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Writer Resources

I.N.J. Culbard: ‘I do take the story apart and reconstruct it again…’

I.N.J CulbardHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

We sat down with comics creator I.N.J. Culbard to discuss his new graphic novel, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. Culbard adapted the story from H.P. Lovecraft’s novel. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: Back in 2004 I was enrolled in The New Recruits programme set up by Dark Horse comics. I had two stories appear in an anthology there and a short while after that, 2000AD publisher Rebellion published a short strip of mine called “Monsters in The Megazine.” Following the work I did there I got in contact with artist D’Israeli, who put me in contact with a long time collaborator of his, Ian Edginton.

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Gene Luen Yang Acts as an Editor For His Brother-in-Law’s First Comic

Gene YangWhat does it take to create comics? Award winning graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang has been collaborating with his brother-in-law Luke to help him create his first comic book.

Gene has been offering guidance, suggesting exercises, and essentially acting as an editor for Luke. The collaborators decided to chronicle the process on Gene’s blog “so other folks could see what the development of a comics creator looks like.”

Thus far, three episodes have been posted. Gene’s own editor Mark Siegel, the editorial director of First Second Books, chimed in with a tip in the comments section of the first post. We’ve collected three pieces of advice below so that other writers can glean from Gene’s wisdom.

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Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz: ‘As my mother always taught me, perfect is the enemy of good.’

CristinHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

We sat down with writer Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz (pictured, via) to discuss her new biography, Dr Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine. This book explores the life of Thomas Dent Mütter who is arguably one of the most eccentric medical innovators in history; his namesake museum in Philadelphia has long been considered a hot spot for horror fans. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: I had put together a proposal for my book, Dr Mütter’s Marvels, and friend of mine — who had very successfully sold his debut novel to Random House — asked if he could show it to his agent. I thanked him but explained how it likely wasn’t a good idea. That my weird and fairly grotesque book was very different than his pop culture-infused sci-fi novel, and therefore his agent likely wouldn’t be interested in my proposal. My friend said, “Cristin, if your friend who just sold his novel to Random House asks if he can show your proposal to his agent, that answer is Yes! Thank You! and that’s it.”

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Andi Watson: ‘Working hard and having fun hopefully go hand in hand…’

Andi WatsonHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

Throughout his career, cartoonist Andi Watson has written and illustrated dozens of comics and graphic novels. Right now, Watson is working on a spooky children’s story called Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: Because I’m a cartoonist, my first opportunity of being published came through physically mailing my mini-comics to publishers. Six months after sending them out a company called Slave Labor Graphics agreed to publish me. This was a good two decades ago when publishers would look at unsolicited submissions without needing to sign legal disclaimers. Having said that, after experiencing something of the book publishing world, it’s still an awful lot easier to make contact with graphic novel publishers than it is in the traditional prose world. Putting work online and attending cons is a good way to make contacts. As in all areas of work, it helps to know people.

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Delilah S. Dawson: ‘Let it get gross, let it get weird, and figure out later how far to take it…’

Delilah S. DawsonHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

Recently, we spoke with Delilah S. Dawson, an author and associate editor at the Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech websites. We discussed her new novel, Servants of the Storm. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: The old-fashioned way: after a psychotic break.

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Antonia Hodgson: ‘Give yourself the space to daydream.’

Antonia HodgsonHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

Recently, we spoke with Little, Brown UK editor-in-chief Antonia Hodgson to discuss her debut historical mystery novel, The Devil in The Marshalsea. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: I spent five years writing a novel that would have been very suitable for Halloween – vampires, dark deeds, so much blood… When I began writing it vampires weren’t fashionable. While I was writing it, they became incredibly fashionable. By the time I’d finished everyone was saying, ‘ugh, I’m so sick of vampires.’ So I sent this book to an agent anyway.

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Ingrid Sundberg Creates a ‘Color Thesaurus’ For Writers

red

Ingrid Sundberg, a writer and illustrator whose young adult novel All We Left Behind will be released in Fall 2015, has created a “color thesaurus.”

Sundberg posted the twelve images on her blog (the one for red is embedded above); she feels that employing this tool allows her to add specificity to her writing. In an interview with Bored Panda, she reveals that many of her blog followers have utilized it for their own work.

Sundberg explained why she made this project: “This was something I made for myself based on color words I liked and the colors the words evoked for me. I use it all the time when I write. It really helps in revision as I try to make my work fresh and vibrant.”

Should You Quit Your Day Job?

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Many writers dream of quitting their day job to work full-time as an author. Author Tracy Barrett is one of the rare writers who managed to take this momentous step.

Barrett (pictured, via) taught Italian at Vanderbilt University for 28 years, but decided to leave her day job and write full time in 2012. At the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Summer Conference in Los Angeles last weekend, she shared lessons for writers considering the same step.

“Leaving your job is like having a baby, you can’t wait for the perfect time,” she explained. “The time is never perfect.” She had tried to balance her busy writing life with teaching, but discovered “I only had a certain amount of creative juice, it burned up the spark.”

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Seth Godin Recommends Books on HugDug

sethgodinreviewsAuthor Seth Godin has been using a new online community called HugDug to share reviews of his favorite books and authors. He has reviewed a couple of books on the site including Steve Krug’s Rocket Surgery Made Easy.

“One of the biggest benefits we’ve found in the way people use Hugdug is their ability to share the work of people they respect,” he explains on his blog. “Today more than ever, ideas spread horizontally, from person to person, not from the top down, not from an ad or from a talk show or from a promotion.”

HugDug is an interesting new online community from the founders of Squidoo that is worth checking out. It is currently in beta and is designed as a site to allow people to share recommendations and discover products and reviews. The site lets you read reviews by reviewer, as well as by category and then links to the product’s listing on Amazon to make it easy to purchase the item. There is also a featured charity every month.

How Does One Tackle Chronic Writer’s Block?

How does one tackle chronic writer’s block?

For Sting, it means writing songs that feature the stories of other people. In a presentation delivered at the TED 2014 conference, the Grammy Award-winning musician talks about the inspiration he found in the shipyard workers he knew from his youth.

We’ve embedded the full talk in the video above. For more on storytelling, check out the “How to Tell a Story” playlist curated by the TED team. What are your tips for battling writer’s block?

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