Five Tips for Short-Story Success: A Guest Post by Judy Penz Sheluk

Join me in welcoming Judy Penz Sheluk to Miss Demeanors! Judy is a former journalist and magazine editor and the bestselling author of two mystery series, several short stories, and two books on publishing. She is also the publisher and editor of four Superior Shores Anthologies. The latest, Larceny & Last Chances, will be available June 18. Today Judy is sharing some wise advice from her long experience with the short-story genre.

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Prologues: Yes or No?

Of all the tools available to fiction writers, the most maligned may be the prologue. With the possible exception of the adverb and the semi-colon, no other literary device engenders such visceral hatred. Prologues have been called “superfluous,” “tedious info-dumps,” and “a bait-and-switch technique.” Agents and editors, we’re told, hate them. But are they always bad?

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Three Tips to Inject Life into Your Story Settings by Debbie Burke

When Elmore Leonard advised leaving out the parts that readers skip, he was probably referring to long, boring location descriptions that bring the story to a screeching halt.

But a rich setting is necessary to ground the reader in the story world. Readers want to feel immersed in the fictional universe, experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations the characters do.

So how do you write setting descriptions that people won’t skip?

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Is There a Best Time to Pitch a Book? Five Strategies for Success

We’ve all heard stories about successful authors who could literally wallpaper their offices with rejection letters. We’ve also heard about first-time authors whose manuscript was snapped up on their very first attempt at querying. Querying an agent or acquiring editor at a publishing house can be a complicated, lengthy, and frustrating experience. But are there proven strategies for giving your manuscript the very best chance of acceptance? Turns out there are.

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