Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, August 8, 2012

Happy Hump Day, everyone. Just one post on craft today, a couple or three on the business side, and one on food and books, just for fun.

  • Kim Weiland (@KMWeiland) brings us the craft piece on her WORDplay blog with her advice on how to Improve Your Character Instantly: Just Add a Ghost. Now, this ghost doesn’t have to be a literal ghost, it can be, and often will be, a figurative one–something from the character’s past that haunts her. As Kim points out, the haunting adds back story and voilá, the character’s more interesting.
  • On to business, now. Michael Hyatt (@MichaelHyatt) presents the first in a multi-part series of My Best Advice for First-Time Authors. The post itself contains just a thumbnail summary of the contents of the 38 minute podcast, but you can also download a PDF transcript from a link at the bottom of the blog page. The value in this piece isn’t that there’s a lot of new information–at least not if you’ve been working on learning about the business for any time at all–but that it’s all in one convenient package. And since Hyatt is a former publisher, this information is credible. One last note, this material is focused more on non-fiction than fiction, but substitute “query” for “book proposal,” for example, and it fits the fiction-writing world, too.
  • Nick Thacker offers advice on How to Build the Writing Platform of Your Dreams Using Social Media on Write to Done. This, of course, is a topic of interest for everyone who’s trying to figure out how to do this without “platform” and social media becoming massive time-sucks, so most of Thacker’s suggestions have to do with software tools to automate various processes. I haven’t used (or even heard of) any of the tools he suggests, so I can’t comment on them. And, of course, automation is only one part of building a quality and time- and effort-reasonable platform.
  • Michelle Griep (@MichelleGriep) lists three Author FAQs she gets from people when they find out she’s a writer. Her commenters add more. Many of them are surprising. Some are quite revealing. This list could grow and grow.
  • And we’ll finish with something funny, Robert Bruce’s (@robertbruce76) When Books Make You Hungry on 101 Books. Why yams got so many mentions, I have no idea. Because they sound funny? Why not kumquats, then? Or rutabagas? It’s a mystery.