Early links

I know it’s only November 30th, but tomorrow is December, so I’m calling this the first weekend of December, okay. Also, NaNoWriMo just ended and my brain is too knackered to write anything. Hence – links!

5 Things Successful People do in the Evening
Something useful on Yahoo!? Who’d have thought it! Yahoo Small Business advisor on effective habits of night owls.

There are lots of sayings to highlight how getting going early can really lead to success. ‘The early bird catches the worm,’ ‘…early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’ But what about the other end of the day? New research suggests that night owls may actually be more successful than morning people.

What Doesn’t Happen When You Sign a Book Deal
Addie Zierman with a reality check about what having a book deal will really do to your life.

The contract will come in the mail with the publisher’s name on it, and for a few minutes or hours or days, you’ll feel on top of the world.

Here you are, at the beginning of a dream come true, at the precipice of all you’ve been waiting for.

You’ll sit down at the kitchen table. You’ll lift your pen to sign the papers.

The Business Rusch: Reality Check
Fascinating article by Kristine Kathryn Rusch on the relationship over the last few years between NaNoWriMo and self-publishing.

But I’ve been in this business for more than 30 years now, and I’ve learned that beginning writers, for the most part, are the most delusional of all artists. Ninety percent of all beginning writers believe they should sell the very first thing they finish.

So you want to be an Indie author: Ten things you absolutely must and must not do
Allan Leverone’s advice to indie authors, which applies for the most part to non-indies too.

5 – Try new things. The world of books and publishing is in the midst of the kind of upheaval not seen since Johannes Gutenberg decided five hundred years ago that it might be a good idea to give those monks’ aching hands a break.

Take advantage of that upheaval. Tinker. Try stuff. If a new form of promotion seems like a good idea, give it a shot. You might be the breakout success in whose footsteps everyone else follows. Until next year, when everything changes again.

That Throwaway First Book
Ally Broadfield on the Romance University blog about what writing the first book can teach you – frequently that’s how not to write a book.

I made all the classic newbie mistakes. Though I had a black moment and a beginning, middle, and end, I started the story in the wrong place, there was too much backstory, and most of the scenes were full of fun, witty dialogue and very little conflict. I knew enough to recognize that my manuscript needed a major overhaul, but I didn’t have the skill or experience to fix it. So in early 2011, I made the difficult decision to set it aside and start a new project.

The 7 Rules of Picking Names for Fictional Characters
Brian A. Klems on Writer’s Digest on choosing character names and avoiding the pitfalls.

Choosing a character name for your novel is as pressure-filled as picking a name for a baby. It has to suit the character’s personality, makes sense for the era and, most important, be super awesome (sorry friends, the awesome name of Brian A. Klems is already taken by this guy). Names like Harry Potter, Holden Caulfield and Stephanie Plum are memorable not just because of the amazing stories they navigate, but also because these names “fit” those characters so well. You need a name that “fits” your character too.

Science Fiction’s Queer Problem
Oliver Keane on LGBT characters – or rather the lack of them – in science fiction. And why, in the face of much evidence to the contrary, the people with the money and power continue to assume the audience for sci-fi is still limited to a single demographic.

Sci fi has a problem with gay and lesbian characters. This is especially true of TV science fiction, but print is almost as guilty, and most games with a sci fi flavour are exercises in testosterone-fueled head-stomping (which, while good fun, does not generally make for nuanced or diverse characters). I can probably name on the fingers of maybe both my hands the number of gay or lesbian characters I’ve come across in the genre as a whole, across all media.

Terrible Advice for Aspiring Authors
KJ Charles talks from the point of view of the commissioning editor about how not to get your manuscript noticed.

And you go through all the steps that people tell you – make it the best book you possibly can, research agents and publishers, follow the submission guidelines slavishly – and still nobody will even look at it, and now you’re getting desperate and frustrated and angry, too, because God damn it, you know your book’s at least as good as a lot of other published stuff. And surely there’s a way to bypass what seems like a set of arbitrary barricades…

At this point, some people turn to more extreme methods. As a commissioning editor, I have experienced all of the following. None of them have worked.

What the Heck is a Character Outline? Why do I need one?
Whitley Gray with some useful pointers for getting to know your character better and keeping track of pesky details with a character outline.

It’s a list of everything you know about your character, starting with his family of origin and ending at the start of your book. There are many, many lists out there for making a character outline, ranging from extraordinarily detailed to “just the basics.”

An Educational 12 Months with Escape Publishing Managing Editor Kate Cuthbert
Some thoughts about writing and publishing learned from a year of running Escape Publishing,

I wish I had the answers on how to get readers to buy your books, but here’s a secret: no one really does. If they did, every book would be a best-seller. There are tricks and tips, but from what I can tell it comes down to writing good books and a whole lot of being in the right place at the right time.

14 Ways to tick off a writer
Finish with the funny!

1) Go on Amazon and give the book one star because “the plastic wrapping was slightly ripped when it arrived from the seller.”

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5 thoughts on “Early links

  1. “The Business Rusch: Reality Check”

    Best part of the article – Kate Wilhelm saying “that writers who can be discouraged should be discouraged”.

    “So you want to be an Indie author”

    If there’s a term that makes no sense, it’s “indie author”. Every author is an “indie author” if they’re not writing to a contract (ie, Big Boss telling the author what story/article/essay/etc they will be writing).

    “What the Heck is a Character Outline? Why do I need one?”

    Making notes about characters to keep the facts straight – yeah, I can see that. Questionnaires? No way. If I don’t know the answer, it’ll come sometime during the story – if it’s important. If it’s not, why bother? (Boxers or briefs? Seriously?)

    1. LOL, yes the outlines with trivia are more the type I’d fill in after I’ve written something into the story, to keep track of details. Beforehand I want ones with big questions that make me think about the characters.

  2. Very useful
    Thanks, Becky. The more I read posts about how to :character biogs/plot/whatever, the more I realise some bits work for me others, not so much.
    I now (listen 2 me like i’m so exoerienced…) start w character biogs, what they want etc then get out my trusty post it’s to plot the story.
    The post it’s mean I can write a 1st draft fast – 2000words/hr but & this keeps me ‘in the story’ then it needs a good edit. Different strokes for different folkes I suppose.
    Liam Livings 🙂

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