Wednesday Writing Club, June 10

Wednesday Writing Club – A pitch, and a well-revised story

Just a quick one today – the Busan Writing Club had a nice little meeting tonight, and we talked about the pitch I wrote for a sci-fi serial story which I am getting in gear. My pitch was a mess – I tried hard to include details as suggested by David Henry Sterry, but I ended up cramming way too much into 250 words. Too much detail, too much complication. It all means a lot more work for me as I look for a simple, yet unique way to present the soul of my story in 250 words or fewer.

The other submission was a work by our member Clare, and wow did it ever look better than mine! She had the 8th draft of an excellent bit of literary fiction told from a young Irish girl’s point of view. It’s really amazing how the story has shaped into a compelling, melancholy tale of a girl and her father’s mental illness. All of us wish Clare good luck as she enters the story into a newspaper contest in her home country of Ireland.

Anyway, guess what the next Busan Writing Club is all about? Pitches!

Yup, our meeting on June 17 will be all about dissecting successful pitches to see what makes them tick. You can bet there’ll be an update on this very blog after the event.

Are you in Busan? Nearby? Send me a private message and let me know!

An Interview with David Henry Sterry



I had a chance to talk with David Henry Sterry – bestselling author and all-round superstar of books that help writers get it done and sell it.

I’ll let his Wikipedia entry and his own website speak for themselves.

Last week, I talked about my all-to-brief consultation with David Henry Sterry. This week, I feature the results of a quick follow-up interview with him!


E-mail Interview with David Henry Sterry, May 13, 2015

(Bolding mine, along with some very minor edits)

Me: I’ll have to ask this first – so what is it you do, exactly?

DHS: I am the best-selling author of 16 books, I’m also a performer & producer, as well as a book doctor. I help people in all stages of their writing career. From figuring out what book to write, to what’s the right title, to editing your book, to figuring out how to find the right agent or publisher for you, and ultimately how to get readers to buy your book.

Me: What is the writing project that currently occupies most of your time?

DHS: I’m working on a piece of epic noir that is set in San Francisco’s tenderloin. It’s all about a giant battle for who controls the underground sex business in the city that some called Baghdad by the Bay. Kind of like Game of Thrones meets The Wire.

Me: You obviously help a lot of writers – what seems to be the most common writing problem that you deal with these days?

DHS: Most writers just don’t seem to understand how to explain what’s exciting, unique, familiar, funny, educational, riveting, and valuable about their own book. They also don’t know how to do the research to find the right partner, whether it be a publisher, an agent, a reviewer, a bookstore, an online book seller, a blogger. 

Plus, so many manuscripts I read are filled with mistakes. Grammatical, spelling, plot mistakes. People don’t hire professional editors to review their work. There is this idea that it’s harder to be a brain surgeon that it is to write a great novel. That’s not true. It takes just as much time, expertise, knowledge, learning, wisdom, hard work, and perseverance to write a great book as it does to become a brain surgeon. Probably more. Because I know a couple of brain surgeons, and frankly they don’t seem that bright.

Me: Last question – What’s your top piece of advice for aspiring writers?

DHS: Read. Become an expert in your section of the bookstore. Connect with people who are going to be passionate about what you’re working on. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. But be smart in your perseverance.

My thanks go out to David Henry Sterry for the quick little interview. Be sure to visit his website & check out his book Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man For Rent!


A Consultation with David Henry Sterry



I had a chance to talk with David Henry Sterry – bestselling author and all-round superstar of books that help writers get it done and sell it.

I’ll let his Wikipedia entry and his own website speak for themselves.

I was given a free 20 minute consultation with him after buying The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published from The Book Doctors.

I told him about my ongoing project. I won’t (yet) give away too many specifics, but it’s a serial fiction project that will be released in flash-fiction sized chunks. Like David Wong did with John Dies at the End, I will publish parts of it and try to gather up fans and hype as I go.

Sterry liked my idea, remarking that it is a very modern way to get published. There was nothing so wrong with the idea itself, or the concept of its release. The main problem was pitching it! After I described my story in broad terms, he had me recite my pitch for it. My pitch fell flat, to say the least!

The problem with my pitch (and so many others) is that it removed the danger and the excitement – the scope of the story from the characters’ perspectives was utterly lost! A good pitch should get into the action, in medias res, and convey the consequences for characters worth caring about.

I also learned that, along with a good pitch, artwork is essential. This is a major obstacle, since I can barely draw a stickman. I will have to hire artists for my covers – no ifs, ands, or buts. This website is overdue for some decent graphics – I’m currently talking with artists I know.

Social connections are the final key he told me about. Interviews with experts in the field are essential, and I should be running them regularly on my blog. Only through lots of good connections with writers, editors, and publishers can I hope to succeed with any writing project.

My next post, due this time next week, will tell of the best advice Sterry has to offer modern authors!