Issue 40 - The Fiction Writer's Toolkit - Debbie Dadey, Jodi Picoult, Darcy Pattison, Gayle Trent


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Issue 40 - The Fiction Writer's Toolkit - Debbie Dadey, Jodi Picoult, Darcy Pattison, Gayle Trent

 

EDITOR'S DESK

  1. WELCOME: THE FICTION WRITER’S TOOLKIT

When we compiled this issue, we had one goal in mind: to create a virtual reference library full of free information that fiction writers can use right now. A toolkit filled with techniques, exercises, and how-to advice for almost every aspect of fiction writing. So, we picked out the very best articles we could find to bring to you! This issue covers writing strong fiction, creating scenes, setting and description, voice, dialogue tags, pacing, plot and plotholes, using law in your story, self-editing, and writing flash fiction… MORE >>

     

FREELANCE MARKETS

    MARKETS:  GET THE GREEN WITH PREMIUM GREEN

Let WOW! help you start and grow your freelance career! Premium-Green isn’t just markets listings, it’s a guide with community benefits. As a subscriber, each month you receive a 100+ ebook filled with articles not found elsewhere and markets for writers of every genre and profession: freelance gigs for editors, copywriters, ghostwriters, bloggers; fiction markets; anthology calls; magazine markets; writing contests; niche markets; and… MORE >>

     

FEATURES

  2. SPRING 2010 FLASH FICTION CONTEST WINNERS

Stay tuned... The Spring 2010 Flash Fiction Contest winners will be announced at the beginning of August. Check back here to find out the results and read the winning entries…MORE >>

     
  3. WRITING A STRONG STORY: BEGINNINGS, MIDDLES, AND ENDS

A great novel is one that grabs your attention at the beginning and keeps a firm hold on you until the very last word. Many writers struggle not only with creating a good beginning, but also with building tension in the middle and knowing when to end the story. The result can be a boring book or can lead to a writer giving up and not writing at all. One way to prevent this from happening is to go to the source. Kerrie Flanagan interviews successful authors—Debbie Dadey, Cricket MacRae, Laura Resau, Jeanne DuPrau, Jodi Picoult, Amy Kathleen Ryan, Kathryn Cushman, and Jonathan Kellerman—who share how they work through the challenges of writing a strong story, hopefully giving you new techniques and strategies to add to your writing toolbox… MORE >>

     
  4. WHERE ARE WE? USING SETTING & DESCRIPTION IN CREATIVE, YET CRUCIAL WAYS

“Where am I? And why should I care?” Readers ask these two questions at the beginning of every story. Writers often focus on the second question, how to hook a reader. But orienting the reader is just as important. They need to know the setting: this is more than just the geographic location, and can include the historical time period, emotional territory, or phase of a relationship. Readers revisit these same questions at the beginning of every chapter or major change in setting. In this article, Darcy Pattison provides you with a step-by-step technique and some sensory exercises that will help you orient your reader—simply by changing a few words… MORE >>

     
  5. CREATING SCENES: FICTION’S BUILDING BLOCKS

Whether they write romance or mysteries, chick lit or literary fiction, top-notch women’s writers know the key to selling their work is to create a scene. A scene is fiction’s basic building block. There may be a bit of description or background, but the emphasis is on what is happening in one set place over a limited time. This isn’t action summarized, but action shown. The focus of the scene’s action is the main character and her goal. It might be an everyday problem, “get to work on time,” or something huge, “save the baby.” Whatever it is, it is important to the character and, therefore, to the reader. It moves the story forward and/or reveals something about her as a character. The scene opens with one goal and closes with another and includes all that was said and done in between. In this article, Sue Bradford Edwards walks writers through the process of beginning a scene, beats in a scene, ending a scene, foreshadowing, tying it all together, and what a scene won’t do… MORE >>

     
  6. FICTION WRITER’S TOOLKIT SLAM: VOICE, PACING, USING LAW IN YOUR STORY

Whether you are writing a short story or crafting the Great American Novel, these three articles are a great addition to your resource library. Voice: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!, by Cathy C. Hall, helps writers find their own voice through reading, writing, and critiquing. Cathy also chats with WOW! readers to find out which books contain the best examples of voice and shares some great exercises and resources to help you bring your own unique voice to life. Pacing: Finding Your Rhythm, by Julie Momyer, shows writers how to speed up or slow down the pace of their scenes through the use of sentence length, narrative, dialogue, description, internal monologue, and backstory. Using Law in Your Story: Characters, Plot, and Professions, by Donna Ballman, provides examples of using law in various genres, explains which characters from legal professions make great observers or witnesses, and provides mystery writers with some legal characters to use as their next murder victim… MORE >>

     
  7. AVOIDING PLOTHOLES

You’re driving down the road looking at the flowers lining the sides of the highway...you’re listening to the radio...you’re admiring that sporty car that just passed you. Then it happens. You hit a pothole, and it jolts you. Maybe the pothole is so big it causes you to run off the road or it damages your car. In order to create a smooth ride for your readers and avoid jarring them out of your story, you have to learn how to keep your story free from “plotholes.” Plotholes jolt your readers out of the story because something is either blatantly wrong or else simply doesn’t seem right. Plotholes can occur due to insufficient research, unexplained character behavior, inconsistencies, structural weakness, or too much “authoring” and not enough storytelling. In this article, author Gayle Trent examines each of these plotholes and shows you how to avoid them… MORE >>

