Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Writing Post Round Up - Week of Jun 9-15, 2013

So apparently posting on time for once is just too much awesome for me to handle, since for two weeks after that post, I didn’t post any links, and this post in the third week is late.

Sometimes I start to freak out about my writing progress.  It seems so slow, and sometimes it feels like everything I write sucks, and I have this string of unfinished things littering the path behind me, and OMG, why do I not have something ready for critiquing yet, let alone sending out to competitions or workshops or querying an agent?  This post kind of makes me feel better.  Writing takes time.  It takes different people different amounts of time.  Some (most?) authors have written more than one book before they sell their first one, and some take years polishing the one that finally sells.  It’s okay.  I am writing.  I will get there.

Of course, part of taking that necessary time to learn the craft and write and polish and query, repeat, is learning to protect the writing time you have, and not let other people fill it up with stuff, even really cool or important stuff.  This post suggests that the secret to creativity is a really tiny little word (with big impact!).

Speaking of query letters (we weren’t? Well, I’m sure I used the word “query” up there somewhere), here’s a nice post on what to include in your bio section.

Writing rules.  Everybody has some, and they all seem to have exceptions.  Don’t write prologues, don’t use adverbs, don’t start with a dream, or with your character waking up, don’t start with dialogue – and so on, forever.  And I’m sure you can all think of at least one example where an author has broken every single one of them.  This post suggests we think of those “rules” more as tools in a toolbox – the right tool for the right task.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have issues coming up with titles.  Right now, I have one WIP that’s simply known as “Changeling” because that’s what it’s about.  It’s not a particularly evocative title, though, and I’ve never planned to use it for the finished project.  This post provides some great practical tips for coming up with a fitting title for your next work (or your current one, if it’s working-titled only, like mine).

An interesting guideline (ahem, what were we saying about rules earlier?) that might help iron out some problems with your manuscript.

This is a fascinating idea for character development.   It seems like it could really help a writer think out of the box, or nail down a character that’s just not quite working.  I may have to give it a try.  Have you ever tried something like this to help you with your characters?

One opinion on the future of publishing, by Hugh Howey.  Personally, from what I’ve read, I believe traditional and self-publishing both still have pros and cons.  And as rapidly as everything is changing, in 5 years there may be some new model that no one has yet thought of.  But Howey makes some interesting points, and this is worth a read.

Chuck Wendig’s response to Howey’s article.  Chuck has both traditionally and self-published work.

A post on how to use choice to create compelling characters.  I found the example interesting – I’d never really thought of it that way before.

Here are some tips for deepening your work.  These suggestions are intended to be used in the editing process, but if you’re one of those folks who does extensive planning and outlining before writing the first draft, I expect they could be good things to think about at that point also.

I don’t think this is a revising process I would want to use all the time, but it’s interesting to read about.  The idea of switching things up this way appeals to me, and I feel like even if you didn’t want to revise an entire book this way, it could be a useful technique to use on particular parts that aren’t working the way you want them to.

This post is kind of long, but worth reading.  So much is in flux in the writing business these days; it’s good to have some guidance in trying to navigate it.  Of course, this is just one person’s opinion, but as he’s a consulting editor with many years of experience, it’s an opinion I plan to keep in my file.

It should be part of any writer’s process (at least, a writer who at some point wants to get published) to have other people look at their work and provide feedback.  The people providing the feedback may vary depending on where you are in your writing journey, but these tips for how to give and receive feedback are probably applicable across the board.

If you write mysteries (or just stories that have a mystery in them!), you might find these three tips helpful.  I know I’m going to look into using them in mine!

Here’s an interesting plotting tool.  Now, I’m not much of a sports fan, so it wouldn’t have occurred to me to use tournament brackets to plot out my novel, but I have to admit, I’m intrigued by the idea.
So that’s it for this week.  Sorry for my tardiness – I’ll try to do better this week.  Until next time, keep writing!

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.