SF Bay Area Writers, Check Out This Narrative Writing Workshop Lead by an Editor and Writer Who Has Edited More Than 1,000 Books

If you live in the SF Bay area, if you’ve long wanted to write or book, or are stuck in the middle of the book, join me at Book Passages in Corte Madera for six Sundays beginning April 17 for a workshop on narrative techniques in fiction and non-fiction.

Click here for details and to register for the workshop.

You’ll get personal feedback on your chapters, stories, outline, and an honest assessment on how and where you might seek publication. You’ll get advice on making and executing a plan to publish your work from an editor and publisher with more that 40 years in the publishing business, who has edited everything from NY Times Bestsellers to amazing tales of other worlds, non-fiction and some fiction. (You can find more information about me on this site.)

I usually only work one on one, at a much higher cost to writers. So this is a rare opportunity of good value and an opportunity to hang out with other writers. There aren’t that many spots left. The workshop is limited to 10.

Join me if you can. (And if you can’t, please pass this invitation along).

A Blog Sidetracked, Hijacked, and Derailed All before the Ides of March

This post is a version of the dog ate my homework, or why I haven’t posted anything for two months. Around that time I posted my intention to do a one line writing practice every day, inspired by an article about a NY Times videographer. It was going to be a little side project, an exploration, while I did my real writing and work–this blog, two manuscripts I’m in the midst of, and some editing and consulting. Well, life intervened in the form of a medical crisis (I’m on the mend) and a hugely disruptive leak that forced me to move out of my condo for a period of time only days after surgery (I’m still not home).

And practically the only writing I’ve managed to do is those one-liners, recorded in the “notes” section of my phone. And, at the end of the year, I’ll have an archive of a kind I’ve never had before.

Being on the mend, I’m turning my thoughts to other projects. I’ve found a few interesting articles to post about. Watch for those in the coming days.

And I’m working on a workshop I’ll be teaching coming up next month (April 17th) for six weeks at Book Passages in Corte Madera, CA (for those of you who might be in Northern California). Here’s the link: Workshop information.

There’s very little I love more in the world that talking with writers about what they’re doing, sharing techniques, giving feedback, helping them shape their work. This  workshop will be a chance to do it in a small group. There will be assignments designed to help you dig deeper; feedback on your work in progress; and fun!

Write on, through thick and thin. Don’t think about it too much. Just sit down and do it. That’s my instruction to myself for this week.

Websites Galore, or Keep This List Handy

Okay, old person alert. When I was young I wrote my first stories and poems on a manual LC Smith typewriter. Then there was a little portable electric, a Royal maybe. Then, oh Frabjous Day, an IBM self-correcting Selectric, at least I think that’s what it was called. And then an Apple, Two-ee was it’s name I believe, followed by a long string, Macs and PCs both. Who knew there would come a day? A day when there would be so many websites and resources for writers of all ages and stripes that someone would think to name the 100 best, for several years running, in fact.

It’s a huge list–an ice cream super duper sundae with three flavors of syrup and whipped cream and a cherry on top kind of list. I’d bet my IBM Selectric (if I still had it) that no one person is going to find use for every website on this list. But I’d also bet that if you’re a serious writer and you’re looking for one sort of resource or another–from help with independent publishing to research ideas to editing help to finding a writer’s group to who-knows-what–you’ll find something on this list useful. So pin it up on your cork board, or maybe just bookmark it. You might find it useful.

And here it is: 100 Best Websites for Writers

Write on!

When Do You Need an Agent? Do You Need an Agent? Where Can You Find One?

This article about when do you need an agent describes one writer’s journey to agent and published book, in a pretty traditional trajectory through an MFA writing program and beyond. It’s a great description of that, but not exactly a how to. You most likely need an agent if you’re trying to traditionally publish a novel with a traditional publishing house, or most anything with one of the so-called Big Five. Obviously you don’t need an agent if you’re going to independently publish. Then you need an editor, a cover designer, maybe a consultant to walk you through your various options.

If you decide you want to look for an agent, the best things to do are described in the first paragraph of this article. Network, check out the acknowledgments in your favorite books, research on the internet.

My last little piece of advice here is to follow each agent’s submission guides (almost always available on their websites) to the T. Do not send them anything more than they ask for, or anything less. Rewrite your pitch until it’s razor sharp. Tell them who you are, what you want to write, and what you’re doing to get that writing out into the world. All in the briefest most direct way possible.

Research your options as you write your book. Write on!

Free Advice Is Worth Way More Than You Pay for It: If It Inspires You to Write

I once had a colleague who loudly opined that free advice is worth what you pay for it, a curmudgeonly attitude even in those pre-internet days. But who can put a value on what spurs you to write what you’ve always wanted to write? And who can put a value on your writing?

The tips in this article may come under the category of free advice. But they’re good and sold. Check it out. You may or may not be motivated by writing for yourself as opposed to others. You may or may not have the inclination and wherewithal to attend a writers’ conference and look for an agent. Read it once, maybe twice, then go to your computer or pick up a pen and just do it.

Take what you can use and leave the rest. Write on!