The Establishing Shot

An Establishing Shot Orients the Reader An establishing shot is a technique used in film, but many novels benefit from having a strong opening scene that gives the reader a quick overview. Photo Source The camera zooms over the mountains and moves in for a closeup of a solitary woman, walking along a beach. Right […]

Agents and Where to Find Them

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Ready to Publish

Where can you find agents willing to represent your book? And, why should you try to find an agent when, these days, it’s easy to put your book up on Amazon? Photo Source Here are six reasons: The only way to have a major New York publisher “bring out” your book is to have an […]

Independent Publishers: The Good, the Bad, and the Sleazy

by Marylee MacDonald in General

Independent publishers could hold the key to you getting your book into print. Let’s face it. No matter how good a book is, writers have a tough time finding an agent. That’s just the reality of publishing. Photo Source Agents only sell to New York publishers. If they can’t make a deal with them, they’ll […]

Should You Write What You Know?

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Beginning Writers

Photo Source Write what you know. That’s the most common piece of advice given to beginning writers. But, should authors stick to the mundane world of their ordinary lives, or is it okay to explore imaginary worlds? I’m not suggesting writers all rush to the side of the ship where fantasy, romance, zombie, thriller, and […]

Writing Practice: Do Yourself a Favor and Make Writing A Habit

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

What is a writing practice and why do writers need to think about having one? Writing practice is like piano practice, only your mom’s not standing over you, making you sit at the keyboard. If you’re a writer who has gone through an MFA program, you will have heard the words “writing practice” bandied about […]

Irish Writers: Why They’re Worth Reading

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers

Photo Source When I first read James Joyce, I walked the streets of Dublin. In college I met “Crazy Jane,” a woman accountable only to herself. I have not yet walked the cliffs of Ireland, except in the pages of books. For many Americans of Irish descent, Ireland is the Ur-land, the epicenter of a […]

Giller Prize Shortlist: Canada’s Finest

by Marylee MacDonald in General

If you’ve ever gone to Stratford (Ontario) for the Shakespeare Festival, crossed the border to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, or taken the ferry to British Columbia, you’ve no doubt visited a Canadian bookstore and noticed prominent displays that feature Canadian authors, not just those writing in English, but the Canadians writing in […]

Photographs and Letters: Mining the Past

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers, For Readers

Who’s going to want all those photographs of our grandparents and great-grandparents? What will our children, raised in the Instagram age, make of the stiff postures and posed portraits, the sepia tones and formal attire? And yet we know these images are important. We know in our hearts that the lives buried in these studio […]