Advanced and Foundational Craft at The Algonkian Author Salon

Algonkian Author Salon recommends the following query model below adapted from Jeff Kleinman's original query letter model. Note that this does not include a long story pitch or short synopsis to start off with (which will sink you if you don't know how to artfully write a longer pitch), but rather a few lines designed to place the communication in context before attempting to hook the… Read all

FOUR CATEGORIES THAT DEFINE "COVERAGE"by Michael NeffThe below "coverage categories" are not always typical of what every agency uses, however, they are comprehensive and now in use by the AUTHOR SALON NOVEL WRITING PROGRAM. They provide a checklist for dissection and discussion of the novel among professionals on staff, and a checklist to enable a superior self-audit on the part of the write… Read all

A STUDY IN THIRD PERSON POINT OF VIEW       Lessons and Readings Necessary To The Creation of a Competitive Commercial Manuscript   By Michael NeffLet's get right to the point on this issue. Yes, we know that CATCHER IN THE RYE and HUCKLEBERRY FINN could never have been the famous novels they were without the engaging first person voice of their protagon… Read all

CREATING YOUR HOOK OR LOG LINE ("Levels of Conflict" below)This much shorter description is really your "Hook Line" or "Log Line" as it is known in the film industry. A hooky one liner is just as necessary and useful for promoting novels and nonfiction books as it is for film scripts. More importantly though, for our purposes here, it forces you to consider your work in a manner that stro… Read all

THE FOUR-STAGE METHOD FOR WRITING FICTION NARRATIVE    A Way to Take You From Drab or Quiet to Can't Put It Downby Michael NeffWhat's one of the best ways to ensure a publishing contract? Master the art of writing fiction narrative, of course. But what does that mean, and are you sure you know the difference between relatively quiet fiction narrative and verve-packed narrati… Read all

MODULE II READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTSSocial Reaction and Psyche Profile of AntagonistTraits and Physical Nature of AntagonistAnecdotes Featuring Your AntagonistHow Antagonist Drives the Conflict _______ THE ANTAGONIST PLOTS THE POINT Since the antagonist in most successful commercial fiction is the driver of the plot line(s), what chances do you as a writer have of getting your manuscript,… Read all

THE ROLE OF ENERGETIC AND UNIQUE SETTINGS IN THE STORY by Michael NeffWhen considering your novel, whether taking place in a contemporary urban world or on a distant magical planet in Andromeda, you must first sketch the best overall setting and sub-settings for your story. Consider: the more unique and intriguing (or quirky) your setting, the more easily you're able to create energetic sc… Read all

Novel Pitch Examples

Novel Pitch Examples Used by Algonkian Workshops and Events We recommend the following ALGONKIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE examples as models for a novel pitch session. Keep the pitch to 150-200 words (orally or in query letter format).  Note that your pitch is a diagnostic tool that helps you determine the strong and weak points of your novel. You can't have a strong pitch without… Read all

STORYBOARD CONSIDERATIONS FOR PRODUCING EFFECTIVE SCENES    by Michael NeffIf you're working on a commercial fiction or narrative non-fiction manuscript, you will benefit if you view your project as possessing three layers of increasing complexity:Layer I: Overall story premise and plot. These involve top level decisions regarding major characters, the overall setting, p… Read all

Nabokov Defeats the Quiet, And Graves Conquers the BritsUsing Nabokov (Lolita) and Graves (Claudius The God) we examine a quiet setting and circumstance made lively, and a lively circumstance and setting made cinematic and engaging, respectively.First, the quiet made lively. Nabokov’s narrative pushes forward due to his gift for discerning meaning and detail in everyday life and then reporti… Read all