Writers are expected to dole out ‘writing tips’. As I learned more of the craft, I realized how little I knew, so I went and asked those who knew better than me.
Over the years, Daily (w)rite has hosted formidable authors, editors and literary agents who have been kind enough to share their insights and creative writing tips on short stories, flash fiction, and novels. Each of these experts have provided fiction writing advice from the vantage point of years, and often decades, of experience.
I hope you would find useful writing tips in the following links (each name is linked to a guest post or interview):
Writing Tips from Literary Agents
Kirsty McLachlan is a literary agent at DGA Ltd. and co-director of London Writers’ Club with over twenty years publishing experience. She also brokers the film/TV/stage deals for DGA Ltd. Her list ranges from narrative non-fiction, children’s novels, graphic novels and crime writers. Full list here.
Jayapriya Vasudevan is the founder of the Jacaranda Literary Agency.
Maria Vicente is an associate literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency, providing support to her clients through all stages of the writing and publication process. Maria is dedicated to managing authors’ literary brands for the duration of their careers. She has affinities for literary prose, strong character development, original storytelling formats, and anything geeky.
Helen Mangham has been a Partner Agent at Jacaranda Literary Agency since 2012. As part of her role with Jacaranda, Helen attends the Frankfurt and London Book Fairs and meets with international publishers from across Southeast Asia, Australia, the UK and US. She started her career in London, at Curtis Brown Literary Agency. She has worked with the publicity departments of a number of the UK’s leading publishing companies, helping with publicity campaigns for a number of high profile books.
Andrea Pasion-Flores is the former Executive Director of the National Book Development Board of the Philippines, where she was known for her pioneering work introducing high-impact literary events to the country. Andrea is an author, a copyright lawyer, and teaches English at the University of the Philippines as a member of the faculty of the Department of English and Comparative Literature. She brings her experience in these fields into her role as an agent with the Jacaranda Literary Agency.
Writing Tips from Editors
David’s name has written stories for literary journals and essays for scholarly journals, and his book reviews have appeared in daily and weekly newspapers. He edits and publishes Workers Write! and The First Line.
John Haggerty’s work has appeared most recently in Hobart, Monkeybicycle, Nimrod, Salon, and the Pinch. He is a member of the online writers’ collective The Fiction Forge, and one of the founding editors of Forge Literary Magazine.
David holds an MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles. As an undergraduate, he studied Mathematics and Philosophy at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For a year and a half, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of Lunch Ticket, Antioch’s literary journal committed to promoting social justice. He is also a sponsored motorcycle racer.
Mary-Jane Holmes is chief editor of Fish Publishing Ireland where she teaches the longest running online course dedicated solely to Flash fiction. She is also consulting editor at The Well Review, a new international poetry journal.
Michelle Elvy is a writer, editor and manuscript assessor. She is editing an anthology of New Zealand flash fiction / prose poetry with James Norcliffe and Frankie McMillan. Her fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and travel essays have been widely published and anthologized. She lives on her sailboat, Momo, and currently in East Africa.
Writing Tips from Authors
Lillian Ann Slugocki has been nominated for Best of the Web, a Pushcart Prize, and winner of the Gigantic Sequins prize for fiction. She’s been published by Seal Press, Cleis Press, Heinemann Press, Spuyten Duyvil Press, among others. Her latest book is How to Travel With Your Demons, Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2015.
Tania Hershman is the author of a poetry chapbook, Nothing Here Is Wild, Everything Is Open (Southword, 2016), two short story collections: My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions (Tangent Books, 2012), and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008), and co-author of Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ & Artists’ Companion (Bloomsbury, Dec 2014). A third short story collection (Unthank Books) and her debut poetry collection (Nine Arches Press) will be published in 2017. Tania is curator of ShortStops, celebrating short story activity across the UK & Ireland.
Aki Schilz is a writer and editor based in London. She is co-founder of the #LossLit Twitter writing project alongside Kit Caless, and co-editor of LossLit Magazine. Aki works at The Literary Consultancy, where she is the Editorial Services Manager, and in her posts she provides not just writing tips, but also on the journey to publication.
Patrick Holland lives between Brisbane, Saigon and Beijing. He is the author of the travel book Riding the Trains in Japan: travels in the sacred and supermodern east, as well as the short story collection The Source of the Sound, which won the Scott Prize. His novels include The Darkest Little Room, a thriller set in Saigon, and The Mary Smokes Boys, a story of horse thieves which was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year.
Krishna Udayasankar is the author of the bestselling Aryavarta Chronicles series (Govinda, Kaurava and Kurukshetra), and 3 – a novel based on the founding myth of Singapore. She is also the author of Objects of Affection, a full-length collection of prose-poems and the co-editor of Body Boundaries: The Etiquette Anthology of Women’s Writing.
Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian author, rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. His debut novel “Here Come the Dogs” was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award and he was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Novelists of the Year in 2015.
Michele Lee is an Asian-Australian playwright and author who works across stage and audio. Her works are about identity, otherness, intimacy and chaotic worlds. Michele’s produced works are in radio and audio theatre: Going and going, Radio National, 2015, See How The Leaf People Run, Radio National, 2012 (winner of an AWGIE for Best Original Radio Play in 2013); and Talon Salon, Next Wave Festival 2012, and remounted for You Are Here Festival 2013 and Darwin Festival 2013.
Mark writes historical fiction with a passion. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. By day, he works as a technical writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales. To learn more about Between Two Fires, and any of his other upcoming publications, check out his Books section.
Jane Camens founded Hong Kong’s international literary festival in 2001, with Sri Lankan writer Nury Vittachi. After completing an MFA in Writing at Vermont College in the USA, and receiving an MA at the University of East Anglia, UK, she returned to Australia and founded the Asia Pacific New Writing Partnership, an international collaboration of universities, literary organizations and others interested in supporting new writing from the region. Jane won the 2010 Fish Publishing Short Story Prize.
Jo Furniss is the author of the Amazon Best-seller All the Little Children (Lake Union Publishing, September 2017). Originally from the UK, Jo is a former BBC journalist who has lived in Cameroon and Switzerland, and now resides with her family in Singapore.
Pippa Goldschmidt is based in Edinburgh. Her short stories, poetry and non-fiction have appeared in a wide variety of publications including New Writing Scotland, Gutter, the New York Times, and in anthologies such as ‘Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014’.
Her novel ‘The Falling Sky’ (published by Freight) was a finalist in the Dundee International Book prize in 2012. Her short story collection ‘The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space’ (also published by Freight) was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
Michael Dellert is an award-winning writer, editor, publishing consultant, and writing coach with a publishing career spanning 18 years. He currently lives and works in the Greater New York City area.
A Mexican writer and dog rescuer who moved to Curaçao “for six months”—and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book.
Alex J. Cavanaugh is the author of Amazon bestsellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm and Dragon of the Stars, works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
Born in Malaysia but educated in Singapore, Suchen Christine Lim was awarded the Southeast Asia Writer Award 2012. In 1992, her novel, Fistful Of Colours, won the Inaugural Singapore Literature Prize. Critics have described her first novel, Rice Bowl, as “a landmark publication on post-independence Singapore”, and A Bit Of Earth as “a literary masterwork as well as a historical document” that was “un-put-downable – a sure sign of a master storyteller.” A short story in The Lies That Build A Marriage, was made into a film for national television. Awarded a Fulbright grant, she is a Fellow of the International Writers’ Program in the University of Iowa, and its International Writer-in-Residence. In 2005, she was writer-in-residence in Scotland, and has returned to the UK several times as an Arvon Tutor to conduct writing workshops and read at the Edinburgh Book Festival.
Elaine Chiew is a London-based writer and her stories have won the Bridport Prize, been shortlisted in the BBC Opening Lines (2015), MsLexia (2014) and Fish Short Stories Competitions (2012), among others, and published in anthologies and literary magazines (most recently, in Unthology 7 (Unthank Books, 2015). She is the editor and organiser of Cooked Up: Food Fiction From Around the World (New Internationalist, 2015).
Dee Cohen is a poet, prose writer, and photographer, currently living in Albuquerque New Mexico. Her poetry has been published in various journals, including Spillway, Kimera, Perihelion, Stirring, RipRip, Mal Pais Review, Adobe Walls, Mas Tequilla Review, Anthology of Orange County Poets, Fixed and Free Anthologies and others.
Her book of poems, Lime Avenue Evening, was published by the Laguna Poets.
Roy Kesey’s latest books are the short story collection Any Deadly Thing (Dzanc Books 2013) and the novel Pacazo (Dzanc Books 2011/Jonathan Cape 2012). He is the winner of an NEA grant for fiction and a PEN/Heim grant for translation. His short stories, essays, translations and poems have appeared in about a hundred magazines and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and New Sudden Fiction. He is currently the Writer-in-Residence at Washington College.
Sarah Butler writes novels and short fiction, and has a particular interest in the relationship between writing and place. She has been writer-in-residence on the Central line and at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Her novel, Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love, is published by Picador in the UK and in fifteen languages around the world. Her latest book is Before the Fire.
Sucharita Dutta-Asane is a writer and independent editor. She received the inaugural Dastaan Award (Papercuts) for her short story “Rear View”. In 2008, she received the Oxford Bookstores debuting writers’ (second) award for her anthology, The Jungle Stories. Her short stories have appeared in various national and international anthologies. Besides writing, Dutta-Asane edits fiction and non-fiction manuscripts with independent authors, publishing houses, and literary agencies.
