Searching for the Perfect Query Letter

Go Figure: Musings from the Mind of Rob Wilstein

Fellow writers, I am sending out query letters for my novel and was hoping for some feedback from the community on my approach. I’d appreciate any advice as to whether what I have works for you. Thank you in advance for the help. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
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The Journey of Writing: Ten Common Ground Rules for Travelers and Writers

By Belle Brett

Since age 20, traveling has always been a major part of my life. I’m not someone who is content with an annual vacation to Cape Cod. Rather, I like to experience something new (although some places, like Hawaii and Paris, will always draw me back—but with new discoveries, I hope). Even though my days of many-bedded hostel rooms and shared cold water showers are over, I still relish the challenges that accompany exploration of less familiar places.

I wonder if that need for the unknown is what draws me to writing novels. Writing longer length fiction is truly a journey that requires some of the same approaches to maximizing the experience as does traveling. Having just returned from an enjoyable trip to Portugal, I found myself reflecting on some of the commonalities between the two. Read More →

Friday Feast: Books, Storytelling, Maps and More
The week–nay, the month–in publishing has been a bit off-kilter.

Rather than rehash, we shall reset with a hodgepodge of links to remind us of why we do what we do: Books and stories. Yay.



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Scrivener: NaNoWriMo Power Tool

scrivenerBy Kelly Ford

I came to Scrivener the way I come to a lot of things: Oh. Fun. Want.

When I wandered into the tea shop to meet my Novel Incubator mentee, Kelly Robertson, she had her laptop open and I saw a fun corkboard with lots of colored tabs. Tell me more, I said. The gist: Scrivener made her think, oh. It looks so organized. It makes me feel organized. Want.

If there’s a time for writer organization, it’s National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, which begins November 1. There are many fantastic features in Scrivener, such as the satisfying ding! that notifies you when you’ve reached your word count for the day and the snazzy character profile board that makes you feel like you’re working a big FBI sting in a back room somewhere. But if you’re just getting started, it can be overwhelming. Here’s my quick and dirty guide to getting your Scrivener on during NaNoWriMo or any other time you find yourself up against a deadline.

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An Interview with Pamela Erens, Author of The Virgins

Pamela Erens
By Margaret Zamos-Monteith

Pamela Erens is a graduate of Philips Exeter Academy and Yale University and the recipient of a 2014 fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Reader’s Digest called her One of 23 Contemporary Writers You Should Have Read by Now. Her short fiction, reviews, and essays have appeared in many publications, including the Boston Review, the New England Review, and Tin House. A former editor at Glamour magazine, her sharp, tender, evocative prose has earned her comparisons to such literary luminaries as Vladimir Nabakov, Edith Wharton, James Salter, Knut Hamsun, and Samuel Beckett. Read More →

Friday Feast: Shed Your Leaves, Apples, Words, Sentence Diagrams and More

Movie version Christian Grey does not want your apple.

Ah, mid-October. Time of endless apple-picking social media posts, picked over apple pies in workplace kitchens, apple pies and apple butters and assorted apples in jars that you don’t know what to do with so you give them away as gifts for the holidays.

Dead Darlings does not want your apples unless you dehydrate them. Apple Jerky. We’ll take that.


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Happy Indie Story, Part Six: What’s Next?


Flutter Volume Two: Don’t Let Me Die Nervous

By Jennie Wood

It’s the question President Jed Bartlet always asks after every crisis gets resolved on The West Wing. And it’s the question you’ll be asked in nearly every interview and conversation you’ll have while promoting your current book. Your agent will ask. So will your publisher. You’ll get asked at conventions and conferences. Film and TV producers interested in your current project will also ask, “What’s next?”

Your readers will, too. And they’re not just asking about your next book or project. They want to know where and when you’ll be appearing and reading next.

One mistake writers often make is they stop promoting their book after its launch date. This is a huge mistake. It’s been over a year since Flutter, Volume One was published, but sales continue to increase. I still get interview requests. The book continues to be reviewed.

Sometimes writers make the opposite mistake. They stop working on their next book and only promote their current one. Read More →

An Interview with Anjali Mitter Duva,
Author of Faint Promise of Rain

Anjali Duva by Michael Benabib

Credit: Michael Benabib / Kobo Writing Life

By Marc Foster

Long-time Boston resident Anjali Mitter Duva’s debut novel takes us to sixteenth-century Rajasthan to recount the birth and coming-of-age of Adhira, a girl born into a family of temple dancers. Duva has woven together strands of her father’s upbringing in India, along with a personal interest in kathak dance, to produce what Bret Anthony Johnston has called “a gorgeous book, a story that is at once spare and lush, wrenching and restoring.” Anjali took out time from her launch to speak with Dead Darlings about her novel, and the unique collaboration with She Writes Press that brought it to market. Read More →

Friday Feast: First Lines, Last Lines, Whole Novels in One Line and Grammar Rules (1)

Thanks to for the gif.

With your first sentence, you want to give your readers a good taste of what’s to come in your novel. With the last, a satisfying finish that reflects the whole. Sometimes, it works. Other times, not so much.

This week, we focus on how sentences can make or break writers. Plus, a grammar lesson for those of us who still need help.



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Some Thoughts on Time and Structure


By Kelly Robertson

I had planned to write an instructional post on the use of spreadsheets in writing a novel, but life happened this week. Right after the deadline for this post got moved up, my whippets decided that this was the perfect time to wage a war, or more specifically, my younger male whippet, Zephyr, decided it was time to beat up my older female whippet, Zoe. He attacked her repeatedly last week, leaving her cowering near the front door, begging to be let  out of the house. The next four days were incredibly stressful. I got little done. I hovered over them waiting for the next attack. I called a dog trainer friend of mine in a panic. I thought horrible thoughts of what would happen if they never got along again. Read More →

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