Writing Advice

Why Writing is Important!

In this day and age of technology, many real-life experiences have seemed to fade in importance. Hanging out among friends is now just relaxing in the same room on their cell phones. In fact, any social event is made up of cell phones taking up a majority of people’s attention. Social media platforms are more important to people than real friendships in person. The internet, in all of its glory and accomplishments, has taken over a lot of people’s lives and priorities.

<I’m not bashing social media or the Internet–I’m all for innovation and taking advantage of new things that come arise as time changes. This is just my opinion on where priorities should lie, and why some things (writing) should not be overlooked.> 

I’ve noticed this in myself, actually. At one point in time, my presence on social media was more important than my off-screen life. I was more caught up with Twitter retweets and Snapchat views than real conversations, and it wasn’t until I missed an event in a close friend’s life that I realized I had to check myself. I also realized it was a long time since I had written. I’ve written Facebook posts, Twitter threads, etc, but nothing for myself. Not like I used to.

I’ve kept a personal journal for years, and it has helped me immensely. Whether it be getting things off my chest, or working through life decisions, writing has grown to be a part of me. Inspiration for stories or poems come to me at the most random times, and I see writing opportunities everywhere. Surprisingly, writing is not a common hobby for the majority of the population anymore. And a percentage of those who do write prefer to have followers/subscribers; so anything they do without viewers doesn’t seem worth doing.

Hopefully today, I’ll let you in on the secret as to why writing is important and why it’s a life-changer for many of us.

Writing is therapeutic, and I’m not the only one to say so. Personally, I’ve used my journal(s) to help me through many issues, like what major I wanted to study in college, whether or not I wanted to move from NJ to PA (and back again!), through my struggles with anxiety and depression, my goals and dreams, etc. Writing helped me through so much in life and has been meditation-like. After writing, without worrying about neat penmanship or getting all the details perfect, I feel calm and collected. (For more information about how writing can be meditative, check out this article on How Life Unfolds!)

Writing for social media and for yourself are two different things. When you write for any sort of audience, there’s a filter and also a purpose. When you write for yourself, for the most part, there’s no purpose or target other than self-fulfillment. Easing that burden of meeting an audience’s expectations helps the creativity flow, at least for me!

The society we live in seems to dictate success by the measurement of how many people see your work and respond to it. Whether your choice of platform is YouTube, Twitter/Instagram, Facebook, or some other shareable network, the driving factor of this “success” relies heavily on followers, subscribers, the number of views/likes, etc. The act of writing shouldn’t need gratification from social media.

For those of us who have a Twitter (or any other platform obsession), it is too easy to get caught up in thinking personal reflection needs to be in the form of a [INSERT PREFERRED PLATFORM HERE] thread. It seems that if there’s something you want to say, it has to be done online so it can go viral.

I disagree.

When it comes to writing, something that seems obsolete in this day and age, this art form should be taken seriously. When I write, I try to have silence or at least soft music on in the background. If I’m writing in my journal, I don’t really care about where I am; but if I’m writing for something (like school or Ink Smith), I write at my desk to help keep me focused. I don’t care if anyone sees my writing.

I’m not saying that no writing should ever be done online. Me writing this article would be hypocritical if that was the claim I was making. I’m just saying that, as amazing as social media is, it should not replace true writing. It should not replace the soft, gentle reflection, or ferocious scribbling as a thought consumes you. It should not be peppered with SEO keywords just because you want it to show up first in a search. It should not only be written with the sole purpose of many people reading it. Writers who write for the enjoyment of it, for the catharsis of it, even for the utter need to write – those are the writers who will find their writing most relatable to others.

In short, as long as your purpose for writing is to achieve some form of Internet Fame, then wanting to post your work online to share doesn’t have a damaging effect on your writing. Just because your work doesn’t go viral doesn’t mean it isn’t a message that people want to hear or a work of art that people wouldn’t appreciate.

