Writing Resources 17 August 2013

Writing Resources ADJ 08172013Here 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.

Inform & Inspire

Steven Pressfield: The 10,000 Hour Rule. Excerpt: “I’m not sure whether Malcolm Gladwell was the first to identify this principle or was simply responsible for popularizing it. But his name is definitely associated with it. The rule says that in order for an individual to master any complex skill, be it brain surgery or playing the cello, she must put in 10,000 hours of focused practice. Since a thousand hours seems to be more or less the maximum we humans can handle in one year, ten thousand hours equals ten years.

Jeff Goins: The Myth of Multitasking. Excerpt: “Distraction. It’s one of the fastest ways to lose our focus and start — uh, what was I saying? Sorry, I had to check my email real quick. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, distraction…You and I are called to important work that not just anyone can do. And the biggest obstacle to accomplishing this is a million little distractions that we encounter every day.

Jenny Blake: Are you Falling Prey to Faux Inspiration? Excerpt: “Got a tornado of great ideas and good intentions swirling around in your mind? Having a little trouble translating them to the page or the real world? I hate to say it, but you might be falling into the fauxspiration trap.

Ali Luke: The One True Path to Writing Success? Excerpt: “Want to know the secret? There is no one true path. There is no one right way. Sure, some bestselling authors / writing tutors / self-proclaimed gurus might insist that their way is the way … but it isn’t. Sometimes, experts completely disagree. Other times, their tips may not work at all for you – at best, they’re useless; at worst, they’re actively harmful.


Jami Gold: Do You Know Your Story’s Subtext? Excerpt: “Last week we discussed the messages and meanings hidden within genre stories. Sometimes we, as writers, might not be aware of all the impressions readers take away from our writing. The messages readers get from our writing aren’t always explicitly stated. That is, a story’s meaning and hidden messages lurk in elements like subtext, theme, and promises made to the reader.

Ava Jae: How to Write Realistic Dialogue. Excerpt: “I’ve often found it’s easy to tell a writer’s skill level by taking a look at their dialogue. With just a few lines, you can easily tell if the dialogue is working (or not), which is important because character speech can easily make or break an otherwise great story.

Alina K. Field: Writing Outside the Box – with Storyboxes. Excerpt: “You’ve probably heard of “thinking outside the box.”  For many years I worked in a highly structured, byzantine business culture. “Thinking outside the box” was a pleasant activity for team-building days, but my sad, cynical heart knew it wasn’t at all a realistic endeavor in that rule-bound bureaucracy. When I could finally lift the lid, climb out of that particular box, and sit down to fulfill a dream of writing fiction, the great yawning freedom made me giddy. But what to write?

Art Holcomb: The Rule Book, Part Two. Excerpt: “Are these emotions that your character should have or are they not important to the story? Try putting yourself in the character’s shoes – based on what you know of them already, how would these emotions make them react? If you used someone you already know as an inspiration for the character, imagine them is a similar situation.  Remember, the more you know about the character, the better they will respond to what you want them to do.


Chuck Wendig: Laser, Hacksaw, Spanner, Hammer: A Post About Editing. Excerpt: “Here is what goes through my head when I edit: Who wrote this drivel? Shit, it was me. It was me. This thing reads like a fucking VCR repair manual. Is this even English? It’s got all the grace and elegance of a drunk girl puking in a potted plant at a frat party. It’s got all the speed and potency of an old man with a colostomy bag rolling clumsily down a shallow hill. It’s ugly like the winking sphincter of a sick giraffe.

Writer Support

Jami Gold: Google’s Fickleness: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Excerpt: “If one thing is constant with Google, it’s that they always change. Over the past couple of years, they phased out most of Google Friend Connect and stopped supporting Feedburner. However, I realized recently that I hadn’t talked about their latest changes. Some of their recent changes have been good (Google Authorship), others bad (Gmail’s Tabbed Inbox), and still others just plain ugly (Google Reader). But knowledge is power, so let’s review how each of these changes affects us.

Marcie Flinchum Atkins: Reading and Studying Mentor Texts. Excerpt: “Most writers are readers. We grew up absorbed in books. I was one of those kids who grew up without a television, so I was reading a book a day on average.  I still read a lot now, but unfortunately, I don’t absorb good writing technique automatically. I have to be deliberate about it.

Kait Nolan: Where’s the Fan Service. Excerpt: “So one of the major pitfalls of being a writer is that it makes it damn near impossible to read anything as a reader anymore.  We can’t NOT pull apart everything we read. We’ll pick up those popular books and read them and pick them apart AS WRITERS and completely miss the boat on why they are so popular because we’re too busy focusing on all the dangling participles and redundant descriptions and plots that could have been group-though by a tribe of orangutans that we can’t see what these books give readers. Fan service.

Jenny Hansen: Time Management Tip: “YES Makes Less” Excerpt: “Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating.

Kristen Lamb: Irrefutable Law of Success #2—Plan Your Work, Then Work Your Plan. Excerpt: “The operational tempo of our profession has increased exponentially. While this requires us to do more and be responsible for more, it’s actually great news. In the olden days of publishing, we had to go through New York in order to be published. Indies who can write to demand are not just making money off the latest work, but ALL their works. Backlists, short stories, serials, series, novellas, etc. This is why writers who go traditional are leaning toward hybridization (part NY, part indie). With all the options and the changing consumer climate, it means we have a lot of latitude as artists. Yet, to be successful, we need to plan our work and work our plan.

Anne R. Allen: Why Go to A Writers Conference? 10 Reflections and 10 Tips to Get the Most out of Your Conference Experience. Excerpt: “I kind of have a love-hate relationship with writers’ conferences. I’ve been to some that left me dazed and confused (and considerably poorer) but I’ve attended others that energized and inspired me. So are conferences necessary to launch your writing career?


