The Art, Craft and Business of Writing Fiction

Here are some notes I took from a workshop I did by Linnea Sinclair when I went to Context a few weeks ago. I found them helpful and thought I would share. 

Are you a writer or author?
Writer= isn’t serious about being published
Author=  has published works
Writing is an art and craft, but it is also a BUSINESS!

All About the Art and Craft

  • You have to couple good writing with original thought.
  • Read as much as you can of what is available in the genre that you write and other genres as well.
  • Too many writers stop at the art, at the muse. Move past this and get into the craft of writing.
  • Craft is the only way to tame the muse.
  • Art lives in the emotions, but only craft can give your words life.
  • Craft allows you to refine your words.
  • Decent craft has good plot, logic, characterization and conflict.
  • It is the author’s job to manipulate the emotions of the reader.

All About the Business

  • Network! Meet and greet as many as people you can that will help you move forward as an author this includes other writers, editors, agents and publishers.
  • Do your homework! A subscription to Publisher’s Lunch is essential in this endeavor. It is a bible of information for finding agents and publishers. If you know what’s being published you can find how published it and what agents are looking for.
  • Build up your resume
  • Beware of the trend in New York. If you want to be picked up by big name publishers use New York as your source of information for what’s wanted on the market.
  • Have an elevator pitch ready to sell yourself. An elevator pitch is being able to pitch your story in the time it would take to ride an elevator.
  • Know your read-a-like.What current author do you write like? You should know this to give as a pitch to potential agents and publishers.
  • Analyze your own writing to discover where it fits and makes sure it’s in your query letter.
  • Be prepared to market your own work. In fact when submitting a novel manuscript, you should have a marketing plan already written up.

Sites to Check Out!

Must have books!

I also highly recommend her online classes as well. You can check them out at


Write It Down or Lose It

“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.  How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?  For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone.  That is where the writer scores over his fellows:  he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.”  ~Vita Sackville-West

It’s a rare thing that you sit down to write and some of your best ideas actually come while your writing. If you’re like me an idea will come to you out of the blue when your driving the car, making dinner, working-out, or maybe even watching Television, and if you are also like me and don’t write that idea down right away it will disappear into the haze of your memory. It is important to catch those thoughts and place them somewhere so that they don’t drift away to be lost forever, because chances are they won’t come back. I can’t tell you how many great story ideas or ideas period that became lost to my forgetful brain. So what is the cure to this dilemma?

I wish I could say that there actually was a cure to the haze of memory, but I do know there is a way to get around it. Just write your ideas down as soon as they come to you. The best way to do this is to keep a small notebook or journal with you at all times that you can get to without too much hassle. You don’t want to go looking for your notebook and find that in the process of looking for it that you completely forgot what you wanted to write down in the first place. Keeping a notebook near you might be a little awkward at first, but you’d be surprised how quickly you get use to it and rely on it. If you do happen to find yourself without your notebook, then find a scrap of paper to write on.

Whether you use a notebook or paper scraps just get those fleeting thoughts down in writing so they don’t vanish completely. You’ll be thankful for the ideas later on and you’ll find that the habit of writing, even if a few short sentences or words will actually compel you to want to write even more. Catch the butterfly of the moment.