8 Ideas for Where to Write

By Anna Parsons

One of the great things about writing is that you can do it on your own time and from almost anywhere. This gives authors the freedom to work from home or while traveling and to fit writing into a busy schedule. But sometimes this freedom has its drawbacks. Without a clear schedule or deadlines, staying focused and making progress can be a challenge. Bills, laundry, kids, and Netflix can be constant distractions if you work from home, making it difficult to accomplish anything. One solution is to find a dedicated workspace. Continue reading

What the Submissions Coordinator Would Like You to Know

Querying can be a tricky and time-consuming process which can understandably become a bit frustrating with each agency having a different policy on how to submit. As the Submissions Coordinator for the agency inbox, I read every single query letter that is submitted to Holloway Literary. Here are a few tips that I would recommend to make your submission stand out. Continue reading

Crafting Villains

If you’re crafting a story, you’re creating conflict for your characters. Without this conflict stories turn into journal entries, the boring stuff most people don’t even bother posting on social media. Conflict creates worry, which keeps the reader turning pages into the wee hours of the morning. It makes them ask, will the hero live, find love, figure out the mystery, beat the clock, graduate, save the world?

Where does this conflict come from? Lots of places, but in many stories the biggest source will be your antagonist. Let’s look at Harry Potter. JK Rowling created a huge adversary for Harry to face, one so scary no one would even say his name. She also crafted him in a way that made the story stronger. As people who study craft, we always ask how? What makes a villain real and terrifying? This is the question we’ll explore going forward. Continue reading

A Call for Writers to Read Essays

By Michael Caligaris

As an undergraduate, I took a class entitled “The Essay.” It was a 300 level course with extensive writing and reading requirements, something that was quite familiar to an English major. My interest had been piqued through this idea that I would be exploring the best of the canonized essays and, in turn, become a great essayist myself. Boy, was I wrong.

I’d like to clarify that this was not because I didn’t do the work or lacked creative talent; I actually had a lot to say for a twenty-one year old student—How could cafeteria prices be so high? Actually, what I’d never realized before throwing myself into the world of essayists is this: their success does not solely come from profound passion, intelligence, and talent (although this certainly helps); no, to be a great essayist is to be a meticulous craftsmen of language, which can only come through extreme ritual, practice, and patience. Continue reading

What Happens at an Editor/Agent Lunch?

By Rachel Beck

I think it’s safe to say that networking is a word that evokes fear and panic in a good number of people, coupled with the immediate desire to run away fast. This is potentially because networking is something that can be falsely associated with schmoozing, acting smarmy or showing fake interest in people. We all know those types, the charmers at any party who work the room like a pro—and watching it happen, something about it feels…inauthentic.

But I’m not talking about those people, who use events to make connections and home in on people they can use in some way. Or the people who buff up their resume and kill an interview with confidence, even though they’re not quite qualified for the role. I’m talking about networking in a purer, simpler form. In fact, networking is meant to be, and often is, a completely organic way of making connections, be they social ones or professional ones. You probably network at least a few times per month without even really being aware you’re doing it. And in publishing, networking is key to success, as great books most often come to life starting with a connection between an agent and editor. Continue reading

Why Word Count Matters

Let’s play Two Truths and a Lie. Which one of these following statements is the lie:

  1. A book should only be as long or short as it needs to be.
  2. One should keep writing, until it’s done.
  3. Length doesn’t matter as long as the story is good.

What’s the answer? All of them; and at the same time, none of them. One should  keep writing until your book is done, and then go back and edit, edit, edit, edit. A book should only be as long or short as it needs to be, however if it’s too long or too short, it’s a red flag that there are problems. And no, length doesn’t matter as long as the story is exceptional, not just good, and exception is determined by market and how well established the author is in the publishing community. For the rest, there are industry standards pertaining to book length. And the one truth you can count on is that word count matters. Continue reading

Eight Rookie Mistakes to Watch for in Your Writing

A few months ago I was digging through the boxes of my old stuff at my parents’ house looking for goodness knows what and happened upon the flash drive containing all of my high school writing endeavors. I was so excited to plug in the flash drive and start reading. But man, am I happy high school me refused to let anyone read her stories!

It seems I was a huge fan of what I can only assume was supposed to be “witty” dialogue, using Word’s built in thesaurus, and starting every story with the main character waking up. Every. Single. One.

As an editor, I wanted to delete every single story immediately. Or maybe set the flash drive on fire, run it over with a car, and figure out a way to weigh it down and drop it in the middle of the Atlantic. But as I read through and saw all of these mistakes, I was actually happy to be seeing them. It means I’ve grown, right? Continue reading