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Posts Tagged ‘how to get published’

Editing a Manuscript: Inside the Editorial Process

Posted by inkpopbecki on June 8, 2011

So many of you have asked, what goes into the editorial process? Well as inkpop author Leigh Fallon will tell you, Carrier of the Mark went through A LOT of editing. Want to hear more or ask a real live HarperCollins Editor about publishing? Join us for a live chat today at 5 p.m. EST in the inkpop forum events.

Until then, check out some of the work that went in to making Carrier of the Mark the fantastic novel that will be published on October 4, 2011

Eric performed two rounds of line  edits on Carrier of the Mark. These were the first line edits, done by hand. Line-Edits

The second line edits were done through  Track_Change.

Want to see more or want to find out more about the editing process? Psst a comment or a question in our  inkpop forum events.

Posted in inktips, Inside the Mind | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

From Books to Film and More: Inside the Mind of Alex Flinn

Posted by inkpopbecki on May 11, 2011

Ever wonder what it takes to go from book to film? Where were those writers before their books were movies? Join us for a live chat  with #1 New York Times bestselling author Alex Flinn to discuss this and other topics tonight at 5 p.m. EST in the inkpop forum events. In the meantime we caught up with Alex to ask her a few questions about her work.

How did you come up with the idea to adapt Beauty and the Beast into a modern day fairy tale?

I read a lot of fairy tales with my kids, and I became interested in the part of the story you don’t hear about as much – the Beast.  How did he become a beast?  Why was he all alone in the woods?  Where were his family?  I thought a lot about his loneliness and desperation, and that’s why I decided to write a book?

What was it like seeing your characters lifted from the page and brought to life on the screen? Were there things that the film did that you were unable to do in your book and conversely were there aspects of the book that were unable to translate to film?

Book and film are very different media.  I didn’t expect the movie to be exactly like my book.  What the movie does that a book can’t is, it provides a visual and also, music.  What the book did that the movie couldn’t was that it was longer and way more detailed.

Since Beastly you have created adapted another fairy tale into a modern retelling. What does it take to adeptly do these sort of reinterpretations? Are there limitations or things that you have to keep in mind when adapting these tales?

The hardest thing about adapting a fairy tale is deciding what the characters know about the existing fairy tale.  Has Kyle seen Beauty and the Beast on film, for example?  Also, do the characters believe in magic and, if not, do they come to believe in it based upon the circumstances of the story.  Since we are used to NOT believing in magic, this can be a hard transition.


Your debut novel, Breathing Underwater, is now coming out in a new paperback edition. What have you learned since publishing Breathing Underwater in 2001?

What I’ve learned since publishing Breathing Underwater is more about being published than about writing.  The main thing I’ve learned is that not every reader is going to like every book.  Even with my own books, I have books that will appeal to different readers (The reader who likes A Kiss in Time is not necessarily going to be the same reader for Breathing Underwater).   When you first get published, you want everyone to love everything you write, but a book that appeals to all may not deeply touch many.  Now, I write each book for the reader who will like it.

Want to hear more? Join us tonight at 5 p.m. EST in the inkpop forum events for a live chat with author Alex Flinn

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Breaking the Genre Code: inktips from Kimberly Derting

Posted by inkpopbecki on April 13, 2011

Most authors will tell you it’s important to write in a genre and stick with it. That’s great, but not all books are that easy. Kimberly Derting’s Body Finder series offers readers a paranormal story with a bit of suspense. So what do you do when your genre is not so clear cut. Join us for a live chat today at 5 p.m. EST in the inkpop Forum Events with Kimberly Derting who will answer this and other questions. Can’t wait until tonight? We have some  writing tips from Kimberly Derting to wet your appetite.


Trying to pin down the exact genre of THE BODY FINDER was no small feat.  It was a mystery/thriller with a paranormal spin.  And, on top of that, it was a romance as well. It was a paramystamance.  Yeah…not so much.  But writing THE BODY FINDER was a whole other story.  I never once thought about how I was going to fit it into a neat little box, mostly because the secrets to writing suspense are the same whether you’re writing a fast-paced action-thriller or a toe-curling romance. For whatever genre you write, it’s all about trying to keep your readers on the edge of their seats.


