Links To Blog Posts on Writing – October 2015

LinksIt’s been a funny old month in gay lit land.

I am not going to post links to the current plagiarism brouhaha in the m/m romance world. It’s an unedifying tale of someone blagging the work of another writer and hoping nobody would notice. She was wrong and she got caught. Her career is ruined and that’s that. Nothing of value is added by linking to it all. Just:

Don’t do it.
Take responsibility for your own work and your own choices.
No excuses.


Nor am I going to post anything about the recent acrimonious dissolution of the partnership that set up an LGBT publishing house. Quite simply, there are at least two sides to every story and we (the general reading/writing public) are not privy to all the details.

With the caveat that I’m not a lawyer and nor do I play one on daytime TV, all I will say is this. You don’t sell your book to a publisher, you sell various rights to it. The right to publish and in what form, the right to publish audio books or foreign language editions, the rights for TV and film. Your contract will spell out those rights, and should also spell out where they begin and end.

If your contract doesn’t specify:

–  when those rights automatically revert to you (typically after five years and what you get back is the right to the manuscript you submitted NOT the edited version or things like the cover art);
–  what happens to the rights if (a) your publisher goes bust (it happens. Most LGBT presses are small and their margins are tight) or (b) doesn’t publish your book within a specified time frame; and
–  if, and under what circumstances, you can buy the rights back (and again, it is likely to be the submitted MS, not the edited version)

then don’t sign it until the contract’s amended to include this stuff.
</public service announcement>


Word of the month
Pareidolia : the scientific term for our tendency to see faces in objects, or animals in cloud shapes etc.




Since next month is the annual endurance test, here’s a selection of advice from the various writing blogs:

NaNoWriMo website

NaNoWriMo on Facebook

21 Books To Help You Win NaNoWriMo

Don’t Get Stuck! Use Our NaNoWriMo Brainstormer Worksheet Instead – Mia Botha at Writer’s Write.

The Serious Novelist’s Guide to NaNoWriMo – Jennifer Blanchard’s 2014 article at the Huffington Post: still relevant and with loads of good resources.

NaNoWriMo Is Upon Us: How to Get Inspired Even If You’re Not Participating – another older article from Sarah Selzer at FlavorWire, about life other than NaNoWriMo-ing. Is there such a thing?

Why You Should Do Nanowrimo… And Why You Shouldn’t – Chuck’s advice. Great as always.

In It to WIN It—Preparing for NANOWRIMO – Kristen Lamb’s take on NaNo. Some links to resources on structuring your novel that may be useful.

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk: The Perfect Machine Versus The Art Monster – Chuck again, in a priceless post which boils down to fuck perfection, write the novel.


NaNoWriMo – The Musical. No seriously. Or not so seriously. Possibly my favourite link this month.



A Defense Of Escapist Blow-Shit-Up-Hell-Yeah Popcorn Entertainment
– S.L. Huang guesting at Chuck Wendig’s blog. A sort of coda to all the Hugos kerfuffle.

Message Fiction Inside Sci-Fi & Fantasy – Stina Leicht also guesting at Chuck’s blog, with the alternate view. Synchronicity was almost my word for the month, before being overtaken by seeing kitties in clouds…

Why Editing (By An Editor Who Isn’t You) Matters – editor John Adamus guesting at Chuck’s blog putting the case for professional editors.

Who Knows More About Story: Writers or The Pentagon? – Lisa Cron at Writer Unboxed. links3“Because to talk about writing is to talk about the method. The technique. The format. The genre. To talk about story is to talk about the juice, the point, the content, the thing that hooks readers from the first sentence.”

Absolute Zero — The Temperature At Which Writers Give Up – Kameron Hurley guesting at Chuck’s blog.

Minerva Zimmerman: Five Things I Learned Writing Take On Me

Jennifer Brozek: Five Things I Learned Writing Never Let Me Sleep

How to write at least four novels a year – Toby Neal with his tips on how to achieve a goal that has my jaw hanging slackly. FOUR a year? Jeepers.

Cassandra Khaw: Five Things I Learned Writing Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef (A Gods & Monsters Novella)

We’re losing all our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome – focuses on film ‘heroines’ rather than book, but the questions Tasha Robinson poses at the end of this article are relevant to writers of print as well as screen. The article references Sophia McDougall’s New Statesman article I Hate Strong Female Characters which I’m pretty sure I’ve pointed you to before now, but it’s worth reading in tandem with Robinson’s article.


