Weekly Round-Up: Positivity, POV, & Pitching

Every week our editors publish somewhere between 10 and 15 blog posts—but it can be hard to keep up amidst the busyness of everyday life. To make sure you never miss another post, we’ve created a new weekly round-up series. Each Saturday, find the previous week’s posts all in one place.


wr_iconImpactful Storytelling

It’s often the difficult moments in life and in writing that have the biggest impact, but it’s important to take care of yourself while writing about these experiences. Check out Staying Positive While Writing About Death and Tragedy to learn how to keep it light while digging deep.

Time for a point-of-view review: Why Point of View is So Important for Novel Writers provides an overview of the pros and cons of common POVs and a thoughtful exploration of how POV impacts your story.

Agents and Opportunities

This week’s Agent Spotlight shines on Caroline Eisenmann of the Frances Goldin Literary Agency. She is seeking upmarket and literary fiction, as well as nonfiction, including reported narratives, cultural criticism, essay collections, and history and biography with a surprising point of view. In fiction, she is particularly drawn to work with emotional impact, novels driven by intimacy and relationships, and stories that grapple with our current cultural climate.

Don’t be afraid to meet an agent in person. Read An Author and Agent Share Their Writer’s Digest Pitch Slam Experience to find out how you can benefit from the Pitch Slam at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference.

For a successful example of a debut novelist’s querying experience, read the newest installment of How I Got My Agent.

Just because you didn’t write before doesn’t mean that you can’t write now. Check out It’s Never Too Late: On Becoming a Writer at 50 for more.

Poetic Asides

For this week’s Wednesday Poetry Prompt, write a money poem.

Check out Why I Write Poetry: Steve Cushman and consider submitting an essay that shares why you write poetry.

The post Weekly Round-Up: Positivity, POV, & Pitching appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/weekly-round-positivity-pov-pitching

An Author and Agent Share Their Writer’s Digest Pitch Slam Experience

Julie Bogart: Find Your Voice—and Audience—Before Pitching

I grew up around traditional publishing. My mother (age 79) is writing her 80th book right now. You would think that background would translate into eagerly submitting my work to the big New York publishing houses. Uh, no. Plenty of my mother’s books wound up in remainders—I didn’t want that. I saw early in my adult life that if I didn’t have readers, simply getting a book published to then watch it die on a bookshelf would break my heart.


Julie Bogart is the creator of the innovative writing program for homeschooling families called Brave Writer. Her program includes online writing classes and more than 200 pieces of curriculum created by Julie which have sold over 100,000 copies in the last 17 years. She’s a popular international speaker and the author of six self-published books. Julie homeschooled her five kids who are now adults. She has also worked as a magazine editor, ghostwriter, weekly columnist for University Press International, and adjunct professor at Xavier University. Julie lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she runs marathons and roots for the Bengals. Follow Julie on Social media: Instagram (@juliebravewriter), Twitter (@bravewriter), and Facebook (facebook.com/bravewriter).


Enter the Internet—a new way to find an audience. In the 1990s, I discovered that, lo and behold, my writing voice did have resonance. I blogged, joined email lists, and commented on discussion boards like the compulsive writer I was. In the 2000s, I found work as an editor, was regularly published in magazines, and wrote a weekly online column for a major news organization. My minor successes in writing and editing gave me courage. In January of 2000, I wrote my first book—and published it myself. In the last 17 years, I’ve sold over 10,000 copies.

Since then, I’ve written and published thousands of blog posts, 200-plus pieces of curriculum, and 6 books related to my chosen field: teaching writing to homeschooling families. I built a business and expanded my readership through social media. My aim has been to develop my writing chops and audience first, then to seek traditional publication later. I didn’t need the money (I’ve got a thriving business). What I wanted—what I had yet to experience—was a chance to expand my reach through traditional publishing and to partner with an editorial team to produce the best writing I could. It gets lonely writing alone.

Last year, my mother suggested I attend the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference to wade into the publishing waters. I would need an agent; I would need contacts. I had none of these as an entrepreneur and self-published writer. I signed up for the Pitch Slam eager to meet agents face-to-face. I scoured the materials and agent bios we were sent in advance.

