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Your Facebook and Marketing Questions Answered

You have questions about getting reviews for your books, about reaching the right readers. You work hard at social media but aren’t quite sure if it’s doing anything to build your brand. You’ve heard that hiring a PR firm could be a tremendous asset to your career but aren’t sure …

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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Summer 2019

This contest submissions season covers deadlines from June 1, 2019 through September 1, 2019. Summer is a slower time for any literary journal or contest associated with a university, but there are still opportunities between beach waves and new drafts. Thanks to Literistic, Poets & Writers, Submittable Discover, and New …

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Protecting Your Creative Mindspace

wired.com Mindspace. You won’t find this term in Merriam-Webster, but I’m willing to bet most writers know what I’m talking about. The mind is a place where electricity ignites and runs over brain cells creating memory, thoughts, emotions. A mind is its own entity, but when you add “space” to …

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Are You Making Writing Harder Than it Needs to Be?

A common belief is that making art is hard. It requires suffering. “There’s nothing to writing,” the sportswriter Red Smith once said, “Just open a vein and bleed.” We have hundreds of models to reinforce this idea—the sufferings of Van Gogh, the tortured drunkenness of Faulkner, the suicides of Virginia …

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The Editor’s Clinic: Good Talk

In the comments on a recent Editor’s Clinic, the question came up as to when you should treat a language colloquially – contractions, a relaxed, familiar syntax — and when you should use a bit of formality to create a sense of otherness.  The example then was of a conversation …

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What Makes a Story Epic…To Me

Calliope, Muse of Epic Poetry Did you hear it? That epic sigh of relief, coming from the southern end of the Lake Michigan shore? Yeah, that was me. Sorry if I interrupted anything important. It’s just that I finally finished a draft of my WIP. This one is book three …

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Dissecting The Bear and the Nightingale

Katherine Arden so effectively writes about life under the unrelenting Medieval Russian winter that reading The Bear and the Nightingale could probably be used as air conditioning. This is the first line: “It was late winter in northern Rus’, the air sullen with wet that was neither rain nor snow.” …

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The Hack’s Guide to Finding Time to Write

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. Nobody has time to write. I myself didn’t have time to write this column, yet here you are reading it. How’d …

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The Place of Place in Our Writings

Joyce Carol Oates gives an acceptance speech at the opening of the Jerusalem International Book Forum on receiving the Jerusalem Prize on May 12. Image: Porter Anderson To Start in a ‘Nowhere Place’ Overnight, we’ve had news from Wales of the win by Guy Gunaratne of the 2019 Dylan Thomas …

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The Power of Writerly Kindness

Photo by Willow J Pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea, and get comfy. I’d like to talk about kindness in the writing community. I don’t mean retweeting to give each other a boost or following a stranger back to be courteous. I’m talking about profound kindness that …

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