WRITERS CONNECT! Issue 28

notebook coffee pencil sunglasses in cafe for editors4you newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! Newsletter

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In this issue:

  • Write Here, Right Now: Writing Competitions
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Humorous Quote
  • Writing Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: Writing Events

Following are writing competitions that close during August and October 2020.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

Comp 1: Buzzwords Open Poetry Competition

Proceeds of this competition are used to fund ‘Buzzwords’, a long-running regular poetry gathering in Cheltenham.

About: A competition for poets with a poem of up to 70 lines long

Open to: International. Age limit not stated

Word count: Maximum 70 lines

Theme: Not stated

Closes: 22 August 2020

Entry fee: £4 per poem or 3 poems for £10 (postal entries only). Email entries have a surcharge for printing costs: One poem £4.35, two poems £8.70, three poems £11

Prize: 1st = £600, runner-up prize = £300., five commended = £50 each. The Gloucestershire Prize = £200 (for Gloucestershire residents only)

Details here:

https://buzzwordspoetry.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_14.html

 

Comp 2: The Masters Review Summer Short Story Award for New Writers

Apart from the prizes shown below, all winners and honourable mentions will receive agency review from the following: Sobel Weber, The Bent Agency, Writers House, Fletcher & Company, Compass Talent and Carnicelli Literary Management. Go for it, writers!

About: This competition is open to emerging writers only. Self-published writers and writers with story collections and novels with a low circulation are welcome to submit

Open to: International emerging writers, in English only

Word count: 6,000 words

Theme: Open genre, open theme

Closes: 30 August 2020

Entry fee: $20

Prizes: 1st = $3000 + publication online. 2nd =  $300 + publication, 3rd = $200 + publication

Details here:

https://mastersreview.com/short-story-award-for-new-writers/

 

Comp 3: Edinburgh International Flash Fiction Award

Aside from the prizes below, the top 20 shortlisted writers are invited to the Edinburgh annual Flash Bash and are offered publication in the organiser’s anthology. Main prizewinners also receive 1-year free membership to the Scottish Arts Club.

About: Flash fiction award for writers internationally on any theme up to 250 words

Open to: International 16+, published and unpublished

Length: Up to 250 words

Theme: Any theme

Closes: 31 August 2020

Entry fee: £6

Prizes: 1st = £600, 2nd = £300, 3rd = £150

Details here:

https://www.storyawards.org/enterflash-fiction-award

 

Comp 4: Not So Normal Narrators

This competition is for ‘diverse and unusual teen voices’. As the organisers say, ‘Think about the YA heroes you’ve not seen yet, and be the strange you wish to see in the world!’

About: An opportunity for teen writers of YA short story fiction for a competition that is ‘seeking short stories told through underrepresented and unusual teen voices. We’re hoping to see central characters of different ethnic, cultural and class backgrounds, characters who identify as LGBTQ, characters with disabilities or mental health issues, or just any young character with circumstances or a perspective outside of the mainstream

Open to: International teens 14+

Word Count: 2,000 – 5,000 words

Theme: YA fiction

Closes: 30 October 2020 (deadline extended from 31 August 2020)

Entry fee: £4

Prizes: 1st = £200, 2nd = £100, 3rd = £50

Details here:

http://contest.oddvoiceout.com/

 

Word of the Day

hygge (pronounced ‘hyoohguh’)

This is a Danish noun that appears to have entered the English language recently, around 2016, when it was shortlisted for the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year. It means the ‘practice of creating an environment of cosiness, which, in turn, fosters feelings of contentment and wellbeing’ (Macquarie Dictionary). A very cosy word.

 

Humorous quote

Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet—Anonymous.

 

Get Inspired

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on—Louis L’Amour (19081988). American novelist and short story writer of mainly Western novels but also historical fiction, science fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Many of his stories were made into films.

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂

Writing from Second Person Point of View

Writing from second person point of view means when you directly address the reader – using ‘you’.

In this blog, we’re focusing on fiction writing.

Using second person has the effect of drawing the reader more closely into the story. It transforms them into one of the book’s characters.

As the narrator, you may also use ‘you’ to directly address the audience. However, it’s more common to make the second-person referent of stories a character within the story (Wikipedia, Narration).

The most common points of view in contemporary writing

Most contemporary writing uses either:

  • first person point of view – ‘I’ or ‘we’, or
  • third person point of view – ‘she’ or ‘he’ or ‘they’ or even ‘it’.

It ain’t easy!

Make no mistake about it – writing an entire novel from second person point of view is not easy!

Let’s write a passage from the three points of view mentioned above to see the difference.

  • Example 1 – 1st person point of view: I arrive at the house that Max said was haunted. I’ll wait behind the bushes to see if he’s told me the truth.
  • Example 2 – 3rd person point of view: They arrive at the house that Max said was haunted. They’ll wait behind the bushes to see if he’s told them the truth.
  • Example 3 – 2nd person point of view: You arrive at the house that Max said was haunted. You’ll wait behind the bushes to see if he’s told you the truth.

Seems easy enough in a couple of simple sentences. But try to write several pages and see if you still think so.

An exercise

I’ll set you a challenge.

Take several pages from a passage of your writing written in either first or third person – i.e. from

  • ‘I’ or ‘we’ point of view, or
  • ‘he’ / ‘she’ / ‘they’ / ‘it’ point of view.

The writing may be something you’re working on currently, or something you’ve written a while ago. It may also be a novel, or a short story. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you have a passage of around five to ten pages.

Now rewrite the same passage in second person point of view.

My example

Here’s an example from my novel Winter in Mallorca, Turmoil to Triumph. In the book, I wrote the passage in third person, from the point of view of the protagonist, Aurore Dupin (better known by her pseudonym George Sand. To give you some context, a few months after this scene, she and Chopin embark on an eleven-year love affair).

Below, I’ve only rewritten a few paragraphs. I recommend that you rewrite several pages, so that you get an accurate feel for writing from second person point of view.