One name stood out above the rest: Rita Rosenkranz, from Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency. I read her entire website. It was when I read Rita’s list—authors and books she had represented—that I could see my work fitting neatly. Her long, successful career impressed me. I also liked her look; she seemed smart and serious in her rectangular glasses. I felt if I could pitch my book to her and succeed, I’d have a good shot at publication.

I had never given a pitch before. I hired a friend of a friend who worked as a publicist for authors—Louise Crawford, located in New York City—to meet me at the conference. I found out that I knew nothing about writing a pitch! Louise chucked my first draft and we got to work brainstorming better, more powerful language. For the next 24 hours, every chance I got, I stood in front of a mirror and delivered my pitch.

When the doors to my session of the Pitch Slam opened (the last session of the conference), I made a beeline for Rita’s table. There was already someone ahead of me. I waited my turn, mentally rehearsing. I approached Rita with a smile and launched into the pitch. Rita listened studiously, stoically. I watched her eyebrow go up when I described my social media reach and the scale of my business. She asked a follow up question about the book topic itself, and then handed me her card inviting me to send a proposal. It was the first of six cards I received that day, but easily my most valuable.

When I returned home, I applied the most important advice I had heard at the conference: No invitation to read a book proposal ever expires. It is more important to write a great proposal than it is to hurry to get something into the agent’s hands. I took that advice to heart. I spent the next five months revising my book proposal. Of the three agents I sent it to, Rita replied first and immediately. She gave excellent feedback to improve it. I took her advice and made substantial changes to focus and tone.

Join us by clicking here to register for this amazing event in New York City!

Rita took me as her client and went to work, selling the book. What impressed me most about the process—my book kept improving. Each editor contributed meaningful comments that changed the book’s shape and title, and enhanced its marketability. Rita acted as a dialog partner for me, and skillful navigator of the business of publishing.

After ten weeks, we had two solid offers and a couple other interested publishers! We took the best offer, of course. I am thrilled with the outcome—it’s everything I hoped to achieve back when I first published my own work. I’m glad I had already found my writing voice and audience before I sought publication. It’s been a long, slow journey, but one I wouldn’t trade. The Writer’s Digest Annual Conference played an invaluable role in helping me take the next step in my writing life: getting traditionally published.

My book, The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic for Homeschool, Learning, and Life comes out August 2018, published by Tarcher Perigree, an imprint of Penguin Random House, represented by Rita Rosenkranz. And the best part? I love writing it. Pure joy!


Rita Rosenkranz: Do Your Research Before You Pitch

As with its musical and sports counterparts, an author’s perfect pitch is a powerful summary of the book, defined by utmost clarity and precision. It offers enough particulars to help anchor my understanding of the work, but not so many details to bog down the description, or waste precious time in what typically is a tight window. A successful pitch can trigger an agent’s almost visceral response and instant embrace. A project that catches my attention presents with confidence and commitment either a familiar subject approached freshly or a less well-known subject approached commercially. An author should realize, too, that a perfect pitch might not register for reasons beyond the author’s immediate knowledge or control—anything from personal likes and dislikes to imperfect timing (the agent has just signed up a similar work or has a book in the same category that is performing poorly).


A well-established agent, who began her career as an editor at major publishing houses, Rita Rosenkranz represents almost exclusively adult nonfiction titles. Her wide-ranging list includes healthy, history, parenting, music, how-to, popular science, business, biography, sports, popular reference, cooking, writing, humor, spirituality, illustrated books, and general interested titles. She represents first-time as well as seasoned authors, and looks for projects that present familiar subjects freshly or lesser-known subjects presented commercially. Rita works with major publishing houses, as well as regional publishers that handle niche markets.


Julie Bogart’s pitch was concise and persuasive. However niche the market for homeschooling books was, the market appeared to be passionate and active. Julie had a built-in, loyal audience in place, making her an appealing author.

  • To be prepared, research an agent’s areas of interest and track record; otherwise, the perfect pitch can be lost on the wrong agent.
  • How are you aligned with the subject, either personally or professionally, to make the marriage of author and subject make sense and supportable in the marketplace? Publishers expect authors in most nonfiction categories to have an established audience, thanks to prior publications, media connections, professional or university affiliations, lecture circuits allowing for back-of-the-room sales—whatever helps you achieve a competitive edge.
  • Do not spend valuable time apologizing for taking up the agent’s time. Authors are an agent’s lifeline and most of us depend on a continuing stream of new clients. I like to think we are mutually reliant. We need you, too!

