Like real life, the writing life is filled with contradictions and perplexities. The world of commercial publishing is counterintuitive and writers dive in weighed down with misconceptions, delusions, and unrealistic expectations.
Perhaps because most of us write in some form every day we believe we can—and should—write a book. We also assume writing is the hard part and once our manuscript is finished publishers will line up for the privilege of delivering it to the world. This is why many people who say they want to write really mean they want to have written.This volume offers a sober perspective on the writing life: what writing for money is really about and what you need to be prepared to do in order to endure its rigors. Once you understand what’s actually going on, you’ll be able to steer a clear-headed course as you participate in the great conversation. And you’ll come out the other side with your sanity—and dreams—intact.
We generally associate creativity with spasms of brilliance even though waiting for inspiration is like waiting for lightning to strike—it happens, but it’s rarely predictable or repeatable.
Committed, long-term relationships don’t simply happen: more than just hard work, it takes discipline and wisdom to keep a romance alive. The same is true for creativity.
This book is about the discipline and wisdom of creativity, particularly as it applies to writers. If you master the techniques in it you will be able to make the time and space to collect ideas and arrange them in novel combinations that will delight your readers.Sustainable creativity is more than talent or mind-set: it’s a way of life. Like a lush garden that blossoms through careful cultivation, you too can enjoy a constant yield of creativity by design instead of the occasional happy accident.
One inescapable fact about our species is that we’re social animals: people are at the center of our universe. We have a long history of trying to understand the natural world by personifying its aspects. That’s why believable characters make or break our stories.
A novel, however, is not a portrait. What readers really want is to see how interesting characters act and transform themselves over the course of your story.This guide explores the structural underpinnings of character and characterization in terms of mythic cycles of transformation like the Hero’s Journey and the Virgin’s Promise. Once you understand these patterns your characters will ring true and your readers will believe in them, too.
For good or ill, once money enters the picture you become a professional writer: even if you’ve never received a penny for your words, as soon as you try to sell them—to agents, editors, or the public—the nature of many of your social relationships changes. People will no longer care about you; they’ll only care about what you and your writing can do for them.This guide looks at all the people who will be involved in buying and selling your books, what you need to understand about them, and how to deal with them. Using the principles in Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People, as a framework, you will learn how the mantra of the professional—“I have no problems; I cause no problems; I solve your problems”—is the key to your success as a writer.
Electronic publishing has upset the equilibrium enjoyed by the publishing industry for the last half-century. While some celebrate the overthrow of the gate-keeping elite and the democratization of publishing, others lament the end of literary culture.
Beneath the enthusiasm and the angst, a new market has opened as commercial publishers abandon mid-list books in favor of blockbusters. Thanks to online markets where books never go out of print, it is now possible for authors to earn a living writing and selling books they and their readers love.This guide explores artisan publishing, a new approach to creating and releasing books where the focus is on quality and the integrity of the author’s editorial vision. The path of the artisan isn’t a short-cut to fame and fortune, but it is the best way to create something you’ll be proud of and in which your readers will find lasting value.
We all know how to tell stories just like we all know our native language, having heard both since we were born. People, however, who study their native language discover there’s much they misunderstood or simply didn’t know. The same is true of story when we look at it more carefully.
With topics that include the theory of story as model, the fractal key to narrative complexity, and the art of the long form, this volume will show you the essence of stories and storytelling.
It’s advanced stuff—no writing prompts or exercises here—but if you want to understand how stories are the minimum container of significance, how storytelling is like commanding an artillery battery, and why the three easy steps are, 1) lather, 2) rinse, and 3) repeat, this volume is for you.And like deep magic, once you comprehend the nature of the art, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master story weaver.
In order to master the craft of writing and the art of storytelling you must internalize the rhythms of the human experience and the ways we share that experience. There are deep and consistent patterns in the ways we tell stories, weave narrative illusions, and develop fascinating characters.
This collection includes three Dunlith Hill Writing Guides:
Story Theory: How to Write Like J.R.R. Tolkien in Three Easy Steps
Verisimilitude: How Illusions, Confidence Games, and Skillful Lying can Improve Your Fiction
Character and Archetype: How to Make Readers Fall in Love with your Imaginary FriendsWhen you understand and apply the simple but powerful patterns taught in these guides, you will be well on your way to becoming a masterful writer.
In terms of objective reality, a work of fiction is an elaborate lie. No writer thinks of themselves as a liar simply because they write fiction, but that’s the fact of the matter. And no other writing guide will admit to teaching you to be a better writer by showing you how to be a better liar—at least in a narrative sense.
A good lie rings true. Verisimilitude, or the appearance of truth, is critical in a novel because readers open the book knowing it is fiction. Their willingness to suspend disbelief is like a house of cards—if you make one wrong narrative move the illusion of truth falls apart.This volume looks at the ways in which you can break the illusion in your writing and how to avoid them; it explores what you can do to increase the degree of verisimilitude in your stories; and shows why less really is more. You will learn how to satisfy readers with strategic detail, reassure them you know what you’re talking about, and convince them they can trust you as a storyteller.
Being a professional writer involves more than mastering the craft of writing and the art of storytelling. There are the constant challenges of managing your own expectations as a writer, dealing with other people in the industry, maintaining your creativity, and running what is, in truth, a small business.
This collection includes four Dunlith Hill Writing Guides:
Surviving the Writing Life: How to Write for Money without Going Crazy
Professional Relationships: How to Deal with the Characters you can’t Re-write
Sustainable Creativity: How to Enjoy a Committed, Long-term Relationship with your Muse
Artisan Publishing: Why to Choose the Road Less TraveledTogether, they will help you explore an art-and-craft-centered approach to your writing life we call, The Artisan Way.