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What if - Do one exercise a day from "What If?" and you'll be writing for more than a third of a year. The book is packed with 115 exercises. Indispensable.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel - Rewriting is what separates the pros from the amateurs. Frey finishes everything off with the most important thing it takes to become a great writer.

The Art of Fiction - Because Gardner strives for "higher art", his musings and instructions for the beginner go much deeper than ordinary how-to books. A must for all novel writers.

Stein on Writing - "Your job," says Stein, "is to give readers stress, strain, and pressure. The fact is that readers who hate those things in life love them in fiction.

Writing the Breakout Novel - Maass forces writers to take a hard look at the quality of their work. Great for beginners.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers - Adhering to "show don't tell," the text includes both good and bad examples, and at the end of every chapter is a tip checklist plus exercises.

Welcome to Algonkian. We host and sponsor creative writing classes and conferences specializing in novel fiction writing, short fiction writing, memoir writing, poetry, and general fiction--all the above using a unique interactive program hosted by Foothill College in California. Writing classes are for all levels from beginner to experienced. Are Algonkian writing classes right for you? Read our Need To Know page for info on electronic classes.

                                                                         - Michael Neff, Director

Upcoming Conferences in 2006

November 15 - 19, Harpers Ferry Writers Conference. Debbie "Tom Clancy" Grosvenor + K. Anderson . Craft shops + Bausch + pitch sessions, ERP. Read More...

Dec. 14 - 17, NYC '06 Pitch-and-Shop Conference. Writers work their novel pitch then pitch to acquistion editors from Holt, Scribners, Viking, and more. Read More...

Are Algonkian conferences right for you? Peruse our Frequently Asked Questions.

Dialogues With Literary Professionals
Interview with NYWW President Tim Tomlinson. Think you need an MFA before you can write good fiction or a novel? Think more than twice. Tim maintains you're more likely to learn the craft of writing by AVOIDING the MFA program. Sound crazy? Read this interview before making a decision.
Interview with Little, Brown copyeditor Jen Noon. "Putting David Foster Wallace on Hold." Algonkian looks into the one of the most important aspects of the publishing business. It's about time someone did. These people need recognition!
Interview with agent Jenny Bent on the death of chick-lit writing. Yes, it's true. So what's next? Hen Lit? Paranormal romance? Ethnic Mom Lit? Paranormal Hen Lit? ... Let Jenny tell you.
Interview with the President of CMA, Paige Wheeler . Fresh off the conference circuit and hungry for quality writing, Paige talks to Michael Neff about high-concept and her favorite fantasy (among other things).
Interview with a list-building star, Maya Rock of Writers House Literary Agency (one of the most influential in NYC). Learn what it takes to wave-ride the literary agency biz. And btw, Ms. Rock is actively seeking great writing.
Algonkian interview with first-time author Matt Bondurant. His novel, "The Third Translation," has been marketed as living on the Da Vinci Code side of town. But is that true or did the marketing department make a boo-boo? You decide.
Algonkian interview with literary agent Elise Capron of the Sandra Dijkstra Agency in California. The Sandra Dijkstra Agency represents over 100 authors around the world and was proclaimed "the most powerful literary agency on the West Coast" by the LOS ANGELES TIMES.

Books! Books! Books! Why Read?

The worst advice a writer can get is to ignore the market and simply "write from the heart." Our motto: "from the heart, but smart." Believe it or not, most aspiring authors do little to familiarize themselves with the most recent novels in their genre. Big mistake. We always cajole our writers to stay well read, know their market inside out, especially what type of work first-time authors are getting published. Why? Because their work is a better indication of what the market is looking for. As follows:

BookSense Picks
The indie bookers include a best picks page. A must for serious writers of all genres.

Center for Book Culture
High literary works reviewed and going back several years. Reviews are a bit too positive at times, but c'est la vie.

A-Z, loads of reviews and much more. The place for "all things chicklit." The genre is expanding.

Historical Novel Society
Both English and American historical fiction here. Excellent starting place. Five stars.

House of Blogs - all genres
A creation of Webdelsol.Com. Two lives blogs, a list of the best, + a remarkable blog search engine. If you want the real dig on a new novel, the bloggers are waiting for you.

Mystery Reader.Com
No fancy cosmetics here, but MR gets the job done. Great capsules, archives, + all sub-genres. Learn from the many-stars and one-stars too.

MetaCritic Scores for Lit Books
A "scoring" site for literary commercial books. Check the scores then hit the blogs.

Romantic Book Club
Includes only the top reviews. Any bias here? We're not sure, but it's a good place to start.

San Francisco Chronicle
You might not agree with all the SFC book reviews, but they won't stop coming. Good archives. All genres plus non-fiction. Worth comparing to MetaCritic and blogger reviews.

The SF Site (sci fi/fantasy)
An explosion of book reviews on the very first page. Begin your search here.

Young Adult
YALSA, yowza, the best of the year list, plus check out Reading Rants for their latest reviews by category.

More Notes and Lit News

Harpers Ferry WC Harpers Ferry Writers Conference
Nov 15-19, 2006
"From the Heart, But Smart." Anderson and Grosvenor, Neff and author Bausch + ERP media, short fiction shop, craft and pitch shops, and historic Harpers Ferry at the Hilltop.

New York 06 Pitch-and-Shop ConferenceNYC '06 Pitch-and-Shop
12/14 - 12/17/06
Writers bring their manuscripts, attend pitch shops, and then pitch their fiction to top Editors at major houses. A huge opportunity for ambitious writers.

"Floating in Space and Time"
Eva's academic yet rewarding discourse on points of view and narrators in fiction writing.

When The Going Gets Tough
Anecdotal comfort food from BM.

Algonkian Students Rave
Mystery author Julie Kaewert attends Algonkian-rave review from a professional writer.

Algonkian Conference Pics
Seven Pics from Harpers Ferry (PG rated)
Frolic and Angst at Seven Mts. WC

Should Authors Skewer Authors?
Updike vs. Wolfe and Almond vs. Ellis, etc.

Pithy Pam: Do You Know One?
Writer Tom Meek tells us a true story from the darker side of writing groups.

Literary Dialogues
From our mother site, WebdelSol.Com. Great interviews with truly literary writers. Lofty goals here.

Know Your Genre
Necessary notes on finding your niche.