Sunday, December 14, 2008

“The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now!” By Nina Munteanu

The ABC's of Good Writing, One Letter at a Time

The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now! soft-launched today at Pixl Press in Canada (with subsequent print launch scheduled later in the United States and the world through Starfire World Syndicate).

At a Pixl Press party today, attended by family and friends, and in which copious amounts of sushi and green tea were consumed, not to mention a huge Tuxedo Cake, Nina Munteanu—that’s me—was overheard saying: “I borrowed from the wisdom of many authorities on the subject of writing and publishing, notably Robert J. Sawyer, Elizabeth Lyon, Ansen Dibell, Crawford Killian, Elsa Neal, Sol Stein, Margot Finke, Jack Bickham, and Marg Gilks.”

The book is written in a casual, often humorous, style that aims to educate beginning and (even) established writers in the craft and mechanics of successful writing. It is aimed at helping the writer who is serious about publishing his or her fiction, whether it is a short story or epic novel. With this in mind, I provide real examples (e.g., fiction excerpts, query letters, rejection letters, etc.); I also take the writer through practical exercises and give a comprehensive reference list, together with an index for easy navigation.

The Fiction Writer covers a range of topics important to all writers, particularly those starting out with the serious intention of getting published. The guide is arranged in a series of chapters from A to Z, with Chapter titles ranging from “Blazing Beginnings” to “The Zen of Passionate Writing” (see below for a complete Table of Contents).

When submitting your work to editors and agents of fiction, you typically need to provide three things:

  • A query (Chapter Q in The Fiction Writer);
  • A synopsis (Chapter O in The Fiction Writer); and,
  • Sample chapters (the remaining chapters).
Editors of fiction look for stunning writing and great story-telling. They seek originality, genuineness and passion in your writing (Chapter Z in The Fiction Writer). While it’s a given that mechanics of writing can be learned, contrary to what you might think, the art of story-telling can also be taught.
If you apply what you’ve learned in this guide and write from the heart, I guarantee that you will publish. The guide will help you improve your writing. It does not include things like how to market your book, or how to promote your book once it gets published (that’s a whole other guidebook!). What it does include, however, are the key things to do with the writing side of getting published. So, read, learn and go get published!

Table of Contents
A. Alien Architecture: Building from Scenes to Worlds
B. Blazing Beginnings
C. Charismatic Characters
D. Get the Dope on Dialogue
E. Exposition & Endless Endings
F. Finding Your Muses & Keeping It
G. Defining Your Genre & Going Beyond It
H. House or Home…Creating Memorable Settings
I. Interviews & Other Weird Interactions
J. The Hero’s Journey
K. Write What You Know
L. Long Form, Short Form
M. Master the Metaphor
N. Now It’s Time for Revision
O. Outlines & Synopses
P. Plotting with Purpose
Q. Queries and Other Quests
R. How to Reject Rejection Letters
S. Get Sensual…And What About SEX
T. Don’t Tell; Show
U. Unclutter Your Writing: Less is More
V. Voices in Your Head
W. Who, When, Where and Why of Doing Research
X. Use eXceptional Language…But Don’t Overdo It
Y. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Z. The Zen of Passionate Writing

This 264-page reference book is the first of several I’m writing and co-writing in The Alien’s Guidebook Series put out by Pixl Press in Canada and Starfire World Syndicate in the United States.

Photo Captions:

1. Anne Voute, copy-editor and associate of Pixl Press, takes a dare from Nina Munteanu and gets ready to take a HUGE bite of a "budong dropping".
2. A wonderful spread that even served escargots (memories of Paris).
3. And there was much dancing.
4. ...the challenge is on...
5. Virginia O'Dine, cover designer and typologist.

Nina Munteanu is an ecologist and internationally published author of novels, short stories and essays. She coaches writers and teaches writing at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. For more about Nina’s coaching & workshops visit Visit for more about her writing.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Great book launch! Good luck, Nina!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention :-)

Nina Munteanu said...

Thanks, Jean-Luc. I appreciate your wishes. You're a good friend. :)

And, Elsa, you are so welcome! I enjoyed reading your great advice and have cited your works in "The Fiction Writer". I'd love to send you a complimentary copy. If you're interested email me with your address. :)

Greg said...

There it is... Way to go, and all the best!

The celebration looks great. More eggnog, more rum. =]

Nina Munteanu said...

Thanks for the wishes, Blackburn. My friend and colleague, Anne, actually makes a "mean" eggnog that is hard to beat. I hope to be sampling lots of it this Christmas... :) ... btw, I noticed that you bought a copy of "The Fiction Writer"... Many thanks! And do lrt me know if you find it helpful. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Nina! Yes that was some party!
We are waiting for the book to come out in hardcopy....let us know when that will happen!!

Baby Brie

Nina Munteanu said...

Thanks, Baby Brie! Well, the hardcopy is already available on order at PIXL PRESS (, although I've been told that there was a delay with the printers and then with shipping over the Christmas period. People should be getting their copies by mid-January.

Nina Munteanu said...

post script:

despite the soft launch of the Pixl Press website and book availability for pre-order, The Fiction Writer didn't make it off the press until January 2009 (delays due to unforseen circumstances and severe weather). Early customers, however, may get a rare find as the small initial run still bears the 2008 copyright date (the book is officially a 2009 book with Library and Archives Canada)and in its next printing as an imprint of Starfire World Syndicate (USA)with Library of Congress. The good news with this, however, is that this makes The Fiction Writer eligible as a 2009 book for the Aurora and Hugo Award to be given the following year (2010) for "Best Work in English (Other)" More on that in a later post...

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Nina!
To get my first book published, I pretty much just started sending it one at a time to agents. When I realized how long that was going to take, I started doing mass mailings. That worked out well for me because on my fourth try.

Nina Munteanu said...

...Because on your fourth try... Did you land one?