Monday, May 9, 2011

Writing Tips from 2011 AWW Faculty -- Roseanne Wells

As part of our blog series, Antioch Writers' Workshop 2011 Faculty share their tips for writing. You can read complete bios of AWW 2011 Faculty at Check back regularly for more helpful writing tips.

Those registered for the full-week experience of the 2011 Antioch Writers' Workshop have the unique opportunity to participate in pitch sessions with visiting literary agents as well as attend talks in the Professional Connections Series. Suzie Townsend, who originally planned to join us at this summer's workshop, has had a conflict arise and can't be with us. However, we're pleased to announce Rosanne Wells as one of the TWO fantastic agents who will be joining the 2011 AWW Faculty.

Roseanne WellsRoseanne Wells of Marianne Strong Literary Agency and arts reviewer for is one of two new visiting literary agents for the 2011 Antioch Writers' Workshop. Roseanne is interested in narrative nonfiction, science (popular or trade, not academic), history, true crime, religion, travel, humor, food/cooking, and similar subjects. She is also on the lookout for strong literary fiction, YA, sci-fi, fantasy, and smart detective novels (more Sherlock Holmes than cozy mysteries).

Writing Tips:
1. Begin with the story. Don't spend your pages telling backstory (why the main character doesn't like his mother, how he's allergic to mustard, that time that he got to second base with a girl, etc.) It's important to draw your reader in with action and character development in that first sentence, paragraph, and page--plus, feeding the reader the information over the course of the book will give you more opportunities to create dramatic tension and heighten the stakes.

2. World-building is essential, in all types of fiction and even narrative nonfiction. I want to feel like I am there with the character. And creating an atmosphere (how chilly the beach was) can be much more effective than describing the scenic details (the sky was baby blue, and the ocean was azure).

3. Always proofread, and then have someone else proofread. A great manuscript can dilute grammatical errors, but a bad story--or even a perfectly fine one that just doesn't quite stand out--will make those mistakes big red flags. 

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