Whatever you’re writing, it’s going to need a title…
So, before you do anything – here’s another gem of a writing seminar from Litopia.com. Writing Killer Titles is now up and ready for you to take notes.
The wealth of information and advice for professional and amateur writers on Litopia is vast and growing daily. Well worth checking out, so I thought I’d pass this on. There will be more seminars too. Enjoy and learn!
I’ve found everyone on the site friendly and professional, so if you have any ideas for any other seminars you’d like to see, put them up on the Litopia Colony. Peter Cox, the agent and publisher who runs the site is a constant presence, so he’s bound to see them. The more we share, the better it is for all of us.
Stephen King knows what he’s talking about when he’s talking about writing, yeah? So, here are some guidelines he has for writers. I’m deliberately not using the word rules, cos, you know, me and rules…
I thought I’d share these because they’re all worth reading. Good common sense advice with a healthy dose of creativity in every one. Number fifteen is my favourite. That and read, read, read, write, write, write. Oh, wait — that’s one I made up.
Here are 14 extra tips in the attached meme. No more excuses, now. Sit down and…
Another door opens for writers to get their work seen by an award-winning independent publisher. This fantastic alliance between Litopia Pop-Up Submissions and Head of Zeus publishing house gives writers a direct route to the person they want to read their work – the publisher.
This exciting news comes from BookBrunch (12th July 2021):
Check out Youtube.com/litopia and Pop-Up Submissions every Sunday evening (5pm UK time). And have a look at Litopia – one of the best forums around for professional and amateur writers alike. And then start honing that novel. Good luck!
Full disclosure: am I connected with Litopia? Yes, definitely. I’m delighted to be one of the readers for the great submissions we receive from writers of all kinds, from astonishingly talented teenagers (god knows I wasn’t so talented at that age) to more seasoned writers — we get all kinds. It’s great fun, and always enlightening.
I like reading about successful writers, don’t you? I also like writers who buck the trends. There are so many “trends” in writing, and so much advice from so many people, most writers could be forgiven for sticking their heads out of the window and screaming into the night…
But now and then you find something worth sharing. We all know the Writing is about rewriting advice, and the Gotta show, don’t tell school of thought. I’ve always liked: Be Yourself, who else is better qualified? That one works for me.
Here’s Dean Wesley Smith giving his thoughts on writing after a successful career in the business. It’s from 2019, but all still useful today. You may not agree with everything he says, but it’s certainly worth listening to. I first saw this shared on Litopia – a great writers’ forum – and thought I’d pass it on.
THIS is what I was talking about – check out Litopia.com and see what you think. This is the kind of creative connection and advice I wish I’d had years ago. Great place for meeting writers of all kinds, making contacts, finding out how to improve your writing, and just generally having a good time being creative.
Not sure if the beginning of your novel is working? There are ways you can get professional industry advice on this —free. I’ve mentioned Litopia here before – a professional site where writers of all kinds (and abilities) gather to discuss the craft, moan in general about the state of publishing and post work for critiques. Literary agent Peter Cox, of Redhammer, runs it. It’s a fantastic hub of writerly advice and activity, with excellent facilities, including the Huddle (bring your publishing questions and worries) and Pop-Up Submissions (see more under). And there are a few friendly Guardians who make sure no one spams members, tries to turn the site into a forum for selling handbags (!) or turns into a screaming fiend if someone says, “This is lovely writing, but I think perhaps it needs a little more work…”
One of the best things about Litopia – and there are lots – is Sunday evening Pop-Up Submissions on YouTube, where you get the chance to have your first 700 words read out and commented on not just by Litopians, but by literary agent Pete and TWO publishing industry guests, who can be from anywhere in the world. Arianne Tex Thompson and TheTexFiles is fab, funny and, most importantly, incisive when it comes to spotting what writers need to do to up their game. All the guests are great, but Tex makes me laugh, so she’s a favourite. I’m all for having fun while I’m learning.
