Past & Future: A New Victory and an Updated Direction


PrintI find myself at a moment of reflection on the backside of NaNoWriMo 2015 (yes, I completed the 50k. thank you), and so thought this a good time to address the past of this blog.

A glance back, before forging ahead.

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve looked over my numbers from the blog. With two years of static traffic, I have the enviable position of being able to clearly see which posts, subjects, and themes my best traffic comes from. The answer, guest posts and Designing from Bones absolutely dominate the top 25% of most hits per post.

That said, I do have a few ideas moving forward that will honor the past of the site while increasing the value of the content.

First, starting in 2016, I’ll be pursuing selected guests to share their wisdom and experience here on the site. And, you will see me on other sites as well when the occasion allows.

Designing from Bones will live on, but will now be in support of my writing projects. Topics picked will be in connection with whatever I happen to be researching at the time. There will also be an occasional revitalization of some of the older Designing posts to up their value.

Writing Resources, while it did have a very loyal following, will not be returning in its past form. If you want to find posts on any writing topic, they are not hard to find. Sorry, Google wins this one because my creative work has eternal precedence.

If you look at the First Mentor post, you’ll see the New Writing Resources.  The people, the online writer resources, libraries, and universities, and those sources of real value for writers online — the New Writing Resources is where I’ll be housing everything I’ve found and continue to seek. Mentors, Resources, Training, Leaders, and more.

The remainder of my posting was focused on goals, time management, and other sundry topics. While I may visit some of those by default, it will be by way of posts on business, marketing, self-management, and self-motivation.

Call it the other side of the indie coin.

There will be a “What I learned from NaNo 2015” post out in a couple of days. I look forward to iterating into the future with all of you. *smile*

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First Mentor: The Social Media Jedi of WANATribe, Kristen Lamb

We are not alone: WANA concept there, and the brain child of my first author mentor, Kristen Lamb. Kristen is likely known to you, and if not there is a link to her site and other goodies at the end of the post.

If you are:

  • An Indie of any form
  • Self-published
  • Pushing towards either
  • In need of low-impact marketing ideas to get your name in front of the people who need to see your creative spark
  • Heck, if you just want to be a stronger professional creative, then Kristen is one of those people you’ll want to get to know.

In my first online iteration, I connected with Kristen through social media before I had a hundred Twitter followers, and no blog — this was in late 2010 early 2011.

It was not long before her blogging and social media classes had me humming along with a small but vibrant community of readers (by the way, if you are a reader at the time of this posting you are likely one of those), and a social media presence that…well let me say this:

When I stopped posting in November of 2013, I had close to 240 blog subscribers and just under 1700 Twitter followers. I stopped using Twitter as of August 2013 for personal reasons, so this piece of my platform was already static. Over the past two years, I added almost 120 blog subscribers and over 3000 Twitter followers — without a single post or tweet. Granted these may not seem like stellar numbers to some, but all the growth came with zero input from me other than the echo of my words and a well-built platform — which is what I learned from Kristen Lamb.

“It writes the words or it gets the hose”

Yeah, Kristen put that line into mine and other Warrior Writers heads as part of what I consider my professional “basic training” —  and now I give it out to my closest writing friend, my wife, and to all of you, because powerful motivational lines must be shared.

This phrase became an early reminder to keep what I do in perspective. Social media is awesome, but if you are a creative, then the art you pursue is the only thing of real value.

We all gets things wrong at times. We all amp up things that should remain small. We all blow off things about to crush us. We all need someone out there to give us a less than gentle reminder *smile* to clarify our perspective. Go read Kristen’s blog and it won’t take long to realize she has a gift for kicking the occasionally slow-moving creative tush into gear — and what she preaches is what she holds herself to, and more.

The most valuable lesson: Be smart about your social media usage and you’ll have more time to do the thing you love — be that a creative pursuit, your family, or whatever it is that drives you to enjoy life. Because what is the point of all the work if we never get to enjoy ourselves?

Platform does not have to be stressful. Instead, platform should be a way to play with and engage friends and fans in a manner that builds real connections. By the way, all those marketing classes I alluded to taking in my return post — social marketing isn’t the future, its the present. Numbers do not represent reach or influence or in some cases, anything at all but B.S. warped into being by well-chosen subjective questions and statements — BUT, numbers in combination across multiple platforms (combined social media presence) now that is powerful — and that, is what WANA and Kristen Lamb are all about.

“It’s all about tribe”

Tribe. Family. We are not alone. And that means as Creatives — we are a tribe already, we just haven’t all met yet.

Kristen’s greatest innovation, in my opinion, offers a rare chance to rectify this, and it’s called: WANATribe.

WANATribe is a golden opportunity for creatives that are looking for a stress-free, marketing-free environment filled with creatives of all types.  The platform offers many of the features we are all already familiar with on mainstream social media, but does it in a way that doesn’t study every click to force advertising on you. None of that on WANATribe. Just lots of creatives being, creative.

For all the current NaNoWriMo champions — Kristen is leading daily sprints on WANATribe which is a great way to stay motivated while easing away some of the loneliness that often accompanies a creative lifestyle. Go give it a look.

What you’ll find on WANATribe are other creatives of all shapes, forms, and genres — all walking the same path together. Supporting each others efforts with motivation, experience, and actionable advice that lead towards an expanding creative future.

So, if this sounds interesting to you — a path you’d like to walk:

Here’s the link to WANATribe


And as promised: Kristen’s We Are Not Alone post

Kristen Lamb’s blog

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1-2-3 For NaNoWriMo

On the eve of NaNoWriMo, with the spirits all about — a 1-2-3 last minute prep for all those about to explore their creative minds.

1 Guiding Thought

In a recent post, Shawn Coyne of the discusses the power of having a single guiding global thought when we engage larger processes, like NaNoWriMo. When you consider the story you are about to engage in a month long embrace of creativity —

What is the one thought that sparked the story child you are about to birth?

For me: What if humans from Earth encountered humans that knew nothing of us or our planet? How would they judge us?

The full version is a bit fleshier and is printed on a card sitting next to my monitor. This card will be the first thing I read every writing session as a way to keep my mind focused on the stories ultimate goal. No matter how the characters and plots twist the path, in the end, only getting to the answer/solution/end goal of the guiding global thought matters.

Give it a try. And if you have a moment later on, have a look at Shawn’s post.

2 Hours a Day

Or less.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to empower the creative mind into telling the editor to go sit quietly in a corner so the Creative You can work. To complete NaNo means averaging 1,666 words a day for thirty consecutive days (or any mathematical variation you desire).