I am all for innovation. I’m 100% in support of social media, and I think it’s a great thing. It helps people reconnect, celebrities seem more like regular people, and it brings a lot of people together. I just think that it’s important people remember how useful things offline can be, whether in functionality or whatever else. Writing is a great tool and is most definitely worth doing in any way.

 

 

Meet Jenna LaBollita!

Jenna’s passion for writing started very young, even winning her a Young Author Award in elementary school. Since then, she has written for The Odyssey and Puckermob, and has read countless books in many genres.

Her love for writing is unmatched, and she hopes to become a published author herself one day. Jenna holds an associate degree in Liberal Arts from Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey.

Inspiration from Iceland

Inspiration comes from a lot of different places. Each place you visit, live or pass through has quite a bit of history. History is a great place to start a story.

Think about every book you have ever read. Every non-fiction piece: history. Every fiction piece has history. It’s the path in which the story took to arrive at the end of the journey.

Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland

This week I’ve been in Iceland. I had never really thought about Iceland’s “story” other than the fact that there were Vikings involved, they have a cold, relatively dark winter, and 24-hours of daylight during the summer months.

During our excursion one night to find the Northern Lights, the guide told us a story. It was Búkolla the Magic Cow. Our guide sat at the front, her Icelandic accent transporting us to a farm where a boy and his family lived.

Reykjavík, Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland

“Once upon a time,” she began. The story was short and sweet, detailing the trials of a young boy and his cow against the might of trolls.

Everyone associates Ireland with the fae folk, the little people, fairy tales. At least, everyone I know. But I never thought to think of Iceland having stories riddled with creatures, trolls particularly. It was a new experience for me, and immediately my head was spinning with new tales that I could weave based upon the stories from Iceland.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Aside from the stories we heard, the land is fickle and beautiful. Snowstorms can crop up out of nowhere, rage for a few moments and disappear as if they were never there. The mountains are breathtaking, the Northern Lights sought after by every tourist, the Blue Lagoon a warm-water paradise, waterfalls, geysers, glaciers, even the snow sprinkled streets.

Statue of Leif Erikson, Reykjavík, Iceland

Statue of Leif Erikson, Reykjavík, Iceland

 

And let’s not forget the real history! Vikings settled this land and statues of these settlers and other famed people dot the city. There are tales here, both already told and asking to be written—a story in every aspect of the land.

This goes for any location. But I know, that after my visit here (even during) I will be writing stories and poems with Iceland at their hearts.

 

 

About Corinne

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Connect with me
on Twitter!
@AndersonCorinne

Corinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. Currently, she is pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

Habitualized Writing Spaces:

Writers are creative creatures. Whether they are writing fiction or non-fiction, they are building worlds from images inside their heads. This world building takes a lot of fuel, and for those writers who have done multiple worlds recently, it can be hard to develop something new. Authors and writers, in general, can be creatures of habit. I’ve met many authors who have said that they have a specific place they write. They create the same environment each time they sit at their desk, by the window, or in a local coffee shop. The pad of paper for notes goes on the right side of the computer, two pens, a highlighter (to really mark an important idea to flesh out later), a cup of tea, a thesaurus – you name it. They have a system.

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Authors and writers, in general, can be creatures of habit. I’ve met many authors who have said that they have a specific place they write. They create the same environment each time they sit at their desk, by the window, or in a local coffee shop. The pad of paper for notes goes on the right side of the computer, two pens, a highlighter (to really mark an important idea to flesh out later), a cup of tea, a thesaurus – you name it. They have a system.

But this system can fail us. Particularly, if we are not “experienced” individuals. That is not to say that everyone needs experience before they write (at least not actual experience). What I mean by that is that when we habitualize a creative process, we can get bogged down in writing the same dialogue, scene, character—even the same story.

Inspiration comes in many different forms, so you don’t have to go and change your writing habits. The easiest things to are: look out your window, listen to people talk, Google a picture, or even listen to a new song.

But don’t limit your inspiration.

But I encourage writers, heck I encourage everyone, to expose themselves to new adventures, new people, and new places so that you can bring those experiences with you to your perfectly set writing space.