Writing from second person point of view

You drew deeply on your cigar and swept into the drawing room haloed in smoke. Flaunting your trademark masculine garments, black boots and trousers of rough grey cloth with matching waistcoat, your large dark eyes blazed defiance, daring anyone who might challenge your contempt of convention. You took in the faces of the silly women fanning themselves, some smirking, others with their lips compressed as if they were tasting something unpleasant as they watched your bold entrance. ‘If they knew how ugly they looked,’ you murmured to yourself, ‘they’d be mortified.’ This made you smile, and several of the ladies looked unsettled, touching their throats or fussing with their hair.

A group of older ladies sat together tittering and you made little attempt to conceal your scorn, although you gave them a cool nod of polite acknowledgement as you passed. Ignorant your entire lives, you thought, whiling away your time in idle character assassination to conceal your boredom.

While your keen gaze picked these disapproving individuals from the crowd, most of the attention this evening was focused on another. Everyone had gathered to hear Chopin play. Drawn by your love of fine music and your fascination with the public adulation of this man who so intrigued you, tonight, you would hear him play for the first time. You must see and hear for yourself what all the fuss was about.

Frédéric Chopin was sitting straight-backed at the piano, a tall, frail figure, wearing an expensive frock coat. In profile to you, he revealed an aquiline nose, pleasingly shaped lips and dark blond curls brushing the collar of his coat. While the hostess welcomed the select gathering, he sat still and quiet at the piano, head bent, eyes closed as if in a deep trance and intent on blotting out the gathering. But his long, tapered fingers gave away his contemplations, catching your attention. While the rest of his body obediently and politely waited for the hostess to finish her introductions, his rebellious fingers moved restlessly above the keys, impatient to begin.

He was not handsome, but the sight and physical awareness of him made you catch your breath. An indefinable air of melancholy enveloped him, a sense of past tragedy and future suffering. It moved you to tears. The feeling was beyond anything you had ever felt for any man, beyond mere sexual attraction. You were so shaken by this unexpectedly passionate emotion that you had to remind yourself of your obligation and duty to your children and live-in paramour, Félicien Mallefille.

Only partially aware of the gracious introduction of the hostess, you were startled when Chopin began to play. His music was soft, caressing, though there was nothing light or superficial about it. You had been standing, but now you sought a seat on the opposite side of the room, away from the candlelight, away from the eyes of others. You could study his face now, observe his subtle changes in emotion. He was in harmony with the Pleyel piano, as if it were an extension of himself. Unlike so many other artists of the time, he did not play with intemperate passion while frowning pretentiously. The cadence of his music was so pure it seemed to surround him with light. His playing was elegant and effortless, his fingers caressing the keys. Now, you understood what the poet Hyacinthe de la Touche had meant in his letter to you when he’d called Chopin ‘that pallid Pole who holds the Heavens open’.

You recognised with wonder that although the music had been introduced as an existing piece, he was reliving the entire composition. At that moment, it was for him a fresh piece, a miracle in sound, flowing from his fingers for the very first time.

When he finished playing, he raised his head, slowly emerging from the trance. As you were in the direct path of his vision, he looked straight at you. Weeping, overcome with emotion, in a trance as he had been, you made no attempt to wipe away the tears. There was no need for pretence or feigned modesty. No void separated you both. For a fleeting, pure moment, you were in perfect communion as fellow artists.

Drawing the reader in

You’ll notice from the above rewrite that because the writing is directed at you the reader personally, it draws you right in to the scene.

Famous examples of writing from second person point of view

If you’d like to check out how the experts do it, here is a suggested reading list:

  • The novel Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom Robbins
  • The short fiction of Lorrie Moore and Junot Díaz
  • The short story The Egg by Andy Weir
  • The French, Second Thoughts by Michel Butor
  • And to end, here are the opening lines of  Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City (1984). You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy.

Are you planning on tackling a work of significant length by writing from second person point of view? Then I’d definitely recommend that you read some of the above works first. Study how these authors have done it.

Acknowledgements

Narration, 7 July 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narration#Second-person (accessed 24 July 2020)

Second Person Point of View: A Writer’s Guide, Reedsyblog, 7 January 2020, https://blog.reedsy.com/guide/point-of-view/second-person-pov/#:~:text=Second%20person%20is%20a%20point,the%20reader%20is%20addressed%20directly.&text=When%20writing%20from%20this%20POV,it’%20in%20the%20third%20person (accessed 24 July 2020)

(Photo acknowledgement Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)


Winter in Mallorca, Turmoil to Triumph. A Novel: Chopin and Sand’s Fifty-Six Days on an Island

cover of historical novel by G.E. Tagarro Winter in Mallorca about Chopin and George Sand for blog post ghostwriting australia

WRITERS CONNECT! Issue 27

notebook coffee pencil sunglasses in cafe for editors4you newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! Newsletter

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In this issue:

  • Write Here, Right Now: Writing Competitions
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Humorous Quote
  • Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: Writing Events

Following are writing competitions that close during August and September 2020.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

 

Comp 1: Fosseway Writers Flash Fiction Competition

An opportunity for flash fiction writers to get their teeth into writing a story of 300 words or fewer.

About: The organisers say that every word should count … ‘distil the very essence of your story into its purest form while at the same time immersing the reader into the scene’

Open to: International. Age limit not stated

Word count: Maximum 300 (but it’s a limit, not a target. If you can achieve it in 219 or 73 words, that’s fine)

Theme: The prompt is ‘Symbiotic’

Closes: 8 August 2020

Entry fee: £5

Prize: 1st = £50, 2nd = £30, 3rd = £20

Details here:

https://fossewaywriters.wordpress.com/competitions/

 

Comp 2: Rebecca Swift Foundation Women Poets’ Prize

This award honours Rebecca Swift’s two key passions: poetry and the empowerment of women.

About: The prize is awarded once every two years to three women poets. Each winner is carefully matched with a poetry mentor and offered pastoral coaching. The prize also offers support and creative professional development opportunities with the foundation’s partners

Open to: International

Word count: Maximum 40 lines

Theme: The organisers’ definition of poetry is broad and dynamic. They’re as interested in the ideas running through the work as they are in the way the work appears visually on the page

Closes: 14 August 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prizes: Each winner receives a cash prize of £1000 in addition to the support detailed above

Details here:

https://www.rebeccaswiftfoundation.org/women-poets-prize/

 

Comp 3: Twist & Twain Short Story Contest 2020-21

Twist & Twain is an online literary magazine, and this is  its second short story contest.