I can type 1,666 words in less than an hour at full speed, and bet many of you type faster than I do. However, the goal is not speed as much as it is learning to stay in the flow of the story without worrying about the pretty — although it can be as colorful as you wish.

When first conceived, we are all ugly babies. Don’t worry, you can make the tike pretty after November. *smile*

Now: Envision yourself on a canoe driven by a strong current and without paddles or rudder. You can tilt to the left or right to steer. You can settle or shift your weight to guide and manage your craft through the waves. The one thing you cannot do is turn and go back.

Let the typos go

Let the editor vacation in the Bahama’s

Let your creative mind play without judgment

Seen this way, NaNoWriMo is less of a challenge than it is a Gift to Your Creative Mind.

Now grab your friends (e.g. characters) and go play on the playground of your choice.

3 Friends

Three unrelated friends. I say it this way because, while we all desire to keep our promises to our families, we also know they are the easiest to gain forgiveness from when we fail.

So, three people to whom you are not related. Preferably ones you respect.

With these three friendly travelers: You’ll check in a couple times a week with: Your progress. Your struggles. Your breakthroughs. Your whatever. And, all of theirs in return.

There is no better way to stabilize your route through NaNoWriMo than with a few friends. Think of those buddy movies that open with four unrelated people in a car pulling into Vegas. *smile*

And hey if you have more than three. All the better. I’m GeneLempp (no spaces) on NaNoWriMo, and happy to buddy with anyone in the challenge.

I’ll be contacting my three Vegas travelers today. Who will your three be?

And there you have it, my friends, a 1-2-3 for NaNoWriMo — launchpad is set.

Time to fly

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Perfect Moment — Hello Again, my friends

“One who waits for the perfect moment to act, dies standing still.”

And there, is one of the key lessons of the past two years of my life. And of course, the saying does seem to compliment my original…

“Only the moment seems eternal, and in a moment, everything will change.”

And did. And does. Evermore (quoth the raven’s cousin)

In “Turning Pro,” Steven Pressfield states that each of us will know the moment when we turn pro in our heads, even if it isn’t visible to the rest of the world yet. Answering the question of staying a hobbyist or turning pro is one each of us faces. The question of hobbyist or pro has been a central focus of my thought since my last post in November of 2013.

At first I viewed the question as, “Do I want to pursue becoming a full-time writer?”

Most, if not all of you will immediately see the flaws in that question. And indeed I pursued what Pressfield would call a shadow career for a time, writing hundreds of pages of non-fiction, the equivalent of two novels page count, over the course of semesters worth of business and marketing courses. Enough to earn me a 4.0 and the recommendations of every professor I was fortunate to meet, and yet, at the end of the day, there was no satisfaction in my heart.

And the question changed. “What plan can I devise to create enough income to become a full-time writer?” But really, that too is the wrong question. Nothing wrong with money, to be full-time at a profession implies a full-time income — at least in my mind. But money itself has never been the true goal. To me, money is a side effect of dedicated work.

Other voices echoed in my head, for now I’ll simply call them The Mentors, and the question took a new transition:

“What do I truly want as a writer?”

Well, I am not seeking awards. And to be honest, I’m not seeking literary standing among the great novelists of history. Unless it becomes earned, but not my thing.

Want to know what I actually want? To entertain and enlighten. And make a living while I’m at it so I can do it all the time. Pretty simple, only took me two years to have the thought. *smile*

And the coming days? Well, there will be writing on writing. On what I’m writing. On The Mentors. On what I’ve been learning over the past two years. Over what I’m learning now. And, a journey to be shared.

If you choose to stick around, awesome, can’t wait to meet you all once again. And hey, if I’m not your cup of tea, all good friend. May peace guide your steps whatever path you follow.

For many years I used a picture of a 1500s wooden ship, sails limp, adrift on gray waters, an eerie death mask moon its destination — as my computer wallpaper. The waters while not raging, were not calm. Constant movement. Constant flux. Life.

As ships of the Age of Exploration would leave port to sail into the unknown or to places only whispered in unconfirmed rumors, so to some of those ships returned with stories of exotic lands and peoples. Of places where humanity is tested against its own nature. Of places where the fear of the unknown comes into contact with the deepest lusts and desires of the human heart. Of places where there is only gray and the truth is little more than a mist warming away on the first ray of heat.

The past two years have taken me to many ports and places I never thought I’d go, and while I’ve yet to unearth a lost city of gold or temple of arcane wisdom — I built them instead. And it is my hope, you’ll stick around to see those as well.

So, I’m back at the home port now, and trust me I’ve a tale or two, and a new skill or two, that I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks.

Next post will be soon. I’m doing the final prep for NaNoWrimo 2015 and cleaning out the cobwebs from the platform. Just couldn’t wait to say “Hello,” once more.


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Writing Resources 16 November 2013

WR 11162013 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

Shawn Coyne: Gut Check. “A young writer’s first novel, nontraditional in structure and language, lands on the desk of the editor-in-chief at a big publishing company. He reads a few pages and pushes it off on a newbie editor who’d just been transferred from the advertising department. The neophyte doesn’t know that editors-in-chief don’t pass manuscripts to their underlings unless they are certain passes. With no understanding of what people would want to read beyond his own predilections, a week later the ambitious young man enters the company editorial meeting and passionately advocates to acquire the manuscript.

James Clear: You’re Not Good Enough to Be Disappointed. “Dan John is a weightlifting coach. He is well-known in the fitness world for keeping things simple. As regular readers know, simplicity matches up well with my exercise philosophy. (Dan John also has two first names. And you should always fear a man with two first names.) Anyway, I recently heard Dan John say, “I often tell my new athletes: “Sorry, you just are not good enough to be disappointed.

Colin Falconer: 8 Reasons: Those 8 Successes Did Not Fail. “I remember one morning a few years ago stumbling out onto the deck with my coffee, feeling pretty bad about life. My border collie looked up at me from between her paws with that look that said:… here we go, he’s going to start on about his freaking problems ….Do I really have to listen to all this again? Well I buy your Kibble lady, so yes you do. And so she’d listen, but not for free. Payment consisted of fifteen minutes stroking behind the ear – minimum – and on a bad day a belly rub as well.


Kerry Lonsdale: Hanging Writing Rules Out to Dry. “When I write I go deep in my head. It takes a lot of energy, and time, for me to write well. Even if my schedule permitted, I am mentally incapable of writing every day. While writing for me is a necessity—we’ve all heard the expression: writing is like the air we breathe, we have to do it or we die—it is simultaneously invigorating and exhausting. But still… We are supposed to write every day, right?

