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What if - Do one exercise a day from "What If?" and you'll be writing for more than a third of a year. The book is packed with 115 exercises. Indispensable.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel - Rewriting is what separates the pros from the amateurs. Frey finishes everything off with the most important thing it takes to become a great writer.

The Art of Fiction - Because Gardner strives for "higher art", his musings and instructions for the beginner go much deeper than ordinary how-to books. A must for all novel writers.

Stein on Writing - "Your job," says Stein, "is to give readers stress, strain, and pressure. The fact is that readers who hate those things in life love them in fiction.

Bird by Bird - Lamott's suggestion on writing the novel is down-to-earth: worry about the characters, not the plot. Writing is more rewarding than publication. Easy for her to say?

Writing the Breakout Novel - Maass forces writers to take a hard look at the quality of their work. Great for beginners.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - Adhering to "show don't tell," the text includes both good and bad examples, and at the end of every chapter is a tip checklist plus exercises.

Novels by Will Lavendar, John Ford, Susan Breen and Christine Meldrum have all found publishers and lucrative contracts. Congrats! ... Read new in-depth interviews-- Algonkian attendees discuss their novels and the conference.


Conference Notes

Seven Mountains Writers Conference Oct. '07 - "From the Heart, but Smart - Premise, Platform, and Execution" - Agent Pitch Sessions With Peter Rubie, Tina Wexler, and Eve Bridburg, ERP Media, Intensive Craft + Pitch workshops. Read More...

NYC Pitch and Shop Conference upcoming in Sept. Writers pitch the novel to major publishers. See the NYC Pitch and Shop NEWS PAGE for the latest. Read More...
Algonkian Writers + Authors Speak

Author Julie Kaewert talks about her Algonkian experience at the Seven Mts. Writers Conference. Julie is the author of the Booklover's Mysteries featuring Alex Plumtree and Plumtree Press. She is currently at work on a historical fiction work entitled, The Writing Masters Daughter.

Writer Greg Haas talks about his new project. "After nearly 30 years as a political consultant (much of it in Ohio a microcosm of the nation) I've watched and learned from some of the best political strategists in the world. I've spent a great deal of time listening to the people they influence. I felt I could tell a story about how the process works."

Interview with author Kate Gallison on the subject of Algonkian and the NYC Pitch and Shop, as well as her new novel, Massacre at Bitter Wash. 1909 is a year of fierce competition in the infant silent movie industry, where Thomas Edison's Motion Picture Patents Company harasses independent moviemakers with lawsuits and sabotage.

Rae's novel is a Jane Eyre meets Huckleberry Finn adventure in the late nineteenth century. Taken in by her eccentric uncle, Madelyn Ficklestick finds a new life with adventure of magical proportion. She sneaks into her Uncle's basement laboratory and finds the golden Mask of Agamemnon. She loses the mask to an unlikely thief ...

Author Thierry Sagnier yearns for the Paris of yesterday. The project I am currently working on, Montparnasse--Nights in Paris, deals with Paris shortly after World War I. Artistically, Paris was the center of the universe then. It's a period of history that fascinates me.

Our very own Mark Budman of WDS interviews T.C. Boyle. A new Literary Dialogues first with the nonesuch Boyle. As T. C. says, a good novel "delivers art and beauty along with the punch of entertainment." It's that simple, and that difficult.

From our mother site, WebdelSol.Com. Great interviews with truly literary writers such as Ducornet, Almond, Bender, and more. Lofty goals here.

Books! Books! Books! Why Read?

The worst advice a writer can get is to ignore the market and simply "write from the heart." Our motto: "from the heart, but smart." Believe it or not, most aspiring authors do little to familiarize themselves with the most recent novels in their genre. Big mistake. We always cajole our writers to stay well read, know their market inside out, especially what type of work first-time authors are getting published. Why? Because their work is a better indication of what the market is looking for. As follows:

BookSense Picks
The indie bookers include a best picks page. A must for serious writers of all genres.

Center for Book Culture
High literary works reviewed and going back several years. Reviews are a bit too positive at times, but c'est la vie.

A-Z, loads of reviews and much more. The place for "all things chicklit." The genre is expanding.

Historical Novel Society
Both English and American historical fiction here. Excellent starting place. Five stars.

House of Blogs - all genres
A creation of Webdelsol.Com. FIVE LIVE blogs like Maud, Powell's, Beatrice, and more, + a list of the best + a remarkable blog search engine. If you want the real dig on a new novel, the bloggers are waiting for you.

Mystery Reader.Com
No fancy cosmetics here, but MR gets the job done. Great capsules, archives, + all sub-genres. Learn from the many-stars and one-stars too.

MetaCritic Scores for Lit Books
A "scoring" site for literary commercial books. Check the scores then hit the blogs.

Romantic Book Club
Includes only the top reviews. Any bias here? We're not sure, but it's a good place to start.

San Francisco Chronicle
You might not agree with all the SFC book reviews, but they won't stop coming. Good archives. All genres plus non-fiction. Worth comparing to MetaCritic and blogger reviews.

The SF Site (sci fi/fantasy)
An explosion of book reviews on the very first page. Begin your search here.

Young Adult
YALSA, yowza, the best of the year list, plus check out Reading Rants for their latest reviews by category.

More Notes and Lit News

Seven Mts. WC Seven Mts. Writers Conference
October, 2007
"From the Heart, But Smart: Premise, Platform, Execution." Agent pitch sessions, short fiction shop, agents Peter Rubie, Tina Wexler from ICM, Eve Bridburg, and Susanne Davis and Michel Neff + craft shops at the Round House in the Berkshires

Mail or Snail - Submission Issues
Anthony Policastro talks about upsides and downsides to email submission.

New York Pitch and Shop ConferenceNYC Pitch and Shop
9/13 - 9/16/07
Writers bring their manuscripts, attend pitch shops, and then pitch their novels to top Editors from Holt, Scribners, Viking, and more. A HUGE opportunity for aspiring authors at the NYC Pitch and Shop.

Algonkian Conference Pics
Sunny Faces at The Ghost Ranch
NYC '06 Conference Pics (thrilling!)
Seven Pics from Harpers Ferry (PG rated)
Frolic and Angst at Seven Mts. WC

"Floating in Space and Time"
Eva's academic yet rewarding discourse on points of view and narrators

When The Going Gets Tough
Anecdotal comfort food from BM

Should Authors Skewer Authors?
Updike vs. Wolfe and Almond vs. Ellis, etc.

Pithy Pam: Do You Know One?
Writer Tom Meek tells us a true story from the darker side of writing groups.

Know Your Genre
Necessary notes on finding your niche.