Make Your Own “Sword of Light” Book Cover

Content Essentials Infographic

Also, tack this on to the keep-in-mind list.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

This could also be applied to stories


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How to turn a Complex Story into a Simple Synopsis

This is something I’ll keep in mind for later. Great post!

Drew Chial

1. Profile A lot things go into telling a simple story

My least favorite type of writing has always been summarizing. Whether I was pitching a screenplay or a synopsis for a book, I got too concerned about what producers and publishers were looking for. I hated whatever I put on paper. It felt like I was cutting out the tastiest parts to make it palatable, misrepresenting the material by packaging it for mass appeal.

When my screenwriting professor videotaped the pitch for my first script, I ranted for twenty minutes. This was no elevator pitch. The lift for the tallest building in the world doesn’t take that long to get to the top. I had to lower my time to two minutes or less.

Since then I’ve learned the memorization techniques I needed to keep myself on task and how to select the parts of my story that were worth focusing…

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Evolution of a Novel Pitch

Love this! The final version seems so simple and natural, but took a few tries to build. Looking forward to seeing how this goes during the query process.

Am I Doing This Right?


Around February, when we finally got the last of our beta notes back and made the last of our edits to The Last Princess, I worked up the nerve to start sending out query letters to agents. I invested in one of the online lectures available through the Writer’s Digest website — about writing query letters — and was introduced to the concept of the logline. A logline is a 2-3 sentence thumbnail of your novel which you put in the first paragraph of your query, to entice your agent-of-choice to read on. If distilling your entire novel into a one page synopsis seems daunting, then again even further into a paragraph for the body of the query letter, the logline is ten times as challenging. Because, it turns out, this is probably the single most important tool you have to interest an agent. It has to be perfect.

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Against All Odds—What’s Our REAL Chance of Becoming a Successful Author?

Definitely worth the read. Favorite excerpt: “… I said I wanted feedback. What I really wanted was for the group to tell me that my words were written in angel tears and that all the agents who rejected me must have been brain damaged.”

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook. Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook.

Many of you were here for last week’s discussion regarding What Makes a Real Writer? When we decide to become professional writers, we have a lot of work ahead of us and sadly, most will not make the cut.

I know it’s a grossly inaccurate movie, but I love G.I. Jane. I recall a scene during Hell Week (the first evolution of S.E.A.L. training) where Master Chief has everyone doing butterfly kicks in the rain. He yells at the recruits to look to their left and look to their right, that statistically, those people will quit.

Who will be the first to ring that bell? Who will be the first to quit?

Image via Image via

Years ago, one of my mentors mentioned The 5% Rule. What’s The 5% Rule? So happy you asked. Statistically, only 5% of the population is…

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100 Colourful Words to use in place of “Said” Infograph

Query Critique 46

Really enjoyed this query critique!

Captain (Query) Hook

There is very little actual critique on this query, as it’s already very polished. I think it’s important for writers to be able to see really good queries as well, to have a model to work off of. 
Dear Kyra Nelson,
Thirteen-year-old Stevie Blake shoots lightning at 1.21 gigawatts a bolt. I like this opening! Very specific about what makes the character unique. He supercharges iPhones into iDuds just by touching them. He even flies. (Landing is a whole different story.) Good voice.
But in less than thirty days, he won’t exist. I know this is set apart for emphasis, but I’d almost like to see it at the end of the first paragraph, because I think it would really tie the paragraph together. That’s pretty nitpicky, though.
His dad’s former sidekick, Artimus Smiles, has stolen a time machine and is using it to alter history. Suddenly, the good people…

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Howard Stern, Podcasting, and If You Want to Do Something, Do It!

Bookshelf Battle

Bookshelf Q. Battler here.  Bookshelf Q. Battle Dog brought me the Yeti’s Commodore 64, which will allow me a few minutes to post before the Siberian Yeti wakes up from a power nap.  I will have to hook up said 1980’s computer to a gas generator just to get it to work hard enough to power a wordpress blog post.

I was listening to Howard Stern this morning.  I like him.  You might not, but that’s not really the point here.

I’m afraid I came into the conversation late but basically, Howard said something to the effect that podcasts weren’t going to get an aspiring broadcaster anywhere, and if you really want to broadcast, then you need to do the legwork necessary to get a job in broadcasting.  A comedian with a podcast trashed Howard for not being with it, tech savvy, or however you want to put it.


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Good Old Classic Homer

I wasn’t allowed to watch “The Simpsons” as a kid. When I became old enough to watch it, my mother wasn’t exactly all that happy. She said that it was stupid, which parts of it were. She didn’t like the blatant violence, the crude humor, and how negligent Homer could be to his family.

I think if she had stuck around long enough to watch a whole episode, she’d have seen that it wasn’t really all that bad.

The following photos are the reason I love “The Simpons”, and why I intend to watch every episode:

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