Darcy Pattison: Get Your Tone Right. “Humor, irony, satire, pleasantness, excitement, righteous indignation–the audience’s anticipated reaction is what determines the tone with which you write a particular piece. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown has a soothing tone; Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey has an irreverent, comical tone; Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse has a spare, restrained tone that matches the mood of the Dust Bowl.

Roz Morris: 7 ways to cut a novel without losing anything important. “‘Help, an agent has told me I need to cut 25,000 words from my novel!’ I get a lot of emails like this – from writers understandably wondering where on earth to start. In commercial publishing there are accepted lengths for books, ranging from 70,000 to 100,000 according to genre and audience. These conventions are created as much by the economics of distribution as reader preference, but they are pretty entrenched and can be dealbreakers. And if you’re self-publishing a monster epic in print, you might start to understand how paperback costs escalate as those pages pile up.

Angela Ackerman: The Four Types of Character Flaws. “As writers, we know our characters should have positive and negative attributes because in real life, each individual is a mix of both. Flaws are especially important as in the character’s weaker moments, they dictate their thoughts, actions and behaviors, leading to poor decisions and mistakes. Talk about fueling great conflict and tension!

Writer Support

Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Business Rusch: Storytelling. “I really hate the term “writer.” It’s not accurate. Yeah, I’m a writer. But honestly, what I really am is a storyteller.  I tell stories, and I use fiction on the page (digital or paper) as my medium.

Jeff Goins: Write Less, Not More: How to Slice and Dice Your Content. “One of my favorite essays on writing is, “Sh*tty First Drafts” by Anne Lamott. I read it in college, and it changed the way I approached the craft. Over a decade later, it still has a profound effect on me.

K.M. Weiland: 6 Tips to Come Up With Great Ideas for Writing. “Idea creation may seem a random and even mystical process, but there are simple and practical ways to increase your chances of how to come up with great ideas for writing. All writers know it’s impossible to have great ideas all time. Sometimes you feel stuck, and it frustrates you, doesn’t it?


Ava Jae: How I Won NaNoWriMo in 9 Days. “So this is my NaNoWriMo word count progress chart, or at least, that’s what it was on Saturday after I hit 50k. So statistics! We like statistics. Here’s how my nine day breakdown went...”

Alexandra Sokoloff: Nanowrimo: The PLAN (Act II)Today I wanted to review what I think it the key to any second act, and really the whole key to story structure: The PLAN. You always hear that “Drama is conflict,” but when you think about it –what the hell does that mean, practically? It’s actually much more true, and specific, to say that drama is the constant clashing of a hero/ine’s PLAN and an antagonist’s, or several antagonists’, PLANS.

Larry Brooks: Three Men and a Manuscript: A Forum on the Storytelling Craft. “The following is a little Q&A (2500 words worth) I recently engaged in with two of the bigger names out there in the “writing guru” space: James Scott Bell, and Randy  Ingermanson. We share a lot similar perspectives and values regarding craft, and any similarity you see here to what I’ve been espousing on this site are… well, not at all coincidental.


Jane Friedman: Book Marketing 101. “It is possible, if not desirable, for an author to launch an effective book-marketing campaign without a publisher’s support or assistance. Mainly, it requires time and energy. It may also require some monetary investment to hire a publicist, PR firm, or marketing consultant to advise and assist you. The good news is that, by the time your second, third, or fourth book comes out, you should have a solid base of readers to work from—a base that was developed from marketing activities associated with previous launches.

Joanna Penn: Book Marketing: Generosity, Social Karma And Co-opetition. “We either want to help them through information or inspiration, or we want to entertain people and perhaps make them think. Considering marketing in the same way can help you, because it focuses on the other person, the customer, not on you. That serves several purposes…

Lindsay Buroker: The Art of the Amazon Sale: Improving Rankings, Selling More Books, and Gaining Exposure. “I’m not a master marketer. I never hand someone a business card unless they ask, I rarely plug my titles on Twitter and Facebook, and if I had to sell my books face-to-face I doubt I’d have moved more than ten copies in the last three years. But with Amazon, if you can figure out how to sell moderately well, the company’s algorithms tend to reward you by promoting your books beyond what you could have done on your own. It’s worth it to tinker around over there and try to make things happen, even with a series where you’ve long since released the last book, and sales have started dwindling.

Elizabeth S. Craig: Thoughts On a 99 Cent Sale. “It’s been a very long time since I’ve sold anything at 99 cents.  I’d read some blog posts that advised against it.  I’d heard readers say that it was tough finding anything good at 99 cents. Then I started reading those same things…but it was now arguing against a $1.99 price point.


John Cantin: Self-Publishing 101: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!I grew-up in a house that was under constant renovation. My father would remodel one room to look great and then the following month, remodel another. Paint, drywall, wooden ornaments—you name it, he did it. I always wanted to get into woodworking and manufacturing in general but due to my circumstances at the time (no knowledge of machining, traveling across foreign countries, no formal design training), I kept putting it off until one day I decided on a plan that forever changed my life.

Susan Spann: Surviving the Offer – and Letting the Agent Deal. “After your agent sends your work on submission, you’ll spend several weeks – or, more likely, months- learning to “manage your expectations.” “Managing expectations” while on submission means learning to wait patiently AND working on your next book.

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Writing Resources 9 November 2013

WR11092013ADJHere 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

Steven Pressfield: Resistance and Self-Loathing. “Hang on while I make the case that self-loathing is a good thing. I don’t mean only within the comedic-material sphere, within which self-loathing has been mined for years by Woody Allen, Howard Stern, Richard Lewis, and the godfather of them all, Philip Roth in Portnoy’s Complaint.


Anne R. Allen: Sex Sells, Right? Maybe Not. Why you Might Want to Rethink those Steamy Scenes in Your Novel. “When my publisher asked me to remove the explicit sex scenes from my upcoming novel, The Lady of the Lakewood Diner I thought he was nuts. Sex sells, doesn’t it? Maybe not so much anymore. That screeching sound you hear is the abrupt U-turn the publishing industry is taking away from erotic material. A number of factors have contributed to the change…

Jami Gold: Does Your Writing Have Rhythm?We’re probably all familiar with the idea that poetry, music, and song lyrics can have rhythm. But prose writing—our normal, everyday writing with sentences and paragraphs rather than lines, stanzas, and verses—can have a rhythm too.