About: Story must be written originally in English

Open to: International 18+ both new and established writers

Length: Up to 4,000 words

Theme: Any theme, setting or genre

Closes: 15 August 2020

Entry fee: $9 (see details for residents of India vs non-residents of India)

Prizes: 1st = Rs. 25,000 (c. $300). 2nd = Rs. 15,000 (c. $180). 3rd = 10,000 (c. $120)

Details here:

https://www.twistandtwain.com/eligibility-and-entry-rules-of-short-story-contest/

 

Comp 4: Book Pipeline: Adaptation

Mentioned previously in Issue 24, it’s worth including this competition again, as there are few competitions available for published works.

About: The competition seeks published books, graphic novels, short stories and plays for film and television adaptation. Judging criteria is weighed evenly between concept originality, marketability in the current landscape and overall writing talent

Open to: International 18+

Word Count: None

Theme: Any genre, any theme

Closes: 5 September 2020

Entry fee: $60

Prizes: Every entrant receives general feedback on their submission, specifically on its adaptation potential. Winner = $10,000 + film/TV industry circulation + project development. Two runners-up = $1,000 each (see website for further prizes)

Details here: https://bookpipeline.com/shop/adaptation-contest

 

Word of the Day

bludge

Well, I thought I knew the meaning of the slang word bludge, but the Macquarie Dictionary Blog of 13 July 2020 has put me right. I’d always used it to mean ‘to live off someone else’. The meaning now is to waste time when you should be doing something else. Originally in Australian slang, to bludge meant to live off the earnings of a prostitute.

There’s also on the bludge, meaning to be idle or doing nothing. I spent yesterday bludging around the coast when I should have been working.

bludge can also mean that something like a job or a class requires hardly any work. This assignment is a bludge.

 

Humorous quote

I am a writer. If I seem cold, it’s because I am surrounded by draftsUnknown

 

Get Inspired

Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion― Red Haircrow (an award-winning writer, educator, chef and filmmaker of Native American descent)

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂

Avoid Common Mistakes in Your Writing

If you know what to look for, you can avoid common mistakes in your writing. Apart from the personal satisfaction you’ll gain by knowing what to watch out for, you will likely reduce the amount of editing that needs to be done once you submit your manuscript for editorial work.

What follows does not pretend to be an exhaustive list of common errors in writing, but it will help get you some way towards creating a manuscript with fewer errors.

Avoid common mistakes in your writing: That feeling

Whenever someone has an opinion, there will be others with a divergent opinion. So I’ll just come straight out and say it. Avoid as much as possible using the word ‘feel’ or ‘feeling’ or ‘felt’ in your fiction writing. Why? Because it is telling your readers rather than showing them how your characters are feeling. And showing is much more powerful and memorable.

I’ve mentioned it before, but a great little resource is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

Example: If my character feels sad, instead of saying this, I think of ways to describe, or show, their sadness. They might hang their head down, or have tears in their eyes, or be slumped over. If I’m struggling to describe their sadness, I’ll look up ‘sadness’ in The Emotion Thesaurus. There, I find ‘staring down at one’s hands’; ‘covering the face with the hands’; ‘a slack expression’; ‘touching a cross or fingering jewellery for comfort’; ‘splotchy skin’; ‘sniffing, wiping at nose’, and a whole lot more.

Incorrect punctuation in dialogue

I’ve dedicated a whole blog to punctuation in dialogue (How to Punctuate Dialogue). Here are a couple of quick hints with simple examples.

Speech followed by a dialogue tag (an example dialogue tag is he said). Unless a character’s dialogue ends in a question mark or an exclamation mark, you need a comma before the closing quotation marks, and a full stop after the dialogue tag.

Example: ‘Give me a break, won’t you,’ Rupert said. (The dialogue tag here is Rupert said.)

Example with exclamation mark: ‘Give me a break!’ Rupert said.

Example with question mark: ‘Will you just give me a break?’ Rupert said.

Dialogue tag followed by speech. When the dialogue tag comes before the speech, the dialogue tag must be followed by a comma, and the full stop comes inside the ending quotation mark.

Example: Rupert said, ‘Give me a break.’ (Again, the dialogue tag is Rupert said.)

A question mark or exclamation mark is a complete punctuation mark, i.e. it requires no comma or full stop.

Example: Rupert said, ‘Give me a break!’

Overuse of adverb ‘as’

The example paragraph below may seems like an exaggeration, but it is not at all uncommon for me to find ‘as’ overused in this way in manuscripts.

Example: She stood on the bridge as she thought about him, and as she stared at the water she knew she regretted ever having met him. She knew it was time to leave and as she began walking away, she stumbled. As she reached the end of the bridge, she paused and looked back over her shoulder. She gave a sigh as she continued on her way.

Here’s a suggested rewrite:

Example: She stood on the bridge thinking about him and staring at the water. She regretted ever having met him. She knew it was time to leave and as [it’s okay to use it, just not overuse it] she began walking away, she stumbled. When she reached the end of the bridge, she paused and looked back over her shoulder. Giving a sigh, she continued on her way.

Use the apt word

I use a dictionary and thesaurus practically every day of my life, and that’s what I’m advocating here when I say ‘use the apt word’. Being succinct results in more beautiful writing.

dictionary for blog avoid common mistakes in your writing

Writing is fun, so instead of being sloppy, use your resources to find just the right word to convey your meaning.

Examples: say loud thump instead of clear thump; twinkling lights vs sharply sparkling lights; gritted his teeth vs pushed his teeth together; coalesced or merged vs mashed together; her stomach lurched vs she felt ill (there’s ‘felt’ again); slumped down vs sat down with a slump; opulent building vs very fancy building.

Avoid common mistakes in your writing: Incorrect capitalisation

I rarely work on a manuscript that uses correct capitalisation, so you’re not alone if this applies to you.

