Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Links: October 16th, 2011 Edition

Hmmm... Didn't October just start? The post title claims that we're more than halfway through the month, but I'm finding that hard to believe. *double-checks calendar* Nope, that's right. Well, how about that. They do say that time flies.

Speaking of time... There are still a few days left to enter the first Kazka Press monthly flash fiction contest. One of the things mentioned in my poll was an interest in knowing about new contests and markets. Since I like flash fiction, this one definitely was of interest to me. The people running it were also very responsive when I asked for some details about rights, etc. while they were still in their "pre-announcement" mode last month. This is going to be a monthly contest, so keep an eye on their site if you like writing flash fiction.

Among everything else this week I've been doing tech support work for my wife who got to be one of the first Sprint customers with an iPhone. I must say it's a pretty slick device. I should be able to get a new phone once November rolls around, and I'll likely get one for myself. So it's not really "tech support" it's just "reading ahead" for my own iPhone usage.  :)

But enough about my technophilia. It's just a bit over two weeks until NaNoWriMo time (and I'm not, I repeat, not panicking despite being a bit behind where I'd like to be with planning). One thing I am pleased about is having coming up with my one-sentence description for my planned novel: "A young woman who has just lost her parents to a car accident would give anything to be able to change that aspect of her past, but finds herself in a position where she must protect a different element of the past to save what remains of her family."

Now for this week's links!
"Putting the A in YA" (Sarah at Glass Cases) - Sarah talks about the difficulty in selling a book with a college-age protagonist. The "young adult" is almost entirely the purview of books about high-school age people with writers often encouraged to make a college-age main character either younger (so it can "fit" into YA) or older (to have broader appeal to older readers in the general literary category). She also talks about the beginnings of a "New Adult" genre which would cover those 18-25 year-old characters and why she thinks that such a genre is a ways away from being a reality. An interesting read with some good comments, as well. (This one was of personal interest to me since my NaNo MC is someone who just finished her first year of college. The story would still work with her having just graduated from high school, so I suppose I should at least consider that...)

"Good and EVIL are Only Perspectives. Let's Talk Bad Guys. How Bad is Your Antagonist?" (Angela Scott - Whimsy & Writing) - Angela talks about making your antagonists scary while working to avoid cliched character traits for them. She also mentions a book which she purchased which provides input on developing your main character's nemesis.

"9 Tools For Character Development" (Bryan Thomas Schmidt) - Along the same lines as the last post, but more general, Bryan provides very specific things to consider when you are developing your character. Things such as how they talk, how they dress, etc. can help make them feel like individuals. He discusses these aspects of character development and more.

"The Purpose of Blogging for Fiction Writers" (Jody Hedlund) - I really enjoyed Jody's discussion of what fiction writers can hope to accomplish by blogging. Her conclusion that it helps writers build a "team" or "tribe" feels very right to me. I know that having fellow writers talking with me about writing and cheering me on has made a world of difference in terms of my ability to keep plugging at it every day. This blog has been a big part of that, and it has also forced me to really think about some aspects of the writing life that I might have chosen to not examine otherwise.

"Are Writers Without Business Sense Doomed?" (Jami Gold) - As a follow-up to a post from last week where Jami asked "Are Writers Entreprenuers?" she delved further into the risks that writers can face if they don't have at least some eye on the business side of things. She also, though, is clear that writers who don't feel like they are up to handling business issues or have zero desire to do so are not doomed.

"Why You Need to Write Every Day" (Jeff Goins) - I've had several people recently comment about how inspirational they find it that I've been so productive with my writing in recent months. It's very flattering, but I know I'll feel a little better about taking their praise with all of that work turns to, you know, some sales. Still, writing every day as I've been doing recently, does indeed take a certain amount of discipline and resolve. Jeff writes about why that habit is important and what writers can get from it.

"Self-Publishing from One Newb to Another" (Rick Gualtieri at The Pop Tart Manifesto) - If you've thought about looking into self-publishing but haven't done much research yet, this is one to bookmark. Rick talks about several different sites, their pros and cons, how to get your eBooks formatted, etc.

"Nail Your NaNoWriMo #10: Specifics on How to Plan Your Story" (Larry Brooks at - Larry is writing this "Nail Your NaNoWriMo" series all this month, and it's definitely worth checking out if you're planning to participate. Here he talks about planning story arc from vision to blueprint to beat sheet.

Additionally, here's a recap of the posts from this week on my blog:

"Writing Can Be Frustrating, But Don't Let It Get You Down" - In Monday's post I talked about several ways to deal with the frustrations that can come with writing, particularly when you're finding the words hard to come by or are unhappy with what you're producing.

"Poll Wrap-Up and Dissecting the Short Story Preview" - Wednesday I gave the results of my first blog poll and also teased the Friday Dissecting the Short Story entry which was...

"Dissecting the Short Story: 'Turning it Off' by Susan Forest" - My analysis of a story from the December issue of Analog Science Fiction. This was a fun story and I thought that there were some great lessons to be learned here, especially in terms of not over-explaining things to your readers.

We're coming up on World Series time. Lots of years would see me camped in front of the TV at this time of year, but my TV viewing has gone way down the last few months as writing has come to occupy a larger portion of my discretionary time. The sports world hasn't been kind to me this month, anyway. My favorite baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, choked away a huge Wild Card lead and missed the playoffs. And the Columbus Blue Jackets, our local NHL team, has gotten off to a painful 0-4-1 start.

Anyone here a fan of the Rangers, Cardinals or Brewers? Will the World Series cut into your writing time?


  1. I'm hoping Wiz coming off suspension will help. (Also, whenever Boll gets off IR.) Early season optimism, at its best. ;)

  2. Thanks for the link! And that's great news about your writing productivity. :)

  3. @Carrie, we can hope, right? There's *so* much negativity now in the fan base. I'm almost glad I won't be able to go to Tuesday night's game. I hate hearing the team booed...

    @Jami, quite welcome, and thank you back! :) Glad that you found the self-publishing link useful.