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News — writing advice

Writing to the market or writing for writing’s sake?

Amy Leibowitz writing writing advice writing encouragement

This question comes up a lot. There’s no easy answer. The writing community is frequently divided on this, and it often depends on whether one is relying on book sales to earn a living. Even then, there’s disagreement, sometimes with people taking a hard position one way or the other.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both. More often than not, being a prolific and popular author generates significant in-the-moment income. It can also leave room for an author to experiment with other styles on the side, knowing they don’t have...

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Should you contact an author?

Amy Leibowitz authors editing fans writing writing advice

This question arose for a number of reasons. First, some big-name authors were discussing this on social media because they’d been sent pretty hateful messages about their work. Some readers seem to think that it’s not a real, live human being behind a book and that they are welcome to rant at them for perceived flaws. One big-name author in particular mentioned how hurtful it was to read that kind of angry private message.

Second, there’s been ongoing talk about whether or not it’s polite to correct people’s spelling, grammar, and punctuation in...

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Writing about religion

Amy Leibowitz religion spirituality writing advice

The last time I wrote about this subject was almost four years ago. I posed the question, “Does religion belong in LGBTQIA books?"
I’ve been thinking about this again because a colleague of mine, F.E. Feeley Jr., has written a series of blog posts about the effects of fundamentalism, particularly on mental health and queer lives. Heavy content warning for anyone wanting to...

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Stylistic choices in writing

Amy Leibowitz writing advice

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of dislike for certain stylistic choices made by authors. Two of the big ones are use of present tense and writing in first person. As an avid reader of many styles and genres, I can’t imagine rejecting a book based on narrative style. It baffles me how anyone can say that it’s an automatic DNF if they buy a book and discover it’s written in first person, present tense, or (horror of horrors) both.

I have written exactly three things in present tense: one short story and...

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Writing LGBTQIA+ characters well

Amy Leibowitz lgbtqia books writing advice

I read this article recently, an answer to a question on Quora: What do fiction authors get wrong when writing LGBTQ+ characters? Aside from the fact that the response is one long advert for this person’s book, it doesn’t really answer the question. Instead, it’s a long list of ways that the novel’s LGBTQ+ people are cheating on each other and who the story “represents.”

It stood out to me that the majority of the person’s story seems to be about love triangles and/or cheating....

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