You know, if I had an ounce of the sense misnamed ‘common’, I’d compile this list as I meander gently through the month, instead of the unseemly scramble I go through as the 30th or 31st suddenly looms large on the calendar. Because once again, I’m scrabbling about at the last minute, trying to remember what I read and where, and cursing my own bad habits. Despite that, here’s August’s list as best I can remember it between househunting and graphic reminders of why I’m glad to have (essentially) left fandom behind…
Word of the month: batty-fang.
The Hugo debacle came to an end that was, I think, a reasonable one. Most of the nominations on the Rabid/Sad puppy slate were either defeated (yay for a winning novel not written in white, male America!) or the categories where they dominated ended with a deliberate ‘no award’. Not that it stops them, of course, and they’re already whinging in their kennels about next year. A few interesting posts pulling it all together:
Samuel Delany and the Past and Future of Science Fiction – fascinating article by Peter Berbergal at The New Yorker about one of the groundbreaking non-white, non-straight SF writers and how the attitudes behind the Puppies is nothing new. Made me want to slap Isaac Asimov. Hard.
The Puppies are taking science fiction’s Hugo awards back in time – an article at the Guardian published before WorldCon, but still worth reading. Because those wee doggies refuse to go away and promise a rerun next year.
Fans Try Bringing Diversity Of Thought To Sci-Fi Literature… And That Scares Liberal Elitist Gatekeepers To Death – and to show we can read both sides, a piece by Chicks on the Right, who support the Puppies. Has lots of links, including to Larry Correia’s filking of the Guardian article mentioned above. Interesting discussion about this at The Passive Voice
The Obligatory Hugo Awards Recap Post – Chuck Wendig’s take.
Non- Hugo stuff:
Why Social Justice Is Intrinsic to Storytelling -Tangential to the Hugo debacle, but relevant and an important article to read. By Chris Wrinkle at Mythcreants.
Homme de Plume: What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under a Male Name – a piece by Catherine Nichols that could have surprised no one, unless the person reading it was a fossilised brontosaurus. Better discussion in the comments at Passive Voice.
#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter Hashtag Has Famous Authors Venting and Bonding on Twitter – Sage Lazzaro at Observer with a compilation of tweets from authors. I won’t quibble about ‘famous’, but…
Subjectivity and Reader Shaming – a very interesting blog post from Jami Gold, on the denigration of the romance genre. Made me rethink my sneers at people reading 50 Shades. Just kidding!
Six More Character Archetypes to Ditch by Oren Ashkenazi. I’m linking to this entry on the Mythcreants blog as an exemplar of how useful a place this is for writers, even if they aren’t writing SF or fantasy. This is a short article on character archetypes that don’t hold up to close scrutiny, no matter what the genre. Explore the site and find more useful stuff.
The Art of The Flashback – Love ‘em or hate ‘em, flashbacks are in the arsenal and there to be used when your story needs them. Sierra Godfrey at Writers In The Storm, on controlling pacing etc when utilising them.
5 Techniques for Amazing Internal Dialogue – Marcy Kennedy at Writers in the Storm on how to deal with thoughts in your character’s heads. I’m not entirely convinced by all of this, because I adore a really deep PoV, where the writer keeps it seamless and doesn’t use italics to show off thinky thoughts – frowns at my editor who makes me do just that, and pouts.
Writers on Writing
(a) Chuck Wendig
100 Random Storytelling Thoughts And Tips, Starting Now – What the title says. Especially 5, 6, 14, 18, 27-42, 33, 49, 64, 77, 88, 91, 100. Which ones resonate with you? Tell me.
Starving Is A Terrible Condition For Making Art – Chuck on authors looking after themselves.
Third Person, Present Tense Is My Space Jam – on his reasons for choosing this PoV. I’ve never written it outside of fanfiction, but I love the immediacy of it. As Chuck says, it has a cinematic quality.
It Only Gets Harder Once You’re Published – some ruminations on the stresses of being an author. Maybe read this in conjunction with the article on starving…
The Obligatory Hugo Awards Recap Post – what it says in the title. More readable than most, to be honest.
I Smell Your Rookie Moves, New Writers – “I don’t know which testicle is my favorite,” Dave shrugged. And if that doesn’t get you to read Chuck’s advice to new writers, I don’t know what will.
Perfectionism is Murdering Your Muse – This! This, this, this, this, this, this-y this this. Veronica Sicoe on how perfection fucks you up. A post which resonated with me. In case you didn’t guess.
13 Tips for Actually Getting Some Writing Accomplished – Gretchen Rubin at Aerogramme Writers’ Studio.
Mind Mapping: A Pantser’s Path to the Perfect Story – Orly Konig-Lopez at Writers In The Storm, with an example of how she built a character ‘map’ using the squashed spider technique. Mind maps always look like squished spiders to me – that central ‘body’ with all the legs coming off it. From which you may gather I am not a fan.
39 Stellar Examples of Author Facebook Cover Photo Designs – Diana Urban at Bookbub. Useful for how she breaks down the space to show what bits of the cover will show up on mobile devices and tablets, etc – because not all of it will. This allows you to focus the important parts of the design where it will do most good. When I get a minute, I’ll redo mine…
Ultimate Guide to Self-Publishing & Book Distribution Tools – Diana Urban at Bookbub – on a roll with helpful stuff.
Marketing for Writers
Do book tours sell books? Maybe not, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a good time. – Interesting article at The Washington Post about the value of the author getting out there personally. Given how much self promotion an author has to do these days, at least with a book tour you get to see a bit of the country and it’s more fun than Facebook.
Will Traditional Publishing Retain Its Dominance by Mandating That Its Authors Keep Their Distance From Self-Published Authors? – Brooke Warner at HuffPost Books on publisher hypocrisy (or should that be desperation?)
The Authors Guild’s Mary Rasenberger on Why Amazon Deserves Antitrust Scrutiny – more anti-Amazon rhetoric from vested interests. Which isn’t to say that they may not have good points, but they’re coming over as a little rabid. At the American Booksellers Association, which has no axe to grind. [/sarcasm]
TL;DR – The Authors Guild Still Sucks – Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler duet at Joe’s blog. Great read. Makes me want to cuddle Amazon and give it kittens. Fascinating discussion in the comments.
Why Is the Authors Guild Supporting Publishers Against Amazon—And More Than It Supports Authors? – Brian Doherty at reason.com with a piece on the disconnect between the Authors Guild and benefits to their members of the way Amazon encourages writers outside the Big Five.
56 delightful Victorian slang terms you should be using – a bang up to the elephant list, my chuckaboos, about which I am so completely enthuzimuzzy that I’m bursting out of my gas pipes and mafficking like crazy.
That’s it for August. Enjoy the links!