Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, October 11 and 12, 2012

Some really excellent stuff out there today on craft and business, so without further ado…

CRAFT

Let’s start with big-picture stuff and work our way down to details.

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, which means that we’re going to see lots of articles thereon for the next six weeks. Lisa Cron (@LisaCron) starts the parade with NaNoWriMo—The Pitfalls and How to Deftly Avoid Them on Writer Unboxed. Her keys:

  • PLAN your work before November 1st. A month of flailing is not a productive month.
  • It’s only a first draft. This is the start of something, not the end.
  • It’s all about writing that first draft, not the rewriting that’s going to follow.

Keep those things in mind and you can have a sane and productive month. If you’re going to do it: good luck! Have fun.

Speaking of revising, once you’re working with an editor on a getting-ready-to-be-published work, Dara Beevas (@darairene and @Wiseink) guest posts on KM Weiland’s WORDplay blog on Revising Your Book: Do’s and Don’ts. Eleven do’s and 8 don’ts might seem like a lot but every one is practical, sensible, and easy—at least in theory. 😉

Cutting is a big part of revision, isn’t it? And it can be a painful part. YA writer Sechin Tower (@SechinTower) describes what he’s learned as a teacher of both gifted and at-risk kids in Is Cutting More Important than Adding? on The Kill Zone. One group writes too much, the other too little. Sounds familiar. Check out what he’s learned about finding the right words.

Eileen Cook (@EileenWriter) guest posts on the Guide to Literary Agents blog on 5 Ways to Increase Conflict. She’s got an interesting take, contrasting how the things we try to avoid in real life are the very kinds of things we need to bring into our fiction.

Finally for this section, advertising copywriter Elizabeth Miller Wood (@ElizMillerWood) offers 7 Lessons from Advertising on Rachelle Gardner’s blog about how to make your writing stand up and sing (that’s lesson #2, actually). When every word matters (lesson #3) because each one is pulling your reader forward to an anticipated reward (lesson #5), you’re on track to better writing.

THE WRITER’S LIFE

Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s (@kriswrites) second of three pieces on Why Writers Disappear serves as a transition to the business pieces to follow. In this (long as usual) piece, she looks at writers who get discouraged, can’t handle the solitude, or can’t handle the financial problems that are natural in a writing career. The reason I’ve included this piece is it serves as an opportunity for each writer to ask themselves, “could I handle these things?”

BUSINESS

OK, let’s get on to happier stuff. Like promoting your work! What’s that? That’s not a happy topic? This next post might help.

Carol Costello (@carolcostello46) offers 5 Keys to Pain-Free Book Promotion on The Book Designer. Perhaps the most important of the 5 (actually 8, there are 3 “bonus tips”) suggestions is not to think of promotion as selling but as a conversation between like-minded people. That should help you relax and have fun with the process, rather than turning it into an exercise in agony.

Last piece for the day is a development that really isn’t a surprise in the world of e-books but something that’s needed some time to gestate, and in fact still is gestating: serials. Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) interviews Yael Goldstein Love (@ygoldlove) about the digital publishing effort she co-founded as a Kickstarter project (now more than fully funded) called Plympton, that is partnering with the Kindle Serials program to serialize fiction for digital readers (not just Kindles). It’s an interesting idea and another way for new and established authors to connect with readers and as Carol suggested above. Very cool.

What great stuff have you found? Share it in the comments below.

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, October 4 and 5, 2012

Quite a variety of great stuff today, so let’s jump right in.

CRAFT

Let’s begin with beginnings. Robert Bruce (@robertbruce76) is currently reviewing Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man on 101 Books. One of the things he does with each book he reviews is discuss the opening line or paragraph. Ellison’s first line is, “I am an invisible man.” As Robert writes, “A good first line pulls you in right away” and Ellison’s certainly does. Check out the post to find out more.

Some authors like to create their first line, and in fact their whole book, as part of a team. Frank Viola (@FrankViola) guest posts on Rachelle Gardner’s blog on Co-Authoring: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Co-writing isn’t something I’m personally interested in doing, but if you are, or think you might be, this is a good look at what’s involved.

Finally for this section, freelance copy editor Linda Jay Geldens (@LindaJayGeldens) makes the case for professional editing in A Professional Editor Takes on Self-Editing on The Book Designer. Full Disclosure: As someone who’s WIP is currently being edited by a freelance professional editor, I admit to being sympathetic to her arguments.

PLATFORM AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Decided to give these topics their own section because there were so many good posts on them.

If you’re a Gmail user, check out Nathan Bransford’s (@NathanBransford) brief post, with a link to more info on CNet, on a Two-step E-mail Verification process. If you have ANY web presence at all, including e-mail, which of course you do because you’re reading this post, web security is something you should be not just thinking about but learning how to do. There are a lot of things that are SIMPLE to do if you just know how.

Speaking of simple to do (really!), ProBlogger will be providing a two-post quickie course on HTML, one of the major programming languages of the internet. Darren Rowse (@problogger) announces the plan today on Weekend Project: Get a Handle on HTML. I’ll post the links to these articles on Monday.

As if you haven’t heard enough about Why You Need an Author Platform—and How to Get One, Ali Luke (@aliventures) provides yet more reasons and methods today on Write to Done. Her key point: start small and grow. There’s also a link to special access to some of her Writers’ Huddle paid material (a webinar audio recording, transcript, and worksheet).

Finally here, something you’re familiar and comfortable with: reading blogs! We’re back to Robert Bruce with his 9 Must-Read Blogs for Book Geeks. OK, maybe you don’t consider yourself a book geek, or don’t want to be called one. I’m with you. But who knows, maybe there’s something in one of the 9—actually 10, there’s one more in the comments—blogs you might enjoy.

THE WRITER’S LIFE

When Sarah Callender (@sarahrcallender) writes on Writer Unboxed that You Can Get (Almost) Anything on EBay, including suits of armor, she notes that there’s one thing (the almost) that you can’t: a suit of armor for your heart when you’re rejected to criticized, especially anonymously and/or unfairly. But there are still ways to keep going. Hers include her tribe, her goal, and her faith.

For some writers, though, those things aren’t enough, or aren’t the right things, so in this week’s long Business Rusch column, Kristine Kathryn Rusch (@kriswrites) discusses Why Writers Disappear. Kris’ dozen reasons are too many to list here but they range from “they achieved their goals” (that’s good) to “they became toxic” (that’s really bad and something you want to avoid). Despite the length, this is a post worth checking out.

BUSINESS

Today’s last post comes from the Guide to Literary Agents blog. In it, Michael Larsen, one of the principals of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents, offers some thoughts on The Bookselling Revolution: How to Connect Commerce and Community. Are his ideas utopian or workable? Is competing with Amazon realistic? What about 4,000 square foot, community-based, non-profit local bookstores stocked with Espresso book machines? I don’t know but Larsen’s thinking is at least creative and gets beyond us-vs.-them.

That’s all for today. Have a great weekend.

Find something great about writing or publishing out there on the web? Share your discovery in the comments.