(11 replies, posted in Literary Fiction)

I noticed someone mentioned Frankenstein before. I read it for the first time about a year ago. I didn't think I'd like it, but it took me in and held me cover to cover, I cried more than once. What surprised me is that there was nothing frightening about this story.

On the other hand, the same day I downloaded Frankenstein (by the way these are all originals) I got Dracula. Now that one gave me the willies that stayed with me for months! I absolutely could not get past 1/4 of the book, not because of the writing - which was so excellent I went back to study some of the sentence structure in the earliest chapters, and I studied how the book is put together - but the content was simply horrifying. And there was absolutely nothing violent, no blood, no bodies, but there was creepiness around every corner. My blood pressure was so high after reading one passage I had to take extra aspirin!

Once of my favorite authors, who I started reading on my own in the fifth grade, is Alexander Dumas. One of my favorite books growing up, besides Robin Hood and The Three Musketeers, was The Canterbury Tales.


(4 replies, posted in Romance Inc.)

So very sorry. She will be in my prayers.

Sol, I was a member of a couple of free groups before I came here. Of course that was over a year ago. (Yes I was trying to keep up with three groups for a while) The way those other systems worked is that you had to wait for a spot to open up before your content was posted, then you still had to pay points, and the most you ever had one chapter or story read was 3-4, then it was off the board. If you make changes, you have to repost, and new readers could not read your first chapters if they came in late. Trust me, when I saw the way this group worked, I jumped on it. Yes I paid right away, but I was also invited by Ann Everett (best friend a writer could have)

My suggestion is this, let free members remain free for a period of time. If there is a way to track how many times they post reviews, or post content, keep up with it, and if they aren't reviewing, hit them with a consequence.

I learned how to critique by doing it, and reading the amazing critiques on my Big Hearts. The answers I received back on the old site set me straight pretty fast on how to critique and how not to.

Bottom line, if the only way to draw in new members is to have a short time of free membership, I say let them in. But make it appealing to upgrade to premium. Some folks are simply too unsure of themselves to pay money right away, and some folks may not be able to afford it. I go without extra twinkies so I can keep up my membership!!!

Just my 2 cents worth, use or toss to suit the needs of the site.

Write On!


(3 replies, posted in Young Adult Writers)

Thanks for the suggestions. I have yet to write in first person. Half of Mt WIP uses first name already, so I'll keep going. At any rate a fix will be easy with find and repeat.


(1 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I liked and followed, but I'm so new to twitter that I have no idea what I'm doing


(14 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Way cool! So proud for you.  I wish I'd worked on your book but at the time I was a bit intimidated. Having just joined and the book nearly finished. I'll be on the lookout for your book tomorrow when I go to my monthly meeting with SCBWI. And I'll brag you up a little to my friends.

Write On!


(3 replies, posted in Young Adult Writers)

Seems I had no trouble what so ever with my first three books, and I didn't see any difficulty in most of the other books I've read, but I just don't know quite how to tackle this problem in my current teen WIP. Getting tired of calling them 'her mother' and 'her father', first names look weird to me, and I'm not sure Mr. and Mrs. look good in narration. I'm just getting into the first draft and not quite ready to start posting yet. My female protag is up against an overbearing mother who wants one thing for her daughter, but daughter wants something else. Of course Dad is caught in the middle, and of course it's set in the horse world. Any suggestions?



(7 replies, posted in Young Adult Writers)

Browsing through and I'm planning to start working on my NaNo project pretty soon, but I have a group for younger readers. Mid-grade down to picture book, it's called Kid Korner. A bit slow right now, but plenty of members. Would a 16 year old protagonist be a good fit for this group? How about alternative future (400 years in the future) also young people.

Never too early to practice.  When I have a little more time I'll post more of the notes


(0 replies, posted in kid's korner)

What's the difference in novels, YA, Mid-grade, and picture books?

Yes, I left out a couple of categories, but I just wanted to compare these.

Adult novels deal with adult issues, things that are of importance to adults from an adult perspective. And they can be longer. I've read gripping novels which were only about 50K. Almost any reader can finish that in a day, sorta like a beach read. Westerns (one of my favs) can be from under 50K to over 120K and all of them are just as good. I think Louis Lamour books are about 50-60, maybe a bit longer but not by much. Of course Adult novels cover every genre from Happy to Horror, sexy or solemn, and even the romances can be clean and Christian.

YA and New Adult, just touches on the grown up issues, but what is important to young readers isn't so much politics, and terror (Steven King excepted) but relationships and dreams, whether in contemporary form, Sci-fi, or mystery. Of course our amazing members like Susan Stec and Ann Walters have a better handle on YA than I do. These books rarely run over 60K, unless your last name is Collins or something like that.