1)  Use the Red Herring approach.  Sounds like some sort of cold, dead fish, right?  Well, it’s not.  The red herring can be your best friend when you’re writing.  Don’t know what a red herring is?  Here, let me help.  Red Herring: something intended to divert attention from the real problem or matter at hand; a misleading clue. Think about it, you have to give your readers clues along the way, hints as to how your story will wrap up, but you don’t want those clues to be too obvious or you might as well just tell them whodunit and get it over with!  One way to make those hints less conspicuous is to use the “red herring” trick.  Just when you’re dangling a particularly juicy bit of information onto the page, divert their attention by giving them something even shinier to look at…something more interesting to focus on.

2)  Cast aspersions and doubt onto your characters.  This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to fall into this trap.  Make sure your “bad guy” isn’t wearing a black hat and your “hero” isn’t always riding a white horse.  Don’t let anyone off the hook.  Give your readers reason to questions everyone.  In romance, a lot of writers create love triangles to build this sense of tension for the protagonist, forcing her (or him) to choose between two romantic opposites.  Making the readers ask who will they pick?  Is he/she the same one we would choose?

3)  Ratchet up the tension.  How many times have you been reading a scene and you’re perched on the edge of your seat practically screaming at the pages—at the character—not to go in the room where danger awaits?  You know what I mean.  We do it with books, TV, at the movies.  But it’s those moments before the protagonist is wandering into dangerous territory that really get your heart racing and make you want to jump out of your skin.  Take the movie JAWS, for example.  The girl is swimming along, minding her own business, and suddenly you hear it…the music.  You know the shark is coming, but she has no idea.  You hold your breath.  You squeeze the hand of the person next to you.  You want to tell her “Swim!  For the love of God, swim!!!”  But once you see the blood gurgling to the surface, and the girl has disappeared beneath the dark waters, you already know she’s toast and you can breathe again.  At least until you hear that familiar soundtrack once more.

Take your time constructing those “moments before”.  Set the scene by describing the atmosphere, what they’re smelling, hearing, and feeling around them.  Think about the emotions the character is going through…is their heart racing?  Is their breathing shallow?  Give the reader some time to really fret over that character’s well-being.

So how does that same principle apply to romance, you ask?  Simple.  What’s really the best part of the love story?  I love a good kiss as much as the next girl, but even better than the kissing scenes are those moments before the first kiss (or kisses).  The close calls and what-ifs and will-he-or-won’t-he moments that have you leaning closer to the page and holding your breath.


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Writing Poetry: Tip from Poet and Professor Thanhha Lai

Posted by inkpopbecki on March 9, 2011

Poetry is a popular topic on inkpop. Whether it’s how to become a published poet or is alright to alter meter and rhyme to enhance a poem? Today we have poetry professor and published author Thanhha Lai live on inkpop to discuss the art of poetry. Join us in the inkpop Forum Events at 5 p.m. EST to speak directly with Thanhha Lai. In the mean time, check out some of Thanhha Lai’s quick tips on how to write poetry.

Writing Poetry: Writing Tips from Thanhha Lai

1.  Use as few words as possible.  First, write down your line.  Then cut one word at a time while asking yourself, has the meaning changed?

If not, keep cutting.  You want the syrup without any sap.

2.  Conjure up fresh, concise images.  Surprise the readers whenever possible.  For example, instead of: “He killed the chicken.”  Write:  “A red line appeared across the hen’s neck.”

3.  Say it, without actually saying it.  When conveying emotions, instead of outright saying, “She’s sad (or happy),” employ an image or detail that reveals the character.  Instead of: “She’s sad he cut down her biggest papaya.”  Try:  “Black seeds spill/ like clusters of eyes,/ wet and crying.”

Thanhha Lai’s new book, Inside out and Back Again is a  historical novel told in verse, based on the author’s childhood move from Vietnam to Alabama. 

Want to discover more about writing poetry? Join us in the inkpop Forum Events for a live chat with poetry professor and author Thanhha Lai at 5 p.m. EST

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HarperCollins Publishing inkpop Book: Letter from the Author

Posted by inkpopbecki on January 28, 2011

Dear inkpoppers,
It’s official! Excuse my jumping up and down and screaming, while intermittently singing cheesy show tunes. You see,

