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Improbable Press Blog — Help for Writers

4 Reasons an Editor Won't Look at Your First Draft

Atlin Merrick Help for Writers Publishing Reference

Writers often ask if I want to look at the first draft of the novel they're writing for Improbable Press. It's a sensible question with what may be an unexpected answer for most new writers: No, please, I do not ever want to see the draft of your novel. Ever. What is a First Draft? First draft—what does that even mean? The answer depends on you, actually. If you're the kind of person who plots everything—who knows your book is going to be fifteen chapters, in chapter eight the orphan will find his parents, in twelve the soldier with her rare birthmark will appear,...

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After Your Book Is Rejected—3 Dos & 3 Even Better Don'ts

After rejection Atlin Merrick Help for Writers Reference

Do pitch again. Sometimes an editor or publisher rejects your story or book but says "we really like your style, but we're looking something with more B, less A." For the love of all that's holy they just gave you a leg up in getting your book further along the process, please take it. All right, sure, maybe you don't want to put a lot more B into your book and that's fine. In that case pitch them another book, this one more B-centric. Do follow the yellow brick road. As an editor, when I turn down a manuscript but...

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Cope and Hope (Also Known as Do Shit)

Atlin Merrick Cope and Hope Help for Writers Shouty Encouragement

This worldwide illness, losing a job, having depression…a million and one things can leave us feeling powerless. I want to share one single thing that helps me in tough times again and again. Though this thing doesn't "solve" my problems usually, it does help me cope in the meantime and if I cope I can hope, you know? When I'm feeling powerless I…do stuff. The thing I do most is write, because writing is my power. I love it, I'm good at it, I can do it anywhere or any time. After my college closed down last Wednesday—three weeks before...

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Radical Transparency: How We Edit Your Book

Atlin Merrick Book Editing Help for Writers Radical Transparency Reference

Like you I walk, I wait, and sometimes I want to learn cool stuff while I do that, which is why I love podcasts.99% Invisible is a brilliant podcast which recently discussed radical transparency.For example, if the city government takes a year to process building permits tell people. Giving people a hook to hang their wait on helps the wait pass more peacefully. Which leads us to this: How Long It Takes to Edit a Book (and What the Heck That Means) With radical transparency in mind, and inspired by a writer who recently asked me "what does editing entail?"...

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Interesting things about pee…and non-fiction writing

Atlin Merrick Help for Writers Non-Fiction Writing

...well, the subject line either caught your eye or brought up your bile. So either you're welcome or I'm sorry. However there's a point and that's this… Urine, Fiction & Non-Fiction Writing As writers we sometimes think we know stuff. Like we all "know" urine is sterile (nope, it's not), and maybe we've had our sea captain hollering "I'll stop the pain o' the fierce Lion's Mane jelly, me laddy," as she pees on the laddy, but no no nope, urine very much won't. The point is that reality's ever so much more interesting than these things we think we...

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