Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Morning Pages - 04/26/12

Write to Done - A Step by Step Guide to Hiring a Freelance Editor: "You have to take into account that editing a story involves more than just a couple of general comments. Fiction books essentially need three types of editing – content editing, copyediting, and proofreading – and they should go in that order. When editing nonfiction books, the focus is usually on formatting, accuracy, copyediting, and proofreading. Whether the book is fiction or nonfiction, the chances of your friend or family member being as well-versed in those forms of editing as a professional editor is low."

Rachelle Gardner - Train Your Muse Like You Train a Puppy: "The secret to puppy training is getting your adorable fluffy friend to develop routine behaviors he can perform without even thinking. To help him develop good habits, repetition is key—doing the same thing over and over again. That’s the number one way to train your muse, too. Keep to a schedule; have a routine that works for you. Have certain “cues” that signal to your muse that it’s time to work: sit in a certain place, turn on certain music, get your favorite drink, whatever you need to do. Schedule + repetition = habit."

Another from Rachelle Gardner, an editor who interesting way of calling this a repost: "There comes a time in every writer’s life when they need to reduce their word count. Ack! Not my precious words! Even if your word count is fine, most writers would benefit from tightening up their manuscripts before submission. (I, for one, would appreciate it.) But how do you do this?"

The Urban Muse on the Importance of Proofreading: "No matter how small the mistake, if the client decides that they would not have made the same error then they inevitably begin to question why they are paying someone to write for them in the first place."

There Are No Rules - Three Reasons to Never Give Up: "There’s so much that gets published every year. We think of it as being so hard, and it is—I’m not saying it isn’t hard. But really there’s so much, and there are so many ways to publish things, and you have to be open to them, especially now, with the way the business is changing."

Courage 2 Create - How to Build Foundations Under Your Dreams: "Those who are in honest pursuit of their dreams might find themselves stumbling upon the following questions: How do I make sure that I’m building the strongest foundation for my dream? How do I make sure that my commitment to fulfilling my dream is kept strong over the long haul? What exact 'foundation' is strong enough to keep my 'castles in the air' in tact?"

Fuel Your Writing - The Y.A. Genre is Killing Itself: "Sci-fi blog io9 has noticed the trend, beginning an article last month with: “In the wake of The Hunger Games dominating the box office, studios are rushing faster than ever to find more young-adult books to turn into movies.” Producers and execs are panning through the dirt of a thousand similar plots and angst-ridden protagonists, all in the hope that they’ll find that one nugget that they can brush the mud off and show to the world."


Monday, April 23, 2012

The Morning Pages - 04-23-12

There Are No Rules - How to Outline (the Easy Way): "As someone who begins to nod off at the thought of making giant, classic outlines (and instead prefers free-range, perhaps dangerously vague stream-of-consciousness explorations), I was intrigued by [best-selling author Janet] Evanovich’s more simplified “storyboard” process."

The Write Practice - How to Name Characters: "Next to the physical characteristics we try to describe, the names of our heroes, villains, band leaders, and shopkeepers are about the most important tool we have for identifying and tracking who is doing what. Good names help both writers and readers move through a story smoothly; bad names put us in a stagecoach on a washed out dirt road."

Wordserve Water Cooler Educates Authors on Their Rights: "Publishers are in the rights business, pure and simple. They are printers, sometimes marketers, hopefully good editors, but their business is charged with making money over the long haul. That means they want to control any and all rights to your book to license, sell, adapt, modify, translate…you get the picture. So what should an author know?"

Wordplay - How to Create Distinctive Voices:"You must write your characters with the expectation that high school students will read your work and be capable of passing a Shakespeare-style quote quiz on your characters.Why not swing for the fences when creating your characters?"

Wordserve Water Cooler - The Author Doesn't Always Know Best: "I recently had a conversation with an editor at a medium-sized publishing house. She shared a few horror stories of difficult authors she has worked with over the years. Authors with giant egos and immoveable demands. Authors who argued and insisted they knew what was best.I was quite stunned to hear this. Then I got sad and then a little mad. Isn’t it presumptuous to think that an author knows more than an entire team of experts at a publishing house?"

The Write Practice - Your Dream vs Rejection: "I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I want to share to others the worlds I’ve made and the characters I created through my words. This year, I decided to be serious about my dream. I started submitting. It was a foreign experience for me. I proactively hunted down publishing sites (locally and not), and I submitted my work to them."

Write to Done shares 15 Ways to Write Tight. A personal favorite: "Pretend you are being charged money for each word you write." Note that all of these have to do with editing. Never be discouraged if a first draft doesn't flow right.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Morning Pages - 04/18/12

Wordplay - How to Write a Novel in Two Sentences: "First decide on your main idea: the main “goal” you or your protagonist will be hoping to achieve (regardless whether it’s a successful attempt). After you’ve figured out what you want to do, just plop in a character who seems to fit the bill, give him some serious and overwhelmingly difficult objectives (summed up in a few words, of course), and an opponent who’s willing to go to great lengths to prevent your protag from achieving said goal."

