Monday, May 30, 2016

Monday's Links to Writing & Marketing Blog Posts


By: L.Z. Marie

I began writing my first novel 5 years ago. Boy, was I naive! Yet, looking back, those 5 years feel like both an eternity and a blink of an eye. Because I taught literary analysis and have a B.A. in Literature (la-de-da) I thought I was ahead of the novel game, but all I had were book smarts not the experience with applying those authorial techniques.

Here’s the TOP 13 things I learned about writing during that time.
  1. You need to be dedicated. For most of us that means writing EVERY DAY. I can probably count on one hand the days I didn’t write something (and I’m not counting Facebook posts and tweets.) Some days I wrote or rewrote several pages. Other times—after a long aggravating day at work—I was lucky to write a paragraph.
  2. Take advice from people who know. Go to conferences if it’s in your budget. Read lots and lots of blogs, articles, and books about the craft of novel-writing. You can avoid many newbie errors by studying the craft and pitfalls.
  3. Your first novel probably needs more rewrites than you think. My final-final-final rewrite of my first novel came after a frienamy (friend + enemy) told me it sounded amateurish and had no voice. Ouch! But, I thanked her and rewrote it twice more.
  4. Friends and family are absolutely CERTAIN they’re a character in your story no matter how many times you tell them otherwise.
  5. You discover who your real friends are. Real friends read your story, discuss your story, let you cry on their shoulder, give honest feedback and, most importantly, encourage you to keep writing, keep querying, keep keeping the dream. Real friends don’t look at you in horror and say “You’re writing a novel?” Sadly, my loving well-intentioned parents told me many, many times to stop writing. (They never read my blogs so I know they won’t read this.) Oddly enough, they still want to read all of my novels.
  6. It gets easier—sort of. The more you write, the more the words flow, the easier sentences are to manipulate. It’s Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule: It takes lots and lots and lots and lots of practice to be proficient.
  7. Really good beta readers are hard to find. . . 
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~*~

If you missed my latest writing and marketing tweets, here they are again:
Happy writing and running, Kathy

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday's Links to Writing & Marketing Blog Posts


By: Vinita Dawra Nangia

When I emerge from a book feeling I have lived the story myself; when I find it tough to shake off the feel for days to come; when I miss the characters in the story as if they were real; when I find myself referring to incidents in the book as if they actually happened; when I find it tough to start reading another book for some days - I know I have read literary fiction!

A piece of popular fiction makes you feel happy and relaxed but need not leave you thinking and elevated, as literary fiction does. The basic difference between the writer of commercial or popular fiction and a writer of literary fiction is that the former just wants to tell a story, while the latter also takes up the challenge of experimenting with the elements that go into the art of story-telling and ends up leaving a more lasting impact.

Craft over story

As you read popular/mainstream/commercial fiction, it is easy to get lost in the story to the exclusion of everything else. However literary fiction invites you to enjoy the language, the turn of phrase, the craft of the story, feel the experiences and to imbibe the message the writer wishes to convey.

Ideas & Emotions

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~*~

If you missed my latest writing and marketing tweets, here they are again:
Happy writing and running, Kathy

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday's Links to Writing & Marketing Blog Posts


By: Linda S. Clare

The words “high concept” are tossed about on the Internet seas with increasing frequency, but even some seasoned writers scratch their heads. High concept sounds exciting—and really desirable—until some novel writers are asked to define it.

Writing Tip for Today: Let’s discuss exactly what High Concept means to novelists and why we should employ one for our stories:

CONCEPT DEFINED

Most writing gurus talk about story question or premise, story idea and concept interchangeably. Larry Brooks, in Story Engineering, defines concept as being different from idea, premise or theme.  He gives the example of a non-story idea as a trip to Florida. To make this idea a concept, Brooks argues that you would add to travel by car and stop at all the national parks along the way. 

A premise would be to take your estranged father with you and mend fences while on the road. In Brooks’ words: A concept is an idea that has been evolved to the point where a story becomes possible. A concept becomes a platform, a stage, upon which a story may unfold.” 

So we can think of concept as the fancy version of our basic story idea. Robert McKee (Story) says, “A Premise is rarely a closed statement.” Usually you can state your concept as a question. What would happen if. . .? And for you “pantsters” who are organic in your writing approach, Donald Maass says, “A strong premise can emerge after many drafts.” You don’t have to know your concept at the outset—but it’s easier if you do.

WHAT’S HIGH CONCEPT?
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~*~

If you missed my latest writing and marketing tweets, here they are again:
Happy writing and running, Kathy

**Here's an Audible clip from THE RUBY BROOCH. I really like this interaction between Kit and Cullen. Click to listen! I love this Audible feature. 


Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday's Links to Writing & Marketing Blog Posts


By: Joanne Jeffries and Julian Yanover

Have you ever wondered what some of the most common words used in poetry are? Of course, some poets are known for writing about certain themes, but are there any surprising words that feature throughout? And, just how have these words changed over time? Are there any glaring differences when comparing classic poems with contemporary poems submitted through our community platform? This is what we sought to find out at My Poetic Side. We analyzed our entire database, which contains more than 35,000 poems, to discover the most common words in poetry, not only generally but in relation to some of the most famous poets as well. In the process, we created fun sliding images for 9 of the most important authors + a final general comparison. We only applied a few stop words which were filtered out before processing data, such as “a”, “the”, “and”, “of” and “to”, that would have skewed results. Also, we gave a little boost in the algorithm to words included in titles because of their importance.

Read on to discover what we found. And make sure to place your mouse pointer over the images to reveal the authors pictures and their favorite words, or alternatively if you are on your mobile, click inside the images.

Maya Angelou

As a highly respected spokesperson for Black people and women, it is hardly surprising that one of Maya Angelou’s most used word was ‘rise’. Her poems have been called the anthems of African Americans. This is evident from words such as ‘history’, ‘pain’, ‘caged’, and ‘fear’, as well as empowering words, such as ‘stand’, ‘free’ and ‘courage’. The heavy use of ‘river’, ‘bird’, ‘sings’, and ‘sun’ can also be viewed as symbols of freedom. Her poem ‘Caged Bird’ is one of the most well known, telling the story of a free bird that leaps on the wind’s back and floats downstream. Aside from racism, discrimination and equality, other common themes included identity, struggle, music, painful loss, love and family. It is thus of little wonder that the words ‘children’, ‘work’, ‘love’, ‘men’, and ‘woman’ are frequently used in her poems.

Robert Frost

Robert Frost is highly regarded for his command of American colloquial speech and his realistic depictions of rural life. Consequently, it comes of little surprise that some of his most commonly used words relating to nature and outdoor life, including ‘tree’, ‘trees’, ‘flowers’, ‘wind’, ‘leaves’, ‘birds’, and ‘wood’. What is perhaps more curious is the element of nostalgia and reflection on the past that seems to be very prominent through the use of ‘had’, ‘back’, ‘dead’, and ‘thought’. The words ‘go’, ‘nothing’, ‘away’, and ‘death’ speak of the theme of isolation, which was common throughout a lot of Robert Frost’s poems. The two most frequently used words in Frost’s poems are ‘had’ and ‘him’, and while the former can be related to the theme of isolation, it could simply be more straightforward than this. His poems always dealt with man in relation with the universe. This is the perspective they came from, which is no doubt why those words were so prominent.
Emily Dickinson

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~*~

If you missed my latest writing and marketing tweets, here they are again:
Happy writing and running, Kathy 

Here's a wordcloud from the first chapter of my work-in-progress: The Three Brooches, due out late this summer...



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday's Links to Writing & Marketing Blog Posts


By: Alex Limberg

You want to pull your reader out of his everyday life and draw him into your fantastic world? Want to wow her with things she would have never imagined possible?

Then you need to introduce magic into your stories!

Here are a couple of hints on how to create a special experience with magic:

Clearly Set the Rules Upfront

First things first: To make your readers go along with your action and feel suspense, you have to set the rules of what magic can do in your world and, more importantly, what it can’t do.

Imagine if your wizard would just have to snap his finger and could achieve anything he wanted. The story would have no serious obstacle anymore and it would become boring quickly. To prevent that, you have to define the limits for your magically skilled characters and for their spells.

Maybe a spell only works for objects your magician touches. Maybe its effect only lasts for three minutes, maybe it doesn’t work in windy places. If at a later point you don’t want your magician to use their skill in a certain situation, because your plot has other plans, you then have a very plausible deniability.

If possible, make it clear what magic can and cannot do early on in your story. Then your reader will not feel tricked by you, the author, and by a sudden “deus ex machina.” And when a powerful spell lets the magician take off into the air to save himself, your reader will willingly accept it. After all, the magician already used his skill in scene one to get a book from the high shelf.

Because I know keeping a story realistic and engaging at the same time is a delicate tight rope act, you can download my free e-book about 44 Key Questions to test your story. It will help you make every single part of your fantasy tale tight and unforgettable.

Magic Is Tied to the Magician

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~*~

If you missed my latest writing and marketing tweets, here they are again:
Happy writing and running, Kathy