When Did Your Love Affair with Writing Begin?

This week, as the build-up to Valentine’s Day saturates the world with candy hearts and long-stemmed roses, I thought it might be fun to think about how we found our love for writing.  I became a writer at this little school pictured on the left–The Caedmon School in New York City–and this is how it… Read more »

Prompt: 3 Steps to a Stronger Beginning

This week we talked about beginnings and how to make them effective.  Now it’s your turn to apply what you learned to your own Work In Progress (WIP).  Using the Five Promises we discussed in Wednesday’s post, rework the opening of your WIP to incorporate as many of those promises as you can. Weekend Prompt:… Read more »

Five Promises You Make to Your Reader

Starting a novel or short story is like making a promise to the reader.  You set up rules and expectations that your readers will rely on as they read your piece.  You take your readers by the hand and guide them into your story.  You develop a trust-relationship with the reader. Delaying or changing these… Read more »

Legally Speaking: Q&A

You had questions… now I have answers!  As we wrap up the Legally Speaking post series, I’ll address the questions that have come up during the past few weeks. Can I use the name of a deceased person as a character name in my “based on a true story” work of fiction? Depends on who… Read more »

Licensing vs. Work for Hire

One legal distinction that is very important for writers to understand is the difference between licensing and work for hire. Licensing In publishing terms, licensing is usually the scenario you find when you publish your work via the traditional route.  You query an agent, the agent “sells” the book to a publisher, you sign an… Read more »

Infringement, Fair Use, and Derivative Works

As writers, we’re often inspired by work from artists who have come before us.  One question that often comes up is whether we can use some piece of another artist’s work in our own work.  The answer is: it’s complicated.  There are three things you have  to consider when using part of someone else’s work… Read more »

Prompt: Generate Some New Ideas

This week we’ve talked about ideas and how it’s very difficult to protect them.  This means it’s important to be cautious about where and with whom you share your ideas.  At the same time, sitting on an idea and hoarding it means you could miss out on great opportunities for collaboration.  So, how do we… Read more »

How to Find Your Unique Ideas

Here’s the ugly truth: No writer exists in a void. All writing is influenced by what has come before. There is no such thing as being utterly, completely unique because all writing exists within a context. In a world that’s always screaming for the Next New Thing, how do we writers reconcile that with the… Read more »

How to Make Sense of Critiques

Sooner or later, you’re going to get feedback on your work.  Whether it’s from an editor or agent, or from friends and family, or from trusted writer friends, you might as well get used to the idea. But what do you do when you get all that feedback?  My temptation is often to cut up… Read more »