5 Tips for Setting Achievable Writing Goals
Nelson Literary Agency
by Angie Hodapp
1M ago
Many of you are probably familiar with Masterclass, the subscription-based website where luminaries from a wide array of specialties—typically business, lifestyle, and the arts—offer in-depth, high-production-value courses you can take from the comfort of your home. Writing instructors on the platform include, among many others, Margaret Atwood, RL Stine, James Patterson, Walter Mosley, Neil Gaiman, David Baldacci, Joyce Carol Oates, Salman Rushdie, Amy Tan, and NK Jemisin. While obviously the best content lives behind the paywall, Masterclass.com offers some excellent free content as well. As ..read more
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End-of-Year Stats & Maybe End of an Era
Nelson Literary Agency
by Kristin Nelson
1M ago
Happy December! Wishing all our loyal newsletter readers a joyful holiday season. As extra holiday cheer, we are delivering our end-of-year stats early. Normally we make readers wait until January, so click now and enjoy. We’ve also been crunching some newsletter data, and those insights show that 2023 will ring in some change.  Had I been smart, I would have saved every newsletter created. Best that I can tell, we here at NLA have been delivering a monthly newsletter since 2008. That is basically a decade and a half of delivering insider content to help aspiring writers learn about publi ..read more
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7 Tips for Writing Powerful Endings
Nelson Literary Agency
by Angie Hodapp
1M ago
Let’s face it. In the fiction industry, there’s a heck of a lot of emphasis heaped on your opening pages. Your opening is what gets judged when you enter a contest. It’s what you submit to agents when you’re looking for representation. And, after your hardcover is published, it’s how a bookstore-browsing reader makes a $30 spending decision. Why don’t we place equal emphasis on endings? Well, not every reader makes it to every book’s end—which, of course, is a function of the effectiveness of the book’s beginning and middle. So here we are, back at the importance of openings again, right? Kind ..read more
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Never Let the Truth Get in the Way of a Good Story
Nelson Literary Agency
by Angie Hodapp
2M ago
“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story” is one of those fun pieces of campfire wisdom sure to elicit a laugh. It encourages hyperbole, color, embellishment. It places greater value on the experience of a well-told story and the skill of the storyteller than on the mundanity of whatever really happened. But interpreted in a slightly different way, this adage offers a useful lesson for fiction writers. I’ve read many a manuscript in which the author has become so bogged down in truth that they forget they’re telling a story. This happens in all types of fiction, but it’s especially ..read more
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The Coveted Book Club Pick
Nelson Literary Agency
by Kristin Nelson
2M ago
When aspiring authors dream big about career success, landing a Good Morning America (GMA) or Today Show Book Club pick is probably a nice part of that dream. Daydreaming about what snazzy outfit to wear for the TV appearance can take aspiring writers to a happy place. (Nods to Shelby’s gorgeous blue dress and Jamie’s fab deep purple suit.) Just how did these authors land the coveted book-club pick? In short, I actually don’t know. This kind of high-profile visibility is rare in the book world. Like the insider mechanics of how a title lands on the New York Times bestseller list, the truth of ..read more
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Writing Excuses
Nelson Literary Agency
by Angie Hodapp
2M ago
NLA’s podcast pick this month is Writing Excuses. Hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. Hugo Award-winning Writing Excuses offers quick, fifteen-minute episodes—58 so far—for writers at every stage of their journey…”because you’re in a hurry and we’re not that smart.” Episodes cover a wide range of topics, like genre, the writing life, career building, character development, and story structure. In addition to the core crew listed above, additional hosts include Maurice Broaddus, Wesley Chu, Aliette de Bodard, Piper J. Drake, Amal El-Mohtar, Valynne E ..read more
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Human Beings First, Agents Second
Nelson Literary Agency
by Kristin Nelson
3M ago
Newsletter readers, have you been checking your spam folder once a month wondering if you’ve missed the Nelson Literary Agency newsletter since July? The good news is that you haven’t missed an issue. There simply hasn’t been a newsletter since June, and here’s why. Warning: This is truly a “pub rant,” so if you are only in the mood for something positive, you might want to skip this read. The reason there has been no newsletter for the last four months is straightforward: I had a major life event in mid July into August during which I unexpectedly lost my remaining parent. As the Executor/Tru ..read more
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Give Your Women’s Fiction a Glow Up
Nelson Literary Agency
by Angie Hodapp
3M ago
We here at NLA were talking a couple weeks ago about women’s fiction. The consensus is that WF seems to be transforming. Expanding. Shedding dusty old tropes. Reinventing itself. It’s having a glow up, and more readers than ever are showing up for it. We as an agency want to show up for it too. So if you write women’s fiction and want to catch this train with us, here are some tips to get you started. Defining Women’s Fiction Women’s fiction is generally written by women, about women, for women; therefore, the themes and conflicts that drive the stories are deeply, personally familiar to, well ..read more
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Writers, Ink with JD Barker, J. Thorn, and Zach Bohannon
Nelson Literary Agency
by Angie Hodapp
3M ago
This month, the NLA team wanted to spotlight another cool online resource for writers…and not just because one of Agent Kristin’s clients, the inimitable JD Barker, is one of the hosts! Writers, Ink is a podcast that, according to its tagline, promises to be “your backstage pass to the world’s most prolific authors.” Turns out, with 145 episodes produced since its inception in December 2019, Writers, Ink more than delivers on that promise. Hosts JD Barker, J. Thorn, and Zach Bohannon have interviewed not just some of today’s most prolific authors, but also some of the most respected and recogn ..read more
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Rhetorical Story Development
Nelson Literary Agency
by Angie Hodapp
7M ago
This month, let’s tackle a narrative device that lots of fiction writers use, one I’m calling “rhetorical story development.” It’s when writers have characters ask themselves rhetorical questions as a means to deliver character or scene information to the reader. Here’s how to recognize this device, understand why it tends to lack depth, decide when to use it (and when not to), and approach revision. A rhetorical question is one that’s asked merely for effect with no answer expected. Here’s an example of how fiction writers use it as a narrative device: James stared at Rob, fists at his sides ..read more
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