Darcy Pattison: Point of View: Techniques for Getting Inside a Character’s Head. “A story’s point-of-view is crucial to the success of a story or novel. But POV is one of the most complicated and difficult of creative writing skills to master. Part of the problem is that POV can refer to four different things, says David Jauss, professor at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, in his book, On Writing Fiction: Rethinking Conventional Wisdom About Craft.

Marcy Kennedy: 7 Ways to Develop Your Voice. “A distinct voice seems to be the thing that everyone wants but no one can tell you how to get. And I have to admit this annoys me. I’m a very practical person. If you can clearly tell me how to do something, I’ll get it done for you. If it’s ooey gooey and you tell me “it just has to develop over time,” I’m going to be cheesed. I’m also going to set out to figure out how to do whatever you’ve just told me can’t be taught and has to develop organically.

Kimberly Brock: Look Away, Away – Creating Unforgettable Settings. “I think writers of any ilk can benefit from a healthy appreciation of setting, but regional – particularly southern writers – are haunted by our connection to, love of, loss of, and clawing crawling, desperate journey back to – the land.

Writer Support

Kristen Lamb: Author Success—The Laws of Sowing & Reaping. “Life has many irrefutable truths. One? We get out of life what we put into it. We will get out of our writing what we invest. We cannot expect large returns from a social media platform if we rely on robots (automation) and connect randomly and half-heartedly. Social media is about relationships and being fair-weather friends has limited effectiveness.

Jeff Goins: You Don’t Need to Become a Better Writer. “Every day, I get a message from a writer who wants to be “better.” They want advice on how to improve their craft or what it takes to get an agent or how to break through their creative blocks. But often what they really want is affirmation that they’re good enough. And they’re missing the point.

Ava Jae: Scrivener’s Version of Track Changes. “Remember that time I said that I didn’t know if Scrivener had a track changes feature, but I suspected it probably did and I hadn’t found it yet and my Scrivener n00bness was showing? Well, I was right—Scrivener does have a track changes feature. Or at least, it has it’s own version of it, and I happen to have fallen in love with it.

Phi Tran: Adult Swim App Seeking Funny Writers for User-Submitted Bumps. “The funny guys at Adult Swim are asking for your help with with creating their iconic, 15 second Bumps which airs on the evening television program from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ET/PT). The app brings the user-submitted Bump builder to smartphones…


Grant Faulkner: Five Tips for NaNoWriMo: Week One. “Studies to discover the key ingredients of NaNoWriMo success have been conducted by data scientists, wizards, alchemists, two plumbers from just outside of Cleveland, one rodeo rider, and a winemaker from Tours, France. In our endless search to find the recipe for success, we’ve concluded that because everyone is different, there is no one formula to cross the finish line. The main thing is to keep trying new approaches, so here’s the magic NaNo recipe that works for me.

Alexandra Sokoloff: Ready, set, Nano!!Well, the point of Nano is to write so fast that you – sometimes – forget that your hands are dripping blood. It’s a stellar way of turning off your censor (we all have one of those little suckers) and just get those pages out. I’ll be posting Nano prompts throughout the month, but here’s a list of helpful hints if you find yourself stuck.

Bob Mayer: The Kernal Idea: The Alpha and Omega of Your Book. “You have to start somewhere. Have you ever listened to a writer who just recently started a new project? They are practically jumping out of their pants with excitement. Their eyes light up and oddly enough, they break out of that introverted shell and start babbling away about their latest novel. This is at the core of the Kernel Idea.” Also from Bob: Conflict the Fuel of your Story.

Marcia Richards: 6 Things I’ve Learned From My First 6 Days Of NaNo. “In my first 6 days, I’ve learned a few other things that might help you: whether you’ve begun NaNo or not, whether you’re a first-timer or not whether you’re participating in NaNo or just slogging through your work in progress on your own schedule.


Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Business Rusch: Reality Check. “Writers are writers are writers, and the one thing we do really, really well is make stuff up. For some reason, writers believe that if they finish something, it should not only sell but sell millions of copies. Musicians aren’t that delusional. Just because they learn a piece of music doesn’t mean they can play it well. Just because they’ve managed to give a concert doesn’t mean the audience enjoyed said concert—or even showed up to hear it.

Phi Tran: Five Free eBook Templates from HubSpot. “Publishing your own eBooks can be a daunting task – especially if you don’t have layout ideas or know enough design software. To help you publish your eBook on a budget, we’re sharing this useful set of five basic eBook templates from the advertising gurus at Hubspot.


Joanna Penn: Book Distribution: How To Make The Most Of Direct Sales. “No-one else cares about your books as much as you do, and they never will. It’s well known in the content marketing world that you shouldn’t rely on a third party platform for your long term marketing success – it’s known as ‘digital sharecropping‘. Facebook might disappear, free blogging platforms can shut you down, and that’s why I am always talking about setting up an email list on your own self-hosted site.

Dan Blank: Hoping to Grow Your Audience? Focus on Narratives. “If you are a writer or creative professional, narratives matter when you consider developing an audience. For many people: narratives are our we define ourselves, it is how we filter the world, it is how we search for meaning. Narratives are the stories we tell ourselves. Two key aspects to consider…

Social Media

Jeff Goins: 3 Steps to Building a Killer Tribe. “We’ve talked before about why you need to find your tribe — a unique group of fans, friends, and followers who resonate with your worldview. This can be done through a blog, radio program, or speaking platform. But really, the medium is irrelevant; what matters most is the trust you establish with people. The hard part isn’t defining the message; it’s creating a community that wants to hear from you.

Christine Tyler: Building Your Community With Youtube. “Creating Youtube videos is one of the most effective ways for a writer to enhance his or her community. First, we’re going to look at what groups make up our writing community, what we give them, what we gain from them, and most importantly, what we should not expect to get from them. Then, we’ll look at how Youtube benefits every group individually.

Joel Friedlander: How to Build an Awesome and Relevant Twitter Following in 6 Minutes a Day. “If you’re like lots of other authors, you might feel a bit conflicted about Twitter. On one hand, you know that Twitter has become something more than just another social media network. It has started to function as the information network of choice for millions of people around the world.

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Writing Resources 2 November 2013

WR11022013 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!




Earlier this week a close friend of my wife and I passed away due to a tragic twist of fate and health. Hasan Niyazi was always there to inspire and encourage others, a man driven by a deep passion for the arts. His insights into the old masters, Raphael, Caravaggio, and many others unveiled the mysteries of these works to those of us who appreciate the power and wonder of art. Hasan will be deeply missed by all who knew him, a special man with a golden heart and mind. Here is a link to the blog he leaves behind, a memorial to his insights and passion.

