Advice From The First Five Pages

I recently discovered a wonderful writing podcast. It’s actually a radio program out of UC Irvine. The program is Writers on Writing, and the host, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, chats with writers about their writing, and with people in the publishing industry about writing.

In this particular podcast, Barbara talks with author Kevin Canty about his book The Underworld, and with literary agent Noah Lukeman. Noah wrote the book The First Five Pages, and in this interview, he talks about how agents and editors can tell in the first few pages of a manuscript whether an author ‘has the chops’ to carry the rest of the story. Noah appeals to us to take the craft of writing seriously, and to constantly write to improve our ability with the craft.

Fascinating interviews! Give them a listen!

The Noah Lukeman half of the program starts at about 28 minutes into the podcast.

 

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Online Resources

At our March meeting, Jennifer Levens provided Writers Forum with some excellent ideas for researching our books. Jennifer wanted us to prevent those ‘a-HA!’ moments when readers spot errors in history or geography in a book. Here are some of the online resources she provided.

Artcyclopedia is a source for artists or art movements.

BioMedCentral is an archive of over 170 biology, chemistry, and medical journals.

DigitalHistory is a great archive for American history. If you can’t find what you need, you can submit your questions for a professional historian to answer.

FindArticles.com is a database of articles back to 1998 from about 500 print periodicals.

You have probably heard of the Library of Congress. They have used your tax dollars to make much of their collection available to you in the comfort of your own home at no extra cost to you. Money well spent, I’d say.

The Perseus Digital Library is great for researching Ancient History, the English Renaissance, or the American Civil War.

The largest collection of free books on the Internet can be found at Project Gutenberg.

Unfortunately, due to the volatile nature of the Internet, some of the links provided at the meeting no longer work like they used to. For instance, INFOMINE apparently used to be a great resource for ‘mining information’ from all sorts of online academic resources. The current INFOMINE, however, seems to be strictly devoted to inormation ON mining, and a subscription is necessary to access much of that.

The links provided above work as they are intended today: April 1, 2017. (No. This is not an April Fools’ joke. Seriously.)

Enjoy your research!