Today’s great stuff:
- Gabriela Pereira offers a very cool and visual technique for Mapping Out Your Story on DIY MFA. I did something like it, focused on the characters in just the last scene of Shakespeare’s King Lear. That was an experience! Could be pretty complex with lots of plot lines, and you’d better have plenty of wall space. 🙂 I’ll bet there’s even project management software out there you could use to do it. Very interesting.
- Speaking of tools for writers, Angela and Becca continue their week of Random Acts of Kindness for writers on The Bookshelf Muse by giving away 4 MORE copies of Scrivener (2 for PC, 2 for Mac), with 4 more to come on Thursday and again on Friday. “But wait, there’s more,” as the late Billy Mays used to say. Today, they’re also offering 3 “premium” 1-year memberships in Critique Circle, the online critique service.
- And now for something completely different–and fun: Michael Swanwick muses about Johnny Carson’t Poets. Yes, Carson used to have real poets on The Tonight Show. And he didn’t make fun of them. Says a lot about Johnny.
- Speaking of creativity, Rachelle Gardner asks, Is There Room for Originality? Oh, yes, she answers. The “secret?” You know the answer already: write the best damn book you can.
- In a similar vein, Susan Craig, on My Name Is Not Bob, tells about how she beat the odds to receive a research grant. Doesn’t relate to writing? Sure it does, and not about the details of writing a grant application. Her lesson? Something another grad student told her: “Funny thing about statistics…The odds of an outcome only apply to the group, not to the individual.” Do your best work and you just might beat the odds, too.
- K. M. Weiland notes on her WORDplay vlog that if you’re a Genre Flip-Flopper, that is, if your story changes genre in mid-stream (and she notes that genre is primarily a marketing tool!), you’ll be fine ONLY if there’s plenty of advance warning and set-up that things are going to change. So, know before you go, and make sure your reader does, too.
- On Writing the World, Harvey Stanbrough offers some advice that ought to be obvious, even when applied to e-books–Don’t Publish Until the Book is Ready–but then offers good reasons why doing so applies just as much to e- and self-published books as to traditionally published ones.
- Jane Friedman is hardly the first person to note that the author of a self-pubbed book has to become other things besides a writer: a marketer, a publisher, an entrepreneur. And for some people, including her, that’s just not part of the skill set or too far out of the comfort zone. Today she explains why she’s traded money (less royalty money) for expertise (the publishing house’s ability to manage the publishing process).
- Today’s First-page critique of ARCTIC FIRE is a good illustration of why you don’t start a story with backstory. ‘Nuf said, but brave of the author to (a) submit it for public critique and (b) fess up to being the author in the comments.
- How about turning your blog into a book? Or several books? Nina Amir suggests ways to find and collate material from your blog and the kinds of books that blog posts can easily and comfortably turn into in 7 Ways to Mine Blog Posts into Publishable Gold on The Book Designer.
- I HAVE to include this one: Harper Lee Lays the Smack Down in a letter to a Virginia county school board back in 1966, reproduced on 101 Books. As blog host Robert Bruce says, “Don’t screw around with Harper Lee.” YOW!