National Link Reading Month

I’m probably writing my NaNoWriMo novel even as you read this. So if you’re not doing the same, or you’re looking for some righteous procrastination opportunities, check out some good reading!

Queer Romance Month
Not just one post, but loads of awesome ones. If you weren’t following in October, catch up in November.

  • We believe that love is love, and nobody should be relegated to a sidebar or a subgenre. Queer romance is romance.
  • We welcome anyone who believes in love, irrespective of gender or orientation. Allies, supporters and the curious are all part of QRM.
  • We support the right to read what you like, write what you love, and be who you are.
  • We love romantic fiction. We want to share the love and help some amazing books and authors reach a wider audience.

Nix The Naysayers
Handsome Hansel on the Romance University blog about how to deal with those who don’t think this writing malarky is a waste of your time – relevant for those starting NaNoWriMo!

As writers we are overly observant people to begin with. We are empathizers, sympathizers, and caregivers, not only to our characters but our writing as a whole. We feel and experience on levels most don’t understand. We can’t help it. Which is why, when someone smirks when we say we are writing a novel or rolls their eyes when we get enthusiastic over a plot line we came up with, it hurts.

Creative Writing Courses Aren’t Killing Literature – Sanctimonious Rich White Tossers Are
Tim Clare’s reply to Nobel judge Horace Engdahl’s assertion that Craetive Writing courses are killing literature.

Currently, I write and perform full-time. I don’t want to sound like a smug twat but it’s wonderful. I am happy and with all the time I save not wretchedly sobbing in airing cupboards or drinking myself into a stupor I am able to properly research things and spend hours writing each day. My work is much better, and my output is steadily improving.

Compelling Characters: It’s all about the change in identity and belief
Beth Barany about the character’s journey change through a story.

You may be wondering: How is knowing your characters’ starting and ending core beliefs relevant and important to strong story telling and a compelling character?

It’s the core beliefs that define how the character acts and reacts and how they make their decisions. It’s how they face conflict. In other words, especially in moments of conflict it helps you, the author, define and determine how your character reacts.

What You Need To Know About Your Second Draft
Chuck Wendig on that difficult early stage of editing.

Here’s a tough reality to the second draft:

It might be worse than the first draft.

It’s a weird phenomenon and you think it shouldn’t be that way, but if you think of your story as the wandering of a maze, sometimes in that wandering you must be forced to choose a new direction and in choosing that direction you discover you just ran like, 10 miles the wrong way. Dead-ends do not reveal themselves immediately and sometimes must be written toward –

Sometimes you have to write the wrong thing to figure out how to write the right thing.

Detoxifying my online life
Sunita on Vacuous Minx about why you need to ask yourself “why am I reading this” about the online world sometimes.

And then I thought to myself, “Why am I even reading this site anymore? Because I always have?” For every interesting comment or conversation there are ten that are not worth the time. And yet I read them. For no good reason. Yes, I’ve been reading that site for 15 years. But it’s different than it was, I’m different, and the online world is different.

Things You Should Know When Writing About Guns
Chunk Wendig on getting guns write…er… right.

And when you write about the use of a gun in your story, you’re going to get something wrong. When you do, you will get a wordy email by some reader correcting you about this, because if there’s one thing nobody can abide you getting wrong in your writing, then by gosh and by golly, it’s motherfucking guns. Like how in that scene in The Wheel Of Game of Ringdragons when Tyrion the Imp uses the Heckler & Koch MP7 to shoot the horse out from under Raistlin and Frodo, the author, Sergei R. R. Tolkeen, gets the cartridge wrong. What an asshole, am I right?

Dark Matters: Cultivating Creative Cruelty in Romance Fiction
Damon Suede on Romance University on why even in the sweetest romance the characters must suffer.

Romance writers are sadists at heart. They have to be, because romance needs genuine suffering to produce the transformations and emotion that make for memorable reading. Sure…romance authors need to love their characters, but even more essential is the capacity for extended imaginary sadism that pushes beyond the box. If we can admit that bad stuff happens to good people, then really hideous misfortunes happen to great people…and romance characters need to (by all accounts) seem doomed from the get-go.

The Past is a Miserable Country: queer historical romance
KJ Charles guest posts on All About Romance about how to justify a happy ending for LGBTQ characters in historical romance.

If you don’t like your romance to be angst-filled, and you want to be assured that when you close the book, you leave the characters at the start of a blissful life together, it seems that queer romance has a problem. How can you have a happy ending to a male/male Regency romance when your heroes not only can never come out, but could face the gallows if they get caught together? How can the reader believe in a proper HEA in a hostile world? Isn’t every queer historical romance either a parade of angst or an unconvincing denial of the horrible realities?

How to Tell If Your Story Idea Is Mediocre—And How to Improve It
Laurie Scheer challenges you to consider if your story is not up to the standard needed for publication, and talks about how you figure out how to give it an edge.

Sorry to have to burst your bubble, but agents, managers, publishers, folks who work at production companies, and any type of potential buyer does not want to be bothered with material that’s just ordinary. They have seen it all. They have read manuscripts that didn’t get made—often for good reasons—and they have heard pitches, read loglines and synopses and treatments for thousands of ideas. These folks are not practicing their game—they are playing hardball. They want to win in this competitive market and they are looking for material they can win with.

Happily Ever….
Alexis Hall’s response to a much commented on post on Queer Romance Monthly about the place of the HEA in queer romance.

Usefully, I think you can make a strong analogy between the revelation at the end of a mystery and the Happy Ever After at the end of a romance. And, yes, you could write a story in which a mystery was a raised and was never resolved (The Name of the Rose, The New York Trilogy and even The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time all spring to mind) but it wouldn’t really be genre mystery, it would be literary fiction using the modes of mystery storytelling. Just as many romance readers read romances to feel good, many mystery readers read mysteries to play along at home, and not finding out whether you got the answer right would be deeply frustrating.

The Importance of Inciting Moments
Amanda Patterson on the Writer’s Write blog about how to open your story strongly.

As a fiction writer you need to un-learn everything you were taught about story-telling as a child. Adults want to read a book that begins with a bang. They want to land in the middle of the action, identify with the protagonist, and take a thrilling vicarious ride to a resolution.

Grown-Up Reading: Why Romance and Happy Endings Matter
KJ Charles on the importance and value of happy endings in literature

Romance, like all genre fiction, is all about the story. And sometimes we need stories with happy endings. Sometimes we need fiction that reminds us things can come right, people can be decent, stuff can work out.

Diving Deep into Deep Point of View
Rhay Christou on Writers in the Storm blog about deep POV – useful if you’re just starting your NaNoWriMo novel.

Deep point of view is intense. It not only represents the sights, sounds, and actions filtered through a POV (point of view) character but goes deeper into emotions as well as a character’s unique worldview. In deep point of view the character owns the page and the author becomes nonexistent. Deep point of view allows the reader to live vicariously through the actions, reactions, and emotions of a character.

Now excuse me while I get back to pounding the keys!

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