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News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

November 30, 2016

Chekov’s Gun: More Lessons from the Harry Potter Series
Principle Two: Chekov had a gun; Trelawney had a prophecy

This blog is part of a series. For part one, click here. This week we’re talking about Harry Potter. No, not the much-anticipated book that’s releasing next week (although I, for one, already preordered it.) We’re talking about the books that started it all, and the lessons that authors can apply […]
November 23, 2016

Five Great Storytelling Lessons from Harry Potter
Principle One: Plant the seeds early, but plant them loosely and let them grow.

This year- and possibly for years to come – everyone will be talking about The Boy Who Lived and his son, Albus, the main protagonist of the new 2016 addition to the Harry Potter series. In anticipation of the (unexpected) new addition, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, I decided […]
November 9, 2016

Book Titles: Trends to Avoid
Self-Publishing expert Morgana Gallaway tells us what to be wary of when naming our novel

There are three important elements of a novel. The story is only one of them. The other two are about connecting readers to that story: the cover, and the title. Just as in fashion, book titles have trends. Titles are a contentious subject for fiction writers; most publishing […]
November 6, 2016

A History of the Great Divide: Literature vs. Genre Fiction
Breathing life into a post-modern Prometheus

I was once involved in a near knock down drag out fight that began with my assertion that John Irving’s The World According to Garp was a great piece of “literature.” The wine-swilling MFA fiction writer seated across from me at the bar took umbrage at the idea that Irving […]
November 2, 2016

Evaluating Nonfiction: One Editor’s Approach
What can set your nonfiction manuscript up for success... or doom it to the reject pile

Fiction lives or dies by the author’s storytelling and writing skills (and perseverance and some luck). For nonfiction, then, one might assume that likewise, an interesting topic well elucidated will do the job. However, the publishing industry and readers regard nonfiction a bit differently. Subject Matter Publishers generally […]
October 26, 2016

Writing With Voice
Editor Shannon Roberts on building your authorial voice in unexpected ways

Confession: When I first started writing, I copied. Not ideas—not consciously anyway—but voice Initially I modeled my work after one of my (at the time) favorite bloggers and web-comic writers, Jerry Holkins. I started to fold in some Terry Pratchett and I sampled from Robert Heinlein. Whenever I […]