Here you will find a selection of the best of the blogsphere from the past week. Grab your coffee, straighten the glasses or spritz those contacts and above all – enjoy.
Kristen Lamb: Three Phases of Becoming a Master Author
Excerpt: “Professional authors make our job look easy. That is the mark of a good storyteller. The work flows, pulls us in, and appears seamless. Many of us decided to become writers because we grew up loving books. Because good storytellers are masters of what they do, we can easily fall into a misguided notion that “writing is easy.” Granted there are a rare few exceptions, but most of us will go through three stages in this career.”
Inform & Inspire
Melissa Graves: Perks of Being an Introvert. Highly Recommended! Written by a professor of Intelligence & Security Studies, this post disabuses some of the myths about introverts, shows their strengths and provides tips on how to use our base nature to our advantage. Highly applicable to all of my introverted writing friends, myself included.
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell: Make The Iron Hot By Striking: Writing Every Day. To write every day or not – either way, great insight on keeping the creative engine hot.
Les Edgerton: Gordon Ramsey’s Novel-Writing Instruction. Excerpt: “What? You didn’t realize Chef Gordon Ramsey taught writing? The fact is, he’s one of the best writing teachers in the world. He disguises it by claiming to reach cooking, but if you understand the code he’s using in his presentations on his show, KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, it’s all about writing.”
Jeff Goins: How I Became a Full-time Writer. Three simple and effective tips for moving your writing from thought to full-time reality.
Les Edgerton: How to Write Amazing Dialogue. Excerpt: “Dialogue is one of the most crucial elements of good fiction writing. For many of us, it’s also one of the toughest skills to master. Some writers have an instinct for writing great dialogue, but for others it takes hard work to achieve believable and interesting dialogue. But, no matter if it comes naturally to you or if you have to work long and hard to be able to create convincing dialogue, it can be achieved by almost everyone.”
Marcy Kennedy: Inner Dialogue in Your Fiction: What It Is and How to Tell Good from Bad. Excerpt: “What Is Inner Dialogue? The simplest definition is that inner dialogue is what your character is thinking. However, because the definition is so simple, a lot of writers get confused about the difference between the character thinking naturally to themselves and a character narrating for the benefit of the reader. Inner dialogue is not narration.” NOTE: Marcy will be guesting here at Unearthing the Future this Coming Wednesday, April 10th, to share her wisdom on Google+ Communities. I’m super-excited to host her and hope you’ll all stop in and share the fun *smile*
Shannon Donnelly: How Much Detail Is Enough For Your Story? If you’re like me, sorting out the details that need to be in an article or story and those that do not can be a fret-filled process. Here are 12 tips to help make the sorting process less stressful.
Chuck Wendig: Fuck The Straight Line: How Story Rebels Against Expectation. Superb article on story structure, what is bland, what is kick-ass. Includes graphics and full explanation of concepts. Recommended Read!
Darcy Pattison: 5 Ways First Pages Go Wrong. Great tips and advice for making those all important first pages shine.
Kara Lennox: Plot Fixer: Weak Black Moment and The End Does Not Satisfy. Excellent advice for strengthening your stories dark moment and making sure the ending is one that will have them begging for more.
Rebecca Ann Jordan: Business Writing: Two Important Lessons. Excerpt: “What kind of content writing do content writers actually write? (Say that five times fast). Sales Proposals, Client Reports, Business Letters, Flyers, Press Releases, Newsletters, Feature Articles, Informative Video Scripts, Ghostwriting of Nonfiction Books, Synonyms and Grammar for People Who Don’t Know How to Use Google. I’ll make a long story short: here are the two most valuable lessons from the world of business for any kind of writer.”
Jody Hedlund: One Simple Trick That Makes Editing Less Painful. Excerpt: “Most writers (myself included!) have an awful time cutting words during the editing process. After all, we pour out our life blood trying to come up with the words. We spend weeks and months laboring over the story, getting details just right, the metaphors perfect, and descriptions dazzling. So the thought of hitting delete makes our fingers tremble with terror. How can we part with our beloved words? How can we so callously kill our darlings?”
Claudette Cruz: Common Mistakes Writers Make. Excerpt: “If you can afford to do so, hire an editor. They’re more experienced in catching tiny mistakes other people might miss, such as omitted letters or punctuation, misspellings, or words used out of context. Speaking of errors, I’ll now go into more detail regarding mistakes I’ve seen in every single manuscript I’ve worked on.”
