Fairies, Zombies, and Agent Queries

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Elizabeth Spencer, Rambling about Writing. Mostly.
Updated: 1 day 11 min ago

Putting a Story into Standard Manuscript Format in Five Minutes

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 10:00am
Let’s talk about Standard Manuscript Format! (Wait, no! Come baaaaaack…) OK, so it’s not the most exciting topic. But I was on Reddit’s r/Writing when I read a post where more than one person said it took them hours to format their manuscripts. And oh good golly, no! This might not take you five minutes, […]

On Recommended Word Counts and Why They Can Be Helpful (Especially If You Write Fantasy)

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 10:00am
Recommended word counts cause so much angst. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, check out this Writer’s Digest post, or this post on children’s fiction. (Unfortunately, they’re both pretty old. Still, you get the point.) Agents and publishers look for novels with word counts within a certain range. This length varies by genre and the […]

Even More Fun Ways to Use Excel to Track Your Writing Process

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 10:00am
Way back in 2015, I wrote an article called “Fun Ways to Use Excel to Track Your Writing Process.” It’s been getting a lot of visits lately, so I thought it was time to do a new, improved, and updated version of it. Let’s talk numbers! Writing numbers. Tracking your daily word count is awesome. […]

Writing is A Marathon, Not a Sprint: Why You Probably Shouldn’t Quit Your Job to Write Your First Novel

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 10:00am
I started writing this post a while ago, after I read a rash of posts about people quitting their jobs to write. It was always in the most terrible ways, too–they were the “I’m struggling to support my boyfriend because he doesn’t work, but he says his ‘big break’ will come as soon as he […]

“Good” Rejections, “Bad” Rejections, and Why It Really Doesn’t Matter

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 10:00am
Sometimes people get a little obsessed with their rejection letters. Thanks to the internet, you can find examples of how agents and publishers have responded to other people. And that means you can compare yourselves. Did you get a form letter? Did it include a sentence that sounded a little like they read it? Did […]

Submission Terminology: Exclusive and simultaneous submissions. What do they mean?

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 10:00am
If you’ve submitted stories to publishers or agents, you’ve probably seen a few places that mention exclusive submissions. Let’s go over what that means! Exclusive Submissions Now and then you’ll see a publisher asking for exclusive submissions only or no simultaneous submissions. They mean the same thing. But what do they mean? It means they […]

Auto-Replacing Italics with Underlines in Microsoft Word

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 10:00am
When you submit something for publication–be it a novel or a short story–you’ll probably have to put it in Standard Manuscript Format. And while most folks are fine with 12pt Times New Roman and italics (which I strongly prefer), you occasionally find folks who really want the “Courier New + underlines instead of italics” variant. […]

How to Submit Short Stories

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 10:00am
I’ve probably written about this before, but you know what? It’s a brand new year. Also, I need something to point to the next time someone asks me about this. Let’s talk about how you submit short stories. 1. Get a subscription on a site like Submission Grinder or Duotrope. These are databases of small […]

Why You Might Want to Write Short Stories

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 10:00am
A few months ago, someone asked me a simple question: Why did I write short stories? I, like the vast majority of people writing speculative fiction, primarily write novels. That’s the end goal, right? To write wonderful novels, get an agent, and see how far you can go! Novels are big! Prestigious! And they make […]

Why Scrivener Didn’t Really Work For Me

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 1:00pm
If you’ve been writing anything for any period of time, you’ve probably heard about Scrivener, a piece of software for writers. And if you’ve never used it before, you’re probably wondering what the big deal is. Is it going to change your life? Is it a godsend that every author on earth would love to […]

Why Writing Isn’t Some Heroic Effort that Only the Most Dedicated Can Manage

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 10:00am
It’s probably not surprising that I am not the most social of writers–I don’t participate in very many communities, and I’m fairly quiet when I do. But, er, this might be a good thing! Because whenever I peek at one of the writing boards I occasionally visit, I always run into a question from a […]

A Ton of Words, a Novel, and a Breakthrough: 2016 in Review

Fri, 12/30/2016 - 10:00am
Most people wouldn’t say that 2016 was the best of years. (Heck, I even wrote a guest post about how writing and reading fiction can be a coping mechanism!) But there’s one thing that I can definitely be proud of: I got a lot of writing done! Every year, I like to talk about the […]

Happy Holidays! Here’s a book.

Fri, 12/16/2016 - 10:19am
It has been a crazy last few weeks. I finished the first draft of a YA fantasy. (Woo!) I have a big, work-related opportunity that’s sucked up most of my last week and a half. In the middle of all this, I learned that Justice Unending is now available in paperback! You can get it […]

Chocolate-Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wed, 12/07/2016 - 10:00am
Wait, what? Cookies? This is a blog about writing, right? Yes. But who cares? Cookies are great. And sometimes I can’t help but break down and post about a Journey to the Center of the Cookie duplicate or a really pretty cake I made. And now we’re going to talk about this thing: It was […]