Tag Archives: writing advice

Get to Know Biographile!

Posted by December 9th, 2014

Biographile

Joe Muscolino, head staffer at Penguin Random House’s Biographile, recommends these five pieces for Book Country writers.

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Good Prose Month: Advice From a VP Executive Managing Editor and Copy Chief, From A to X

Here, as part of our month-long “Good Prose Month” series, the Copy Chief of Random House provides a fascinating collection of obscure and playful writing distinctions, from A(ntiques) to X(-ray). Continue reading

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Bouchercon 2014 : Meet Alibi Editor Dana Edwin Isaacson

Posted by November 10th, 2014

Bouchercon 2014: Murder at the Beach kicks off November 13th in Long Beach, California. Bouchercon is one of the world’s largest crime fiction conventions. Dana Edwin Isaacson, Senior Editor at Alibi, shares what he his most looking forward to at Bouchercon.

ALIBI editor Bouchercon 2014Janet Umenta: What are you most looking forward to at Bouchercon 2014?

Dana Edwin Isaacson: During the e-publishing forum on Thursday, our Alibi authors are doing a virtual eBook signing, using our partner Autography. Interested mystery readers can meet our authors at the signings, get a personal inscription or photograph with the author, and then go and download their personalized eBook. As I’ve yet to see this incredibly cool innovation in action, I’m eager to get my own personalized eBooks!

I’m also excited to be meeting in person for the first time a few of our Alibi authors. When editing a novel, you develop an intimate relationship with the author’s viewpoint. It’s fascinating to meet in person someone whom you feel you already know.

JU:  What new trends do you see in the mystery and thriller genres?

DEI: Cozies are selling well. In online strategies, novels with a female protagonist find it easier to win readers.  Also, there seems to be an uptick of medical thrillers. Continue reading

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NaNoWriMo: 5 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block

Posted by October 29th, 2014

Preparing for NaNoWriMo: 5 Tips for Overcoming Writer's Block

What happens when you’re in the middle of completing your daily word count for NaNoWriMo, and you hit a wall? Writer’s block is never fun, but it’s especially panic-inducing when you’re trying to write 50,000 words in one month. Waiting around for “inspiration” to come can be both time-consuming and frustrating. Here are 5 tips on how to get through writer’s block:

Do a Ten Minute Free Write Session

When trying to find the perfect words, you can get stuck and lose momentum in your writing. Remember, the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to just write the first draft. Doing a free write session, where you write non-stop for a set period of time, can help keep the words moving. Even if you end up writing something entirely different from your story during the free write, at least you’re still writing! You might even come up with a phrase or idea that you can use in your story later on.
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Preparing for NaNoWriMo – The Five-Line Outline by Julie Artz

Posted by October 21st, 2014

Preparing for NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo doesn’t leave much room for preparation. Try the following five-line outline method to help you survive the insanity that is NaNoWriMo without completely flying by the seat of your pants. 
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Step One: Create your logline

The first line of the outline is the logline. It covers the main character, what s/he wants (goal), what stands in his or her way (obstacles), and what will happen if s/he doesn’t reach her goal (stakes). Two great articles to guide you are Writing a Killer Logline and Writing Killer Loglines.

Here’s the logline from my 2013 NaNoWriMo project:

When lightning fries the village well pumps, Elías must redeem himself in the eyes of both Elders and family by journeying through the ruins of Andalucía to find help before their water supply runs out.

Writing this summary of your story before you begin will help focus your idea enough to get started. Don’t worry if you tweak it as you work—this logline has been through multiple revisions in the past year! Continue reading

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Phil Klay’s REDEPLOYMENT Shortlisted for National Book Award

Posted by October 15th, 2014

Congratulations to Phil Klay! His book, REDEPLOYMENT, is one of five finalists for the 2014 National Book Award for fiction. Phil Klay served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged, Phil earned an MFA from Hunter College in NYC.

REDEPLOYMENT, published by The Penguin Press, is a collection of short stories about soldiers fighting in the Iraq War. Read our Q&A with Phil on writing about war and military service Continue reading

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Come Down Off That Ledge—Self-Promotion Can be Fun!

Posted by October 8th, 2014

Andrea Dunlop on Book Country promotion

Let’s take a moment to discuss the oft-used phrase “self-promoter.” It’s unclear in the Kardashian-takes-all world whether this phrase is meant as a compliment or an insult, but the idea of promoting oneself gives most authors I know the heebie-jeebies. We all know that it’s necessary to advocate for your own work, especially in today’s overcrowded publishing landscape, but how do you do that without becoming a bore or a Bragosaurus rex?