It’s pretty simple. If you follow the general rule that a capital letter begins a sentence, or begins quoted speech, and that nouns to be capitalised are proper nouns, not common nouns, you’ll be well on the way to using correct capitalisation.

Proper nouns include personal names (John, Paula), geographical names (France, Canada, Berlin, Madrid, the Himalayas), nationalities (French, Caucasian, Queenslander), religions (Islam, Christianity, Judaism), titles (Captain Kirk, President Obama, Aunty Jane, Dad), organisational names (the United Nations, the Reserve Bank of Australia).

Common noun examples (far from exhaustive!) are ‘the captain’, ‘the president’, my aunty, my dad; names of fruit, vegetables, plants, trees (mandarin, potato, roses, sycamore); objects (car, house, book); colours (red, indigo, yellow).

There are a host of other places where capitalisation is used, but the above will at least give you a head start. Use your dictionary to check if you’re unsure.

Acknowledgement

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (2019), Jadd Publishing (available as print or ebook).


cover of ten ways to supercharge your writing skills by gail tagarro

Beginner writers will find ‘Ten Ways to Super-Charge Your Writing Skills’ a fun, readable and useful resource. From upskilling your vocabulary, to understanding the basics of sentence structure, to learning about narrative arc, pacing and head-hopping, you’ll learn a lot about writing technique and enhance your writing skills.

Writers Connect Newsletter

notebook coffee pencil sunglasses in cafe for newsletter writers connect issue 26
(Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash)

Welcome to Issue 26 of the Writers Connect Newsletter.

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In this issue:

  • Write Here, Right Now: Writing Competitions
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Humorous Quote
  • Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: Writing Events

There have been some new competitions announced since the last issue, so in this issue, we have added several writing competitions that close at the very end of this month, July 2020. Following these is the announcement of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

Comp 1: Ten Stories to Make a Difference

This competition comprises ten original short stories for young readers by ten writers and ten illustrators. Five famous illustrators will illustrate stories by five emerging writers, and five emerging illustrators will illustrate stories by five famous writers.

About: The stories will explore or touch on the theme of difference, inspired by the subject in any way

Open to: Writers under 26

Word count: 10 pages, between 750 and 3000 words

Theme: The theme is difference

Closes: 30 July 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prize: Three winning entries each £500 + matched with a published children’s illustrator + time with a publishing editor and art director to perfect their story + publication in a short print run + receive 10 copies of their book + feature in a major promotional campaign

Details herehttps://pop-up.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Pop-Ups-10th-Birthday-Competition-BRIEF-MAY-2020.pdf

Comp 2: Wow! Women on Writing Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest

The mission of this contest is to reward bravery in real-life storytelling.

About: Creative nonfiction essays on any topic and in any style, from personal essay and memoir to lyric essay and hybrid … and more

Open to: Worldwide submissions in English by women writers

Word count: 200 to 1,000 words

Theme: Open topic

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: $12 (US) or for $25 you receive a critique

Prizes: First = $500 + publication + one item from CreateWriteNow’s Store + interview on WOW! Women On Writing Blog. Second = $300 (see website for more). Third = $200 (see website for more). Runners up = $25 amazon gift certificate (see website for more). 10 honourable mentions (see website for details)

Details here: https://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/contest.php#EssayContest

Comp 3: HWA Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Award

The Historical Writers’ Association is looking for short stories that transport readers to the past.

About: Unpublished short stories in English on any theme, genre or period. The only condition is that the story must be set at least 35 years in the past

Open to: International 18+

Length: Up to 3,500 words

Theme: Any theme or genre

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: £5

Prizes: First = £500 + publication in Whispering Gallery and on www.historiamag.com + mentoring session with author and agent + tickets to receive your award at HWA Crowns Ceremony in London 25 November 2020. Two highly commended awards (see website for details)

Details here: https://historicalwriters.org/awards/ddshwass-award-2020/

Comp 4: The Ruritania Prize for Short Fiction

This short fiction competition caters to residents of central and eastern Europe.

About: Original, short, English language fiction from Central and Eastern Europe of English-language fiction, translated or otherwise, as long as previously unpublished

Open to: Writers currently residing in or who have previously resided in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Baltic States, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the South Caucasus.

Word Count: 1,000 to 4,500

Theme: Stories that reflect the environment in which they were written

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prizes: Winner = €350 + guaranteed publication in the upcoming sixth issue of Panel Magazine. Second & third place = €50 & €20 euros respectively + close consideration for publication by the magazine

Details herehttp://panel-magazine.com/the-2020-ruritania-prize-for-short-fiction/

Melbourne Writers’ Festival

This year, for obvious reasons, the MWF is being held online. It will run from 7–16 August with a Pay What You Can ticketing model. The full program will be announced at 5pm, Wednesday 22 July. Follow MWF on their social media for updates: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube.

Word of the Day

inamorata

inamorata is a borrowing from Italian (original innamorata), meaning a woman who loves or is loved; a female lover. It is included in the Macquarie Dictionary Blog of 24 June 2020 as one of a list of ‘unusual, beautiful words’.

Humorous quote

Writer’s Block: When your imaginary friends stop talking to youUnknown.

Get Inspired

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up—Jane Yolen, American writer of fantasy, science fiction and children’s books, 1939—

The Writers Connect newsletter is generally produced fortnightly.

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂


Contact us for all your editorial needs:

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Create Memorable Characters

As creative writers, we all want to create memorable characters.

photo of man and woman in dressup for blog create memorable characters
Photo by JJ Jordan from Pexels

TV Characters

I love watching a good movie. Recently, because I seem to have exhausted Netflix’s current supply of these, I’ve been watching a couple of TV series, a French one – The Hookup Plan – and a Norwegian one – Home for Christmas. Nothing like cultural variety, I say.

Are the Characters Memorable?

The two series are entertaining, and I’ve been observing how the characters are portrayed in a TV series. More characters are given significant ‘airtime’, whereas a novel tends to focus on a protagonist and one or more central characters.

