Durant Imboden's articles for writers

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Book Reviews

Living to Tell the Tale:
A guide to writing memoir

Jane Taylor McDowell describes how to "get in touch with our former selves" through personal narrative.

Style manuals
Should you write by the book? If so, by which one?


Collaboration: Is it worth the risks?
Before you commit to writing with a partner, know the pros and cons--and how to protect your work if the relationship doesn't last.


Character arc
In a good story, characters grow between "It was a dark and stormy night..." and "The End."

Character vs. plot
Which comes first--the chicken, the egg, or something else?

Exploring alternative scenarios
In fiction writing, the most obvious solution isn't always the best.

Go for the big idea!
If you want to make the fiction bestseller list, pull out all the stops.

The delicate art of doublespeak.

Trim the fat
Padded prose makes readers doze.

When to revise
Polish first or forge ahead?

Legal topics

Taxes for freelancers
Writers and other freelancers live by different tax rules than employees do. Here's an overview, with links to advice from a professional tax preparer.

Literary agents

Do you need an agent?
A literary agent can help you launch a writing career--or maybe not.

How to find an agent
How do you tell agents from scam artists, or find an agent who handles your kind of writing?

Getting an agent to say 'Yes'
Before an agent can sell your manuscript, you've got to sell yourself to the agent with a referral, phone call, or query letter.

Literary agent resources
A guide to articles, FAQs, and agency listings.

Manuscripts and submissions

Manuscript preparation
Let your text do the talking.

Multiple submissions
Maximize your exposure without ruffling editorial feathers.

Sample manuscript pages
Here's roughly what your manuscript should look like (after allowing for the limitations of Web pages and browsers).


Poetry palette
Improve your verse with these resources on the Web.

Poetry scams
The good news: You're a winner. The bad news: It's costing you fifty bucks.


Stupid publisher tricks
Don't sign a book contract until you've read the fine print.


Sharks (Writing Scams and Schemes)
Swim the other way when you encounter scam artists who prey on writers.

Poetry scams
The good news: You're a winner. The bad news: It's costing you fifty bucks.


Selling your screenplay
Your opus is done. Now you've got to open some doors.


Writing software
Download free demos and working models of programs for novelists and screenwriters.

Travel writing

Opportunities for travel writers
Part 1 of a 3-part series on "Travel Writing for Pleasure and Profit."

How to write about travel
Part 2: Basic advice on writing guidebooks, articles, promotional copy, and Web sites.

Internet resources for travel writers
Part 3: Publications, background reading, and samples of practical and narrative travel writing.

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