Writing Resources 13 July 2013

Writing Resources 07132013Here 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.


Jami Gold: A Pantser’s Guide to Beat Sheets.

Excerpt: “I’ve mentioned many times that I write by the seat of my pants. I’ve also expressed my love of beat sheets—by creating several of them. I have beat sheets that focus on plot points, another focused on character arcs, and yet another focused on romance arcs. Wait, someone who writes by the seat of her pants likes beat sheets? The ultimate tool for plotters? This may seem like a contradiction. In fact, it probably is. I’m a walking contradiction. *smile* So how exactly does a pantser use beat sheets without driving the muse crazy? This is a big part of my “Lost Your Pants?” workshop, which I’ll next be offering in the fall. However, I want to share some pointers here.

Inform & Inspire

Wendy Lu: Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone. Excerpt: “When people meet me for the first time, they usually find out within the first ten minutes that I love to write. The question that proceeds right after is, “What do you write?” At that point, I’m stumped. The thing is, I write a little bit of everything – memoir, flash fiction, news articles and feature stories, to name a few. As a writer, I don’t stick to a single genre or style. I never have.

Kristen Lamb: Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome—Writers of the Digital Age. Excerpt: “One of my all-time favorite movies is Heartbreak Ridge. It’s a movie about a drill instructor who has to take command of a spoiled  recon platoon with a bad attitude. Part of how Gunny Highway whips these bad boys into shape is by constantly changing the rules so they have to learn to be predictive, to think three steps ahead and anticipate changes.

Chuck Wendig: Hell With What Sells. Excerpt: “You’ve got to know how it works before you try to work it, and this is true in publishing, too — whether you’re splashing around in the traditional publishing pool or taking a long swim down the indie-publishing river. You’ve gotta know the process. How a book moves from one stage to another. How much control you want — and how much you’ll have. It pays to be smart and knowledgable so you don’t go in and whack your head on the lowest hanging beam and knock yourself out and piss your britches before you even get a book into people’s hands.

Dan Blank: Hidden In Front Of Everyone’s Eyes – Our Own Potential. Excerpt: “It was right there, but it wasn’t supposed to be, so no one saw it. Today I want to talk about our own potential as a writer or creative professional – someone who is trying SO HARD to complete and publish their work, to forge a new identity in the middle of their life.


Ann Voss Peterson: Pacing by Ann Voss Peterson. Excerpt: “First of all, pace varies with genre and voice. That’s a given. Some stories are meant to be leisurely and rich, some fast and frantic. It’s up to the author to know his/her audience and find the pace that’s right for his/her story. But it’s useful to note that no one complains about a truly fast-paced book. Fast pace means important things happen, the characters change, and the reader doesn’t want to put the book down. The prose itself sucks us in and feels urgent.

Janice Hardy: An Easy Tip for Developing Story Ideas. Excerpt: “I’ve spent the last several weeks taking nuggets of ideas and turning them into blurbs and rough outlines I can write a novel from. Some of these nuggets were no more than a general idea, a character, or a cool what if premise, so I rolled up my sleeves and went into brainstorming mode.

Cate Russell-Cole: Plot tips: One Way to Write About Phobias. Excerpt: “Phobias are the worst kind of nightmare: they strike when you are awake. No noise from outside your bedroom window will wake you and release you from your nightmare. There may be no escape. They can utterly disable your most heroic character. I’d like to describe a phobia to you from my own experience, challenging the myth that all phobias are irrational.

Darcy Pattison: 5 Quotes to Plot Your Novel By. Excerpt: “I am currently slogging through plot development of a new series of novels. Here are some helpful quotes. “A plot is just one thing after another, a what and a what and a what.” Margaret Atwood. It is hard to narrow down the possibilities of a story to a particular “WHAT happened next?”

Marcy Kennedy: How to Include the Five Senses Without Falling into the Telling Trap. Excerpt: “As writers, it often feels like we’re asked to balance plates on our heads. And I’m not talking about balancing platform building and writing time, or balancing writing time and real life. I’m talking about finding balance within elements of craft in our writing.

Brandilyn Collins: How to Write Realistic Dialogue using Subtexting. Excerpt: “How many times have you read a novel with dialogue that struck you as shallow or unbelievable? Much of the time this results from characters always saying exactly what they mean. I call this WYSIWYG dialogue—What You See is What You Get. (It’s also often called “on the nose” dialogue.) Problem is, continuous use of WYSIWYG dialogue does not reflect real life. People often communicate through subtexting, in which the meaning of the conversation flows below the actual words spoken.


