On Writing and Publishing

Want to write a book and don’t know where to begin? Here you will find help from our editor and much-published author John Coyne. Plus information about getting your work into print.

1
Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #6
2
Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #5
3
Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #4
4
Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #3
5
Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #2
6
Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #1
7
The Future of Books, E-Books, All Books, Your Books!
8
Travelers’ Tales For Peace Corps Writers
9
Authors Guild Proposes National Digital Library of Out of Print Books
10
New York City A Bookstore Desert

Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #6

The # 6 Key Step: Playing God. If you want to write a novel, you must act like God. You begin to play God by creating a main character. You need a strong protagonist, someone who draws the reader into the story. This is the person with whom your reader will identify. You want your reader to care about your protagonists. You may have a main character who is a villain, but he or she is not the protagonist of your story. The protagonist is the hero or heroine carries the narrative to the climax of the novel. You have to decide. To help you decide, always ask yourself these critical questions: Which option would be most interesting to the reader? Will the reader care? These questions are the real litmus test of character development and plotting. To be successful, you need to make hard choices. You need to be . . .

Read More

Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #5

The #5 Key Step: Here are six things you have to do to finish your novel within 100 days. • Write at the same time every day. • Never wait until you “feel like writing.” • Turn off all distractions, like email or T.V.. • Set a goal to write a minimum number of words each day. • Don’t try to write too much at one time. • Try this trick of Ernest Hemingway’s. End each session in mid-sentence or mid-paragraph so that you’ll have an easier time starting up the next day. Here’s another 10 steps exercise, this one from Brian Clark, of CopyBlogger.com 1. Write. 2. Write move. 3. Write even more. 4. Write even more than that. 5. Write when you don’t want to. 6. Write when you do. 7. Write when you have something to say. 8. Write when you don’t. 9. Write every day. 10. . . .

Read More

Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #4

The #4 Key Step: You need to set a schedule of how much time you have in each day to write and how many words you want to write. You don’t have to write a lot. Ernest Hemingway wrote his first book, The Sun Also Rises in seven weeks—that’s approximately 1,500 words a day, but for more of his life he averaged 50 words a day when, as he would say, “the going was good.” Set a goal for yourself. For example. There are approximately 250 words on a printed page. So your goal is to write 1,000 words. Or four pages. Some days you’ll only manage to produce one page, other days you may write 15 pages. If you maintain this routine, you will have a 240-page book at the end of 60 days. That’s your first draft. Now, you start to rewrite. And that is what writing a . . .

Read More

Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #3

The # 3 Key Step: Choose your characters first as they are harder to imagine than the plot, and they are the keystone to your book. As you write, your plot may or may not change, but your characters will develop and have a life of their own. As the characters develop, they’ll take on distinct personalities, and, as with good friends, you will know in certain situations what they will or will not do. Listen to your characters. Listen to their demand, who if they were to come to live, would have a different fate than what you are planning. They will tell their own story, and if the story they tell surprises you, will it will surprise the reader, too.  As Somerset Maugham says, “you can never know too much about your characters.” In writing my last novel Long Ago and Far Away, I started the book thinking . . .

Read More

Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #2

The # 2 Key Step I’m a great believer in having the last line or last paragraph of my novels in mind before I start. I don’t know exactly how I’ll get there, but I have a destination. Joe Heller who wrote, as you know, Catch 22, said “I can’t start writing until I have a closing line.” The short story writer Katherine Anne Porter put it this way: “If I didn’t know the ending of a story, I wouldn’t begin. I always write my last line, my last paragraph, my last page first.” In fact, she wrote the last page of her only novel, Ship of Fools 20 years before she finished the novel. Interestingly, in the summer of 1962 she gave a talk at a writer’s conference at Georgetown University. Our Peace Corps Training for Ethiopia was also being held at Georgetown at the same time so I . . .

Read More

Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #1

TEN KEY STEPS IN WRITING YOUR NOVEL Opening Page and Paragraph We are all familiar with famous opening lines and first pages of famous novels. Well, lets see how many we do know. What book begins….. a. Call me Ishmael. b. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. c. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it. d. Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton Twins were. e. When he finished packing, he walked out . . .

Read More

The Future of Books, E-Books, All Books, Your Books!

Mike Shatzkin has been involved in the publishing business for nearly 50 years. He has written or co-authored six books that have been published by established companies and just issued his first self-published ebook, a collection of two years of his blog posts called “The Shatzkin Files, Volume 1.” For the past two decades, he has been a thought leader and among the most prominent observers of the industry’s transition to the digital era. He founded and leads The Idea Logical Company, a consulting firm working on strategic issues for publishers and their trading partners and he is co-founder, with Michael Cader, of Publishers Launch Conferences. PLC stages industry education events exploring digital change from a global perspective. The publishing world is changing, but there is one big dog that has not yet barked. Posted by Mike Shatzkin on August 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm · Recent data seem to . . .

Read More

Travelers’ Tales For Peace Corps Writers

Jane Albritton (India 1967-69) senior editor of four books of essays by RPCVs published by Travelers’ Tales/Solas House was kind enough to send me this announcement from Travelers’ Tales. It might be, she wrote, a place where RPCV writers will find a home for their prose. The site is: http://talestogo.travelerstales.com/submission-guidelines/ Submission Guidelines Tales To Go is published by Travelers’ Tales/Solas House, Inc. You will find detailed rights and payment information at our submissions intake site and in the full Travelers’ Tales submission guidelines. Type of Story Please read at least one issue of Tales To Go to get a sense of what we publish. In general, we’re looking for personal, nonfiction stories and anecdotes-funny, illuminating, adventurous, frightening, or grim. Stories should reflect that unique alchemy that occurs when you enter unfamiliar territory and begin to see the world differently as a result. Previously published stories are welcome, as long as you retain the . . .

Read More

Authors Guild Proposes National Digital Library of Out of Print Books

Jan Constantine, General Counsel of the Authors Guild, testified before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday afternoon on mass digitization of books and so-called orphan works. Those topics, of course, are at the heart of two Guild lawsuits, Authors Guild v. Google and Authors Guild v. HathiTrust. An advance copy of Jan’s written testimony is available on their blog. Here are three highlights: 1. We’re proposing that Congress empower the creation of a collective licensing organization (something like ASCAP or BMI) to deal with both mass digitization and “orphan” books. Such an organization would pave the way for a true national digital library, but it would have to be limited in scope, just as ASCAP is. Here are the key components: A. Authors get paid for the uses, naturally. B. Licenses would be non-compulsory. Authors get to say no. C. Licenses would cover out-of-print books only. No disrupting commercial markets. D. Display uses only. . . .

Read More

New York City A Bookstore Desert

In an article this morning in the New York Times reporter Julie Bosman writes how surging rents are forcing booksellers out of Manhattan. Once a literary city, NYC is now a bookstore desert. “Rising rents in Manhattan have forced out many retailers, from pizza joints to flower shops. But the rapidly escalating cost of doing business there is also driving out bookstores, threatening the city’s sense of self as the center of the literary universe, the home of the publishing industry and a place that lures and nurtures authors and avid readers,” writes Bosman. She then details the closing and moving of book stores out of the city. “The Rizzoli Bookstore was recently told that it would be forced to leave its grand space on 57th Street because the owners decided that the building would be demolished. “The Bank Street Bookstore in Morningside Heights announced in December that it would . . .

Read More

Copyright © 2016. Peace Corps Worldwide.