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28 August 2023 - What's new

28 August 2023
  • ‘I think I'm a bit of an accidental short story writer... the model I absorbed for a writing career was that you hone your craft learning the art of the short story and then you, effectively, graduate to writing novels... What I like about short stories is that they offer infinite possibilities for play. Experimentation in a novel can get exhausting, but the brevity of the short form means you can attempt some zany things and not overstay your welcome in your readers' heads. That's kind of how they function for me: as playgrounds and laboratories to try things out, test ideas, discover answers I didn't expect, and explore.' Malachi McIntosh, former editor of the magazine Wasafiri, whose first collection of stories, Parables, Fables, Nightmares is published by The Emma Press in September, in the Bookseller.
  • Our new six-part series The Pedant: how to make your editor happy deals with dialogue tags, accents, formats and fonts, the trouble with 'as', the problems with hyphens and the use of bold, italics and capital letters: 'There are times when, no matter how well you write, you need typographical support to emphasise a point. English is a wonderfully flexible and suggestive language, but it can't do everything by itself, and replacing plain type with, for instance, italics, can really help the reader to understand what's happening in your story. In this article, we will look at the use of these non-standard fonts and suggest a few simple rules of thumb. Let's start with bold face type. In recent years, I've seen quite a lot of writing that incorporates bold type and, I have to say, I don't think it works...' If you want to improve your written English, this series is for you.
  • Here's an unusual competition: The First Graphic Novel Award is open to UK residents only. The entry fee is £10 and the Prize is first option for publication by SelfMadeHero. It closes on 14 September 2023, so you'll need to move fast to get your material together to enter this one.
  • Our 22 Services for Writers offers links to all our editorial services - the biggest range on the web.
  • Links on writers' craft: if you want to be the person who supports yourself with your writing career, then it's time to take a good look at money, Pay Yourself to Write | Jane Friedman; 'it's so tempting, after coming up with an idea, to immediately sit down and start to write, but writing the script isn't the work', The five hardest scriptwriting lessons to learn | National Centre for Writing | NCW; novelist Anita Frank on how she created the eerie setting in her new novel, Strange hostility and unsettling houses: how setting creates atmosphere; not everyone delights in blood and gore and that's where cozies come in, The Enduring Appeal of Cozy Mysteries ‹ CrimeReads.
  • From our Endorsements page: ‘A wonderfully detailed and helpful report. The editorial advice and knowledge sharing is extensive and generous. Your editor has identified the points where and why my novel falls short and provided clear and practical advice on how to remedy the shortfalls... I would not hesitate to recommend your service to other writers both in terms of output and value for money.' Elspeth, UK
  • If you're looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one of our three reports would suit you best? Which Report? includes our latest top-of-the range service, the Editor's Report Plus, introduced by popular demand to provide even more detail. This very substantial report takes the form of a chapter-by-chapter breakdown and many writers have found that this detail helps them to get their book right. Through our specialist children's editors we can offer reports on children's books.
  • How Literary Agents Work - an article written exclusively for Writersservices by literary agent Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media in New York: 'I have often heard that authors are interested in how literary agents work. It is very simple: a literary agent exists to provide services to authors...' A short but clear summary of what agents do.
  • More links on ChatGPt and social media: frustrated with my progress on a third full revision and still dancing around my novel's central story question, I turned to ChatGPT, I Hired ChatGPT As My Writing Coach | Jane Friedman; we don't just love books for their text, but for the complex humans behind them, The Bookseller - Comment - Why AI can't compete with authors; adult fiction has been publishing's steadiest-selling category for the past 18 months, BookTok Helped Book Sales Soar. How Long Will That Last? What do you get when you combine artificial intelligence with human stupidity? Can't decide which books to ban? Leave it to ChatGPT! | Arwa Mahdawi | The Guardian.
  • My Say gives writers a chance to air their views about writing and the writer's life. So we have Lynda Finn about the isolation of New Zealand writers and their problems with getting published, British author Eliza Graham, author of Playing with the Moon, on her route to publication and Zoe Jenny, who is Swiss, on writing in English and why it was liberating. Send us your contributions, ideally 200 to 400 words in length and of general interest. Please email them to us.
  • Advice for writers gives you access to the massive amount of information available on the site, which currently consists of 9,385 pages.
  • Don't give up the day job. Perhaps you've even been indulging in thinking about it as you lay on the beach this summer, or more likely spent your precious holiday working on your latest novel. But how practical is it? Is it something you can realistically aspire to, or just a distant fantasy? What are your chances of making your dream come true?
  • Links from the publishing world in its summer lull: The Knights Of editorial director on how the industry has changed since her first job, Questions for: Eishar Brar; and Amazon is already facing a potential lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission, but now Authors call on FTC to investigate Amazon's alleged monopoly in the bookselling industry - The Verge.
  • So you want to write fantasy or science fiction? You are in good company, as many of the writers who come to WritersServices are writing fantasy, with science fiction as a less popular choice. Science fiction was an important category during much of the twentieth century, with a growing cult audience, until it was overtaken by fantasy. It's often seen as more cerebral, a way of trying out new ideas of the future or other worlds. These days there's a relatively small demand for new science fiction writing, and you have to have a distinctive voice and something interesting to say to stand much chance of getting published. Writing science fiction and fantasy
  • Choosing a service is our longer guide to what our different services offer.
  • In Writing for Children: Rule Number One a highly experienced children's editor explains why she thinks reading is so important for all authors. As Stephen King says: 'If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.'
  • Links to writers' stories: between 2010 and 2019, one of every seven crime novels published was by a single author - James Patterson, My First Thriller: James Patterson ‹ CrimeReads; the legend of King Arthur is to Britain what the Wild West is to the USA: our preeminent founding myth, Wherefore Art Thou Arthur?: On What Lies Behind Our National Myths and Legends ‹ Literary Hub; from the first two-time winner of the Selfies Awards, The Selfies questions for 2023 fiction winner Halima Khatun; and UK publishers donate to support libraries, Book Aid International to ship 25,000 books to Ukraine.
  • Prolific British crime-writer Elly Griffiths in our Writers' Quotes: ‘For me it always starts with the characters, and I hope that the characters take me to the plot - that's the plan, anyhow. I just start with a few ideas and hope it works out. I suppose if having written 28 books has taught me anything, it's that it might work out in the end.'