Tag Archives: The Writing Life

Publication Platforms for Writers: Fifteen Minutes Outside the Hermit’s Cave

barefeetwithapplesmallWhether we publish through traditional means or independently, we’ll most likely want to think about creating a platform to support a writing career connects us to the larger prospects of authorship, such as the publication and marketing of our work.

Like anything else in our writing careers, each of the following could take us all day, all week, or even the rest of our lives, but setting a timer for 5 minutes and getting something done on each will add up quickly to progress and an understanding of the channels available to us.

  • social media & connecting with other writers, editors, and publishers
  • banking and bookkeeping
  • learning something new about writing, social media, design, etc

Every writer’s schedules, interests, and mileage will differ, as always, but touching base with writing communities, financial sustainability, and professional development can keep us active in the greater world outside. Sure, writers sometimes feel like metaphorical cave-dwelling hermits, but even real cave-dwelling hermits communicate with nature, eat, and try to be the best hermits they can be.

 I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel.

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseYou’ve devised a great writing space. No wonder you get so much done. From your fan, your Writing Muse 

Editorial and Red Flags

Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind. – Woolcott Gibbs

Notes from the acquisitions editor

Every acquisitions editor has a few red flags in a top desk drawer.  This list may save you time with rejections.smallpenandink

  1. Ten cent transitionals like suddenly, then, next, and realized.
  2. Actions that come after they occur (eg Stella walked on, having shut the door behind her.)
  3. Bouncing blonde curls (You wouldn’t believe how often I read stories where blonde curls bounce around.  Also, raven hair.)
  4. Without a doubt, paragraphs jam-packed with sentences beginning with modifying phrases.
  5. Dialogue tags like “chuckled”, “said flirtatiously”, “shouted”, “gasped”, “For which better dialogue can be substituted,” Mel advised testily.
  6. Exclamation points. (Excepted, the masters Ray Bradbury and Tom Wolfe.)
  7. Frequent adverbs, (excepted, the master Bill Bryson.)
  8. ALL CAPS DAMMIT.

However, there are no hard and fast rules.  Many editors think all use of the passive stinks like old fish, but two of my favourite writers, Wodehouse and Churchill, use the passive form a lot, and for excellent reasons, so the passive is not much of a red flag for me.  One reason authors love writing is that we enjoy our creative freedom.  Do what you like, really, for there will be editors who are fine with ! and Iy.   I read somewhere that McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies was rejected many times for its slow start, and it became an adored bestseller. (Note: the previous sentence was in passive form because the manuscript was more important than the editors who rejected it).

How comforting it is to know that none of us will ever catch everything.  That’s why we employ brilliant, talented copy editors to work over our manuscripts.  Pay them. Pay them more than they ask.

 I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week. Cheers Mel

MuseThis week from @yourwritingmuseI admire the way your first paragraph gives us time, place, tone, and hints at the central conflict. Your Writing Muse

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Here’s Why We Hope You’ll Subscribe: Superb Stories and a Noble Enterprise

With the whole great world of publishing at your fingertips, we hope you’ll choose to subscribe to Pulp Literature. We work hard to get you the best storytelling around, and to keep our philosophy rooted in integrity, keeping true to our goals and our promises to you, our readers, authors, and artists.

Our editorial goal is to put together a gorgeous magazine bursting with intriguing tales for you, our faithful readers.

Our business goal is to become the first literary magazine to sustain itself on subscriptions from satisfied customers.

Our employment goal is to pay higher and higher per-word and per-page rates to our authors and artists as our subscription list grows.

With three days left in our Something Novel campaign, we wish you warm spots to read and put your feet up, the most comfortable of seating, and a happy reading experience this winter, and through the year. Thanks for your readership and support.

Mel & Jen

The Writer’s Delight

Wondering what to give the writer in your life?  Look no further than Something Novel where you’ll find …

The Writer’s Delight

Limited Reward!  Jam-packed with Writing Value. You receive:book &Pen small

  •  The Writer’s Boon Companion, the motivating, illustrated 30-day writing guide
  • a detailed critique of up to 1000 words of your short story or work in progress by one of the Pulp Lit editors.
  • A print subscription to Pulp Literature (Additional back issues or years of Pulp Literature can be added for $25 per four issues.)
  • Allaigna’s Song: Overture
  • Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries.

This is a steal of a deal at the $100 reward level.  But hurry! There are only 9 left!

Looking for more great gift ideas?  Head on over to Something NovelWe even send gift cards!3-notecards

Time Management for Writers: Self Motivation

polycarpSelf-motivation is one of the great time management tools available to writers, and one of the most pleasant to employ.  If you’re geared up, it’s far easier to sit your butt in that chair and type.

One powerful way to self-motivate is to take a minute to contemplate our greater goals.  Picture the ideal life you want.  Spend a little time with the writer you intend to be — the writers you really are.  How will you spend your days?

The bigger the goal, the more challenging and meaningful it is.  As writers we can envision reaching it, without worrying about how we’ll take every step along the way.  Maybe we’ll have to slog every step, but writers love writing, so that’s completely okay.  Or maybe, from time to time, fortune will shine on us, through an opportunity for swift advancement that a writer’s hard work has readied each of us to accept.

If a career goal is our true desire, and if we can picture ourselves winning it, then the small steps we take towards it have more meaning.  And they may be more fun, especially if thinking about that red carpet to a writing nomination at the Oscars is on your mind, or a signing, or a great big royalty cheque.  Our goal may well be to write while smiling broadly.   These are the working moments when a writer feels as if time stands still, and (I smile as I type) it’s truly amazing how much we can get done when it feels like time stands still.

With a great attitude and steady incremental preparation, we are a long way towards creating the author’s life we want and deserve.