Being a writer is a lifetime commitment, and it involves more than just putting pen to paper. The following are some ways to promote your work that won’t feel like a chore to you or your readers. Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Kelley Mork

Posted by September 24th, 2014

Book Country Member Spotlight: Kelley Mork

We are happy to have Kelley Mork on the Book Country Member Spotlight! Kelley’s New Adult book WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER was featured in the Top Rated section in August. Kelley shares why she favors free writing and her advice to writers starting out on social media. Connect with Kelley on Book Country. 

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Janet Umenta: The New Adult genre has really taken off in the past few years. What do you love about New Adult and what led you to write in this genre?

Kelley Mork: What led me to write New Adult?  It was a total fluke!  I had never heard of the term “New Adult” until I started exploring the best category to put my story into.  When I read the definition (New Adult focuses on characters that are around college age (18-25) tackling the everyday “being an adult” issues.) I realized that not only was it a fit, but I had been reading books like this for quite some time!  I’d always assumed the books were “general fiction” or “romance”, but just with younger characters.  Continue reading

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Ask an Editor: Jessica Renheim Answers Your Questions!

Posted by August 27th, 2014

http://www.penguin.com/meet/publishers/dutton/Today we present another round of your questions for an editor–this week, answered by Dutton associate editor Jessica Renheim. Jessica has worked with New York Times bestselling authors like Brad Taylor, Dan Savage, Richelle Mead, and Kelley Armstrong. Read on for her advice to members of the Book Country community.

1.  What should a person look for in an editor? (Specifically for ones who will be working closely with you.) Also, should you have your manuscript completely finished before looking into editorial services? – Amber Wolfe

If you’re an aspiring writer who’s interested in traditional book publishing, then the first step is finding a literary agent who can represent your work and connect you with an editor and publisher. There are great sources online like Publishers Marketplace and the Literary Marketplace that can help you research agents and determine individuals who are the right fit for your manuscript; you don’t want to blindly query agents (or editors) who only work on nonfiction if you’ve written a psychological thriller, for example. Find an agent who specializes in the genre you’ve written, who feels passionate about your work, and who can help you find an editor who feels the same way. In terms of manuscript length, literary agents usually have their preferences listed on their websites for how to submit queries and material to them. Continue reading

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Ask an Editor: Alexandra Cardia Answers Your Questions!

Posted by August 22nd, 2014

Book Country Ask an EditorWelcome to Part III of Book Country’s Ask an Editor blog series. Alexandra Cardia, Assistant Editor at Riverhead Books, talks about the most rewarding thing about being an editor and deciding whether to work with a particular manuscript. Read Part I and Part II of Ask an Editor.

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1.  Generally how far do you read into a submitted book before deciding it’s trash or good enough to work with? – BoJo Johnson

It really depends on the project. Nonfiction projects are generally submitted as a proposal, and I read proposals front to back; you need to, I think, to get a full picture of the work. For fiction, how far I read into a work is generally dependent on two things: First, if I connect to the writing. If I don’t, I’ll know that pretty quickly and know that the work is probably a pass for me. Second, if I like the writing, I’ll read for story. This can take anywhere from a couple dozen pages to the entire manuscript. Sometimes I’ll read an entire manuscript and only then know that it’s not the right fit for me. So it really does depend on the work! Continue reading

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The 3 Golden Rules of Writing Romantic Suspense by P.A. DePaul

Posted by August 19th, 2014

I absolutely love Romantic Suspense, both as a reader and as the author of the “SBG” romantic suspense series. Writing Romantic Suspense is fun, but like any genre it has its own rules. Here are my top three guidelines for writing this genre, illustrated with examples from my new book, EXCHANGE OF FIRE, out today from Penguin’s InterMix imprint.

Develop Balanced Alpha Characters.

What do I mean by this? Simple, the hero and heroine should be equally matched. This does not mean the characters are perfect or they’ve suddenly become invincible. Rather, their strengths and weakness ‘fit’ together, allowing them to defeat the enemy and find their HEA (“happily ever after”) together. No one wants to believe a gun-toting Special Ops hero falls for the mousy seamstress who is afraid of her own shadow. Um, ew!Exhange of Fire

In EXCHANGE OF FIRE, Wraith (our heroine) is a kick-butt sniper of SBG’s Delta Squad who is on the run and hiding in a small town. Her match is our hero Casper Grady, former marine, successful business owner and Wraith’s boss. These two complement each other with their skills and training and they work together as equals to defeat multiple enemies on their path to happy ever after.

Create A Strong Storyline Conflict By Using Villains.

In a typical romance, the Storyline Conflict is based on the relationship itself; the hero and heroine’s lives prevent them from forming the relationship. In Romantic Suspense, the storyline conflict happens outside of the hero and heroine’s relationship. To accomplish this, Romantic Suspense has a villain (or in my case, multiple villains). These villains give the storyline intensity by raising the stakes and presenting consequences that affect more than just the hero and heroine. Will the hero and heroine stop the bomber in time? Can the hero and heroine get that vital piece of intel back to command post before the military is deployed? Continue reading

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