When the Links Come Marching In

A collection of luscious links to spring you into March.

When we defend romance reading as escapism, the critics win
Sunita at Dear Author talking about romance and escapism, and why that’s neither a good defence or a valid criticism of romance.

I think we make a mistake when we rebut the critics of the genre using the terms of the debate they’ve established, rather than forcing them to consider how pejorative their assumptions are. I absolutely read romance when I want to be cheered up. But I also read it when I’m feeling good about life. Some romance readers want to avoid stories that are too gritty, too reflective of the dark times in which they are set. Other readers come out of a story like The Bronze Horseman feeling uplifted and positive about humanity. Luckily we have really good romance novels to make both groups happy.

The Mainstreaming of M/M
Josh Lanyon on the Jessewave blog about whether M/M fiction is gaining a foothold in the mainstream.

But even with the best timing in the world, is it realistic to expect that a successful M/M release from an already bestselling mainstream author will translate into a boom for indie M/M authors? Won’t much of that enthusiasm be chilled when these readers purchase their first badly-edited piece of schlock from Schnooky-Nooky Press? Is it not likely that these enthusiastic new readers will look for more offerings from already established mainstream authors?

To the mainstream!
Writer and editor Kate McMurray’s reponse post to Josh Lanyon’s post above.

I think two things will happen by the end of 2013. We’ll see a few mainstream romance authors write m/m (or other LGBT romance) and we’ll see a few established m/m (or other LGBT) writers get picked up by “mainstream” publishers. (Examples: Katie Porter is the writing team of Lorelie Brown and Carrie Lofty, both established m/f writers. They wrote a couple of m/m holiday stories that were well-received. ZA Maxfield has a book deal with Berkley.)

Yverdon-Les-Bains and Cliffhangers
While responding to the fan reaction to the last episode of series 4 of BBC Radio comedy Cabin Pressure, writer John Finnemore makes some interesting points about cliff-hanger endings.

2) You can’t use a cliff-hanger instead of an ending. Some shows do, but I think it’s cheating. Any episode that ends with a cliffhanger must also have a satisfying conclusion in itself. Ideally, the main question of the episode should be answered – but the answer should then throw up an unexpected larger question, which provides the cliff-hanger.

Women Writers and Bad Interviews
Lorraine Berry at Talking Writing on the intrusive, irrelevent, and just plain sexist questions women writers have to suffer in interviews.

Connie Willis insists that all writers get asked dumb questions. In a recent TW interview I did with her, the renowned science fiction author points out that, for the average reader (or literal-minded reporter), the idea of making up something whole-cloth out of your head is a foreign concept. They assume you must be drawing on some event that happened to you personally.

This is Willis’s generous explanation for why people have actually asked her if she’s experienced the things she’s described in her novels, including time travel and death.

Inspired Openings: Special Agent Edition
Literary agents talk about what grabs them – and what doesn’t – about a novel opening. Rule #1 seems to be no “waking up, getting ready, eating breakfast and going to work/school” openings, please!

I tend to refer to this as the balance between the familiar and the unexpected. Think of Beethoven’s fifth symphony. Those first four notes are strikingly recognizable, but the first three are the same. It’s the fourth, that unexpected changeup, that catches your attention.
– Amy Boggs, Donald Maass Literary Agency

Self-Editing 101—13 Questions to Ask Yourself about Your Opening Chapter
Anne R. Allen talks about opening chapters and why they are the hardest to get right, but are the most important to get right.

Introducing your reader to your characters and your fictional world may be the single trickiest job a novelist has. You have to present a lot of information at the same time you’re enticing us to jump into the story. If you tell us too much, you’ll bore us, but if you tell us too little, you’ll confuse us.

Size Matters
Alex Beecroft on how you decide if you’ve got a short or a beast of a novel on your hands when you come up with a story idea.

Whether you gravitate more to short or long forms will largely depend on the kind of story ideas that come to you by nature. The minimalist, single brilliant ideas of short stories can’t really be developed into novels, and the sprawling complexity of novel ideas can’t usually be reduced into shorts.

Picture of the Month

How to Take a Great Author Photo pictures

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