Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, July 26, 2012

Going to do something different today and start with the fun stuff.

  • Would you believe a red British double-decker bus that does push-ups? Michael Swanwick found it, and it’s One Buff Bus.
  • Michelle Gagnon (@MichelleGagnon) invites everyone to play Tag Line Haiku on The Kill Zone. “Tag line haiku?” Yup. Use tag lines from books or movies to create haiku poems.
  • Maybe this isn’t “fun,” exactly, but it is interesting. Robert Bruce (@robertbruce76) announces on 101 Books that The Folio Society is about to produce The Sound and The Fury…In Color! Now, if you’ve read Faulkner’s masterpiece, you know it’s no easy read, especially the first chapter, Benji’s. Faulkner himself was aware of how confusing that chapter was (he should have been!) and told his publisher he wished sections could be printed in different colors so readers could better keep track of what was happening when. It couldn’t be done then, but it can now, and it’s about to happen.
  • OK, back to fun. John Vorhaus @TrueFactBarFact) advises us on Writer Unboxed to not be shy about Taking the Win, that is, enjoying that moment when we finish something, be it a scene, a day’s tough work, or a draft, especially the first draft. As someone who’s just days away from declaring draft #6 of my WIP done and good enough to be sent to an editor, this is advice I’m ready and willing to take!

But we can’t be all fun today, can we? Well, we could, but there are some good craft-related posts to tell you about, too.

  • Becca Puglisi (@BeccaPuglisi) of The Bookshelf Muse scores two guest posts on the same day on the topics of tension and conflict.
    • The first one, Becca Puglisi on Conflict vs. Tension on A Writer’s Journey discusses the difference between these two closely-related subjects, how a scene can have conflict without tension, and what to do if that happens.
    • Then, on Writing, Reading, and Life, she examines Tension-Building Tips, Rowling Style, using Jo Rowling’s techniques from book 5 of the Harry Potter series. If you haven’t read the book (what? you haven’t?), the story references will be a bit of a mystery, but hang with it and all will become clear.
  • Finally, Erin Reel (@TheLitCoach) guest posts on Rachelle Gardner’s blog about one writer’s journey From Blog to Book: Building an Online Platform. Now, at first blush, this post might not seem relevant to you: it’s about a woman who wanted to publish a book on the first year of raising twins. While Erin’s tips are focused on non-fiction, where established author expertise is a requirement, at least some of her suggestions can apply to fiction writers, too.
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Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, July 8, 2012

I’m sure you really don’t want to spend your entire Sunday reading blogs, so just 3 for you today:

  • But to take that passion (and talent) and turn them into success, James Scott Bell (@jamesscottbell) lists 7 Things Writers Need to Do Right Now on The Kill Zone. Among his suggestions: set goals, take risks, elevate your game. Hop on over to the post to see the whole list.
  • And finally, getting down into the level of craft, Harvey Stanbrough’s (@hstanbrough) I’ll Omit a Title ‘Cause I Don’t Want You to Be Bored Before You Even Start Reading isn’t boring, but it is about reading. But it is about the one piece of writing that, he says, should be boring: tag lines. Be sure to check out the list of alternatives to “said” one author he edited used. Would you believe there are almost 50 entries? “That’s too many!” he expostulated. 😉

Happy Sunday.

Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, June 29, 2012

Must be a Friday. Just a few things for you to end the week.

We’ll start with a couple things from agent Kristin Nelson and her Pub Rants blog:

Over on WordServe Water Cooler, Sharon A. Lavy (@SharonALavy) poses the question, “Is Reading Fiction…Safe?” She cites some evidence–and there’s a lot more out there in the scientific literature–that people react physically as well as psychologically and emotionally to what they read, and as a result, change.

As it happens, one of the members of my writers’ group noted at dinner after our last meeting that she’d recently read a book called The Better Angels of Our Nature, Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker, a psychology professor at Harvard University, that shows that the level of interpersonal violence has gone down, dramatically and world-wide, since the 1700s. That’s when the first modern novels started to appear. The thesis behind the research was that novels caused people to begin to empathize with others, and that caused, over time, a change in behaviors. Interesting thought.

Speaking of interesting thoughts, I haven’t pointed to anything from Write to Done for a while, but today I get to. Cheryl Craigie (@manageablelife) asks Does Writing Make You Feel Like a Failure or a Fraud? Like, you mean, it doesn’t? But then she makes an even more surprising statement–that being blocked is good! Say what??? Her point is that being blocked is the time when your subconscious is at work and has put up a sign that says, “Don’t bother me, I’m working. I’ll get back to you when I’m done.” Or, as Albert Einstein put it, “Creativity is the residue of time wasted.” So go off and work on something else for a while, and when the light bulb finally turns on, get back to work.

And last but not least, Gabriela Pereira (@DIYMFA) announced today that The DIY MFA Workshop is now up and running on DIY MFA’s Facebook page. They’ll take “the first 500 words” of any writing, fiction or non-fiction. One piece will be selected each week to be posted and critiqued.

Have a great weekend and send up a thought or prayer (or a donation to the American Red Cross, @RedCross) for all the people around the United States (and elsewhere?) who have been evacuated from or lost their homes due to wild fires. I had to evacuate last year. It wasn’t a happy experience. At least I didn’t lose my home, like hundreds and hundreds of families have.