OK. Back to something serious. At least something related to those writer-types out there...
Now that we're more than three months into the New Year, it's time to dust off those resolutions some of you may have made about wanting to write the great American/International novel. It's never too late to get started.
For those newbies, or seasoned vets, here are some books that I've found helpful along my writing and publication journey. Links provided where found (but not gonna type in the whole amazon thing... if not there you can google the names).
Exploring life as a writer:
The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner. An insider's guide to writing from someone who has been on all sides of the publication table as a writer, agent, and editor.
Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See. A folksy, down-to-earth and personable narrative on life as a writer and in the publishing industry.
Working on craft:
The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying out the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman. From a literary agent, a to-the-point guide to making your fiction shine in the first five pages... so that an agent, editor, or average person will read past those initial pages.
Writing the Breakout Novel and Workbook by Donald Maass. Defines crucial elements of breakout fiction and how to write a novel that will generate interest and have potential to hit the bestsellers list.
Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors by Jewell Parker Rhodes. A guide to improving technique, finding voice, and staying culturally authentic for people who write for and about black people.
Selling your project:
How To Get Happily Published: A Complete and Candid Guide by Judith Appelbaum. From submission to contracts to publicity, this book covers what authors can expect during the publication process.
Guide to Literary Agents 2005 by Kathryn S. Brogan. If you're finished with your novel, and it's been proofed for grammar, edited for story cohesion, and workshopped by writer peers for feedback, you're ready to search for a literary agent to represent your work. This guide shares thousands of reputable agents and their specialties. (Note: a reputable agent never charges you $$$ to read your work or, if you're a model, to see your pictures!!!)
Publicize Your Book! by Jacqueline Deval. Learn how to promote your book from a former director of publicity for several major publishing houses.
If you can get your hand on Terry McMillan's article, "Publicizing Your Commercially Published Novel," from the January/February 1988 issue of Poets and Writers, this might help if you've got a finished project and starting to think about marketing with your publisher (Hint: Publicity is not just up to your publisher -- authors should expect to do their fair share of work, too, in this area!!! Ask Marcela Landres.)
If you can get your hands on short stories or novels by Alice Munro, J. California Cooper, Pearl Cleage, and Lorrie Moore, these might help expand your view and scope of fiction, writing technique, and putting together a great and meaningful story.
All of these books and resources have been helpful to me in my short life as a writer -- I didn't get serious about my goals/resolutions until 2001/2002 -- and I hope they will be helpful for you as you pursue your writing goals for this year.
(Note, this entry didn't even get close to mentioning writer conferences and retreats. Maybe another day... or if you have some good links, please share!!!)