Reading · Writing

Saturday Summation – 09 July 2016

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

I’m BACK, baby. Well, mostly. I mean, it is summer and as Mary Carroll Moore writes, summer can actually be the most difficult time to maintain regular writing. At any rate, June threw me for a loop and I’m getting my mojo back, so let’s share some cool links again, yes?


Writing Stuff:

Sometimes, when making dialogue “authentic”, we get dragged down by its banality. Much of real life dialogue is full of “yes”, “no”, and “mm-hmm”s. A way to get around repeated “‘Mm-hmm,’ she said” phrases, author Katie Rose Guest Pryal offers suggestions on adding movement around the dialogue and dialogue tags. This can move your character conversations forward while showing us a lot about character, too.

And since we’re focusing on narrower aspects of craft, author Kathryn Craft gives a post on how to zero in on word choice in a line-by-line basis. I like how she offers up lots of specific ways to do this – to add “sparks of fire” to our prose, giving our storytelling that much more of a lift.

This week I learned of a new blog – Sidebar Saturdays, which addresses legal issues and writing. Great first post (or early post) talks of using trademarks in our fiction. When is it not okay? What are some alternatives?

Sure, not ALL writing advice is valid or applicable to how you write, but… I can’t help but believe there is one piece that IS universally true: you must read in order to be a better writer. It pains me when I see published authors say “I don’t have time to read anymore”. I want to respond with “no, you’ve messed up your priorities”. I get that for some, during the drafting process, they don’t like reading because they are worried it will mess with their style, but at some point you finish the draft, yes? Read like a maniac for a couple of weeks between drafts/editing, etc. Anyway, author Greer Macallister DOES recognize the value of reading and she gives a few reasons why.


Reading Stuff:

Have you been a beta reader? Are you approaching a beta reader? Having gone through the process of sending my manuscripts off to beta readers, I have learned upon finding new ones that I need to let them know that I want more than just a general “what did you think?” That one question might only give me a 1-2 sentence reaction. Instead, it’s always good to have some more specific questions. This post by Rosalyn Eves offers a lot of good ones to choose from if you are not sure, yet, on what you need or want to know from your beta readers.

What does it mean for a book to sell well? How much money do retailers get for a book sale? A publisher? The author? This post by Lincoln Michel is a fantastic overview with details and examples to get a glimpse into the world of book sales.


Miscellaneous Stuff:

Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes, agent Jessica Faust says. Sometimes – and I know it’s my age that peeks through in this opinion more than anything – I think this attitude fails to enter many people’s consciousness. We are a more of an impatient culture than we once were, and want the best, dream job right away. I think it’s good to have to work a little harder to get where you want to be.


Recommended Reads:

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart (YA)

Prophecy – Ellen Oh (YA)

Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith (A)

Unidentified Suburban Object – Mike Jung (MG) [My review]

Otherbound – Corinne Duyvis (YA) [My review]

More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera (YA) [My review]


Song of the Week:

I think we need something with a little lift this week, yes? The Yeh Yeh Song (esp. this version by Lambert Hendricks and Ross that my husband is particularly fond of) is our family’s “song of the summer”. Do a little dance and give a few hugs while you’re at it, okay? Thanks. 🙂


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