But it got me thinking. What makes the characters in these series memorable? In fact, are they memorable? Will I even remember any of these characters a couple of weeks after I’ve finished watching the episodes? I suspect not. And it’s not really the aim of the series.

However, as creative writers, we do want to create memorable characters.

Is Your Creative Writing Process Subconscious or Academic?

All writers create differently. The process for me tends to be subconscious rather than academic. By this I mean that for me, the creative writing process just tends to ‘happen’ – aside of course from research and planning (such as creating chapter structures, timelines, character lists…). Academic creators tend to consciously plan out most aspects of the writing, including how to create memorable characters.

Regardless of whether you’re a subconscious or more of an academic creator, it’s worth exploring some of the factors when thinking about how to create memorable characters. If you’re a subconscious creator, you’ll tend to do this after the fact – after you’ve created a character. As an academic creator, you’ll think about it before creating a character.

Suggestions from a Screenwriter to Create Memorable Characters

Aaron Sorkin, Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Social Network (2010), about the founding of Facebook, has some winning tips on how to create memorable characters.

Know what they want and what stops them from getting it

‘It all boils down to intention and obstacles. Somebody wants something; something’s standing in their way of getting it. They want the girl, they want the money, they want to get to Philadelphia—it doesn’t matter, but they have to want it bad. If they need it, that’s even better,’ Sorkin says.

It’s interesting when he says that thinking of a character’s physical characteristics ‘absolutely comes last, if it comes at all.’ In the course of my professional day, I read lots of character descriptions. One of the ways of handling this that doesn’t ‘work’ is when a character description overtakes a scene or the action. While Sorkin’s ideas refer to screenwriting, and we need character description in novels, it’s worth bearing in mind not to subordinate the storyline or action to character descriptions.

Be empathetic

To create memorable characters, one of the essentials is to have empathy towards your characters. ‘You can’t judge the character,’ Sorkin says. This is challenging when your protagonist is the antihero, which is how Sorkin views Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, in The Social Network.

Don’t confuse characters with real people

This is an interesting one, because we’re always being told to create realistic characters. We need to do this by keeping the lines clear. Sorkin often writes about real-life characters but he holds no illusions about his characters being anything other than creations. ‘The properties of people and the properties of character have almost nothing to do with each other,’ he says. Insightfully, he adds, ‘I know it seems like they do, because we look alike, characters and people, but people don’t speak in dialogue, their lives don’t unfold in a series of scenes that form a narrative arc.’

Let your characters fail

If we get too close to our characters, we may be hesitant about having them experience the necessary obstacles and challenges that create story. To maintain our audience’s engagement, keep our characters relatable and help create memorable characters, we have to step back, like a parent with a child, and allow them to make mistakes. ‘They don’t have to succeed in their goal. They can fail. But they have to have tried as hard as they can possibly try … The obstacle has to be formidable.’ Sorkin continues, you may not ‘have a happy ending, but that’s OK.’

Give them a voice — yours 

Sorkin refers to the opening breakup scene of The Social Network and how challenging he found writing it, because he’d never written such young characters before. ‘I think I maybe wrote six lines before I said, ‘This is just god-awful. They’re gonna have to talk the way everybody talks in everything that I ever do.’

Ultimately, it’s your voice that makes your writing unique. You may need to eavesdrop on conversations around you in your local café to help your characters sound authentic, but in the end, you need to use your own voice.

Acknowledgement

Aaron Sorkin’s 7 Tips for Creating Memorable Characters, https://screencraft.org/2017/08/31/7-tips-creating-memorable-characters-aaron-sorkin/, Accessed 31 August 2017


Improve Your Writing Technique

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ebook cover gail tagarro author ten ways to supercharge your writing for blog create memorable characters

WRITERS CONNECT! Issue 24

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Welcome to the Writers Connect! Newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! newsletter.

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In this issue:

  • Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Interesting Fact
  • Writing Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing

In this issue, we explore writing competitions that close during August and September 2020.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

 

Comp 1: Sydney Hammond Short Story Writing Competition 2020

The organisers, Hawkeye Books, are looking for ‘jolly good tales’ that are positive, that show growth, are light-hearted, heart-warming and gut-wrenchingly beautiful. They may be sad but they want evolution to shine through.

About: In this competition, the organisers are looking for storytelling ability and adherence to the competition theme, as well as the correct use of spelling and grammar and conforming to the competition guidelines. Multiple entries permitted

Open to: Appears to be open (check with organisers)

Word count: Up to 1,000

Theme: ‘If only…’

Closes: 1 August 2020

Entry fee: $10 (Australian)

Prizes: First = $250AU Hawkeye Gift Voucher + anthology front cover design based on winner’s story. Shortlisted (2nd – 4th) = names published. Top 40 stories published in anthology.

Information and entry here: https://hawkeyebooks.com.au/writing-competitions/sydney-hammond-memorial-short-story-writing-competition-2020/

 

 

Comp 2: Yale Drama Series Prize for Emerging Playwrights

Here’s a competition for emerging playwrights. Take advantage, as I don’t see many competitions open to playwrights. Besides, it’s an amazing prize, along with the kudos of the play being staged.

About: Submissions must be original, unpublished, full-length plays

Open to: Worldwide submissions. Plays must be written in English

Length: Must be 65 pages minimum

Theme: Not stated; only that translations, musicals and children’s plays not accepted

Closes: 15 August 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prizes: Winner awarded the David Charles Horn Prize of $10,000, publication of manuscript by Yale University Press and a staged reading at Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater

Details here: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/yale-drama-series-submissions

 

 

Comp 3: Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

Organised by ‘Winning Writers’ for a published or unpublished work.

About: To see previous winners, see here https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/contest-archives/tom-howard-margaret-reid-poetry-contest-2019

Open to: No restriction on age of author. Authors from all countries eligible except Syria, Iran, North Korea and Crimea (due to US government restrictions)

Length: 250 lines maximum per poem

Theme: See under ‘Prize’ below

Closes: 30 September 2020

Entry fee: $15 (US) per poem

Prize: First – Tom Howard Prize = $3,000 (US) for a poem in any style or genre. Margaret Reid Prize – $3,000 (US) for a rhyming poem or in a traditional style. Top two winners also receive two-year gift certificates of $100 value. Honourable Mentions = 10 awards of $200 each (any style). Top 12 entries = published online

Details here: https://winningwriters.com/our-contests/tom-howard-margaret-reid-poetry-contest

 

 

Comp 4: Book Pipeline: Adaptation Competition

Here’s a great opportunity for authors of any genre to submit their published work for a chance at a significant prize.

