In this edition
- Story 360 - Tampa
- Yes, It Really Can Happen For You.
- Ask Me Anything
- Writing Quote
STORY 360 - TAMPA
If you're looking for a hands-on course workshop on the craft and business of writing, then Story 360 workshop is for you! Spend an intensive weekend digging into craft with Lorin Oberweger, who shares wisdom from her decades in the business. Just three weeks left to register for the weekend in Tampa, FL. For more information and to register, visit Free Expressions Story 360.
YES, IT CAN HAPPEN FOR YOU. AND IT’S NOT MAGIC.
Just a reminder, one I’m moved to make at least a couple of times a year: yes, this thing you’re working so hard at—perfecting your craft, learning about the industry, slogging away at page after page, word after word—can absolutely pay off in publishing success.
Often, people treat me like a Pollyanna weirdo when I say this—or like a snake oil salesman.* I get it. Part of my livelihood depends on people believing in the possibility of success and investing in high-level craft education, editing services, and story development coaching to support that belief.
For a variety of reasons, too, we’re living in strange, cynical times. But don’t be fooled. Traditional publishing is still a multi-billion dollar industry. Clients and students of Free Expressions alone have a thousand+ separate titles in print (millions of copies). My business-partner-in-awesomeness, literary agent Donald Maass, is not only still going strong thirty years into the business, but his agency now employs the greatest number of agents in its history.
What else? I have seven published books, myself—three romance novels, two ghostwritten middle grade novels, and two ghostwritten nonfiction books. And I’m transitioning into agenting because of the new challenges it offers, because it represents another route for me to help writers make their dreams come true, AND because it feels like a wholly viable career option, albeit one that will take a lot of time and hard work to make bloom.
That’s the crux of it for all of us: time and hard work. Plus humility and passion and BELIEF. One-hundred percent of people who quit something fail at it. And I can tell you that an awful high number of people who keep working at something succeed. Not always. Not inevitably. But I see generosity, talent, and hard work pay off all the time. It’s not magic. There’s no singular formula to guarantee a result. Just a lot of head-down hours spent at the keyboard.
But it happens. It’s still happening. And I’m here to remind you that it can happen for YOU.
* What if snake oil is found to have actual health-enhancing properties, and we all have to come up with a new term?
ASK ME ANYTHING
How do I keep the middle from dragging?
- Take a look at your premise, at the world of your story, at the stakes for your protagonist. Have you put enough in place with these elements to sustain a rich, compelling narrative? Are there possibilities to mine?
For example, does something unfold in the outer world of the story that will mirror the essential inner journey of your protagonist? Something to do with the physical world around the characters or the culture in which they live? Are those public stakes given their own storyline, which informs your protagonist’s journey? Are the outer and inner stakes of the story crucial enough that your protagonist will have to go to greater and more dramatic lengths to achieve them?
- Subplots: How many have you got? Can you add another? Is some secondary character waiting in the wings to change everything in the narrative? Can something come to a head in a subplot that forces your protagonist off his or her path, making things even harder, causing him or her to sacrifice more, risk more?
- You know that amazing climax toward which the narrative is driving? Move it to the halfway point of the novel. No, really. Shoot for the moon much earlier on, and then challenge yourself to travel beyond. What happens if you do that? What can get worse for your protagonist from that point? What can get worse for the world of the story? If you were FORCED to create even greater drama after your planned payoff, where would the story go? Consider.
We have lots to celebrate this month!
Our client and workshop grad Kim Liggett's book, THE LAST HARVEST, has won the Bram Stoker award for Super Achievement in a Young Adult Novel!
Meg Leader's screenplay, WINGMAN, was just announced as a semifinalist in the Fresh Voices screenplay competition--in the top 10 in the Science Fiction category!
We also want to congratulate our workshop student Judy Rose! The screenplay adaptation of her picture book, LOOK BOTH WAYS IN THE BARRIO BLANCO, has received the second place honor for this year's Colorado Women In Film and Media competition!
Give these three talented authors a big round of applause for all their hard work!
Free Expressions is booking editing clients through 2018.
Whether you’re looking for help in building a sound novel or want comprehensive feedback on a complete or partial MS, we’d love to work with you. We’ve helped hundreds of people achieve publishing—and sometimes bestselling—success.
Let us help you put your best writing foot forward!
Click here to learn more about our editing services.