Turning Points
Writer Unboxed
by Juliet Marillier
1d ago
  There are the turning points in nature: the day we feel summer’s scorching heat start to abate as a sneaky breeze ruffles the leaves and a few drops of actual rain fall. I write from Western Australia, where a climate change summer is giving us a series of appalling heatwaves. The summers are always hot here, but this one keeps setting new records. There’s the turning point at the end of winter: if you live in the Northern Hemisphere you may see the ice on lakes break up and melt. The trees will put out fresh green leaves, and you’ll start to feel some real warmth in the sunshine. Like ..read more
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A BREAKTHROUGH Program for Writers of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror
Writer Unboxed
by WU Advertiser
1d ago
Have you ever wished that you could attend your own private writing workshop that would teach you exactly what you need to know, at the right pace for you, and respond to your questions, problems, and needs in extensive one-on-one sessions?  That’s what Your Personal Odyssey is. *Choose your pace with sessions starting June 3 (6 weeks) August 12 (12 weeks) November 25 (18 weeks) *Choose the topics you want to study, in the order you want to study them *Learn from 145 Hours of the Advanced, In-Depth Odyssey Lectures, including guest lectures by Nancy Kress, P. Djélì Clark, Melissa Scott ..read more
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Writing and Music: a Not-So-Odd Coupling
Writer Unboxed
by Keith Cronin
5d ago
As some of you may already know, in addition to being a highly sought-after shirtless model for romance novel covers, I am also a longtime professional musician, having earned my first money for playing drums at the ripe old age of 14. In fact, music was my fulltime profession until my late 30s. And I didn’t start seriously writing fiction (inasmuch as anything I write could be considered “serious”) until I turned 40. (So you might say that as a writer, I was a 40-year-old virgin. But I digress…) Coming into a new-to-me art form with a lengthy background in another, I’ve been repeatedly struc ..read more
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Flog a Pro: Would You Turn the First Page of this Bestseller?
Writer Unboxed
by Ray Rhamey
6d ago
Trained by reading hundreds of submissions, editors and agents often make their read/not-read decision on the first page. In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters starting about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are 16 or 17 lines on the first page. Here’s the question: Would you pay good money to read the rest of the chapter? With 50 chapters in a book that costs $15, each chapter would be “worth” 30 cents. So, before you read the excerpt, take 30 cents from your pocket or purse. When you’re done, decide what to do with those t ..read more
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Time for Feedback? How to Get the Most Out of It
Writer Unboxed
by Virginia Pye
1w ago
Please welcome our newest contributor, Virginia Pye, to Writer Unboxed! Virginia is the author of four books of fiction, essays, and short stories. Her latest historical novel, The Literary Undoing of Victoria Swann, was published in October 2023. Her collection, Shelf Life of Happiness won the 2019 Independent Publisher Gold Medal for Short Fiction and one of its stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her debut novel, River of Dust was an Indie Next Pick and a 2013 Finalist for the Virginia Literary Award. Her second novel, Dreams of the Red Phoenix was named a B ..read more
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Book PR and Marketing Questions Answered Part XVI: What’s on My Marketing Mind for 2024
Writer Unboxed
by Ann Marie Nieves
1w ago
I had Covid for Christmas. First time. I spent the holiday week quarantining in my basement and binge-watching The Morning Show. I was pissed. My husband was overwhelmed. Our kids were sad. Our hound watched over me figuring something was very wrong if we weren’t going out for our daily two-mile walk. January couldn’t come soon enough. January 2024 has been the most meaningful month I’ve experienced in some time. Don’t get me wrong, Covid has left me with lingering headaches, brain fog (I write down everything and say it out loud), and an almost desperate need to drink Diet Coke at 3pm daily ..read more
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The Politics of Character (Or How to Write About Politics Without Writing About Politics)
Writer Unboxed
by David Corbett
1w ago
In 2018, Harvard political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt published a book titled How Democracies Die, that contends when American democracy has worked, it has relied upon two norms that we often take for granted: mutual tolerance and institutional forbearance. “Treating rivals as legitimate contenders for power and underutilizing one’s institutional prerogatives in the spirit of fair play are not written into the Constitution. Yet without them, our constitutional checks and balances will not operate as we expect them to.” The issue of mutual tolerance is particularly important ..read more
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Effect and Cause
Writer Unboxed
by Donald Maass
1w ago
What’s your state of mind? What condition are you in at the moment? Are you in a state of curiosity? Fear? Amusement? Apathy? Disbelief? Detachment? Celebration? Rage? Sorrow? Bewilderment? Confusion? Loneliness? Relaxation? Joy? Or, perhaps, you are in a state of faint disgust at the knee-jerk outrage expressed by certain Hollywood luminaries at the “snub” of a certain director of a hit movie, having failed to be included in the Oscar shortlist category of Best Direction, presumably because the director is a woman and despite the fact that another woman was nominated, and that the nomination ..read more
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The First Rule of Write Club
Writer Unboxed
by Cathy Yardley
2w ago
“The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.” Fight Club, the book and the movie, comes at you like a right hook. In my experience, you love it or you hate it. But unless you’re tragically hipster or a Gen Z nihilist, the last thing you are is ambivalent. Which brings us to the topic of today’s post. Welcome to the Suck. I’ve been in the publishing industry for nearly 25 years. It’s always been the Wild West. Lately, though, it’s been looking less like a Western and more like a post-apocalyptic dystopia. We went from High Noon to The Hunger Games in six seconds flat. In ..read more
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Reflections on Success
Writer Unboxed
by Greer Macallister
2w ago
Recently, I stumbled across the news that one of my MFA classmates is on tour promoting her new book. This isn’t, in itself, remarkable–while there may be a handful of people who get a Masters in Creative Writing solely to improve their craft, I’m pretty sure most of us do it to increase our chances of publishing at least one book-length work of fiction. I’m not in touch with this particular author, but she was the first of us to get published, way back in 2002, and the news that she has a new book out put a smile on my face. But then my very next thought was: Wait. Is she more successful tha ..read more
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