold. If they haven't sold anything to a big publisher, you're going to be first. And we all know how I feel about being first, right?
The number of sales doesn't matter as much as where the books have sold (to my way of thinking.)
With a youngish agent, I'd also want to have a pretty straightforward discussion about what happens if the agent leaves. Agenting is a tough business and not everyone keeps at it.
Every agent starts small (well, ok a couple didn't but they are the exception, not the rule). Make sure they're surrounded by people who didn't stay small.
Me, author Robert Mangeot Sisters in Crime President, and author Beth (Jaden) Terrell ex-president of our local chapter of Sisters in Crime.
This is where I hung out on the one day I went to this event this year, Saturday October 14th. New job, so I had to miss Friday and then on Sunday I was just too beat. Next year I'll be there all three days and, if I can get my current work-in-progress published by then, I'll be on one of their author panels again like the past two years.
I've belonged to this local chapter of Sister's in Crime (and we have misters too) right after moving to the area. We arrived late in 2007 and I joined in 2008. This is a spectacular group of readers and writers. I've watched some of the author members from the early years go from debut authors to bestselling authors. Lots of local support for authors here in the Nashville area. We have members who are readers, wannabe authors, and authors. We meet once a month for about an hour and then offer field trips and extra-curricula activities for those interested.
Next year will be the 30th annual Southern Festival of Books. I may not be talking about the Sisters in Crime booth then, but I will have a report on the 30th anniversary of the Southern Festival of Books.
You may gather from the long silence that the semester has been damn near crushing with the workload. I'm tired all the time, and stressed quite a lot. Greek is very hard, Latin is challenging but mostly just a lot to do, the comp lit class has difficult reading (which is at least in English), and teaching Latin...
...well, I actually love teaching Latin. But needing to be chipper and focused and performing in front of the class at 8am five days a week, then grading and handling emails each of those five days as well, plus meetings with my supervisor and so forth, does rather add to the workload.
I'm not getting nearly as much writing done as I'd like. By a long shot.
In other news... Um. I dunno. I read various good books, mostly in snippets every morning on the bus (woo, ebooks on phone): The Stone in the Skull, Provenance, The Nightmare Stacks, An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, Ruin of Angels, probably a few others I've been forgetting. Continuing to enjoy Squirrel Girl. Really got into The Good Place. Went to a great picnic at Hidden Falls Park. (The falls were indeed hidden, but not well enough to keep me away.) Got to see Rob again for a week. Walked the dog many times. Bought some new (used) shoes. Learned to gel my hair in place against the difficulties of bike-riding, speaking of which, started using the bikeshare program here. Stocked a shelf at the office with pudding cups and apples and trail mix for all the nights I've been staying until 7 to get things done. Had a lot of fun conversations about grocery stores and high school graduation rituals and dogs with my Norwegian law school flatmate.
Gosh, I'm so very tired.
I should stop typing this and stagger home to eat something slow-cooked, and walk the dog, and then translate Latin until it's time for sleep.
>>I use a character or character string, like $$ or [, to mark words or sections where I know that what’s there is more-or-less what happens, but I also know that I don’t have the phrasing quite right, or where I’ve used the same word or phrase too many times in a row but I don’t want to spend half an hour coming up with an alternative.<<
I do this sort of thing too – usually an asterisk or question mark above the word/phrase that isn't quite right.