Monthly Archives: February 2014

Friday Links for Writers 02.21.14

BlackrockIn months when carving out writing time is challenging, I remind myself that Toni Morrison wrote The Bluest Eye while working full time and raising 2 boys as a single mother, by writing before they woke and after they went to sleep.  Doesn’t make it easier, but busy months take constant self-coaching to get it all done.

This week, I was thrilled with a provocative question from a friend that led to a new way of looking at a key scene. The upside of fighting for time to write is it is that much more satisfying when the work that comes out really rings true.

The week’s work has also led to discovery of some great links online, which is your benefit as I share this week’s Friday Links for Writers.  As always, let me know in the comments which links resound with you, what you’d like to read more of, or share your own links.  Best wishes for a great writing week!

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Sally Clements: How to Write a Synopsis

Among my writing friends, several are somewhere in the process of submitting novels as part of their winter goals.  This article by Sally Clements, on the Irish Writing Center’s website, does a good job of addressing how to write a synopsis as part of the submission process.

Secrets to Querying Literary Agents: 10 More Questions Answered

Along the same lines, this round-up of querying advice from Chuck Sambuchino (at Wendy Tokunaga’s site) answers some more interesting questions about query strategy.  Bonus: click the link in the first paragraph for another 10 answers.

Style Sheet: A Conversation with my Copyeditor

Here’s a good resource on copyediting basics, whether you are trading manuscripts with a beta reader or your novel is in the hands of your publisher’s editor, or you are providing copyediting services to other writers.  This article at The Millions includes a chart of standard copyediting notations and an interview with writer Edan Lepucki’s copyeditor.

Clashing Tones: a peril when we spend a long time writing a book

It’s time to share another great post from Roz Morris. I like this post on shifting tones within a manuscript, because it addresses a revision issue we not have heard others name, point-blank: the need to read for consistent voice or tone in a novel that has been written and revised over long stretches of time.

Interview with NBCC John Leonard Prize Winner Anthony Marra

I’ve said before that I am very excited to see the success of Anthony Marra’s debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, as I first ran into Marra in an online forum around the time he would have been writing it.  He has received nods for several national and international awards, and has just been awarded the National Book Critics Circle’s first ever John Leonard Prize.  Here is an interview with him from the School of Writing at the New School.  So many of us could relate to Marra’s inspiration: “I wrote this book as much as a reader, as a writer.  It was the kind of book I wanted to read and it wasn’t there yet.”  I love the revision process he shares: “I retype everything.” As soon as he finishes a draft, he prints it out and retypes it, revising with new eyes as he goes.

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What About You?

What writing goals are you working on this week, or what other priorities interfere with your writing time?  My best wishes go out to several of my regular readers who have been sharing their February goals and helping to keep each other motivated.  Feel free to share yours in the comments, below.

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c. Elissa Field

c. Elissa Field

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Friday Links for Writers 02.14.14

c. Elissa Field

c. Elissa Field

Ah, Valentine’s week.  This isn’t quite a valentine, but is sent with heartfelt wishes to all my writing friends who have been sharing and supporting one another’s goals over the past weeks. 

As so many friends are slowed down with winter storms or (in my case) distracted with pre-spring priorities that take time away from writing, at the same time, at least a dozen of my writing friends have been trading goals to keep each other accountable and supported.

Part of my month’s goals have led to some great reading online and, as always, this week’s Friday Links for Writers shares the best.  Let me know in the comments if any links were particularly helpful, and feel free to share your own links as well.  Best wishes for all your work, this week!

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On Beginnings: Ann Hood

If you’ve been a repeat visitor here, you may know I am partial to advice from certain authors, and this article by Ann Hood at Tin House epitomizes this. Ann quoted much of her advice on writing beginnings (including kinds of beginnings that work vs. those that rarely do) at a workshop I attended with her 2 years ago, saying she had amassed her lists while writing this article for Tin House.

How to Reveal Your Character’s Backstory Wound

Something about this piece by Martha Alderson on character backstory flipped a switch in my understanding of the newer backstory I’d written for my main character. Alderson writes both about the deep pain, and also the likely hidden nature of backstory wounds. She says, “Because a backstory is usually filled with fear, loathing, and pain, it is often buried. Thus, the backstory reveal toward the end of the middle of the story is often painful and difficult for the character to discern and integrate. Often, before a sense of freedom and a tranquil heart prevails, first comes forgiveness.”  (Thanks to Roz Morris for having shared this link on Twitter.)

5 Apps for Copyediting

This roundup from GalleyCat opens, “Whether you are a self-published author, an editor that works in traditional publishing or a journalist on the go, everyone can benefit from a little copy editing.” The first is my new resource: an iOS app for viewing and editing Word docs.

Shape-Shifting Poems and Other Monsters

Too often I share links on fiction and neglect all my poetry-writing friends, so this one is for you, poets.  I thought this piece by Alan Michael Parker, in vol 49 of Puerto del Sol, was an interesting take on how poetry collections are put together.

F.T. Bradley, author of Double Vision

F.T. Bradley, author of Double Vision

7 Things I Learned So Far: F.T. Bradley

I’m glad to share this installment in the “7 Things I Learned” column at Writers Digest, as shared by F.T. Bradley.  True to her word in the interview, I “met” Fleur in an online writing community before her debut middle grade novel, Double Vision, was released.  The advice shared in her “7 Things” is great — and my students have all given fabulous reviews to her series.  In seconding her advice: I have to say I appreciate and admire that Fleur is quick to respond to tweets and contacts from readers.  If you have a book rolling out, don’t overlook the power of that connection.

How to be Popular

This essay by Melissa Flashman (excerpted from the book MFA v. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction, featured at n + 1) is an interesting take on how her interest in popularity led her on an unplanned path to becoming a literary agent.

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If you like this blog, be sure to subscribe using WordPress’s +follow option, the Bloglovin’ button or via email.  I love to connect with like-minded readers and writers!

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Watching for snow - perfect time for a great read. c. Elissa Field

Watching for snow – perfect time for a great read. c. Elissa Field

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