Jami Gold: Three Tips for Being a Better Beta Reader. Excerpt: “To maintain a group of willing beta readers, it’s in our best interest to ensure our feedback is truly helpful. Like the story of Goldilocks, we have to find a middle ground where we’re not too harsh or mean, not too soft or timid—but just right. Even more importantly, we have to provide feedback that helps the author improve their story, not the story we’d write. Here are three tips for how to increase the helpfulness of our feedback and become a better beta reader.”
Ava Jae: Query Tip: Do Your Research. Great tips and advice to ensure you maximize your query’s potential.
Indie / Self-Publishing
Chuck Wendig: Self-Publishing Is The Blah Blah And Floo-Dee-Doo And Poop Noise. Excerpt: “Hugh Howey wrote a thing at Salon and it’s a very interesting article and you should go read it. It is, in my probably-not-that-humble opinion, a fascinating mix of artistic wisdom and business fantasy where anecdotal evidence once more becomes artisanal data and we are told that because you can meet 100 very successful self-published authors that is now officially the way to go and oh, by the way, it’s totally the future of all publishing ever. I distrust fortune-tellers, to be honest. Mostly because it’s made-up horseshit.”
Dean Wesley Smith: The New World of Publishing: The Assumption of Agents. Excerpt: “What struck me clearly is the belief, the solid belief, in these articles and many others, that agents are just here and a part of the new book world. It seems to radiate through every word. It’s like you bought a house and someone is living in the basement and you believe without ever a question that you must feed that person, pay their expenses, and let them live in your basement because they were there when you bought the house.”
C.J. Lyons: Amazon KDP Select: Is It Worthwhile for Authors? Exceptional overview of KDP Select, the pro’s and con’s. Recommended Read for Indies!
Darcy Pattison: Multiple Ebook Platforms: Apple, Kobo, Kindle, Nook, PDF. Great overview of ebook distribution methods and publishing/conversion software.
Susan Spann: Author Estate Planning: Nuts, Bolts, and Bequests. Excerpt: “Today we begin our look at the nuts and bolts of bequeathing copyrights and other intellectual property rights in a will or trust. The distributive language (meaning the language which grants property or other assets to someone in a will or trust) differs slightly depending on whether an author is using a will or a trust.”
Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Business Rusch: Four Years. Excerpt: “For this post, I thought I’d look at how my own attitudes have changed about the publishing industry in the past four years. I’ll also explore a bit about what I’ve learned, and what I hope to learn.”
Bob Mayer: Decrying the Evil Empire of publishing while piloting one of its battle cruisers? Bob shares an excellent analogy that puts the oddest of publishing’s battlegrounds into good perspective. Excerpt: “Amazon, it appears, is the Death Star, the evil empire, that is devouring the publishing universe. At least according to a lot of people who are publicly proclaiming it. That makes Jeff Bezos the Emperor and, hmm, let’s pick Jon Fine, as Darth Vader, because he’s always out there at writers’ events representing Amazon. Behind that long hair and charming smile, lies his true, twisted face. We won’t even get into where he hides his light saber.”
Gene Lempp: 5 Quick Facebook Tips for the Busy and Shy. Excerpt: “If you’re busy (and who isn’t?) or if the thought of social media scares the undies off you, I’ve got five simple suggestions to help make the most of your time in a safe and effective way. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but these five steps will keep Facebook from eating away your time while allowing for a comfortable experience.”
India Drummond: But Do You *Like* Like A Facebook Page? Excerpt: “The Pages feed concept was actually very cool…or at least it had the potential to be. However, when browsing through, I was only interested in at most one in ten posts. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, if I only saw stuff I was actually interested in?”
Dan Blank: Platform is Craft. Beautiful post by Dan that hits at the heart of what platform really is and where its true power lies. Recommended Read!
Ava Jae: Twitter for Writers: Are You Following These Accounts? Excellent grouping of helpful Tweeters that every writer should know. All but one (no, I won’t say which) are ones I follow as part of creating this mashup *smile*
Rhonda Hopkins: How to Use Twitter Lists. Great post on creating and utilizing Twitter lists to filter what you want you see from the cacophony.
Ellie Mirman: 30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore. Broad assortment of excellent tips covering most aspects of social media targeted at debunking “bad best practices.”
Jami Gold: When Should We Upgrade to a Paid Site? Learn the advantages of having a paid site (free is “get what is given and like it”). Tons of bonus resources in this post!
Ellen M. Gregg: Creating a Reader-Friendly Website. Great tips and advice on setting up a website that engages readers and leads them to ways to connect with the author and their work.
