Author David McCullough and the Back Bay

Since I’ve been on a John Adams kick lately, I found this great short video that The Boston Globe featured about one of my Back Bay neighbors, David McCullough, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, John Adams.  I hope I run into you in the Commonwealth Ave Mall one of these days. Click on the photo to go to the video link.

Enjoy!

david mccullough, author, writer, video, back bay, boston

10 Rules for Fiction Writers

So I went out to get a burrito, and came home with an idea for a fiction book.  I ran the idea past my wife, and she wanted to know where I came up with such an idea.  It just came to me, I said.  I’m already working on a book of essays about photography and those are all non-fiction, fact-based stories from my personal experiences.  This new idea has nothing to do with me or photography––it is a historical fiction story with roots to Boston, especially the Back Bay/Beacon Hill neighborhoods.10 rules for writing fiction, writer, fiction, stories, books, tips

Since fiction writing isn’t my forte, I plan to do a little research before I get too engrossed in this thing.  The Guardian ran this story about the 10 Rules for Fiction Writers.  I need all the help I can get.

I know writers like Dan Brown and William Martin have a specific style where each chapter goes back and forth from adventures between the protagonists point of view to the antagonists point of view, or present day to to past. I don’t know if that is a specific style of writing––I guess I’ll have to figure that out. Right now this is just me being excited.  I hope it pans out.

Grants for Writers

Today I did not put pencil to pager or finger to keyboard.  However, I did do a little research about grants for writers. Besides the current memoir that I am working on, I have two to three other book projects that I’m thinking about.  Like I said in an earlier post, I’m not a fan of putting all of my eggs in one basket, I’d rather have a carton full of various eggs, preferably PAAS colored Easter Eggs that are tie-dyed and trippy like Jerry Garcia might’ve made them––kidding.

If you are a writer looking for grants, here is one website that I have been combing through.  It’s called Funds For Writers.

And here’s another called, Grant Space.

Now, I’ve only applied for one writing-related grant.  Grants take time to fill out.  Also make sure to check the deadlines.  Those are very important!

You’re welcome!

A Very Short Story

How long do you look at a page before you start to type something? I wrote and edited one essay today and then I started another one. The cursor had been blinking on the page for more than an hour before I realized I was done. This isn’t a ‘writer’s block’ thing. This short story will stand at just two words.

As the story goes, Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a story in six words.  He did:  For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.

My story stands at two words: Expletive Deleted!

Learning to Deal with Rejection

banksy, follow your dreams cancelled, tag, graffiti, writing, rejection, So most of you know already that I’m trying to get book published.  The other day I got another rejection from yet another agency.  The crazy thing is, I’m totally aware of the process and have embraced it.  My wife on the other hand said, “why do you pick these types of careers to follow?”  When you are a creative-type like I am, this is part of it.  Before writing, I was a photographer––currently I own a photography gallery.  I dealt with rejections as an artist and have watched artists that I represent go through it as well.  I’m usually the one on the other side of the table commenting on artists portfolios.  Now the tables are turned.

So receiving rejections from these literary agencies is totally understandable. Without naming names, I am going to show you some of the responses that I’ve received over the past few months.  Writers who are trying to get published: get used to this.  You’ll get a lot of these.  Embrace it and move on.  This is the only way you’ll stay sane.  I took this photograph a while back of Banksy’s ‘Follow Your Dreams-Cancelled‘. Don’t listen to him.  Follow your dreams to the end.

Food for thought:  J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before finding a publisher for Harry Potter and Stephen King received 30 rejection letters for his book Carrie.  One day someone will come along that will want to work with you and then you’ll freak the fuck out!

enjoy!

Dear Jason,
It’s my belief that an agent needs to make a strong emotional connection to any memoir she takes on in case the submission process turns out to be long and difficult, and she has to hang in there with it. Unfortunately, I didn’t make that connection here, and so, have decided to pass. I’m sorry not to be writing with better news and wish you the best of luck elsewhere.

Dear Author,
Thank you very much for giving us a chance to consider your work. Unfortunately, your project is not right for us at this time. Publishing is a matter of taste, however, and another agent may feel differently—we encourage you to keep looking for an enthusiastic editor or agent. We wish you the very best of luck with your work.

Dear Jason,
Thank you very much for your query. I’m afraid I’m not going to be the ideal agent for this and I’m going to pass. Good luck.

Dear Mr. Landry,
Thank you for your query. After consideration we have decided not to pursue this project, as it doesn’t seem quite right for us. As you know, this is a highly subjective business, and other agents are sure to feel differently. We wish you all the best in your search and hope your book finds a good home soon.

Dear Jason,
Thank you for thinking of me for your book project.  Unfortunately, I don’t feel this project is quite right for me and have decided not to pursue.  Please know that this business is highly subjective, and that what doesn’t work for one agent may work perfectly for another. I hope you will continue to search for a home for your manuscript. I wish you the best of luck as you move forward with your writing career.

Dear Author,
I regret that I am unable to answer your query with a personal note—please know that I read each and every letter in my inbox. At this time, I am only responding personally to projects which I intend to pursue. I’m afraid that in this instance, I did not have the enthusiasm necessary to request pages. I apologize for the frustratingly subjective nature of this business and I do wish you all the best of luck finding the right agent for your work.

Dear Jason,
Thank you for sending this through to us. We wanted to let you know that we greatly appreciated having the opportunity to review your work, but are sorry to say that we do not feel able to offer you representation.

Sometimes we must pass on books, even very good books that we feel are either out of our range or would require an amount of attention we cannot provide at this time.  In addition, we can’t afford to take on projects that we’re not absolutely confident we can sell.  But we very much hope that you will find an agent with the right enthusiasm for your work.

Many thanks again for considering our agency, and we wish you the best of luck with your writing.

11 Good Quotes for Writers

quote, fortune cookie, literary, writing, trees, writer, grub street, quotesAre you writing a memoir or a non-fiction book project?  I went back over my notes from last weekend’s AWP Writing Conference in Boston.  Here are some great quotes that I wrote down from two separate sessions: The Art of the Non-Fiction Idea and The Urge Toward Memoir.

Since I’m learning just as much as the next person, I was too busy feverishly writing notes to remember who actually said these great one-liners.  If you know who said it, feel free to send me a note.  Wouldn’t some of these quotes look good inside fortune cookies?  This images is from a fortune cookie that I was given at the Grub Street booth.  You guys rock!

Here’s 11 Good Quotes for Writers to Think About.

“Date around before you marry an idea.”

“Will your idea pass the cocktail party test?”

“You need to be able to sell your idea in two minutes.”

“Tell the stories that only you can tell.” ~ Ethan Gilsdorf

“Test out your ideas in short form first.”

“Build up your authority in your niche.”

“Virality = will your writing piece circulate and go viral online?”

“Your project is a balance between you and your voice and the topic.”

“You have to have control of your story just like your novel.  Your readers are dying to know what’s next.”

“All of life is a cover story.”

“Your family will not see things from your point of view.”