In these times of great mobility and inconstancy in the publishing industry, it is especially important for the new as well as experienced author to be vigilant about the details of the publishing process. May your perfect pitch lead to a successful publication!

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.


If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

 

 

The post An Author and Agent Share Their Writer’s Digest Pitch Slam Experience appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/author-agent-share-writers-digest-pitch-slam-experience-2

IELTS test in Brazil – July 2017 (Academic Module)

Thanks to S who took the IELTS test in Brazil we know this much about a recent exam:

Listening testIELTS test in Brazil

Section 1. A woman got a job and was calling the company to receive more information.
Questions: filling in blanks.

Section 2. Description of a park map, including cycling routes, buildings in the area and meeting points.
Questions: filling in blanks, multiple choice, map labeling.

Section 3. An academic lecture about caves, bats, rats, what they eat and where they live.

Section 4. About salamanders and their classification.

Reading test

Passage 1. About spaceships and astronauts.
Questions: multiple choice, match headings to paragraphs.

Passage 2. About art in New Zealand.
Questions: multiple choice, True/False/Not Given.

Passage 3. Don’t remember.

Writing test

Writing task 1 (a report)

We were given three diagrams describing different solar panel types. The first type was being used for power, the second type to heat the air, and the third for water heating. We had to summarize and explain what the main differences are in their performance.

Writing task 2 (an essay)

Some people believe that success is about hard work and determination. Others think that success has connection with money and personal appearance. Discuss both of views. Give your opinion and some of your own experiences.

Related posts:

  1. IELTS test in India – July 2017 (Academic Module) Below are the details the R remembered from a recent…
  2. IELTS test in Australia – April 2017 (Academic Module) Our friend C took the IELTS test in Australia and…
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  4. IELTS test in Singapore – March 2017 (Academic Module) Our friend M took the IELTS test in Singapore and…
  5. IELTS test in Brazil – July 2017 (General Training) Our kind friend E took the IELTS test in Brazil…


from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-test-in-brazil-july-2017-academic-module/

An Author and Agent Share Their Writer’s Digest Pitch Slam Experience

Julie Bogart: Find Your Voice—and Audience—Before Pitching

I grew up around traditional publishing. My mother (age 79) is writing her 80th book right now. You would think that background would translate into eagerly submitting my work to the big New York publishing houses. Uh, no. Plenty of my mother’s books wound up in remainders—I didn’t want that. I saw early in my adult life that if I didn’t have readers, simply getting a book published to then watch it die on a bookshelf would break my heart.


Julie Bogart is the creator of the innovative writing program for homeschooling families called Brave Writer. Her program includes online writing classes and more than 200 pieces of curriculum created by Julie which have sold over 100,000 copies in the last 17 years. She’s a popular international speaker and the author of six self-published books. Julie homeschooled her five kids who are now adults. She has also worked as a magazine editor, ghostwriter, weekly columnist for University Press International, and adjunct professor at Xavier University. Julie lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she runs marathons and roots for the Bengals. Follow Julie on Social media: Instagram (@juliebravewriter), Twitter (@bravewriter), and Facebook (facebook.com/bravewriter).


Enter the Internet—a new way to find an audience. In the 1990s, I discovered that, lo and behold, my writing voice did have resonance. I blogged, joined email lists, and commented on discussion boards like the compulsive writer I was. In the 2000s, I found work as an editor, was regularly published in magazines, and wrote a weekly online column for a major news organization. My minor successes in writing and editing gave me courage. In January of 2000, I wrote my first book—and published it myself. In the last 17 years, I’ve sold over 10,000 copies.

Since then, I’ve written and published thousands of blog posts, 200-plus pieces of curriculum, and 6 books related to my chosen field: teaching writing to homeschooling families. I built a business and expanded my readership through social media. My aim has been to develop my writing chops and audience first, then to seek traditional publication later. I didn’t need the money (I’ve got a thriving business). What I wanted—what I had yet to experience—was a chance to expand my reach through traditional publishing and to partner with an editorial team to produce the best writing I could. It gets lonely writing alone.

Last year, my mother suggested I attend the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference to wade into the publishing waters. I would need an agent; I would need contacts. I had none of these as an entrepreneur and self-published writer. I signed up for the Pitch Slam eager to meet agents face-to-face. I scoured the materials and agent bios we were sent in advance.

