Looking for some summer reading? Plenty here! The app called Pocket is still helping me read lots more stuff, so I’m reading more that I want to share. Heartily recommended!
Find lots of writing advice, opinion and controversy to read about. And a fun one to finish.
The Magical Midpoint Moment
James Scott Bell on the turning point that should come at the mid point of your novel.
Then, several years ago, I decided to do more in-depth study on what many writing teachers call the “midpoint.” If you do a search about midpoint on the Internet, you’ll find all sorts of ideas about what is supposed to happen here. Some people talk about “raising the stakes.” Others talk about this being the point of commitment. Still others say it’s a change in the direction of the story, or the gathering of new information, or the start of time pressure.
How To Get a Book Published: A Step-by-Step Guide with Links to FREE Information for the New Author
Anne R Allen breaks down the basics. Great resource.
Beginning authors are urged by some marketing people to start marketing long before they’re ready. Some seem to think authors should start “building platform” in the womb.
We think this is dumb. Learn to write, read informative blogs where you can network with other authors, and let yourself build up a body of work before you start trying to market yourself.
10 Things Your Opening Chapter Should Do: A Check-List for Self-Editing
More Anne R Allen, with great advice on making your first chapter fabulous.
When you’re writing your first draft, you’re writing for yourself—getting to know your characters and their world. You should let everything spill out on the page free of your inner editor’s censorship.
But when you’re revising, it’s a different story. You’ll need to cut a whole lot of info you’ve put into the opening chapters. Don’t delete anything—save it for later to scatter through the book.
Should You Eliminate “Was” From Your Writing? Why Sometimes “the Rules” are Wrong.
Anne R Allen on one of the “rules” of writing you need to take with a pinch of salt.
As soon as you joined your first critique group, found a beta reader, or joined a creative writing workshop, somebody no doubt lectured you about avoiding the word “was.” In fact, you were probably admonished to eliminate all forms of the verb “to be” from your fledgling prose.
Your well-meaning mentors told you “was” is “passive,” so you must avoid it at all costs, along with adverbs, run-on sentences, and naming all of your characters “Bob”.
Bad Advice to Ignore from Your Critique Group
Anne R Allen about learning what advice you should and shouldn’t listen to from critique groups.
But remember not all the advice you’ll hear will be useful. As Victoria Strauss says in her must-read Writer Beware blog “never forget that people who know nothing are as eager to opine as people who know something.”
Even worse than know-nothings are the know-somethings who turn every bit of advice they’ve ever heard into a “rule” as ironclad and immutable as an algebraic formula. Follow their advice and your book will read like an algebraic formula, too.
3 Reasons You Should Embrace Rejections
Orly Konig-Lopez on theWriters In The Storm blog about how rejections can be useful to a writer.
Actually hitting that send button on a query is excruciatingly hard. And then when your email starts pinging with rejections, yeah, that’s worse than going to the dentist.
But if you don’t send queries, no one will see your hard work. Sure, you won’t develop a nasty case of queriers twitch and you won’t rack up god knows how many rejections. But you also lose the opportunity for a request or better yet, an offer.
Writing the Synopsis: giving the editor what she wants
KJ Charles on writing the synopsis and how to use it to tell the editor what they need to know about your book.
Because you need to convey to your editor if it’s worth her while reading your submission. That includes telling her how the story develops, right to the end. Synopses that end: ‘But can Boris persuade Florence of the truth?’ or ‘…Will they survive?’ or, most loathsome of all, ‘If you want to know the answer, you’ll have to read the book!’ are a waste of the editor’s time.
Light a Fire Under Your Characters
Beth Hill on The Editors Blog about giving your characters strong motivations.
But characters need specific motivation, motivation for engaging in behaviors no seemingly sane person would engage in: chasing down a serial killer, taking on a monster, standing between an enraged man and his equally enraged wife. Or maybe we’re not talking behaviors no one would try. Maybe we’re simply talking of actions that one character wouldn’t take on, wouldn’t want to engage in, because doing it, whatever it is, would be emotionally painful. Would be traumatic. Would be devastating.