Three Pipe Problem


Inform & Inspire

James Clear: 10 Common Mistakes That Prevent You From Being Happy and Healthy Today, Backed by Science. “I’m fascinated by the link between the way we live our daily lives and the health and happiness we enjoy. There are choices that you make every day, some of which seem completely unrelated to your health and happiness, that dramatically impact the way you feel mentally and physically. With that said, here are 10 common mistakes that can prevent you from being happy and healthy, and the science to back them up.

Hugh Howey: Writing Advice from C.L. Stone. “Ever seen an interview happen in reverse? Or inside-out? I think that’s what’s about to happen here. C.L. Stone is an indie author with a few published works to her name. She has built up a loyal following and is having success with her ACADEMY series. A month ago, she released her latest novel, and it shot up into the top 300 on Amazon. That’s no mean feat.


Janice Hardy: I Hear You: Character Voices in Non-POV Characters. “Voice is a bit harder for non-POV characters because internalization is a large part of character voice, and without that, you have to rely on the dialog and how your POV character sees and hears that character. But there are ways to help differentiate your characters and know what dialog and traits go with what person.

Chuck Wendig: The Zero-Fuckery Quick-Create Guide To Kick-Ass Characters. “When writers are tasked with creating characters, we are told to try these character exercises that entreat us to answer rather mad questions about them: hair color, eye color, toe length, nipple hue, former job, phone number of former job supervisor, what she had for lunch, if she were a piece of Ikea furniture what piece would she be (“Billy bookcase! NO WAIT, A SKJARNNGFLONG LINGONBERRY-FLAVORED COCKTAIL TRAY”). And so on and so forth. Most of these are, of course, abject badger-shite.

Jami Gold: How to Avoid a Sagging Middle in Our Stories. “The middle act of our story isn’t about adding page count to drag out the tension and make the story novel-length. And the middle isn’t just a delaying tactic before we get to the “good stuff.” *smile* Instead, the middle of our story should be the “meat” of the story, as far as conflicts and arcs.

Roz Morris: Dialogue special part 3: subtext. “Novel dialogue has to be more condensed and purposeful than real-life chattering. As writers, we need to pick the encounters that will show something significant about the characters, the way they interact, the way they view the story events. Subtext is useful when we don’t want to show this significance plainly.

Eve Paludan: 10 Tips For Creating a Bestselling Series. “The series name is important for authors to establish from the very first book. Give your series a name that conveys to prospective readers a clear idea of the genre. Here are some examples: Brotherhood of the Blade, Witch Detectives, Ranch Lovers Romance, Angel Detectives, and Ghost Files (J.R. Rain, Scott Nicholson, et al.). Brotherhood of the Blade is about vampire hunters, and these other series names likewise shout out to the prospective readers, “This is what I am!”

Writer Support

Becca Jordan: Ask Becca: Six Facts about Rejection. “Rejection is tough. I’ve published a half-hand-full of poems (three exactly), and do you even want to know how many form rejections I have? Do you really? More than fifty, and I get a new one every day. And I’ve got news: They don’t get any easier to swallow.

Lindsay Buroker: Pen Names for Different Genres, Yea or Nay?Let’s talk about pen names today. Not the type of pen name you adopt because you need to hide your writing career from employers, stalkers, mob bosses, or grannies who don’t approve of your “active romance” novels (all valid reasons to write under a pseudonym), but the type you feel you have to create because you’re going to publish something in a different genre.

Martha Alderson: How to Write in the Zone for a Fast Draft. “One of the greatest predictors of successfully pre-plotting and writing a novel or memoir in a month is the ability to write in the zone. When you’re in the flow of your writing, words and ideas come to you effortlessly. You don’t second-guess yourself. You’re not timid and paranoid about your ability to persevere.

Ruth Harris: The Big “O” for Writers—Organization: The Writer’s Toolbox #3. “Ideas come helter-skelter. Plot points arrive unbidden and in no coherent order. Characters can be stubborn and do what they what—not what the author wants. Dialog arrives in disjointed bits and pieces. The “perfect” sassy/ominous/devastating come-back might take a week (or more!) to marinate and then create.


Office of Letters & Light: A 100% Awesome, 100% Thorough Guide to NaNoWriMo 2013. From NaNoWriMo, covers pretty much everything a participant needs to know.

Jenny Hansen: Tips for Surviving the Agony and Ecstacy of NaNoWriMo. “I love the community, the late-night writing sprints, the before and after parties my local team throws. I love the write-ins, the pep talks, the excitement and uploading my word count. I adore getting the chance to encourage my peeps and watch everyone chase their goals. Whether you’re gearing up for NaNoWriMo or not, I wish you luck in your writing goals this month. I’d like to address the dreaded phenomenon of the Week Two Wall in the NaNo challenge where the initial endorphins have faded and the grind of a crazy writing schedule sets in.

Jami Gold: NaNo Prep: 4 Tips for Starting Our Story. “On this occasion, I wanted to bring together several tips from my previous posts about story openings to ensure everyone has a successful start. Here in one place, find the top advice from some of my posts about story openings…

Gabriela Pereira: Announcing the DIY MFA Weekend Writing Sprint!To celebrate this writing season, DIY MFA is hosting a FREE Weekend Writing Sprint the weekend of November 16-17. It’s like a virtual writing retreat, one that you can participate in from the comfort of your home computer or your favorite local writing spot.” (Visit the site for details on joining in).

Porter Anderson: Writing on the Ether: The Haunting of NaNoWriMo. “Being only 28 years old (prematurely aged by overindulgence on the Ether, you know), it’s a long time before I’ll be swiping Kindle pages of the eBook of Life toward that Heavenly Afterword. But if I were to guess some things that I might want to come back and haunt in the industry! the industry! one of them high on my list would be NaNoWriMo.

Ava Jae: Helpful NaNoWriMo Links. “In honor of thousands of writers around the world jumping in full steam ahead and making words happen today, I’ve decided to share some links with helpful NaNoWriMo tips, both from the archives here at Writability and from across the interwebs.


David Gaughran: Publishing Is Easy. “There are three primary tasks a writer must undertake to get her work into the hands of readers: writing, publishing, and marketing. Out of those three, I respectfully submit, publishing is by far the easiest.