One name stood out above the rest: Rita Rosenkranz, from Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency. I read her entire website. It was when I read Rita’s list—authors and books she had represented—that I could see my work fitting neatly. Her long, successful career impressed me. I also liked her look; she seemed smart and serious in her rectangular glasses. I felt if I could pitch my book to her and succeed, I’d have a good shot at publication.

I had never given a pitch before. I hired a friend of a friend who worked as a publicist for authors—Louise Crawford, located in New York City—to meet me at the conference. I found out that I knew nothing about writing a pitch! Louise chucked my first draft and we got to work brainstorming better, more powerful language. For the next 24 hours, every chance I got, I stood in front of a mirror and delivered my pitch.

When the doors to my session of the Pitch Slam opened (the last session of the conference), I made a beeline for Rita’s table. There was already someone ahead of me. I waited my turn, mentally rehearsing. I approached Rita with a smile and launched into the pitch. Rita listened studiously, stoically. I watched her eyebrow go up when I described my social media reach and the scale of my business. She asked a follow up question about the book topic itself, and then handed me her card inviting me to send a proposal. It was the first of six cards I received that day, but easily my most valuable.

When I returned home, I applied the most important advice I had heard at the conference: No invitation to read a book proposal ever expires. It is more important to write a great proposal than it is to hurry to get something into the agent’s hands. I took that advice to heart. I spent the next five months revising my book proposal. Of the three agents I sent it to, Rita replied first and immediately. She gave excellent feedback to improve it. I took her advice and made substantial changes to focus and tone.

Join us by clicking here to register for this amazing event in New York City!

Rita took me as her client and went to work, selling the book. What impressed me most about the process—my book kept improving. Each editor contributed meaningful comments that changed the book’s shape and title, and enhanced its marketability. Rita acted as a dialog partner for me, and skillful navigator of the business of publishing.

After ten weeks, we had two solid offers and a couple other interested publishers! We took the best offer, of course. I am thrilled with the outcome—it’s everything I hoped to achieve back when I first published my own work. I’m glad I had already found my writing voice and audience before I sought publication. It’s been a long, slow journey, but one I wouldn’t trade. The Writer’s Digest Annual Conference played an invaluable role in helping me take the next step in my writing life: getting traditionally published.

My book, The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic for Homeschool, Learning, and Life comes out August 2018, published by Tarcher Perigree, an imprint of Penguin Random House, represented by Rita Rosenkranz. And the best part? I love writing it. Pure joy!


Rita Rosenkranz: Do Your Research Before You Pitch

As with its musical and sports counterparts, an author’s perfect pitch is a powerful summary of the book, defined by utmost clarity and precision. It offers enough particulars to help anchor my understanding of the work, but not so many details to bog down the description, or waste precious time in what typically is a tight window. A successful pitch can trigger an agent’s almost visceral response and instant embrace. A project that catches my attention presents with confidence and commitment either a familiar subject approached freshly or a less well-known subject approached commercially. An author should realize, too, that a perfect pitch might not register for reasons beyond the author’s immediate knowledge or control—anything from personal likes and dislikes to imperfect timing (the agent has just signed up a similar work or has a book in the same category that is performing poorly).


A well-established agent, who began her career as an editor at major publishing houses, Rita Rosenkranz represents almost exclusively adult nonfiction titles. Her wide-ranging list includes healthy, history, parenting, music, how-to, popular science, business, biography, sports, popular reference, cooking, writing, humor, spirituality, illustrated books, and general interested titles. She represents first-time as well as seasoned authors, and looks for projects that present familiar subjects freshly or lesser-known subjects presented commercially. Rita works with major publishing houses, as well as regional publishers that handle niche markets.


Julie Bogart’s pitch was concise and persuasive. However niche the market for homeschooling books was, the market appeared to be passionate and active. Julie had a built-in, loyal audience in place, making her an appealing author.

