Writing Resources 26 October 2013

WR10262013 ADJHere you will find a selection of the best of the blogsphere from the past week. Starting this week you’ll find a NaNoPrep section about halfway down. Grab your coffee, straighten the glasses or spritz those contacts and above all – enjoy!

Inform & Inspire

K.D. Lovgren: The things I tell myself while I write a novel. “This is my wiser self, speaking to the one who flails about and doesn’t believe. This is what works for me. Want to eavesdrop? Get in the bubble. The bubble where you can get lost in another world. Go to a music service that lets you create a playlist. Think about the scene you want to write.

Writing

Kristen Lamb: The Heart of Great Stories—How to Create Clear, Interesting Character OBJECTIVES. “As storytellers, we must create a sympathetic, compelling lead if we want readers to engage. This is especially critical for longer works like novels or series. The longer the work, the more readers must love the protagonist, because they’ll be spending a lot of time together. Yet, an interesting protagonist is not enough. We have to have an actual story, which demands an interesting objective.

Shawn Coyne: Conventions and Obligatory Scenes. “If I hand you my novel and tell you it’s a murder mystery, what would you expect from the book before you even turned the title page?

Janice Hardy: Keeping Goals and Motivations Fresh. “There’s so much pressure on writers to find the fresh, original idea, that we often forget there are only so many plots to beginning with. Depending on which theory, that can be anywhere from two to thirty-six, though the classic number is seven. (Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth)

Chuck Wendig: 25 Reasons I Fucking Love Genre Fiction. “What follows below is the presentation speech I gave at this year’s GenreCon in Brisbane, Australia. I had originally thought to do a 25 list devoted to what I see as problems in genre fiction from the authorial perspective — but I was taken by the sheer love of All Things Genre at the conference and decided instead to be a fountain, not a drain, and talk about all the things that genre fiction does well.

JR Sheridan: Writing Tips: Real Life Violence With Author And Bouncer JR Sheridan. “Until literary success finds me ready, willing and able to accept the accolades and riches, I have to keep up a proper job. I am a Door Supervisor. Trained and licensed to the standards of the Security Industry Authority. The old term is Bouncer, which has been deemed by the powers that be to be politically incorrect.

Roz Morris: Dialogue special part 2: dialogue is more than talking. “Dialogue is action. Dialogue is a kind of action scene. Although the conversation is the main focus, the characters are more than just mouths. Make the characters respond to each other. There should be give and take. A good scene will give a sense that something in the story has changed; in a dialogue scene you can make the conversation cause this change.

Elizabeth S. Craig: What’s Important in a Story?I was going through my blog reader recently and came across an interesting post from writer Jeff Cohen: “Stuff Not to Do” on the Hey, There’s a Dead Guy in the Living Room blog.  The whole article was good, but the part that particularly caught my eye was this: “Don’t decide on the crime and then create a character to fit it. Character comes first. The crime is the bait; it’s what Alfred Hitchcock called “the MacGuffin,” something the people in your book are desperate about but the reader should find secondary. Your characters are first…

Writer Support

Michael Cahill: How Can Writers Take Advantage of the Affordable Care Act?The only worry freelance writers should have is finishing their pieces by deadline. Unfortunately, things aren’t so simple. One of the biggest causers of stress for the self-employed writer is getting health insurance. Unlike their less independent counterparts, freelance writers don’t get the benefit of a plan provided by their employer or access to an affordable group health insurance rate.

Susan Spann: Rejections and Partials and Fulls … Oh, My!Most writers agree that the query process isn’t the most fun you’ll have on the way to publication. Essentially, the query is a new car design … and the author, the crash-test dummy. If you’re like most of us who query, you’re going to hit a few walls before you reach THE CALL that leads to representation. However, the querying process is neither a license to gloat nor cause for despair, and there are several things you can do to ease the experience.

NaNoPrep

Lindsay Buroker: NaNoWriMo Prep: How Do You Write More in Less Time?If you’ve tried NaNoWriMo before and haven’t finished those pesky 50,000 words in the month allotted, perhaps you’d like some tips on how to get more written in less time. I always feel like a bit of hypocrite when it comes to productivity tips, since I a) don’t write 10,000 words a day like some authors and b) am the master at dinking around on Twitter, Facebook, and, ahem, “researching” on the internet during writing time. But, hey, I have published ten novels and however many short stories and novellas in the last three years, so that ought to count for something. So, without further waffling, here are my tips for finishing those 50,000 words in one month…

Nina Amir: How to Write a Good Book in 30 Days. “November hits and the writing world goes crazy. It seems like everyone hustles to produce a book in a month, but is it really possible to create a good manuscript in 30 days? Actually it is. Whether you choose to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or in  National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), also known as the Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge, truth be told, you can produce a good book in a month. However, I contend that doing so takes a good bit of planning prior to the beginning of November as well as some tenacity.

