At this month’s meeting, we had a long discussion about the pathways to publishing. We discussed the traditional route (via and agent), smaller publishers who take direct submissions, indie publishing, and we touched on self-publishing. Members shared their experiences, plans, and hopes, and we talked about editorial and creative control, and the advantages and disadvantages of traditional vs indie.
I planned two writing exercises, but when the publishing discussion took a little longer than planned, we chose to do only one of them. I will post both here in case the unused one is of interest and use to you.
The exercise we chose to do was about themes:
- Choose a favourite book or movie, or select a finished work of your own. Make a list of all the themes you can identify in the story. Try to find 3-5 themes. Go over your list a few times to make sure you’re identifying themes (big, sweeping concepts) rather than conflicts or plot twists.
- Next, determine one key theme that is woven through the entire story (you might find there are two or three major themes).
- For each theme you identified, sketch ideas for how you could make the theme manifest in your own work through character, plot, or scenes.
We each interpreted the exercise a little differently, and the results manifested in different ways, but overall we found it a very useful exercise.
The unused exercise was about pitching/submitting to agents and publishers:
Fiction writers: Write a query or submission letter for a book you know well, a book you have written, or a book you plan to write.
Non-fiction: Write a proposal letter for a non-fiction book you know well, or for a book you have written, or a book you plan to write.
The themes for the 2016 anthology, Journey and Metamorphasis, will inform the title, and all three will help inspire us to write a cohesive book. The survey to vote for titles is available here, and will be open until the 13th of March, 2016. Vote now!
I am also accepting nominations for mentors/sub-editors in the following formats/genres: Poetry, short literary fiction, short speculative fiction, non fiction/personal essay. If you would like to nominate an OWL member (including yourself) for one of these categories, please email me at email@example.com. In your nomination, please specify why you think this person is qualified to lead the group for the chosen category. Please note that OWL mentors need to be prepared to attend most, if not all, meetings, and will need to commit a lot of time and effort to the project. I will select and approach mentors before the next OWL meeting in March.
Anthology-related dates to remember:
- March 13 – voting for the anthology title closes
- March 31 – March meeting, mentors announced
- April 28 – you have decided on your genre/format and contacted your mentor
- May 26 – first drafts completed and submitted to mentors for editing/revision
- June 30 – final drafts submitted to mentors for final edits and submission to anthology editor