Joanna Penn: 8 Online Productivity Tools For Writers. Excerpt: “From the plethora of online tools and resources available to help writers write better, here are a few of my top picks.

Industry Awareness

Susan Spann: Scams in Writing Contests. Excerpt: “Legitimate writing contests represent valuable opportunities for authors to obtain review and critique of their work. These contests are a real asset to the writing community, and in particular to pre-published authors. New authors often have difficulty obtaining feedback from industry professionals, and contests offer a rare chance for vital review and interaction, since many contests are judged by agents, editors, and other industry professionals. Many contests offer opportunities for authors to obtain a personal critique, regardless of whether the manuscript wins a prize (usually for an additional fee).

Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Business Rusch: The Global View. Excerpt: “I’ll be honest with you: when I planned a topic for my blog last week that wasn’t US-specific, I was thinking that the hits on my site would drop off. After all, the Thursday Business Blog fell on one of the US’s big federal holidays, Independence Day (aka the Fourth of July). I figured I’d get a quarter of my usual attendance. Instead, I got about five hundred additional visitors, mostly from Europe, Canada, and Australia.


Anne R. Allen: How To Get a Book Published: A Step-by-Step Guide with Links to FREE Information for the New Author. Excerpt: “A new writer has a whole lot of options–and more are springing up daily. Nobody can say which publishing path is right for you. But we can steer you toward some blogs and websites that might help you decide and suggest some posts from our archives you might find useful.

Social Media/Blogging

Ali Luke: 7 Ways to Write Better Blog Posts (Plus 7 Bonus Links). Excerpt: “I’ve been blogging for five years now, and my posts still have plenty of room for improvement. These seven techniques, though, have helped me write better content – posts that get lovely comments (thank you!) and shares on social media, and that I believe are genuinely useful.

Jane Friedman: Does Twitter Make Sense for Most Writers? Excerpt: “Yesterday I read “Goodbye to Twitter Village, Part II: Lessons Learned” by author Benjamin Anastas. It’s a lengthy post about why, after more than a year on Twitter, Anastas has decided it’s a waste of time. It’s hard to disagree with much of what he says. (Perhaps this comes as a surprise to those who see me as a big advocate of writers having an online presence, building platform, etc.)


Joanna Penn: 5 Book Marketing Myths You Need To Forget. Excerpt: “There are a number of marketing myths around publishing that lead to authors making bad decisions or spending money on ‘marketing packages’ that don’t make a difference to sales. Sure, there are some lightning strikes where an author can buck the trend, but in general, these myths are disempowering.

Mike Shatzkin: Taking book marketing where the book readers are likely to be. Excerpt: “Digital marketers who want to sell books are increasingly turning to the virtual places where readers cluster. This includes marketing through the major social networks, using the data mining tools available to target within those networks, as well as marketing in niches and online communities of readers. Publishers are also increasingly turning to book- and reading-focused social sites to get the word out about their books. These vehicles carry an additional bonus in the digital age: they’re global and give publishers a one-stop opportunity to reach markets beyond their natural national audiences.

Joel Friedlander: Top 7 Strategies for Blog Marketing. Excerpt: “Many authors are still missing one essential truth: if you want people to visit your blog—engage with you and your ideas, subscribe, sign up for something and perhaps someday to actually trust you enough to buy something you have to offer—then you have to market your blog.

Porter Anderson: Is Today’s Book Marketing All in the Algorithms? Excerpt: “Your job is to ensure that your book is found by the algorithms, and then you will find that your sales are perpetuated. Success does indeed breed success.”

Social Technology

Jason Boog: Facebook Graph Search Advice for Writers. Excerpt: “Graph Search and web search are very different. Web search is designed to take a set of keywords (for example: “hip hop”) and provide the best possible results that match those keywords. With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: “my friends in New York who like Jay-Z”) to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook.

Dianna Dilworth: Instagram Now Lets You Embed Photos & Videos on Websites. Excerpt: “Instagram has introduced web embedding letting you share your Instagram photos and videos across the web, the way you would a YouTube video.

About Gene Lempp

Gene Lempp is a writer blending elements of alternate history, the paranormal, fantasy, science fiction and horror for dark and delicious fun. He unearths stories by digging into history, archeology, myth and fable in his Designing from Bones blog series. “Only the moment is eternal and in a moment, everything will change,” sums the heart of his philosophy. You can find Gene at his Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, WANATribe, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
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4 Responses to Writing Resources 13 July 2013

  1. callene says:

    I really look forward to these posts, Gene!

  2. Marcia says:

    Gotta read Dan Blank’s post! Great list, as always, Gene!

  3. Pingback: Mind Sieve 7/15/13 | Gloria Oliver

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