Monday, July 8, 2013

Writing tips and links

by Joan

Breaking into the writing world can be scary and overwhelming. Though we're all at different stages in our careers, we’ve been at this for a while and take for granted all we’ve learned over the past ten years (or so). When recent blog guest Chris Raia expressed an interest in writing tips and links, it occurred to me that others might appreciate a go-to list as well.

Workshops and conferences are a great way to learn your craft and meet writers in all stages of their careers. Where would I be without the wonderful friends and acquaintances I’ve met outside of my little writing space? I've learned from incredible instructors and classmates at the Bethesda Writers' Center, the Writers' League of Texas and will soon attend a weeklong fiction workshop at the Napa Valley Writer's Conference.

A crucial part of improving your work is to show your words to one or more trusted readers. Over the years, I’ve worked with both good and bad, so choose your critique partners wisely. Here are a few thoughts on finding the right group and making the most of it when you do. 
Writers’ Digest also has a critique forum

Once you’ve revised and edited your work, whether it’s a short story, children’s book or novel-length manuscript, you might consider entering a contest or submitting to a literary journal

Another great resource for advice and camaraderie are writers’ blogs. Here are a few of our favorites:

Brian Klems' The Writer's Dig

And of course, our own... What Women Write

Looking for deep, self-instruction? Here are some books on writing:

Susan is the master of revision and recently shared some great advice. But perhaps you're looking for professional help in the form of an editor? Here are a few options:

Heather Webb, author of the upcoming Becoming Josephine
Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
Grub Street, offering workshops, consulting and conferences

Even though there are many online resources, I'm still a fan of magazines. I get Poet's and Writers and Writer's Digest; Pamela subscribes to The Writer.

Perhaps you want to pursue an MFA. (This one’s still on my goal list!) Here’s a list of MFA programs you might want to consider.

When you’re sure your work is in the best possible shape, and you want to get it published, you’re ready to hire an agent or see if one represents your genre. If you want to learn if the agent you’ve chosen is respected and successful, Preditors and Editors is a great site to research. Or if you just want the scoop on what writers have experienced, Absolute Write forums cover almost any writing related subject. 

If you're an experienced writer or author and have more to share, please do!

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