  • To be prepared, research an agent’s areas of interest and track record; otherwise, the perfect pitch can be lost on the wrong agent.
  • How are you aligned with the subject, either personally or professionally, to make the marriage of author and subject make sense and supportable in the marketplace? Publishers expect authors in most nonfiction categories to have an established audience, thanks to prior publications, media connections, professional or university affiliations, lecture circuits allowing for back-of-the-room sales—whatever helps you achieve a competitive edge.
  • Do not spend valuable time apologizing for taking up the agent’s time. Authors are an agent’s lifeline and most of us depend on a continuing stream of new clients. I like to think we are mutually reliant. We need you, too!

In these times of great mobility and inconstancy in the publishing industry, it is especially important for the new as well as experienced author to be vigilant about the details of the publishing process. May your perfect pitch lead to a successful publication!

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.


If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

 

 

The post An Author and Agent Share Their Writer’s Digest Pitch Slam Experience appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/author-agent-share-writers-digest-pitch-slam-experience

IELTS test in Libya and UAE – July 2017 (General Training)

Two IELTS test takers (thanks, K and T!) remembered the following details after taking their exams in Libya and UAE:

Listening testIELTS test in the UAE

Section 1. A conversation between two people about a certain river and it’s natural inhabitants such as puppies, bees, snakes and rats.

Section 2. A conversation between some students and their teacher about the project they are doing.

Section 3, 4. Don’t remember.

Reading test

Passage 1. About a car park and payment solutions. The payment can be done in cash, debit/credit card or at the Post office.

Passage 2. About night shift work including start and finish time, restrictions and remuneration.

Passage 3. About the Lake George Monster Hoax that became extinct 65 million years ago.

Writing test

Writing task 1 (a letter)

You have seen an advertisement recruiting volunteers for the upcoming major sport event in your city. Write a letter to the manager of the event and say

– Why do you want to participate?
– How can you help?
– What benefit will you get from this job?

Writing Task 2 (an essay)

Many parents are unhappy with the amount of violence in video games, TV programs and other leisure activities. How harmful could this be to children? What could be done to solve this problem?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-test-in-libya-and-uae-july-2017-general-training/

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 405

For today’s prompt, write a money poem. The poem could be about currency, having money, not having money, wanting more money, etc. The poem can just mention money in passing or take place somewhere that money is changing hands. Like usual, feel free to get creative with your interpretations of the prompt.

*****

Pre-order the new Poet’s Market!

The new 2018 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer, includes hundreds of poetry markets, including listings for poetry publications, publishers, contests, and more! With names, contact information, and submission tips, poets can find the right markets for their poetry and achieve more publication success than ever before.

In addition to the listings, there are articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry–so that poets can learn the ins and outs of writing poetry and seeking publication. Plus, it includes a one-year subscription to the poetry-related information on WritersMarket.com. All in all, it’s the best resource for poets looking to secure publication.

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a Money Poem:

“Lemonade Stand”

Margaret stirred and Agnes poured
before Delilah added ice–
their lemonade more sweet than sour,
everyone agreed it was nice;
and the girls were nice and sweet too
as if they were made of honey,
but the boys found nothing to do
except fight over the money.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He loves a good lemonade stand.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

*****

Find more poetic posts here:

The post Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 405 appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-405

IELTS test in Uzbekistan – July 2017 (Academic Module)

Below are the Writing and Speaking questions that T remembered after taking the IELTS test in Uzbekistan:

Writing testIELTS test in Uzbekistan

Writing task 1 (a report)

We were given three pie charts illustrating the percentages of various kinds of transport that were using a certain bridge in the UK in 1965, 1985 and 2005.

Writing task 2 (an essay)

Many people believe that education and high qualifications will bring success. Others think that it’s not required to achieve success in life. Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Speaking test

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– What subjects do you study?
– What is your major?
– Do you find education challenging?
– Do you prefer to use public transport to get to the college?
– How long does it take to get there?
– Tell me about a long journey you had on public transport.

Cue Card

Describe a time you were not allowed to use your mobile phone. Please say

– When and where did it take place?
– Why weren’t you allowed to use your mobile?
– What did you want to use your phone for?

Discussion

– How did you feel about it then?
– Tell me about situations where you need to use a phone.
– Why is it necessary?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/1/ielts-test-in-uzbekistan-july-2017-academic-module/

Why I Write Poetry: Steve Cushman

Several weeks ago, I posted about “Why I Write Poetry” and encouraged others to share their thoughts, stories, and experiences for future guest posts. I’ve already received so many, and I hope they keep coming in (details on how to contribute below). Thank you!

