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Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Spring 2019

This submissions season covers deadlines from March 1, 2019 through May 31, 2019. How was the start of your writing year? Deep into drafts and submissions or still working up to your first? Here’s another invigorating round of opportunities. Thanks to Literistic, Poets & Writers, Submittable Discover, and New Pages …

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Would You Pay to Turn the Page of This Bestseller?

Trained by reading hundreds of submissions, editors and agents often make their read/not-read decision on the first page. In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters starting about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are 16 or 17 lines on the first page. …

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Parenting Advice, Elevator Pitches, and the Essential Heart of Story

Flickr Creative Commons:: seanbjack When my daughters were little I used to read all kinds of books and magazines filled with parenting advice, looking for the nugget of wisdom that would help me be the best possible parent. One day, I found it: “Don’t forget to smile at your kids.” …

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The Editor’s Clinic: Brave New World

One reason writers fail when setting their stories in a different world –  in the past, in the present with a different metaphysics, in another galaxy — is by not digging deeply enough into what makes their world distinct.  Any writer knows to change the technology their characters use, and …

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Storytelling and Stepping Beyond the Veil

Are you already wondering what I mean by “the veil”? Whether you’ve read my essays before or not, you likely have a suspicion. Do I have a ghost of a chance at keeping you reading if I admit that the answer is a bit metaphysical? At least till I’ve made …

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How to Nail Your Novel’s First 500 Pages

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. You only get one shot to hook an editor or an agent. If you’re going to get them to like your …

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Your Story’s Valentine to the World

photo adapted / Horia Varlan Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m going to detour from my more typical craft posts to talk about the art of seduction. Mm-hmm, that’s right: we’re going to talk submission packages. I hear you, already moaning with anticipation and pleasure (although you’re ahead of yourself: this …

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Making the Case for Poetry (and for Pillows, Lampposts, and Subways Seats that Speak)

This fall, I started a job teaching 7th grade English. It began as a part-time job, just .5. Then, three weeks ago, the other 7th grade English teacher resigned, and since then, I find myself teaching his classes as well as mine … meaning that I am 1.2 time. Meaning …

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Fiction Therapy—What’s Your Story’s Problem?

Every month, I examine some aspect of fiction—character development, plot, story structure, etc.—and offer advice and tips to help you work through the problems in your novel. I have adapted many of the concepts you’ll see here from proven techniques used in modern psychotherapy. Hence: Fiction Therapy. If you have …

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Writing Characters That Are ‘Smarter’ Than You

Flickr Creative Commons: Steve McFarland   We are so excited to welcome our newest contributor to Writer Unboxed – Rheea Mukherjee! Rheea is the author of The Body Myth, which is releasing this month from Unnamed Press. Rheea is the co-founder of Write Leela Write, a design and content laboratory …

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