November Links


I wonder how many words I’ve done for NaNoWriMo when this posts?

Afloat, One Girl: Forging a Queer Identity
Moving post by Liz on Queer Romance Month about how important various books have been over her life.

But for myself, the only time I ever felt validated in my feelings was when I read. I got my validation from books. I read all the time—it was a family thing. We all read at any available opportunity, and our tiny Soviet apartment was filled to the brim with books. My dad’s books were a weird mix of his field (physics) and his hobbies (Arabian tales, fables, history of all kinds), while my mom loved fiction. As my sister and I would hit a new developmental milestone, she would give us her favorite childhood books in a nearly ritualistic way. This was important to me, and it will be important to you.

O WOW O WOW O WOW! ~ Outside the Margins with Edmond Manning
How Edmond Manning deals with a bad review.

A few paragraphs ago, when I wrote that I had accepted “this day would come,” I guess my acceptance included a mental picture that when this day eventually arrived, I would read the offending review scanning the New York Times and eating grapefruit wedges with a tiny fork. My newly-hired editor/Italian massage therapist would offer a foot massage to help me deal with this bitter anguish, and I would accept his offer, sighing and saying, “Some people just don’t get it.”

Never mind the fact that I do not read the New York Times and I don’t own those tiny grapefruit forks.

Are You Waving The Novice Writer Flag?
Rayne Hall on the Romance University blog asks if you’re making newbie errors and how to fix them.

When I worked as an editor for magazines and book publishers, I could spot a novice’s submission by simply glancing at the first two paragraphs. If they contained certain words, I knew this was a beginner who had not developed a unique voice yet.

For most acquisitions editors – who may routinely scan two dozen manuscripts in the first hour of their work day – this is sufficient reason to consign your manuscript to the ‘reject’ pile. They won’t tell you the reason, because they don’t have the time to explain, and they don’t want deal with irate writers’ protests. They just send you a standard rejection note.

The #1 Way I Screw Myself Up
Steven Pressfield talks about his worst habit as a writer and how he gets past it.

We all have bad habits as writers. Here’s my worst: I have a terrible tendency to back off on the money shot.

Meaning I’ll fail to maximize the drama in key scenes.

I know why I do this. It’s Resistance. Fear of success. Fear of making something really kick ass.

Thinking Beyond Romance
Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock on Queer Romance Month look at the horizons beyond queer romance.

Queer romance has managed to move beyond that and feature queer characters in central roles, in every subgenre from sci fi to court intrigue tentacle erotica. And that’s definitely worth celebrating, especially since love has historically been denied to LGBTQ characters. We have every confidence that the romance genre will continue to diversify, expanding offerings for lesbians, trans people, POC, ace/aro spectrum, and bisexuals. So what about taking this show on the road, infiltrating other genres, and showing that a positive portrayal of a QUILTBAG character doesn’t have to include that character falling in love?

We’re losing all our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome
Tasha Robinson on The Dissolve about how many “strong female characters” don’t get enough to actually do in stories.

And even when they do, the writers often seem lost after that point. Bringing in a Strong Female Character™ isn’t actually a feminist statement, or an inclusionary statement, or even a basic equality statement, if the character doesn’t have any reason to be in the story except to let filmmakers point at her on the poster and say “See? This film totally respects strong women!”

Starving Artists, Team Players and Plagiarists
K.J. Charles on why the solitary writer is a myth and how many people are affected when a writer is exposed as a plagiarist.

One of the go-to observations about authors is that we’re not team players. Ask an editor/publicist about trying to organise authors for an event and the phrase “like herding cats” is liable to be used. When I tell most people that I work on my own all day in a shed, they ask things like “How do you cope?” and “Isn’t it terribly lonely?”, whereas authors tend to reply, “Oh, you lucky cow.”

No, romance novels are not all the same, but thanks for offering your uneducated, unsolicited opinion.
Jenny Trout on some of the fallout from the Harner Plagiarism case and how it’s being used to bash the whole romance genre.

Detractors come up with the same tired excuses to hate the genre time and again. It’s criticized for being formulaic; in his Washington Post article, Moyer goes on to accuse romance novels of having a “fill in the blanks quality”. This is particularly rich coming from a journalist who largely copied and pasted his entire story from The Guardian. If Moyer had bothered to contact McGraw, or any other romance author or reader, before writing his article (as Allison Flood, author of the Guardian article did), he may have found someone willing to clear up his misconceptions and help him save face. Of course, that would have required actually communicating with silly people who are clearly below him.

Under A Wandering Star: Reining In Points of View
K.J. Charles on the often tricky subject of POV.

Editors often warn of the wandering point of view, sometimes called head-hopping (a term I don’t love for reasons that will become clear). This is the practice of switching from one person’s point of view (POV) to another during a scene. It often gets listed as one of those Things Editors Hate, like the frankly ridiculous blanket ban on disembodied body parts, or submissions in Comic Sans, and as such some authors don’t think it’s a big deal, and/or don’t notice themselves doing it. Well, it is, and you should.

End writing procrastination now: 7 steps
Procrastination is one of the writer’s biggest enemies. Here’s some advice on how to fight it.

To procrastinate means to avoid completing a task that needs to be completed. It’s common self-obstructing behaviour for many aspiring writers. You may have a story you want to tell, even a cast of characters waiting in the wings, but somehow you can’t start or stay motivated to finish. Finishing writing a novel is a wonderful feeling: Your story has taken you to unexpected places and is something you can share and revisit. So why do we procrastinate?

You Are Your Own First Editor
Sherry D Ficklin on editing and why you must not be complacent about it once you’ve sold.

No matter what your status is as a writer, whether you are just out of the gate or are on your hundredth novel, your first draft will always be garbage. That’s the point of first drafts. You barf out the idea and then, in editing, you clean, smooth, polish, and refine it. THEN you submit it. Every. Single. Time.

What if I never write anything again?
Gareth L Powell (author of the brilliantly titled Ack-Ack Macaque) talks about that moment of insecurity writers go through after they finish one project.

‘Do I have enough left in the tank for another book?’ you ask yourself in the dead of night. What if I never come up with another decent idea? What if I’ve used up all my creativity? What if when the book I’ve just written comes out, everybody hates it so much I never get asked to write another? What if I never write another word?

3 Myths Writers Need to Ditch Like a Bad Ex
Kristen Lamb on some myths and fallacies about modern publishing.

The whole publishing paradigm makes me kinda twitch and we writers are often at the center of a lot of silly complaining. So I’d like to debunk some pretty myths we writers love to perpetuate.

It’s like that ex who we run into on Facebook and we get all nostalgic and remember all the loooove. But, if we took more than 30 seconds to think. Really THINK? We’d remember why we were combing Craig’s List for a hit man willing to be paid in unredeemed Starbucks gift cards to take that person OUT…O_o

Same situation. Let’s unpack this, shall we?

The Dumbest Mistakes New Authors Make
Bill Ferris on Writer unboxed with some “hacks for hacks”. 😉

Beginning in the wrong place. A lot of newbies have perfectly good stories, but don’t start them in the right place. Where’s the right place? I recommend you begin writing in a nice coffee shop so everybody can see what a busy and creative author you are. It’s the perfect atmosphere to pen the 10,000-word prologue about your protagonist’s great-great-grandparents.

writing

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