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Posts Tagged ‘writers tips’

I love anthologies! I enjoy reading them because I get to sample the writing of lots of different writers. Usually, I find a new voice or two which appeal to me as a reader – then, I go looking for more of that writer’s work.

As a writer, I enjoy discovering anthologies that are looking for work, and writing a story (or poem) which fits the theme. Whether I complete the piece of writing in time to make the deadline is not important. Often, the themes aren’t subjects I’d have chosen on my own to write about, so I’m “stretched” as a writer. I “win” whether the piece makes it into the anthology or not.

A few times, I’ve been actually asked for a submission to an anthology. This is both cool and challenging. You don’t want to let down an editor who has requested your work.

Plus, I’ve been involved in editing several anthologies. Currently, I’m finishing up my editorial duties on Pole to Pole Publishing’s speculative short story anthology, Hides the Dark Tower. (And by the way, really proud of the quality of stories Kelly A. Harmon and I were able to put together for this collection).

As the editor (or co-editor), you have the opportunity to read lots of stories which hopefully fit the theme of the anthology, and select the best group of stories. Notice, I said: 1- fit the theme (writers take pay attention, if it doesn’t fit the theme, it won’t be accepted into the antho) 2- best group of stories (yes, when putting together an anthology, you need not only to think of which stories are best — but which stories fit together to create the best group of tales). Of course, there’s all the bad grammar, typos, and sloppy writing that can mar even the best story. Then, it’s up to the editor/editors to decide if they’re willing to fight their way through the manuscript and deal with all the corrections. (Most times, the answer is, “No.”)

Editor Gil Bavel posted a link to an interesting article on Eight Ways to Kill an Anthology by Geoff Brown. What do you think?

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I’ve attended and participated in many writers conferences over the years. When I return home after spending a day or more surrounded by other people who love writing and books as much as I do, I usually feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the stack of writing projects on my desk (and floor and bookcase top…)

Sometimes, I’ve managed to take helpful notes. If so, I try to type those up while my memory of the workshop or presentation is still fresh. The longer I wait to type those notes, the fuzzier my memory of the extra details I didn’t jot down will become.

Sometimes, I’ve made a few interesting contacts. And I’ll have a stack of business cards ready to add to my contact file. Lesson learned over the years – always jot a note to yourself on the back of each business card so you’ll remember why this person is important to you. Again, as soon as you get home, expand those notes so in a few months the networking contact will still have meaning.

Sometimes, attending a conference will lead to another presentation opportunity. Follow up on the contact as soon as you’re able to do so. You might remember, but the other person’s memory of the offered (or mentioned) opportunity will soon fade. Networking only works when you follow up!

When presenting, sometimes the presentation doesn’t go as you plan. As soon as you get home, review why it wasn’t as good as it could have been. Come up with ideas to improve the presentation for the next time you’re asked to speak on that subject.

A note here – my worst presentation wasn’t due to anything I did in particular! My presentation time slot was the last of the day, the room was stiffling, there was a loud fan directly beside me, a librarian kept moving around behind me, there were too many people crammed in the room… I tried to adjust for the circumstances, and veering from my planned presentation made me anxious and eager to “just get it over with.” If this conference asks me again to do a presentation, I’ll request an earlier time slot and a more spacious room. I’ll also “stick to the plan,” so I feel more relaxed.

An interesting take on making the most of a writing conference can be found in this Build Book Buzz article.

Hope to see you at a writing conference!

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