Pop-Up Submissions is an invaluable resource for any writer, especially if you keep getting rejections and don’t know why. We all know how vital it is to get those first few pages right, so anything that helps with that is worth it. Check out Pop-Ups on Sunday evenings from 5pm (BST) til about 7.15, or watch them any time on YouTube.
This free short-story course run by Toby Litt is great for anyone looking for some writing inspiration, or for those of us who are in quarantine (lockdown, if you prefer the sensationalist media terminology). If you’re ill, I wish you well. If you’re just staying home and doing as you’re told, as we are, then I wish you well too. There are lots of free writing exercises and courses on the internet. I’ll post some more over the next few days.
beautiful notebooks always help the creative process…
Hi! I’ve found a great site for writers called Litopia, run by publisher Peter Cox and contributed to by industry professionals. There’s loads of information and advice along with the chance to join the weekly Pop-up Submissions where you can send the first 700 words of your ms and have it critiqued in real time. It’s an invaluable resource and means your work is seen by a publisher. Definitely worth a look.
I love that the writers on Litopia often share good blogs or features they’ve found, for every genre and age group. On one of the threads I saw this piece about Writing Rules by Marie Basting, a children’s writer. Her writing is fun and funny and a bit magical (no, I don’t know her). I grinned all the way through her book Princess BMX, which is for kids of 7+. But it’s the rules – okay, guidelines-come-industry truths – Marie mentions that are worth sharing. Especially the one about concept.
I’ve heard time and again that if an idea is good enough you stand a better chance of being picked up than if, say, your prose is exquisite but the plotting dull. Even if your prose is a bit rough, if the idea (concept) shines brightly enough, someone will notice. That’s not to say you should chance your arm with dodgy punctuation, sloppy grammar and crap spelling – you might as well scrawl Spot The Amateur in big neon letters on the top of your manuscript. But great ideas sell books (who knew?) 🙂 Agents and publishers are always looking for the next big idea. So don’t obsess about minutiae. Get the big picture right.
You’ve written the book. You’ve finished the rewrites, put it all aside for months and then read it over again. You decide it’s not too bad. Good, even. You’ll take a chance. So, you line-edit it, proofread it and send it off…
And it’s rejected. Again.
Yes, it’s disheartening. Yes, you could have built the Great Wall of China waiting for agents or publishers to get back to you. No, you mustn’t give up. (And that’s not just a saying, you know. For most of us, it’s a way of life.)
This was an informative read for a few reasons. Not just because of the higher royalties writers can expect from digital publishers (and in an industry where traditional publishers so often shaft authors, this was good to see), or the technology that can tell you if readers finish your book (invaluable). The most important thing for me, and what I think would appeal to many writers, was when Jody Sabral mentioned being able to connect with readers via an app, and getting their comments and feedback live. That would be fantastic – almost like having your own group of Beta readers.
That made me aware of the whole new world that’s opening for writers. The creative world never stays still and, like so many things, the world of books is constantly changing. That’s good because it means we are all constantly getting the chance to try new things – to reinvent ourselves and our writing, to try another genre or dabble in new technology. Not sure about something you’ve written, or just want to try something different? Put a few chapters up online to gauge reader reaction. There’s a whole new world of writing forums out there and there’s bound to be one you feel comfortable with. Use the technology we have to help you meet other writers, and get where you want to go.
Or just Google Best Creative Writing Forums and see what appeals to you. As ever, take care and use common sense and courtesy when joining any forum conversations/threads/discussions. Some sites are very well moderated (Litopia is excellent, professional and friendly), others, not so much. Find somewhere you feel comfortable. There are so many tools and forums out there to help fiction and non-fiction writers, no matter what genre you prefer, whether you’re aiming for traditional or independent publishing or whether you write for adults, young adults or children, technology can help you.
There are always new opportunities opening up for writers. Consider everything.