Friday, April 21, 2017

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 165

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

I apologize for the lack of activity here the last couple of weeks. Life has been keeping me busy and the weeks seem to end before I realize I've forgotten to post. When I think about it, however, I couldn't have picked a better time to slack off. It's April, which means the A to Z challenge is in full swing, so all you busy bloggers out there probably haven't even noticed my absence. 

As far as my writing progress goes, I've finally reached that point of the story where my notes for the next few chapters consist of: "MC tracks down bad guys and almost gets caught." Not a lot to work with. I plan to flesh out those notes over the weekend, but as usual, only time will tell if I succeed. 

Enjoy the links and have a great weekend! 


Kindle Unlimited: Is It Worth It?

What an Editor at a Publishing House Looks For: 6 Myths & Truths

Giving Characters the Courage to Change

Writing YA? What You Need to Know About Adolescence

Quick Scene Structuring

WHow to Request A Reversion of Publishing Rights

Middles: Keep Your Novel Moving

Friday, April 7, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Insecure Writer and Writing Full-Time

Today is April's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

Because I’m contemplating what it might be like to be a full-time author. 

Before I go any further, however, I feel it necessary to post the following disclaimer, just in case any of my bosses at work happen to stop by. 

“I’m very happy with my current job and I have no plans to leave anytime in the near future.” 

Okay, now where were we? Oh, yes. Full time writer fantasies. Sitting at the computer all day, doing nothing but writing, drinking tea, and watching your sales numbers climb on Amazon. What’s not to like? 

Since I'm such a slow writer, I often wonder what it would be like if I had all day to write, instead of relying on the random thirty minute snippets I depend upon now. Because every great once in a while, when I’m lucky enough to find a three or four hour window in which to write, I often make more progress on my story than I normally do in two weeks. 

Now it would be easy to conclude that if I had eight hours every day in which to write, my weekly progress would skyrocket. But I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work out that way in real life. For one thing, I’m almost always thinking about my story when I’m away from the computer (much to the consternation of my wife). If I sat in front of the computer all day, I’d lose a lot of that free association time so important to my productivity. 

But that’s not the main reason I doubt my productivity would scale with writing time. Some of my ideas take a long time to percolate through my head. I mean a looooooong time. It’s not at all unusual for me to dream up better ways to write a chapter several months, sometimes years, after I think it's finished.  

In fact, just yesterday I thought of a way to change one of the scenes in my current chapter so as to increase the emotional tension between two of the characters. I can’t tell you how many dozens of times I’ve gone over this chapter in the past two months, yet this idea just came out of the blue today. I fear that writing at a faster pace would rob me of many of my best ideas and my chapters would suffer. 

In the final analysis, I suppose I’m okay with not being a full time writer, if only because I’m pretty sure that if I were a full time writer, my family would starve. So I can confidently state that I have absolutely no intention of quitting my day job in order to write. 

Of course, should I win the lottery, all bets are off. 

How many of you are lucky enough to write full time? 


Friday, March 24, 2017

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 162

I traveled to Missouri last week to visit my mom and brother, which explains the recent inactivity around here. For me, the worst part of the trip isn't the flight to St. Louis (Hint: I'm NOT a good flyer),  it's the three hour drive down to Springfield. 

However, this time I was armed with an audio book, and the miles just flew by.  I listened to Dreadnought, the third book in the Starship Blackbeard series by Michael Wallace. Not only does this guy know his space opera, but the distinctive British feel gave this book a certain flare that sets it apart.  The voice actor was fantastic, and since all the Audible books in the series are priced at $2 apiece, this is an absolute steal.  If you're into space opera, I can't recommend this series highly enough. 

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links! 


10 Ways First-Time Writers Can Get Noticed on Social Media

Pronoun. Distribution Beyond Amazon

Writing a Murder Mystery: The Conflict Character

Tension vs. Conflict (Hint: They aren't the Same Thing)

Can Changing Your Book Covers Really Help You Sell More Books?

3 Unconventional Ways To Use Social Media To Effectively Find Your Readers

8 1/2 Tips for How to Write Opening and Closing Lines Readers Will Love to Quote

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Pitfalls of Writing To Market

I’ll admit to feeling rather bummed about writing today.

It’s not from of a lack of writing progress. I was pretty darn productive this weekend, making significantly more progress than I expected. And if that wasn’t enough reason to be happy, I’ve attended two critique groups and one SCBWI meeting during the last two weeks, all of which usually psych me up for writing.

No, I’m down because I came across the website of a book marketing guru, one of those people who make their money telling us how to market our books. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but this guy was explaining the concept of writing to market, which basically means picking a hot genre and writing stories in that genre as quickly as you can,.

So he set himself a challenge to write (and supposedly edit) a book in a ridiculously short amount of time—I won’t say how long, but it’s shorter than the time it takes me to finish a chapter for my critique group—and then launch it using his marketing techniques. Needless to say, his book is doing pretty well. I was shocked that anyone could write and edit a book so quickly, so I peeked at his first chapter on Amazon.

OMG! It read like fan fiction written by a high school student. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a high school student) The sentences were overly simplistic, the dialogue was cringe-worthy, and the characters (supposedly trained military personnel) acted like a bunch of squabbling kindergartners. I don’t consider my prose to be particularly good, but even I would have been embarrassed to show these words to my critique group, let alone the public.

And yet the book seems to be doing quite well, which means either the readers of this genre are scarily desperate for anything they can get their hands on, or this guy’s book marketing tricks are capable of selling anything. Has the bar really been set that low? Makes me wonder if I’m wasting my time trying to create a well-crafted story. Maybe I should jump into a hot genre and write as fast as I can too. Heck I wouldn’t even have to attend critique group meetings any more.

The money’s tempting, but that’s not why I got into writing in the first place. I want to write words that make me proud to be a writer, not something I threw together during NaNo and uploaded the next day.

Oh well.  Perhaps I just need to read a few well written books and all will be well again with the world.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 161

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Not as much writing this week as I would have liked. I'm currently beta-reading for another author and since my comments are due Monday, that took priority.  The good news is that tonight I have a crit group meeting, followed by tomorrow morning's SCBWI meeting.  Both of these events usually charge me up for writing, so we'll see what happens when I get a double dose of encouragement. 

The big question is: what plans do my family have for me this weekend?   

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links! 


Book Marketing: Using Amazon Ads to Grow a Newsletter List

Anti-Heroes: Why We Love Them & Keys Ways to Give Them Depth

Writer Struggles: Killing Nice Characters

English vs American Murder Mysteries

The 11 Most Common Questions Authors Ask BookBub

Revision Workshop: Day Three: Analyze the Scene Structure

Descriptions – the Angels are in the Details!

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