Pitching to a Literary Agent Live: What It’s Really Like

A couple years ago, I attended the last annual Longview Literary Festival in Lee’s Summit, MO. It was an incredibly fun experience as always, but different from previous years in that, for the first time ever, I got to pitch a novel series to a literary agency in person! Here I am going to tellContinue reading “Pitching to a Literary Agent Live: What It’s Really Like”

Agents: What Are They Good For?

Love them or hate them, literary agents are a force to be reckoned with in the publishing world. Just about all the big-name authors have one, and any online search you do for book publishers will likely bring up some agency names as well. So, who are these mysterious entities who do so much behind-the-scenesContinue reading “Agents: What Are They Good For?”

Writing Nonfiction

Needless to say, writing nonfiction is a very different experience from writing fiction. The most obvious fact, of course, is that while with fiction your only limits are those imposed by yourself, with nonfiction your job is to posit straight facts. This can lead some to believe that nonfiction is a more restrictive or boringContinue reading “Writing Nonfiction”

World Building

The most important aspect of any book next to character is setting, for without it there would be no context for the story to exist. I would go so far as to say anywhere from one third to half of any story has to do with establishing the surroundings in which the action can unfold,Continue reading “World Building”

The Worst of the Worst: Making Believable Antagonists

Continuing from last week’s post on creating good characters, I will now give a look at how best to portray those characters who are often far more interesting: the baddies. For the most part, the same rules apply to making good bad guys as making good good guys: show rather than tell, make his/her problemContinue reading “The Worst of the Worst: Making Believable Antagonists”

The Best of the Best: Making Believable Protagonists

While not all protagonists are good, it’s true, they are nevertheless an essential ingredient to any story (with a few abstract exceptions). It might seem easy to make a lead character who is generally likeable, and for some it is. But for others, creating a character out of thin air who is both interesting andContinue reading “The Best of the Best: Making Believable Protagonists”

Sci-Fi or Fantasy: The Fine Line Between Genres

What is the difference between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Lord of the Rings? It’s a common enough question (among a few folks, anyway) with a common enough set of answers. To some, there is no difference: both are speculative fiction (i. e. deal with made-up worlds and situations). To other, more devout followersContinue reading “Sci-Fi or Fantasy: The Fine Line Between Genres”

The Dilemma of Pen Names

Just about every author considers adopting a pen name at some point in his or her career. Some do it as a matter of course–especially when they wish to remain anonymous. Others cannot imagine why they would want to detach themselves from something they worked so hard on. As I have sometimes wondered whether orContinue reading “The Dilemma of Pen Names”