Writing Resources 27 July 2013

Writing Resources 07272013Here 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.


I found an awesome (and new to me) author/blogger/coach/yoga master this week named Jenny Blake who is a real ray of sunshine–meaning, must share! Her Toolkit page is crammed full of carefully chosen time and frustration savers–her blog, full of calming inspiration. Oh, did I mention she was a staff coach at Google before striking out on her own? I hope you’ll swing over and give her a look. Thanks. *smile*

Steve Martin on Slow Success

Jenny Blake’s “Business Ninja Tech Toolkit”

Inform & Inspire

Dean Wesley Smith: The New World of Publishing: Having Fun. Excerpt: “In 1982, I decided to follow Heinlein’s Rules because, to be honest, they sounded like fun. And I decided that if I couldn’t have fun with my writing, I would move on to something I did enjoy. (I have done an entire long lecture series on Heinlein’s Rules and why the five rules work for writers.) I went from writing two stories a year to fifty per year and started selling. Surprise, surprise… And I was having fun writing.

Kristen Lamb: The Personal Apocalypse—When are We REAL Writers? Excerpt: “Any time we seek to do something remarkable, something that deviates from “normal”… expect rejection. I was “fortunate” to experience a personal apocalypse so massive, that up was the only way to go. With a misdiagnosis of epilepsy, I’d lost my job, my home, my savings, my health, my identity, and my pride. I’d suffered such a sweeping personal extinction that I very literally had nothing left to lose. Why not become a writer? I’d always wanted to, but was too busy trying to please those who would never be pleased.

Darcy Pattison: The Writer’s Journey: 9 Metaphors. Excerpt: “I am just back from an amazing week-long conference about writing and indie publishing. It was held on the Oregon coast and at one point Dori Butler, Carol Gorman and I took advantage of the setting and went on a hike. It became, for us, a metaphor of the writing journey that we all take and the journey we were taking as writers that week.

Marcia Richards: Will you look back without regrets? Excerpt: “I admire strong women. Those who step out of the comfortable zone where most of us dwell.  Women of courage and determination despite their struggles. Women who set out to follow their passion despite the odds of reaching their goal. These women don’t strive to reach for their dreams for publicity or pats on the back. They do it because they have to. The quest calls to them and won’t stop calling until it’s mastered.

Chuck Wendig: Writers: You Might Be Doing It Wrong If… Excerpt: “If you think of yourself as “aspiring,” you might be doing it wrong. If you’re more interested in a book’s metadata than its theme, you might be doing it wrong. If you’re more concerned about publishing the book than writing it, you might be doing it wrong.

Larry Brooks: Motivation for Writers… Wet or Dry. Excerpt: “How hard are you working?  I mean, really working. Not just working hard… but working smart? “Welcome to the grind.” Sometimes it’s tough to get up and write.  Or simply to square off with the keyboard at any time of day. Athletes have coaches.  We, on the other hand, are quite alone with the task at hand. And so I offer the following…


Jami Gold: A Prologue Will Help Our Story When… Excerpt: “Prologues are hated by many editors and agents. Surprisingly, I’ve heard from readers who say they skip prologues too. Granted, prologues have a bad reputation, but I don’t understand why readers would buy a novel and then purposely skip some of it without even checking to see if it’s a “good” or “bad” prologue.

Jenny Hansen: Figuring Out Your Story’s Turning Points. Excerpt: “One of my favorite speakers on writing is Jennifer Crusie. For some reason, she makes sense to me…as if she has an expressway dug directly into my writing mind. Stephen Cannell (creator of The Rockford Files) was the man who etched 3-Act Structure on my brain, but for turning points it was all Jenny Crusie.

Martha Alderson: Difference between Crisis and Every Other Scene in the Middle of Your Story. Excerpt: “The middle of your story is the territory of the antagonists, which means that the antagonists control the new and unusual world. In this world, antagonists—internal and external—interfere with the protagonist’s forward progress, creating tension and excitement. This back-and-forth between protagonist and antagonist forms the essential dynamic yin and yang of stories.

