At the Write-to-Publish writers Conference, the instructor highly recommended this book for all authors of fiction of any genre. But the book goes beyond just writing for fiction, but also includes helpful sections for non-fiction. As the back cover says, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions--how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place." Stein includes examples from his students and published authors to show how to improve one's writing. This is the kind of writing book to read once every year or every couple of years. It is a gold field worth mining.
For fiction writers, Stein deals with making fascinating characters, the basics of plotting and the method screenwriters use for fast plotting, writing good dialogue, HOW to show and not tell, maintaining the correct point of view and using all of the senses. He explains how to come up with catchy titles. He covers non-fiction in four chapters by showing how all the techniques that work for fiction can also create excellent non-fiction.
Good writing requires good rewriting. Stein details his method of rewriting and how to make one's writing tight and well-paced. His method helps keep your project fresh to you during the long rewriting process. This book needs to be on every writer's bookshelf.
Super fast tips to punch up your prose
Here you will find information that does not have a home elsewhere.
Word of the month for October: Interesting words?
Word of the month for May: palindromes
Word of the month for September: petulant
Word of the month for January: conundrum
Word of the month for December: flippant
Word of the month for October: afflatus
Word of the month for September: glower
Word of the month for August: omnipresent
Word of the month for April: jive
Word of the month for February: Blond/Blonde (one of the few English words with masculine/feminine spellings)
Word of the month for January: Litotes
Word of the month for November: weltschmerz
Word of the month for October: trilemma
Word of the month for September: fulminant
Word of the month for August: bort
Word of the month for July: shamble
Editing tip: use a text reader to read your documents aloud. There are many good programs available. NaturalReader is one that we have used.
Checklist for Interviewing Agents
When you are trying to find an agent, you have every right to question and interview them. Unfortunately, most writers don't interview agents and simply sign with whoever agrees to represent them. While agents are qualifying you as a prospective client, qualify them as potential agents. The questions that you should ask prospective agents will vary project to project. However, the following basic questions are appropriate in most situations:
1. Do you specialize in a particular genre of books?
2. What have you recently sold that you are most excited about?
3. I noticed that you sold X; how did that author get your attention?
4. May I have a list of your current and past clients?
5. May I contact your clients?
6. May I have a list of the books you sold in the past year?
7. What books that are similar to mine have you sold?
8. Are you a member of AAR?
9. Will you adhere to the AAR Canon of Ethics? If not, please explain.
10. How much should I expect my book to sell for to a publisher?
11. Who will lead my account? What is his/her experience?
12. How much time will he/she spend on my account?
13. Who else will work on my account and in what capacity? What is his/her experience?
14. How much time will he/she devote to my account?
15. Who will supervise the work on my account? What is his/her experience?
16. How much time will he/she put in on my account?
17. What is your plan for selling my book?
18. How long do you expect it to take?
19. What more can I do to increase my book's chances of selling?
20. How much input will I have in my campaign?
21. How often will I receive communications/updates about my account?
22. In addition to selling my book, what services will I receive?
23. In what time frame will I receive each of these services?
24. What can I do if I don't receive the results promised?
25. Can I fire you? If so, when?
26. Will you still be entitled to fee payments? ]If so, for what and how much?
27. What are your strong points, your advantages over other agencies?
28. What is the best way and best time for me to contact you?
29. How long should I expect to wait before hearing from you?
30. Do you have a protocol for how we will work together? If so, what is it?
31. Do you have an author/agent agreement? If so, may I see it?
An excerpt from the National Bestseller Author 101: Bestselling Secrets from Top Agents by Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman with Mark Steisel http://www.author101.com
Reprinted from "Rick Frishman's Author 101 Newsletter" Subscribe at http://www.author101.com and receive Rick's "Million Dollar Rolodex"
"Mastery does not come from dabbling. We have to be prepared to pay the price. We need to have the sustained enthusiasm that motivates us to give our best."
-- Eknath Easwaran