John Christian Hager: RSS Reader Change: GR Says Goodbye, I Say HellOwl. John provides a great overview of RSSOwl, a powerful replacement option for those looking to replace Google’s latest dead-man-walking.
Joanna Penn: Book Marketing Using Paid Promotion: Targeted Email Lists. Excerpt: “One of the keys to promotion is building an email list of fans who like your books. This is a non-negotiable in terms of book marketing, but building that list often takes a long time! One way to move the needle quickly in terms of sales and ranking is by using paid promotion sites that have lists of avid readers who might be interested in your book.”
Miranda Anita: Why Video Marketing Is Important To Any Business. Great tips and insight on using video to build excitement and discoverability for your products.
Porter Anderson: Ether for Authors: Goodreads. Badreactions. Highly Recommended! Excerpt: “In four sections of this edition of the Ether, I’m going to focus on this new development (Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads) at length, here at Palpitating Perspectives. The event, in and of itself, is of genuine interest, certainly. But also worthy of our attention is the fact that it’s not cause for the self-defenestration you’d think was contemplated by some of our colleagues on hearing the word. We didn’t just get news Thursday. We also got a fever dream’s descent into alarmist indulgence.”
Daniel Kalder: Slicebooks Aims to Take Re-mixable Ebooks Mainstream. A new concept to watch. Excerpt: “Both as publishing professionals and as frustrated content consumers ourselves, we wondered why the publishing world wasn’t offering the same freedom and flexibility that consumers have had for years with music? In this digital world, why can’t I buy a slice of any book I want, and why can’t I easily mix and match content from different sources?”
Safe Photo Use
Dianna Dilworth: Imgembed Lets Photographers Connect with Online Writers. Excerpt: “Imgembed allows image creators to track where their images are being used and set permissions to every website using them. Users can use images for free by promoting the creator or pay for premium use by the actual number of impressions displayed.” Note: This just came on my radar yesterday and while I signed up, I haven’t used it yet.
Levity Lightens Heart & Soul
Leanne Shirtliffe: 5 Bizarre Things That Make Me Ridiculously Happy. Finding enjoyment in life is one of the hidden keys of creativity. Here are five from Leanne that I hope will give you all inspiration to find five (or more) in your own world *smile*
So delicious! I’ve been reading for 20 minutes when I was supposed to be writing! *shakes fist then smiles* Great links, Gene. And that Wendig piece? How does he do that?
Oh Gene, I was doing so well. I got through the first half thinking, yes! I’ve read all of these, then one popped up I haven’t read, then two, and then a whole slog of them. Darn. Well, I’ll put the kettle on. It’s a secret goal of mine to come here on Saturday morning and have already read whatever fabulous posts you recommend. Of course, I never know what posts you’ll have here, so it’s sort of a game throughout the week, but it makes blog reading a bit more fun. “Will Gene pick this one? What about this one? OOOh, I bet for sure he’s going to pick this one!”. Yeah, I really should go on ebay and buy a life, huh?
Tameri – I found a way to multi-task when clicking on Gene’s Writing Resources every week! I know it’s going to take me at least an hour to get through all the meat – so I do a security scan of my computer, or a defrag – Voila! I don’t have to feel guilty!
Laura, you’re brilliant! That’s a great time to do a degrag. Plus, it’s also a great time to enjoy a nice cup of Earl Grey and sit outside to hear the birds sings sing. Just me and Gene, and a few of our best friends on Saturday morning.
Renee: Mr. Wendig is indeed a treasure, and one that has been actively writing for a couple decades, which I bet is one of the reasons he makes it look “easy.” Enjoy the links 🙂
Tameri: LOL! You are not the first one to play this “game.” I wish you luck *grins* I pull from 200 blog subscriptions, 15 newsletters and a half-dozen paper.li’s at present, and while I have a core group, much of the rest rotate in and out. Honestly, I don’t think you need to get a life, I think you already have a good one as a writer. Glad to join you and the birds for a bit of Saturday learning and relaxation 🙂
Laura: Genius! It is so hard to find a good time to let our computers do the mundane work. Just wish I could do the same while compiling, but such would likely crash my system. Read and enjoy without guilt, you’ve earned it 🙂
Thanks for the links, Gene! I loved Chuck’s self-pub post. Hope you’re having a stellar weekend. 🙂
Chuck does have a beautiful way with words. Indeed, the weekend has been “to infinity and beyond.” 🙂
I always bookmark these posts of yours. I need to get back into the habit of blog reading. Thanks for the linky love!