Tag Archives: Betsy Lerner

Say What? – Why These Are My Favorite Books About Writing

There are many books out there that give you information about writing or publishing. But these are some of my favorites: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott; On Writing: A Memoir of Craft by Stephen King; The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner; Second Sight by Cheryl Klein.

I like these particular books for the same reason I like most of the books that I like:  the VOICE.


The authors give their tidbits of information, or share their stories, or proffer their advice, and I can hear who they are when they do it. I aspire to maintain my voice when I blog, and sometimes I achieve that and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m too brash; other times I’m much nicer than I actually am. Ultimately it all feels like a persona anyway, not really an authentic representation of who I am.

Of course its different when you’re writing fiction, because then the voice of your characters is what you’re going for. That’s equally important, but different still.

How do you think your voice measures up in your writing? When you write fiction does it feel authentically you? Do the voices of your fictional characters sound the way you thought they would? What do you think about books on writing? 


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Query Critique Contest Plus My Favorite Books on Writing for You!

When I sit down to blog I usually try to put something useful up. Sometimes I just bitch and moan though, I know that. But rather than complain, you, my awesome blog followers, commiserate with me. Great word, by the way! Commiserate!

Prefix of the word is COM = with, suffix is ATE = together, root of the thing = MISERY resulting in: with misery together! Love that.

Ahem! But, as I was saying… I usually try to put something useful up. I so appreciate when people comment, too. Even if I don’t respond to your comment, it’s very rewarding to know folks are actively engaged in this conversation about writing and getting published.

So in appreciation for being my lovelies, for reading and following and commenting and coming back again and again, I have a little gifty for three of you! I have three favorite books about writing and I’m giving away one of each. But that’s not all! If you order now you also get this Ginsu knife! I’m just kidding, no Ginsu. But, each winner will also get a query critique from me. That means you will send me your query, I will read it, and I will give you feedback about what is working and what is not working. Private feedback, for your eyes only. This is the only catch: you have to be following my blog to be eligible for any of this!

Here’s what you need to do: In the comments section after this post just tell me why you write (in less than 20 words). I will pick three lucky people. As long as you’re following my blog I’ll be able to e-mail you to let you know you’ve won. You can then e-mail me your query to critique and I’ll snail-mail you your book and the query critique! Easy peasy.

So, go! Make sure you’re following the blog and tell me why you write! (Remember, in under 20 words…)

This contest is open from 12:01am EST Saturday, February 18th to 11:59pm EST Sunday, February 19th. Winners will be posted Monday morning at around 9am.


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I’m floating in a most peculiar way, and the stars look very different today

I once told a literary agent that he was a rock star (he wasn’t)* and just the other day on her blog a writer called Betsy Lerner (who is a really fab literary agent, author and blogger)* a rock star, too. Now, as someone who is (hopefully)* on a trajectory to being an agent but who has never wanted to be a rock star, I asked myself, “Why do writers think agents are rock stars?”

Let’s look at the two species:

Rock stars — make music; go on tour; trash hotel rooms; wear crazy clothing or leather stuff; have their pictures in the trash mags; drink too much; marry models or Europeans or European models or are British; do heavy drugs; either OD, go to rehab or just hang around looking all skanky; write autobiographies about being rock stars, etc…

Literary agents — read manuscripts; negotiate deals; have coffee; read more manuscripts; edit manuscripts; drown in queries; drink too much; go to writing conferences; lurk on Twitter; do lunch; chase down royalty checks;  hang out in bookstores and fraternize with librarians, read more manuscripts, etc…

So, besides the cocktails, what do these two things have in common? I don’t get it.

(I might be lying about not wanting to be a rock star. Once, way back in the ’80s, I cut my hair just like David Bowie.)*

*WTF is with all the freakin’ parenthetical comments?! I’m annoying myself.


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