 

About Corinne

CA Bio Image

Connect with me on Twitter! @AndersonCorinne

Corinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. Currently, she is pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

The NaNo Rebel

I don’t like NaNoWriMo much. I go through this same cycle every year! I promise myself every year I’m going to write a novel in a month. Maybe not 50,000 words, but a novel!

After the success of my debut novel, War and Chess, and quitting my job to become a full time author the pressure was on! This November 1st, once again, I fired up my NaNoWriMo account. (I’ve been playing this game since 2013)

Nano RebelI wasn’t sure what I was going to do but I was working on two projects. One, I am writing the first draft. If I weren’t a NaNoWriMo rebel that would have been the novel I worked on. But I like writing first drafts with pen and paper. Drafts that you can take to the mountains without worrying about it dying, as electronics are bound to do.

My second project was typing up some old stories I think might be promising as a new publication. That second project is what I chose to report to NaNoWriMo’s website. It was a lot easier than counting the words I write on paper by hand. Really, I just needed some accountability. Someone to email me when I’m making whimpy excuses about how long hours typing makes my back SCREAM. But yet, somehow, I was just fine spending most of the morning on Facebook drinking coffee…

So I was already being a rebel by not creating something new. Just making sure something great was backed up, which is my least favorite job. I wound up getting 2/3rds of the way finished with this project! I was at an awe inspiring 10,000 words by December 1st. Yeah, I didn’t join my brethren in sleep deprivation, stress, or trying to remember that when great Aunt Bessy asks you, “Have you found a man yet?” you keep your decorum and smile.

I stayed true to my nature and stayed a rebel for yet another NaNo year. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be prancing around downtown in my leather jacket Christmas shopping.

 

 

About Helen

Helen M. PugsleyHelen comes from a small town of twenty in eastern Wyoming. She has been passionate about writing since she was small. Helen enjoys traveling and is always thrilled to excite friends with tales of playing music on the streets for money, conversing with the drunks who frequent gutters, and the epic struggle of finding a decent bath when living in a car. Visit her on Facebook‘s War and Chess page!

Plotting vs Pantsing: You Can Have It Both Ways

Writers have a way of turning the nuts and bolts of creation into a heated political debate. I don’t know if this is the result of increased exposure in the form of social media or if we’ve always been this way, but it’s interesting to watch. One of my favorite hot-button debates is the issue of plotting vs pantsing.

Plotting is exactly what it sounds like. You map out the course of the story and figure out how it’s going to end before you start writing. Some plotters map out every twist and turn, while others create a rough outline that they know their characters will escape by the end of the book. Plotting is like architecture; the writer designs and measures and sketches before he begins to build.

Author Jan Ropers puts it thusly: “For me the fun moved from figuring out how it would end to how they were going to get there.” Rather than plan out every step, Ms. Ropers figures out how it’s going to end and then “pantses” her way to that ending. Different authors have different methods for plotting, depending on their literary needs.

Pantsing is more like planting a seed and watching to see what comes up. The pantser sits down with only the vaguest idea of what she’s doing and makes everything up as she goes. Sometimes the pantser starts with an image, or a character type, or an odd combination of thoughts that come together and make the writer say, “Hey I wonder what would happen if…”

The plotter writes to tell what happens; the pantser writes to see what happens.

In my earliest attempts to write a novel, I tried to plot. But I realized that if I planned the story out in advance, I got bored and lost interest in the story. Planning made me not care about writing the ending, because I already knew what would happen. This discouraged me, because at the time I thought I had to know how the story would end in order to write it.

As he often did in the course of my angst-riddled adolescence, Stephen King came to my rescue. In his brilliant memoir On Writing, he says, “Why be a stickler about the ending? Every story comes out somewhere.” So I said what the hell and gave it a shot. I sat down and started writing about a dragon kidnapping a unicorn. That was all I had—just that one image—but it was enough to get me started. I forced myself to write at least a few words every day, and six months later I had completed my first novel. It was absolutely terrible, one of the worst books I’d ever read in my life. But by golly I had finally finished something. I was on my way.