Why Editors Focus on Page One
Darcy Pattison about the missteps that may get your novel rejected before the editor gets as far as Page 2.
Editors can tell within a couple pages if a manuscript will be acceptable to them. How? What makes this decision so clear to an editor and so muddy to an author?
The first pages of a novel encapsulate much of the story and are extremely important in establishing setting, character, pace, audience, tone, and voice. First pages give readers a door knob to turn, an opening to the whole story. Editors are sophisticated, critical readers, and they immediately pick up on missteps such as the following.
Crash Course: Editing A Novel
Lou Knight on how she edited her first novel and figured out that this editingmalarkeyis more work than it appears at first.
I have been talking with fellow writers about the editing process recently. I believe it is the part of the process where we gain the most learning in terms of sharpening our creative chops and honing our craft. That said, this is not comprehensive and simply my own thoughts on the process. I called it crash course because my learning curve is not always about gracefully flowing in the river of creativity so much as bobsledding without a helmet…
30 things to tell a book snob
Matt Haig on the Booktrust Blog about how snobbery about reading material is bad for all readers.
There is something innately snobby about the world of books. There is the snobbery of literary over genre, of adult books over children’s, of seriousness over comedy, of reality over fantasy, of Martin Amis over Stephen King. And it is unhealthy. If books ever die, snobbery would be standing over the corpse.
Why Are We So Hard on Other Women?
Jane on Dear Author about why female readers can be so harsh on female characters.
Generally speaking, women are judged harshly by other women and men are offered far more lenience. I submit this is for two reasons. Wanting to be in control of a woman’s own outcome and familiarity leading to contempt.
Are Your Dreams Standing in the Way of Writing Success? 5 Dreams That Can Interfere With Your Goals
Anne R Allen about not lettings those nebulous dreams stand in the way of achieving real goals.
A dream is a creature of the imagination, full of sparkles and rainbows and magic. It’s our castle in the air where we live our fantasy lives. We all need them. But we also need to recognize them for what they are.
A goal is something doable. Like getting a college degree, saving enough money to go to a writers conference, or finishing that novel.
The Ten Things No One Else Will Tell You That You Should Know Now!
The Pop Culture Divas with useful info for new and aspiring writers.
There should be a manual for new writers and authors, one definitive volume loaded with insider secrets and a realistic idea of what to expect. After all, such books exist for everything from being pregnant to almost any career possible. Although there are countless books about writing, even more articles, several magazines for writers, and numerous online writing communities, I don’t know of any one source offering everything writers can expect.
And they all lived happily ever after
Scarlett Parrish on writers who want to break genre rules.
Earlier today there was much discussion on romance. One author took the view that she didn’t want to be tied to those evil genre conventions, HEA and its evil twin HFN. Why shouldn’t she write a book where the couple end up separated by the final page?
Well, uh, yeah. Nobody’s stopping her, but that’s sure not romance. Writers can protest all they want that their precious works shouldn’t have to have a happy ending, but the acronyms HEA and HFN are what define the genre. They make it what it is.
5 Traits of the Successful Author
Kristen Lamb on the five traits shared by the authors who make it.
Again, writers write. One of the main reasons I am such a proponent of blogging is that it trains writers for a professional pace. It trains us to meet deadlines. Disciplined people work no matter what, and they finish what they start. Amateurs and the immature flit from thing to thing. Professionals and genuine artists dig in and complete the task.
A Key to Creating Conflict in Fiction
James Scott Bell on what creates conflict and suspense in a story.
Today’s post is brought to you by Conflict & Suspense, two things every novel needs. Yes, every, no matter the genre.
I’m not just talking about plot here, but characterization, too. It’s this latter aspect that some writers fail to take full advantage of.
So you just had your book published.
Chuck Wendig with advice to new writers.
For a variable amount of time, let’s call it a week, you’re going to be flying high. Hell, flying high doesn’t even cover it. You’re going to be flitting around the big blue heavens with a pair of magical laser dolphins as shoes. You’re going to be past the moon. You’re going to feel like you’re snorting comet dust and making sweet love to asteroids.
