The Last Line

A goodbye from Apache Junction Public Library’s first-ever Writer in Residence, James L. Thane.

James ThaneNow that my residency at the library has drawn to a close, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who participated in one of our scheduled programs or who made an appointment for a one-on-one consultation while I was in residence. I also particularly enjoyed the opportunity to spend an afternoon with the library’s Writer’s Group.

I met a lot of very nice people while I was doing the residency, and I truly enjoyed the experience. I am sorry that the residency was interrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic, and I especially regret that I was unable to continue doing the in-person consultations through the end of April. As you may have noticed, we have posted to the library’s web page a blog and a few podcasts, and I hope you will find those to be interesting and helpful.

Please note that I will still be doing the program that was scheduled for April 8 on Writing a Winning Query Letter. This will now be set for some time in the fall or winter, so please watch the library’s website for further information. I will hope to see many of you again then.

I was very impressed by the quality of writing that I saw from many of the people who did schedule consultations, and I would encourage all of you to continue your efforts. For those of you still looking for guidance, there are any number of good books that offer advice for beginning writers. In particular, I would suggest a couple of books that you might find useful.

The first is Telling Lies for Fun & Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers, by Lawrence Block. Block has been an especially successful and prolific writer for a very long time, and this book is a collection of columns that he originally wrote for Writer’s Digest. The book has been around for a number of years, but the advice that Block has to offer is basically timeless.

The second book I’d recommend is Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In it, King muses on his own life as a writer and he also offer a lot of great advice. I keep both of these books on the shelf behind my desk and, although I’ve read both of them from cover to cover, I still pull one of them down on a regular basis, flip it open at random, and find myself looking at a piece of excellent advice.

You will also find, of course, an abundance of material about writing on the Internet. One resource that I find particularly interesting and entertaining is the Bookends Literary Agency’s YouTube channel. The agents have a lot of helpful advice to offer, especially about the querying process.

Also helpful is Publishers Marketplace. If you go to the website, you can sign up for their free daily newsletter that tracks important developments in the publishing world. For $25.00 a month, you can subscribe to their full service, which can be very helpful, especially when querying a project.

I hope that everyone stays safe and healthy during these difficult times and, again, I will hope to see many of you later in the year for the program on query letters.