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Life Giving You Lemons? Make Lemonade!

May 10th, 2019

Writing rewards always bring a smile, whether it’s a great book review, a story or article acceptance, being placed in a competition, or simply someone saying nice things about something you’ve written. We all crave the positives to offset the many negatives we encounter on our journey to publication.

We strive for success and rightly celebrate it when it arrives, but what about those times when it feels as if the mountain is simply too hard to climb? How do we cope with the feeling that no matter what we do, we are never going to achieve our goals? The answer, of course, is to keep writing and keep submitting.

I’ve probably had more ‘thanks, but no thanks’ than I care to count, or want to remember. But rejections are simply part of a writer’s life. What has been even worse than that for me is to achieve my dreams and then have them taken away. That has happened to me on three separate occasions and this post is intended to show how I got back up, dusted myself off, and (like Robert the Bruce’s determined spider) tried, tried again – and succeeded again! Read the rest of this entry »




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Reeling In Your Reader

April 26th, 2019

I have to admit that I love a bit of fiction. Don’t you? There’s nothing like being whisked away to exciting new worlds, or going on thrilling adventures. Equally, there’s something special about a love story that gives you that happy glow and makes you feel that all is right with the world.

Now, I love reading books, but I also like a short story. In today’s world, life seems to be galloping along, and we barely have time to breathe, but we all have the odd five minutes to spare. And five minutes is all it takes to read a short story and to lose yourself in someone else’s life.

It’s the first couple of sentences that usually sucks me into a story. Take this example:

“I didn’t mean it. Please…please don’t hurt me,” the young girl said, her dark eyes welling up with tears.  

 “You should have thought of that before,” the man said, advancing towards her.   Read the rest of this entry »




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Making Your Query Letter Work For You

April 19th, 2019

As you probably already know, some magazines are willing to accept articles and features  on spec – others won’t consider unsolicited material. So, how should you approach the latter?

Nowadays, most professional writers prefer to sell an idea to the editor first, before writing the article. That way, they don’t waste time writing something that no-one wants to publish. It’s a far better use of time and resources if you know that an editor is interested in and has commissioned your work. Ultimately, you’re far more likely to be paid for your writing!

But to get that commission, you need to sell the editor the idea by making a pitch. This is a sensible way to approach it because: Read the rest of this entry »




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A Day In The Life Of A Literary Agent

April 12th, 2019

Just recently, I seem to have had a number of guests who have given advice about self-publishing. But what about the many writers who want to go down the more conventional path and publish via an agent? So this week I’ve been talking to Susan Yearwood, who runs a successful London agency, about what her work entails and what she is looking for when taking on a new author.

“My day consists of editing, arranging and attending meetings as well as signing writers to my agency.

I recently met with a writer and discussed edits before he re-submits his script to me. His will be the second signing to Susan Yearwood Agency in just over a week, the first of which pertains to a psychological thriller writer; her script is at the line-by-line editing stage. Read the rest of this entry »




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Make Money From Standing On Your Soap Box

April 5th, 2019

First, thanks to Cheryl for last week’s blog. I’ve got a copy of Vengeance Is Mine waiting for me and I’m really looking forward to reading it this weekend! I will, of course, report back and let you know what I thought about it.

One of the modules in our course deals with writing readers’ letters to magazines and newspapers, and ‘filler’ items. These days ‘fillers’ can be quite difficult to put your finger on as they can range from short articles and tips on travel, food or money-saving through to quizzes and humorous anecdotes. Some students complain that working in this market isn’t ‘real writing’. It may not seem like it, but it can certainly bring in a bit of extra money – not to mention the enticing free gifts that various publications offer in lieu of cash. Read the rest of this entry »




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