Friday, February 26, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 114

On Wednesday, I mentioned how some of my "New Blog Post" notifications had stopped appearing in my mailbox.  I still don't know why this seems to happen every six months or so, but I took Loni Townsend's advice and signed up for Bloglovin, a browser app that informs me when my favorite blogs have a new post.  There's no guarantee that this service won't drop blogs from my feed either, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

Highlight of the week: I submitted another half-chapter to by crit group!  Woohoo!  If I keep up this pace, I may actually manage to finish my book before my kids graduate from high school. :)

Enjoy the weekend and the links!


Building Your Core: Internal and External Core Conflicts

A Marketing Tool That’s FUN!

Scene Structure: Establishing Your Setting

5 Common Problems With Endings

10 Clever Ways to Seriously Grow Your Email List

Give Your Protagonist An Anomaly To Generate Interest And Make Your Book Stand Out.

Validating the Reader's Concerns

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Losing Track of the Internet

I follow a lot of writing blogs. A LOT of them. They’re still some of the best sources of information about writing and publishing that I know. But because I follow so many, I don’t notice when I stop receiving updates about new posts.

Just this week, it dawned on me that my inbox didn’t contain any updates from Elizabeth Spann Craig’s website (Home of the awesome Twitterific Writing Links that puts my Friday Writing Links to shame. It’s a fantastic resource for all writers and I highly recommend it.) In fact, I realized I hadn’t received any notifications from her blog since the first week in January. (Arg! Think of all the links I’ve missed!) I dashed over to her website and attempted to re-sign up for email notifications, but the automated system admin responded that I was already receiving her email notifications, thank you very much.

The thing is, this seems to happen to me every six months or so. I’ll suddenly realize that I’m no longer receiving notifications to several of my favorite websites and I’ll have to go back and re-sign up again (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t). I don’t know why this keeps happening, but since I’m an acknowledged hoarder of links, just knowing I’m missing out on posts makes my stomach hurt.

I suppose I could solve this problem by becoming organized and simply visiting these blogs via a weekly schedule instead of depending upon reminder emails, but experience has taught me that’s not going to work long term. I don’t do well with regular schedules; my habits tend toward the chaotic. I focus on whichever wheel is squeaking loudest at the moment, and these email notifications are my squeakers. 

So, does being dropped off subscription lists happen to you guys too, or do I have bad karma?


Friday, February 19, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 113

Not much to say this week.  I saw Deadpool and enjoyed it, but be prepared for a lot of swearing and graphic scenes.  If you thought Kingsmen was too much, don't even bother with this movie.

From a writers point of view, although the supposed all-is-lost moment occurred at the 3/4 point of the movie, just when it's supposed to occur, I was surprised to find it really wasn't much of a black moment. In fact, the writers went for some laughs during this sequence, so I wouldn't recommend this movie for story structure analysis. Just enjoy the humor and over the top violence.

BTW, even though each of the superheros/villains were each supposed to have their own unique powers, when it came down to the fighting, they all seemed pretty much the same--super strong and able to withstand ridiculous amounts of damage.  Come on Marvel, you can do better than that!

Anyway have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


Copyediting: It Doesn’t End With Your Manuscript

5 Common Problems With Middles

Secrets, Lies, Mistakes, and Wounds: Three Key Tips for Creating Real and Relatable Characters (Part TWO)

Everything I Need to Know about Dialogue, I Learned from Aaron Sorkin
Funny. After I post about using TV dramas to learn about writing dialogue, I come across this post.

Four Crippling Misconceptions About Deep POV

Successful Book Marketing Using Facebook Ads With Adam Croft

Breaking Down Scene Structure into 3 Parts

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What TV Dramas Can Teach Us About Dialogue

On the advice of one of my crit partners, I’ve gotten into the habit of watching a few television dramas with my back to the screen. By not having my eyes telling me what’s happening, I can focus entirely on the dialogue, figuring out how the writers manage to pack so much information and emotion into so few words. Back in July, I posted that dialogue in novels isn’t real dialogue, it’s code for real dialogue. And now I’m slowly beginning to crack some of that code.

One of the best dramas for this technique is Suits, one of my favorite shows on cable. I won’t describe what the series is about, other than to say it involves lawyers suing each other a lot, but I’ve already noticed one trick the writers use to keep the pace moving. The nonverbal information dump.

