Welcome to Friday Links for the 4th week of January. It was a memorable week for national reflections and looking forward, as we began with celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday and watching the second inauguration of Barack Obama.
It has, therefore, been a slower week for fiction. But those hours in the morning still found some great reading moments.
Here are some of the links I’ve found worth sharing. A few regular visitors — especially those who worried they were not “on time” in starting the January Challenge — will find the first link intriguing. Don’t put off reading that one!
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You may have noticed from my January Challenge strategy lists, I am all for tricks that harness (not fight) the energy of our natural tendencies. Wittily written and extremely insightful, this New York Times article by John Tierney presents research demonstrating how the energy of procrastination can be effective fuel (yes!) for getting things done. Quoting Robert Benchley, “The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” I highly recommend this one!
Once you’re over procrastinating, here’s one for getting the end written. Many workshops focus on opening pages. Last summer I focused on character. Lots of folks talk about analyzing plot points. Sooner or later, those of us tying up a final draft need to get around to writing an ending that lives up to the rest of the book. In this post, Sierra Godfrey offers a valid checklist of what this scene must accomplish.
Are you done — or nearly done with that novel draft? Here’s a great article from Writer Unboxed, by Jael McHenry, who focuses the challenging process of polishing a novel draft to address a handful of key threads. Offers some interesting insights.
With the end written and draft polished, it’s time to sweat whether an agent will bite on your query. As I became a fan of Twitter, one of the best series I followed was agent Sara Megibow’s weekly #10queriesin10tweets. Each week, she’d pull 10 queries from her in-box, summarize the pitch with her verdict (pass, request partial or occasionally (9 out of 32,000 queries in 2012) signed). Fabulous glimpse into an agent’s thinking — but, gasp!, Sara announced recently, “I feel like I’ve said all I need to say about queries, so it’s time to move on.” No need for disappointment — on January 10th she premiered her new series using the hashtag #5pagesin5tweets. Rather than the query, she is addressing partial submissions she has received. As with the prior series, she summarizes the author’s approach with a verdict (request full or pass) and why. To access, click the link, or enter the hashtag in a Twitter search or feed browser.
[Note: if you would like to find more discussions like this on Twitter, let me know in the comments, as I have more hashtags to share. You can find me on Twitter at elissafield.]
It’s not a question I’ve asked (I do a bit of both) — yet, this 2-part article from The Open Notebook blog addressing the question posed during a Johns Hopkins University masters in science writing forum is a fascinating look at how to know if you are natively an editor or natively a writer.
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What are you reading this month?
That’s a question I’m wondering this week, as it seems time to compile another seasonal reading list. I have some great purchases still waiting to be read, that will roll over from last summer or fall — but I am curious, too, for new recommendations.
What are you reading, what new releases are you curious about, or what would you recommend?
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Going on this month: