Am smug and organised this month. Very smug. Not so much organised. But still, the list of stuff wot I have read this month that’s interesting to writers.
Word of the month: Gesichtpunkt – German, meaning the way your face is pointed, the way you’re looking. A lovely word describing the point of view in narrative.
Who owns your digital afterlife? An interesting news article that suggests that writers, no matter how lowly, need literary executors.
Story Glue – Anna Elliot at Writer Unboxed on what makes her stick with a book when she starts reading.
Ten Ways Writers Sabotage Themselves and Their Work – Lynn Viehl at Paperback Writer. Short, pithy and yes, she’s right.
‘Will I be burnt next?’ – Into the River author Ted Dawe on book banning – his book has just been banned in New Zealand, of all places. In an attempt not to offend anyone, lets just say there are places in the world where hearing of book banning would not surprise me. But New Zealand?! That’s worrying.
Dear Self-Published Author: Do NOT Write Four Books a Year – a Huffington Post piece by Lorraine Devon Wilke. She does have a point about quality and quantity, no matter what the publishing vehicle, but this has to be satire…
Author Defends Sci-Fi as A “Purely Male Domain” in Cringingly Sexist Review of All-Women Anthology – this infuriated me so much I went out and bought the anthology. I haven’t read it yet, but dammit, let’s stick a finger up at the Neanderthal. LOTS of comments both here and at the Passive Voice, which picked up on it.
Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 rules for writing with style – what it says on the tin.
Is Perfectionism Killing Your Writing Career? – Kirsten Lamb’s take on what seems to have been a recent hot topic with writerly types.
Stories About Stories: Experimenting With Form, Content, Audience – An interesting guest blog at Chuck Wendig’s gaff from Lucas J W Johnson, who wrote his book on Twitter.
The Chuck Wendig section
On the subject of your discouragement – a follow up to the post aimed at rookie writers, mentioned in last month’s roundup. In which Chuck appears taken aback by the realisation that he has influence over writers, and concludes: “You can do this. No matter what I say. You won’t do it perfectly. But you can always make it right. So go write. And rewrite. And write again.”
Social Media For Writers Is A Misunderstood Opportunity – A counterpoint to Alvear’s piece on why Facebook can’t help you sell books (see below in the Marketing section). Well, not so much because Chuck agrees you won’t sell thousands of copies, but you will make connexions and even, he says, friends. Worth it.
Dear Writers And Creative-Types: You Don’t Need Motivation – oh boy, does this speak to me. Day Four of a week where I’ve written nothing, except get this post ready. Time to print out Chuck’s mantra: I write! I fail! I write again!
Dear Any-Kind-Of-Published Author: Write As Much As You Want – An endearing Chuck rant against advice not to publish four books a year (see above) or Stephen King’s latest oddly ironic article about being too prolific.
Peaks And Valleys: The Financial Realities Of The Writer’s Life – There have been lots of articles recently about how little authors get paid and how very, very few of them can make a living out of writing. Chuck with some hard advice on making it on your writing alone.
Pointing The Cannons At Canon – relevant, certainly, to those writing fanfic or tie ins. And amusing, as always.
Writing Tips and Skills
14 Points To Consider Before You Write The Ending – Mia Botha at Writer’s Write.
Ten Poses To Show Character Development Through Body Language – Mia Botha again, referencing an interesting TED talk on body language. Links in the text.
Harvard linguist points out the 58 most commonly misused words and phrases – I’m putting this in this section because I do see grammar etc as a basic writerly skill that really has got to be your toolbox. My personal bugbear: the increasing number of people who don’t know the difference between ‘bring’ and ‘take’. So bloody annoying.
9 Ways to Improve Your Dialogue – from Kirsten Lamb. Mostly technical stuff about tags and punctuation.
4 lessons in Storytelling by a scriptwriter – Filmmaker and D&D devotee Matthew Robinson talks about what screenwriting and the fantasy roleplaying game have in common.
The Math and Music of Multiple Characters – Dave King at Writer Unboxed on creating your cast list and making them real people, not props.
Point of View in Writing – Joe Bunting at The Write Practice, with an article that manages to cover a lot in a short space. I’ve used all the different POVs, although I’ve only used second-person in fanfiction. I liked it. It both more engaging and more intimate.
How to Write a Sequel That’s BETTER Than the First Book – KM Weiland with some good advice.
8 Paragraph Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making – more advice from Weiland. I am mostly innocent of these, but maybe do bury dialogue too far in paras with lots of action.
How to Slay Your Inner Editor – Laura Drake on using Dragon voice recognition software. An interesting discussion in the comments.
9 (or more) Things I Love About Scrivener – as a Scrivener devotee myself, I nodded sagely all the way through Gwen Hernandez’s post at Writer Unboxed.
Marketing for Writers
Why Facebook Cannot Help You Sell Books – Michael Alvear on Digital Book World. With graphs and stuff that makes my eyes water, because statistics. I don’t think what he says here should come as that much of a surprise, and yet I’ll bet we all spend far too much time on Facebook trying to prove him wrong, with promo posts, and joining groups, and cover reveals and Facebook book launches. Excuse me while I prepare my Me Me Monday posts…
This Is How You Use Facebook to Sell Books – and a rebuttal of Alvear by Mark Dawson, also at Digital Book World (what an even handed blog!) explaining how you *can* game Facebook to shift books.
Author Cross-Promotions An interesting post at The Blood-Red Pencil on authors banding together to promote each others’ works and the various forms this might take. I only have one item in selfpublishing, but if anyone’s looking to join in a queer sci-fi boxed set, let me know!
How To Create A Compelling Book Sales Page – Tom Morkes at Writers Write, with a stunningly simple template for a book sales page. I can see several mornings in my future playing around with my website…
Recent media articles on the demise of the ebook are countered here: Media often mistakes legacy publishing stats for market stats, foresees the decline of eBooks at Talking New Media and No, e-book sales are not falling, despite what publishers say at Fortune Magazine. Both articles have—shudder—graphs and stuff. Read at your own risk.
Publishers Initiate Predatory Pricing on e-Books to Destroy the Market – A related sort of post at The Good E-reader, with commentary at The Passive Voice
From Books to Ebooks and Back: The Future of Literary Consumption Is Unwritten – another related post, this time at Flavorwire, with a few comments at Passive Voice
Wrongs of rights – Clare Alexander at the Bookseller on the vexed question of publishers and rights to your books. Amusing discussion at The Passive Voice that touches on zombie parrots. Advice: READ your contract and be sure you want to sign away those rights. If you *do* have an agent, lean on ‘em hard to earn their percentage by selling your rights where they’ll get the most return.
Cliché Finder : Have you been searching for just the right cliché to use? Are you searching for a cliché using the word “cat” or “day” but haven’t been able to come up with one? Just enter any words in the form below, and this search engine will return any clichés which use that phrase… How have I lived this long without this site?
12 Of The Most Popular Books On Writing – the Writers Write blog’s picks. I have two of these – Stephen King’s On Writing, Lynne Truss’s Eats Shoots and Leaves—and both are great, but I know nothing about the others. I can recommend James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure though, and Douglas Bauer’s The Stuff Of Fiction. And definitely Ackerman and Puglisi’s Emotion Thesaurus.
That’s it for September. Enjoy the links!