Every book I wrote for the next ten years was a complete ad-lib. Sometimes the starting point was a young woman avenging her mother’s death. Sometimes it was a party my husband had formed in his favorite role-playing game. But each time I went in with no idea where I was going. Sometimes I didn’t even know if the story would be a short story or a novel until I’d written ten thousand words and the characters were still doing things. I did what I did and loved every minute of it. I decided that plotting was an acceptable method for control freaks, but not for the free-and-easy creative likes of me.

Until the fateful day a serendipitous conversation on Twitter changed my whole outlook on the writing process. Never let it be said that the Internet is anti-creative; I’ve gotten some of my best ideas from random conversations with strangers on the other side of the globe.

I don’t remember the exact course of the discussion, but it included this question: “Why are werewolves never depicted with weapons? They never have knives or guns, even when they’re wearing clothes.”

My companion responded, “Because they don’t need weapons. They’re super strong and have razor teeth. A weapon would be pointless.”

That was a good point, but I said that nevertheless I would read the hell out of a story about werewolves with ray guns. Then I flashed on the image of a wolf-headed man in a 50’s style space suit, complete with fish bowl helmet, holding a bright silver ray gun. Werewolves in space. Why the hell not?

It seemed like a simple enough idea, so I took of writing the way I always do: I picked a scene, picked up a pen, and went to town. I finished two or three chapters in high spirits. And then the Doubts started creeping in. And then I sputtered and stalled.

Part of my trouble was my overwhelming awe of science fiction as a whole. I grew up watching Star Trek and Doctor Who; I cut my literary teeth on Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. I felt instinctively that sci-fi was this vast empire of wisdom that I, a simple horror writer, could never hope to enter.

This feeling was exacerbated by the realization that writing this book was actually hard. It genuinely felt like work. My werewolves were from another planet, with alien technology and alien ecosystems, and I had to create and maintain this vast structure all by myself. My daily word count went from a thousand words to five hundred, then to zero. It was just too much.

My husband, bless his heart, wouldn’t let me give up. He insisted that Star Pack was one of my best stories yet, and if I gave up I’d never get to the next level as an artist. So I dragged my butt through it, and three years later I finally had a finished manuscript. (As a point of reference, my usual timeline is between six and nine months.) I’ll always be grateful to him and my writer friends who insisted that my story was good and that alien invasion was going to be the Next Big Thing in publishing. I have no idea if that’s actually true or they were just blowing smoke to get me to stop talking and start writing, but it worked either way.

I learned a lot from this experience, more than I’ve ever learned from my “easier” books. The first and most important is try never to give up on a work in progress. Sometimes it can feel like you’re handcuffed to a corpse, but you have to drag that sucker across the finish line. Secondly, don’t underestimate the power of people telling you what you want to hear. Sometimes a little candy-coated baloney is just what the doctor ordered.

Finally, when you try out a new genre, be prepared to find out a new way of writing it. Pantsing is fine for genres like horror and fantasy, where if you get stuck you can just change the rules to make it work. But it turns out you can’t create an entire planet, culture, and ecosystem by the seat of your pants. Not without a lot of cursing, despair, and moaning, “This isn’t going to WORK!” to your significant other. Geography, even on an alien planet, needs to make sense. If you have predators living on your alien planet, they need prey to feed on. And the prey needs to eat, too. Worldbuilding as you go along is like building a flight of stairs in the dark with a flashlight.

When I realized that I had it in me to write a sequel, I took a deep breath, broke out my trusty notebook, and set to work on an outline. I spent about a week describing the land my new characters would hail from, then another week on the planet my explorers would discover. Finally I composed a rough outline of the events of the book. I still don’t know how it’s going to end, but I know where the people are going and how they’re going to get there.

And I still haven’t lost interest in the story. Even though I have a good idea of what’s going to happen, I still want to write it out. So plotting did not, as I have long feared, ruin my enthusiasm for writing the book.

