April 6, 2020

How to Increase Word Length in a Fiction Manuscript

Recently, an author approached me for help with a good-type problem: for his romantic suspense the author’s manuscript was 65,000 words, but the literary agent needed a minimum of 80,000 words. With the typical double-spaced manuscript, this is an additional 60 pages–too many pages only to add more description or internal dialogue. Way too many to add […]

Customization, not Information

How much information should be given away on websites, in webinars, or through eBooks? If a new ;product or service launch doesn’t go as well as its sponsors had hoped, did they give away too much? Overload their viewers? Or, give them enough to work on without purchasing more information? Justin Livingston, co-founder of Lucrative […]

3 Ways in which novels and screenplays are similar

  Michael Ferris, a former Hollywood Lit Manager, now helps writers get their foot in the door. He has a great post, “7 Ways Writing a Screenplay Is Different than Writing a Novel.” In the middle of his presentation, Ferris elucidates helpful points for fiction writers. He says, On the physical pages of the script, […]

To Get a Literary Agent, Make Your Query Letter–and Manuscript–Lean

Mike Wells is an American bestselling thriller and suspense author who also teaches creative writing at Oxford University. He is known for fast-paced, ‘unputdownable’ novels. His 5 Steps to Landing a Good Literary Agent is a helpful read. I want to focus on a side comment he makes: The main problem most writers have when […]

Author Body-Language Cheat Sheet and the Dangers of Cliches

Carol Kaufman wrote The Writer’s Guide to Psychology . Her purpose? To help authors better communicate to readers behaviors that can suggest, say, agitation without telling readers this. She offers a free “Body Language Cheat Sheet,” which is helpful, especially in getting an author’s mind to get just the right clues. Yet, I feel compelled […]

Authors, Engage Readers with QR Codes

Emily Craven, guest blogger at The Creative Penn, has an excellent article on how authors can use QR codes to engage readers. QR codes are free to generate, and they can direct a smart phone user to any website or media link, such as a YouTube video, a donation page, or a discount coupon. The […]

Keeping a Character’s Internal Narrative Congruent with Reality

Livia Blackburne has posted “7 Reasons Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter” on Writer’s Digest website. Read the other six reasons. I want to comment on item 7, because I have encountered this more than a few times: 7. Unrealistic internal narrative: Make sure a character’s internal narrative—what the character is thinking or feeling—matches up […]

Aim Your Writing for Emotional Impact

Danny Rubin wrote the screenplay for Groundhog Day. He has also written a book, How to Write Groundhog Day, about what authors and screenwriters can learn from his experience. Of course, you should read the entire book (watching the movie, again, is optional). I found The Daily Beast’s Book Beast to lift up the best points. […]

Book Query, Synopsis, Manuscript Partial–Which Isn’t Working?

Recently an author approached, somewhat frustrated. He has been sending out his query and synopsis to literary agents. Some have requested 5 pages, 10 pages, or 50 pages. He has also received many personal emails of encouragement from these agents–to keep searching for that right agent. Sound familiar? If you are in this situation as […]

Probe for Character Development in Nonfiction Books

Meena Thiruvengadam offers insight into how three journalists turned their beats into books. Of these, Kristen Grind story provides insight for non-journalists. Grind covered Washington Mutual for about six months before it failed on September 25, 2008, when regulators seized assets. Her book, The Lost Bank, details the biggest bank failure in U.S. history. Grind […]