Links that are hotter than July

Some links to read while sunbathing.

Are you ‘in the closet’ about M/M?
Kate Aaron talks about being secretive about what you read.

Here’s the thing: people’s minds don’t just change overnight. There are plenty of folks who think they don’t know anyone who’s LGBT, or who really gives a damn about LGBT rights. They’re aware that out there somewhere in the hypothetical realm this stuff matters, but they don’t think it matters to them. That’s why we keep coming out, to show people that they do know queerfolk. We are the human faces of a heated political debate. Just look how many Republicans have changed their minds about same-sex marriage since their children came out.

Do You Know How To Edit AND Proofread Your Story?
Jenny Hansen talks about the differences between editing and proofreading and how to do both well.

Like most writers, I hang out with a boatload of other writers. Still, I never saw much of other peoples’ works in progress until I coordinated a contest several years ago. Coordinating contests changed the way I see writing. Period. It was a window into both sides of the submission process.

Plus, I saw firsthand one of the important talents that separates the amateurs from the professionals: the ability to both edit and proofread.

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It’s June now, right? (slightly early links)

It’s a little early for links, but it is technically the first week in June, since tomorrow is June. So here ya go. Lovely links I’ve gathered over May.

4 Reasons Authors Shouldn’t Edit While they Write
Victoria Grefer argues that you should keep your editing side locked up until your draft is complete.

Editing, correcting—“perfecting”—can become a bit like a drug. A bit like an addiction. You get to the point where you write a scene, and you can’t bring yourself to move forward unless you’ve edited it. Fixed it.

This is a huge problem and a huge waste of time. You know why? Generally, a read-through of the first draft comes after a first draft. And during that read-through, you realize you have a lot of fluff thrown in your novel. Sometimes entire scenes you can easily delete, and your novel will be better for the cut.

The Germ of an Idea: where a book came from
K.J. Charles on how a writer takes a small seed of an idea and turns it into an oak tree of a story.

One of my favourite experiences was getting so drunk on lemon sours that I spent hours in an animated argument about Lord of the Rings with an equally drunk friend. I was talking to Mr KJC about it the next day, when he pointed out that I don’t speak Japanese and our friend didn’t speak English. I have no memory of this being an issue at the time.

What new authors need to know, but no one usually tells them
Angela Campbell unravels the mysteries of what happens after you sign that first publishing contract.

When you first sign a contract, you expect a certain amount of hand-holding to occur, and sadly, it often doesn’t happen. No one ever tells aspiring authors what to expect once a contract is offered and accepted.

So, I thought I’d share a few tips for those debut authors out there to clue them in on a few things while, hopefully, shucking them on the shoulder with a “You can do this!” pat. Because, No. 1, you’ve already accomplished a major feat. Be super proud of yourself! There are tons of people still struggling to finish a manuscript, let alone shop it around to agents and publishers. And every experienced writer knows the rate of rejection far surpasses acceptances in this business.

There are 699,999 books that people want more than yours. Perfect.
Christa Desir about not defining success purely by your book’s Amazon ranking

I loved everything about release day. I’ve heard lots of debut writers say the same thing. All this good will is showered over you and your little labor of love is out in the world and it’s a social media frenzy of congratulations. But then, after that first day, that first month, those first six months, you wake up to the morning when your book is ranked 700,000 on Amazon. So basically the world wants to read 699,999 books more than yours. Perfect.

The BBA Jihad, or: Why This Is Getting Pretty Bloody Ridiculous (A How-To Guide for Authors)
Nenia Campbell on not going crazy about Goodreads reviews.


Someone just gave all your books one star ratings.


Do nothing. Calling attention to it will only make it worse.


“But it isn’t fair! They didn’t read the book!”


You don’t have any way of proving that, though. Unless the person wrote a review saying, “Nyah, nyah, I didn’t read the book but this author sux LOL!” that is.

Four Ways Fictional Romance Sometimes Reads False
Victoria Grefer about how to avoid making people think “Yeah right” about your loved up characters.

However, I have recognized through some failed “sweet” (read “sickly sweet”) romantic moments I tried to write in my unpublished novels that when my tender moments go wrong, it tends to be for one of a limited set of reasons. I’d like to share those just for reference and to ask if you’ve found this same thing happening in your writing.