I’m still a pantser at heart and probably always will be. But I feel great knowing that I’ve found a new way to do what I love. It’s like a new restaurant with an old love. You’ll always have your traditional date spot, but making new discoveries can bring a fresh outlook to a long-term relationship.

Writing Interesting Beginnings

As an author we want our readers to be sucked into the worlds that we painstakingly develop. We don’t want them to be on the other side of the glass looking in, but to be immersed within it. We are immersed, so why is it that we occasionally see these types of faces staring at our books?

whatcha_reading

Well, it may be because we are slow to start. I am guilty of this in every first, second and even third draft of my own works. I call it: Author Information Vomit. Lovely name, I know but it reminds me of word vomit – and it has a bit of a Mean Girls connection. How you can find yourself unable to keep all the words you should, or should not be saying contained. It just kind of spills out of you. That is exactly what happens with a lot of authors who are focused on world building and character background. This is not to say that your world building/character background isn’t important, but placing it all at the forefront is just information overload for the reader.

Rule of thumb: beginnings should be interesting. Easy, right? Nope. Interesting is important, but as the author you have to make sure that the “interesting” thing happening, is a) appropriate to the story line, b) fits the timeline, c) doesn’t give too much away, and d) propels the story forward towards the main conflict and resolution.

As a side note, I do try to avoid prologues when possible — a lot of the time they aren’t necessary, and may set up your readers for a different kind of story. But use your judgement!

My best advice during the writing process is to write down everything that comes to mind. Everything. Leave it there for the first edit. At the second edit, step back and try to read it as if you have never read your book before and evaluate; don’t take huge chunks out until you have read the whole draft twice. Finally, let yourself read novel and make your cuts. It can hurt to delete beautiful lines, or great paragraphs full of background information. To ease the blow of “killing your darlings,” copy and paste the larger and more beautiful lines that you are cutting. Save them in a separate document in case you can utilize that information later on!

The editing process is a slow, dark and oftentimes unfair process where writers question their motivation to follow through to the polished manuscript. I urge you to follow through, it will absolutely, 100 percent be worth it in the end.

Keep on writing, editing and killing your darlings – your novel will be better off with a savagely determined captain at the helm.

 

 

Corinne can be reached at AndersonEditingServices@gmail.com

Connect with me on Twitter! @AndersonCorinne

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. She holds her MFA in Creative Writing from Lindenwood University, and is currently pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University. She hopes that her experience editing and her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

Arguing With Your Editor

You’ve written that last sentence and completed the manuscript you have been working on for seven years. You submit to your dream publisher and a few days later you get THE publication offer. Dreams do come true!

The email comes from your editor with some details about the contract, royalties, information about cover design and the sentence, “I made some notes.”

Notes, of course, you think, I must have missed a few typos. Still on your high from all the wondrous things happening you open up the attached manuscript with “some notes” and need to blink a few times.

RED.

RED EVERYWHERE.

Are you sure about this title?

Her green emerald eyes stared up at me from the pillows on the floor. (How did they get on the floor?)

My heart stopped. cliché, get creative!

 

My advice to you at this moment: Breathe. Read the comments. Then, read the comments again. Sometimes there is praise amidst the notes, comments and corrections!

Editors are not out to destroy you work. In my experience it is never our intention to do so. The reason we offered you a contract is because we saw a spark of genius in what you sent us. We want the book(s) to succeed just as much as you do, so make sure to review all comments with an open mind before discarding the changes or the comments.

There will be some instances where you want a particular sentence to stay where it is. Instead of demanding that it stay there, support your reason why it needs to be there. Occasionally, a great sounding line just isn’t properly placed, or needed. If you can’t defend the line’s necessity, reevaluate if it really adds anything to the story. Get familiar with the: Kill your darlings phrase. Does another line before or after this absolutely gorgeous line say the same thing? Does it paint a picture, or tell us what is happening? Editing is not just typos, grammar or elimination of overly used adverbs. It comes down to the nitty-gritty of the plot, character development, believability.

