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.
Reminder: Google Reader has a little over a day to live, if you are still a GR user, now is the time to find a replacement. I shifted to Feed.ly Cloud in under three minutes–the process is just that simple. The user interface is smooth and I’m actually liking it more than Google Reader so far.
Since I’ll be officially joining ROW tomorrow, I’d like to share a great post Cate Russell-Cole wrote about this incredible support group for writers.
Excerpt: “Whether you write memoir, fiction, are a blogger, poet or feature article writer, join us for A Round of Words in 80 Days. Round 3 for 2013 is starting early July. I started ROW80 last year and it’s the most helpful group I have had the joy to join. I helps me set goals, stay on track… and keeps me honest if I am too tempted to slack off!”
Inform & Inspire
Brian Cormack Carr: It’s Never Too Late To Find Your Vital Vocation. Excerpt: “One of my earliest memories is inventing a superhero called BAM! and telling his adventures by drawing picture after picture of him on my toy blackboard. The blackboard was small, so I had to rub each picture out in order to draw the next one.”
Tony Vanderwarker: 5 Traps of the Imagination John Grisham Helped Me See. Excerpt: “I had 7 unpublished novels languishing away on my hard drive and an overflowing shelf of rejection notices when John Grisham—a friend and neighbor—took me under his wing and taught me his writing secrets.”
Susan Spann: Elevator Pitch, Part 3: TRUST THE SILENCE. Excerpt: “Last weekend at the Historical Novel Society conference in St. Petersburg, I worked with several authors on pitching and pitch construction. In many cases, it wasn’t the author’s understanding of his or her novel that caused the problem: it was the author’s unwillingness to trust the story (s)he created.”
Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson: When Perfectionism Gets In the Way. Excerpt: “I’m not going to lie. I’ve been having a tough time. I’ve already deleted those two sentences twice.” Great post, a quick and powerful read.
Carl Foster: The Art of Giving Up on Books. Excerpt: “The art of giving up on books is something I have practiced in short seasons for two years now. I never would have done it before, because books are sacred and I had convictions about finishing each one before I moved on. Practical reasons compelled me to betray those convictions. And I think you should too.”
Pamela Morsi: The Maze to Amazing: Organic Layering. Excerpt: “Let me start with a kind of definition of layering. It is the stuff that surrounds the stage. It’s the adjective to the novel as noun. It may or may not effect the direction of the plot, but even when it doesn’t, it still adds depth to the action and the characters. The story can exist without layers. And layers themselves won’t make a story. But when you put the two together, you can come up with something very special.”
Jodie Renner: 10 Things You Don’t Want In Your Novel. Excerpt: “Today’s fiction readers are more discerning and busier than ever. They want to be swept away by a captivating story with a charismatic main character. They don’t want to be talked at. Don’t wrench them out of the fictive dream by addressing them as the author to explain things or otherwise taking them out of the character’s immediate world.”
Sharla Rae: ECHOES — REPEAT OFFENDERS. Excerpt: “One of the things we discussed in our critique last week was all writers’ tendency to repeat certain words and phrases. “Echoes” is a term I’ve heard applied to frequently repeated words. Read your chapter out loud, and that’s exactly what they sound like.” Post contains Resources to cure Echoes.
Amanda Patterson: The Top 10 Tips for Plotting and Finishing a Book. Excerpt: “I am told there are many ways to write a story. However, I have only met one natural born storyteller in more than 10 years of teaching creative writing. The rest of us have to learn how to do it.”
Darcy Pattison: Timelines: Plotting. Excerpt: “When you are deep into plotting a new novel or especially, a series, timelines are your friends. It’s a tool that will help straighten out the details and create order.”
Ben Galley: Writing Fantasy: A Short Guide To The Genre. Excerpt: “By definition, fantasy is a genre that typically features the use of magic or other supernatural phenomena in the plot, setting, or theme. Magical or mythological creatures often feature, as well as races other than humans, such as elves, dwarves, or goblins. The worlds within fantasy books are usually medieval in style, both in terms of technology and culture. This is what primarily sets fantasy apart from sci-fi.”
Janice Hardy: How to Make Adverbs Work for You. Excerpt: “We hear it all the time: never use adverbs in your writing. Sound advice, but if we follow it to the extreme, we could miss out on their very useful properties. As bad a rep as adverbs have, they’re actually pretty handy during a first draft. They allow us to jot down how a character feels or speaks without losing our momentum. We can keep writing, and go back and revise later.”
Kristen Lamb: The Democratization of Publishing—Independence is Scary. Excerpt: “Before the e-book/indie revolution, we writers relied on New York solely to grant us a career or not. We needed favor from the
King traditional press to move forward. There was no other way unless we were willing to hand ten or twenty thousand dollars to a vanity press and hope we could duplicate The Grisham Effect.”
Anna von Veh: Kindle Worlds: Bringing Fanfiction Into Line But Not Online? Excerpt: “Despite Kindle World’s seemingly revolutionary legitimization of fanfiction, the venture appears to be a traditional publishing model in one crucial respect. Kindle Worlds and the form of the ebook itself fulfills a gatekeeper role for the World licensors, rather than being also an online vehicle for writing, reading and building community for the fans, which is what one might have expected of a fanfiction-based publishing venture.”
Mike Shatzkin: Publisher margins today may be enviable, but it will be a big challenge to keep them that way. Excerpt: “The major publishers have apparently worked themselves into a very strong commercial position at the moment with the transition to ebooks. I say “apparently” because the data that gives the most recent rise to that understanding — a presentation by HarperCollins of the current economics — is somewhat incomplete.”
Jane Friedman: 3 Reasons Why a Facebook Page Can’t Replace an Author Website. Excerpt: “I’ve occasionally been asked by authors at conferences: Why not just use Facebook? Isn’t that where everyone is spending their time already? Why would people visit my site? Why bother with all the effort of establishing a site, which, if it becomes dusty or out-of-date, could be more damaging than no website at all? First, I’ll address why it’s a bad idea to use Facebook as a substitute for your author website.”
Toni Tesori: 5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Start Building Your Fanbase. Excerpt: “On a scale from 1-10, how dedicated is your biggest fan? Maybe she’s an 8, who eagerly awaits the arrival of your newsletter in her inbox. Or perhaps he’s a 9, who happily tweets about your latest blog post. Or is she a 10, who excitedly marks her calendar for the release of your next book (and reminds all of her friends to grab their copy)? If your answer isn’t as high as you’d like, you’re certainly not alone.”
Amit Agarwal: Do More with your Feedly RSS Reader. Excerpt: “Google Reader is shutting down in two days and it is therefore important that you migrate your existing RSS feed subscriptions elsewhere. There are quite a few Reader alternatives to choose from though I have finally picked Feedly as the new home for my beloved feeds.”
Dianna Dilworth: Derbywire Lets Creatives Sell Their Photos & Videos From Their Phones. Excerpt: “The app is designed (as) a platform for photographers, graphic designers, writers, musicians, and filmmakers, to showcase their work and it facilitates transactions, so you can also make some money for your hard work.”
Jason Boog: How To Make a Meme with Free Imgur Tool. Excerpt: “With Imgur’s new Meme Generator, you can instantaneously create a meme to share on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter or your blog. Below, we’ve outlined how you can use Imgur’s Meme Generator. Be sure to browse the complete catalog of default memes. They are sorted by popularity so you can find the most viral picture for your message.“