Links To Blog Posts on Writing – June 2015


You know, if I were a sensible sort of person I’d be compiling this ruddy list all month, adding in links as I read them rather than scrambling to complete it all in one go that takes hours and hours…

Anyhow, here’s a selection of posts and articles on writing that have caught my eye over the last month:

Writing (general)

More on the HUGOs controversy, which lingers on, like the smell of fish when you’ve been cooking. In other words, not in a good way:
Sad Puppies Roundup at TeleRead has a short catch up on the latest developments, including the controversy around Tor Books editor Irene Gallo. All I will say is that while I have sympathy for her, she’s old enough to realise that even what you post on your personal FB is out there for all to read and turn to their advantage. And that given the loyalty shown her by Tor, she should be polishing up her resume.
America’s Largest Sci-Fi Publisher Gives in to Reactionary “Sad Puppies” – more on Gallo at The Gawker
I Stand By Irene Gallo – Chuck Wendig’s trenchant defence of Gallo.

Links6Neil Gaimon’s University of The Arts Commencement Speech 2012 – an old video, but it contains one of the best comments on the impetus behind the writer (any artist) ever: “Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do. Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it’s all been done before? Make good art. Probably things will work out somehow, and eventually time will take the sting away, but that doesn’t matter. Do what only you do best. Make good art.”

Your #1 responsibility as a writer – Marcy McKay at the Write Practice on telling the truth your story demands.

If Jane Austen Got Feedback From Some Guy In A Writing Workshop – I don’t often quote BuzzFeed, but this made me laugh.

Gaming The System – Kristine Katheryn Rusch on the some of the extra-curricular things writers do to push up sales and rankings. She does not approve.



Authors Call On Amazon to Review Reviews Process – at Writers Circle. We all know the review system is imperfect. The Circle is calling for the ability to remove reviews that make it clear the reviewer trashing the book had never read it (happened to a friend of mine, bombed by a vindictive little clique) or are complaining about the price etc.links3

Amazon looks to improve customer-reviews system with machine learning – as if things weren’t bad enough. Rolls eyes.

How NOT to deal with reviews. Not under any circumstances. An object lesson in stupidity.



Writing (skills)

Five Failed Character Arcs  A Mythcreants analysis of five major fantasy/sci-fi characters (Hermione, Kirk, Katniss or starters) with some pointers about where they fail to change and grow. Good stuff – it should make you go back and look at your own characters with a more critical eye.
Show, Don’t Tell: How to Write the Stages of Grief – useful article on how to convey the stages of grief.


Writers on Writing

(a) Chuck Wendig

I Stand By Irene Gallo – Chuck Wendig’s trenchant defence of Irene Gallo, the Tor editor under fire re the eternal Hugos controversy.

Your Most Frequently Asked Writing Questions, Answered! Hold onto your hat. Chuck, as ever, gives no quarter. Print this out and pin it to your wall. Seriously.

Here’s How Amazon Could Fix Kindle Unlimited – in which Chuck becomes the Taylor Swift of publishing. The mind, she boggles.


(b) Everyone else

Links4Sarah Madison on Ten Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me As A Newbie Author – an intelligent and comprehensive list of advice for the new writer. You get bits of this all over the shop, but this is the first time I’ve seen it all gathered together like this.
(I’ll add one very minor piece of practical advice: access everything on line in your pseudonym through a completely different browser to your real life persona—something Sarah mentioned to me when I started out. Everything Anna Butlerish is on Chrome and absolutely nothing of RL me is. It means I don’t have to keep signing in and out of email, or Facebook, or Twitter or Pinterest two or three dozen times a day. I just switch browsers. And if you’re laughing at me and thinking what a twit I am for saying something this simple, you spend a day doing everything through a single browser. That should be long enough.)

Rob Hart on Five Things I Learned Writing New Yorked
Seven Invaluable Lessons For Writers From James Patterson – a short pithy piece at the Writers Write blog.

Terrible Editors And Why You Shouldn’t – writer KJ Charles is also a professional editor. This is a wonderful post on what an editor should, and shouldn’t, be doing for you. It’s provoked by a piece of horrendous editing that made KJ see red, so it’s that odd duck: an impassioned piece about something many people (ie those who have never gone through an edit!) would think was a dry topic about hunting for elusive commas or something, but of course is much, much more. Excellent advice here.