Today’s “Why I Write Poetry” post comes from Steve Cushman, who says, “I don’t see a poetry-less time in my future, because as long as I’m writing, I’m breathing and living and trying like always to get it down on the page, to get this work done.”

Steve Cushman received his MFA from UNC-Greensboro and has published six books, including two poetry chapbooks, Hospital Work and Midnight Stroll.  His most recent work is the novel, Hopscotch.

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works. Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

Why I Write Poetry: Steve Cushman

Steve Cushman

is the same reason I write anything, to understand the world and my place in the world. I write because when I write I feel better, feel like I am connected to this thing I am supposed to be doing.

When I sit down to write, I don’t consciously think, well let me see what I know about the world, but what I write approaches this, takes me toward that understanding I’m seeking.

I’d been writing fiction for about 20 years, when I started writing poetry six years ago. The reason I began writing poetry is laughable: I thought it’d be easier than fiction. Let me explain. What happened was I changed jobs and this new job was kicking my butt, which meant that my usual 60-90 minutes a day of writing time had been compressed to about 30 minutes on a good day.

So, I figured, let’s write some poetry. Of course, as most new poets, the poetry was bad and of course 30 minutes wasn’t enough, but it was something, and what I found was that poetry invited me to write about things I’d seen in my healthcare career and the challenges of being a father. These were subjects, I realized, I’d been skirting in my fiction.

But poetry, and the brevity it promised as opposed to spending 300 pages writing about an X-Ray Tech who wants to be anything but an X-Ray Tech, allowed me to write about these things. Sure, the poetry was not pretty, but it was some writing, and in the writing of this new form I discovered a side of my writing life I never knew existed.

When my first chapbook, Hospital Work, about my years working in healthcare, was published, I ran into one of former professors. She told me her husband read my book and started to cry because he loved it and it reminded him of his days working at a hospital.

It feels good when someone tells you something you wrote means something to them. We write alone, but we also write to connect with other people. While we’re writing to understand our place in the world, it helps to remember that many readers also read to understand their place in the world. And when you’re somehow the conduit for a little bit of grace you feel pretty lucky.

Now I’m writing both poetry and fiction again, depending on the day and the particular project. I no longer think of the two things as opposites, but one in the same. This is what I’ve learned is important: to sit down and do the work, regardless of the form. I’ll be forever grateful for poetry and what it offered me when I needed it. I don’t see a poetry-less time in my future, because as long as I’m writing, I’m breathing and living and trying like always to get it down on the page, to get this work done.

*****

If you’d like to share why you write poetry, please send an e-mail to robert.brewer@fwmedia.com with a 300-500 word personal essay that shares why you write poetry. It can be serious, happy, sad, silly–whatever poetry means for you. And be sure to include your preferred bio (50-100 words) and head shot. If I like what you send, I’ll include it as a future guest post on the blog.

*****

Find more poetic posts here:

The post Why I Write Poetry: Steve Cushman appeared first on WritersDigest.com.

from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/write-poetry-steve-cushman

How I Got My Agent: Sophie Chen Keller

The Beginning

I’ve loved reading books for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom reading out loud from fairy tales and childhood classics by Roald Dahl and EB White, helping me learn English after we immigrated to the US. It wasn’t long until I began writing stories of my own, the first of which was about talking animals who lived at the bottom of the sea (influenced, no doubt, by the Redwall books I devoured), and sometime in middle school I began reading about writing—I spent my birthday money on Stephen King’s gem of a book, On Writing, subscribed to Writer’s Digest, and checked out every year of Best American Short Stories the library had available.


This guest post is by Sophie Chen Keller. Keller was born in Beijing, China, and was raised in Ohio and California. Her fiction has won several awards and has appeared in publications such as Glimmer Train and Pedestal. She lives in Boston. THE LUSTER OF LOST THINGS, releasing on August 8, 2017, is her first novel.


One summer—I think it was the summer of my freshman year in high school, but I’m bad at math and also at remembering things—I wrote a short story about a pedicab driver in rural China. Growing up, my family and I visited China every few years to see our relatives. Back then, China was in the early stages of its development, and those “three-wheeled wagons” pulled by a driver on a bicycle were the most common way of getting around. We would pile into the wagon, four or five us at a time, mopping our foreheads in the 100-degree heat. I remember the driver’s sweat-soaked back as he strained with all his might and pulled us down the potholed dirt road.