About: Published books, graphic novels, short stories, or plays for film and television adaptation. No genre restrictions

Open to: International, 18+

Word Count: Not stated

Theme: Open

Closes: 15 August 2020

Entry fee: $60 (US)

Prize: Winner = $10,000 (US) + film/TV industry circulation + project development. Two runners-up = $2,000 ($1,000 each). Plus every entrant receives general feedback on their submission, specifically on its adaptation potential after final judging

Details here: https://bookpipeline.com/shop/adaptation-contest (Note: I found this page a little confusing as there are two competitions and the T&C here relate to the unpublished competition. Make sure you follow the guidelines for the published work)

 

 

Comp 5: Teens of Tomorrow Short Story Content

A wonderful opportunity for young writers to showcase their work and get published.

About: Future-focused YA fiction, any genre

Open to: International 14+

Word Count: 2,000 to 5,000

Theme: Reflecting socio-political issues faced by young people now and into the future

Closes: 31 August 2020

Entry fee: £4

Prize: First = £200. 2nd = £100. 3rd = £50. Top ten tales to be published in anthology

Details here: http://contest.oddvoiceout.com/

 

 

Word of the Day

vilipend 

I know the word ‘vilify’ but I’d never heard of ‘vilipend’. It means to treat with contempt, or to express a low opinion of, the same meaning as ‘vilify’. Although vilipend entered the English language in the 15th century, according to Merriam Webster, it ‘fell into relative obscurity by the 20th century’ – hence why it’s not in common use. It is however listed in the Macquarie Dictionary.

 

 

Humorous quote

‘The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary’ (James Nicoll, Canadian freelance game and speculative fiction reviewer).

 

 

Get Inspired

I’m proud to mention author Helen Brown in this newsletter. We both attended journalism school in New Zealand when we were just out of school and although I didn’t get to know her very well, I caught up with her and another journalism colleague in Melbourne a couple of years ago.

Helen’s nine-year-old son Sam was hit and killed by a car in 1983. Soon after that, her family adopted a kitten and she wrote her best-selling book Cleo about a small black cat who helped mend a family’s broken hearts.

In Cleo: How an Uppity Cat Helped Heal a Family, Helen says, ‘Guilt isn’t in cat vocabulary. They never suffer remorse for eating too much, sleeping too long or hogging the warmest cushion in the house … They don’t waste energy counting the number of calories they’ve consumed or the hours they’ve frittered away sunbathing … Cats don’t beat themselves up about not working hard enough. They don’t get up and go, they sit down and stay. For them, lethargy is an art form. From their vantage points on top of fences and window ledges, they see the treadmills of human obligations for what they are – a meaningless waste of nap time.’ Thank you, Helen, for bringing us back to what really matters, and for your contributions to the writing world.

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂

A Tassie Author

A Tassie Author is part of ‘Let’s Talk with the Authors’, a series of interviews with authors who have worked with editors4you or WriteDesign Publications. The promotional opportunity is also open to other authors (contact us for details).

A Tassie Author: David Alomes

photo of David Alomes a Tassie Author
David Alomes: A Tassie Author

Promoting Your Books

Around Christmas 2019, I offered my authors a simple way to promote their books through an author interview.

As we writers know, it’s one thing to write a book. It’s quite another to promote it. Writers tend to shy away from promotion, but it’s vital to kick the shyness habit and get our books out there in the big wide world.

In this interview, the profiled author is David Alomes, an author from Hobart, Tasmania, whose sci-fi novel First Adult is his first novel and the first of a trilogy.

David, tell us about your book

First Adult portrays the type of world where humanity could very easily wind up, a divided world split into two competing and opposing philosophies. Into this broken world is born a healthy child, the first in generations, and he is raised away from the troubles of the world.

His story is one of struggle and loss but ultimately one of hope as he finds new ways to move his world past the troubles of old into a better way – for not only his world, but for the galaxy as a whole. With that hope comes a huge responsibility. He is faced with the challenge of changing millennia of conflict, with the possibility that it will crush him if he doesn’t succeed.

The book questions our values, and perhaps even has readers cheering for the bad guy – if you can figure out who that is!

How did this novel come about?

My professional career is based on numbers, not words. I’ve been a career CPA and financial planner all my working life but eight years ago, a discussion with my daughter spurred me on my writing journey. A simple ‘what if’ discussion ended up with a concept for a book. What would the world look like if…

The book I sought to write turned out to be a trilogy. I had to write a prequel first to make sense of what I had started, and one more to finish the tale. Hence, Book One First Adult was born and published, receiving five-star reviews from the likes of Pacific Book Review.

In between writing, I have retired and travelled and generally have lots of fun, but writing keeps pulling me back. Perhaps the tale wants to be told, or perhaps I’m just too stubborn to quit.

What helped you while you were writing this book?

Having written 15,000 words, I found I did not have enough experience using Microsoft Word to go any further, so I sought guidance. At that point, a discouraging word would have seen me put down my draft and retreat to what I knew. Instead, I received encouragement and understanding. The first words out of my initial coach’s mouth were, ‘You cannot edit what is not on the page.’ Truer words were never spoken. 

Along the way, I seem to have taken an abridged writing course. In my numbers career, I quickly figured out you never stop learning – and I have applied this to my writing. Using resources like a professional editor, having my books reviewed and having beta readers has helped heaps, not to mention joining writers groups. I’m fortunate to have family and friends who have supported my endeavours. My daughter gifted me The Emotion Thesaurus, which I now cannot live without. It helps me add a lot of colour to my writing! And it helps me to show rather than tell in my writing.  

