WELCOME to the friendly neighborhood lit assistant fount of knowledge!
If you prefer to read my Twitter craft threads in their original tweetly glory, head over here. (There are also some threads there that could not be translated to article format.)
Otherwise, pick your poison and dive in!
* = endorsed by literary agents
+ = endorsed by Big 5 and/or mid-size press editors
^ = endorsed by authors
Writing An Effective, Enticing Query (Method 1) *^
If you’re struggling to get your query right, this character-driven strategy may work well for you.
Writing An Effective, Enticing Query (Method 2) *^
If the above method was not right for you, this method takes a more formulaic and methodical approach.
Querybending With the Avatar ^
EVERYTHING CHANGED WHEN THE FIRE NATION ATTACKED.
[It’s silly, but it works.]
Quick Query Checklist *^
Take 5 minutes before you send out your query to make absolutely sure you have everything you need in it!
Follow the Sub Guidelines *+^
So many querying authors shoot themselves in the foot by not following the submission guidelines. Follow directions, and you’ll put yourself ahead of 90% of querying authors.
Not Everyone Likes Eggplant *^
Learning the difference between “I am a bad writer” and “my book did not suit this agent’s/editor’s tastes” will save you a lot of heartache and angst.
Querying Commandments *
Thou shalt honor the sub guidelines and keep them holy.
Writing Engaging First Pages
You only get a few pages — sometimes fewer — to impress a literary agent. Make sure yours are unique, grounded, and engaging!
How NOT to Query *
Learn from the heinous mistakes I made as a baby querying author and save yourself some major humiliation.
Common Mistakes in the Slush *
The top 30 most common mistakes I see when I’m reading slush.
Handling Rejection in a Brutal Business *^
Every author faces rejection. That is just a fact of the industry and of being an artist in general. But rejection can also be channeled into positive progress.
[This thread has also been endorsed and quoted by literary agents. If you like gif posts better, try Keep Moving Forward.]
Italicized Thoughts vs Direct Narration *
One of my biggest baby author sins was throwing in excessive italicized thoughts from the MC’s POV instead of smoothly integrating them into the narrative. This goes through why the latter can be more effective and provides examples of both.
Filtering and Distancing Language *+^
Don’t put a barrier between your main character and your reader if you are writing close 1st person or 3rd person! Filters and distancing language are easy to remove (and cut down on your word count!), but make an incredible amount of difference.
Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater
Just because a scene isn’t working doesn’t mean you have to scrap the entire thing. A few well-placed words can change the tone of an entire scene!
Editing A Book to Death *^
How much editing is TOO much editing?
Don’t Be a Dick (especially to assistants) *+^
Assistants do a LOT of the heavy lifting in publishing. Don’t be a dick to them. Seriously.
Historical Research 101 ^
A basic guideline to doing historical research for books: Rae edition.
How to Show Power When Writing Royalty and Nobility *^
Writing royalty and nobility is epic . . . but how do you SHOW how powerful they are?
The Glorification and Myth of the Tortured
Hollywood loves to tell stories about mentally ill artists and creators who are forced to choose between their mental health and their art. It’s a damaging and horrific myth that needs to be addressed at every possible opportunity.
What I Wish I’d Known, What I’m Glad I Didn’t
Publishing is hard af.
Some things are useful to know early on. Some can only be learned through experience.
Please note that no writing advice is universal. If you find any of this advice helpful, please use it! If it does not apply to your materials or situation, feel free to disregard!