Alexandra Sokoloff: Nanowrimo Prep: Expanded Story Elements Checklist. “What I am forever suggesting is that studying the movies and books that you love, and looking specifically for those story elements and how they are handled, is like playing scales on a piano or doing barre work in dance. Practicing this kind of analysis builds your chops as a writer and becomes a natural part of your writing process. It can also help you solve virtually any story problem you come up against.

Kristen Lamb: Conflict—Giving LIFE to Your Fiction. “Bad decisions make GREAT fiction. I know it’s tough to not write about fully evolved/self-actualized characters, but those guys are B-O-R-I-N-G. We like to watch people grow, probably so we might glean some hint of how to grow, ourselves. The more messed up a character is? The more INTERESTING they become. Come on! You know it.

Publishing

David Gaughran: Amazon Makes Life Easier For Authors of Historical & Literary Fiction. “There are lots of reasons why self-publishing success stories tend to concentrate around writers of “genre” fiction, but it’s a mistake to assume that success is impossible if you write literary fiction or historical fiction (which tends to get lumped in with literary fiction, even though it’s just another genre… like literary fiction!).

Jane Friedman: My Newest Project: Scratch Magazine Launches Today. “Very few people or publications speak openly about the economic realities of the publishing business. In our bare-it-all media culture, frank talk about money remains taboo. Writers often lack the context or insight to understand our own industry, even as that industry undergoes massive structural and economic changes. Scratch provides a home for open and sustained discussion of these experiences through high-quality content. Yes, we publish advice for writers—but we also go further, investigating the nuances of writers’ relationships to money, work, and publishing.

Marketing

Lindsay Buroker: Price Pulsing, Advertising, and Increasing Visibility on Amazon. “As authors, we’re always looking for ways to sell more books. We’re sure everyone (or at least %0.01384 of the population) would adore our stories… if only they knew about them. Obscurity is the enemy, so it’s no wonder that most of us spend hours browsing online forums, blogs, and the pages of Amazon itself in an attempt to figure out the magical formula for getting our books in front of more potential buyers. In the fast-changing digital marketplace (*cough* especially Amazon), fame (AKA visibility) is fleeting and it’s entirely possible to go from being solidly mid-list to having only handfuls of sales from one year to the next (or one month to the next).

Joanna Penn: 5 Ways To Share Your Book Research With Your Readers. “I’m obsessed with learning about new places, different ways of looking at the world and scouring sources for little tidbits that can bring my story alive. As well as enriching your writing, your research can also function as extra content that your readers will love. Plus, it can also be a great marketing tool, drawing people to check out the book. So here’s some of the ways you can share your research with your readers…

Chuck Wendig: Your Book Is Not Pepper Spray That You Must Fountain Into My Eyes. “Dear People Who Have Written Books: I don’t want to be advertised to. Or, put differently: I don’t want to be strapped down while you advertise all over me in some acrid, splashy golden shower version of “marketing.” I awake daily now to find that someone has posted a photo of their book to Facebook and tagged me in the photo. Not because I had anything to do with the book. Not because I even know this person, but just because they want me to see it.

Social Media

Johnny Base: What Is Google Plus And Why Should Writers Use It?Let’s start with what Google Plus is not. It is not a social media platform filled with teenagers and people with too much time on their hands. It’s not a vortex which only wastes time. It is not Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. Google Plus is a business tool.

Resource Heaven

Cate Russell-Cole: Where to Find The Must-Have Extra Features for Your Blog. A great list of blog enhancers well worth the look.

About Gene Lempp

Gene Lempp is a writer blending elements of alternate history, the paranormal, fantasy, science fiction and horror for dark and delicious fun. He unearths stories by digging into history, archeology, myth and fable in his Designing from Bones blog series. “Only the moment is eternal and in a moment, everything will change,” sums the heart of his philosophy. You can find Gene at his Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, WANATribe, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
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3 Responses to Writing Resources 26 October 2013

  1. As always, Gene, great resources! Thanks! :-)

  2. Amber Dane says:

    Thanks for the links, Gene :)

  3. Marcia says:

    Roz Morris’ post was great…really relevant for me right now. Thanks for the super mashup, Gene!
    Hope your week is going well!

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