Reading · Writing

Saturday Summation – 22 October 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…


Writing Stuff

There’s all kinds of great advice in Chuck Wendig’s “Quick Story Tips” – which includes both “dos” and “don’ts”. I’m glad he didn’t spend too much time on #3 regarding secrets and lies. These are good for your new reader, but tiring for your experienced one. It also requires a fine balance. If the whole conflict is resolved by one character simply revealing the truth early on with far fewer consequences, then an author has relied on it too heavily and leans towards lazy storytelling, I think.

If you’re a writer, you might have people in your life that keep you from feeling like it isn’t serious for you, that it’s just a hobby. I have been super fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends who understand my passion and mission with writing, which helps a lot with my momentum (not that I don’t lose it every once in a while, but that’s all on me and no one else!). Nancy Johnson reminds us to self-talk: “Think of writing as your career. Even if you’re not getting paid for it. Yet. It’s not a hobby. It’s not the magic that springs from your muse. It’s your job.” Read more on losing the mythological muse.

So let’s say you’re writing and hit one of those many obstacles that make you wonder, now what should happen? How can I up tension? Lisa Cron says too often we search for an external factor that doesn’t fit with the story at large. She reminds us that instead, “The story doesn’t come from the external events, it comes from what those things mean to your protagonist.” Her post on Where Drama Really Comes From walks us through a great process on recognizing this issue and how to work through it and resolve through knowing our characters and story already, vs pulling in something new.

Just for fun: a Never Have I Ever “drinking game”, writer’s edition:


Reading Stuff:

Quite a while back, I wrote a couple of posts about the importance of not only details in our writing, but accurate and authentic ones. I started with details vs story and continued later with realistic vs authentic details. This past week, Kimberly Sullivan asked if sloppy research – ie, getting the details wrong – in a story drives you crazy. How much is too much when it comes to slipping on this research and getting things obviously wrong vs. forgivably wrong?



Publishing Stuff:

Have you ever wondered what it means when an author gets an advance? Probably the biggest misunderstanding is that it is money outside of royalties (sales profits) – like a bonus. However, this is not the case. Susan Spann describes the nature of advances (and understanding that it is what we more logically should connect it to – as though it was an advance on the next paycheck) offered through publishing contracts.

As a reader, you might not care at all about who has published the books you read, but as a reader AND a writer, it becomes ten-fold more interesting! This graphic came out recently that shows the intricate web of the many, many imprints that fall under each of the “Big 5” publishing houses. Super helpful.


Video of the Week:

Both kind and entertaining, Canadians tell us Americans that we ARE great. I hope they’re right – and not just because politics are making us doubt it right now. I mean, I think of how often we get messages from citizens in other countries that support us in times of crisis or messages like this one below and I sure hope we have lots of American citizens doing the same for citizens in other countries because it sure is encouraging and what keeps my hope alive for world peace and cooperation.




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