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Showing posts from December, 2022

Writing a Successful Query Letter

I've written lots of queries with about a 99 percent rejection rate. My few successes have been with independent publishers who have open submissions year-round or have a small window when they accept submissions. is an excellent website for information on when these windows open. Agents also operate this way, so your response time will be short if you know someone in the business, a teacher, or a fellow writer of novels or screenplays in the same genre as yours who can give you advice or names of people they know or have met. Several free and pay-to-play websites have gathered agents' request and their availability to new clients. Discovering the next great writer is essential to their continued success, so don't waste their time if they specialize in two or three genres and your work doesn't fit into any of those. Manuscript Wish List and Querytracker are great resources. Screenplay writers have similar websites available. Some are subscription serv

Talent Can't Be Taught

 You either have or you don't. When I was teaching, I used Aristotle's Poetics as a textbook. Here's why. Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and polymath wrote about many topics, including writing. In his work "Rhetoric," he provides some advice on how to write effectively. Here are some key points from his advice: 1.      Start with a clear purpose: Before you begin writing, it's crucial to have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your writing. This will help guide your writing and keep you focused on your goals. 2.      Use an appropriate structure: According to Aristotle, the structure of your writing should be based on the purpose of your writing. He suggests using a three-part structure for persuasive writing, with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. 3.      Use clear and concise language: Aristotle advises writers to use clear, concise language that is easy to understand. This will help your readers follow your argument and stay

A Novel and a Screenplay Are Very Different Mediums

 There are several key differences between writing a novel and writing a screenplay: Format: A novel is a long work of fiction that is typically written in prose and can be any length, whereas a screenplay is a written work that outlines the dialogue, action, and characters of a movie or television show. Scripts have a specific format that includes elements such as scene headings, character names, and dialogue. Narration: A novel allows for a wide range of narrative techniques, such as first-person or third-person point of view, and can include inner thoughts and descriptions of the environment and characters. On the other hand, a screenplay is focused on dialogue and action and does not include inner thoughts or detailed descriptions of the domain. Length: Novels can be any length, but screenplays are typically shorter, with most feature films falling between 90 and 120 pages. Audience: A novel is typically rea

Literary Themes

Beginning writers may find themselves wondering what their story is about. I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes something bursts from your imagination, and you’re unsure where it came from. That said, when rewriting this first draft, it can be helpful to determine precisely your story’s theme. Literary themes are the central ideas or messages in a work of literature. These themes can be explicit, meaning they are directly stated in the text, or implicit, meaning they are implied or hinted at by the events and characters in the story. Literary themes are often universal, meaning they can be understood and related to by readers from different cultures and backgrounds. Some common literary themes include love, loss, identity, power, conflict, and coming of age. The theme of a work of literature is often closely tied to its characters, plot, and setting. For example, the theme of a love story may be the power of love to overcome obstacles and bring people together, while the theme of


Wannabe writers need to know there are recognized plots of famous works that could help them find their way to success. Here are just a few.   Love conquers all: In this plot, two people from different backgrounds or circumstances fall in love and overcome any obstacles that stand in their way. The hero's journey: This plot follows the classic hero's journey, in which a hero embarks on a journey, faces challenges and enemies, and ultimately emerges victorious. Coming of age: This plot follows a young character as they navigate the challenges and changes of growing up and finding their place in the world. Overcoming adversity: This plot follows a character as they struggle to overcome a difficult situation or challenge, such as illness, poverty, or discrimination. The quest: This plot follows a character or group of characters as they embark on a journey to find something or achieve a goal. Rags to