Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, October 30 and 31, 2012

Happy Halloween to those of you living where the holiday is celebrated! I hope that if you live in the northeastern US that Superstorm Sandy did not treat you badly—that you have a home and power and water and heat and that you and everyone you care about is safe. All that stuff comes first; writing comes second or even farther down the list.

But since this is a blog about writing and publishing, it’s time to get on to that. Not much for you today. Not sure it’s because of the storm or what. In any case, as usual we’ll start with

CRAFT

KM Weiland (@KMWeiland) challenges us with the question Are You Skimming Your Story’s Potential? on her WORDplay blog. Her point is that just because you’ve hit the expected points in a story for your genre, you haven’t made the story a hit if you haven’t gotten down to your characters’ (especially the protagonist’s and antagonist’s) emotional drives. If you haven’t dug deep for their motivations, the story will lack the depth it could have.

Tracy Hahn-Burkett (@THahnBurkett) explores something on Writer Unboxed that doesn’t usually get a lot of attention, The Epilogue. Like the prologue, she writes, an epilogue, if your story has one, needs “to add something of value to the book” (emphasis hers). She’s right on target and uses much of her post to show epilogues that worked or didn’t (Harry Potter!) and to discuss why in each case.

THE BUSINESS AND THE WRITER’S LIFE

As we move into the business posts, fair warning, some of these can be pretty depressing, but some offer ways to get past that feeling.

The traditional publishing world, especially the Big 6 publishers, are getting a lot of bad press on the blogosphere lately. Some of it appears to be deserved but some of it appears to be a function of writers’ unreasonable or naïve expectations. So it’s more than a little ironic that Laura Howard’s blog “Finding Bliss” would publish a piece titled Is Traditional Publishing a Happily Ever After? by Anthea Lawson (@AntheaLawson). Ironic because the answer is a resounding NO! But the reason for that answer is those unrealistic, or at least outdated, beliefs and expectations.

Still on the topic of unrealistic expectations, Kristin Nelson discusses some of the speculation regarding the pending Random House/Penguin merger, particularly regarding what might happen to writers’ advances in Because The First Thing That Comes To Mind Is The Size Of The Advance – Not on her Pub Rants blog. As an agent, Kristin’s got other concerns: fewer choices of major publishers to submit to, less competition among houses, narrowed market vision, and even more emphasis on blockbusters and even less on building authors, among others.

That, in turn, leads us to Rachelle Gardner’s (@RachelleGardner) 9 Reasons to Quit Writing. No punches pulled, here.

Oy, that’s a lot of bad news. OK, let’s dig out of that hole. We’ll start with Allison Winn Scotch (@aswinn) writing about The Waiting Game on Writer Unboxed. Writers, it seems, are always waiting on something, she writes, so we need to do something to keep our minds and fingers busy. With that in mind, she offers four suggestions: start something new, do something writing-related that interests you, be patient with the things you can’t control, and/or work on something else entirely. Seems to me like a little bit of each is a good plan, too.

Finally, let’s end on an up-note. Joanna Penn (@TheCreativePenn) guest posts on The Book Designer with ideas for how to turn your knowledge into multimedia products. OK, this sounds like something only for non-fiction writers, but Penn’s long list of suggestions includes things that even fiction writers can do to make their web sites more effective and provide products and services that even fiction readers will appreciate. That’s even stuff you can do while you’re waiting! J

Your turn! What Great Stuff have YOU found out there? Share it in the Comments.

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