Haste born of impatience is a writer's second worst enemy. Hubris is the worst.
Early stage novel writers are the most content, blissfully unaware of all they do not know. Middle stage novel writers are anxious, each day awakening to a state of ever-diminishing certainty. The more pitiable though are the late stagers, wisely understanding that even a small portion of remaining ignorance might yet be their undoing.
"Every novel writer working towards commercial publication, from concept to finish, must smartly balance artistic self-determination with genre market reality. Thus the Algonkian motto: From the heart, but smart. In this context, when I review an aspiring author's work at any stage, I look at what works, what doesn't, and what must be done to resolve the issue... It's that simple, and that complicated."
Michael Neff is an award winning author, Pushcart nominated poet, widely published short fiction writer, literary agent, writer conference organizer, as well as an accomplished developmental editor. His first published book, a literary political novel about Washington during the Reagan years entitled ALL THE DARK WE WILL NOT SEE, was published by the distinguished academic press, Serving House Books. A few years later, an urban fantasy, MAGICIANS IMPOSSIBLE, was created and co-edited by him, and later published by Macmillan Books. His science-fantasy novels, PIPER ROBBIN AND THE AMERICAN OZ MAKER (pseudonym Warwick Gleeson), and the prequel, WORLD MAKER, have both received multiple awards. The former was chosen by an editorial panel at Kirkus Reviews to be a "Top 150 Best Books" choice in 2019, and in 2020 the novel achieved Amazon Best Seller status. The prequel in 2018 won four national book awards for SFF, including First Place in Science Fiction and a Finalist in Fantasy, Beverly Hills Book Awards, as well as the Merit Award for the CIPA EVVY in Fantasy, and Third Place CIPA EVVY in Science Fiction.
A new thriller novel co-authored by him, BEST SERVED DEADLY, gained Top Ten finalist status in the 2022 Screencraft LA Book Writing Competition out of a field of over 2000 entries, and was chosen by Coverfly in LA to rank Fourth Place in their Top 20 Thriller "Red List" of all time. Two more novels currently in production by Michael include BELISARIUS, WAR DRAGON OF ROME (historical fiction), and THE SHADOW BROKERS OF OZ (book III of the SFF series). His latest screenplay, a dramedy entitled KNOCK ON THE SKY, received four Best 5% "Recommend" reviews from top coverage outfits in Hollywood including WeScreenplay and Indie Film Hustle.
Michael is the founder and chief architect of Algonkian Writer Conferences including the famous and highly successful New York Pitch Conference. Novels ushered to commercial publication via his Algonkian-method workshops include GRAVEMAIDENS by Kelly Coon, THE MANHATTAN PUZZLE by Laurence O'Bryan, THE WISDOM OF HAIR by Kim Boykin, ORPHAN 8 by Kim Van Alkemade, DARK TURNS by Cate Holahan, THE GOAT WOMAN OF LARGO BAY by Gillian Royes, and THE FICTION CLASS by Susan Breen, among dozens of others.
Agent deals and commercial novels in a variety of genres involving Michael as a key developmental editor over the past several years include ON MAGGIE'S WATCH by Ann Garvin, MURDER AT BARCLAY MEADOW by Wendy Eckel, THE EDGE OF NORMAL by Carla Norton, THE BLACK PANTHERS by Gina Niccolo, DIE BACK by Richard Hacker, KARMA CITY by Gardner Browning, and more recently, DRAGON RIPPER, an Amazon best-selling historical mystery by Melanie Bacon.
Michael is also an independent film/tv content agent for Atchity Productions in Los Angeles. Headed by the Hollywood legend Ken Atchity, Atchity Productions is actively looking to discover and sign new content, writers, and stories for mainstream, HBO/Cinemax, and independent film production.
In his spare time, Michael publishes the quirky and popular literary journal Del Sol Review, and over the years his own work has appeared in such literary publications as the North American Review, Quarterly West, Pittsburgh Quarterly, The Literary Review, American Way Magazine, and Conjunctions. Twenty years ago, he was one of the winners of the first Imitation William Faulkner Contest sponsored by the University of Mississippi, and since then he has served as judge for various writing contests, including the Writer's Digest Finalist Prize for best short fiction.
Lastly, he is the founding editor, and a major contributing editor to Novel Writing on Edge, a popular source of critical and tie-breaking advice on novel and fiction writing for aspiring authors.