Archive for the 'Book Talk' Category

Flog a Pro: would you turn this bestselling author’s first page?

Trained by reading hundreds of submissions, editors and agents often make their read/not-read decision on the first page. In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters starting about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are 16 or 17 lines on the first page. The challenge: does this narrative […]

In Praise of Paper Books

I recently started rereading a book I bought many years ago – one volume of an eight volume collected set of The Spectator, a London daily periodical from the early 18th century. William Addison and Joseph Steele wrote most of the The Spectator’s 2500-word, witty and wise essays on serious topics of social value. A […]

How to Make Somebody Hate Reading

Here’s how to make somebody hate reading:  Send them to an American high school. The end. Hmmm – in proofreading this post, it seems a little short. So maybe I should elaborate. I’ve seen some statistics floating around the web claiming that one third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest […]

Should You Read About Writing?

A writer friend of mine recently moved offices, and in doing so, had to downsize his book collection. He purged several dozen books about writing. Offering them to a group of us fellow writers, he wryly noted, “Take what you want, but remember, if reading books about writing was enough to make someone a successful […]

Envy: a Lesson in What Not to Do

A couple of weeks ago, an author in the UK named Lynn Shepherd made one of the more bafflingly boneheaded moves I’ve seen in a long time, by posting a blog on the Huffington Post entitled “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It.” Many of you probably read it, and/or saw […]

Take 5: Barbara O’Neal and THE ALL YOU CAN DREAM BUFFET

Our own Barbara O’Neal is with us today; she’s the author of over forty novels, and has won 7 RITA awards from Romance Writers of America and was admitted to the Hall of Fame in 2012. Her latest, THE ALL YOU CAN DREAM BUFFET (Bantam) was released on March 4, 2014. Her new novel of food, friendship, and the […]

Thank You

Today—this day, March 4th, 2014—is publication day for me. The Moon Sisters is out there in the great wide world, ready to be loved or not by Others who will never be the one who loves it best. It’s scary. It’s exciting. It’s finally here. I’ll put up a Q&A about The Moon Sisters in […]

Take Five: Erika Robuck on Fallen Beauty

Erika Robuck, long-time contributor to Writer Unboxed, recently released her fourth novel Fallen Beauty. Erika also writes about and reviews historical fiction at her blog, Muse. We’re very pleased to have her here today to tell us more about her newest novel!   Q: What’s the premise of your new book? ER: In Fallen Beauty […]

First Line of Defense

Today’s post is by Brandi Bowles, a literary agent at Foundry Literary & Media, who represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction authors. In fiction, she is actively seeking high-concept novels that feature magical, psychological, or scientific themes. She prefers a contemporary, real-world setting, well-developed characters, and dialogue that’s just a little smarter than you […]

The Out-of-Control Author

When you’re writing just for yourself, you’re in control. Of everything. You control what your characters do, what they say and think and wear, what happens to them, where their story begins and ends. Every aspect of the story is completely in your hands. It’s your book. All yours. When you work with a publisher, […]

The Artifacts of Everyday Life

We have lost Christopher Robin’s mother recently, and her estate and all her things must be settled. CR is back in England taking care of it. As you read this, I will be on my way. It’s been challenging to stick to my writing schedule, worrying and feeling the upheaval, and that was my first […]

A Moment of Explosive Change

Years ago, I participated in a sub-one-act play writing competition, where the name of the game was to generate real drama, story and characters within a run-time of no more than ten minutes. I’ll spare you the suspense – I didn’t win, although if you ask me The Unbearable Lightness of Being Mr. Wacky was […]