L.A. Kennedy

Beyond the story

by Jane Friedman It’s probably the single most despised document you might be asked to prepare: the synopsis. The synopsis is sometimes required because an agent or publisher wants to see, from beginning to end, what happens in your story. Thus, the synopsis must convey a book’s entire narrative arc. It shows what happens and who changes, and it …

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by Jane Friedman The query letter has one purpose, and one purpose only: to seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. The query letter is so much of a sales piece that it’s quite possible to write one without having written a word of the manuscript. All it requires is a …

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By Charles Finch I spend a lot of time thinking about a Raymond Chandler quote I once read. “The perfect detective story cannot be written,” he said. “The type of mind which can evolve the perfect problem is not the type of mind that can produce the artistic job of writing.” Well — shoot. It …

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By Madison Malone Kircher What makes reading a good mystery so satisfying? A writer’s hard work. A complex story à la Gone Girl doesn’t just pop out of a writer’s brain fully formed on a random Tuesday. Giving readers what they crave is about structure and pacing and, ultimately, originality. In 2019, it’s also about …

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The Ivy Lee Method: The Daily Routine Experts Recommend for Peak Productivity By James Clear By 1918, Charles M. Schwab was one of the richest men in the world. Schwab was the president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the largest shipbuilder and the second-largest steel producer in America at the time. The famous inventor Thomas …

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By Harry Guinness Writing is hard, but don’t overlook the difficulty — and the importance — of editing your own work before letting others see it. Here’s how. The secret to good writing is good editing. It’s what separates hastily written, randomly punctuated, incoherent rants from learned polemics and op-eds, and cringe-worthy fan fiction from …

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“When you can’t create you can work.” By Maria Popova After David Ogilvy’s wildly popular 10 tips on writing and a selection of advice from modernity’s greatest writers, here comes some from the prolific writer and painter Henry Miller. In 1932-1933, while working on what would become his first published novel, Tropic of Cancer, Miller …

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Writing is a solitary business. Here are our tips for banishing loneliness and boredom. Via The Writer When I worked as an editor at a greeting card company, my boss said, “Boredom isn’t a bad thing. It inspires creativity.” Boredom and loneliness are the reasons I became a writer. As a child, I often rode …

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by Erika Bennett To say we’re living in a weird time is an understatement. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has a majority of our lives on pause, leaving us with a lot of extra time we didn’t have before. To all my writers, if you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book now is the perfect time to get …

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By Emily Temple You know the feeling: you’re staring at the black computer screen, blinking occasionally—staring and blinking, staring and blinking, until the cursor starts to blink back and you have to go to bed for a while. Maybe you’re staring and blinking at an actual, physical blank page, in which case you should definitely go to bed …

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