Anne Kubek: 5 Digital Distribution Tactics for Startups and Publishers. “As European, South American, Asian and other global markets are opening to ebooks and other content in English, established trade houses, digital publishing startups and self-published authors are gaining market share and finding international customers. But how can independent players, who are typically much shorter on money, personnel and tools than large conglomerates, keep up in the race to reach new audiences?

Edward Nawotka: Why is the Ebook Business So Out of Sync with Consumers?Let’s face it, do you really own your ebooks? Even as someone whose day-to-day job is covering the book business as a journalist, I’m not entirely confident of what I think I know. But I do know one thing: “reader” and “consumer” I’m as frustrated as anyone.

Social Media

Lisa Hall-Wilson: When Spammers and Trolls Take Over – Authors Innovate – Facebook Groups. “Indie authors especially are very good at innovating and finding creative solutions to problems they face trying to connect with their readers/fans. Recently, former lit agent Nathan Bransford posted about the ongoing bully/gang-mentality that’s become prevalent over on Goodreads. People were leaving bad reviews of books they’d never read, or just didn’t like the title or subject matter of.”


Phi Tran: IDNA Demonstrates 360 Degrees of Spatial Storytelling with iPad. “Immersive storytelling has grown new roots with technology, but this revolutionary iPad demo takes those roots to a deeper level of three dimensional integration that we’ve only seen with the likes of Oculus Rift. Now, we know it’s possible that this three dimensional storytelling style can also be available for iPad users.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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Writing Resources 20 October 2013

Writing Resources 10202313Here 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

J.A. Konrath: Quitter Quitter. “I was on Kindleboards reading about the reaction to my last blog post where I shared my numbers. During the discussion, someone brought up all the writers who have given up. It reminded me of a blog I wrote back in 2005, called Quitting. It’s worth reading. Go do it. You might also want to check out the comments, because I drop a lot of my philosophy about what it takes to succeed. Keep in mind, when I wrote this, I was netting about $25k a year writing.

Christine Carter: How to Avoid Burnout—or a Breakdown. “Feeling maxed-out? Like you’d like to lie down so badly you are having “hospital fantasies”? (Not familiar with that term? Hopefully you aren’t as tired as this woman, who writes about her hospital fantasy: “I stumbled back to work when my son was 6 weeks old. He had colic and chronic ear infections, so I really didn’t sleep for a year. No exaggeration. I would fantasize about having a minor car accident on the way to work. Nothing serious—just enough to lay me up in the hospital for a few days so I could sleep!”)


Ali Luke: Four Ways to Cut Your Novel’s Draft (and Make Your Story Stronger)Is your novel looking a little bloated? Do you have a sneaking feeling you’ve repeated yourself a few times? Are some of your scenes really just unnecessary padding between episodes of action? Believe me, I’ve been there. I cut my novel Lycopolis from 135,000 words (Draft 5) to 85,000 words (Draft 6). It made for a much stronger novel, and I’m hugely grateful to my editor Lorna Fergusson for her invaluable help in deciding what to cut.

Ava Jae: How to Fast Draft. “NaNoWriMo is nearly here. And reaching 50k at the end of the month, my friends, requires fast drafting. So for those of you who are new to the mystical ways of writing faster than the Energizer bunny on speed, here are five quick tips to help you get through your first draft quickly.

Jami Gold: Does Fast Drafting Create Editing Nightmares?Last week, we discussed how we can plan our story and avoid writing a “hot mess.” With NaNoWriMo almost upon us, now is the time to think about basic planning for plot and character arcs so we end up with a coherent story. But what about the writing quality itself? NaNo writing—where we have the pressure to write 50K words in 30 days—is similar to fast drafting or word sprinting, like on Twitter’s #1k1hr hashtag.

Marcy Kennedy: How to Successfully Write Omniscient POV. “In case you’re not sure what I’m talking about, omniscient POV is when the story is told by an all-knowing narrator. That all-knowing narrator is the author, and the story is told in his or her voice rather than in any particular character’s voice. If you’re thinking about writing in omniscient POV, there are three criteria you need to meet to make it work.

Roz Morris: Dialogue special part 1: how do we get characters talking?Some manuscripts I see have no dialogue, or very little. There will be plenty of description, back story and even action, but the writer won’t have allowed the characters to step out of the narration and express themselves and interact with others. If there are conversations, they will mostly be reported instead of shown ‘live’…

Susan Spann: 25 Things You Need To Know About Writing Mysteries. “Mystery offers plenty of room for variation, too. Murder is universal—it can happen in any setting and any time. A sleuth can be a professional, an amateur, or a NINJA (though I’ve already done that last one), and your victim and method can vary just as widely. One warning, however: killing your imaginary friends is a lot like eating potato chips. Nobody I know can stop with one.

Writer Support

Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Business Rusch: Carrots And Sticks. “Once upon a time, maybe five years ago, I used to wake up and figure in my head which deadlines I needed to tackle that day. The most critical, the hardest, or the ones with the most cache/money/interest always got put in line first, and then I would build everything else around those. I had several systems for this, including one on my paper calendar, a different one on my computer calendar, all with reminders and targets and completion dates.

Michael Cahill: How Independent and Self-Published Authors Can Get Health Insurance with the Affordable Care Act. “With all the fanfare going on with the US government this month, this guest post by Michael Cahill, a health insurance writer is particularly timely. In this post he spells out what the Affordable Care Act means for us indie writers living in the US, and what you need to do in order to benefit from it.

Elizabeth S. Craig: Traditional Publishing: One Reason Not to Choose It. “The Bookseller’s and FutureBook’s annual publishing survey.  Porter Anderson in his weekly Writing on the Ether column for industry expert Jane Friedman’s blog, quoted Sam Missingham: “Traditionally published authors say they need more marketing and publicity support. But self-publishing authors say they want to get contracts because they think a publisher will give them the very marketing and publicity support the traditionally published writers say they don’t get.” It’s time to put this marketing myth to bed.  Marketing support should not be your reason to go to traditional publishing, y’all.

Susan Spann: The Key to the Competent Query. “Many authors feel great angst about queries. There’s so much talk of perfection, and many authors fear the process because they worry that “the perfect query” lies beyond their grasp. Don’t fear – you do not have to be perfect. You simply have to write a query that does (and does not do) a few specific things – I call it a COMPETENT query.


