Tag Archives: Perigee

Gratitude for Writers by Allison Carmen

Posted by November 26th, 2014

THE GIFT OF MAYBE

We all have heard stories of authors getting dozens of rejection letters before their book was finally picked up. How can writers stay motivated in the face of so much uncertainty? Allison Carmen, author of THE GIFT OF MAYBE, which is published by Perigee, shares how embracing gratitude can help writers overcome fear and rejection. 

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My friend Stacey and I took a walk the other day to clear our heads after a morning of writing in solitude. Stacey had written a novel that she submitted to several publishers through her agent. So far all she had received back were rejections. Stacey confided that she felt terrible that people did not seem to be appreciating her work and said she was starting to lose hope about her writing career. Those of us who are writers know this feeling. We write something that for us is so moving for us and yet we can’t get an agent, a book deal or even a blog post in an online magazine. Continue reading

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Doodling Prompts for Character and Story Development! By Lisa Currie

Posted by November 25th, 2014

Currie promptFinal week of NaNoWriMo 2014? Even if you aren’t participating with a new work, and are instead in some stage of editing your novel in progress, we can help! Today we offer the final installment of fun doodling prompts for character and story development, from author and master doodler Lisa Currie, whose new book ME, YOU, US is just out from Perigee Books. You can download and print these exclusive prompts by clicking on the hyperlinked words in the text below. Share yours with us on social media! Both books, ME, YOU, US and THE SCRIBBLE DIARY, are available widely online and in stores.

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So, you’ve made it through a month of thinking creatively about your novel-in-progress, through the power of doodle prompts. Huzzah!  I hope it’s been as fun as it has beneficial. To recap: In the first doodle prompt installment post, we established the power and popularity of doodling. If you click on the link, you’ll be able to download four doodle prompts that you can use to start fleshing out your character(s). The second installment, was a more in-depth online profile prompt. The third doodle prompt focused on plot points and obstacles in the way of your protagonist’s goal(s). Our fourth installment helped prompt you to finding those nuggets of details that makes your character unique. Continue reading

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Character-Based Doodling Prompts By Lisa Currie

Posted by November 17th, 2014

Lisa Currie

Midway into NaNoWriMo 2014? Or, stuck on your novel-in-progress or novel-to-be and feeling like your characters need a little more oomph? Today we offer another set of fun doodling prompts for character development from author and master doodler Lisa Currie, whose new book ME, YOU, US is just out from Perigee Books. You can download and print these exclusive prompts by clicking on the hyperlinked words in the text below. Share yours with us on social media! 

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Welcome to the fourth installment of doodling prompts for writers, adapted from my books, ME, YOU, US and THE SCRIBBLE DIARY. And as the holidays get closer, a little hint: the books make great gifts for writer and non-writer friends alike! In the first doodle prompt installment post, we established how doodling can help develop your book. If you click on the link, you’ll be able to download four doodle prompts that you can use to start fleshing out your character(s). The second installment was an in-depth online profile prompt. The last doodle prompt focused on plot points and obstacles in the way of your protagonist’s goal(s). Continue reading

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Doodling Prompts for Character Development! By Lisa Currie

Posted by November 12th, 2014

Lisa Currie prompt Participating in NaNoWriMo 2014? Today we offer another set of fun doodling prompts for character development from author and master doodler Lisa Currie, whose new book ME, YOU, US is just out from Perigee Books. You can download and print these exclusive prompts by clicking on the hyperlinked words in the text below. Share yours with us on social media! 

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This is the third installment of doodling prompts for writers, adapted from my books, ME, YOU, US and THE SCRIBBLE DIARY. Both are excellent tools for writer’s groups, and a fun yet productive break from laboring over the story page. In the first doodle prompt installment post, we established the power and popularity of doodling, identifying famous politicians, businessmen, authors, and creative types who doodled. If you click on the link, you’ll be able to download four doodle prompts that you can use to start fleshing out your character(s). In the second installment, it was a more in-depth online profile prompt. Continue reading

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Doodling Prompts for Easy Character Development! By Lisa Currie

Posted by October 27th, 2014

ME, YOU, US by Lisa CurriePrepping for NaNoWriMo 2014? Fleshing out characters for your novel-in-progress or novel-to-be? Today we offer fun doodling prompts for character development from author and master doodler Lisa Currie, whose new book ME, YOU, US is just out from Perigee Books. You can download and print these exclusive prompts by clicking on the hyperlinked words in the text below. Share yours with us on social media! (And check out the examples I did for the MC in my NaNo project below!)

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U.S. Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, did it. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did it. So did Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Bill Gates, Winston Churchill, Larry David, and Vidal Sassoon. Famous authors throughout the ages have done it, including Vladimir Nabokov, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Keats, Sylvia Plath, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. They were doodlers, all of them. Good thing, too, because recent studies* have shown that doodling unleashes the power of the creative mind. Think of it as creating off-road trails between neurons. Continue reading

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Which Type of Writing Guide Is Right for You, Right Now?