The Chuck Wendig section

Go Big, Go Weird, Go You, And Fuck Fear Right In The Ear – I love this post. This is Chuck on authors writing what’s in them, about never giving up and slogging on until it’s done. About writing your book, not the one you think someone else (agent, publisher, reader, who?) wants you to write. “This is my book. There are none like it, because this one is mine.”

About That Dumb Star Wars Boycott – a probably doomed effort to get straight white guys to realise that a black Jedi does not equal white genocide.

Why You Should Do Nanowrimo… And Why You Shouldn’t – Chuck’s advice. Great as always.


Writing Tips and Skills

How I Kicked Writing Research in the Butt – Nicole Winters at the Writers In The Storm blog. I have a bad habit of getting sidetracked. I like her idea of a code for stuff you don’t know right now, that you drop into the text rather than haring off to the Internet to look it up. I might adopt that. Nicole uses TK for ‘Technical’. I might use the rather more earthy TS, for all that technical shit I need to research later.

How Chekhov’s Gun CLinks2an Help You With Description – Mia Botha at Writers Write. Not a long post, but made me think about how much verbiage I cram into my writing. Sigh.

See the Sketches J.R.R. Tolkien Used to Build Middle-Earth – I’ve linked to Wired’s article about a new release, The Art of The Lord of The Rings, from this section because this? Is all about world building. (I now own the book, and it is gorgeous.)

Finding the Right Balance With Your Stage Directions – an older post from Janice Hardy at Fiction University, but useful.

Writing Your Author Bio? Here Are 10 Great Examples – Diana Urban at the BookBub blog

How To Build A Planet – for the sci-fi nerds out there, Elle Carter Neal at the Blood Red Pencil

Forty Four Words to Seek and Destroy – Chris Winkle at Mythcreants with his list of pesky filler words.

43 Words You Should Cut From Your Writing Immediately – and Diana Urban with hers.

The Why & How of Second Person – Ariel Anderson at Mythcreants on the least-used PoV narrator. I’ve used it in short sections in Heart Scarab, the second Shield book, and I liked both the immediacy of it and the intimacy it suggests, where the reader is drawn into the story.

The One Thing Every Protagonist Must Have – James Scott Bell at The Kill Zone with some advice to a writer who has a very passive protagonist.




Marketing for Writers

Dear Friends – just read it and laugh (or cry). No commentary necessary!

The 6 Most Common Marketing Mistakes Made by Authors – Jon Bard guesting at Writers Write. You can download a free ebook of marketing tips. I haven’t had time yet to look at it, but it all helps.Links6

Tips on Using Blog Tours for Book Marketing – Sandra Poirier Smith at BookBub. Excellent post, and one I’m pondering hard as I think about what to do when Makepeace is published – I think I need a much sharper and more focused tour the next time around, with some sci-fi bloggers targeted.

How to Market Your Book to a Niche Audience – Diana Urban at BookBub with some very apposite advice.

8 Tips on Creating Single-Author Box Sets to Sell More Books – Urban again, with some excellent points for those of us who write series and how bundling can really drive sales.

Do Free Book Promotions Work? (Part I) – Andrew Updegrove, with graphs and pictury things and my head hurts. More interesting links in the comments section.

Guest Post (!) at Joe Konrath’s blog – Andrea Pearson guesting in an untitled post, that is a very comprehensive review of marketing techniques. Some interesting ideas and useful links both here and in a linked post.

71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book – Kimberly Grabas at Your Writer Platform.




What is the BookBub “Halo Effect”? – Conrad Scoville at BookBub’s own blog, explaining that books promoted through the BookBub system leads to a corresponding spike in downloads from other sources too, giving books a significantly bigger push than people expected.

12 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Book Cover Designer – Diana Urban at the BookBub blog. Helpful to get you thinking if you self publish although I choked a bit on one of the graphics showing potential costs. Ouch. You’d have to sell a helluva lot of books to get that back.

Smashwords Nightmare – author Alice Sabo’s account of the difficulty she had in extracting copies of her books from Smashwords’ partners. A cautionary tale. There is a very good discussion of this at Passive Voice, too. Interestingly, Draft2Digital are getting a good press in that discussion. Useful to know if you self publish.

Ellora’s Cave: Dear Author/Jane Litte Case Settled – the debacle there appears to have finally ground to a halt, although the overall position around Ellora’s Cave drags on and on. Complete clusterfuck.



Answering Your Questions About Specifics – Beth Hill at The Editor’s Blog with a list of resources to help you get grammar etc sorted. US centric, of course, so be warned.



That’s it for October.  Enjoy the links and if you’re doing NaNo, rock on!

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