How to Apply for the Amsterdam Writers’ Residency

Amsterdam Writers' Residency - credit Maurizio Mori

Author John Green has described Amsterdam as the city he loves most in the world. It was an important setting for his bestseller The Fault in Our Stars and it was at the Amsterdam Writers’ Residency in 2011 that Green worked on many of the Dutch sections of his manuscript.

The Amsterdam Writers’ Residency was founded in 2006 and offers writers from around the world the opportunity to live and work in the literary heart of the city for up to three months. View Post


How to Research Literary Agents and Book Publishers

A guest post by Virginia Lloyd

You’re ready to approach an agent or publisher with your finished manuscript. You’re no doubt exhausted and relieved to have reached this point. But appealing to a publishing professional is a struggle of a wholly different kind. Which agent to email? Which publishing house to submit your first three chapters? Here are some ways you can improve your chances of finding the right agent or publisher for you.

An agent or a publisher?

Many writers ask me whether they need a literary agent. My answer is that it truly depends on your unique circumstances – and the quality of the agent.

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Geniuses Need Not Apply: On Creative Writing Courses

A guest post by H. C. Gildfind

There are infinite online articles debating the ‘merit’ of creative writing courses. This is evidenced, for example, by the many articles responding to Hanif Kureishi’s apparent declaration that creative writing courses are (despite the fact he teaches one) a ‘waste of time’ because most students are talentless and simply can’t tell a good story. Kureishi’s claim kicked off an entirely predictable debate where professional writers, writer-teachers, students and nobodies-in-particular argued whether writers are ‘born’ or ‘made.’

The following article is not going to engage in this debate because, as Nell Stevens notes, the debate has been ‘done…to death.’ What follows is simply a description of how formal writing courses are taught, and what they have done for me as a writer. View Post


The Winding Path to Publication

A guest post by Kristyn M. Levis

I have never met my publishers. I have been signed with them for three years now and we have never been in the same room together. As I am based in Sydney, Australia, it is virtually impossible for me to pop into their office in Manila, Philippines, for a meeting. Strangely enough, the arrangement still works thanks to the power of technology. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning. View Post


The Science of the Plot Twist: How Writers Exploit Our Brains

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A guest post by Vera Tobin, Case Western Reserve University

Recently I did something that many people would consider unthinkable, or at least perverse. Before going to see “Avengers: Infinity War,” I deliberately read a review that revealed all of the major plot points, from start to finish.

Don’t worry; I’m not going to share any of those spoilers here. Though I do think the aversion to spoilers – what The New York Times’ A.O. Scott recently lamented as “a phobic, hypersensitive taboo against public discussion of anything that happens onscreen” – is a bit overblown. View Post