I hope it’s another brilliant writing day for you.

Cheers

Mel

For more inspiration from Mel, check out The Writer’s Boon Companion available till December 1st only on Something Novel.

Getting Better All the Time

walkerAn editor once told me that to become a better writer and storyteller I must read, read, read, and write, write, write!   But, like most writers, I was already doing that.  What more can a writer do to continue to improve?

I always find that one of the great joys of writing is making something out of nothing. Writing is brain work.  So, to improve our work, we can improve our brains.

Our writing brains work best when we

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week with your talented, well-cared-for writing mind.

Cheers, Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseI admire the way you’ve created an antagonist who believes in his own struggle.  From your Writing Muse

Top Ten Brill Reasons

Top Ten Reasons

to visit Something Novel right now and support your sweatstained Pulp Literature team on Kickstarter.
tinyurl.com/somethingnovel

Reason #10

“Because I don’t want to carry around the collected works of Eudora Welty.”

Reason #9

“Because it fits in my bag and looks gorgeous while I read it on the train.”

Reason #8

“Because the pages feel smooth and beautiful.”

Reason #7

“Because it I can give it to my friends or leave it on my coffee table to show off.”

Reason #6

“Because I want to read different types of stories from all genres, as long as they’re all well told.”

Reason #5

“Because they give me an exquisite illustration to showcase every story.”

Reason #4

“Because it’s about darned time that a magazine works so hard to pay its writers.”

Reason #3

“Because the editors read every story they get, emerging and established.”

Reason #2

“Because it’s the only Canadian magazine that publishes all genres.”

Reason #1
smallsuperpower

“Because the editors want their writers and artists to succeed and will do everything they can to help them.”

Go Pulp Literature!  We want to publish not only your superbly written short stories but novels as well, and we’re putting up ours to Kickstart the boutique genre press.  Pulp Spec, Pulp Steam, Pulp Fantasy, Pulp Mystery, Pulp Historica … Get it here!

Plotting Act 2, The Belly of the Beast

Update: Great start on our Kickstarter campaign yesterday.  We made it to 50 backers and 15% funded on day 1!  Thank you so much to our early backers.  We hope you are enjoying your Writer’s Boon Companion journals.  If you missed out on this gift for early backers, never fear, we have a new journal, The Writer’s Friend and Confidante, for the next 50!  Get in on it here.

In the meantime, here’s another wise and wonderful writing tip from Mel:

monstersmallissue13Blake Snyder in his brilliant Save the Cat wrote that Act 2 is what the audience pays their entry money for.  Here’s where the promise of genre is honoured with adventures that are not just exciting, but meaningful.

How to make these adventures meaningful?

No matter the genre, we return to story structure that endures from The Odyssey to the great book you’re reading today.  In every adventure your protagonist experiences in Act 2, the Belly of the Beast, that protagonist must learn more and become more than he was, through making believable choices that he would never previously have made.  As well, it’s wise to remember what John Saul said about writing success – that is, until he realized that he was plotting along a straight line to the story goal, his books were rejected.  As soon as he began writing in a non-linear fashion, setting up surprise turns and then surprising the protagonist and readers as well, success was his.

Plotting isn’t easy, but then we’re not in the writing game because it’s easy.  We’re in it to please ourselves and our readers, and to make some money through honest toil.

I wish you another brilliant writing week.
Cheers, Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseYou create strong frameworks for storytelling, no doubt because you think so hard about your story arcs.  From your Writing Muse

Taking the Next Step in a Writing Career

Goals get us up in the morning.  Before we rise, before the business of the world we’ve created takes over our day, we can remember that our great desire is to publish a shelf-load of stories, or to be a best-selling science fiction writer, or to write a character that will live as truly as Sherlock Holmes does.  And then ask:

What’s the one thing I need to do next? 

It might be to

  • create a unique setting for the next scene
  • make a supporting character force the protagonist to do what he’d never do (character development: see Donald Maass’s guides to writing)
  • find a better way for a character to stumble and pivot
  • write out the elevator pitch
  • write a jacket blurb
  • list 20 options for a better title
  • plan an overview of the development of a trilogy
  • draft the final paragraph of the story, even though it’s hardly begun

Whatever it is, our inner writer will be crafting it in our busy day, while we make tea, find our other shoe, fold the laundry, drive to the day job.  And create the writing career we wish for, one step at a time, in the right direction.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing week.  Cheers, Mel

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseThe body of work you’re creating now provides a solid foundation for your career.  Congratulations on achieving so much, and on having such an amazing journey behind and ahead of you.  From your fan, your Writing Muse

Success, While You Wait

pledge-smallSometimes it may seem as though success is a very slow mover.

We know our book is good.  We shop it here and there, without seeing much enthusiasm from editors, agents, or indie ebook lists.  We know that all we need is somebody to believe in us, and we wonder just when we’re going to arrive on that desk, that indie best-seller list, that review blog.

But, here’s something to consider.  If we were to arrive right now, is there a cache of work to put out there to please a burgeoning following?  Maybe we have lots of awesome work close to ready, or ready, to go. But if not — or, even if so — we’ll do well to welcome this calm before the storm of success as a gift from the muses.

Here, in this serene space, where nobody is demanding revisions, proofs, or interviews, we have the relatively uninterrupted opportunity to use our learning and gifts to make sure we have a topnotch skillset and a superb shelf of work to sell.  Our future selves will be most thankful for all this work accomplished, and even more, that we always believed in our own success.

I hope it’s another brilliant writing week for you. Cheers Mel.

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseThe middle section of your story teaches every writer what energy is all about in storytelling. All good wishes for your continuing success, from your Writing Muse.