Roz Morris: How to pace a story so that it hooks the reader. Excerpt: “A well-paced story is like an act of hypnosis. It has a traveling beat that takes control of the reader’s attention. It proceeds at just the right speed to trap the reader a little longer, urge them to turn another page. How is it done? With constant development and change.

Elizabeth S. Craig: Word Count. Excerpt: “I know some writers who are messed up by worrying about their progress while working on the first draft.  Tracking their word counts makes them feel frantic and as if they need to catch up.  So there’s really no need to keep up with your progress as you’re working on the story if it makes things worse.

Erika Marks: 7 Tips For Finishing The First Draft. Excerpt: “First draft. Talk about two words that manage to strike both excitement and fear in the hearts of all of us who write, yes? After having published three books and now deep in the middle of my fourth, I’d like to think I’ve got this whole first draft thing sewed up. Except, well, I don’t. But while I’m no pro at this yet, friends, like all of us, I’ve amassed a decent catalog of tried-and-trues that work for me.

Writer Support

Nick Thacker: How To Find Your Target Market. Excerpt: “This article addresses a question I know writers struggle with all the time. Most of us would love to think that our books will touch the world, but it just isn’t true. Your book will only ever appeal to a specific group of people and your marketing life will be a LOT easier if you identify who they are, and then where they are.

Lisa Grace: Tips for Getting a Movie Deal as an Independent Author. Excerpt: “It seems that most authors love the idea of seeing their books on the big screen — and the extra income from selling book rights to a movie producer doesn’t hurt either. But is a possibility as an independent author? Well, it happened to indie author Lisa Grace. She not only sold the rights to her books, but the first one is in production now. She’s here today to give some tips for those authors who’re hoping to see their characters being played by their favorite actors.

Jami Gold: Do Beat Sheets Lead to Formulaic Writing? Excerpt: “On some level, stories are formulaic. But that’s not due to the existence of beat sheets. Storytelling itself is formulaic: a protagonist faces obstacles. Boom, done. On a generic level, every story has already been done. That’s the nature of storytelling, and has been the case since the dawn of sitting around a campfire. Beat sheets didn’t create that truth and they didn’t change the definition of storytelling.

Ava Jae: 5 Places to Find Critique Partners. Excerpt: “The internet to me, is like space—it never ends and it’s constantly expanding. And while there are hoards of writers scouring the depths of cyberspace, it’s not always easy to pick out a couple select few for the purpose of ripping each other’s work apart giving each other feedback. This is particularly difficult if you don’t know where to look. That being said, I’ve devised a list of five great places to help you satisfy your CP searching needs.


James Altucher: How To Self-Publish A Bestseller: Publishing 3.0 Excerpt: “My most recent book, “Choose Yourself!” sold 44,294 copies in its first month out, hit the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list, was No. 1 on Amazon for all non-fiction books for a few days and is still flirting with No. 1 in its various categories. This post is about what I did differently, why I did it differently, and how I think anyone can do this to self-publish a bestseller. I describe all the numbers, who I hired and why, and how I made the various choices I did.

David Gaughran: Using Categories to Drive Book Sales. Excerpt: “Many publishers don’t understand Amazon’s categories and fail to use the system to their advantage. They either don’t use all categories available to them or, without drilling down further, they choose something generic like Fiction, which is useless as a category unless you are at the very top of the Amazon rankings. Just choosing the right subcategory for your work can give your book a real head start.

Barbara O’Neal: The Sea Change of Self-Publishing. Excerpt: “I’ve just returned from the Romance Writers of America’s national conference. Change has been the word on our lips for at least a couple of years, but the swell was washing over every aspect of the conference this year. The change is self-publishing, and my friends, it is huge.

Industry Awareness

Dianna Dilworth: Penguin Has Relaunched Book Country Adding eBook Store. Excerpt: “Penguin has relaunched its online writing community Book Country adding a digital book store, where writers can sell the books they have published with Book Country’s self-publishing tools, among other new feature updates.” —ALSO, see Porter Anderson’s excellent coverage of Book Country’s relaunch and the issues surrounding it: Book Country: Now Opening New Territory & Are Publishers on a Tightrope with Author Solutions?

