How To Pinpoint Your #Strengths As A #Writer (And Make The Most Of Them!)

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Melanie V. Logan

As a writer, you’re constantly honing your craft—reading widely, seeking feedback, and considering the constructive criticism of others. Part of this process is learning how to recognize your own writing strengths. But it’s not always easy to judge yourself objectively, so Writer’s Relief has put together five ways to recognize the areas in which you truly shine:

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Facing rejection from Agents: Remember No means No!

Confessions of a published author

I was ready to submit and had researched various literary agency websites. My covering letter, synopsis and manuscript were polished and ready to go. I felt a sense of euphoria when I actually posted that A4 envelope off or clicked ‘send’ on the messages I sent. There was nothing to do but wait for the positive replies to come in!

Unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way. You see rejection may be presented in many different forms, but they all the mean the same thing: No means No!

Let me run you through the different forms of literary rejection. Please note that these are actual replies and not ones I’ve made up.

I can’t be bothered replying to you ‘No’:

This is where the agent doesn’t even bother getting back to you. They may have read your work or may not have. For all you know there is…

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photo: Caro Wallis Sweet Sorrow via photopin (license)

From Slush Pile to #Editor’s Desk: Build Urgency From the Beginning

Ever hear the saying “you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression“?  This age-old advice applies to just about anything – books included.  So to hook the reader, the opening has to be attention-grabbing, and the momentum of interest should continue throughout the story.

In part two of Manuela Williams’ series From Slush Pile to Editor’s Desk, an editor’s perspective on building urgency is given.

Manuela Williams

While you can’t predict exactly what an editor will or will not like, there are a couple things you can do to ensure that your story has a fighting chance when you submit it to a literary magazine (and won’t cause anyone to scream and/or tear their hair out in frustration).

This is PART 2 of a multi-post series. For PART 1, click here.

Build Urgency From The Beginning

Lack of urgency is the number one reason why I turn down stories. The prose might be beautiful, but I can’t be sold on that alone. Your story needs to open with a bang and keep me hooked from sentence one.

If your story starts out with two characters discussing the weather, then I probably won’t read on (unless they’re talking about sharknados). Another pet peeve of mine: when a story starts off with a description of scenery. While this can…

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From Slush Pile to #Editor’s Desk: Submit A Story That Stands Out

In part one of Manuela Williams’ series From Slush Pile to Editor’s Desk, an editor provides helpful observations to make our stories unique.

Manuela Williams

Let’s say you’re the editor of a literary magazine. You have ten submissions to review before lunch, a looming press deadline and, on top of everything else, a full time job. What kind of stories do you want to read? The ones with typos, poor formatting, and a nonexistent plot? Or the ones with a compelling beginning, memorable characters, and prose that shines?

Simply put, editors are busy people. From managing the business side of their magazines to reviewing submissions, they have a lot on their plates. As a writer, your job is to make the editor forget about everything but your story.

While you can’t predict exactly what an editor will or will not like, there are a couple things you can do to ensure that your story has a fighting chance when you submit to a literary magazine (and won’t cause anyone to scream and/or tear their hair…

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Building Your #Writer’s #Brand – Sound Advice from E. Denise Billups

Writing can be easy…and hard.  The easy part is jotting down all the wonderful story ideas that float in our heads.  The harder part comes with editing and getting the finish product before the masses. Knowing what to do or how to do it can be frustrating.  But with great advice on brand building from fellow writers like E. Denise Billups, how can we ever fail.

E. Denise Billups, Writer

Indie authors are jack-of-all-trades. Not only are they writers, but also promoters and marketers of their finished product. This for most writers is difficult and for some an afterthought. Before you finish your book, you should have a well-defined marketing plan established and the first step is to create a mission statement.

In simple terms, a mission statement is short, concise sentence or paragraph describing your business and purpose (who you are, what you do, and your purpose or goals). This single statement is your marketing message, disseminating your brand, and the writer’s guide to reaching his/her ultimate goals.

Most people believe a mission statement is for major corporations or nonprofit organizations but for anyone building a brand whether you’re a painter, architect or writer, a mission statement is a crucial piece to crafting your image. For indie or traditionally published authors, a mission statement conveys your passion, your expertise, and…

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Short #Story vs. The #Novel

The best things come in big packages, right?  What about the small ones?

When it comes to short story versus novel, the perspective on which is better is best decided by the reader.  Each has its strong points and drawbacks.  However, for a writer, the decision may be based on focus, time, and desire.

For those choosing the shorter route, K. M. Pohlkamp has practical tips on writing a great short story.

K.M. Pohlkamp - Author Website

The obvious difference between a short story and a novel is well, a short story is shorter. That profound statement did not require a degree in rocket science.

And with a shorter word count, short stories must be easier, right?

There is no hard rule, but as a general frame of reference: a short story is between 1,000 to 20,000 words, but most short stories are between 3,000 and 5,000 words. A novel is anything greater than ~55,000 words.

Having just completed a draft of a short story myself, I’d argue a short story takes less time, but not less skill or thought. Short stories simply require a different approach.

In fact, I think the challenge with short stories is the word count. This provides limited space to intrigue the reader, introduce characters, provide concept of their world, and overcome a dilemma.

How can so much be accomplished in…

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25 Reasons to Keep #Writing, No Matter What

Everyone needs motivation every now and then.  It can be a struggle juggling life and writing goals.  But there is hope!

Meg Dowell’s 25 Reasons to Keep Writing, No Matter What provides that needed reminder – like a writing coach on your screen.

Novelty Revisions

  1. No first draft is a good draft.
  2. There is no such thing as a perfect story.
  3. The only ways to write better are to write more, read more, and never quit.
  4. A day without writing is just a day without writing. A lifetime without it would just suck.
  5. If you don’t get this idea written down, you’re going to implode.
  6. It’s OK to be a little tired.
  7. Impostor Syndrome is real. It shouldn’t stop you from creating, though.
  8. People are mean. Keep writing anyway.
  9. People get jealous. Keep writing anyway.
  10. You’ve come so far. You still have so far to go.
  11. You have so much more to learn.
  12. You have so much to teach others.
  13. You have so many stories to tell.
  14. Someone out there thinks your words are amazing, even if you don’t.
  15. WRITING IS FUN!!!!….MOST OF THE TIME!
  16. You’re not you when you’re not writing.
  17. Writing puts into…

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