Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, December 18 & 19, 2012

We’re clearly getting close to the Christmas holidays and things are slowing down on the blogosphere. Just a few bits of great stuff for you today.

CRAFT

Despite its title, Nancy J. Cohen’s (@nancyjcohen) Blending Sex and Suspense on The Kill Zone isn’t so much about sex as about romance and relationships in general, and for that reason, it’s a terrific summary of how to build tension into the relationship between characters, even if there’s no sexual component. If there is, of course, then the romance- and sex-related parts of the post apply too.

Sticking with characterization but focusing now on just the protagonist, KM Weiland’s (@KMWeiland) What’s the Most Important Moment in Your Character’s Arc? addresses that crisis point where the whole story turns, where the protagonist finally decides her only course of action is to face her fears/enemies/whatever and do what she needs to do. It’s not the climax of the story but the turning point that leads inexorably to it.

SOCIAL MEDIA

I’ve seen tweets embedded in blog posts but never known exactly how that was done. Joel Friedlander (@jfbookman) solves that little problem with his How to Embed a Twitter Tweet Into Your Blog Post. It’s a little complex but I’ll bet it’s one of those things that after you’ve done it once or twice, it’ll be a piece of cake.

THE WRITING LIFE

One of the sisters who write as P. J. Parrish (not sure which one) offers a generous set of Christmas gifts all writers need on The Kill Zone: everything from permission to write badly (at first!) to the honest critic and the good friend (two different people?) to time off to time for your family—15 gifts in all. The great thing about all of these gifts is that they’re gifts we can—and should!—give ourselves, without the slightest bit of guilt.

Gabriela Pereira (@DIYMFA) adds her take on Santa’s Lessons for Writers (and Creative People of All Stripes), including what to do with that darn lump of coal.

FUN

Today is Help the Elf day and I’m happy to have pointed Pete the forgetful elf (and Santa) to the rest of the Cochise Writers Group, my friends and writing partners. I hope you’re as blessed with writing friends as I am.

Even if you can’t help Pete, who are the writing friends you’re thankful for?

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 25, 2012

No “theme” in today’s best posts but at least I can put them in some sort of logical flow (I think).  Soooo, let’s see…yeah:

  • Let’s start with why each of us writes in the first place, what we’re trying to achieve by doing so. Leslie Leyland Fields (@leslielfields) suggests Creating a Writer’s Manifesto on WordServe Water Cooler. Even if you don’t share her Christian faith, the idea of creating your own manifesto is to give yourself a sense of focus and direction.
  • We’ve all heard–over and over–“build your platform.” But for some of us, especially if we’re not all that technologically inclined, or we pine for the old days when publishers did all the PR for us, we’d rather be attacked by a gang of evil garden gnomes than build a platform, whatever the heck that is. To help us along that path, Chuck Sambuchino (@ChuckSambuchino) offers 5 Encouraging Reasons to Build Your Writer Platform on Writer Unboxed. Maybe at least one will appeal to you.
  • OK, so now you’ve got that manifesto and you’ve agreed to build a platform. But where’s the time to do all that going to come from? More important, where’s the “me time” going to come from–the time you spend doing non-working, family, fun things to recharge the batteries, or keep them charged? Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt) provides a method for How to Create More Margin in Your Life, where “margin” is that recharge time.
  • Let’s jump forward in time a bit. That manuscript you’ve been slaving over for years (or at least months) is now ready–you think–to go out and find its place in the world. But how do you know?  Joel Friedlander (@jfbookman) gives 10 Quick Tips to Get Your Manuscript Ready for Publication on The Book Designer. While the focus of his tips is on preparing to self-publish, at least half of them are good tips for any proofreading, although I will disagree with one: “Get rid of extra paragraph returns.” That extra paragraph return can be a section or scene break, in which case it needs to stay in the manuscript. I offer some techniques for addressing some of his tips in a comment, too.
  • These tips won’t get you all the way to a quality manuscript, however. Clare Langley-Hawthorne wonders about Quality Checks and Balances–especially how to get them–on The Kill Zone, which generates a lively discussion. Agents, she believes, are one source, editors perhaps another, but perhaps not. And who assures “quality” in the indie world? This is very much an open question.
  • As we get to the end of the process of getting a book published, we all hope to have written so well that multiple publishers want to have the chance to publish our book. Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) describes How We Choose the Best Publisher at her agency. I’d like to think other agencies follow a similar path, but who knows? Anyone?
  • Finally, your book is out. It’s on the shelves and in the e-book stores. Have you made it? Maybe not. Has your title been included in a rap song? Seriously. Robert Bruce (@robertbruce76) has found A Guy Who Raps Book Titles. Seriously.  His name is Destorm Power and you can watch the rap video on Robert’s 101 Books blog. To help you along, DeStorm even shows you the book covers as he comes to them in his lyrics. Two warnings: he does drop the F-bomb (just once), and the last 45 seconds or so of the video are advertising.

That’s all for today.

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 13, 2012

Happy “hump day,” everyone. The weekend’s just 2+ days away. The first time I lived in Germany, a British DJ I listened to used the tag line, “Never more than five days from the weekend.” Which is true, of course, but in fact we’re never more than THREE days. OK, so sometimes that weekend is behind us. Details, details. What does that have to do with writing? This: emotion. Looking forward to what’s coming, or perhaps wishing for (or regretting!) what’s past. That leads me to:

  • Jo Ann Fore (@JoAnnFore) picks up on this point somewhat in her WordServe Water Cooler post, A Writer’s Flash-Point. While she lists three of her own, there’s an emotional component to each.
  • Ann Aguirre (@MsAnnAguirre) continues the theme, but brings it back to our own need to have joy in what we do in What Fresh Obsession on Writer Unboxed.
  • K. M. Weiland (@KMWeiland) asks on WORDplay, Should You Give Your Antagonist a POV? Hmm. Interesting question. Her answer is, generally, no, unless there’s something compelling about the character, including a possibility for reader sympathy or character change. But really, wouldn’t you want to have an antagonist with those qualities in the first place?
  • And now for something completely different (yet I’ll bet it has a subtle emotional component, too). Joel Friedlander (@jfbookman) discusses some of the details most of us would never suspect when it comes to Picking Fonts for Your Self-Published Book. OK, maybe I’m being a bit of a geek but I found this interesting.
  • One more post related to self-publishing and emotion (in this case, anger) by Victoria Strauss (@victoriastrauss) on Writer Beware (R) Blogs!: Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against PublishAmerica. Writers have been complaining about the way PA has treated them for many years. A trio has now found a way to sue because of it. Stay tuned.

Finally, a correction and apology. In yesterday’s post I referred to a piece by “Joanne Tobrakos.”  What I MEANT for my keyboard to enter was “Joanne Tombrakos” and “@JoanneTombrakos” (notice the m that got left out the first time). Sorry, Joanne! It’s the keyboard’s fault, I’m sure. 🙂