It hasn’t hurt that sci-fi is now an accepted mainstream writing style! With over 6,000 hours of writing experience now, I’m more confident in my writing style, which has changed several times with experience. Now, being retired, I can focus more on a writing career. I still feel that someday I may be able to look myself in the mirror and see an author and not a numbers man.

Can you tell us about self-publishing your book?

You hear horror stories, and, well, sorry to say they are true. I tried a few authors’ reps and publishers but without success. I finally received a publishing contract with a UK publisher, but found they were more a vanity publisher (please read here to avoid this pitfall) and I would still lose control over my book, so I declined.

Self-publishing gave me control over most of the aspects of publishing, and I’m very happy with the final in-hand book.

Don’t start me on marketing, however! Just when you think your hard work is over, you realise it’s barely begun! My advice here is, make sure every sale goes through a platform (like Amazon), as the bigger your recorded sales numbers, the more you get noticed! Buying the books yourself at a discount from your publisher gives you $$, but does not get recorded as a sale.

Think long term and get noticed … I’m still working on this myself.

What are you currently writing?

I’ve just finished Book Two of the trilogy and it’s about to have its final edit. A complete rewrite of my original first draft has become The Death of Violence. This expands the story of Book One to our poor little planet and asks questions like, ‘Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?’ ‘Does the world’s master criminal have to stand up for us all and defend us from indiscriminate murder and mayhem?’ ‘When do things from our past hinder us and not help?’ ‘Wherever you live in the galaxy, why are there always foods that taste just like chicken?’

I’ve also written the first chapter of Book Three, but I have another story I’m busting to put to paper. Stay tuned! It seems words are rushing out of me at a rate of knots.


David’s book is a great read, and you can find it by clicking on the cover below.  You can also visit David’s website: https://www.davidalomes.com/

book cover for a tassie author
First adult by a Tassie author David Alomes

WRITERS CONNECT! Issue 23

notebook coffee pencil sunglasses in cafe for editors4you newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! Newsletter

Welcome to the Writers Connect! newsletter.

Writing is a human experience. It’s about connection with everyone and everything around us.

We understand you’re busy. So the newsletter usually has just four or five main items of content. A brief but satisfying read.

In this issue:

  • Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing
  • Word of the Day. An unusual word to keep your writing fresh
  • Interesting Fact
  • Writing Inspiration

Write Here, Right Now: What’s Happening in Writing

In this issue, we explore writing competitions that close at the very end of July 2020.

For competition closing dates, bear in mind these relate to the time zone where the competition originates, so check the relevant site.

 

Comp 1: Hawk Mountain Short Story Collection Award

It’s heartening these organisers encourage simultaneous submissions. They acknowledge that ‘writers have the right to continue promoting and offering their work while waiting for the decisions of literary organizations’

About: Hidden River Arts offers this award for an original collection of short stories. Previous publication of individual stories is acceptable (see conditions on organiser’s website)

Open to: International writers in English. Multiple submissions, and simultaneous submissions (i.e. submission elsewhere)  accepted

Word count: No limit

Theme: Appears to be open. Check with organiser

Closes: 30 July 2020

Entry fee: $20 (US)

Prize: $1,000 and publication by Hidden River Press

Information and entry here: https://hiddenriverarts.wordpress.com/awards-deadlines-and-guidelines/hawk-mountain-short-story-collection-award/

 

 

Comp 2: 12th Casa África Essay Prizes

This inclusive competition allows essays in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English

About: Original and unpublished essays on African themes to enhance people’s knowledge of the African continent – written in Spanish, English, French or Portuguese

Open to: International, 18+

Word Count: 15,000 minimum to 20,000 maximum

Theme: Climate change in Africa

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prizes: €2,000

Information here: http://www.casafrica.es/en/agenda_europa_africa.jsp?DS28.PROID=916523

 

 

Comp 3: Seán O’Faoláin Short Story Competition

What a fabulous opportunity for short story writers to visit beautiful Ireland, COVID allowing…

About: Original, unpublished and unbroadcast short stories in English. Multiple and simultaneous submissions accepted

Open to: International

Word count: Maximum 3,000

Theme: Any subject, in any style

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: €18

Prize: First = €2,000 + publication + accommodation at Cork International Short Story Festival + 1-week residency at writer’s retreat. Let’s hope COVID allows, because read on! ‘Located just outside the colourful village of Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork, Anam Cara is a tranquil spot structured to provide support and sanctuary for people working in the creative arts. It offers private and common working rooms as well as five acres of walking paths, thirty-four nooks and crannies, a river cascades and a river island, gardens, and a labyrinth meadow. Editorial consultation is also available.’ Wow! Second prize = €500 + publication. Four Runners-Up = €250 + publication

Details here: https://www.munsterlit.ie/SOF%20Page.html

 

 

Comp 4: Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

An exciting opportunity for young poets to strut their stuff and be published

About: Work must be original and unpublished and written in English

Open to: Young poets 11—17 internationally writing in English

Word Count: Any length

Theme: Open

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: Free

Prize: First 15 winners = publication in anthology + attendance at residential writing course at one of the prestigious Arvon Centres, or mentoring from a professional poet (age dependent). The 85 commended poets = publication in online anthology and names in print anthology.

Guidelines & entry here: https://poetrysociety.org.uk/competitions/foyle-young-poets-of-the-year-award/

 

 

Comp 5: Winchester Poetry Prize 2020

While I’m sure all writing competition judges look for the ‘wow factor’ in writing, the judge of the Winchester Poetry Price actually says so: ‘Then there’s that extra thing, the wow-factor … the moment a poem becomes literature’

About: Previously unpublished poems on any theme

Open to: Anyone 18+

Word Count: No longer than 40 lines (excluding title)

Theme: Any subject, any form or style, in English

Closes: 31 July 2020

Entry fee: £5 first poem, £4 each subsequent poem

Prize: First = £1,000. 2nd = £500. 3rd = £250

Details here: https://www.winchesterpoetryfestival.org/prize

 

 

Word of the Day

pyjamas

Did you know that the name of this snuggly garment originates from a Persian word pāy-jāmeh (‘leg clothing’)? The word was only introduced into English around 1800.

