Tag Archives: resources for writers

Friday Links for Writers: 08.30.13

Summer Green Market at Rockefeller Center, 2013. c Elissa Field

Summer Green Market at Rockefeller Center, 2013. c Elissa Field

Heading in to Labor Day is a bittersweet time of year, as end of summer and back to school signals lots of creativity around here at the same time my long writing days of summer come to an end.

Not that writing stops, but it fits into a different time strategy.

What never ends is great reading, and this week revealed some great resources for writers. Here are a few, below. As always, feel free to let me know which links resonated with you and what you’d like more of, or share your own links in the comments.

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But I Digress

In this great post at Beyond the Margins, Nichole Bernier takes on the effective use of flashbacks with a list of questions to ask to determine when digressions are effective and when they impede the narrative.

Freedom and Structure: Matt Bell’s Seminar on Revision and Rewriting

In this post at Grub Street, writer Susi Lovell shares nuanced advice for revision and rewriting that she took away from a Grub Street seminar with Matt Bell. Beginning with the advice, “Don’t try to ‘tackle the whole story’, he said. ‘Take one element at a time,’” she shares the lightbulb moment that came in revising her work.

How Not to Write a Novel: the Quiz

I’m sharing the link to this quiz just for fun — but the concept behind the full book, How Not to Write a Novel, is certainly valid. Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman offer a different perspective on writing advice by sharing 200 classic mistakes and how to avoid them.

14 Writers Handwrite Their Writing Advice on Their Hands

Need a boost? Take inspiration from one of these 14 writers and the advice they’d give if distilled only to what fit on the palms of their hands.

Guest Blog Post Strategies for Writers

This post at Galley Cat offers link to Jared Dees’ Book Launch Guide, with 33 solid strategies for authors to let the world know about their book. Get started with the strategies given for pitching and writing guest blog posts.

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Friday Links for Writers: 06.28.13

air-show-snow-conesSome weeks have a person singing “TGIF” loudly. My earlier posts this week (on the hard work of revision Monday and revising a flat character Tuesday) have confessed how intense writing and novel revision have been on my end. Yesterday’s challenge was the bleary work of comparing prior drafts, line by line. Still not fun, yet.

On the other hand… the kids and I are out of school for the summer. Today we’re off to the pool. Nights, we’ve been repeating my favorite childhood memory of reading mysteries falling asleep, as we’ve been buddy-reading my 11 year-old’s summer reading, And Then There Were None.

Before heading out to swim, it’s time for Friday Links. When writing is intense, I especially appreciate great reading to escape into, and I’ve stumbled across some great pieces this week. I hope you enjoy them – as always, let me know in the comments which links resonate for you, what you’d want more of, or share links to your own posts or links. Enjoy!

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This is Where the Rubber Meets the Road

I’m sure lots of you will agree that literary agent Rachelle Gardner shares some of the best advice on her blog.  As I said, I’m in the hard part of writing, and this article is just the right pep talk. Rachelle says to tell yourself, “This is where patience comes in. I can do this.” You knew it was going to be hard; tell yourself, so this is what hard feels like. If you don’t need this inspiration, click to follow her anyway, as her blog is always great.

Are Children’s Books Darker Than They Used to Be?

If you read or write YA, this title probably called to you as much as it did to me. My spontaneous answer to the question was, “No” — have you ever read original fairy tales? They’re dark. In her article, writer Julia Eccleshare at the Guardian evaluates the darkness of current kid lit, and also the thematic needs of young readers that compels that darkness. (But a parent/teacher request to YA writers: not too dark folks. Recent experience with cable-channel movies has me aware of how much we’re desensitizing ourselves from violence. Don’t be dark just to get attention.)

Teachers Write!

If you are a teacher or librarian, this is a really high-energy writing “camp” hosted by 4 young adult authors online. I wrote about Teachers Write! on my teaching blog here, and shared response to a morning prompt here — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are daily prompts, advice, Q & A with authors and feedback — plus the positive camaraderie and feedback from participants. Use the link above for official info and sign-up… or see what’s going on at this Facebook page: Teachers Write! Facebook page. One can jump in to participate at any time.

Is the Key to Becoming a Great Writer Having a Day Job?

On the heels of link for teachers who write is this link, on that perpetual debate: the value or conflict of a day job to earn a living while writing a novel. This piece by Mason Currey in Slate won’t give you modern advice but may reassure of the value of day job as he examines several famous writers from throughout history and evaluates the impact of day jobs on their success.