Posted by June 10th, 2014

Which type of writing guide is right for you right now

Many writers begin a story on a whim, and before long they’re taking an imaginary joy ride. Writing a novel is fun: the words flow . . . and then they don’t. Like Consumer Reports testing a car for safety, your writermobile slams into a wall. Now what?

Writing guides abound to address everything that stymies us. Search among the six types of resources to find a match for your problem or need.

Inspiration and Contemplation

These books prime the pump of imagination, help you generate ideas, and nudge you out of an unproductive rut. One of the best guides is The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. Her 12-week study that addresses and overcomes all manner of “blocks” can open the floodgates of productivity and confidence. Cameron’s “morning pages” and “artist’s dates” have sustained millions of writers.

The Writer’s Life and Writing

We all want to know what famous writers think, how they write, and how they “made it.” The King, Stephen King, in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, tells vivid stories about his life including drug addiction, alcoholism, and being hit by a car. He kept writing novels through nearly all of the difficulties, often mining them for his stories. King’s book includes reading lists, excellent craft advice, examples to model, and writing assignments.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott, is seductive. Her honesty in laying bare her messy life, with humor, beckons the reader to do the same. By example and by the techniques she shares, Lamott urges readers to expect and move past “the shitty first draft.”

How to Write a Novel

Almost all novels have similar whole-book structure. If you’ve written your story “organically,” you may be out on a limb and need to return to the trunk. Three books will straighten you out. How to Write a Story: The Secrets of Writing a Captivating Tale, was written by Peter Rubie, agent and former book doctor for New York publishers, and Gary Provost, a master teacher and author of over 20 novels. This how-to-write book is straight-forward, clear, practical, specific, and almost foolproof for any writer who follows its directions. Continue reading

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The Art of Letting Go: Nick Bantock and Creativity

Posted by April 3rd, 2014

The Trickster's Hat.jogToday our blog guest is Nick Bantock, the author of the new Perigee book THE TRICKSTER’S HAT: A Mischievous Apprenticeship in Creativity. A wonderful visual artist, Nick’s work breaks through genre conventions to create something truly different in the world of publishing–the most famous example of how he’s done this is with Griffin and Sabine, an epistolary novel fashioned from letters and postcards drawn and painted by Nick. His books feel like the perfect way to pull yourself out of the “same-old” in your routine, and discover something new about yourself as a writer.

LS: Describe for us what our community can get from your book. How does it help jump-start writing creativity?

NB: Sooner or later, as writers or artists we hit a rut. Our work becomes predictable, and we get bored with it. If we don’t find a way to change direction we hit the dreaded BLOCK. THE TRICKSTER’S HAT is made up of 49 exercises designed to help the reader slip-slide into a plethora of new universes. Some of the exercises use words, some images. Interestingly in my workshops I’ve found that it is often the collage that frees the writers and the writing that helps the artists. Continue reading

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Great Writing Guides: Writers Helping Writers

Posted by April 25th, 2011

An Editor’s Look at Some of the Best Writing Books on the Shelves

A Penguin nonfiction editor shares some of her favorite resources for writers.

 Meg Leder - medIn my day job, I edit books at Perigee, an imprint of Penguin. Editing comes fairly naturally to me: when I read manuscripts, I’ve learned to trust my inner reader voice, the one that says, “Hmmm, the tone isn’t right here,” or “This part tripped me up,” or “I wonder what would happen if we cut this and moved this…” I confidently listen to these instincts as I work with my authors and their manuscripts, helping turn ideas into smart and compelling books.

After hours, however, all of those confident editorial instincts go right out the door as I sit in front of my laptop and transform from Assured Experienced Editor into Neurotic Aspiring Author. Like Bruce Banner turning Hulk-ish, this is not a fun transformation. Neurotic Aspiring Author spends hours on her commute or laying in bed at night desperately mulling over story ideas. She struggles to get words on the page, painstakingly keying in words one by one. She obsessively reads and re-reads her writing, one second falling in love with a seeming moment of genius, the next deciding all of her writing self-loathing is completely justified as the words she’s written are the worst affront to writing ever.

So, what’s Neurotic Aspiring Author to do? Turn to the pros.

I’ve learned to be kinder to my writing self after reading Betsy Lerner’s Forest for the Trees. I’ve managed to overcome the occasional case writer’s block by spending some time with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I’ve discovered how to rethink my motivation and rework my plot with the help of Elizabeth Lyon’s Manuscript Makeover.

There are a variety of wonderful resources available to both neurotic and well-adjusted writers–writing guides that offer knowledge and tips to make your writing as polished and compelling as possible. (Disclosure: Yes, I’ve confidently edited some of these titles, but my anxious writer side has thrived from the advice within.) So take a look at some of this Neurotic Aspiring Author’s personal favorites—I hope you’ll find they speak to you as well!

