Lots of Great Stuff showed up over the weekend, so let’s get right to it.
One of the on-going problems I see with the new writers in my writers’ group is punctuation. This isn’t a “kids today don’t know how to…” rant, in part because some of these writers haven’t been kids for a while. Harvey Stanbrough (@h_stanbrough) provides a one-post summary of most of what writers need to know in Punctuation for Writers. Here’s the one-phrase summary of the summary: it’s all about the pause. Check it out.
I announced a while back that Angela Ackerman (@AngelaAckerman) and Becca Puglisi (@beccapuglisi) of The Bookshelf Muse were starting yet another thesaurus, this one on physical attributes. Their first sample from this one, Hands, appeared over the weekend. If you haven’t checked out any of their thesauri, take a look at this entry. It’ll grab you.
Jael McHenry’s (@jaelmchenry) Show Me the Baby on Writer Unboxed starts out with what seems like a rant but its real focus is on professionalism: how to be one in query letters, conference pitch sessions, and author interviews. Her point is that “the baby”—how much time and effort we put into writing our book—is of little or no interest to many people, including agents and interviewers/listeners, so we need to minimize how much time we spend talking (or worse, whining!) about that.
James Scott Bell (@jamesscottbell) addresses a question we all wonder about these days: How Will Your Book Get Discovered in The Roiling Sea of Digital Publishing? This is, of course, an important question and Bell takes a long time answering it, in part because as his first of six points notes, “There is No Consensus on What Works.” No surprise if you find that unnerving—the entire publishing industry is in such a state of flux right now—but Bell’s suggestions provide a sense of direction and a reason for hope.
Joel Friedlander’s (@jfbookman) Author Bloggingg [sic] 101: The Evolution of Spam is, to be clear, a little mistitled. Better than being just a dry piece on how spam (in this context, the phony comments on blogs) has evolved over time, it offers at the end several ways we bloggers can block, filter, and mostly avoid spam comments, while providing the important reminders that no anti-spam method is perfect and spammers are always coming up with new methods and approaches.
THE WRITER’S LIFE
Here’s a new category of columns for you, with four entries today.
Lucille Zimmerman (@LucilleZ) guest posts on Michael Hyatt’s blog on something we all need to know how to do from time to time: How to Avoid Procrastinating When You Feel Overwhelmed. You don’t have to follow all six of her suggestions—in fact none of us probably will—but I’ll bet there will be at least a couple that will click for you and bring your stress level down. “Break assignments down,” her first one, works for me.
What cued me to create this category was two closely-related posts that appeared over the weekend. Kimberly Vargas’ (@_KimberlyVargas) Ever-Increasing Returns on WordServe Water Cooler and Vaughn Roycroft’s (@VaughnRoycroft) The Mentor/Mentee Benefit on Writer Unboxed (isn’t “mentee” an awkward word?) both talk about how we writers benefit by giving and receiving help from others. Finding a mentor, or being one, or giving critique as well as receiving it, help us not only become better writers but get us out of that writer’s garret syndrome it’s so easy to fall into.
Finally, we’ll circle back around to interviews, or in this case, a correspondence. The first writer was in unidentified college professor. The second, Flannery O’Connor. In Flannery O’Connor Gets Snarky, Robert Bruce (@robertbruce76) shares a part of the professor’s letter to the author, seeking, let’s be honest here, confirmation of his and his class’ literary “interpretation” of A Good Man is Hard to Find. O’Connor’s reply reads, in part, “Too much interpretation is certainly worse than too little, and where feeling for a story is absent, theory will not supply it.” Yowch! You can read the entire O’Connor reply here, on the web site Letters of Note.