Social Media Secrets Book Marketers Don’t Tell You—Part I: How to Avoid Twitter-Fritter and Facebook-Fail
Anne R Allen with some useful advice on social media.
What comes up on that Google search can make the difference between getting an agent, publisher and reviews—or languishing in obscurity.
Yes, of course it’s possible to become a successful author without an online presence, the same way it’s possible to get hired for a corporate job if you write your resume on parchment and send it by carrier pigeon.
Query Letter: There’s Disagreeing and There’s Being Unwise
Lynn Price, editorial director for Behler publications with some short, but useful advice about querying and rejection.
It could be that your story rocks the Earth and Moon, and I’d be a simpleton not to immediately sign you. But unless you communicate that fabulosity in your query letter, I’ll be none the wiser. I understand author frustration and the desire to lash out, but rather than blaming me for the fact that you didn’t do your job in your query letter, try standing outside yourself and viewing your query letter objectively.
Self-editing: Repetition, echoes, and saying the same thing over and over again
K J Charles on how to edit outrepetitionin your writing.
It’s appallingly easy to do. I fix this for authors on a daily basis, but I still turned in The Magpie Lord to Samhain with so many unconscious repetitions I was hiding behind the sofa with embarrassment when I got my edits back.
11 things it took me 42 years to learn
Shane Nickerson with some useful advice about life.
3. Let your dreams change.
You thought you were going to be a famous actor but have slowly begun to resent everything about the career except the end goal you imagine to be the answer to your happiness? It isn’t. This goes back to #1. Life slips by quickly when you sacrifice your current happiness for imagined future happiness for an extended amount of time. People tell you to do what you love. That’s not an expression, it’s a philosophy. Switch your dreams to something that makes you happy right now, not hopefully happy later.
How I went from writing fanfiction to original work, and how Kindle Worlds hasn’t changed my perspective
Alyssa Hubbard talks about the lessons learned as a fanfic writer and how they can help a writer who turns pro.
Ever since the release of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds was announced, I’ve begun to notice a strange shift in the way writers view other writers. Namely, how writers of original fiction see fanfiction writers “cheat,” and by that I assume they mean that they use other people’s characters and worlds rather than starting from scratch like original fiction writers do. I, personally, love fanfiction.
WRITERS: YOU MIGHT BE DOING IT WRONG IF…
Chuck Wendig on ways you might be doing it wrong.
If you’re more concerned about publishing the book than writing it, you might be doing it wrong.
If you talk, tweet, think or write about writing more than you actually write: doin’ it wrong.
If you always find an excuse why you’re not writing, then UR DOIN’ IT RONG.
Is the Love Affair Over?Why M/M is Losing My Interest
Angela Lannister at The Saucy Wenches blog talks about why she’s losing her love for the m/m genre.
As some of you might have noticed, I enjoy reading M/M books. That’s right, Male/Male action. I found this genre after getting sucked into the world of Qhuay (Qhuinn and Blay), which transpired over several installments in the J.R. Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Many of my friends enjoy this genre as well, but I’ve started to feel like the love affair is over. The heady days of reading nothing but M/M have passed me by, and I’m feeling a bit disillusioned with the genre.
How to be a Better Reader
KJ Charles talks about how to improve your reading life and expand your interests.
Read something you wouldn’t normally read. At least once every couple of months, pick up a genre you’ve never tried, non-fiction on a subject you know nothing about, a novel that doesn’t look like your cup of tea. There could be an entire world of new books out there, waiting for you to love them.
How to Write the Perfect Query Letter
An example of a successful query letter and an analysis of why it works.
One of the easiest ways to learn what makes a good, standard query letter is simply to see an example of one that does its job well. If you write fiction or narrative nonfiction, a query letter is your first (and often, your only) chance to get an agent interested in reading (and, with hope, signing) your work. You should put just as much care and attention into crafting and polishing your query as you did into your manuscript. After all, if your pitch doesn’t hit its mark, your book will never leave your desktop.
19 Book Cover Clichés
Fun one to finish – 19 book cover cliches that tell you right away what the book is about.
4. Woman in long white dress.
Must be a: Novel aimed at women. But with literary pretensions. Definitely not chick lit.