 

 

Interesting Fact

In English, loanwords – words that are borrowed from other languages – make up an astonishing 80% of the English language and represent around 350 other languages.

 

 

Get Inspired

Spanish author Rosa Montero, renowned journalist and correspondent for Spain’s El País newspaper, has an interesting perspective on writing: ‘The truth about being a writer is that you do not choose the stories you tell; the stories choose you. Therefore, you do not choose characters either. Novels are like dreams you dream with your eyes open; they are books which appear in your head with the same apparent immediateness as they appear in your dreams at night.’ In speaking about her novel Te trataré como a una Reina (I will Treat you like a Queen), she says, ‘I almost went crazy because my characters did not let me say what I wanted and kept forcing me to speak about things I had … [not intended] to mention. So I came to the conclusion that I had to be true to them, because they had a life of their own.’

If you’re interested in reading an article by Rosa Montero, here’s a great one published in El País about cultural prejudices and stereotypes: Never Mind the Bullfights https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/30/spains-changed-national-character

Keep well, keep safe, keep writing 🙂

Writers Need to Know their Target Audience

Know your Target Audience

Writers need to know their target audience regardless of the type or genre of their writing: creative writing, business writing, poetry, essays… Arguably, it’s even more important in creative writing because readers choose to buy your work – or not!

dartboard with arrow in bullseye for writers need to know their target audience

Why do Writers Need to Know their Target Audience?

When, before you start writing, you have clear in your mind who your audience is, it’s much more likely that your readers will find your writing engaging. You’ll maintain their attention and interest in the story.

How to Find your Audience

You know what you want to write? You have imagined who your audience is? That’s great, although imagining your audience isn’t the same as knowing it.

Let’s say you’re writing a crime thriller targeted at both women and men aged 35 upwards. To define your target audience, as Dana Sitar advises, think of five people you know reasonably well who read crime thrillers. It could be friends and/or family. The caveat here with family is they will usually love what you write. Alternatively, they will be overly critical, so choose your five wisely. If you are clear about genuinely seeking honest feedback and say you’re not precious about your work and want their objective opinion, in my experience, people will oblige.

Think again about your five chosen people. When did you last see them reading a crime thriller? Do you know why they chose the particular novel they were reading? How do you imagine them reacting to several of the action scenes you’ve written in your book? If you told them about your book, do you think they would want to read it?

If the answers to the above questions are ‘I haven’t’, ‘I don’t’, ‘I can’t’ and ‘No’, then consider a different novel. While there are no guarantees of sales in the publishing world , it’s better to be sure of a ready audience. After all, you’ve put a lot of hard grind into writing and you’ll put just as much into promotion.

If you come up trumps with your hypothetical questions, then ask these people what they think of the idea for your novel. The advantage of asking them is that you’re running your idea by a realistic target audience (Sitar).

When Family and Friends are not your Audience…

As above, if you know that your family and friends will either love your writing, thinking you’re the smartest person on our planet, or criticise it, then it’s best not to ask this group for their opinion. To gain objective feedback on your writing, ask other writers – whose opinion and ethics you trust. You could join a supportive writers’ group to read out excerpts of your work and gain feedback that way.

Sometimes Knowing your Audience Happens Intuitively

When I wrote my non-fiction eBook Ten Ways to Supercharge Your Writing Skills, I followed my own advice and had a specific audience in mind! These were writers who were seeking to improve various aspects of their writing skills. Nevertheless, I have to admit that with my historical novel, Winter in Mallorca: Turmoil to Triumph, ‘defining my audience’ happened intuitively rather than consciously. The inspiration for the novel came to me while on a visit to Mallorca in Spain. I knew with certainty this was the novel I’d always wanted to write.

It seemed to work! Last June, on the writers’ retreat in Spain, I read out excerpts from my novel to the other writers. Their unanimous feedback was interesting: they related to and enjoyed the readings. (None of them wrote in the same genre or were normally readers of historical novels or love stories.) I’ve also been surprised by a similar reaction from my readers. Many of them have said they’ve never read an historical novel in their lives but they loved the book. I’m not blowing my own trumpet, just giving a real-life example. You may not always consciously define your audience, but you need to be aware of addressing a particular audience regardless. As I was writing the novel, I thought of my readers as lovers of history and historical fiction, with an interest in Chopin’s life.

Why Writers Need to Know their Target Audience for Pitching

If you’re planning to submit your manuscript to publishers and agents, have your target readership clear. This is especially important if it’s your first novel. Be prepared to answer in a considered way the question ‘Who do you see as your target audience?’ Don’t just say ‘It has universal appeal’ or ‘Anyone who likes a good story’. Kim Wright illustrates the inaccuracy of such statements: ‘They’re probably trying to imply that their book has equal appeal for men and women, young and old, that it cuts across all racial and national lines and thus has the potential to be a best seller. Hmmm…yeah.

Checklist for Knowing your Target Audience

  1. Before you start writing, have your target audience clear in your mind.
  2. Think of five people you know who read and enjoy the genre you’re planning to write.
  3. Ask yourself: have these five people recently read a book in this genre? Why did they choose to read that novel? How do you think they would react to several of the scenes in your book? Do you think they would want to read your book?
  4. Ask these people for their feedback on your book idea.
  5. If you have started or even finished writing your book, become aware of your audience retrospectively (before publishing it). Make any necessary adjustments to the writing.
  6. Be prepared to answer the question, ‘Who do you see as your target audience?’

Acknowledgements

Bay Tree Publishing, The Ten Most Important Things Every Writer Needs to Know, https://baytreepublish.com/ten-things-every-writer-needs-to-know/ , n.d.

Dana Sitar, Who Is Your Target Audience? Use This Simple Trick to Figure Out If They Actually Exist, ‘Writers Digest’, https://www.writersdigest.com/publishing-faqs/does-your-target-audience-exist-use-this-simple-trick-to-figure-it-out, 6 Feb 2019.

Kim Wright, Who Is Your Target Reader? ‘Writers Digest’, https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/who-is-your-target-reader, 8 April 2012