White people uphold systemic racism in publishing by not doing the right thing sometimes when it means doing the right thing will benefit people of color and especially BIPOC (Black and Indigenous people of color) in publishing more than it will benefit white people. Upholding systemic racism happens with both actions and inactions. The latter is what we’re focusing on here, which is to say, doing nothing. The only thing necessary for systemic racism in publishing to triumph, is for authors and other publishing professionals to do nothing.
Once upon a time, I decided to write fiction. I consumed as many sources of craft advice (agent blogs, how-to-write books, author Twitter threads, etc.) as I could find. That advice often came in absolutes, as in, always write a certain genre in a certain tense, never start a story with a character waking up, and definitely don’t ever use -ly adverbs. Click the title above to continue reading.
I have a hard time reconciling actions when characters don’t know why they’re doing them. One or two instances of this in a story isn’t so bad, but more than that, and I start considering whether I should DNR the book. Click the title above to continue reading.
My beloved critique partner is launching her debut right now. She came up in the query trenches, won herself a spot in a competition for editing services, got herself an agent, and then, reader, she landed herself a two-book deal with Amazon imprint Thomas & Mercer. This post is dedicated to Elle Marr, whose thriller THE MISSING SISTER is launching April 1, 2020, and to all the other authors launching books in the time of COVID-19. My academic and professional background is in marketing and fundraising, so gather ’round, my wonderful scribes, and I’ll tell you the secrets to marketing during a pandemic.
Writers write words to express, entertain, inspire, escape, empathize, honor, inform, persuade, profit, debate, overcome trauma, and more. But when we write words for readers, whatever our purposes or intentions, the effect is influence. We have the power to influence those who read our words, and with great power comes you know what. Click the title above to continue reading.
You might have noticed that a 9,000-member literary organization has been in the news since it wrongfully censured author Courtney Milan on December 23, 2019. I’m a member of that organization and a white woman, and I am still watching as other members who are also white women, over and over again, refuse to believe women of color. Click the title above to continue reading.
As in real life, our characters sometimes need to pause and reflect on something before responding. This silent beat is often indicated with an ellipsis or the word finally, as in, “Yes,” she said finally. Nothing wrong with marking a beat this way, but here are some alternatives you can use to invigorate some of the beats in your dialogue.
Author Melanie Greene wants your thoughtful suggestions for her document, Changing the Romance Genre for the Better. As I moderate the comments for anything that could make this space unsafe, I’ll be erring on the side of caution. After Melanie incorporates feedback, I will post the revised document here. Thanks and happy reading! Click the title above to continue reading.
Below is a list of ways you can de-emphasize or delete some of the smaller characters in your manuscript. Click the title above to continue reading.
A couple of years ago, my critique partner, with respect to the first chapter of one of my books, asked me why I had only described my setting according to its non-human characteristics. The scene was outside a palliative care facility during the day, so wouldn’t folks be visiting relatives? Click the title above to continue reading.