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The Clemens Medal is awarded to an author for a book of outstanding literary quality and design. 


Congratulations, Chris Madsen, a deserving winner of The Clemens Medal.

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The Association of Independent Authors (AiA) is the peak body representing, advancing, promoting and supporting independent (self-published) authors globally.


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Feathered Quill Book Reviews described Promised Valley War as “an imaginative and well-crafted piece of fiction. The plot features plenty of action and unexpected twists and turns. The balance of suspenseful battles, sweeping scenery, and interpersonal drama would undoubtedly be a satisfying mix on the big screen. Are you listening, Hollywood?”


The US Review of Books remarked on the “traditional, epic tone” of Promised Valley Conspiracy “that is reminiscent to Homer’s Iliad or Odyssey.”


Kirkus Indie Reviews noted that in Promised Valley Peace “Fritsch tells a very detailed, very human story. Some of the book’s younger characters admirably seek to forge a real, lasting peace in their lifetimes, and the interminable threat of war allows Fritsch to make the conflict an allegory for every human conflict to come.”


Please visit www.promisedvalley.com for more information on the Promised Valley novels.

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John Grisham’s Do’s and Don’ts for Writing Popular Fiction

By JOHN GRISHAM                   MAY 31, 2017

Since advice is usually ignored and rules are routinely broken, I refer to these little pearls as merely “suggestions.”

There is nothing original about this list. It has all been said before by writers much smarter than me. I’ve just arranged things differently, and I keep changing them as the years go by. There’s nothing binding here. All suggestions can be ignored when necessary. I do it all the time. However, I write each day with these habits ingrained. — J.G.

1. DO — WRITE A PAGE EVERY DAY

That’s about 200 words, or 1,000 words a week. Do that for two years and you’ll have a novel that’s long enough.

Nothing will happen until you are producing at least one page per day.

2. DON’T — WRITE THE FIRST SCENE UNTIL YOU KNOW THE LAST

This necessitates the use of a dreaded device commonly called an outline. Virtually all writers hate that word. I have yet to meet one 
who admits to using an outline.

Plotting takes careful planning. Writers waste years pursuing stories that eventually don’t work.

3. DO — WRITE YOUR ONE PAGE EACH DAY AT THE SAME PLACE AND TIME

Early morning, lunch break, on the train, late at night — it doesn’t matter. Find the extra hour, go to the same place, shut the door. 

No exceptions, no excuses.

4. DON’T — WRITE A PROLOGUE

Prologues are usually gimmicks to hook the reader. Avoid them. Plan your story (see No. 2) and start with Chapter 1.

5. DO — USE QUOTATION MARKS WITH DIALOGUE

Please do this. It’s rather basic.

6. DON’T — KEEP A THESAURUS WITHIN REACHING DISTANCE

I know, I know, there’s one at your fingertips.

There are three types of words: (1) words we know; (2) words we should know; (3) words nobody knows. Forget those in the third category 
and use restraint with those in the second.

A common mistake by fledgling authors is using jaw-breaking vocabulary. It’s frustrating and phony.

7. DO — READ EACH SENTENCE AT LEAST THREE TIMES IN SEARCH OF WORDS TO CUT

Most writers use too many words, and why not? We have unlimited space and few constraints.

8. DON’T — INTRODUCE 20 CHARACTERS IN THE FIRST CHAPTER

Another rookie mistake. Your readers are eager to get started. Don’t bombard them with a barrage of names from four generations of the same family. Five names are enough to get started.


A version of this article appeared in print on June 4, 2017, on Page BR31 of the Sunday Book Review in the New Tork Times with the headline: John Grisham’s Suggestions for Writing Popular Fiction.