Mid-grade issues are school yard politics, family, hero quests, and animals for the most part. The interest and topics are deep and wide. We can have talking animals, space travel, adult or child main characters (Magic School Buss, Winnie the Pooh, and Toy Story, etc). These books are long at 45K - and they have pictures at the chapter headings. Most of your animal centered stories are in this age group.

But Picture Books can cover almost anything!
Are they easier to write just because they are shorter? Not a chance. You have much less time (200-500 words) to have a complete plot, well rounded characters which arc, excitement and danger and lessons learned, and a satisfying resolution. Thankfully the setting goes under the responsibility of the artist. And picture book agents and editors are hard to please.

Key to writing a winning picture book? Read about a million of them! Also follow picture book authors and go to conferences and workshops.

Okay, I've done all of that and have yet to sell a book, but hey, that's why I started this group!

Let's write a book!


(4 replies, posted in kid's korner)

Hi Michelle, I don't think it matters much if there are periods of inactivity. I remember Sol mentioning that he would take down dead groups himself to free up space, so I decided to post something. But I intend to do something with Christie's Chicken, and I'm drafting another adventure of Christie and Fluffy about honey bees.

Did someone mention that time is a four letter word?

Write On!


(2 replies, posted in Queries, Blurbs, and Synopsis)

janet reid wrote:

The first thing I want to say is, I'm not a shark!


^----- this isn't me!  True!  LOL

Other than this, I will hopefully one day be able to contribute to this forum, but I'm still in the really early days of my writing career, so it's more likely that I will bug you on this forum for help more than anything else until then!

Thanks for letting me know MissP!

Janet, you are great! I looked at the site - is this yours or one you follow? Looks like a great resource. And I know you will benefit the entire group, especially with the link to this blog.

Thanks for joining, hope to see your work soon.

Notes from Writer’s Digest Query letter Bootcamp.
Agent One-on-One: How to Craft Query Letters & Other Submission Materials That Get Noticed Boot Camp
For more information go to www.writersonlineworkshops.com/
Or www.writersdigest.com
Writer’s Digest speaker Chuck Sambuchino, editor
Guide to Literary Agents
Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market
Writer’s Digest
F&W Media

Some notes from his workshop:
•    If you are looking for an agent, use a market guide – either online or in book form – accredited agents will have the initials AAR by their name. Association of Authors Representatives. Never deal with someone who asks for money up front (unless you are hiring an editor or book doctor)
•    What to look for when searching: Where do they come from, were they apprenticing or working for an agency before becoming an agent – What have they sold – How long in business and education – you can also google this agent and look on discussion boards to see honest reviews of the agent.
•    Always check the website – Twitter – LinkedIn – etc.
Before submitting (this is a no brainer)
•    Make sure your work is spotless. Use critique group, beta readers, even hire an editor or proofreader or book doctor if you can afford it or think you need it.
•    Look online for examples of winning letters, carefully follow each agent’s specific submission guidelines.
•    Resources: Guide to Literary Agents, Market Guide, Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market Guide, Query Tracker, AgentQuery.com, WritersMarket.com (this one’s expencive)
What does the query letter look like:
•    One page, single spaced, under 300 words. Use word economy – don’t fluff it up – keep it brief
•    Three paragraphs (four only if your summary requires a second paragraph, but use caution)
•    Paragraph one – Intro: Title, genre, word count, completed, type of story, why you chose this agent (do your homework, research this agent – conference, workshop, referral from one of his/her clients, cite the agent’s previous work) Compare to one or two other works only if you know your work to be similar – keep it brief – Never use the powerhouse A-list authors like Nicholas Sparks or Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, etc. This paragraph can be two sentences long, keep it short.
•    Paragraph two: book summary. Main character, inciting incident, maybe an antagonist or supporting character, don’t clutter the page with minor characters. Be specific – don’t say ‘life was hard’ say ‘Maggie faced wild dogs, harsh weather, and starvation….’. Never give away the ending. This section is the longest, but keep it short. Get to the meat and soul of your book. Research log-lines. No not start out with fluffy eye catchers – it’s amateur. Use caution with starting with a question. Good to end with a question ‘can MC….?’
•    Paragraph three: Bio. Keep it brief, don’t crow about your accomplishments but list important and relevant work. ‘I’ve contributed to X,Y, and Z magazines, published X, Y, Z books’. Mention organizations like SCBWI (no other details) Mention relevant awards. Don’t clutter the paragraph with where you live and all the schools you attended. Only mention your blog if you have 10,000 followers or so. Do mention that you have an online presence, or platform. (the agent will look you up)
•    Thank the agent for his/her time. Hope to hear from you soon (or something like that)
•    Regards or Sincerely,
•    Your name, website, Twitter, email, phone number if you hope to talk in person. The agent will call you if really excited about your work.