Some tough love from Courage 2 Create: "stop asking that finding the time to write be easy and simply ask that it get done."

Wordserve Water Cooler guides us through writing a novel in 15 minutes stretches: I’ve never had the luxury of uninterrupted time to write. In fact, while finishing my first book, I had a five year-old, a busy hubby–and morning sickness (which lasted all day, throughout the whole time I was pregnant with my second son). Since then, I’ve worked a variety of part- and even full-time jobs while continuing to build my platform and hone my craft. And out of sheer necessity, I’ve become a master at using hidden pockets of time to further my career.

Joe Konrath says that Amazon's growing power is a benefit to authors: Those who fear what will happen when Amazon rules the publishing world should instead fear the cartel that currently controls the publishing world: the Big 6. Forcing the agency model has hurt authors and consumers, and that's a damn poor business model and not one I want to align myself with.

Susan Johnston on The Urban Muse - Procrastination is Just Fear in Disguise: Once I realized that fear was behind my inertia, I began approaching new projects differently. I broke them down into small tasks–tasks that I could easily finish in 15 minutes to an hour. For instance, an initial task might be, “Pick five people to interview for the Parents assignment.” Once I check that off, I might assign myself the task of contacting them and setting up interviews. Later on in the process, I might assign myself the task of “typing gibberish onto the screen.” After that is the task of organizing some of that gibberish.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

And Just Whom Might You Be?

I am a neophyte writer just working on his first book. It's been my dream for years to become a fiction writer. To write stories, to have them read, to have them published, to have them move the characters, the audience, and myself. And for years, I've been putting this dream off until tomorrow. Until I get my new computer. Until I get my life straight, until I have more free time. Until I'm looking in the rearview mirror at my life and I realize that my greatest regret was that I kept waiting until...

As I am a beginner, so is this blog the recording of a beginning. For me, for my first series of novels, Shades of Grey. For my first series of short stories, ESP, for my first real, sustained attempt at flying. Maybe I'll fail at every attempt, and maybe this journey isn't one I'm meant to finish. But the goal isn't the finish, it's that I take the journey at all. The attempt, the path, the Tao, is the goal, in and of itself.

This is just one more step.


Friday, April 13, 2012

The Morning Pages - 04/13/12

Writer Unboxed - The Community Behind the Independent Bookstore: Many brick-and-mortar stores are opting for bunker mentality. Staffs and inventory levels are being axed, hours are being rolled back. We watch as the last ebook-fueled escape pod from a reportedly doomed planet departs without us. Pundits give us dire prognoses, death sentences of five years, ten at the outermost, six months more likely.

Wordserve Water Cooler - Ten Steps to Finding a Publisher: If you are a first time author and looking for a publisher, you need to know several facts about the book publishing business. It’s a big ocean to dive into, and remember: there are sharks. Like any kind of business, and book publishing is a business, there are people who want to make a quick buck out of naive and vulnerable authors, so avoid them at your peril.

Red Lemon Club - 15 Reasons You Need to Grow on Twitter: On top of benefiting any blogs you might have, a large and growing network on Twitter should be in your best interest, as it is for me as a creative professional. I’m surprised when I see so many people miss the value in a large and growing network of people relevant to your industry. Perhaps you don’t know how to grow your Twitter followers effectively, or don’t yet see the huge value that doing so could present.

Writer Unboxed - On Rejection: As a writer, you may think you have the market cornered on this. This is one job where you can plug away for twenty years without positive reinforcement from the industry. Then one day, everything changes. Instead of an endless string of no-thank-yous, you get a yes, please. That sale or signing with your agent may change everything.But that first breakthrough doesn’t mean you’ll never hear the word “no” again.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Morning Pages 04/12/12

Another New Beginning - Taking the Henry Abbott's Truehoop idea and applying it to writing. The best posts for writers around the internet, every weekday.

Lynn Fang on Courage 2 Create - How to Inspire People to Change the World: We are so inundated with negative information these days that most people just want to numb themselves to the pain. They don’t want to talk about the real issues (they’d much rather keep listening to the new Katy Perry single) [...] The truth is that most of us are aware of the issues[...] but we just don’t want to be constantly reminded that there’s awful stuff going on–mostly because it’s incredibly depressing.We want to find joy, excitement, and meaning in life. We want to have the desire to live and love life.But we still need to talk about the tough issues of today. So, with that in mind, let’s consider some of the ways we can inspire people to change the world without becoming too negative.

Goins, Writer: Writing's Law of Diminishing Returns: The more you talk, the less people listen. The more noise you make, the more it sounds like a drone. This is an economic principle, and it applies to communication, too. The paradox of attention is this: the more you try to get, the less attentive your audience becomes.

Wordplay - How to Show the Passage of Time in Your Novel:

Terrible Minds - A Long Look at "Show and Tell": You hear that a lot, as a writer: “Show, Don’t Tell" [...] As with all the succinct little amuse-bouches of writing advice, this particular nugget contains a modicum of wisdom if you can peel back the skin-flaps and chip away bone to find the heart of the thing underneath.