[Wyrd Words Weekly] Two questions writers often ask...

Hello Reader,

I love answering writer questions and there are a few I get all the time. The #1 most common is: How do I know if I'm ready to query? If you've asked yourself that question--and don't have a firm answer--don't miss next week's newsletter because I have something very exciting to tell you about...a program designed to finally, once and for all, empower you to answer that all-important question!

Another common question I get is about whether or not to include a prologue in your novel. And this week I was over on Writers Helping Writers talking about three examples of prologues that worked, and how to make sure yours does too!

Does the prologue you have planned:

  • Provide a hook
  • Foreshadow
  • Introduce speculative elements
  • Introduce a mystery
  • Avoid cliche openings
  • Keep it short
  • Prove itself absolutely essential to your story

If your prologue doesn’t tick any of the boxes above, don’t just rename your prologue “Chapter One” and assume you don’t have to worry about it. Go check out the full post for more tips to help make sure your prologue is doing what it needs to in order to draw readers in.

Ready for your Second Chance Romance?

Today is the last day to fill out your Matchmaker Survey for CP Meet Cute Round 7.5 - Second Chance Romance! I'll be doing the match this week, so if you're looking for additional critique partners, come join the fun.

The process is super simple:

  1. You fill out a quick survey about your genre, age category, time zone, and level of critique group experience here: https://forms.gle/QyiJZQ9rdTnHRodJ6
  2. I sprinkle magical unicorn dust over the list and it sorts itself into groups!
  3. You get an email with your cohort.
  4. You trade up to 10 pages of your work and exchange feedback to see if you're a good fit.

I'm not running this again until June, so if you've been on the fence, now is the time to join the fun! Remember, if you don't sign up by midnight, you'll turn into a pumpkin. OK, not really, but you will have to wait until June to sign up, so don't miss out--register today.

What I'm Reading

I've been reading a lot of multiple POV, multiple timeline stories recently since that's also what I'm writing just at the moment (!!). And one of those books is the mind-bendingly glorious Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr. Although I read this a few months ago, it bubbled up when I wrote the prologue blog post I mentioned above and I realized I haven't stopped thinking about it since I read it. That makes it worthy of recommendation...

If you first encountered Doerr with All the Light We Cannot See, you're in for a surprise. Although I can see his interest in history in the underpinnings of this book, there's also a delightfully speculative element to it. Like All the Light, we don't see how all the various points of views come together until the very end, but it comes together in a more satisfying way, in my opinion, than All the Light. I listened to this one, then went back and got a print copy because I wanted to study it in more depth. Needless to say it's a great mentor text for writers and a fascinating read as well.

Have a wonderful week!

Wyrdly yours,


Julie Artz | author, editor, book coach, dragon

Julie Artz works with both award-winning and newer authors across the publishing spectrum from Big Five to small and university presses to indie and hybrid. She is an Author Accelerator-certified Founding Book Coach, a sought-after speaker and writing instructor, and a regular contributor to Jane Friedman and Writers Helping Writers, and a regular instructor for AuthorsPublish, IWWG, ProWritingAid and more. Her work as a Pitch Wars and Teen Pit mentor, a former SCBWI Regional Advisor (WWA), and her memberships in The EFA, the WFWA, AWP, and the Authors Guild keep her industry knowledge sharp. A consummate social and environmental justice minded story geek, Julie lives in an enchanted forest outside of Redmond, Washington, with her husband, two strong-willed teenagers (when they’re not off at university!), and two naughty furry familiars. She’s built a thriving book coaching business based on her values, her editing chops, and her knowledge of story. Check out her weekly newsletter, Wyrd Words Weekly, and subscribe today.

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