anoctobertale asked:

I'm an author. (Well, hope to be) and just finished my first manuscript. (hitting 76000+ words, not a lot I know) The problem being, is I really don't know what to do from here. The few select friends and family I have say I have something really good that can get me places.... Any advice and or help would be appreciated.

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!  I found writing my first book the most challenging, and so, if you’re like me, I can tell you that while it’s always hard, it will never be that hard again.

Showing it to your friends and family is an excellent start.  If you have writer friends, getting them to look it over and tell you which parts are confusing or dull or too elided will help you revise the book and make it the best book possible.  Hopefully, they will also tell you which parts are heartbreaking and brilliant and perfect so that you don’t change those.  If you don’t have writer friends, I advise looking into a critique group either in person or online.  

Once you’ve revised and polished to your satisfaction, you want to try to find a reputable agent to represent you.  You should look up the agents of writers you admire (just google their name + agent usually works) and you should look on AgentQuery

(Also, as an aside, to be sure any agent [or publisher] you are querying isn’t a scam, look them up on Preditors and Editors, an invaluable resource.)

Once you’ve found your list of agents, you want to craft a query letter.  Here is an excellent guide to writing one.  A good piece of advice I heard was to write the summary paragraph the way you might write flap copy for a novel.

Once you’ve perfected your query, start sending it out to the agents on your list.  Good luck!

And while you’re waiting, it’s time to start your next novel…

vlcphoto asked:

Maybe I'm being a tad selfish in asking this, but I think many would agree with me in this "request": Can you talk about world building? You are the Queen of it, after all! :D

Thank you for the kind words.

I have been meaning to answer this for some time, but putting it off because the actual answer is huge and I was intimidated at the thought of trying to come up with something a bit more concise.  

First of all, read Pat Wrede did an amazing write-up of world-building questions that I recommend to everyone.  Whether you are writing science fiction or fantasy, these are going to highlight areas of your world you haven’t considered.  Not all might apply to you, but it will give you a good jumping off place.

A lot of world-building in a fantasy setting is knowing how things work (or worked) in our world.  How big is the population of a city?  Of a high school?  Of a small town?  How big was one a hundred years ago?  How fast does a horse move when being ridden for an entire day?  How much food is needed for an army of ten thousand and where, historically, did that food come from?  How were taxes paid?  How did revolts happen?  What happens to people when they are isolated from others?  How do people behave when they have absolute power?  How did the printing press change the world?  How did salt?

What makes a world feel real is its resonance with the world we know.  Do your research and find those relationships.

The other thing that makes a world feel real is its people.  No matter how much technology and magic you add, people will continue to behave the way that people behave — make sure your people have real human motivations that make sense, no matter how strange.

And lastly, make interesting choices.  What makes a big world work exceedingly well is lots of potential stories.  Seed your world with them.

And once you’re done with that, my personal advice is to talk it through with other people. Let your friends and critique partners ask you the tough questions, write them down, and start figuring out the answers.

Hope that helps!

silverjane asked:

Will you (or Cassandra) ever go back to writing about the Rowan Gentlemen?

I don’t know that we will — although if there was ever another Bordertown anthology (which I hope there will be!), I would be very tempted.  One of my favorite things as a kid was ongoing anthology series where the same characters would be in a new story that built off the last.  It’s one of the things I loved about Bordertown and also about Thieves World, another shared-world anthology going on at the time.

But even if we don’t get to tell more tales about the Rowan Gentlemen, we’re very much looking forward to working on our new project together.

aluminumbones asked:

Is this the actual Holly Black? Or just a fanpage? Nonetheless, awesome blog!

It’s me!  It’s really me.

Sorry I have not been posting very much.  I have been off finishing the end of the edits on DOLL BONES and found myself in that weird end of a book state where nothing else was getting done.  Now, I have emerged from my nest of coffee cups and scraps of paper and see that I have many questions to answer!