A 60/40 mix of craft and marketing posts today, with a final just-for-fun piece. As usual, we’ll start with craft.
- Kim Weiland (@KMWeiland) offers suggestions for how to Strengthen Your Writing by Listening to Pet Peeves on her WORDplay blog. Every writer, reader, agent, or editor has things they just hate in writing. While you might not agree with all of them, you can improve your writing, Kim says, if you listen to those gripes, consider them with care, and adjust your writing wherever you see the value behind the complaint. James Scott Bell (@jamesscottbell) asks Kill Zone readers to list their faves (or maybe these are their anti-favorites) on Reader Friday: Stop It!
- Sean D’Souza’s (http://www.psychotactics.com) How to Add Impact to Your Story-Based Articles on Write to Done might seem like it’s only for non-fiction writers, but his suggestion to pick out the exciting or interesting parts of a story and bring them forward is central to good fiction as well.
- Martha Alderson (a.k.a. The Plot Whisperer; @plotwhisperer) means to describe what she considers to be the Benefits of Plotting in Scenes on The Bookshelf Muse. Frankly, I’m a little torn about including this post today because, while she succeeds to an extent, I felt this post and this concept could have been much more fully developed. Still, there is value here.
- Finally for this section, John Vorhaus (@TrueFactBarFact) reminds us that The Practice of Writing requires just that–practice–and offers 9 ways to ensure you can and will do it.
These next two posts have to do with getting your work in front of readers’ eyes.
- Dan Blank (@danblank) asks on Writer Unboxed, Do You Know Who Your Audience Is? No, Really: Do You? It’s a many-times-asked question, which means lots of would-be published authors haven’t got this one figured out yet. While this longer than necessary article could have benefited from some editing, it does eventually get around to the steps to take to identify who your target audience/market is.
- With your target market identified, Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt) offers his steps for How to Launch a Bestselling Book. This post is focused more on non-fiction than fiction, and Hyatt notes that what worked for him won’t necessarily work for you, but the steps are practical and specific. That’s different from saying they’ll be easy, especially for those not comfortable with the whole idea of marketing.
And finally, and just for fun, the winners (?) of this year’s Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been announced in Publishers Weekly. In case you’re not familiar with this contest, it’s run by the English Department of San Jose State University in California in honor (?) of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, the British novelist and playwright who began his novel Paul Clifford with, “It was a dark and stormy night;…” You can read the full list of winners (?) in all the various categories, if you can, if you dare, here. (To his credit, EGB-L is also the creator of the terms “the pen is mightier than the sword,” “the great unwashed,” and “the almighty dollar,” although given the prolix nature of Victorian prose, one shudders to think what verbiage these phrases might have been embedded in; or if you prefer, in what verbiage these phrases might have been embedded.) Thanks (?) to Nathan Bransford (@NathanBransford) for reporting this on his blog.