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20 May 2024 - What's new

20 May 2024
  • ‘I was very aware that because the manuscript has my name on it, people would just publish it, however bad it was, and I wanted honest feedback. I wanted to know that someone believed in the book and I truly enjoyed getting unvarnished feedback through my agent. There was one editor who did not like Strike having a famous father and made that point. And obviously because I can't break cover, I can't say: "but I know how important this will be in book eight". You can't say that as a first-time writer, and I was ostensibly in this situation a first-time writer. You can't say, now, look I know a series and I know this backstory is going to work out brilliantly in book seven, eight and nine. Who the hell are you to say you're going to get a seven, eight and nine-novel deal anyway? ' J K Rowling, mega-selling author of the Harry Potter books, on writing her first Robert Galbraith crime fiction title under a pseudonym, in The Times.
  • This week we have another new article in the Worldbuilding series, It's a kind of magic. 'In the first article on magic in fantasy writing we looked at power scaling, plot armour and plausibility. Here we will look at the different types of magic and, more importantly, the cost of magic. Like many other elements in a constructed world, magic is, effectively, a technology; and technology always has a cost...'
  • Our new seven-part Worldbuilding series is designed to help fantasy, romantasy and science fiction writers think about the various things they need to consider when constructing the world in their novel: 'Fantasy fiction is a niche market, but a very popular niche market. It is particularly popular among new writers, and I suspect this is a consequence of growing up on a diet of best-selling fantasy fiction over the last couple of decades...' The other titles in the series are: 1: Character names in fantasy novels, 2: The basics of writing fantasy fiction, 3: Geography and physical location, 4: Technology, 5: Culture and 6: Magic.
  • If you've come to the site looking for a report on your manuscript, how do you work out which one would suit you best? Which Report? includes our 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 this detail helps them to get their book right. We also provide reports on manuscripts from children's writers from our skilled children's editors.
  • Links to writers' stories: in my new book, The Second Chance, Nell gets told the date on which she will die, and this affects every decision she makes thereafter, How a clairvoyant changed my life; conspiracy, manipulation, misplaced patriotism and bombs, Chasing America's dark side in 'Hunted', Abir Mukherjee on Writing a Conspiracy Thriller "From a Position of Anger" ‹ CrimeReads; and for me, the difference between writing for TV and writing books comes down to the difference between me and my father, Hart Hanson On Screenwriting Vs. Novel Writing ‹ CrimeReads.
  • The Moth Short Story Prize 2024 closes on 30 June. It is open to all writers over 16 with a word limit of 3,000 words. The entry fee is €15 per story. The 1st prize is €3,000, the 2nd prize a week-long writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France plus travel stipend, and the 3rd prize €1,000.
  • Three other writing competitions are still open.
  • Editor's advice 3 deals with Genre writing: 'Go into any high street bookstore and the shelves are heaving with genre novels. Most people read genre novels somewhere along the way, and genre novels are what most people, intentionally or not, set out to write. The intentional thought process goes something like this: there are loads of genre novels being published, ergo, there's a market for genre novels, so I'll read a couple of these, get a feel for what's needed, and hey presto, I too can knock out a few genre novels and make some money as well... I've been reading science fiction, fantasy and crime novels since I was a teenager, and I can spot when a writer doesn't fully understand the mechanics of their chosen genre. It may not matter to a casual reader but it really matters to the fans...'
  • Our Services for Writers is just a list of the 22 services we offer, which we think is the largest on the web.
  • Links from the publishing world: as Little, Brown's SFF imprint Orbit celebrates its 50th anniversary, publisher Anna Jackson reflects on its current record-breaking run and on building the brands of the future, The Bookseller - Features - Orbit reaches for the stars; a heartfelt plea for libraries and education from the incoming president of The Publishers Association in the UK, The Bookseller - Comment - Life-changing stories; launched in September 2023 by entrepreneur Nadim Sadek, Shimmr uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create automated marketing material for publishers to promote their backlists, The Bookseller - News - AI firm Shimmr welcomes publishing execs to advisory board; and a new survey revealing that three-quarters of readers of books for teens are over 18 has one message: read anything you like - but read, The Guardian view on YA literature: an adventure for teenagers, a comfort blanket for adults | Editorial | The Guardian.
  • From our Endorsements page, 'Thank you! I received the comments - most eagerly awaited - and just speed-read through now. When everyone is off to school I will go back to read through all of the details. It gives me much to think about. I'm most grateful for the thoughtful and articulate response. It's fantastic!' Nancy Jarzombek, Belmont, Massachusetts.
  • Writing Biography & Autobiography is a serialisation from our Archives of the book by Brian D Osborne. In the first excerpt, 'Managing the matters of truth and objectivity', the author says: 'Just as you need to remember that letters, reports, census forms, legal documents and so forth were not created simply for our convenience, so you also need to remember that what is written in them may not be true...'
  • The Writer's Edit is an enhanced editing package that offers you all the benefits of our expert copy editing service, plus an extra level of advice and support to help you take your writing to a new level. We will copy edit your manuscript to our usual professional standard, but in addition we will offer you a line-by-line edit specifically designed to improve your style, structure and form, and a set of guidance notes, giving commentary and advice.
  • More links: acclaimed for her accounts of the darkness and desire found in everyday life, Alice Munro, Nobel winner and titan of the short story, dies aged 92 | Alice Munro | The Guardian; in April of this year, Timothy Garton Ash collected his reward money for winning the prestigious 2024 Lionel Gelber Prize, Historian uses Canadian prize money to buy drones for Ukraine | CBC Radio; and debut author Alina Khawaja on writing seven books in five years, and what she learned from it, The best news at the beach.
  • Given the difficulty of getting agents and publishers to take on your work, it's really important to make sure that you present it in the best possible way. Your submission package
  • If you are submitting your work to an agent or directly to a publishing house, check through our guidelines to give it its best chance. Making submissions
  • If you are Writing for the web, you have to grab your readers online. Writing effectively for the web is quite different from writing for the printed page. Writers intending to write web pages should observe some simple rules if they want to attract and keep visitors to their pages.
  • With thanks to Bookbrunch, our final set of links are from debut writers: 'My theatre background has probably helped me be a braver writer and maybe more rigorous, too', Q&A: debut novelist Ellie Keel; 'Without wishing to give too much away, many years ago I stumbled across a thoroughly harrowing Guardian Long Read about a true crime case that had haunted Germany', Q&A: author AE Gauntlett; 'You can't be best friends with a dragon in the real world. So writing fantasy is the next best thing', Q&A: author John Wiswell; and Roxie Key knows what it's like to feel you're not good enough - and how to get over it, Debut author? You're not an imposter.
  • Get your poetry assessed before submitting it or entering it for competitions with our Poetry Critique service. If you're planning to submit a collection to publish or to self-publish, our unique Poetry Collection Editing service can help to get your work to a publishable standard.
  • Poets are naturally keen to see their work in print but it's actually quite hard to get a first collection taken on by a publisher and self-publishing may make a lot of sense. Getting your poetry published.
  • 'Maybe I should say that memory interests me a great deal, because I think we all tell stories of our lives to ourselves as well as to other people. Well, women do, anyway. Women do this a lot. And I think when men get older, they do this too, but maybe in slightly different terms.' Alice Munro, who died last week, in our Writers' Quotes.