Dr Trish Nicholson is a writer, photographer, social anthropologist, and author of short stories, and narrative nonfiction on ethnography, travel, popular science and writing craft. Her latest titles are, Inside Stories for Writers and Readers, and Write Your Nonfiction Book: The Complete Guide to Becoming an Author.
Born and raised in East Tennessee, Janet Beard moved to New York to study screenwriting at NYU and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her first novel, Beneath the Pines, was published in 2008, and her follow-up, The Atomic City Girls in 2018. Janet has lived and worked in Australia, England, Boston, and Columbus, Ohio, where she is currently teaching writing, raising a daughter, and working on a new novel.
Tara L. Masih is the editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction and The Chalk Circle (both ForeWord Books of the Year), author of Where the Dog Star Never Glows, and Series Editor of the annual Best Small Fictions anthology. Her flash has been anthologized in Word of Mouth, Brevity & Echo, Flashed: Sudden Stories in Comics and Prose, Flash Fiction Funny, and Stripped, and was featured in Fiction Writer’s Review for National Short Story Month. She received Wigleaf Top 50 recognition and finalist placing for the Reynolds Price Prize in Fiction.
Writing Teachers and Authors
Julia Bell is a writer and Senior Lecturer at Birkbeck College, London where she teaches on the Creative Writing MA and is Project Director of the Writers Hub website. She is the author of three novels, most recently The Dark Light to be published in May 2014, the co editor of the Creative Writing Coursebook as well as three volumes of short stories most recently The Sea In Birmingham. She also takes photographs, writes poetry, short stories, occasional essays and journalism, and is the co-curator of spoken word night In Yer Ear.
Patrick Wensink is the bestselling author of Broken Piano for President. The book’s viral popularity led him to appearances in New York Times, NPR’s Weekend Edition, Forbes and others. The New Yorker once wrote one entire sentence about him. After which he had a heart attack. He is the author of four other books, including Fake Fruit Factory. His articles appear in the New York Times, Esquire, Men’s Health, Salon, Oxford American and others. HarperCollins will publish his first children’s book, GORILLAS A-GO-GO, in 2016.
As a founding member of what the Oregonian has dubbed Portland’s “hottest writing group,” (whose members include Chuck Palahniuk, Chelsea Cain, Lidia Yuknavitch, Monica Drake and Cheryl Strayed), Suzy’s name has graced the acknowledgement pages of many a book. Her own award-winning writing has appeared in a bunch of journals and anthologies. THE MOMENT BEFORE is her debut novel. Suzy lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Kirk, and son, Carson.
Susannah Rickards is a UK author who lives near London. Her collection of short stories Hot Kitchen Snow won the Scott Prize. Her work has won and placed in a number of awards including The Conan Doyle, Society of Authors, Commonwealth Short Story, BBC Opening Lines, International Pen, CWA Debut Dagger, Eastside, Ian St James and The New Writer.
Jude Higgins is a writer, writing tutor and writing events organiser. She founded the International Bath Flash Fiction Award and co-runs The Bath Short Story Award and Writing Events Bath. Jude has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and writes short stories and flash fiction. Her work has been successful in many writing competitions and she’s published in Visual Verse, Landmarks, (the 2015 anthology for National Flash Fiction Day),the Fish Prize Anthology, 2014 and Cinammon Press.
Felix Cheong is the author of nine books, including four volumes of poetry and a collection of short stories, Vanishing Point, which was long-listed for the prestigious Frank O’Connor Award. His latest book is a collection of satirical flash fiction, Singapore Siu Dai.
Conferred the Young Artist of the Year for Literature in 2000 by the National Arts Council, he was named by Readers Digest as the 29th Most Trusted Singaporean in 2010. Cheong has been invited to read at writer’s festivals all over the world: Edinburgh, West Cork, Austin, Sydney, Brisbane, Christchurch and Hong Kong. He holds a Masters in creative writing from the University of Queensland, and is currently an adjunct lecturer with Murdoch University, University of Newcastle, Temasek Polytechnic and LASALLE College of the Arts.
Tim Tomlinson is co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. Stories and poems appear or are forthcoming in The Blue Lyra Review, Caribbean Vistas, Coachella Review, Writing Tomorrow, and the anthologies Long Island Noir (Akashic Books), and Fast Food Fiction (Anvil Publishing). He teaches at New York University’s Global Liberal Studies program.
This list will get updated as each new interview or guest post goes up on Daily (w)rite. Each post, linked to the guest name, contains fiction writing tips highlighted for your reference.