Querying Agents? Check hashtag #MSWL

Want to find agents who would love to read a manuscript just like yours? Search tweets using the hashtag #MSWL which stands for manuscript wish list. Writers, don’t post your wishes — look for agents to list the kind of manuscript they’d love to get.

A Dozen Reasons Books Are Rejected by Agents, Editors (& Readers)

What’s interesting about this post by Mike Wells on his The Green Water blog is that his examples address that gap between writing a good enough query to interest an agent… but then the manuscript doesn’t follow through on the expectations set.

13 Inspirational TED Talks for Writers

Have you discovered TED Talks yet? I used to roll my eyes a little, they came up so often in “let’s rock the world” conversations — and then I got hooked myself. This is a second great link I’m sharing from Aerogramme, with a range of authors talking about creativity and more.

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Want to Join a Book Discussion on Writing Craft?

Donald Maass

Donald Maass

With fellow writers at Wordsmith Studio, I shared my love of novel writing prompts that literary agent Donald Maass used to tweet. I included 23 of those prompts, plus link to Maass’s site, in this post last March:

Want more? As one of our community resources, Wordsmith Studio hosts quarterly discussion groups including books on writing craft. Starting Monday July 1, we’ll be reading Maass’s book Writing the Breakout Novel. My copy arrives today. Find discussions on Twitter on Mondays at 9 pm EST July-September — using the hashtag #wschat (this tag is also used for Tuesday discussions of various aspects of writing).

Links for more info:

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Danger Book May Bite c. Elissa Field

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Friday Links for Writers: 06.21.13

Sloans summer 2013

Today is a great day to take your writing outside — hopefully it’s as gorgeous where you are as it is here, on this first day of summer.

Summer brings busy writing days. I spent this week transcribing 10,000 words in scenes I’d handwritten or scribbled in margins of books I was reading (!) since January. Looks like I’ll be continuing with this for another week — and then it will be time to integrate this new material and newly-envisioned ending with the fourth draft I’d left off on last fall.

Novel revisions are job enough — but every week has time for reading, and here are some of the great Links for Writers I’ve come across this week. As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments — let us know what you’re writing this week, or tell me what links were meaningful, topics you’d like more of or share your own.

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Okay, and Here’s My Advice to You and Young Journalists in General

As much as I talk about fiction here, I studied journalism before fiction and spend much of my time online following international journalists. Which is lead-in to say it was sad news to hear of the death of award-winning journo Michael Hastings this week. Find inspiration in this link — his frank list of advice to young writers.

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

“Writing a novel is easy. Writing a good novel is hard.” I love the opening line of this article by Randy Ingermanson, as he shares his method for writing a novel that begins by building organization following the nearly scientific structuring of a snowflake. This link was shared by my friend, writer and photographer Rebecca Barray. While it arose in a conversation of plotting for Camp NaNoWriMo in July, several of the steps are useful for a writer evaluating the structure of an existing draft during revisions, and result in wording for an effective query as well.

Story Contest Deadlines by Month

Do you submit short fiction? There are debates that suggest — despite the additional cost of entry fees — contest submissions fight smaller numbers for publication. Here is a surprisingly practical tool via About.com: click on any month to access a list of literary contests with deadlines in that month.

Opportunities for Writers: July and August 2013

Along the same lines, Aerogramme’s blog post lists several unexpected submission targets with deadlines for now through August. “Surprising?” There are classics, like the Katherine Anne Porter Prize (for a short story collection) — but also a haiku contest sponsored by NASA, related to a Mars mission, and a deadline for McSweeney’s internship applications.

Our Lost Jungle 30 by 30 Challenge

My writing friend Khara House is one of the best at hosting challenges on her site, Our Lost Jungle. If you are not overloaded in the throes of existing work, her 30 by 30 challenge this month offers fab inspiration to get artists in any medium creating new work every day. Or, if the last 2 links have you thinking about getting your work out the door, work your way through her prior month’s Submit-O-Rama. She is a great blogger to follow.

A Celebration of Maurice Sendak at 92Y

Other sad news provoked this link, but look for joyous inspiration with this recording from a celebration of children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak’s birthday with James Gandolfini’s amazing reading of The Night Kitchen, followed by Dave Eggers reading a chapter from his book The Wild Things, inspired by Sendak.

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Annual Sing for Hope installation of pianos in public parks, NYC. Photo credit: posted by Ashley Butler on Sing for Hope facebook (http://goo.gl/2PVae).

Annual Sing for Hope installation of pianos in public parks, NYC. Photo credit: posted by Ashley Butler on Sing for Hope facebook (http://goo.gl/2PVae).

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