March Links

Singing in your own voice
Writer Anna Butler on finding the right narrator for a story, first person or third and when each works or doesn’t.

I do get why some people hate first person POV. They don’t like the limited viewpoint they’re getting, or feel it’s an attempt to create a sort of false intimacy with the reader, with the narrator plucking at their sleeves and talking to them directly. They complain that they don’t know they can trust the narrator to be honest, given no other viewpoint to consider—something that exercises me even with the usual third person. Because bottom line: is any narrator ever completely truthful?

Beware the “Writing Rules” police
Agent Anne R Allen warns about the pitfalls of taking too much notice of the so-called rules of writing you’ll find plenty of.

I think this is especially true with some beginning writers. They hear about certain guidelines from agents or publishers or marketers, and in their minds these become “commandments” that every writer should be forced to live by. They never question the source or intent of the “rules” but simply follow them blindly and shame everybody who doesn’t.

Thing is, there are NO hard and fast rules in writing: only guidelines. (And of course, fashion. Writing styles go in and out of fashion and have nothing much to do with “right or “wrong”)

Why I Let Romance Fiction Back Into My Life
Writer Sue Brown on her journey away from and back to Romance fiction.

I know it’s easy to laugh at those romance books. The formula, the alpha male/submissive female, the insta-love and the happy ever after. But they were feel good books, easy to read and gentle for the soul. I read crime, sci-fi and every other genre I could get my hands on. Romance was just part of my reading library and I don’t feel embarrassed about it.

Putting Books in Print: Worth the Hassle?
Writer Kayelle Allen on the Romance University blog discusses whether it’s worth having books in print in an ebook-loving genre like Romance.

Should an author worry that their print book will end up in a used book store? Absolutely not! You want them to go there. Why? That’s where many readers get to know new authors. Remember that time you picked up a book by an author you hadn’t read before because it was on sale? I discovered JR Ward, JD Robb, and Michael Connelly that way, and they are all favorite authors now.

Brief Analysis of Alphahole Trope in Romantic Fiction.
Writer Ilona Andrews with an examination of the equal parts maligned and adored Byronic hero – aka the alphahole. Warning – not as brief as the title implies. But worth the time.

Modern alphahole is generally aware he isn’t a good guy. He is, before all else, competent. He excels at his chosen profession, whether it is making billions, being a Duke, or running a ragtag crew of immortal werewolves trying to guard the world from horrible evil. By extension, alphahole is often rich, because he manages his money well. Alphahole delivers. If he invites you to dinner, you can bet your life that he has made a reservation; if your car breaks down, he will either fix it himself (points for additional competence) or make a mechanic appear nearly instantly out of thin air; if a monster is demolishing downtown, alphahole will run toward it; and if a sick child requires rare medicine that isn’t available at any pharmacy nearby, alphahole will find it. Alphahole has no chill and takes no crap.

Hey, Everyone, Be Nice!
K.J. Charles on how tone policing seeks to silence dissenting voices.

I’m also a woman. I know that putting your case politely can also make it much easier for people to ignore you. I know that it’s possible to say the same thing politely a dozen times, and be ignored, and then when you finally stop being polite, they say, “Calm down, love!” or “There’s no need to shout!” as though raising your voice the thirteenth time is completely unreasonable.

Pitching my Fork: Confessions of an Outrage Addict
Heidi Cullinan on breaking the continual outrage habit.

I don’t take any comfort from knowing I have a hell of a lot of company. At any given day on every social media site and in the comments of every online article, there are usually at least seven or eight angry outbursts in all directions with roaming mobs with pitchforks to match. Sometimes the ire is more than warranted; it’s healing, or it’s alerting a community (sometimes the world) of a wrong too egregious to ignore. Sometimes our collective upset is as mesmerizing and ridiculous as reality television. Sometimes I open up Twitter and spend a solid five minutes simply trying to sort out who is mad at whom and for what. Sometimes I never quite manage to suss it out.

The Economic Impact of Non-Diverse Romance, Part I: The Quality “Problem”
Alyssa Cole on how the problem of lack of diversity in romance impacts marginalised authors financially. Extra points for use of Star Trek gifs!

There is also a lot of talk about getting mainstream authors to add more diversity to their books, which is also important but I think shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the fact that there are already LOADS of marginalized authors writing diverse romance (many of whom get ignored when they reach out to people specifically ask for diverse romance). I’ll save that discussion for another day. One thing that I think people shy away from is talking about the economic impact of non-diversity in romance publishing. Money.

But I Didn’t Mean You ~ Outside the Margins
Anne Zabo on Prism Book Alliance blog on how easy it is to end up moving from “I’m not like those others” to bashing those others.

Except that it attacks other women. And lumps them into bad (so as to make the speaker better). It’s also a trap. Because women who like romance aren’t brainless. Many of us read widely. And what the hell is wrong with liking pink, anyway?

Is emotional cheating actually cheating?
Liam Livings, on Joyfully Jay blog, asks the highly cheating averse romance reading community wheat they think of “emotional cheating.”

Or, to put it another way, when is cheating not cheating? I think cheating is only cheating when it involves something physical happening by interacting with another person.

This debate came up because Gabe and Dominic, the two main characters in And Then That Happened, both have boyfriends when they meet. At first they are friends, but then as it becomes apparent there are a whole host of issues in their own relationships, they look to one another for emotional support and solace. Evidently, this is emotional cheating. Or is it?

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