September Links

Ah, the miracle of scheduling. I’m not home right now, I’m in Bristol, at the UK Meet. If you’re not there too, console yourself with these links. 🙂

A Recipe for Nanowrimo: Plan Your Characters and Improvise Your Plot
It’s not so long before NaNoWriMo now. I know I’m already planning. Roz Morris has some good advice for NaNoWriMo plotters and everyone else.

Indeed, if I had to choose whether to outline plot or characters in detail, I’d spend the time on creating the characters. Why?

Once I know who my fictional people are, they start acting, talking and steering the show – merely by being themselves. This streamlines the writing process enormously, helps you write in a natural flow. It’s especially useful for project like NaNoWriMo, where you want to get your wordcount done – but still have fun.

Never Read a Romance Novel? Grow Up
Kristan Higgins much shared repudiation of the snobbery around the Romance genre.

Instead of defending romance books to those who’ve never read one, I’d like to say this instead: grow up. The categorical dismissal of the most-read genre in the world reveals ignorance, not intellectual superiority. This is a billion-dollar industry, and it’s not built on vapidity and cliché. It exists and thrives because romance authors offer readers an emotional experience that mirrors an elemental desire in life: to find a constant and loving companion; to become our best selves; to forgive our mistakes of the past and learn from them.

Self-promo, does it sell books?
A.F. Henley asks the eternal question.

Long story short… no. Not really. I’ve seen it myself, and I’m sure a lot of sites that collect click-through revenue can attest to that. Sure, there are people that will click through to view the book, to read the blurb, or see what else comes up in the genre, but there aren’t many actual purchases made at that point of game. You can have a thousand plus entries to your Rafflecopter, but that doesn’t mean you’ve made a thousand sales by any means. (Trust me on that one.)

The Psychology of Fandom: Why We Get Attached to Fictional Characters
Abby Norman on The Mary Sue about why people get so emotionally invested in fictional characters. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to have my regular angst session over the pain and suffering of my current favourite woobie, Bucky Barnes.

Whether or not characters are ontologically “real”, our familiarity with them renders them very emotionally potent; a kind of emotional truth that we experience at a biochemical level quite the same as we would with strangers whom we get to know over the course of a season — or years, for the loyalist of fans.

A Proofreader’s Tips for Catching Typos
Useful practical advice from Cecilia Lewis for writers for that final pass before submission or publishing. I use several of these myself.

These tips won’t necessarily help with content problems or even sentence-level issues with syntax, wording, or phrasing. They’re designed primarily for proofreading, when you’re reading a manuscript for the final time and trying to catch all of the tiny, easily-overlooked errors. Once you’re ready to proofread, how do you find those mistakes?

Help! I Put A Placeholder In My Story—And It Became Permanent!
Charlie Jane Anders on io9 talks about how to deal with those things you put in your story to get past a block or because they just seemed like a good idea at the time.

Placeholders can be all sorts of things. They can be character names, or minor details like where people went to school. They can be plot devices, or literal McGuffins, which you figure you’ll replace with something cooler eventually. They can be whole characters, or whole subplots. They can even be plot points: “The hero escapes from this impossible situation in a clever fashion TBD.”

Post “Meh” Debut—Your Options
Natalie Whipple with advice to writers who haven’t been as big a success as they hoped they would be.

So you’ve debuted, and you’re not, in fact, a bestseller. Maybe your book/series didn’t even do so hot. Or maybe you did alright, but now your genre is out to pasture and your project on sub isn’t selling. Or maybe your editor has changed houses or left the business and you’re left up a creek. Or maybe your imprint/small press is closing.

I’m writing this post for you all—which I suspect is most of us—in hopes of sharing some knowledge now that I’ve experienced a lot of post-debut, well, crap. (AKA: All of these things I described above.) Many of us are left wondering what comes next. How do we keep going if we want to still be a writer? How do we let go and move on if we don’t?

Five Habits Writers Should Develop to Beat Procrastination
Cari Bennette on the Romance University blog on tactics to tackle procrastination. Handy stuff. At least one I already do.

Though I have no formal statistics on the matter, I would estimate that an overwhelming number of writers procrastinate. Most people are painfully aware of their own procrastination techniques (one of mine is writing incredibly helpful writing advice to friends in order to avoid working on my own writing), and the first step in overcoming procrastination is recognizing that you’re doing it. Do you sit down to your desk and immediately grab the phone to make a long overdue dentist appointment? Do you suddenly need to clean the refrigerator because for some reason you just can’t stand the fact that it’s dirty for a second longer? Do you scroll through Facebook and “like” about 50 of your friends’ posts and photos?

I Smell Your Rookie Moves, New Writers
Chuck Wendig on the common mistakes of new writers.

I am occasionally in a place where I read work by new writers. Sometimes this is at cons or conferences. Sometimes it’s in the sample of work that’s free online or a fragment from a self-published work. Sometimes I just roll over in my bed and there it is, a manuscript by a new writer, haunting me like a vengeful incubus.

I would very much like to yell at you.

10 Really Obnoxious Things Writers Do
Rob Hart on Lit Reactor blog about annoying things writers do, to other people and themselves.

4. Use social media to be a Gloomy Gus

We get it. Publishing is hard. You’ve gotten your teeth kicked in a couple of times. It sucks.

But if your entire identity is how wronged you are and how disappointed you are by your career and why the world is out to get you—I’m not reading your books. There are plenty of books in the world authored by people who seem to actually enjoy what they do.

13 Reasons E-Books Are Better Than Paper Books
For fun to finish – for ebook lovers and those yet to be converted.

There’s a certain turning up of the nose that people who proclaim allegiance to paper have, as if they truly appreciate reading more than people who use a Nook, Kindle, or iPad (or any other e-reader).
Talking to friends about how much I love my e-reader, I’ve received the kind of response as if I had just said that I eat turds or my favorite movie is You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. That preferring to read on an e-reader over a physical book somehow means I like reading less or am the kind of person who would like to tear down the Louvre and put up a Walmart.

Bye bye from Bristol!

Bristol Cathedral

4 thoughts on “September Links

  1. Hello to you!

    This will be a brief comment as I’m fighting off a migraine and I don’t want to risk making even less sense than usual. 😉

    I’m seriously considering NaNo and letting October be my practise month. A nano NaNo. HA HA I ARE FUNNY.

    But anyway, the link re: procrastination is good for me. Definitely my biggest problem at the moment. When I’ve fought off the migraine and become sane again (shut up, it’s possible) I’ll go back through and look properly at the rest of the linkage.

    Okay, time to lie down and get some beauty sleep and let the painkillers take effect. Who’d have a head that didn’t work properly, eh?

    1. I’ve been a terrible procrastinator the last few months. I blame summer. I need those cold dark nights to motivate me! Hope the migraine isn’t too bad.

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