Alexandra Sokoloff: Nanowrimo Prep: Story Elements Checklist. “As any of you who are brainstorming Index Cards right now have found, this is not an orderly process. You will be coming up with scenes in no order whatsoever, all over the structure grid. Some that you will have no idea where to put. And so while this week I will be working ahead through story structure in a relative order, I want to re-post the whole general Story Elements Checklist, so you have a whole overview of scenes and story elements you will be needing beyond whatever act we happen to be talking about at the time.

Kristen Lamb: With a trifecta of excellent prep posts

Creative people are a lot like tigers. We do a lot of what looks like laying around and warming our bellies in the sunshine. Yet, what we’re really doing is powering up because, once we go after that first draft, those words can be more elusive than a gazelle that’s doping. Regular folks who clock in and clock out of jobs in cubicles are grazers. They do the same routine day after day. *munch, munch, munch*. I feel this is often why creative people feel so stifled in these environments. We’re tigers stuffed in a non-tiger role. TIGER BLOOD!

Preparing for NaNoWriMo & Feeding the Muse to Go the Distance

Fueling the Muse for NaNoWriMo

How to Give Your NaNo Story a Beating Heart and a Skeleton


Jane Friedman: Is Self-Publishing the Most Important Transformation in the Publishing Industry?Today I attended Frankfurt Book Fair’s CONTEC conference. The name CONTEC represents the marriage between “content” and “technology,” and featured more than sixty speakers from twenty countries. At the end of a very full day of keynotes and interactive sessions, an editor from Publishers Weekly shared his main takeaway in the conference ballroom: “The self-publishing discussion is the only conversation we need to be having today.

Hugh Howey: The Future of Books. “What you see above is Augmented Reality, or AR. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), which replaces what we see with a new world, AR blends the real and the make-believe into one seamless whole. As young as this field is, it already achieves mind-blowing results. The first time I saw anything like this, it was in the Lego store in NYC. There, you can hold a Lego box set up to a monitor and watch the finished Lego set hover over the box. It’s freaky and cool. I think it’s the future of picture books.


Darcy Pattison: Writing with Fans in Mind: What Will I Put on the Website?I quoted a study that said fans come looking for certain things on an author’s website. I am working on a draft of my new story this week and that study keeps haunting me. Am I providing any of these things on a regular basis? Is there any reason for a fan of my writing to keep coming back to my website? These thoughts are starting to change how I write. Now, I also have open a second file that is a list of things to put on the website to go with this book.

Anne R. Allen: Social Media Secrets for Authors, Part IV: How Not to Spam. “If you’ve ever wondered why unsolicited Internet advertising is named after a perfectly innocent meat product, blame Monty Python. In a famous 1970 sketch, the customers in a café are constantly drowned out by a chorus of Vikings singing “Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam… Lovely Spam! Wonderful Spam!” Conversation is impossible because of the “spammers.

Rae Hoffman: Yes Virginia, Google+ Can Directly Impact Your Search Rankings. “Every time I see an article about how Google +1s currently have no direct impact on search rankings, I cringe a little bit. Not because I believe Google +1′s DO currently have a direct impact on your search engine rankings. The reason I cringe is because so many people seem to read a quote like the below…


Derek Murphy: How To Make Your Own Free Book Cover In MS Word. “This will be a ‘crash course’ in the minimal skills you need to create a winning cover in MS Word. You’ll learn how to use Word to blend images, add layers and transparency, use font effects and space letters (kerning), strip background, and the general principles of cover design. These instructions are for MS Word 2010, so they won’t work for everyone, but if you have an older or newer version of Word, the process will be similar.

Phi Tran: These Augmented Reality Glasses Makes Star Trek’s Holodeck a Reality. “If you’re ever dreamt of experiencing a Holodeck, then you’ve been waiting for this day. More precisely, you’ve been waiting for these CastAR Augmented Reality Glasses that brings sci-fi holographic projections to life.

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Writing Resources 12 October 2013

10122013 Writing ResourcesHere 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

James Clear: How Willpower Works: The Science of Decision Fatigue and How to Avoid Bad Decisions. “Why do we make unhealthy and unproductive choices — even when we know we should do better? If you ask most people, they will say that poor choices are a result of a “lack of willpower.” But research from Columbia University is beginning to reveal that willpower doesn’t quite work that way.”

Jami Gold: Being a Writer: Commitment vs. Self-Doubt. “Being committed to our writing career requires time. We spend thousands of hours learning the craft, understanding how the publishing industry works, and drafting and revising our words.

Gary Korisko: How to Find Clarity & Confidence as a Writer. “You’re sitting there staring at your latest piece on the computer monitor and find yourself asking, “Is this any good?” It’s gut wrenching to have to ask yourself a question like that, isn’t it? Even more painful is to realize you honestly don’t have a good answer.

Bob Mayer: The Author’s Marathon: 10 Things To Remember. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  It’s become a refrain of experienced authors to those rushing into the “gold mine” of self-publishing.


Janice Hardy: 4 Tips to Solve 99% of Your Writing Problems. “I’m a huge believer that mastering point of view (POV) will solve 99% of common writing problems. If a writer understands POV, then showing comes naturally, description is easier to write, character goals are clear, the stakes are personal, and thus stories feel more organic.

Roz Morris: How to switch point of view without confusing the reader. “One of the deadly sins of writing is the ‘head-hop’ – inconsistency with the narrative point of view. The writer will be following one character’s perspective, then forgets to keep to it, or switches to another in a way that creates a logic hiccup.

Marcy Kennedy: Are You Writing in the POV You Think You’re Writing In?Point of view problems are the most common problems I see as a freelance editor. And I’m not surprised. Point of view is a difficult concept to master, yet it’s also the most essential.

Darcy Pattison: Awful First Draft: It’s Hard to Trust the Process. “I am in the midst of a truly awful first draft. Really. I have NEVER written such a bad first draft.
This is a sequel and it must be written to roughly follow an outline, but the outline seems sorta dead.

Jodi Renner: Concrete Tips for Developing an Appealing Voice in Your Fiction. “In a nutshell, the ideal “voice” is that natural, open, charismatic tone and style that pull us in and make us feel like we know the characters well — and want to get to know them better! A strong, compelling voice will bring your characters and story to life on the page. Voice is personality on paper.

Two Fantastic Plotting Posts from Janice Hardy

How to Plot With the Three-Act Structure.


Plotting With the Hero’s Journey.


Shannon Donnelly: Scene Arcs. “Everyone knows there’s a story arc—story goes up in tension, reaches a peak, and falls down. And there are character arcs, too, since story is character and character is story. But what about your scene arcs? That’s right—every scene needs an arc.

