Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, November 1 and 2, 2012

Yesterday and today have been much less depressing out there in blog-land than earlier parts of the week were, plus there’s some terrific content out there, so let’s get right to it:

CRAFT

Angela Ackerman (@AngelaAckerman) guest posts on Write to Done about something she knows a lot about: Character Emotion: Is It Written All Over Their Face? Her point is simple but important: faces aren’t the only places where characters show emotion. Body language, writ large (pun intended J, but don’t overdo it), not only can communicate emotion very effectively, it can also be easier to describe than a fleeting facial expression. And of course, although Angela was careful not to mention them, don’t forget the various thesauri, including the ones for emotions and body parts, on her own blog, The Bookshelf Muse.

Every so often Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) points her readers to articles from the Glimmer Train Bulletin, and today is one of those days, particularly a quick piece on Consequence and Agency in Fiction by Joshua Henkin (@JoshuaHenkin). If that sounds complicated or esoteric, it’s really not. It means simply this: for a piece of fiction to be successful, someone (the agent) has to do something, and that action has to have consequences, all of which have to be apparent in some way to the reader. Seems obvious, right? Apparently not, especially in some kinds of fiction (I wouldn’t be referring to “literary” fiction, now would I?).

THE WRITING LIFE

Gabriela Pereira (@DIYMFA) addresses on DIY MFA a topic that many writers worry about (unnecessarily, I think): Idea-Stealing: How Not to Let Your Fear Stifle Your Creativity. Gabriela actually spends more time on the worry some writers have that they will steal someone else’s idea than on a writer’s idea being stolen. All of her suggestions are excellent but it’s worth keeping in mind that the chances someone will reproduce your exact story or you doing the same to them, are very small after you discount blatant plagiarism, and she lists ways for dealing with that.

Mike Duran (@CerebralGrump) guest posts on Rachelle Gardner’s blog with a thought-provoking question: Are Writers Too Insulated from Their Readers? He picks up on a point Joe Konrath made earlier, that “Readers are my customers, not writers,” to suggest that many of the things we discuss among ourselves, including blogs like this one, are the kind of “inside baseball” topics that our readers don’t care about. All readers want to do, Duran argues, is enjoy the stories we write. While he’s got a point, it’s worth noting that there are some genres (literary not being one of them) that have a way to de-insulate their writers: conventions (not writers’ conferences), where fans and writers meet.

BUSINESS

That post serves as a nice transition into these posts on business. Let’s start with a very long Business Rusch post from Kristine Kathryn Rusch (@kriswrites) called No Reader Left Behind. Her most important point, among many thousands of words, is this: “Make your books as widely available as possible. Don’t rank one reader above another. Don’t leave any readers behind.” (Italics hers.)

Michelle Gagnon (@Michelle_Gagnon) makes a plea on The Kill Zone to quit the sniping and insults between advocates of traditional publishing and e-/indie-/self-publishing. “Enough already,” she says, and she’s right. There are plenty of ways for writers to get their stories in front of readers (see above) and the “right” way or ways is or are the one(s) that work for each of us. Thanks for the sanity, Michelle.

And finally, speaking of e-/self-publishing, Tracy R. Atkins (@TracyRAtkins) provides a long and detailed but informative Guide to Book Launch and Advance Sales Strategies with CreateSpace and Lulu on The Book Designer. If you’re considering publishing through either of these venues, be sure to check this post out.

So what do you think? Any thoughts on these posts? Anything else you’ve found that’s worth sharing? Let us know in the Comments.

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