June Links


Publish Your First Draft
Interesting and controversial post by Bill Peschel. Is it a waste of time to edit your novel?

In the past few months I learned a very important lesson about the best way to revise your novel.

Don’t.

It’s a waste of time and energy. Not only don’t readers mind too much, they’ll still buy your books.

When Romance Dies
Just when that couple you’ve been shipping gets together – bam! Dabney Grinnan on when writers kill off one half of a couple.

Television shows use a character’s death as either a ratings stunt or a quick way to remove an actor from the cast, but it can have a major effect on the viewer and how they see the show. We develop connections with characters that we love and when those people find romance it makes their stories all the more compelling. To then see that relationship end in such a cruel way can be devastating.

The Dos and Don’ts of Writing a Transgender or Non-Binary Character
Informative and useful advice by Pennamegrey on The Story and its Writerblog, about writing trans characters

DO: Respect the pronouns
Misgendering is a big deal. Depending on the person, it can result in anything from annoyance or discomfort to full blown panic or anxiety attacks. People’s pronouns need to be treated with respect, both in real life and in fiction.

Converting Backstory into Character with Theresa Stevens, Editor
Theresa Stevens, on the Romance University Blog about how to leverage your character’s backstory to deepen their characterisation.

I recently led a friend of mine through an exercise designed to shape a character, and with her permission, we’re going to discuss that exercise here. We run into this sort of issue pretty frequently: a character has a strong backstory, but that doesn’t quite translate into a strong, solid character. In this case, the character – we’ll call her Ashley – was defined as a woman in her mid-20s whose father is an abusive alcoholic.

That single fact drove most of the character creation, and was the answer to almost every question about this character.

Seven Great Sources of Conflict for Romances
Chris Winkle on the Mythcreants blog (my favourite find this month!) about how to introduce conflict in romance without using the tired cliches.

If the two lovebirds are meant for each other, why don’t they just hook up? This question has vexed countless storytellers and lead to a plethora of bad romance tropes, including unrealistic misunderstandings, persistent suitors, and bizarre breakups. But as the romance genre shows, this question has many wonderful answers. Get your imagination going with these seven.

THE FEAR
Gareth Powell on THE FEAR, which will strike every writer sometime, and how to face it.

I have spoken about THE FEAR to other writers, and they all recognise it. They all have that inner demon whispering to them in their darkest moments, undercutting their confidence and self-belief. For some, those dark moments are at the beginning of a project, when they’re staring at a blank white page awaiting inspiration. For others, THE FEAR creeps up on them during the editing process, or just prior to submission.

So you wanna be a beta reader, huh? Well, then…
Denise on Two Chicks Obsessed blog with some tips about how to be a beta reder.

1. Ask for ground rules at the beginning. I’ve had authors ask me to “beta read” and what they really wanted was for me to proofread their already pre-edited version of their work in progress. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve had another author give me a questionnaire to fill out. Having expectations ahead of time will make it easier for both you and the author. I ask questions like: “Do you want me to proofread? Is there something in particular you want me to watch for? When do you want this returned to you?” If you get these things out of the way right away if its someone you haven’t read for before, then you will both know what you are looking for, and there won’t be disappointment on either side.

Stealing Books in the Age of Self-Publishing
Joy Lanzendorfer in The Atlantic about the problem of plagiarism that seems to go hand in hand with electronic books.

In the world of self-publishing, where anyone can put a document on Amazon and call it a book, many writers are seeing their work being appropriated without their permission. Some books are copied word-for-word while others are tinkered with just enough to make it tough for an automated plagiarism-checker to flag them. (Though the practice is legally considered copyright infringement, the term “plagiarism” is more widely used.) The offending books often stay up for weeks or even months at a time before they’re detected, usually by an astute reader. For the authors, this intrusion goes beyond threatening their livelihood. Writing a novel is a form of creative expression, and having it stolen by someone else, many say, can feel like a personal violation.

Dear Broke Reader: Your Sense of Entitlement is Killing Me
Sarah Madison on this month’s controversy about the problem of book piracy.

I’m afraid this is going to be a fairly controversial post.

I stayed up FAR too long last night reading the posts and comments generated after someone solicited recommendations for pirate sites on their Facebook page. A few people took her to task for finding ways to steal stories–because yes, that’s what it is–but astonishingly, others came to her defense. The perpetrator herself shut down the censure of others, blocking them, calling them names, and then making fun of the people who dared take her to call her out for stealing from others. I have no doubt there will also be retaliatory negative reviews on some author’s books because that seems to be the way things work these days.

Typical reactions to getting published
Tom Hocknell about how it feels when you get that acceptance.

However, and this is obviously coming, or I’d be rocking and mumbling to myself alone, I got a positive response from a publisher. In fact I got two. I’d like to say they were fighting over me, and perhaps one morning I’ll wake up to this dream, but one was a vanity publisher that required my financial help with their promoting of it. I can only presume they referred to leaning back in chairs while counting cash as promotional activities. Having politely refused their offer of ripping me off, I received another email from an independent publisher, who had apparently read it AND liked it. This was a combination that my psyche and internalised constructs of the world following years of rejection had not encountered before.

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3 thoughts on “June Links

  1. re: Publish Your First Draft

    Perhaps, at a low price and short-term, readers will put up with badly written prose if the story is engaging. But I have serious doubts they’ll put up with it long term. I’ve read stories where the SPaG were atrocious, but understandable – but I only kept reading because there was enough of a good story to keep me going.

    One has to wonder how many more readers these authors would have, and how much more money they would make, had they respected their readers enough to put some sweat into their writing. I’d call it a carpet-bagger mentality – get in with crap, make fast money, and get the hell out before people realize they’ve been screwed.

    re: Dear Broke Reader: Your Sense of Entitlement is Killing Me

    I once got into a very heated argument with someone I had, until then, respected quite a bit. She insisted that it wasn’t stealing to pirate an e-book because a) it wasn’t like the author had to pay for printing/binding/shipping; b) she couldn’t afford to pay for a print book; and c) if she really liked it, she’d go buy it later.

    The fact she was taking something without permission and without paying for it was something she chose to ignore, because according to her, the writer wasn’t actually losing the book (ie, a physical book). It just wasn’t the same as stealing.

    Unbelievable.

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