I’ve been waiting for nine months to get to this moment. Nine months! It’s been a nail biting time and oh, the fibs I’ve had to tell in order to keep the secret. But here I am, on the cusp of the most exciting time of my life, and I’m so excited to finally share my news with you guys, the people who put me in this position in the first place.
I’m being published by HarperTeen. Eeeeee!!!!
Come on, scream with me!
Now I have that off my chest, let me explain to you why it’s only now, nine months after I was offered the publishing deal for The Carrier Of The Mark, that I’m telling you about it. Basically, HarperCollins asked me not to say anything, and who am I to ignore one of the biggest publishing houses in the world? You see, HarperCollins and the inkpop team have been doing trojan work, trying to get everything perfect before releasing the incredible news – that one of ‘us’ is actually going to be published (gosh, even after all this time I feel weird writing that). Honestly, you wouldn’t believe the amount of time and work that goes into perfecting a manuscript, and designing a cover that is so beautiful it makes my heart tingle.
You’re hearing it firsthand, dreams really can come true. I’m living proof of that.
The other thing I need to say is sorry to all my inkpop buddies, who I’ve been fibbing to over these past few months. It’s been horrible having to tell porky pies, but it was absolutely necessary. After all, there’s no fun in a surprise party if there’s no surprise, so I hope you guys understand.
And to all you people out there who suspected there was something amuck with me, well snaps to your higher power of intuition! If only you could have seen my beetroot cheeks as I read your messages asking if I was ‘the one’ being published. Oh, I can feel the sting again as I type this. I’m an awful liar.
But fret not my inkie friends. I plan to make up for my fibs and omissions. I’m going to take you on this amazing journey with me. I hope to share all my moments with you, the good, the bad, and the scary. I’ll take you through agent calls and meetings, the editing process, the highs and the lows, the laughter and the tears. This year is going to rock. And I mean seriously rock, in so many ways. I can’t wait to share it with you. So stay tuned for videos, blog posts, and chats. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride so far, I can only imagine where the next few months will take me. Ah! I can hardly contain my excitement.
Thanks again everyone, for your picks, your friendship, your support, and your patience.

Your friend and fellow inkie,


If you’d like to hear more or you have questions for Leigh, join us for a live chat on February 2nd at 5 p.m.EST in the inkpop forum events.

Posted in HarperCollins Writing Site to Publish Book, inkpop News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Publishing at Sixteen: Inside the Mind of Ross Workman

Posted by inkpopbecki on January 12, 2011

One of the biggest questions we receive from inkpop users is, “Does age matter when it comes to getting published.” Ross Workman was 13 years old when he wrote to his favorite author, Walter Dean Myers, and the two embarked on a project together. Now at sixteen, Ross has co-written a book with a bestselling author, which will be published by HarperTeen on February 1st. We caught up with Ross to ask him about the experience. If you want to hear more from Ross and his co-author, New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers, join us for a live chat with both authors on Thursday January 13th at 7 p.m. EST in our inkpop Forum Events.

You were thirteen-years-old when you began collaborating with Walter Dean Myers on this project – the same age as Kevin Johnson, the character you wrote for. Do you feel that you put things that you were experiencing and going through into Kevin’s personality?
Kevin is actually very different from me. I think he’s less level headed, and I don’t really have a temper like he does. I’ve certainly never gone to jail or been thrown out of a soccer game. So he is really an invention, not like me at all, except that we both play soccer and live in New Jersey.

Did you ever think that a simple fan letter to one of your favorite authors would result in you landing the opportunity of a lifetime?
Absolutely not. I was really taken by surprise when Walter asked me if I wanted to write a book. I just couldn’t believe it. I had written to him because I wanted him to know how much I loved his books. And this really has been the opportunity of a lifetime.

Sgt. Brown takes on the role of mentor to Kevin within the pages of your debut novel. Do you feel that Walter Dean Myers took on the same role towards you while you were working on this project together?
I would say yes. He really took me under his wing and taught me the methods he uses for writing a book. And what better way to learn how to write than from one of the world’s best? Walter always trusted in me to be able to come up with ideas and to write my chapters, but he didn’t pressure me. It was ideal.

You are sixteen-years-old now. Do you have any words of advice for others who want to publish projects young?
I just turned seventeen, and I’m a junior in high school. Not to sound clichéd, but my advice would be not to give up. You need to be willing to work very, very hard and be resilient. If it means not hanging out with friends for a weekend (or many weekends) or giving up vacation time, then that’s what it requires.  It’s worth it.

Join our live chat with  Ross Workman and New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers, join us for a live chat with both authors on Thursday January 13th at 7 p.m. EST in our inkpop Forum Events.

