Everything Is Writing

Image by Srividya Balayogi

How many times have we complained about the business of writing? We’ve heard others do it, we’ve done it, the internet is wall-to-wall jam-packed with it.

“I love writing, but I hate all the other stuff that comes with it!” We cry. “If only I could only write!”

Here’s the thing: most of that “other stuff” is writing too. Whether you’re published or not, but especially if you are, it’s a necessary shift in attitude. If you say “I love writing, but I hate promotion” or “I love writing, but I hate trying to get published,” there’s another way to see the picture.

What do I mean? Well:

The query letter. Queries are for sure a different type of writing than novels, but a good one is a thing of beauty, and it all comes down to words. Choosing words. Which is writing. You need to write just enough to get someone interested in the sample pages. That’s all. And a rejection isn’t necessarily an indication that your query-writing isn’t great. On the contrary, if an agent reads a query that perfectly describes your book and they instantly know that the book isn’t for them, it’s… actually a success, even if it doesn’t feel that way.

Synopsis. It’s basically a neck-and-neck race between the synopsis or the query for the title of Most Hated Task In All of Writerdom. And yet, it’s also writing. A synopsis that describes what happens in the book without only describing what happens — and as a bonus, manages to convey tone and voice — is an amazing piece of writing, a demonstration of powerful writerly skills. (more…)


Surviving the Space Between: A Writer’s Journey


Lately I’ve noticed many writer friends and acquaintances are blue.  Is there just something in the water, or can we chalk it up to a difficult industry? There have been a lot of shake-ups in publishing, whether it be lower book sales in a flooded market, lack of publisher support, or the other major storm […]

Confessions of a Beachcombing Writer

photo by Rich MacDowell

I suppose my first confession resides right there in the title of this essay: I’m a beachcomber. No, I’m not one of those old guys you see at public beaches with a metal detector, a leathery tan, and high-waist trunks, searching for coins and lost jewelry. And even though I do my beachcombing most days […]

Surfing the Efficiency Gain

JV cashes in

Ever since last month, when WriterUnboxed introduced the tinyCoffee widget to this website and created the opportunity for readers and writers to get together over a cup of virtual joe (readers’ treat) my head has been spinning – in some senses exploding – with the possibilities that this innovation presents. Not to put too fine a […]

One Second of Detail


  One of the great struggles of all writing is to create fresh, vibrant images and metaphors, to avoid the sin of telling and show the reader whatever it is we want them to see. I struggle with it as much as anyone, especially because I’ve been writing novels for a couple of decades now, […]

The Art of Transparency


A couple of months ago, a writer posted a problem on the WU Facebook page.  A character who would play a major role in her plot’s climax didn’t show up until the second half of the novel.  This meant they never got a chance to know the character well enough given her place in the […]

Bring Out Your Story Scalpels

Book Dissection from Morguefile

During the 2014 Writer Unboxed Unconference, Donald Maass riveted his workshop participants by describing one scene contained within a breakout novel. In it, a family physician—a man who swore the Hippocratic Oath and spent his life tending to the citizens of his small town—is brought the corpse of a probable murder victim. His response? Rather […]

Introducing WU’s Diverse Voices Series: Why Diversity in Publishing Matters

photo "Unity in Diversity" by Flickr's fady habib

Therese here to introduce a new series here at WU, and explain its evolution. I recently visited the WU Facebook group and opened the floor to pitches: If you could write a post for WU, what would it be and why? Replies poured in–too many great ideas to use this summer, in fact–and in short […]

How to Win a Twitter Pitch Contest

That's what she twittered.

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. Twitter dot com contains several hashtags designed to unite authors, agents, and editors in publishing bliss, or failing that, contractual obligation. You too can launch your […]

In Our CyberVillage: So Much Anger

Image - iStockphoto: MR1805

Calling Them Out IRL, in real life, if you were mad at someone for something, would you walk into the village square, face the buildings, and start yelling that person’s name and your complaints about them? You’d be calling them out, physically, demanding that they change their ways and accusing them of wrongdoing in front […]