New on Our Blog for Writers and Willamette Writers

Ten Tips for Writing an Effective Pitch

By Alyssa Schaffer and Joanna Szabo Pitching your manuscript can be one of the more intimidating aspects of the writing process, so we’ve collected a few essential tips to help you prepare your next pitch. Start with a hook. This should be one or two lines covering the most exciting thing about your book. However, if you’re struggling to come up with a good hook, it’s better to skip it and jump into the details than to pitch a bad hook. Include essential details up front. Word count, genre, title. Keep this information straightforward and early in the pitch. Use the summary formula. Setting, protagonist, conflict, and stakes. Not all of your story’s plot or characters are going to make…

What Agents Want – Tips from Meeting with Literary Agent Laura Bradford

At the April 4 Willamette Writers meeting, attendees got to hear from Laura Bradford, founder of Bradford Literary Agency, about what agents look for in writers. Here are some key takeaways from the presentation. Are You Someone Agents Want to Work With? Be nice. If your personality is too demanding, or if you are not receptive to the agent’s changes or suggestions, you likely will not get representation. Be cognizant of your social media presence. Laura admitted to looking at authors’ social media profiles if she likes what they’ve submitted—this gives her a glimpse into the author’s personality, and she can get a good feel for whether this will be someone she wants to represent. What Are Agents Looking For?…

Turn Bad Writing Days into Good Ones

Turn Bad Writing Days into Good Ones

The November 7th meeting of Willamette Writers brought William Kenower, teacher of the Fearless Writing Series, to the Old Church to share his perspectives for building up a strong writing life while keeping the topics that interest and engage us forefront in our minds. One of the things I enjoyed so much about Kenower’s presentation was his offering of insightful reminders about why we do what we do and where we should place our focus. Here they are for you as well: Understand the questions you should be asking: What do I want to say How do I say it Success [i.e. publication] can’t be your goal; you do it because you’re interested. A book is an opportunity to have…

C. Lill Ahrens’ Tighty Writey Game

C. Lill Ahrens Tightens Writing

by C. Lill Ahrens The old saying, “Can’t see the forest for the trees” can be a metaphor for wordy writing. Too many extra words obscure the view of your story. In contrast to “cutting,” (the deletion of an entire subplot, minor character, etc.), “tightening” is a delicate and complex process. Its goal is to convey your story information (visual imagery, backstory, action etc.) with fewer words and greater clarity.  Tight writing is not a style, it’s what successful writers have in common.  Tight writing is strong writing. I invented my Tighty Writey Game to reduce a 2,000 word story to a contest’s 1,500 word limit. The game made the tightening process fun. It also worked: The story won first…

Willamette Writers Member News

Finding the Source: Research Strategies for Historical and Literary Fiction

“Finding the Source: Research Strategies for Historical and Literary Fiction” with Jennifer Springsteen, Kim Taylor Blakemore, and Joe Springsteen Sunday, June 10 from 3pm to 5pm at TaborSpace’s Muir Hall Research creates authenticity in your manuscript. It insures your heroine doesn’t go riding down the cobblestone streets when the streets in that part of the city were…

Join Willamette Writers Meetings and Workshops Near You

Corvallis: Open Mic

June 25 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Corvallis First Presbyterian Church, Dennis Hall, 114 SW 8th St.
Corvallis, OR 97333 United States
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You wrote it... You sweated over it... Now read it aloud... at Willamette Writers on the River Open Mic Reading! Writers of all kinds have the opportunity to engage in one of the most important practices of the writing life — reading their work in front of others. It’s a great opportunity to read your…

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