Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Links: October 2nd, 2011 Edition

As promised last Sunday, this week's links post comes with a bright shiny new month attached to it. Welcome, October!

Earlier this weekend I went to my first Tae Kwon Do tournament in over twenty years. I wish I could say that I had achieved better results, but I can honestly say that it was a good learning experience. Like writing, martial arts training isn't something that most people can just pick up and excel at without hard work and a number of failures along the way. So, just like I am working to not let writing rejections get me down, I intend to not get overly disappointed about the less-than-I-hoped-for performance I turned in and work to do better next time!

Voting for the 2nd challenge in Rachael Harrie's Platform-Building Writers' Campaign remains open through the 11:59 EDT on Monday 10/3 Friday October 14th. (The 10/3 deadline is for entering the contest, not voting. Thanks to @I_Am_LadyJai for setting me straight on this.) The judging for this challenge is strictly based on popular vote. So, if you read mine ("My Name is Imago Montoya...") and enjoyed it, I'd truly appreciate you voting for it by clicking here and "liking" entry #42.

And now, the links!
"Sticking to Your Budget" (Casey at The Writers Alley) - Casey provides tips on places to look when you are trying to tighten up a piece to meet a certain word limit. While the main thrust of this is around longer stories, I think that this is also useful advice when working on shorts, particularly ones where there's a strict word count limit such as for a contest. Probably the most challenging part for me in both of the writecampaign challenges so far has been trimming a first draft of ~250-275 words down to the 200 mandated.

"10 Reasons You Won't Get Published" (Matt Adams at My Kingdom for a Novel...) - With a title like that, I hope people are expecting a bit of gentle sarcasm -- I certainly was, and Matt didn't let me down. After all, we all know that the #1 way to be sure you won't get published is to not try!

"A Strong Sense of Place" (Cally Jackson Writes) - Cally looks at the importance of setting for stories. One quote: "Some stories are so steeped in their location, if feels as if they couldn’t be set anywhere else, and the location becomes a character in its own right." There are definitely stories I have felt this way about. One of my favorite authors, Lawrence Block, has written a set of novels featuring a detective named Matt Scudder. I can't imagine those books being the same if they weren't set in New York City. (Which makes it all the more baffling that a movie version of one of them was transported to LA.)

"Designing Your Own eBook Cover for Free" (Jacquelyn Smith) - This looks like a fantastic how-to with clear instructions on how a decent free eBook cover can be assembled without too much difficulty. It does require a bit of computer know-how as the image editing software Gimp is not the most user-friendly in the world (But it is both powerful and free.) This shouldn't scare any but the most computer-uncomfortable among us off.

"Gettin' Physical: The Dos and Don'ts of Character Description" (Chris Abouzeid at Beyond the Margins) - There are some fantastic tips here for a topic which I (like Chris) sometimes find a bit challenging. There's a lot here which makes sense and I can see some of these "don'ts" being things that are easy to find slipping into writing if a careful eye isn't kept to avoid them.

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

"The Value of Ideas" - Monday, I examined the role that ideas play in story writing. They are a necessary part, but not sufficient in and of themselves. I also talked about the "writer's mindset" and how that makes me receptive to the ideas around me and presented some suggestions for coming up with ideas if you're feeling stuck.

"DtSS Preview, Blog Award, September/October Goals" - Wednesday of "Dissecting the Short Story" weeks, I preview the story for anyone who wants to read ahead. I also use this post to give updates on my personal writing goals and some occasional other tidbits like blog awards.

"Dissecting the Short Story: 'Beach Girl' by P. N. Elrod" - This week's short story "dissection" was for Beach Girl by P. N. Elrod from the November issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Though Elrod is best known for paranormal fiction, this was a "straight" mystery story and one which I enjoyed reading. It was also interesting to look at this story as it was not told chronologically, which differs from the three previous dissections.

Thanks to all of my readers! I hope that you're having a good start to Fall and that the new week treats you right! If you come across any (newly-posted) links this week that you'd like to suggest I check out, please feel free to do so in the comments below.


  1. Great post. Thanks for the time it took to write and compile! Onward!

  2. Thanks, L. Lambert, for your comment! Glad that you liked the links.