Top 10 fiction writing posts of 2017

Writing fiction is one of the most fulfilling and demanding things you can commit to, and at every stage you will have questions – about the process and about yourself! We understand that it can be both exciting and exasperating, and sometimes you want to just have a cup of tea and a lie down and forget about the whole crazy enterprise.

Whether you're polishing your latest manuscript, committing to finally finishing your first novel, or just starting out on your fiction writing journey, everyone could use some simple answers to complicated questions, a bit of inspiration, or some assurance that you really can do this.

So make that cup of tea, curl up somewhere comfy, and have a read through our top 10 fiction posts of 2017.

1.  Top 4 rules when submitting your manuscript to a publisher
We summarised the four essential rules you need to follow when submitting an unsolicited manuscript. According to Marty Green, the Director and Chief of Submissions at Australian publisher Pantera Press, you need to (obviously!) submit your very best work. But good formatting and a top-notch cover letter are also important.

2.  Literary agents – and what not to do…
Melbourne-based literary agent Jacinta Di Mase shares with us what an agent actually does. Jacinta has to make quick decisions about the unsolicited manuscripts she receives each day, based both on their quality and commercial value – which is why it's so important that authors understand their genre and the market.

3. How to format a screenplay
So you've written the next award-winning television pilot, or a blockbuster movie, but you're confused about how to format it? No fear, we've got you covered with this simple breakdown of what you need to do to make sure your script looks perfect.

4. Sarah Bailey: Daydreamer to dream book deal
For busy advertising executive Sarah Bailey, the thought of someone buying her manuscript was the stuff of fantasy. But an AWC course changed that for her forever. Her debut novel The Dark Lake was released in Australia in May 2017, with a sequel already in the works.

5. Five ways to tell if you’re writing Middle Grade or Young Adult fiction
Author Allison Rushby provides the five questions you need to ask yourself to find out if you're writing Middle Grade or Young Adult fiction. Spoiler alert: Contains foxes.

6. The secrets to writing successful short stories
Fiction editor and mentor Cathie Tasker gives the low-down on the short story, offering tips and advice to writers who might be nervous about this challenging form. Cathie also recommends short-story writing to novel writers – as a way of exploring new genres, voices, or characters!

7. Five insights from a freelance fiction editor
Kylie Mason thinks that you shouldn't be afraid of editors – and that's not just because she is one! Kylie says that editors are a writer's friend, and shares some vital information about what to expect when you work with an editor, how long the process should take, and even how much it should cost.

8. You don’t need to plan a book: Here’s what works better
Award-winning author Natasha Lester encourages you to ditch the plan – and focus on ideas and scenes instead. As a power-Scrivener user, Natasha also offers up advice on how to use the writing software to keep your ideas organised.

9. Novels – the long and the short of it
So how long is a novel, anyway? Does genre matter? Can I just go nuts on my word count? We answer all your questions about what numbers you should be aiming for when writing your book.

10. How to build a story out of scraps of ideas
And finally, internationally bestselling author Kate Forsyth reveals the magic way you can turn flashes of inspiration into a cohesive and complete story. Hint: it's not really magic.

At The Australian Writers' Centre, we love to see writers achieve their goals. We all have different ideas about what ‘success' is, but we hope that these posts have given you the inspiration or confidence you need to go forward and make the most out of 2018. Happy writing!

By Nat Newman
Nat Newman is a freelance writer

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