Make sure to pick your battles – and this goes for the editors out there, too! For example, I dislike the Oxford comma. I’ve had writers who LOVE the Oxford comma. Is it grammatically incorrect either way? No. Will I delete every comma and tell them it can’t be in there? No. I pick my battles.

I battle when I know the author has more in them then: The handsome man turned and stared at her. What do you mean by handsome, how was he staring? Or maybe the timeline doesn’t add up enough – and changes need to occur there. The note I most often make, is when a character starts losing his/her voice – a gentle reminder to the author to strengthen that character so he/she doesn’t fade into the background is something I’ll fight for as an editor. But if, as an editor I make changes and alter the voice into something not like the character – the author should say something, kindly so that we can assess the situation.

Open lines of communication are essential. Writers, this is your story and the editors want you to tell it. But choose your battles – the comma in paragraph four on page ninety-four is not the end of the world, normally. But if it is, be able to defend it!

 

(House style may trump the writer, so make sure to discuss that with your editors.)

Keep your wits about you as you enter into the editing process, it is long and grueling, and your only ally is your editor.

 

 

Corinne can be reached at AndersonEditingServices@gmail.com

Connect with me on Twitter! @AndersonCorinne

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. Currently, she is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Lindenwood University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

What You Know vs. Branching Out

When I was first starting out as a writer, people constantly told me to “write what you know.” That makes a lot of sense. Writing what you know gives your story a solid basis in reality, accurate reality.

What do I mean by accurate reality? You can create any reality you want as a writer. A world where dogs live on the moon, where people are born with hands as their ears–any world you want. But it has to make sense, it has to be believable. Connection to the reader matters.

One of the reasons people love books, is the idea that it represents someone or something they can connect with in addition to reading for enjoyment. Even though your manuscript falls into the fiction category, it doesn’t mean the entire book is made up. Relationships, people, emotions: they are based in reality.

I came across this conundrum during a class in my master’s program at Lindenwood University. We read the book, Rose Metal Press Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers and Writers in the field. It talked about truths and making sure that when you are writing about certain types of people that you get them accurate. (A great source for writers – in addition to the Writing Flash Non-Fiction edition as well!)

If you aren’t someone who is intimate with the particular group of people you are writing about, than you need to be careful about writing about them. You don’t want to misrepresent their culture just because you felt like writing about them one morning. This goes for any group or culture–misrepresentation does two things: offends the group you are misrepresenting and provides inaccurate information to people who are not familiar with said group/culture.

The basis of belief for Quakers, is that God exists in every person, and therefore should be treated in accordance with that belief. LGBTQ have their own slang, different parts of the U.S. have different accents, it is impolite in some countries to wear your shoes into the house–these facts may seem inconsequential to someone who is on the outside of these groups, but is essential in the representation of the culture.

So, if you are looking to write about the Aboriginals – do your research, make sure you understand their way of life. If you can, submerge yourself in the culture, talk to some of the people. Experience is the strongest learning tool.

Make sure you understand them and their way of life before you write. In essence,  the notion of “write what you know” is 100 percent accurate. You may want to write something new, but make sure you do the research and write the truth!

Happy writing, and happier researching!

 

Connect with me @AndersonCorinne on Twitter!

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing, with an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. She is currently pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing, and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

When You Submit: Follow the Guidelines

Whether you are submitting a poem to a literary magazine, a memoir to an independent publisher or a fantasy manuscript to one of the big five – you MUST make sure you follow all of the submission requirements. This also includes submitting your piece during the time the company is accepting submissions. Some companies, Ink Smith Publishing included, occasionally close submissions for a certain time frame each year to catch up on reading through submissions. Others, like our sister company, Native Ink Press, have rolling submissions, meaning they accept submissions year round.

But remember: Follow the guidelines.