Shawn Coyne: The Hierarchy of Needs. “Why is understanding the concept of “need” such an important part of Storytelling? It is because the most meaningful stories operate on two levels, the external and the internal, the conscious and the unconscious.  The external story is on the surface. External events are driven by outside forces. Personal outside forces (like a femme fatale) and extra-personal outside forces (like the LAPD).  Your lead protagonist’s external story moves backward or forward according to his moment to moment success pursuing his conscious object of desire, his “want.”

Writer Support

Anne R. Allen: The Laws of the (Amazon) Jungle—Eight Rules Authors Need to Know to Stay Safe. “Everybody tells authors we must use social media to have successful careers in the E-age, but nobody talks much about the dangers that lurk here. Here’s the thing: the Internet is still the wild frontier. And it’s so huge nobody’s quite sure how to police it.

Hugh Howey: Making a living as an author(s)?Remember Franklin W. Dixon? What about Carolyn Keene? Both had productive and profitable writing careers. And neither of them ever existed. What is the recipe for writing success? Steady and reliable releases. Look at the top authors across both indie and traditional methods and you’ll find a stream of books that keep themselves in the public consciousness while delivering what’s expected of them. One book a year is not enough to launch a career. I’ve seen indie authors hold back their books until they have enough stored up for monthly releases, just to give themselves a better chance.

Joe Konrath: Konrath Talks Numbers and Gives a Few Pointers. “One thing I’d like expound upon is that inspiration comes in many forms, and while I’m grateful to have inspired many writers, and humbled when they thank me, I encourage people to use this blog and my words as resource, but not as gospel. I’m just a writer trying to figure things out. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I’m a bit ahead of the curve, but my success still comes down to luck. I believe, if you work hard, you can also improve your chances at luck.

Susan Spann: Own Your Business As You Own Your Book. “You wouldn’t start a new job by saying, “hey, Mr. Boss, go ahead and pay me a pittance percentage from whatever you have left over after you take out all your other expenses, and while you’re at it, don’t bother telling me about my job expectations. I’ll gladly clean the toilets (with a toothbrush) and there’s really no need to let me know why you’ve paid me or not at the end of the month – I’ll totally trust your judgment.

NaNoWriMo Prep!

Kristen Lamb: NaNoWriMo—Training Lean, Mean, Writing Machines. “NaNo is a lot like a military bootcamp. Many who sign up for military service aren’t in the fittest condition. Sure, we might meet the weight requirements (or get a waiver), but most of us don’t start out being able to knock out a hundred pushups on the spot. We likely have little experience running ten miles with a heavy pack of gear on our backs.

Cate Russell-Cole: NaNoWriMo: Links, Resources, Articles and a Nonfiction Alternative. “Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Also from Cate: NaNoWriMo: Planning and Tracking Tools. “I was involved in NaNoWriMo last year. These are some of the most useful tools people were looking for in the lead up to the big month. I hope you find them useful.

Jami Gold: NaNo Prep: Do You Know What to Plan in Advance?Posts abound this time of year about planning for NaNo so your story will end up as a decent first draft. But do you know what kind of planning will help you the most?

Chuck Wendig: Welcome To NaNoWriMo Prep School, Word-Nerds. “If you are partaking, I’ll be here all November, and I think I’ll keep the blog posts during that time shorter and sweeter — a month’s worth of motivational boots-in-your-boothole to keep you on track and slugging away at the word count.

Alexandra Sokoloff: Nanowrimo Prep: First, You Need an Idea. “The thing is, “Where do you get your ideas?” is not the real question these people are asking.   The real question is “How do you go from an idea to a coherent story line that holds up – and holds a reader’s interest – for 400 pages of a book?”

Also from Alexandra: Nanowrimo Prep: The Three-Act, Eight Sequence Structure. “The real secret of film writing and filmmaking, that we are going to steal for our novel writing, is that most movies are written in a Three-Act, Eight-Sequence structure. Yes, most movies can be broken up into 8 discrete 12-15-minute sequences, each of which has a beginning, middle and end.

And one more from Alexandra (can you tell she is one of my silent mentors *smile*): Nanowrimo Prep: The Index Card Method and Story Structure Grid. “Get yourself a pack of index cards. You can also use Post-Its, and the truly OCD among us use colored Post-Its to identify various subplots by color, but I find having to make those kinds of decisions just fritzes my brain. I like cards because they’re more durable and I can spread them out on the floor for me to crawl around and for the cats to walk over; it somehow feels less like work that way. Everyone has their own method – experiment and find what works best for you.


Dean Wesley Smith: The next two parts of Dean’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing are out: #5… Book as Event. AND #6 Selling to a Big Publisher Insures Quality. Highly Recommended Reads!


Dan Blank: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing For Your Books? Be Awesome.Again and again, we hear evidence that “word of mouth” is the way that people hear about books. So let’s think this through: how do you create more word of mouth marketing around your books?

Joan Rylen: Make Your Mark with these Marketing Tips. “It doesn’t matter if you’re self-publishing or going traditional, one thing is for sure – marketing yourself is a must. Many cringe at the thought, but there are some ways to make it less painful and more productive.

Courtney Gordner: How to use Pinterest to Promote Your Book. “Pinterest takes the concept of a personal bulletin board and applies it to an online forum, allowing members to create multiple boards about various topics on which they can “pin” as many lists, pictures, videos, and links as they desire.


Ava Jae: How to Use Scrivener’s Cork Board. “The cork board is actually the feature that sold me as far as buying Scrivener goes, and what I love about it is that it allows me to combine my plotting with flashcards method that I’ve grown to adore over the years, with the simplicity and beautiful organization of the computer. (Plus the lack of cramping hands is a pretty nice bonus, too).

Dianna Dilworth: App Annie Adds eBook Intelligence. “App Annie, an analytics agency that provides insights into app data, has expanded its services and is now providing eBook statistics for publishers and authors.

Also from Dianna: Mobile Path to Purchase: INFOGRAPHIC. “Seventy-three percent of smartphone owners use their devices to shop for products this year, up from 34 percent last year, according to a new report by Local Corporation called  ”Mobile Momentum: Spotlight on the Mobile Local Shopper.

Resource Heaven

Gabriela Pereira: Announcing New Writing Resources at DIY MFA. “We’ve introduced the DIY MFA reading and community resources, but in the end, it all comes down to writing. Sooner or later writers need to get their backsides in the chair and do the work. To that end, we’ve created a go-to list of writing resources here at DIY MFA so that you to help you master the craft, boost your creativity and get motivated.

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