The image snagged in my heart. I wrote a story about him, so that he might have a voice. Even back then, I followed the same writing routine, sitting down after breakfast to write a set number of words a day, every day except weekends. When the story was done, I submitted it to Glimmer Train, and received an acceptance call shortly afterwards. In that conversation, I think I was half in shock and not quite sure how to use my words. I’m not sure if they know it, but I am forever grateful to editors Linda Swanson-Davies and Susan Burmeister-Brown for picking that story out of the slush pile and opening that first door. That gave me the confidence and encouragement I needed, a decade later, to push away the fear and uncertainty and go all-in on writing my first novel.

The Middle

I started writing The Luster of Lost Things in the fall of 2014. I hadn’t written a thing since graduating from college and was already a pretty slow writer to begin with, but I put my head down and kept at it. In four months, I had my very first draft of a novel. At less than 60,000 words, it was a slender draft, to be sure—but then again, so was The Old Man and the Sea and Of Mice and Men, right? Well, I was no Hemingway or Steinbeck, but the manuscript was as polished as I could get it on my own, with feedback from family members—who were the only ones I had permitted to read the manuscript. And even that was stepping out of my comfort zone: I was so secretive and shy about my writing that, to read a short story of mine, my college roommate had resorted to tiptoeing over to my side of the room before I woke to sneak a look at the magazine I had shoved inside my desk, underneath my candy stash.

Once the draft was ready, I pored over writing blogs and forums online, like AbsoluteWrite, which was a treasure trove of information for someone like me who had exactly zero writerly friends or acquaintances. I absorbed the advice and insights, studied query letters that worked and queries letters that didn’t, and took a stab at writing a query letter of my own. I stabbed a few more times before landing on the right one. A few days after Christmas, I sent a query letter to Jeff Kleinman, whose name I’d found in the Acknowledgements section of one of my favorite books, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Jeff responded practically immediately, which freaked me out, and which I have subsequently learned to be less freaked out by.

[New Agent Alerts: Click here to find agents who are currently seeking writers]

His enthusiasm was contagious, and he completely understood what I was trying to do with the strange little book I’d written. In one breath, he told me about all the revisions the book needed and offered representation. After I did a double-take and realized he actually liked my book enough to take me on, I did a silent scream and a weird dance that he couldn’t see, but that my sister, embarrassingly, could.

In retrospect, I probably did a lot of things “wrong”: submitting an anemic 60,000 word novel that had gone through minimal revisions, sending a query letter during the holidays, sending a query letter to my top-choice agent right out of the gate. But maybe it just goes to show that there’s no “wrong” way to do this writing thing as long as you’re doing it, and that it’s all about the people who took a chance on me and gave me the opportunities to make my dream reality.

I realize right about now that I don’t have an end, but that’s probably okay. After all, according to the sage and sunny wisdom of Natasha Bedingfield, the rest is still unwritten.

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If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

 

 

 

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from Writing Editor Blogs – WritersDigest.com http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/got-agent-sophie-chen-keller

IELTS Speaking test in Brazil – July 2017

When A took the IELTS Speaking test in Brazil, he was asked the following questions:

Speaking testIELTS test in Brazil

Interview

– What is your full name?
– Can I see your ID?
– Where are you from?
– Do you work or study?
– What do you do?
– Let’s talk about your home.
– Where do you live now?
– Is it a house or an apartment?
– Do you like it there?
– Do you think of moving out in the future? Why?
– What kind of house do you like?
– Why is that?
– What size of home do you need?
– What style of interior decoration do you prefer?
– Why do you like it?

Cue Card

Talk about a married couple you know well, who inspire you. Please say

– Who are they?
– How did you meet them?
– What is their secret of happy marriage, in your opinion?

Discussion

– What is an ideal of good and happy wedding?
– Has the age of people getting married changed, compared to the past?
– How do people celebrate weddings in your country?
– Many people spend a lot of money on big weddings. Why?
– Is the size of families now and in the future going to change?
– Do you think children should have an influence on the family size?
– Are they able to make this type of decisions?

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from IELTS-Blog http://www.ielts-blog.com/recent-ielts-exams/ielts-speaking-test-in-brazil-july-2017/