Black Lawrence Press
November 23, 2015

NaNoWriMo Consultant: Erica Wright

Welcome to National Novel Writing Month, 2015! We’re celebrating all month long with a sale on some of our favorite novels, daily discussions with Black Lawrence Press novelists on craft and writing habits, and this–a consultation program for those of you with in-progress novels that could use an expert eye.

Today, we’d like to introduce to you one of our NaNoWriMo consultants:

Erica Wright’s debut crime novel The Red Chameleon (Pegasus Books) was one of O, The Oprah Magazine‘s Best Books of Summer 2014 and was called “riveting” by Publishers Weekly. A sequel, The Granite Moth, was released this month. She is also the author of the poetry collection Instructions for Killing the Jackal (Black Lawrence Press, 2011) and the chapbook Silt (Dancing Girl Press, 2009). She is the poetry editor and a senior editor at Guernica Magazine as well as an editorial board member for Alice James Books.

Finally, we’d like to let Erica introduce herself. If you feel that Erica would be the right reader for your novel, you can sign up here. The price for a full read and critique is $500 and Erica is able to take up to five manuscripts. All critiques will be completed by December 31, 2015.

Erica Wright’s Statement of Purpose

WrightAuthorPhotoIn my favorite craft essay, “Writing Off the Subject,” Richard Hugo offers the following advice: “When you are writing, glance over your shoulder, and you’ll find there is no reader. Just you and the page. Feel lonely? Good.” And it’s thrilling, isn’t it, to be in that room by yourself, working on something that matters to you. You might find as the hours (and days and months) progress that new themes emerge, new characters and conflicts. Working on a novel’s first draft can feel a bit magical.

The process doesn’t end in that empty room, though. Eventually you’ll want to share your manuscript, which is why it can be helpful to work with another writer. Personally, I like the revision phase, and I hope that you can find some joy in this step, as well. Sometimes a fresh perspective is needed when trying to determine what’s missing from your book. Together we can tackle major elements such as pacing and plot. A few questions we might consider are:

* Are those important first ten pages going to grab an agent’s or editor’s attention?
* Are any scenes rushed? Do we need more details there?
* Is the dialogue doing enough?
* Is there a need for research? And if so, how do we incorporate that information naturally?
* Is the ending satisfying? Is it fair to the readers and the characters?

I’m also happy to work with writers on their independently determined goals. If you think it’s time to open your door and let someone peek over your shoulder, I can help.