Forget about Snowflake—it’s time for “Up Lit” and Other New Words

We need “up lit” books as an antidote to so much negativity in politics.

Snowflake is last year’s cliché, while Brexit is so 2016.  It’s time for a fresh batch of new words, or at least newly repurposed words. (more…)

In Praise of the Lowly Comma

One tiny comma can sometimes make all the difference when it comes to the meaning of a sentence or a contract for that matter. Strunk and White advocated for the Oxford comma in their classic book, “The Elements of Style,” while the AP Stylebook doesn’t require series comma. If you’re an Oxford-comma proponent like me, a recent federal court ruling will reinforce your position. (more…)

Did You Know? How “Red Herring” Originated

Dashiell Hammett’s seminal detective novel, “The Maltese Falcon,” opens with the mysterious Miss Wonderly hiring private eye Sam Spade and his partner, Miles Archer, to follow a man who eloped with her sister. It’s a classic red herring. Readers of mysteries, crime fiction, and suspense novels love red herrings, but where did the term originate? (more…)

The Giving Season: 7 Gifts the Writer in Your Life Actually Needs

Need a gift idea this holiday season for the writer in your life? The spiffy journals and coffee mugs with literary quotes are nice, but skip them this year. If your writer is anything like me, he or she needs certain things many people don’t think about. (more…)

#PitMad: Pitch Your Manuscript to Literary Agents & Publishers

Photo via Visual hunt.

Do you have an unpublished manuscript? Join the Twitter party known as #PitMad to pitch your work to literary agents and publishers. On Dec. 7, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, you may tweet a maximum of three different pitches for every manuscript. (more…)

Lisa Scottoline Inspires at Writer’s Digest Conference: “Protect Your Candle”

Good writing is hard and getting published is even harder. No one knows this better than best-selling author Lisa Scottoline who compared a struggling writer’s life to a weak candlelight. (more…)

Penguin Random House Editor Offers Tips on Beefing Up Supporting Characters

Don’t let your supporting characters get lost in the crowd. Photo: sonstroem via Visual hunt / CC BY

Have you thought of making the supporting characters in your novel the stars of their own lives? It’s the key to developing more interesting secondary characters, according to a Penguin Random House editor. (more…)

5 Reasons Why Reading is the Key to Writing Success

FairOaksBookshelfPicbyCindyFazziWant to be a writer? Read, read, and read some more. It’s the first requirement for writing well. Don’t take my word for it, take Stephen King’s. He said: “You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do. If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” (more…)

Career Authors: Free Online Resource & New Community for Writers

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A literary agent, two best-selling authors, an editor, and a digital strategist recently launched Career Authors, a free writing resource and a new online community for writers. (more…)

Small Presses: 2 Opportunities for Unpublished Literary Novels

If you have an unpublished and unrepresented literary novel, two small presses offer an opportunity within the next few months. Coffee House Press has open submissions right now, while the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing is sponsoring a fiction contest. (more…)