Dennis Abrams: Seth Godin on Why “Vilifying Amazon…Makes No Sense” Excerpt: “At The Domino Project, founder Seth Godin writes that what we’re seeing today is “the end of the independent bookstore (and a new golden age for books).” After pointing out the extraordinary influence that the Book of the Month Club had in shaping what America read in the years immediately following World War II, Godin celebrates the way in which bookstores took over and capitalized on its role when the Club began its inevitable decline.

Dean Wesley Smith: Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing: #2. Excerpt: “Writing Fast is Bad Or said in myth fashion: WRITING SLOW EQUALS WRITING WELL. Or the flip side: WRITING FAST EQUALS WRITING POORLY. This comes out of everyone’s mouth at one point or another in a form of apology for our work. “Oh, I just cranked that off.” Or the flip side… “This is some of my best work. I’ve been writing it for over a year.” Now this silly idea that the writing process has anything at all to do with quality of the work has been around in publishing for just over 100 years now, pushed mostly by the literature side and the college professors. It has no basis in any real fact when it comes to writers. None. If you don’t believe me, start researching how fast some of the classics of literature were written.

Delilah S. Dawson: 25 Steps to Being a Traditionally Published Author: Lazy Bastard Edition. Excerpt: “What follows is the quickest, dirtiest, most simple route to writing a novel and getting it published by a traditional publisher, which I accomplished from my own couch in Atlanta while nursing a baby and having neither an MFA nor any previous contacts in publishing. The following advice is based on my own personal experience that began with writing a seriously shitty book (about accidentally banging Zeus) in 2009 and seeing my third book (about steampunk vampire circuses) on the shelf in B&N in 2012. Everything I learned came from Google.

Susan Spann: What IS Copyright, Anyway? Excerpt: “Authors talk a lot about “copyright,” but many don’t actually understand what the word entails. A lot of us also don’t ask questions, largely from a desire “not to look stupid” — I know I’m guilty of that on occasion, and I suspect a lot of other people are too.

Dianna Dilworth: Wattpad is Experimenting with Kickstarter-Like Fan Funding. Excerpt: “Online writing community Wattpad is testing a new program that would let fans help fund projects. The pilot focuses on the work of six writers.


Porter Anderson: Are You Marketing to Your “Adjacent Fans”? Excerpt: “Books are books but they are also containers of ideas, worlds, beliefs, philosophies, attitudes, world-views, etc.” So far, so good, right? Even though I’ve hit you with the m-word here—oh, no, marketing!—we’re OK with the idea that books contain ideas. The several books I’ve read that seemed not to have a single idea to offer, I’ll kindly not name here. And to their authors: You owe me.

Joanna Penn: How To Market A Book Launch Lessons Learned. Excerpt: “My Launch Process. As I outline in the book itself, I don’t really believe in the spike launch anymore. There is no shelf life on a book now, as there used to be in print stores, so for me the launch is just an announcement the book is available. Then it’s about long-term sales.

Anne Hill: How to Sell Books From Your Website: Top 3 E-commerce Solutions for Authors. Excerpt: “Authors have come a long way in the past few years. We understand that we have to be marketers as well as writers. We know that the best book marketing involves two-way communication with readers and not just sales pitches. Some of us even enjoy it. But while blogs and social media have made those conversations easier to have, selling books through Amazon and other online retailers prevents us from connecting with readers at the critical moment of sale.

Elizabeth S. Craig: Release Activities for the Reluctant Promoter. Excerpt: “This year, I will have at least four, maybe five (the fifth will be pushing it) releases.  Three are traditionally published, I’ve got one new self-pub release,  and there’s one that’s waiting in the wings. Somehow, though, despite all the releases, I freeze up when it’s launch day.  You’d think I’d never had a release in my life. I really have no idea why I do this, but I’m now coming up with a handy-dandy cheat sheet…

Social Media

Marcia Richards: 21 Tips To Make Pinterest Work For You. Excerpt: “I hear you moaning and imagine you rolling your eyes…ugh, another social media time suck! Time on Pinterest does have to be managed, but it’s so worth it. Pinterest is now one of the hottest websites! It’s one more place to connect with potential readers/consumers.  It is becoming one of THE best marketing tools you can have in your arsenal.


Dianna Dilworth: eBook Vendors to Fight Piracy By Sharing Customer Data With Anti-Piracy Organization. Excerpt: “In a move to help combat piracy, eBook merchants in The Netherlands are going to begin adding unique digital watermarks to the digital books that they sell in order to track the individual copies of eBooks down to the user.

Phi Tran: Drones Powered By Human Thought Brings Us One Step Closer to Telepathy. Excerpt: “Leave your iPhone at home because you won’t need it for this drone – it’s controlled by your brain. Think telepathy. Just by thinking of forming a fist with your right hand will move the quadrocopter to the right.

That’s all for this week.

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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5 Responses to Writing Resources 17 August 2013

  1. Marcia says:

    Thanks so much for including my post in your amazing list of resources, Gene! There are a few I missed this week. Heading over to Chuck Wendig’s now. Just love his posts. Have a great weekend.

    • Gene Lempp says:

      I love Chuck’s openness–that and the fact I find him simply hilarious in presenting his insights. Glad to include your article on Pinterest, excellent tips. Have a great week, Marcia. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Mind Sieve 8/19/13 | Gloria Oliver

  3. I’ve been up the mountain all weekend and just saw this. I’m honored to have my post included, and can’t wait to read all the others. Thanks, Gene!

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