Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, November 15 & 16, 2012

A light post today but what I have is all over the map—literally as well as writerly. Here we go:

CRAFT

Ray Rhamey’s Writer Unboxed post Characterize through Experiential Description, Part 2 touches on something that maybe ought to be an obvious technique, but wasn’t, at least for me: using characters’ experiences in real-story-time to describe not only what they’re experiencing but who and what they are. It’s a way of holding a mirror up to the character that I found interesting—and should be using!

BUSINESS

Caleb Jennings Breakey (@CalebBreakey) guest posts on Rachelle Gardner’s blog about what you might do if your project needs funding. (“Project” includes “novel.”) The post is about three so-called crowdsourcing web sites, kickstarter.com, faithfunder.com, and indiegogo.com, but especially Kickstarter. In case you don’t know, these sites let you advertise a project (defined very broadly) that you’d like to do but need funding for. You set a funding goal and a date by which you want to have it all raised. If your idea is compelling enough, people will donate (actually pledge to donate) to it. If you reach or exceed your goal, your donors are obligated to actually sending the money; if not, they’re not. There’s a lot more to it than that, and Caleb’s post only begins to cover it all, but it’s a good place to start learning about these programs. Which makes me wonder: could this be one of the futures of publishing?

I asked that question with a purpose. We all know about the turmoil the entire publishing industry is in right now. Money is at the center of it, or close. This week’s Business Rusch piece by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (@kriswrites) deals with her (WARNING: highly negative) take on Agents and Money. To be clear, Kris has had some bad experiences with agents and publishers. It’s terrific that she is willing to share what she’s learned with the intention of helping us avoid the troubles she’s had. But then there’s this statement from this latest (very long) article: “Are there good agents in the world? Yes. I partner with one on occasion…. But are there bad agents? Infinitely more bad agents than good.” Infinitely more? Really? This article is worth reading; just understand where the author’s coming from and make your own decision on how much to accept and how much to ignore.

As a counterpoint to that piece, here’s Victoria Strauss (@VictoriaStrauss) on Writer Beware ® Blogs: Publishers Hate Authors? Really? The post is about a Huffington Post piece by Michael Levin titled “Why Book Publishers Hate Authors.” Let’s just say that Strauss disagrees with both Levin’s article and his “logic.” Somewhere in this noise there’s got to be some sanity. Doesn’t there?

FUN

Whew. Let’s close with something that I found fascinating: Kevin Kelly’s (@Kevin2Kelly) latest post on The Technium, The Average Place on Earth. This post is about a project called Degree Confluence with is seeking to have people go to every place on land where a degree of latitude and a degree of longitude meet—the crossing point for each one-degree line—and photograph what’s there (plus the GPS device proving that the photographer was really at that spot). So far, over 6,000 of the 10,000 total intersection points have been photographed and guess what? The vast majority of them are in places that are not urban, not farmed, but wild. Kelly cites unsourced projections that by 2050, most of the planet’s 8 billion people will live in networks of megacities which will result in an emptying of the countryside. Whether that turns out to be true or not, only time will tell, but the project is interesting—and surely the source of many stories!

Found anything great, good, or just fun or interesting? Share it in the comments below.

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