Dog Days of Summer Links

Summer is hot and so are these links. And if it’s raining, these links are still hot. Enjoy!

7 (Bad) Habits of Highly Successful Authors
Even good writers have bad habits – but they know how to turn them to their advantage.

So below are what I think are the most common foibles to which many writers fall prey… and somehow they are still able to succeed. I give you this list not so you can gloat and feel superior (not for more than a minute anyway) but so that, if you happen to have any of these particular traits, you now know, unequivocally, that you can no longer use it as an excuse for not reaching your goals. Accept your weaknesses, and carry on.

Why Every Story You Write Is a Guaranteed Failure
K.M. Weiland on Helping Writers Become Authors blog about how to get past writing lows.

You know how it goes. One minute you’re flying high and having fun. Your story is a delight; your characters are your best friends. The words are zipping from your fingers to your keyboard and into immortality. With everything in you, you genuinely believe agents, editors, and readers are going to eat this thing up.

How To Become A Prolific Writer While Holding Down A Day Job
Yes, like it or not, when we commit to writing every day, sacrifices (choices) will have to be made. Many of us have hobbies that we do every day, such as playing tennis, or golf, or running, or going to the gym. What will you give up or cut back on? Unfortunately, we don’t have unlimited hours in a day – only 24.

Maybe it’s your writing that you’re already sacrificing for something else?

Reading, Writing, and Marketing the Serialized Novel
Thinking of serialising a novel? Clara Kensie on the Romance University blog has some good advice.

I also like the versatility of serials. They give you a choice: savor or binge. People do that all the time with TV series on Netflix – savor or binge, right? It’s the same with serialized novels. I savored some serials: I would read each part as it was released, and then I’d look forward all week long to the release of the next part. I woke up each Tuesday, knowing the newest episode had been released while I slept, and was waiting for me on my e-reader. For other serials, if all the installments had already been released, I binged: I read the entire book at once.

12 Dumb Things Writers do to Sidetrack Our Own Success
Anne R Allen on the big mistakes some writers make that stall their careers for years. Are you making any of them?

12) Not reading (especially in your genre)

I’m amazed at people who claim to want to be writers, but when you ask them what they’re reading they go totally blank.
Or they’ll mention a bestseller of a decade ago as the last book they read. Or they say they read nothing but classics—which you strongly suspect they haven’t read since college. They may even follow by telling you “there’s nothing good out there.”

It’s awfully hard to write a novel contemporary readers are going to like if you haven’t read anything published since The Great Gatsby. And it’s impossible to write something Romance/Mystery/Thriller readers are going to like if you don’t read (and love) those genres.

Long and thoughtful article by Alexis Hall about the Gay For You and Out For You tropes.

The problem with this approach, to my mind, was that it internalised the worldview of the Christian Right. It implicitly accepted that the moral acceptability of homosexuality is predicated on its being innate, biological and unchangeable. This struck me as fantastically dangerous. In fact, I feel this is a massively important debate that we surrendered without even noticing we were doing it. The question is not, and should not be, “is homosexuality a choice?” The question is, “should homosexual relationships be seen as equally valid to heterosexual relationships?”

13 of the most annoying writers you’ll ever meet.
Tori Telfer on Bustle with a list of pesky writing types.

Here are some bad things about writers: They’re solipsistic. They’ll use the word “solipsistic” in conversation without bothering to define it, as though they and their vocabulary are the only ones that exist (…which is called solipsism). They read novels so they can say they’ve read them, not because they genuinely wanted to read them. They’re bad with deadlines. They’re pretentious. They think the world owes them a book deal.

Entitlement In Writer Culture
Kait Nolan with a reminder that nobody owes you anything just for being a writer.

One of the first things I saw when I logged into Twitter this morning was a conversation between a writer friend of mine (who, incidentally, is also a professional editor and teaches workshops) and another writer who was essentially lambasting her (and all other professional writers) for not helping new writers. Digging back through the conversation, this evidently centered around the issue of queries, but it definitely had broader implications. My friend handled things in a very calm, professional manner, stating quite rationally that she couldn’t be held responsible for every writer who wants to write, as it simply wasn’t possible. To which she received this in reply “Your reaction is why so many writers feel worthless. No one wants to hear from them. No one cares.”

Don’t know how to say goodbye
Alexis Hall about the scariest part of writing novels – writing the end.

However, something I realised pretty early (in the two whole years I’ve doing this) is that if I want to keep my sanity, if I want writing to stay in the Fun Zone as opposed to the Omg What The Fuck Am I Doing Zone, there has to be Writing and there has to be After Writing, and I basically have to pretend/convince myself that After Writing doesn’t exist.

One Thing Authors Shouldn’t Leave Out of A Story’s “Big Moment”
Victoria Grefer on how not to sell the Big Moments for your story short.

Today’s post is about the big moments in fiction–the action-packed, “everything is changing because of what is happening” moments–and about one thing in particular that authors shouldn’t leave out when writing such a vital passage.

What inspired this post was reflecting on why I am not, in general, a huge fan of the Harry Potter films (especially the 3rd and 4th) when I love Rowling’s books as much as I do and they have impacted my life and writing as much as they have.

Marketing, Social Media, Books and Me
Liz McCausland about how the marketing writers do on social media does, and doesn’t, influence what she reads.

Stop With “Not Your Mother’s”

Many readers I know object to the currently popular “not your mother’s romance” marketing slogan. Some were introduced to romance-reading by their mothers; some are mothers who like sex and sexy books; all know newer authors did not invent sexy/dark/whatever they think they invented.

How to Speak Blurb: a translation guide
KJ Charles on what book blurbs really mean.

You pick up a bunch of books at random. The blurbs claim that they are ‘A hilariously trenchant romp’, ‘Breathtakingly original, written in rhapsodic prose’, and ‘Lyrical, charming and heartbreaking’. Do you wonder if you have stumbled across a cache of literature representing the pinnacle of human artistic endeavour, or do you think, ‘These all look pretty average’?

Writing Romance Fiction is a Feminist Act
Dannielle Summers talks about how she learned that Romance writers and Romance fiction are not what she expected.

When I walked into the biennial conference of a local chapter of the Romance Writers of America, I expected to learn something but also find lots at which to snicker. I expected to find breathy-voiced women with long nails talking about fine young stallions looking to sweep willing young women off their feet. Romance writing isn’t taken seriously. Even though I, along with my wife, had been writing and successfully selling romance fiction for several months, I didn’t really take it seriously either.

99% of what Writers are hearing in terms of advice comes from 1% of Authors.
Bob Mayer argues for more diversity in writing and publishing advice to reflect the rapid change in the business.

First—does what the 1% say regarding their career path even apply any more? Things are different now than they were just six months ago. For trad authors issues like rights granted, reversion clauses, and non-compete clauses are growing more and more important. For indie authors, the market is saturated, so how do you get a toehold in it and leverage your way up, especially if you don’t have backlist, which is the conundrum for the new author?

Real Books: Print, e or parchment scroll?
KJ Charles writing at Lovebytes reviews aregues that books are the content not the container.

And I hate piles of books. Really hate them. That thing people say about the smell of real books? Hahaha no. Go to a book warehouse some day: you’ll need two showers to feel clean again. At the publisher where I work, doors are kept open with books, in boxes as doorstops or splayed to serve as wedges. I use the fruit of someone’s hard work and invention to hold up my monitor.

3 thoughts on “Dog Days of Summer Links

    1. Thanks, K.M. I think it’s an important lesson that writers have to learn that they can’t make their books perfect, because art is subjective and can never be perfect.

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