Here’s the schedule of panels for the next Superstars Writing Seminar, which will be held in Salt Lake City, January 13–15. As you can see from the list of topics, this three-day seminar is packed with great stuff, no-nonsense and practical material taught by six bestselling authors. We’re not aware of anything comparable for the serious aspiring, or even professional, writer.
Sessions begin in three weeks. We look forward to seeing you there. Sign up now at Superstars Writing Seminar.
8:30 AM Intro, seminar overview, introduce speakers (Kevin)
9:00 Econ 201 for Writers: Economics of Commercial Publishing (Eric)
10:00 Inside Editors: How editors look at manuscripts (Dave, Kevin, Eric)
1:30 PM Myths of Publishing (Rebecca)
2:30 Agents: the “A” word (Brandon, Eric, Dave)
3:30 “Dirty Secrets”: Being a professional author (Kevin, Rebecca)
4:30 From Slushpile to #1 Bestseller in 4 Years (Brandon)
5:00 The Popcorn Theory of Success (Kevin)
Evening: Welcome mixer/reception
8:30 AM Copyright basics (Dave, Eric)
9:00 Self-Publishing & Ebooks: Realities and Pitfalls (Eric, Rebecca)
10:00 Pitching the Big Proposal (Brandon, Kevin, Dave)
11:00 New Media: Using It to Get an Edge (Brandon, Rebecca)
10:00 Networking for Writers (Rebecca, Dave)
2:30 Do It Yourself: Self-Promotion for Authors (Sherrilyn Kenyon)
3:30 Promoting Yourself and Your Work (All)
4:30 Open session: Q&A
Authors available for signing
VIP Banquet: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
8:30 AM Ergonomics: When Writing Gets to Be a Pain (Rebecca)
9:00 Dissecting a Contract (Eric)
10:00 Movies, TV, and Authors (Dave, Kevin, Brandon)
11:00 Two Heads Are Better Than One: Collaborations (Eric, Kevin, Rebecca, Brandon)
1:30 Intellectual Property: How to Exploit Yours (Dave)
2:30 Eleven Tips to Increase Your Writing Productivity (Kevin)
3:30 Balancing Acts: Writing World and Real World (All)
4:30 Open session: Q&A
For further information, see Superstars Writing Seminars
Rebecca and I just did an hour-long Writers Advisory conference call about collaborating, various techniques, the reasons to do it, pitfalls, etc. You can listen to the MP3 free by clicking on
Also, in the spirit of the holidays—as well as to tie in with the Collaboration subject—we are offering a $200 discount if two people sign up together for this January’s Superstars Writing Seminar in Salt Lake City. Find a writing buddy, a friend who’s interested in a career as a writer, and save (new signups only). Could be something to put on your gift list?
We also have an updated and very snazzy new landing page for Superstars. Have a look: Superstars Writing Seminar.
The last entry in a series of eleven tips to help you get more time for writing, and to produce more writing when you do have time.
Science fiction master Robert Heinlein proposed a set of rules for writers. His first two are “You must write” and “You must finish what you write.” Endless polishing and editing and revising and polishing again and then rewriting and then editing does not make a story perfect—it just makes a story endless.
Remember Tip #5 posted a few days ago: It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be finished.
I’ve known writers who have a love affair with a particular story. They set out with a promising draft, then they begin polishing . . . and polishing . . . and the story vanishes into a black hole of neverending revisions. When I first started publishing novels, I ran a monthly writers’ workshop with a group of fellow novelists and short-story writers. One member brought in a new story—a pretty good one—and we critiqued it, suggested some improvements, and he took it home. At the next month’s meeting, he brought in a revised version for critique, and we again made our comments. And again for the next three months. Ironically, after a certain point, there was no noticeable improvement. The story was stuck in an infinite loop. As far as I know, he never sent it anywhere.
Don’t misunderstand: You can’t turn in a sloppy manuscript, and each submission should be as good as you can make it, but there comes a point of diminishing returns in editing your prose. Are you becoming obsessive about rewriting and polishing? Are you making cosmetic changes and circular edits that no longer improve the story? Is it possible you’re simply looking for excuses to put off finishing it? It’s done! Send the manuscript to an editor and move on to the next story.
If you spend all your writing time fiddling with one story, you’ll never move on to the next one, and the next. On with it, already.
New space adventure series for young readers, Star Challengers: Moonbase Crisis
I hope you have enjoyed this series of eleven tips to increase your writing productivity. Some of them many not work for you—they don’t all work for me, all the time—but they are techniques to help you think outside the box. Try something different and see if you find it effective. The one absolute piece of writing advice is that authors are all different, and there’s no right way to do it.
Serious new writers, as well as established professionals, will benefit from three days of instruction on writing careers, the publishing business, book contracts, and how to be a professional—taught by six international bestselling writers. This January 13-15, Salt Lake City. Superstars Writing Seminar.
A series of eleven tips to help you get more time for writing, and to produce more writing when you do have time.
Every creative writing teacher repeats the classic axiom, “Write about what you know.” Therefore, it stands to reason that the more you know, the more things you’ll be able to write about.
Every experience, class, interesting acquaintance, or place you visit goes into your pantry of “ingredients” for new material. Part of your job as a writer is to collect these ingredients so that you can use them—by learning new subjects, doing new things, meeting new people, seeing new places. You’ll be surprised at how many doors will open for a writer doing research.
Strictly to broaden my knowledge-base of experiences over the years, I’ve taken a hot-air balloon ride, gone white-water rafting and mountain climbing, traveled to various cities and countries, been a guest backstage at rock concerts, attended a world-class symphony, and taken extensive tours of high-tech scientific research installations, visited a giant aircraft carrier, been on the floor of the Pacific Stock Exchange, taken cruises, gone zip-lining, and toured behind the scenes at FBI Headquarters.
Feeling less adventurous? Then do other things to get inspired. Read extensively, research esoteric topics, take a class about a subject you know nothing about. Watch documentaries at random. Go to a museum—especially an oddball one. Sign up for a ballroom dancing group, attend the meeting of a model-rocketry club, go outside at night and learn the constellations.
In your daily life, open your eyes and observe what is around you. Every experience is filled with details to absorb and use at some later time. Watch people. See what they do, observe how they act, listen to how they talk, try to understand who they are and make up biographies for them.
In short, exercise your creative muscles. Go outside your comfort zone. Stock up your mental pantry with ingredients so that you’ll have a lot to cook with. You never know what might spark a story idea or an interesting character, and being inspired will add to the energy you can put into your writing.
Terra Incognita #3, due out in June 2011
This blog series is part of a lecture I’ll be presenting at the Superstars Writing Seminar in January 13–15 in Salt Lake City, a three-day intensive workshop focused on business and careers in writing. Other instructors include Brandon Sanderson, Sherrilyn Kenyon, David Farland, Rebecca Moesta, and Eric Flint. We hope to see you there.