As we sift through the submissions we receive the first thing we note is who followed directions. We do this for multiple reasons; the most obvious is: did this author take the time to read, research and decide upon our publishing company? Not following the submission guidelines, which are normally pretty simple, and for the most part universal amongst publishing companies, is indicative that the author may be either blindly submitting to every available publishing company, or that they do not pay attention to details. Two things that suggest the author is less serious about their handwork than they should be.

The second reason, is because we want to know how an author responds to direction. Each author/publisher/editor relationship is different. You will see authors working with different editors on different kinds of books, different publishers on different genres, etc. When in the editing process, editors will provide feedback, critiques and suggestions on things that may work better for the piece in question. The purpose of the editing process is to make a great idea even better – a project that both the editor and the author are invested in. Without an author who is receptive to change, suggestions and edits, that task is not one that will be possible to complete, at least not easily!

Finally, there are a lot of submissions. There are a lot of authors with great books, and a limited amount of books we can publish per year. If it comes down to two books, one where the author followed the directions perfectly and one who did not; the decision is easy.

Keep in mind, Ink Smith Publishing discards any submissions that do not follow the guidelines – no matter how good the book is, and no matter who the author is. We firmly believe that an author who is serious about their book, about their careers, and about publishing with us specifically – will make sure to follow the guidelines. If you are interested in submitting to Ink Smith Publishing, or Native Ink Press, please make sure to do the following:
1. Review the kind of content we publish
2. Make sure your content fits in
3. Make sure submissions are OPEN
4. Review and follow the guidelines
5. Give us your best!

For more information about Ink Smith Publishing and our submission guidelines visit www.ink-smith.com/submissions. You can also visit www.nativeinkpress.com  to learn more about Native Ink Press’ submission guidelines.

 

 

Connect with me @AndersonCorinne on Twitter!

Corinne is an editor at Ink Smith Publishing, with an MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. She is currently pursuing her MPS in Publishing at George Washington University, editing for Ink Smith Publishing, and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

Author Interview with Julie Flanders

Ink Smith: Where do you do most of your writing? What is your process like?

Julie: My favorite place to write is my couch. I love to stretch out with my laptop and snuggle with my dog and cat while I write. They are my writing buddies.

I don’t really have a set process. I write down ideas as I get them for both the plot of the book and the characters. I like to have a structure for the story before I begin writing but I have never been any good at outlining the story before I begin. I am a total “pantster,” meaning I tend to “fly by the seat of my pants” while writing.

 

Ink Smith: How did you come up with the idea of this book? How long did it take you to write?

The Ghosts of AquinnahJulie: I first came up with the idea when I was planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard back in 2010. I was looking at an island website and found a webcam that overlooked the beach and the lighthouse at Aquinnah. I started thinking, what if I looked at this webcam again and again and always saw the same person? I dropped the idea for a while but then it came back to me again. This time, the person was a woman and I asked myself, who is she? What does she want? The story came together from there. I wrote the first draft of the story during NaNoWriMo in 2011 and after that it probably took about 6 months to get a complete manuscript.

 

Ink Smith: Who are your favorite authors/books? Why?

Julie: George RR Martin/A Song of Ice and Fire Series

JK Rowling/The Harry Potter Series

Stephen King/The Dark Tower Series

Those are just the first three that spring to mind. I am totally amazed by the imaginations of these authors and love that I get totally drawn into the worlds they’ve created when reading their books.

 

Meet the Author

Julie FlandersJulie Flanders is an academic librarian by day and a writer all the rest of the time. Julie is a television addict, an avid walker, and an obsessive fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Although a lifelong Ohio resident, Julie nevertheless has an ongoing love affair with the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Julie’s novels include the paranormal thrillers Polar Night and Polar Day as well as the historical love story The Ghosts of Aquinnah.  Julie is a history buff who loves incorporating history into her stories, which she affectionately calls “mysteries untethered by time.”

Find Julie at www.julieflanders.net or visit her blog at julieflanders.blogspot.com. Also visit her on Twitter at @JulesFlanders or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/julesflanders/.