Technical ‘Stuff’

The Nine Best Apps And Tools To Help Writers Boost Productivity  A list of tools and sites from Writers Write. To those I’d add ProWritingAid, EditMinion and Hemingway, all of which (like Grammerly) will look at your text and point out passive constructions, too many adverbs etc. They help you clean up the text before you submit it. ProWritingAid seems to me to be the toughest.


Marketing for Writers

I’m somebody now: Facebook Verified Pages – Facebook makes my head hurt. A short piece by Lynne Cantwell at Indies Unlimited, about the value of using a verified page. Not much help if you write under a pseudonym, mind. She promises further articles but Facebook depresses me too much to follow it up.
How to Work with Influencers to Drive Book Discovery – Otis Chandler at Digital Book World with a fascinating article. This is something we’ve known for years – get Big Name to endorse your product and you’ll reach more people than if your Auntie Maisie give you a good review. Still. Interesting.

Estelle Maskame: how social media made me a publishing sensation – not that I’ve heard of her, but she gets a massive readership on Wattpad, apparently.

30 Inspiring Blog Post Ideas For Writers – Dunno about you, but I’m always trying to come up with something for my own blog, and when I’m also writing 20+ guest blogs for a forthcoming promotional tour, my head just about implodes. This isn’t a terribly sophisticated list from Writers Write, but it gives you a start.



Kindle Unlimited switches from paying for 10% read, to paying for absolute number of pages read:Links5
Announcement by Amazon
Hugh Howey’s views at The Wayfinder
What If Authors Were Paid Every Time Someone Turned a Page? – The Atlantic’s view
Does Amazon’s New Payment Scheme Require Literary Surveillance? Jonathan Sturgeon at Flavorwire with an interesting take on who is holding the stopwatch and doing the counting.
Here’s How Amazon Could Fix Kindle Unlimited – in which Chuck Wendig becomes the Taylor Swift of publishing. The mind, it boggles.
The Real Cost of Self-Publishing – interesting article on self pubbing at Blue Ink Review. Kind of reminds me of all those earnest lifestyle articles in the papers, estimating how much your child will cost you by the time it reaches adulthood. Seems to me you’re better off with books.

Self-Published by Choice – 7 Reasons Why I Did It Veronica Sicoe with some strong reasons for going your own way, mostly around empowerment and control. There’s a good discussion in the comments, too.

A Tale of Two TORS. Be Warned, I’m Annoyed A cautionary tale on the relationship between writer and publisher.



Veronica Sicoe’s blog – You know how I encourage you all to sign up to Chuck Wendig’s blog on writing because, well, Chuck. Similarly, if you love Sci Fi, I suggest you sign up to Veronica’s blog. She is great at all the sciency, techy stuff that makes you think before committing howlers in your text. I found several posts of hers very helpful and thought-provoking as I was deciding on the Maess’s physical characteristics. Really useful resource for the sci-fi writer.

Mythcreants – another sci-fi based blog/site that is invaluable. Highly recommended.

Ten Fantastic Fog Words – my favourite post this month. At The Week, Angela Tung delves into the thesaurus to come up with some wonderful ways of describing fog. I love words and I love language. Perfect post.

Women in Science Fiction – a new website building up a list and bibliography of female writers of SF

Character Name Generator – well the results made me laugh. YMMV.


That’s it for June. Enjoy the links.




    • You’re welcome, Lynn. I use Facebook because we’re expected to, as writers, to reach out to readers. And of course, nothing ever comes free, I know that. But Facebook’s manipulation of my friends’ feed is so darn irritating! I wouldn’t bother with it if it weren’t needed.


    • It was such a simple piece of advice, and so practical and useful. It made my life simpler.

      I was thinking, if you ever intend to revise this, that when people are establishing their online presence, they really *think hard* about things like domain names and email addresses, before they make costly mistakes. In my case, I didn’t think it through well enough and ‘annabutlerfic’ might have been a shorter email address and domain name, but it really is *not* professional looking. It only took me a day or two to realise that, but it meant shelling out more money for a second domain name that was more professional and, frankly, grown up!


  1. Wow, thanks for pointing people to my blog, Anna! I’m glad you found it useful. I love blogging about the techy stuff behind sci-fi (from worldbuilding to story structure) and I’m super happy if it helps other people — or at least entertains. Thank you!


    • I love your blog. It’s been one of the most useful to me as I’ve worked out my own universe, and even where it didn’t give me the complete answer, you’ve often started off trains of thought that got me thinking and researching elsewhere. So thank you! If this gets you a few more followers, I’ll be delighted to have spread the word a little.


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