Scene, Summary, Postcard: 3 Types of Scenes in Commercial, Upmarket, and Literary Fiction
Jane Friedman Blog
by Lidija Hilje
5d ago
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash Today’s post is by author, book coach, and developmental editor Lidija Hilje. It’s often said that scenes are the fundamental building blocks of a story—the smallest units that propel the narrative forward. But what precisely constitutes a scene, and what types of scenes are there? Typically, when we refer to a scene, we’re talking about it in a classic, strict sense: as a story-relevant event that unfolds in real time. A classic scene contains the smallest piece of the plot and a movement in character arc in response to that plot. The reader follows the protago ..read more
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When—and Why—Reveals Don’t Work
Jane Friedman Blog
by Tiffany Yates Martin
5d ago
Photo by George Milton Today’s post is by editor Tiffany Yates Martin (@FoxPrintEd). Join her on Wednesday, March 6, for the online class Secrets, Twists, and Reveals. Every story is a mystery, the reader seduced by that inexorable pull to know what happens next, and why. It’s the author’s job to create questions that readers crave the answers to. The more you can delay gratification, the greater the arousal of reader’s desire to know. At least in theory. This facet of human nature—our insatiable curiosity—explains the appeal of using secrets, twists, and reveals in stories to a ..read more
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Set Up the Perfect Online Press Kit
Jane Friedman Blog
by Camilla Monk
1w ago
Photo by cocarinne Today’s post is by author and website designer Camilla Monk. How’s your press kit doing these days? Mine was virtually non-existent until I attended an excellent presentation on author press kits hosted by agent Sarah Fisk for the Authors Guild. Sarah’s insightful and actionable advice led me to reflect on what sort of press kits I—and by extension the bloggers and journalists looking to write about authors and their books—see online: mostly downloadable PDFs with low quality images and limited content. In other words, the very medium we rely on to advertise our books i ..read more
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Structure: The Safety Net for Your Memoir
Jane Friedman Blog
by Lisa Cooper Ellison
1w ago
Today’s post is by writer and editor Lisa Cooper Ellison. Join her on Wednesday, Feb. 21, for the online class Find the Memoir Structure That Works for You. A few weeks ago, I geeked out on structure with screenwriter, filmmaker, and budding memoirist Alyson Shelton. During our conversation, she said, “Structure is the safety net readers fall into. Nailing it is the way we hold space for them and let them know that while we might keep them guessing, or stir up challenging emotions, we’re taking them somewhere important.” Structure is a safety net for writers too. When it’s missing, they ..read more
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3 Ways to Experiment with Memoir Structure to Improve Your Narrative Arc
Jane Friedman Blog
by Lisa Cooper Ellison
1w ago
Today’s post is by writer and editor Lisa Cooper Ellison. Join her on Wednesday, Feb. 21, for the online class Find the Memoir Structure That Works for You. Most memoir first drafts consist of stories writers have told themselves or everyone else. Some of those tales have great punchlines or stab the reader’s heart so deeply they lose their breath. In the beginning, many of us are convinced our only job is to find the words that make those stories sparkle. But revision teaches us how malleable the truth is. So much depends not on the events themselves, but on how we perceive them. L ..read more
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What Taylor Swift’s Vault Tracks Can Teach You About Not Killing Your Darlings
Jane Friedman Blog
by Sarah Welch
1w ago
Today’s post is by writer and editor Sarah Welch. I write a lot about killing your darlings. Or, rather, not killing your darlings but saving them for later. These scraps that say something beautiful or important to you, but don’t ultimately fit in your current work-in-progress, can still have serious value for another project down the road. That might be snippets of dialogue, a catchy turn of phrase, or a full-fledged character or plot line. Not buying it? Let me offer you a little concrete evidence: Taylor Swift’s vault tracks. Swifties (and I’m one of them) will jump on any chanc ..read more
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Hybrid Publishers and Paid Publishing Services: Red Flags to Watch For
Jane Friedman Blog
by Joel Pitney
1w ago
Photo by C. G. on Unsplash Today’s post is by author Joel Pitney, founder of Launch My Book. “It takes them weeks to get back to me.” “I have no idea where my book is published.” “Royalties? What royalties? I haven’t seen a penny come my way and it’s been over a year.” “The cover is fine, I guess. I didn’t have much control over the final product.” “I wish I had talked to you months ago.” These are just a few of the comments I’ve heard from authors sharing their experiences with the hybrid publishing companies they’ve chosen to work with. Sadly, I’ve noticed that these conversations ..read more
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Writing Rules That Beg to Be Broken
Jane Friedman Blog
by Randall Silvis
2w ago
Photo by Alice Dietrich on Unsplash Today’s post is excerpted from Ten Easy Steps to Becoming a Writer by Randall Silvis. I despise rules. Always have. Rules are for accountants and architects, assembly line workers and neurosurgeons. In order to be successful in those professions, there are procedures that must always be followed, variations that must never be employed. The word creative, however, as in the phrase creative writing, demands, at the very least, an imaginative interpretation of the rules. Thanks to a degree of success over the years, I am asked again and again to lay o ..read more
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Author Platform Is Not a Requirement to Sell Your Novel or Children’s Book
Jane Friedman Blog
by Jane Friedman
2w ago
Recently an article was published at Vox titled “Everyone’s a sellout now.” The subtitle: “So you want to be an artist. Do you have to start a TikTok?” The dour conclusion, probably the writer’s predetermined conclusion when she began her research: more or less. This article makes the classic mistake of conflating all kinds of artists and creative industries and painting them all with the same brush. But specifically, for writers and book publishing, it spreads so many myths and misconceptions about the business of authorship that I’ll be undoing the damage for years. (My inbox last week: Did ..read more
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Why You Need a Press Release in the Digital Age
Jane Friedman Blog
by Claire McKinney
2w ago
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash Today’s guest post is by public relations expert Claire McKinney. It serves as an update to her 2017 post, The Difference Between a Pitch and a Press Release. If you’re wondering whether press releases are still relevant or important, I’m here to convince you that they are. Why send out a press release? Media relations departments from all types of companies—Fortune 500 to startups—use press releases to communicate with the media. Why do billion-dollar businesses bother to send them out? Because this is still how you send information to the media.&nb ..read more
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