(2 replies, posted in Queries, Blurbs, and Synopsis)

Writing this from my phone so it's sketchy. If anyone has ever written a successful query, it would be great if you could share it. Also any good information you've gleaned from blogs, workshops, or conferences posted in the forum will be appreciated.

If you've queried with no results we can benefit from that as well.

When I finish my coffee and morning routine I'll post my notes.

Thanks for joining


(0 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Basic)

If anyone is interested, I just opened a group for working on query letters. I know I need the help. I've sent letters to about a thousand agents and editors to no avail, so I finally took a workshop from Writer's Digest. Time will tell if I learned anything, but I just sent in my material including the first ten pages of my novel Big Hearts.

Anyway, I'll post some of the notes I took in the forum and I'd love to learn more by sharing and reading.

Mrs Piddles


(4 replies, posted in kid's korner)

Hi everyone, Of course I'm the worst for biting off more than I can chew, and not following through with a plan, but I'm really interested in feedback on books for itty-bitty readers. I'm hoping I'm not the only one. I know that poems often make cute children's picture books, and ideas can come to any of us. Hey, it's a market - a tough one, but it's there.

I'll toss out the idea of this group for a little while longer, then if no one is really interested, I'll close the group. I do fully understand that TNBW is traditionally a site for grown-up books.

Write On!
Mrs Piddles


(4 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

I'm pretty sure this has been addressed, but I couldn't find it when I read through the previous topics. I'm in the edit/revise stage of my novel and when I posted the changes on chapter 1 I couldn't find where to save it as version 2. I also wanted to republish- like we did on the old site - so readers could get more points. Yes, I know it will cost me, but the idea is to give points as well. Do I simply 'add a chapter' and call it chapter X version 2? or is there a button I'm not seeing.

Mrs Piddles

This just happened to me while I was reviewing Ann Evert's book, chapter 18, I think. Right in the middle of typing a comment inline, it just snapped back to the first chapter. When I got back to the chapter I was working on, it said I already left a review, but I'm not sure I got credit for it. This is the first time I had this happen.


(5 replies, posted in kid's korner)

The Last Dragon Slayer. Don't remember the author right now, but there's at least two books in the story. I won the second one on Goodreads, and bought the first one. It was great.

Welcome Derek, Kid's Korner is just like any other group. Post and read and comment. Content appropriate for mid grade and younger. We do have some outstanding YA authors in TNBW, but they have their own group. We have a forum, too.  But everyone's been crazy busy with NaNoWriMo this month. This is a no point group so you don't have to spend points to post.  Also only us and your own contacts will see your work. But if you post in here and in one of the free groups you pay points and your readers receive points. The few members in here are great for advice.  And as to the group thing, you can join or back out and time without hurting anyone's feelings.

I'd sure be willing to look at your work.

Write On!

Thanks Michelle.  I'm concerned that without more interest I may need to delete the group in favor of other genres. Your ghost story was awesome. A few of those could get you a book of short stories that kids would clamor over! I may cast a line into the free group. Not sure how many groups they can join.

A couple other groups I'm thinking about are query polishing, and NaNoWriMo. Not sure how many people have uncategorized work, or work not quite ready for posting to a specific group.

Suggestions are welcome!

Write On!

I know there's more than me who has a picture book or mid grade idea up their sleeve. I've seen some awesome poems that cry out for pictures and to be read to little ones. And if you're remotely interested in illustrating a book, then Kids Korner is a place to connect. I do some mid grade, but I have some picture books in mind.

Let's get together and write


(25 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Just wanted to say that since I downloaded Chrome, I'm having no trouble at all. I can do inline or regular and I can comment on other inlines if I wish. I've been able to read inline comments made by other writers on someone else's work, too, so it's back to full time workshopping. Yes, I learn by reading, but I learn more by listening to the pros talk about their writing. And I've been able to scan through the free site to read a couple of other stories. Basically I don't have a complaint one today. But if I run into a problem I'll drop by with a question.


(35 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Basic)

Ditto to KHippolite that's one of the better suggestions IMO. But I'm still trying to generate interested in Kids Korner. I guess that means I need to post children's stories.


(10 replies, posted in TheNextBigWriter Premium)

Use CreateSpace as an editing tool!
Just a suggestion, but with my first book, I actually uploaded a draft and printed a copy to see what it would look like. Made for supreme easy editing! I used a larger font and double spaced, and then ordered a proof, but didn't click the button to make the book go live. When I made a ton of corrections and changes I uploaded it again and ordered another proof. Soooooo much cheaper than going to an office supply with a thumb drive and having the book printed out and bound. And it's easier to read the book the way a reader would. My copy of about 180 pages cost about $6.50 or something like that, including shipping. Be sure and get your $10 personalized ISBN so it will show you as the publisher instead of CreateSpace.