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Where the learning never ends ...

Wild Ink Interview Part IV: Loving the Story

The last installment of my interview with Victoria Hanley for her book Wild Ink ...

• What’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer?

Love the story, whatever it may be. Find that aspect that speaks to your own passionate curiosity or observe the passion in others and lead with that. For example, I’m a big sports fan but had never gotten into motor sports. But when I was asked to write a series on racecars, I delved into the mindsets of the fans as well as the driving teams. By the time I started writing, I understood and resonated with their affection and devotion to what is a very demanding sport.  Read More 
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Wild Ink Interview Part III

• From my interview in Wild Ink: Success Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market by Victoria Hanley

I probably put in 45–60 hours a week, including cleaning the oven and other feats of procrastination. More hours than that and my writing gets stale. If you start earning enough that it affects your taxes, get a tax preparer who knows the ins and outs of the tax code in regard to freelance work. You’ll be glad you did.

Much more importantly, cultivate a good relationship with your editors. Again, that sounds obvious, but too many writers view critical comments from an editor as a personal attack. It ain’t. Writing is usually solitary but publishing is a collaborative process.  Read More 
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Wild Ink Interview Part II

What do writers who want to break into this genre need to know?

Any experienced editor or writer will tell you there’s no substitute for researching the magazine or book publisher that you want to write for. Whenever I write for someone new, I’ll read back issues, previous articles they’ve published on similar topics, or books in the same or similar series. I examine overall structure, sentence and paragraph length and structure, transitions, use of quotations, etc. Throughout, I’m also “listening” for tone—Is it playful, authoritative, or gee whiz?

That might sound like over-analysis, but especially when you’re starting out, it can be helpful to deconstruct what you’re going to replicate. With new writers, most nonfiction editors are not looking for someone who can wow them with a grand slam of unique writing brilliance the likes they’ve never seen, they mainly want to know you can touch the bases.  Read More 
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