Latest Articles

Why Am I Getting Rejected?

Getting rejected is useful feedback. First drafts get written by ignoring the critical voices in your head. Good novels happen when you listen to those voices, weigh the criticism, and plan a revision. But in a competitive market, only the great novels get published.  Getting rejected hurts, but it signals a chance to see your novel with new eyes and make smart…

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Two huge announcements!

Threepenny welcomes short story editor Janice Obuchowski: The Threepenny Editor is thrilled to welcome Janice Obuchowski to our editing team. Janice is a fiction editor at the New England Review and has served on the admissions board for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She has been a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Vermont and Middlebury College. Her fiction appears in Gettysburg Review, Passages North, Slice,…

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New service: The $200 layout!

Page layout for novels & ebooks: Threepenny’s partner and pro book designer Phillip Gessert has developed a new, trimmer approach to page layout. It lets us do the biggest design job in publishing at a third of the normal cost. For novels, we can do ebook+print layout for $200. They’re bundled because Phillip builds them both in tandem. The quality is comparable with his custom work, but…

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Writing Contest: Winner Announced

I’m delighted to congratulate Siel Ju on winning this year’s writing contest. Siel holds a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Feelings Are Chemicals in Transit from Dancing Girl Press and Might Club from Horse Less Press. Her poems and stories appear in Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, The Missouri Review, ZYZZYVA, Hobart, LIT, and other places. Siel’s…

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Writing contest: Win a free edit!

In honor of my business’s upcoming birthday on February 1, 2016, I am proud to offer a chance to win a free critique-and-notes manuscript evaluation from me. No strings attached–just submit your query and first two chapters by October 15, and one manuscript will receive $1,200 of editing work from The Threepenny Editor for $0. **3/20/16 Note: the deadline for this year’s contest…

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Project 2015, Part 7: Being mysterious isn’t the same as writing good drama.

What do we mean by “writing good drama?” Recently, a great conversation with a client prompted us both to articulate an important principle of fiction writing: being mysterious isn’t the same thing as writing good drama. In other words, when the narrator deliberately withholds information from the reader for the sake of creating a “compelling” sense of mystery, it usually fails. It…

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Project 2015, Part 6: Earned Emotion

Earn Those Feels If you’re a writer, it should keep you up at night: the knowledge that readers will never lack a good book to read. If your own manuscript starts to go all flat and hollow, the reader can put it down and find something better. Who among us doesn’t have a long to-read list on Goodreads or the Kindle, or a good…

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More client successes to announce!

I’m pleased to share a round-up of good news for some of Threepenny Editor’s past and current clients. I’m especially happy for client Elie Axelroth, whose very first short story, “The Sound of Emptiness” was just published in The Packingdown Review. This spring also brought unexpected good news for poet and novelist Sweta Vikram, whose article will be adapted for national radio. Congratulations! Glenn Damato‘s…

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Project 2015, Part 5: Writer’s Block and Depression

I want to switch it up a little, and instead of talking about “doing” of writing, look at about the “being” of writing–specifically, writer’s block and depression. A longtime client wrote to me after a while of silence, asking a heartfelt and anguished question: “I can’t hear my characters anymore. What can I do?” The problem, she said, stemmed from a difficult bout…

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Project 2015, Part 4: Making a Scene

It’s a writer’s job to make a scene. Drama is our stock in trade, and we’re always plotting something. (Always the quiet ones, right?) Seriously, though, I have spent fifteen, geeky years proselytizing my love for the most basic, beautiful element of story structure: the scene. A novel has between forty and sixty of them. That’s not a lot, considering that you have…

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