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.

IMAGINE THIS…Part 1 Imagery and Characterization, can the two ever meet outside of an English class?
Jade Lee on Romance University Blog about using imagery to deepen characterisation.

Talk about imagery and even writers roll back to their worst high school English class. That’s unfortunate because there is no easier tool for characterization than using good consistent imagery. How many of us have read something like this: His touch was like a hot brand against her skin. Her heart quivered with longing as he stabbed her with his arrow of luv. Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea. Cliche imagery for cliche stories.

Burn Out – Part 3 – Forgotten Your Goal?
Patricia Green about how to regain your focus.

I see this happening to people all the time. They get so wound up with every day minutiae that they forget the overarching plan of action and the goal they’re striving for. It happens to me, too, but fortunately, I have a husband who helps keep me on track.

So, give this some thought. Are you feeling burned out because you’re racing around doing the small stuff, the stuff that should be getting you somewhere, when what you really need to do is take a step back and remind yourself what all this grinding is for?

Don’t Make These Four Mistakes When You Name Your Characters
Ninie Hammon about not dooming your characters with their names,

Fame and fortune do not come to people named Ninie Bovell (My maiden name.) Gabriella Bovary? You could work with that. Even something as pedestrian as Madeline Bovell or Rebecca Bovell or (though you’d lose points here for lack of originality) Elizabeth Bovell. But Ninie? I never had a chance.

Anne Rice Vs Amazon: more on reviews (with flowchart)
KJ Charles on Anne Rice’s recent call to make Amazon customers use their real names on reviews. If nothing else, check out the flow chart.

There’s no point going into the stupidity of this because it won’t happen. It would cause the number of Amazon reviews to drop like a rock (silencing not just those who don’t want to be harassed, but also anyone who doesn’t want their parents, partner or potential employer to see what they’re reading), and if there’s one thing Amazon likes other than gouging for gigantic discounts and exploiting workers, it’s onsite reviews. So that’s not what I want to talk about here. What I’m baffled by is…

Anne Rice reads her Amazon reviews and gets upset by them.

Is There a Place for the Slow Writer in the Digital Age?
IN the age of super-productivity Anne R Allen discusses the place of slower writers.

In fact, much of the developed world seems to be engaged some turbo-charged drag race of the soul, hurtling our frenzied selves from cradle to grave, terrified of slowing for even a minute.

Nobody is pressured to go for speed more than writers. Everybody tells us we need to churn out books as fast as Mickey D’s grills burgers, or we’ll never make it in this business.

Defending my Presence: Sue Brown
Interesting post from Sue Brown and lots of interesting comments on the subject of women writing m/m romance.

Women have appropriated the genre both as readers and writers. Definitely, I don’t think anyone would deny that, and that appropriation brings its own issues. Have we imposed our own view of what gay men are like? Are we treating gay men like ‘chicks with dicks’ or heterosexual men? Are we invading a much needed ‘safe space’?

Publishing decisions, and why they’re none of anyone else’s business
Erica Hayes about why the path a writer chooses is their business and nobody else’s, and they don’t need unasked for advice.

Most authors are not idiots. They’re business people with decisions to make. And they make those decisions based on their situation. Not some random bestselling author’s, or anyone else’s. Theirs.

Anyone who thinks that just because this or that happened for some zillion-copy-selling author, it will doubtless happen that way for them too, because hey, they’re indie and INDIES ROCK! You can do it! Group hug! – well, perhaps they should think about it some more.

I Hate Writing
Josh Lanyon on why he finds writing a first draft so painful.

I think part of why it’s so hard to write a first draft is that…letting go and sinking into the story. It’s the same thing readers do…let go and sink into the world of imagination. The difference is the writer has to do it first. The writer has to create the world for the reader. That first layer of imagination is the writer’s.

A Library In Your Pocket: How Having an E-reader Has Changed My Reading Habits
Jo Walton on how an ereader changed how she reads, where she reads and what she reads when.

I bought an e-reader almost two years ago. My son had one first, but he’s a technophilic early adopter. I on the other hand am a panda who likes to stick to my one comfortable grove of bamboo. But when my son came with me my signing tour in January 2011, he took his Kindle and I took eleven books. Then I bought more on the way and had to post some home from San Francisco. Even I could see the advantages of an e-reader for travel. There never was a more reluctant purchaser though.

Size Matters – Tips for Enlarging Your Manuscript
First draft come up short? Check out Kris Bock’s tips for upping the word count.

I write concisely. See that sentence? Direct and to the point. That comes from a combination of natural style, training in journalism, and years of writing for children, where you often have to write a story in only a few hundred words. In general, tight writing is a good thing. Stories automatically move faster without unnecessary wordiness, and many of my educational publishing contracts require me to pack a lot of information into a few pages.

We stopped reviewing books explicitly aimed at just girls, or just boys – the response was incredible.
Katy Guest answers reader questions about the Independent’s choice to stop reviewing children’s books specifically marketed at boys or girls.

Do I judge books by their covers?
No. We won’t review books which are “explicitly aimed at just girls, or just boys”, as I said. Each book will be judged on its own merits – as always – but an example of “explicitly” targeting a book at boys or girls would be calling the book “The Boys’ Book of Sportiness” or “The Girls’ Book of Looking Pretty”. “The Sporty Book” or “The Gorgeous Book”, on the other hand, would pass. (By the way, if I were sent a book called The Girls’ Book of You Can Do Pretty Much Anything a Boy Can Do, or vice versa, I might make an exception. But I never have been. These books seem to conform to type.)

Stars & Tripe
KJ Charles on Sid Love’s blog about the stress behind thoughtfully giving books star ratings.

I literally cannot star this book. 3.5 for the romance, a star vacuum sucking credit from all surrounding books for the hero’s action. But how is that fair? The story doesn’t applaud the hero’s action any more than condemning it. Would I give A Fine Balance a 1 star because characters do awful things to each other? Does it make a difference if the author intended to evoke this reaction or not? How do I know?

The 14 Stages Of Book Addiction
Finish with the funny.

6. An internal conflict starts to develop as part of you wants to know how the story ends and the other part of you can’t bear the thought of life without this book.

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