Posted in Inside the Mind | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Writing Bestselling Historical Fiction: Inside the Mind of Anna Godbersen

Posted by inkpopbecki on January 5, 2011

What does it take to write historical fiction? Research? Strict adherence to the traditions of the place and time? What about writing a bestselling historical fiction series. We caught up with Anna Godbersen, bestselling author of The Luxe and Bright Young Things to talk about this and other issues facing authors today. Want to hear more? Join us for a live chat with Anna Gobersen in the inkpop forum events tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

Your first series,  Luxe, was set at the turn of the century and your new series Bright Young Things is set in the roaring 20s. What made you decide to write historical fiction?
I love writing for Young Adults, because my readership has their whole lives ahead of them, and that’s so exciting, to be writing for and about people for whom the world is wide open, who can still become anything. But I grew up in a slightly different generation… I didn’t text or facebook or email when I was in high school. So it’s somewhat more comfortable to be writing about teens who lived before all that. Also, because I’m a nerd, and I enjoy the research. Plus, I love the idea of introducing my readers to characters who, because of the era they live in, face really different problems, which creates a nice perspective. Of course, not totally different problems– love is a great unifier, always, everywhere!

What drew you to the turn of the twentieth century? What drew you to the 1920s?
They are sort of opposites actually, and I am really fascinated by both extremes– the decadent clutter of the Victorian Era, the sense that the characters are being watched by everyone lest they fail to conform perfectly, vs. the breezy, modern, fun-loving 1920s, where no one will watch you unless you do something very brilliant and idiosyncratic. In both cases I think I was drawn to these iconic moments of American history, where the fashion and the society become really distinctly our own, and where young women in particular got a chance to break out of the old ways. The little steps that Diana Holland took at the end of the Luxe series allow for the world where an Astrid Donal is possible.

Aside from the time period what is different about writing characters in the early 20th century and those in the 20s?
The everyday life of society people in the Gilded Age was ruled by really stringent etiquette–there was hardly room to breathe, much less be a full, messy human being! So when I was writing the Luxe books I was writing about these ardent, flawed characters buckingup against a very narrow morality. In Bright Young Things all that is turned on its head; I am writing about characters in a world where everything goes. The surface of that world, just like the surface of the opulent and tightly controlled Gilded Age, is glamorous, but deep

down it is treacherous, too–they have that in common. But for Cordelia and Letty, the danger lies in having too few rules– unlike Diana and Elizabeth Holland, they really can do anything, but after a while being able to do anything becomes a crutch. If they don’t determine their own morality, they will be lost in wild, footloose, 1920s New York.

Was it difficult to make the transition into a new time decade?
As a writer, it is always difficult to start something new–but once you get going it is thrilling. So yes and no! It was a challenge, with all the good and bad things that word always implies.

Want more? Join us for a live chat with Anna Gobersen in the inkpop forum events tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

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Tips From Series Author

Posted by inkpop on May 14, 2010

Sure you can write a great novel, but what about three in a row? That’s what author Rachel Vail has just done. Find out what it takes to write a series from Rachel Vail, author of the upcoming novel Brilliant, the third book in the Avery Sister series.

Photo Credit: Mitchell Spencer Vail Elkind

1. Beware Profundity
Just barf out your first draft. Don’t pressure yourself to write the most brilliant, profound first sentence in the history of literature. Tell the story first. Revising is the fun part, but that’s for later.

2. Know What you Write
Without getting mired in autobiography, bring your own experiences into the story through your emotions and reactions. When did you feel embarrassed? Get specific! Make yourself feel it again, and then use that feeling for your characters.

3. Figure Out What Works for You
Writers struggle with their stories. Some work from an outline, some begin with a title and wing it from there; some have a burning a question driving them, others a plot or character. The only way to know what works for you is to try. Stick with anything that works, but stay open to new methods. If you keep learning from others (and from yourself), you will continue to grow and improve – and not only as a writer.

4. Fall in Love
Fall hard for your characters and your story. Not your words. And especially not your word count. Revise, cut, purge, be ruthless with your words. Put the deletes in an outtakes file; it hurts less and who knows, you might use them later. Kind of like bringing home that doggie bag from dinner.  It’s silly, maybe, but hopeful, which is always good.

5. Ask Your Characters Questions
When a plot stalls, ask yourself (as the protagonist) questions in your notes file. Who am I? Whom do I trust? Doubt? What’s my secret? What is the worst thing I ever did? What am I scared of? What do I want? Who is stopping me from getting it? What am I willing to risk, to get it? Is there something I actually want even more? When your answers start surprising you, you’re on the right track.