Books on Writing Basics
Any novice writer who needs help on the basics, or simply some brushing-up on the craft should check out these easy-to-absorb guides:

  • 100 Things Every Writer Needs to Know by Scott Edelstein: A wide-ranging introduction to the building blocks of the craft and business of writing, from finding your voice to getting an agent, written by a writer, editor, and literary agent.
  • Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
    A series of essays by the science fiction bestseller Bradbury that will leave you feeling empowered and ready to write.
  • 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Gary Provost: A classic, well-loved writing guide that presents quick and easy-to-implement tips on writing.
  • On Writing by Stephen King: Both an inspiring memoir and instructional guide to craft, this book will get you ready to take the leap into writing.

Books on Fiction Ins and Outs 
If you’re looking for instruction on writing fiction, from plot and character to pacing and voice, take a look at these simple and useful books:

  • The Art of Fiction by John Gardner: A classic guide to, well, fiction writing, with easy-to-understand and inspiring tips and advice for new writers.
  • A Writer’s Guide to Fiction by Elizabeth Lyon: A concise, practical guide covering the key elements of fiction, that includes sections on revision and marketing your work.
  • The Writing Book by Kate Grenville: A step-by-step guide on how to write fiction, complete with exercises and workbook.
  • Now Write! by Sherry Ellis: You can learn from National Book Awards, Pulitzers, and Guggenheim winners in this collection of personal writing exercises and commentary from some of today’s best novelists, short story writers, and writing teachers.

Books on Writing Motivation
Having a hard time getting started or finding momentum? Get some tips and advice in these inspiring guides:

  • The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood: Optimistic and encouraging, this book guides readers through a series of writing exercises sure to increase motivation and creativity.
  • Bang the Keys by Jill Dearman: Provides a four-part plan so writers can gain the momentum and discipline they need to follow through on a project.
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg: A powerful and enthusiastic guide to useful and motivating writing practices that combine creativity with meditation.
  • The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Beating Writer’s Block by Kathy Kleidermacher: A practical guide full of tips, exercises, and prompts to get your writing back on track.

Books on Insider Advice
Sometimes, the best advice comes from those in the trenches: editors, agents, and other published authors. Get an inside look at the industry from these unique perspectives:

  • Who’s Writing This? by Dan Halpern: An delightfully invaluable collection of essays about the publishing and creative processes from the people who do it every day—-writers.
  • Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us by Jessica Page Morrell: A helpful look at the specific errors beginning writers often make that keep them from breaking out into the industry.
  • The Secret Miracle by Daniel Alarcon, Ed.
    Learn the ins and outs of writing fiction from the best of the best in this roundtable disccusion in print.
  • On Teaching and Writing Fiction by Wallace Stegner: A collection of essays from Pulitzer-Prize winning author, covering aspects of fiction writing from the writer’s vision and audience, to symbolism and swear words, to the mystery of the creative process.

Books on Living the Writing Life 
Hoping to dig deeper with your writing, and to infuse joy into the actual process? Learn how to find balance and structure in these reads:

  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: A sharp, funny, and at times brutally honest guide that will help you find your voice in both your writing and your life.
  • Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Lusser Rico: A guide on how to turn the task and stress of writing into a meaningful and natural process.
  • A Broom of One’s Own by Nancy Peacock: A first-hand account from a once-struggling writer on balancing real life and writing life before and after you “make it.”
  • Right to Write by Julia Cameron: Empowering guidance on how to make writing a joyful way of life (vs. a stress-filled “Big Deal”).

Books on Grammar Guidance
Worried your writing is rife with grammar and spelling errors? Read these great guides to  help you polish your work:

  • Woe Is I by Patricia T. O’Conner: Down-to-earth guidance that de-mystifies the confusing world of grammar, spelling, and pronunciation.
  • Words Into Type, Third Edition by Marjorie E. Skillin and Robert Malcolm Gay: Definitive and credible source for writers on manuscript etiquette, copyediting, style, grammar, and usage.
  • Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande: If you’re tired of the grammar police but still need to learn the basics, you’ll love this humorous and lively approach to learning grammar. Also check out the author’s other book, Mortal Syntax, for another fun guide—this time on frequently attacked language usage choices.
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White: This classic style manual is a must have for any writer.
  • Literally, the Best Language Book Ever by Paul Yeager: A wry and opinionated examination of trite, trendy, grammatically incorrect, inane, outdated, and lazy uses of words, phrases, and expressions.
  • The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn: A dynamic manual for both newbie authors who want to learn the ropes and writing veterans who want to hone their craft.


Books on Getting Published

Ready to take the next steps and find a good home for your work? Look no further than these useful resources:

  • 2011 Writer’s Market by Robert Lee Brewer, Ed.: An annual guide to getting published from a variety of industry sources, compiled by Brewer into one sacred text.
  • Publicize Your Book by Jacqueline Deval: “Easily the most incisive and expert guide to book publishing ever” according to Publisher’s Weekly, this guide teaches writers how to actively take part in publicizing, marketing, and promoting their work.
  • The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman: Tips on how to avoid bad writing and stay out of the rejection pile from a well-known literary agent.
  • Sell Your Novel Toolkit by Elizabeth Lyon: Step-by-step details on what editors want and how to develop a marketing strategy to get published.

[Photo by Danielle Poiesz]

 

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