Let’s say one of the characters has just had a confrontation with the antagonist, and when he returns to the office he yells at/complains to/argues with his partner about it. The thing I’ve noticed is that the character never repeats what happened during the confrontation, other than a quick one sentence description that hardly does the confrontation justice. The writers do this because the audience has already seen the conflict and would be bored by a rehash of events, but the trick is that, despite the lack of communication, the second character now behaves as if he has a perfect understanding of that confrontation.

I remember first seeing this technique in episodes of X-Files back in the day. Mulder and Scully would often be chasing mysteries in separate locations, and as soon as one of them discovered some vital clue, they would call the other and let them know. But the calls would always be short and sweet, with very little in the way of real details. Scully may have just discovered that the creature they’re tracking is sensitive to a certain wavelength of light when applied in a certain pulsating pattern during a full moon, but all she would usually say is that the creature doesn’t like light and be done with it. And, voila, Mulder would automatically know everything Scully did and act accordingly. Totally unrealistic, but it kept the story moving.

So always remember, good dialogue is not just about cutting out the boring parts, or keeping the words tight, or having characters talking at cross purposes. It’s about delivering information to the reader in a way that maximizes its entertainment value.

Even if that dialogue wouldn't come close to working in real life.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 112

Regular readers of this blog know that even though my posts are scheduled for Wednesdays and Fridays, it's best to wait until the afternoon before stopping by since it's usually closer to ten (or later) before I actually get around to uploading the post. With that said, no amount of waiting was going to help this week since I never published my Wednesday post.

Sorry about that, but at least I have an excuse. Not only did I have two crit group meetings this week, but I also accomplished quite a bit of writing done this week and didn't feel like stopping for a blog post.

My hope is that my writing goes so well next week I won't post next Wednesday either.

Just kidding. I WILL post next Wednesday.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


Critique Partner Connection — Time to Meet Your Match!

Want to know the future of publishing? You’ll find it in TV.
Another nice post by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. The condensed version? Writers are beginning to figure out what TV did in the last decade. The big money doesn't come from selling a lot of books right out of the gate. The real money comes from sales over time, since ebooks never go away. Think about it. It may change the way you market your books.

Self-publishing Part 2

Using Ebooks to Understand Story Structure

Where Real Drama Comes From

Using a Montage to Handle Time in Fiction

Beth Revis and Cristin Terrill on women writing science fiction

Friday, February 5, 2016

Seven Writing Links -- Volume 111

Another week come and gone. Not sure if I should be happy or sad about this.  Although I look forward to weekends, every time I submit another "Seven Writing Links" post, I realize I've just burned through another week without finishing my book. Argggg!

At least this week I submitted a chapter to each of my two crit groups, so I'm feeling rather productive at the moment.  Will I be that productive again next week?  We'll see.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the links.


Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 48: No Conflict Between Characters

Kristine Kathryn Rusch on Serious Writer Voice  As someone who views some of the "supposed writing rules" with suspicion, it was a breath of fresh air to read this post.

The Right Way (Or Why Breaking The Rules Doesn't Always Work)

Indie Publishing Paths: What’s Your Pricing Plan? Part Three (The Freebie Option)

Scene Structure: Scene Beginnings and Magic Ingredients

Adventures in Platform Building

The Importance of Keywords to Ranking Your Book on Amazon

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Insecure Writer and "OMG It’s Already February?"

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

Why am I an Insecure Writer this month? 

Because we’re already into February!!!!!

At the beginning of the year, I promised myself I’d finish my story by the end of THIS year. It seemed like plenty of time four weeks ago, but we just entered February and I’m frantically wondering what the heck happened to January. It may seem a bit premature to be worried about end of year goals only one month into the year, but I’m an Insecure Writer, which means I'm allowed to worry as much as I want.

It’s not that I haven’t been making progress on my manuscript, but did I finish one twelfth of my story in January? I don’t think so. And while eleven months may seem like a looooong time right now, if last year was any indication, these next eleven months are going to fly by in no time.

I don’t feel as though I’ve been slacking off on my writing. Quite the contrary.  This Saturday, I’ll be attending a “practice your pitch” session with my local SCBWI group. On Monday, I’ll be meeting with one of my crit groups, and three days later, I’ll meet with my other crit group.

I just don't understand how some authors write multiple books in a year. They must be using some sort of time portal device.

On a more positive note, if time keeps moving like this, Spring will be here in no time. Yay!


P.S. Feel free to use the comment section to convince me that eleven months really is a lot of time.