Want to hear more? Join us for a live chat with Rachel Vail, Friday May 28th on inkpop!

Posted in inktips | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

inkpopper of the Week: Vargot

Posted by inkpop on February 26, 2010

“This is going to sound creepy and weird, but when I was younger I did things that freaked people out.”

Those “creepy and weird” things inspired Tabatha Vargo to write her first book, Magic, which landed a spot on inkpop’s November 2009 Top Picks chart. Just several months later, the 27-year-old known as Vargot on inkpop, is back with a second book, On The Plus Side, which at publishing time of this blog post is in the number-five Top Picks slot for February 2010 … and she’s working on two more books.

Here, the South Carolina writer talks about what might be her sixth sense, tricks for becoming a top Trendsetter, and what it’s like to be “super woman.”

inkpop: Magic has been in your head for 13 years and is about a character named Mage McPherson, who has always known that she has “secret abilities.” What is it about the story that’s stayed with you?

Vargot: When I was younger, I would sing a random song that I hadn’t heard in ages right before it played on the radio. I would tell someone to answer the phone before it actually rang—just things that I couldn’t really explain, but that probably had more to do with coincidence than anything else.

My grandmother used to tell me I was different—that I was able to do little things that others weren’t capable of. I don’t think she actually thought this, but tell a young girl with an imagination as large as mine something like that and she is going to run with it. I would lay in bed at night thinking of scenarios: “What if there was this girl who could do this or see that? What if every time she cried it rained, or every time she was extremely happy it was really sunny and bright outside?”

The whole thing just kind of grew over the years. As a teenager, I was nothing like the teens on inkpop—there was no way that I would have been able to finish writing an entire novel. Once I married and had my daughter, I starting reading and writing every time I got a quiet moment. I’d rush home from a night out with the family anytime a really cool idea for Magic would pop into my head. It became my obsession.

You’re  balancing marriage, parenthood, going to school full time, working part time, and being an active inkpopper. What’s it like to be super woman?

I love everything about my life! Sometimes it’s difficult balancing everything, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I didn’t go as far in school as I would have liked when I was younger, and I’m making up for it now. The part-time job is so that I don’t go crazy.

inkpop has become my guilty pleasure. Reading books used to be my mommy time—now inkpop has taken the place of the books on my bookshelf. I find myself waiting until the entire house is asleep and then sneaking onto inkpop to find something to read. There is seriously so much talent and it’s gotten to the point where there are better things to read on inkpop than what I have at home. I rarely get adequate sleep because of this.

What’s happened since your experience as a November Top Picks author, and what are your goals for Magic?

A lot has happened. I’ve been working on all the changes that the editors at HarperCollins have suggested [in the Editorial Board review]. I’ve had some agents request a full manuscript for Magic, and I’m currently keeping my fingers crossed for one in particular. Believe it or not, I’ve even given an autograph to a random stranger at a New Moon premier, which I find almost comical!

I’m super surprised by the reaction to The Magic Trilogy and On The Plus Side. I hope to have one or both done, completely edited, and published in the near future.

What’s next for you? What are your ultimate goals in life?

I hope to finish up school in the next few semesters and party like a rockstar when I get my associates degree—it’s kind of a big deal for me, a personal goal that I meant to reach. My daughter starts pre-k in August, so I plan to bawl my eyes on that day. I’d like to be a really hip young author; I will try with all my might to get Magic and On The Plus Side published. I could go on and on about my ultimate goals, but the reality of it is, as long as my family and I are happy, I’ve reached my goal.

What’s your inkpop experience been like, and what’s your advice to inkpoppers about improving their Trendsetter rank?

It’s been an insane rollercoaster ride. One minute you’re up, then the next minute you’re down. What a rush! I’ve loved every minute of it. Some unreal things have happened to me on inkpop. Magic was voted best work on inkpop, and I was voted most influential person [in the first inkpop Inkies Awards]. I floated on cloud nine for a week after that.

To improve your inkpop Trendsetter ranking, you have to love inkpop and love to read. I sign on every day and read something new. If I feel like I would rush to the nearest book store and buy what I’m reading, I add it! I’ve just been lucky to find a few great projects before everyone else. While historical romance is my all-time favorite, as long as there is some kind of romance involved I can read anything.

inkpop Forums Topic: Who do you think should be the next inkpopper of the Week? Nominate your favorite site members on this Forums thread.

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Posted in inkpopper of the Week | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »