September Links

Here are this month’s recommended links.

Finding the Balance Between Hooking Readers and Setting up the Story the Balance Between Hooking Readers and Setting up the Story
By Janice Hardy on the Romance University blog.

The problem with starting with a bang: Since readers haven’t yet met those characters involved in the trouble, they don’t care what’s happening to them.

The problem with starting with setup: Since nothing is going on but introduction of the characters, readers get bored.

Stop Saying ‘Girly Bits’
An outside the Margins post on Prism Book Alliance.

If you can say dick and cock, you can say vagina. If you can discuss rimjobs and blowjobs, you can say vagina. If you can have entire long discussions and write/read posts about BDSM, role playing, rape fantasies, you can say vagina. If you can read gang bangs, anthro, and a thousand other very adult subjects, you can learn to say vagina and stop acting like a child about them. They’re not ‘girly bits’ or ‘female bits’. You read books about people fucking, and often those books are extremely graphic and shy away from nothing. You can say and type the word vagina (and clitoris).

The Plausible Diversity of Apples
By Foz Meadows

One of the more common arguments raised by anti-diversity advocates is the futility of tokenism – the idea that giving a single show a black female lead for the sake of filling a quota is both insulting and unnecessary. And I quite agree: tokenism isn’t the answer. What we want is to reach a point where there are so many black female protagonists – and queer protagonists, and protagonists of every other type and variation listed above and a great many more besides, in every permutation – that none of them could ever again be reasonably viewed as a token anything. Because, in this scenario, when writers are considering who could be the protagonist, they’re giving equal consideration to every type of person, and not just forcing themselves to look, however briefly, beyond the narrow, familiar confines of an historical default.

Revisions . . . Or Do I Have to Listen to That Darn Copy Editor?
By Nan Reinhardt on the Romance University.

A couple of weeks later, the email from your editor arrives. Your copyedited manuscript is attached. If you’re like most authors, you clutch just a little because you know that copy editor has found all the stuff you and your betas and your mom missed. You open the file and ack! It looks like someone bled all over your beautiful story! Tracked changes are everywhere and according to the Reviewing Pane, there are 2,679 revisions and 34 comments.

Okay, don’t panic.

And a good one to read after that…
Let’s Talk About Stets
By KJ Charles on her blog.

Stet is one of the most important words for an author dealing with editors. It’s one of those bits of trade jargon so essential that it often doesn’t occur to professionals that it needs explaining. So the editor will say, “Stet where you feel appropriate”, and the newbie author, lacking the confidence to admit ignorance, nods in a “yes I will definitely do that” way, and things go wrong.

9 Story Openings to Avoid, Part 4
Next in the series by Kristin Nelson & Angie Hodapp

#4) Your novel opens with a lengthy passage of “talking heads” dialogue.

Here’s what fascinates me: The openings we suggest that you avoid actually evolve out of a writer’s good intentions. In this case, writers know that starting with dialogue can be a very dynamic way to open a story. Dialogue is inherently more energetic than a description-of-the-setting opening, and if done well, a dialogue-heavy opening can reveal a lot about character(s).

47 Killer Tips All Writers Need When Their Creativity Goes AWOL
Good list on the Write to Done blog.

Scary, isn’t it?

That wall.

Behind which all your great words are waiting. Waiting to be released, to fly away, to change the world.

Scary because that wall appeared from nowhere.

One minute you were on such a flow. Ideas flew out of your head faster than your fingers could turn them into words.

And then suddenly… nothing.

Author Despair—What To Do When You Feel Like All Is Lost
And on a similar theme, a post by Kristen Lamb.

If you are taking this writing thing at ALL seriously, you are going to feel jealousy. There is nothing wrong with this. When it is wrong is when we fail to recognize it and inadvertently begin feeding it.

Maybe you’ve been at this writing thing for many years and that newbie you encouraged to attend your writing group landed a sweet book deal her first try. Sure, there can come a point where you are genuinely happy for her, but that will only come after the initial gut punch of Her? Really? Why not me?

This Is Our Work: What Star Trek Asks of Us
You should have expected there’d be a post about Star Trek in its 50th anniversary month.

Until one day, something magic happened—I forgot my copy of Diane Duane’s Star Trek novel, The Wounded Sky, in English class and one of those blonde girls, Lisette, picked it up and told me, excitedly, she loved that book. We traded our other favorites: The Final Reflection, Uhura’s Song, The Romulan Way, Dwellers in the Crucible, Ishmael, The Prometheus Design, Triangle. Many of our favorite Trek novels shared similar themes: attempting to understand alien cultures, to find ways to connect and avoid the lurking potential for violence. Lisette quickly became one of my best friends. It’s a very Star Trek story—two people from different worlds, coming together in shared delight. Infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

5 Common Plotting Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Writing a Novel
By Janice Hardy,

1. More premise than plot

A great idea is a wonderful thing, but it takes more than a premise to create a plot.

Many novels fail because all they are is a premise.

For example, “Four siblings go through a magical wardrobe into another world” is a concept with lots of potential, but there’s no plot to be found. It’s what the siblings do once they get to that magical world that creates the plot.

How to Find Time to Write When You’re 7 Kinds of Busy
Liam Livings on how he gets so much done!

If you want to write a book and you’re waiting for the right time to write it – for an expanse of time when you can close your eyes slowly and wait for the muse to join you so you can write – then, believe me, you’ll be waiting a long time.

Plus, if you’re waiting until you’re in the perfect room, with the perfect light, and the perfect sounds around you so you can write, again, you’re pretty much screwed if you work full time, or have any other life responsibilities (caring etc).

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