     
  8. RED PENCIL ROUND-UP: SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS

You’ve finished your manuscript. You’ve celebrated the accomplishment of completing something many people dream of but never do. You’ve let your manuscript sit for at least a few weeks, and now you’re ready to begin editing. Self-editing is a lot more work than you may realize. It’s so much more than just checking for grammar and punctuation errors. You need to evaluate every part of your story: narrative, dialogue, characterization, setting, plot, etc. It’s important to ensure every aspect of your story is polished before you submit your manuscript to an agent. So, where do you start and what should you be looking for? Author and editor Annette Fix walks you through the process of editing your manuscript step-by-step… MORE >>


COLUMNS

  9. 20 QUESTIONS: LITERARY AGENT KATHLEEN ORTIZ

What makes a good plot? How important is voice? Are there common mistakes that authors make in their queries and submissions to agents? Marcia Peterson interviews literary agent Kathleen Ortiz about these questions, and more! Kathleen is currently Associate Agent and Foreign Rights Manager at Lowenstein Associates. She is actively seeking children’s books (chapter, middle grade, and young adult) and young adult non-fiction. In this interview, Kathleen also shares her tips for building an author platform through social media and what she looks for in an agent-author relationship… MORE >>

     
  10. THE CONTEST CONUNDRUM: WHAT ARE FLASH FICTION CONTEST JUDGES LOOKING FOR?

You peruse writing contest listings and find a challenge that piques your interest. After pondering the reasons to enter, including practice, a critique, and publication, you write and polish a potential winner, hit the send button and wait. But one question looms in your mind: What critique process does the person evaluating the piece use? Using the WOW! Flash Fiction Contest rubric, LuAnn Schindler defines flash fiction, critiques a sample flash fiction story, explains each set of criteria, and shows you what works—and what’s missing—from a submission… MORE >>

     
  11. HOW TO MAKE DIALOGUE TAGS WORK FOR YOUR STORY

One way successful authors use dialogue tags is to help set a scene. Instead of including long paragraphs of description, they’ll put important setting details in the dialogue tags to keep the action moving and to give readers a sense of where the characters are. Dialogue tags can also reveal a character’s appearance—what a character wears, her physical characteristics, or even body language. You can also use dialogue tags to share your character’s inner thoughts while they’re having a conversation with another character. In this article, Margo L. Dill walks writers through the various jobs dialogue tags can do in a short story or novel and provides examples from some of her favorite books… MORE >>

     
  12. ONE AMAZING AUTHOR: CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her themes include women, immigration, the South Asian experience, history, myth, magic, and celebrating diversity. Her books have been translated into twenty languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Russian, and Japanese. Two novels, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been made into films. Her short story collection, Arranged Marriage, won an American Book Award. In today’s interview, Margo L. Dill chats with Chitra about her latest novel, One Amazing Thing, and the inspiration behind it. Chitra volunteered to work with Hurricane Katrina refugees in 2005; and a few weeks later, she experienced a similar situation first hand—Hurricane Rita came through Houston, and she had to evacuate. This experience inspired her to write One Amazing Thing, a novel where nine men and women of diverse backgrounds are trapped in an Indian consulate after a devastating earthquake hits… 
MORE >>

     
  13. PHOTO ESSAY: WRITING GROUPS: FICTION WRITERS WANTED

Most fiction writers need some sort of writing group whether it’s for support, networking, critiquing, or brainstorming. Writers need other writers to keep up creativity and productivity. Writing groups can come in all forms and sizes from national organizations to state guilds to local critique groups. In this photo essay, Margo L. Dill takes you behind the scenes of some fascinating writing groups in her area. She examines three different types of writing programs that happen throughout the year: critique groups, critique-nics, and shop talks. Don’t know what a critique-nic or shop talk is? This photo essay may just inspire you to start your own… MORE >>

CLASSIFIEDS

   

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Issue 40 - The Fiction Writer's Toolkit - Debbie Dadey, Jodi Picoult, Darcy Pattison, Gayle Trent
Writing a Strong Story - Beginnings, Middles, Ends - Debbie Dadey, Jodi Picoult - by Kerrie Flanagan
Using Setting and Description in Creative, yet Crucial Ways - by Darcy Pattison
Red Pencil Round-Up - Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - by Annette Fix
Avoiding Plotholes - by Gayle Trent
Creating Scenes - Fiction's Building Blocks - by Sue Bradford Edwards
Voice - by Cathy C. Hall
20 Questions - answered by Literary Agent Kathleen Ortiz
Freelancer's Corner - Flash Fiction Contest Conundrum - Sample Flash Fiction Critique! - by LuAnn Schindler
How To Make Dialogue Tags Work for Your Story - by Margo L. Dill
Inspiration - One Amazing Author - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Pacing, Finding Your Rhythm - by Julie Momyer
Using Law in Your Story - by Donna Ballman
Critique Groups, Fiction Writers Wanted - Photo Essay by Margo L. Dill
Spring 2010 Contest Winners! - Sarah Warburton - Caleb Collier - Angelica R. Jackson
Winter 2010 Contest Winners! - Corinne Mahoney - Lauren Leatherman - Laura J. Silver
Fall 2009 Contest Winners! - Leigha Butler - Arlene Walker - James Tipton
 
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