Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Writing Post Round Up - Week of April 28-May 4

Greetings fellow writers!  I was catching up on my blog reading last week, so I’ve got a lot of links to share this time (can that please be my excuse for not having this posted on Saturday?).  Let’s get to it!

                One of the most frequently asked questions of writers (by writers and non-writers) is “why do you write?” (the tone and implication of such a question, of course, can change, depending on who’s doing the asking).  I’ve been collecting thoughts with the intention of writing my own “why I write” post for a while, but I haven’t actually done it yet.  The truth is, I don’t really know all the reasons why I write – I just do – but I know that one of the reasons is that I feel in my bones that stories are important, not just as entertainment, but as a way of exploring what it means to be human, and a way to process things that happen to us.  And I think this post speaks to a lot of what I feel about storytelling very well.

                I’ve always thought of outlining as something one does before writing a book, but this suggestion to re-outline after you finish your first draft (or maybe outline for the first time if you’re a pantser) makes a lot of sense to me.

                You may notice this link is from the same blog as the previous link.  As I mentioned above, I’ve been catching up on my reading this week, and sometimes I like a lot of posts from the same blog.  Since I do try to keep some variety in this post, I try not to list too many from the same blog, but sometimes they’re too good not to list.  This post is a fun look at how you might incorporate your sleeping life into your writing practice.

                Here’s a great post on character building as a sleuthing exercise.  This really resonates with me, because it’s pretty much exactly how I build my characters.  I almost never feel like I’m deciding things about them, but rather uncovering them layer by layer as I explore.

                I write abysmally bad dialog, so I’m always looking for new tips on how to make it better.  I also enjoy numbered lists, and hey! this post has both. 

                From K. M. Weiland’s “most common writing mistakes” series, musings on “suddenly” and why writing is most often stronger without it.

                Another character building post.  I like this unique take on the character questionnaire by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, although it does make me kind of hungry for pizza.

                Did I mention I’m catching up on my reading?  This is the last one from K. M. Weiland’s blog (this week), but it’s a good one.  I like to think of myself as a pretty organized person, but the truth is, I can always use more help in that area.  Here’s some organization suggestions specifically tailored to writers (although most of them would work for anybody).

                Multitaskers unite!  I truly believe that part of the reason I don’t get much writing done on the weekends is that I just can’t function creatively in a messy environment, so I end up doing cleaning tasks (when I don’t get overwhelmed by the shear scope of the mess and end up on the couch watching another episode of “How I Met Your Mother” instead).  Finally, someone has come up with a way to clean house and write at the same time! (Sort of)

                This post is actually not about writing at all, and yet it is.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the theater and still subscribe to some theater related pages on Facebook.  This article popped up on one of their posts the other day, and I thought, “you know, this is kind of applicable to writing, too.”  We may apply those real emotions in different way than an actor does, but it still seems like it would be beneficial to learn to use them to make our work better.

                I am woefully twitter illiterate.  I have two accounts, but I just don’t really get it.  I like the new thing they’ve added where you can expand tweets so you can see replies, but before that I was really at a loss to understand how to have a conversation in such a format – it all just looked like random unrelated stuff to me.   Anyway, Gabriela over at DYI-MFA recommended this guide to me, and while I haven’t been through the whole thing yet, it looks pretty good.  Twitter may never be a tool in my toolbox, but it’s nice to know there’s guidance available for those of us who need a little more help.

                Here’s a nifty little chart of defense mechanisms people use with examples.  It’s definitely going into my character building toolbox.

                For some reason, I don’t yet have Chuck Wendig’s blog in my RSS reader, even though I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve ever read of his.  I guess maybe I just always come across his posts during times when I’m freaking out about the fact that I subscribe to 30+ writing blogs and don’t have time to read them all, but how can I possibly unsubscribe because they’re all so awesome.  But I digress.  If you write romance novels, this may be an essential post.  If you don’t, it’s still hysterical.  Be forewarned that this post contains some explicit language.

                A post from a fellow ROWer.  I love these tips for how to make the most of a novel writing month.  I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time last November, and while I didn’t “win”, the experience was so worth it.  And if you can’t wait for November, there are plenty of other “novel in a month” challenges out there.  I had no idea!

                This is a great post from Janice Hardy on setting mood and tone in your scenes.  I love the way she lays out examples, from the very basic telling, to spine tingling showing.

                My current project is a stand-alone novel (I think), but I do have a couple things in the idea box that I think are tailor made to be series, so I appreciated this post from Lynn Viehl on series planning.

                Another Chuck Wendig post.  This is an older post of Chuck’s, but someone linked to it in another post I was reading, and I thought it was pretty awesome.  I am still working on some of these virtues, but I’ll get there! (I hope.)  Also contains explicit language.

                And to close, another list of tools that might make your writing (or some other aspect of your life) easier.  Some are free and some just have free trials.  I’ve downloaded the To-Do Desklist – it seems pretty cool so far.

So that’s it for this installment!  I hope you find something useful here, and have a great writing week!

Note: this is a list of blog posts and articles on writing that I collect weekly.  Inclusion on this list does not necessarily mean it was published this week, just that I read it this week and thought it was cool, interesting, and/or useful.