Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, February 9-11, 2013

Decisions and dumps and getting it done. Being safe and effective at the same time while you’re on social media. That’s what’s on tap for you in today’s Great Stuff. C’mon in: the writing’s more than fine!

CRAFT

Part 10 of KM Weiland’s (@KMWeiland) series on scenes and sequels deals with your Options for Decisions in a Sequel. The decision the character makes about how to respond to his or her dilemma takes the character and reader from the end of this sequel into the beginning of the next scene and that scene’s goal. While the basic decision is to act or not act (cue Prince Hamlet) there are, of course, variations on how that decision will play out. For those details, click on over to Katie’s post.

Ah, the dreaded info dump. They’re the reader’s bane and the writer’s curse. And yet… you probably know a writer or two who falls into the dump from time to time, don’t you? Not that you, dear reader, would ever do such a thing, right? Of course not. 😉 So, to help your writer friends who find themselves down in the dumps, as it were, check out Leslie Ramey’s (@CompulsionReads) guest on The Bookshelf Muse on Dumping The Info Dumps, and you’ll—I mean, they’ll—go forth and dump no more.

SOCIAL MEDIA

You’ve gotten those strange messages on e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, or wherever, telling you your account’s been suspended and you need to send in your password to reactivate it, or a friend’s been arrested overseas and needs bail money, or the family member of some recently deceased African despot NEEDS to give you millions of dollars from his secret bank account, or whatever. You didn’t reply, did you? I sure hope not. I got stupid that way once and while I didn’t lose any money as a result, it was painful enough changing bank and credit card accounts, passwords, and all the rest to make sure that didn’t happen. That’s why Kristen Lamb’s (@KristenLambTX) Digital Sheep Get Slaughtered—Being Safe On Social Media is a must-read. As Kristen says, you need to be a social media sheepdog (or Tweepdog—love it!), not a sheep. Protect yourself and your real friends too. Thanks to Joel Friedlander for pointing this post out.

I know one of the complaints I hear about Twitter is, “how can you make sense out of following so many people?” (where “so many” can be anywhere from 10 to 10,000). Nina Badzin (@NinaBadzin) to the rescue! Or, as she puts it, Twitter Lists to the Rescue. Her very practical Writer Unboxed post walks you step-by-step (with pictures!) through the process of and rationale for setting up lists into which you plop the folks you’re following. Voilá! Instant—okay, pretty quick—organization! She even tells how to set up Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to make use of these lists. Very cool! Thanks, Nina.

THE WRITING LIFE

One thing I’ve sure seen in the time I’ve been reading other writers’ blogs is that no matter whether you’re (already or planning to be) traditionally published or indie published, it’s no longer enough to be working on just one thing at once. That luxury, if it ever existed, doesn’t today. That’s what makes James Scott Bell’s (@jamesscottbell) How to Work on More Than One Book at a Time so valuable. He provides a plan you can follow to keep the ideas coming and the words flowing. Keep in mind, this is a TECHNIQUE: you DON’T have to do it exactly his way. But if you’re looking for ways to up your productivity, check this out.

Along these same lines, you’ve heard this before: write every day. And you’ve heard this before (maybe you’ve said it): I don’t have the time!!!! So, are you serious about writing or not? Joanna Penn (@thecreativepenn) describes what she did to figure out How To Write More And Create A Daily Writing Habit. You don’t have to watch the embedded video because she includes the key points in the text of the post, but if you enjoy listening to someone speak with a British accent, hers is delightful, so that’s reason enough. The techniques she describes aren’t new or remarkable, but they work! Maybe they’ll work for you. Your word-count target may differ from hers (I’m committing to writing a scene a day, for example, rather than X number of words) but the key thing is, she committed to writing every day.

Do you write every day? How do you keep yourself going and on track? Do you use word-counts or some other goal?

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, August 17, 2012

Sorry for posting so late today but meetings and errands intruded. Anyway, lots of variety in today’s posts, from working out your characters to working out your worries to working out your body. Let’s get working!

These first two posts are especially good for new writers.

  • Characterization–how to do it well, especially–is always a big topic of discussion. Anna Elliott (@anna_elliott) uses a number of points from Donald Maass’ book The Fire in Fiction to show on Writer Unboxed how you can present your characters, Warts and All, to your readers.
  • Kim Weiland (@KMWeiland) takes us a step up the structure chain on today’s WORDplay post when she writes about Scenes: The Building Blocks of Your Story. She discusses the elements of a scene, when scenes change (at least, one professor’s idea of when), and how to get the most out of each scene.

As you’re getting farther along with your WIP, especially as you get close to publishing it, these next two will be valuable.

  • Lawyer and novelist Brad Frazer (@bfrazjd) discusses why Copyright Is Not a Verb on Jane Friedman’s (@JaneFriedman) blog. This post is a follow-up to his June 15th post, Trademark Is Not a Verb. Brad succeeds at defining what a copyright is–and isn’t–and clearing up some of the myths and misunderstandings (taken together, would those be mythunderstandings?) surrounding copyright with a minimum of lawyer-speak.
  • Speaking of not knowing what you don’t know, or not knowing as much as you think you know, Victoria Strauss (@VictoriaStrauss) presents a rather disturbing piece on Writer Beware called LendInk, Author Activism, and the Need for Critical Thinking. In brief, LendInk was a web site that legitimately arranged lending and borrowing of Kindle e-books. Some authors, not knowing this was perfectly legal the way LendInk was doing it, made such a fuss on social media that the site was shut down. Strauss goes on to discuss the polarized and uncritical and uncreative thinking going around on the web regarding legacy/traditional publishing and indie publishing and worries about how much damage such “bombast” can do in a time when the publishing industry is in the middle of changes, not anywhere near the end.

We’ll close with a couple of much less stressful posts.

  • And finally, Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) posts some Fun Things From Around the Web. I’m no doctor, but I like the Speed Bump cartoon, myself.

Hey, it’s Friday! Have a great weekend.