Ask a Debut Novelist – Question 2 What has surprised you most about the book business?
Ted Thompson talks about what he learned after he sold his first book.

I’ll be honest, I was reluctant to answer this question at first because I confess I’m someone who thinks concentrating too much on the book business can be counterproductive for writers. Going to panels about publishing or subscribing to Publisher’s Lunch (don’t do it!) or obsessively Googling a certain agent can fill you with all kinds of ideas about what you think publishers want, and can distract you from exactly the thing that makes your book good.

Finishing Your Book: a handy completion checklist
So you think your books is finished and ready for submission? Think again, and check this handy list from author and editor K.J. Charles.

You’ve written your book. You’ve slaved over the plotting, wept blood on the characterisation, drunk your way through the sex scenes, got yourself under GCHQ scrutiny thanks to the websites you’re visiting for research, squeezed out multiple thousand words through your finger ends, and typed The End. But are you really finished?

Here, in honour of sending off my sixth book to the publisher, is my cut-out-n-keep Book Completion Checklist. It won’t catch everything but it might save you a bit of humiliation as the editor finds a delicate and tactful way to tell you you’re an idiot.

Anglo-Saxon Attitudes: bigotry in historical fiction
K.J. Charles about how writers deal with “of their time” attitudes and beliefs in historical stories without making us think their characters are appalling people.

In general, though, the attitudes were really pretty gruesome, and it shows in the books. Though it’s often a little bit complicated. Fu Manchu, for example, is an appalling caricature of Chinese stereotypes, a living yellow peril, threat to the white race, blah. Genuinely, massively, horrifically racist. But I can’t help noticing that he always wins. Denis Nayland Smith can stiffen his upper lip till you could use it to scrape wallpaper, but he usually ends up bound in a remote strangely carved cavern under the influence of mysterious Oriental drugs, while Fu Manchu buggers off to get on with running the world.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing
Zachery Petit compiled seven deadly sins of writing based on four popular authors on a ThrillerFest panel.

1. Laziness
(David Hewson, author of the Nic Costa series)
Intellectual laziness is something all writers are prone to: as in writing the same type of book, and doing it annually. “I think you really have to fight against laziness and constantly keep challenging yourself.” Like great art, books aren’t ever finished—they’re abandoned. (In other words, don’t just finish writing a first draft and call it a day.)

Tuna Salad and Creative Writing… A Connection, Please???
Victoria Grefer on why fiction is like tuna salad.

Remember, variety is the spice of life. You want enough variety to keep things interesting and flowing, but enough stability so that your reader keeps a hold of what is going on and what this story is actually about.

Finish off with a writing related chuckle.

Now, bring on the summer!

May I present some links?

Dedications (they’re what you need)
KJ Charles on book dedications.

And of course you can use a dedication to settle a score as Alfie Kohn does in No Contest: The Case against Competition:

“Let me note, finally, that most of the research for this book was done in the libraries of Harvard University, the size of whose holdings is matched only by the school’s determination to restrict access to them. I am delighted to have been able to use these resources, and it hardly matters that I was afforded this privilege only because the school thought I was someone else.”

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Some links to egg you on

April is here, the clocks have gone forward, it’s officially summertime here (hollow laughter) and soon it will be Easter. Meanwhile, here are the best blogs and articles I’ve read this last month. Enjoy!

Is ‘happy for now’ happy enough for you?
Robin Reader on Dear Author about the different types of happy ending.

Perhaps, as Jane said, it comes down to trust for many Romance readers, especially when real world relationships are failing at such a high rate. Knowing that you can find constancy in a fictional love match can be a point of comfort for readers. Also, readers invest considerable time and emotional energy in reading, and the HEA can serve as a dual payoff– not only do readers know that their time will not be wasted with protagonists who may not go the romantic distance, but there can also be a sense of emotional justice for characters who suffer or undertake a really difficult struggle to find true love. The more obstacles protagonists face, the more invested a reader may become in seeing the protagonists in an enduring happy relationship.

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March of the Links

February is a short month, but I still found lots of luscious links.

The Women We Don’t See
E. Catherine Tobler on the invisibility of female authors to some readers.

So, was it actually a coincidence? Could a reader not realize they hadn’t read a female author in two years? Unfortunately, I believe the answer is absolutely and completely yes, because male authors remain the default. Readers just go there, without thinking twice.

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