Friday, March 27, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 69


Last Friday I apologized for the lateness of my Wednesday post and promised to do better in the future. So what did I do this week? I completely missed the post.  Yep.  Wednesday morning rolled around and I didn't even have a clue about what to write.  Sigh...

At least I have an excuse this week. . My wife was still recovering from the flue, I've been helping my daughter prepare for her Forensics competition which happens this weekend, and the middle school play my son is in finally goes live this Friday and Saturday. And since my wife and I volunteered to help with set changes between scenes, every night this week has been spent practicing at the school. I don't know how nervous the kids are about performing, but the sheer panic and chaos that occurs during the scenes while the parents are running around backstage, trying to figure out exactly what we have to do in the thirty seconds between the scenes is nerve wracking and exhausting.

I will be so happy when Saturday is over!

Hope you have a great weekend, too.

Enjoy the links.


AWeber vs MailChimp: Which is Better Suited for Building Your List?

Tricks of the Trade 4: Hero Upgrade

The Basic Components of an Author Website

Dan Harmon On Story Structure

Grappling with the Facts

It Turns Out, All You Need to do is Write a Great Book

Optimizing Kindle Categories, Email List Building And Facebook Marketing With Nick Stephenson

Friday, March 20, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 68

Not much happened this week in terms of writing. Too many other things going on around the house, including my wife's bout with a really bad intestinal flu. Thank goodness, she's beginning to feel better now.

For those of you who stopped by here on Wednesday expecting my scheduled post and found nothing but last Friday's writing links, I apologize. It was nearly time for dinner before I finally managed to finish it. I promise to do better next week.

Enjoy the links!


Reinventing Clich├ęd Scenes

Promo and Business Tools for Writers

Day Twenty: Streamline the Dialog  Janice is doing a whole month of these posts, so be sure to check out the rest of her blog.

Creating an Author Business Plan: Identifying Your Audience

8 Ways Writers Can Be More Reader-Friendly

Increase Tension in Your Screenplay with a Ticking Clock

Want to Start a Writing-Related Company?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How to Lead Your Reader by the Nose

Leading your readers by the nose doesn’t sound like something a writer would ever want to do, does it? But when you think about it, all good writers do it. And the successful writers are the ones with enough skill to hide this fact from their readers.

When readers pick up your book, they’re much like newborn children, ignorant of the rules of your world, but eager to learn how it all works. They scour through your words, trying to piece together how your world and characters tick. They pounce on clues, or everything they think is a clue, like a starving person at a buffet.

This is a good thing.

Unfortunately, this also means if you aren’t proactive enough, it’s easy for the reader to head down the wrong path. If you spend too much time on a description, for example, they’ll assume the object/person/setting being described is important, regardless what you meant for them to think. If you neglect to guide the reader via interior thoughts of your characters, you might be shocked by the conclusions your readers come up with on their own. As a writer, it’s your job to ensure every word in the story leads the reader down the right path.

But that isn’t always easy. If you aren’t subtle enough, the reader will know he’s being led by the nose and will resent it. On the other hand, it’s easy to be too subtle. Since you know so much more about the world, what might seem like a clever and subtle hint to you might be darn near impossible for the reader to understand.

I recall a D&D game I played back in college. The dungeon master led us into a maze located within a forest. We spent five or six hours wandering aimlessly around the various twisting paths, battling monsters at every turn, before we reached the treasure at the center of the forest. When the gaming session ended and we packed up our stuff to go home and get some much needed sleep, the dungeon master expressed surprise that it had taken us so long to find the treasure. Apparently, he had experimented with the map ahead of time, trying to judge how long it would take us to reach the goal, and had concluded it shouldn’t take us longer than an hour. The only assumption he made was that whenever a path branched off in different directions, we’d pick the path that moved us closer to the center of the forest, since, as everyone knows, that’s where the treasure usually is. :)

Impeccable logic, to be sure. Trouble is, we didn’t know where the center of the forest was located! Since he had a map with an outline of the forest, he knew exactly which way we should go in every case. But since we had no idea where the forest boundaries were, we had no clue which way to turn. Lesson learned.

So what’s an author to do? How can we know if we’ve struck the right balance? Simple. Find lots of critique partners and beta-readers… and then listen to what they have to say.  And if they ever use the words "I'm confused," sit up and take notice!


Friday, March 13, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 67

It's Friday, the 13th!  Does that worry any of you?  Or do your writing woes far outweigh anything that could possibly happen to you today?

As you've probably already noticed, there was no Wednesday post.  What can I say?  I was still recovering from my vacation.  Besides, I was too busy celebrating the fact I can now see patches of grass around my house again.

Anyway, have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


Should We Change Our Blogging Style?

Deepen the World Building and Setting

Protecting Your Copyrights Online

Marketing Your Series: a Plan for a Solid Launch and Sales for Years to Come

Tips When Writing Multiple POV Novels

How to Build Your Platform and Sell More Books with Podcasting

How To Clean Up Your Manuscript Formatting In MS Word

Friday, March 6, 2015

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 66

I wrote this post early (a rarity for me these days) since I'll be flying down to Missouri to visit family on Friday.  Although I'm taking my laptop with me, history suggests I won't accomplish more than thirty minutes of writing  by the time I return on Monday.  Oh well...

I'm still recovering from co-hosting the Insecure Writers Support Group on Wednesday. Whew! Don't know how Alex manages to keep everything running so smoothly.  Thanks to all who stopped by and left comments.

Enjoy the links and have a great weekend!


Use Attitude When Introducing Characters

Book Giveaway Promos Compared: Goodreads, Rafflecopter, and the New Amazon Giveaway

Cut Down Your Word Count with Trust, Trust, Trust

Amazon Advertising Services for Indie Authors, Yea or Nay?

Book Trailers And Using Video For Book Marketing

A Step-by-Step Guide to Dealing with Content Theft

How to Punch Up a Blurb or Query

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Insecure Writer and Remembering Everything I've Ever Learned About Writing

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

Today, I'm co-hosting the IWSG, along with Suzanne Sapseed and Shannon Lawrence. Be sure to drop by their blogs, too!

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month? 

Because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fit everything I’ve either learned, or have yet to learn, about writing inside my head without my brain exploding.

Seems as though every week I either learn a new writing technique or, more often, read about a technique I’ve seen before but have since forgotten. Usually, I’m so excited by this new trick, I’ll immediately apply it to whatever scene I happen to be working on. This is a good thing, of course, but I’ve noticed that by the time I get to the next scene, I’ll have come across another good writing technique and will concentrate on that one instead, allowing the previous technique to wither away, forgotten until I read about it again in six months. So I end up having one scene where I focused on changes in emotional levels, another scene where I nailed the descriptions, and a third where I’ve used setting to set the mood. It’s as if I can only handle one technique at a time.

I know many authors use multiple passes to hone their chapters, but I’d have to do fifty passes to apply all the bits and pieces I’ve learned so far. What I need is a scene worksheet. A checklist that forces me to incorporate everything I’ve ever learned into every scene, and not just the technique du jour.

 Do any of you use scene checklists?