where the writers are

Joseph John's Blog

RSSSyndicate content
Aug.11.2008
Character, setting, theme, point of view, and plot. These are the elements of fiction, the fundamentals on which agents and editors judge your novel. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses in these areas. You might be best at character development and setting, whereas another author might...
Continue Reading »
Aug.11.2008
In Building the Hook, I talked about writing your pitch paragraph so it reads like the back cover of your novel. Here's another reason why to follow this advice. Publishers send novels to reviewers. Stacks of them. Truckloads of them. They fill up the coffee table. The garage. The living room. Next...
Continue Reading » 1 comment
Jul.23.2008
As regular patrons of my website know, I am currently on leave. My wife read my rough draft of The Eighth Day. She's the first person to read it in its entirety other than myself. She dutifully said she loved it, of course. A couple times, I caught her breaking out in goose flesh, which I believed...
Continue Reading »
Jul.14.2008
The phrase "write what you know" is a misnomer. It doesn't mean that if you're a lawyer, you have to write about lawyers; if you're a policeman, you have to write about the police; if you're a housewife, you have to write about housewives; if you're a crack head, you have to write about...
Continue Reading » 3 comments
Jul.12.2008
Ingenious way to outline a few simple steps new authors can take to promote and advertise their novel. Without giving too much away, this video discusses the importance of book reviews, a book tour, media interviews, a professionally designed website and blog, social bookmarking, MySpace, Facebook...
Continue Reading »
Jul.12.2008
What follows I culled from an article published in the New York Times long ago, before the dawn of civilization, on July 16, 2001. It was written by Elmore John Leonard, a prolific American novelist and screenwriter who, from 1953 to present, has published 44 novels. Some of his better known works...
Continue Reading » 2 comments
Jul.11.2008
Let's say you've sent your query letter to a handful of agents. You shoot off your emails, and you get to work on your next novel. Fire and forget. Several weeks down the road, a request for a partial arrives in your inbox. Awesome. You send it. A week later, a different agent requests a partial as...
Continue Reading »
Jul.08.2008
So your novel got picked up by one of the leading publishers in the country, and they gave you a hefty advance. Think they are going to do a great job marketing your book? Yeah? Think again. Here are three examples of authors who were signed by leading publishers but received no support marketing...
Continue Reading » 1 comment
Jul.07.2008
An unforgettable novel must have an unforgettable antagonist (the bad guy). He must be as fully developed as your protagonist (the hero). You want your reader to develop an emotional bond with every character in your book. If you create an antagonist that is nothing more than a cardboard cutout, a...
Continue Reading »
Jul.04.2008
Once your agent negotiates your book contract with a publisher, the two of you enter into what will invariably be a long term professional relationship that oftentimes blossoms into a friendship. However, even if you part ways with your agent, you will potentially deal with him for many years to...
Continue Reading » 2 comments
Jul.02.2008
The second post of the Writer's Corner blog listed five things to avoid in a query letter. Here are five more. Don't mention how long it took to write your novel or why or how much you love writing. Don't carry on about what you hate about novels today and how yours is oh so superior. Don't put...
Continue Reading »
Jul.01.2008
I used several different styles when I was writing the Eighth Day. First, I tried to rewrite and revise as I went. I wrote a paragraph, reread it, and revised it. Wrote another paragraph and fixed that one up real nice like, too. Then I read both paragraphs to see how they sounded together. Once I...
Continue Reading »
Jun.29.2008
In my post about agent response time to query letters, I stated that it generally takes an agent two to three months to respond to a query letter. I also said that you should wait four months before following up if you haven't received a reply. Allow me to expound. Before you decide to follow-up,...
Continue Reading »
Jun.23.2008
In a previous post, I promised that I'd attempt to explain that elusive characteristic of writing known as voice. Dictionary.com lists a plethora of definitions. Here are the ones that I found relevant with minor changes to fit the context. A range of such sounds distinctive to one person. The...
Continue Reading »
Jun.20.2008
You've got a novel with an awesome plot and vivid writing. Your characters are deep, I'm talking multi-faceted wonders, baby. They damn near stand up and walk right off the page and pat you on the back for a job well done. You've got style, you've got voice, and you're ready for the big leagues,...
Continue Reading »