Social Media

Anne R. Allen: Social Media Secrets Book Marketers Don’t Tell You—Part I: How to Avoid Twitter-Fritter and Facebook-Fail. Excerpt: “Most writers these days know a good book isn’t enough to get you successfully published. Any agent, editor, or book reviewer is going to Google you first—often before they’ll even read to the end of your query. Certainly before they request a partial or a book to review. What comes up on that Google search can make the difference between getting an agent, publisher and reviews—or languishing in obscurity.

Dan Blank: The B.A.R.F. Score: How To Know if Social Media is Working For You. Excerpt: “Sometimes, an author comes to me with the expectation that an agent or publisher requires them to have a certain number of Twitter followers in order to be considered for publication. They wake up in the middle of the night screaming: “Thanks for the follow!”

Dianna Dilworth: Google+ Logins Grow But Nobody is Sharing: Gigya Report. Excerpt: “While Google+ makes up 24% of logins among social networks online leading logins over Twitter, Yahoo and LinkedIn, Google users are not very active on the site once they log in.

Piper Bayard: Rise of the Machines and the WANAMama. Excerpt: “She has many names–WANAMama, Writerchik, the Death Star–but you may know her as Kristen Lamb. Fiction writer, blogger, and social media maven. I met her just over three years ago on a patio in Ft. Worth. She was gesticulating wildly, glass of wine in hand, and Texas-twang-talking a mile a minute about antagonists and log lines. It was a watershed moment in my career.” –For the record, my title for Kristen is: Social Media Sith Jedi Master. *smile*

Kristen Lamb: Facing a Social Media Apocalypse? Sometimes We Need to Mend the Hearts We Hurt. Excerpt: “We live in an age of authenticity, and to be authentic sometimes…well, sucks. I’d love for you guys to think I’m pink and fluffy and better than unicorn stickers. But I goof. Granted, I make it a point to goof as little as humanly possible, but sometimes? I stick my foot in it….and then in trying to get my foot out of it, stick the other foot in and then fall and get a mouthful and both hands and face stuck and….yeah, it becomes an On-Line LaBrea Tar Pit.


Steven Shankland: Google starts placing ads directly in Gmail inboxes. Excerpt: “Trying a new method of making money off its free e-mail service, the Internet giant has begun putting ads in Gmail’s “promotions” category.

Amit Agarwal: How to Import Web Data into Google Docs [Video]. Excerpt: “You have been using Google Docs to create basic documents and spreadsheets but did you know that Google’s cloud-based Office suite can do even more. For instance, you can directly import data from web pages and edit it inside Google Docs.

Resource Heaven

Cate Russell-Cole: Blog Survival Tools. Contains 11 links to help keep your blog stay safe and secure.

Gabriela Pereira: Reading Resources. Excerpt: “The secret is reading with purpose. You’ll save time and shelf space when you invest only in books you actually need (we’ll help you choose), and learn to read with a writer’s eye. Here are our best DIY MFA articles to help you read with purpose.

If you want to know what I’ve been up to over the past, swing by tomorrow and above all: Make your week fantastic, my friends. Peaceful Journeys.

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 27 July 2013

  1. Marcia says:

    So excited to see my name in your resource list of fame! Thanks, Gene! I’m looking forward to reading Erika Marks’ post, as well as Jenny Hansen’s and Martha Alderson’s. Thats where I am right now-into plotting my first draft of a new novel. Scary stuff. Hoping to get it right this time. Amazing list of articles! The writing community is so generous. Have a great weekend and I’ll be back tomorrow.

  2. Pingback: Mind Sieve 7/29/13 | Gloria Oliver

  3. Jenny Hansen says:

    Gene, you amazing wonder twin of mine! How do you always know exactly what posts I need to be seeing??! And you found another “Jenny!” (a jenny is a mule you know…we’re stubborn like that) 🙂

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