Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Round-Up: A little motivation, a little angst & discontent

Long round-up of things that entertained or edified me this week (can you tell I'm doing a better job of tracking it all?)

I doubt there's anyone reading my blog who doesn't also read Nathan's, but I loved this guest blog -- You May Be a Bestseller on Tralfanadore. So next time you're feeling discouraged about your writing, think of all those fiction-loving aliens, and keep at it. 

Also in the category of pick-me-ups, because at least you aren't writing like this -- I recently discovered the Write Badly Well blog, and it is quite entertaining. For instance: Alan picked up his slice of toast and bit into it thoughtfully. The crescent shape left by his teeth was like a smaller version of the shark bite Julia would suffer next week, but at the moment, Alan knew nothing about that. From this entry, demonstrating how to start your story three chapters before anything actually happens.

From PubRants, here are two awesome pieces from Kristin explaining opening pages that work. Incidentally, these opening pages also made me want to read the novels -- so I get it.
Part one here, with Janice Hardy's The Shifter
Part two here, with Gail Carriger's Soulless

The NY Times on a DIY book tour. It's not exactly glamorous to cary one's books around in suitcases and sell them yourselves at readings before crashing on someone's coach. Or maybe it is, in a way. I love the idea of getting to connect to your readers on this level, though. When I'm published, I know there are places I'd like to go read -- like my hometown, and the amazing bookstore I frequented in Cali -- that I'd have to pay for on my own, and I'd be okay with that.

The Chocolate Chip Waffle is having a contest, the one-sentence contest.  Win or lose, I think trying to write the best sentence ever is fun in itself!

I don't know if anyone besides me ever wonders, "How long is this thing supposed to be when it's complete?" but The Swivet has a helpful post on word count for different types of novels.

The First Line is a magazine where each issue contains stories all begining with (wait for it) the same first line. For the March 1 deadline issue, the first line is "Working for God is never easy."

And, in a similar vein, Midnight Diner is an anthology of crazy Jesus stories. I'm so curious I almost can't stand it. Jesus v. Cthulu?

On an unrelated note: pet peeve of mine #236: If you look in the 2010 Writer's Market, Popular Science is billed as a "men's magazine".  This explains why visitors to our house tend to assume that the issues of Popular Mechanics, Popular Science,  and Wired on the coffee table are my husband's. No, no, no. We're both geeks. Why do magazines with no gender-specific content (as opposed to items like Cosmo, which has articles like "100 Ways to Give Him the Best Sex Ever Tonight", and Men's Health, which has articles like "100 Ways To Get Her to Give You The Best Sex Ever Tonight") feel the need to box themselves up like that? GIRLS ARE GEEKS TOO, okay, damn it. We can be interested in things like solar power, spy tech,  and the latest tweaked-out discoveries in cosmology. Ghaa!

I might be a little angry about that, but Susan Hill is very, very angry. Unbelievably angry.  About all of us pretentious amateurs.    I understand her point -- I think -- that writing is a meritocracy, and not everyone has the right to be read just because they string some words together.  However, her point is rather defused by her stating that a) she studied difficult writers to learn her craft and b) has fifty years' publishing experience and then c) writing a series of run-on sentences that border on incomprehensible.  I'm sure it was just her angst speaking, but my god.

And lastly, an appeal for help: I like to put all the writing blogs I like to keep up with on the sidebar to the right, but several that I subscribe to, or follow, don't show up when I try to add them to my blogroll. Anyone ever had an issue like this?


Summer said...

I LOVE How to Write Badly Well! Although I had a moment of horror recognizing one of my worst faults as a writer being mocked...hehe.

Thanks for the link about word counts. At first 70-80k seems SO huge, but then you actually start writing, and when you hit 65k, you're like, "damn. I'm still in the rising action."

As far as the side bar thing goes, and I'm still a n00b at this blog stuff, but I think you have to manually add the blogs you want to appear from your dashboard. I go to Blogroll, Edit, then "add from blogs I follow" and select the ones to appear. I thought they added automatically, but evidently not!

Jen said...

Write Badly Well is hilarious! I am really glad you shared the link!!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Okay, the shark bite piece made me smile which is pretty amazing given how exhausted I feel. Thanks!

And I'm not sure about the blog links- sometimes mine get goofy, but eventually they work themselves out.

Guinevere said...

Summer, that's what happened to me with Shards' first draft. I was like, okay, 75k, time to wrap it up. And then the story would.not.end. It's amazing how quickly that word count grows!

I'm glad you guys liked Write Badly Well too! What a great blog concept.

Chasing the Moon said...

I have an award for you...;)