Five Links 8/30/19
1. https://annerallen.com/2019/08/7-rules-cliffhanger/ “We all know the pleasure of getting lost in a book.
We have all experienced that compulsion to turn the page to find out what happens next.
In fact, that irresistible urge to keep reading—to turn the page—might be one of the reasons we wanted to be writers.
Just one more.
Just ask James Patterson or Lee Child who have kept millions up reader to stay up way past their bedtime to read just one more page, one more chapter.
How do they do it?
What’s the source of their magic power?
The secret ingredient—in addition to Patterson’s short chapter and Child’s larger-than-life hero—is the cliffhanger, which has a long and (mostly) honorable history.” This is something I usually do.
2. https://www.janefriedman.com/get-out-of-the-writing-doldrums/ “No matter how much we love writing, sometimes we find ourselves in the doldrums: the blank page terrorizes us, we question our fitness for this life, others’ successes poke at our inner green monsters, and rejections demoralize us.
When this happens, how do we combat it? Probably too many of us turn to social media for a distraction, but when I do that, it does nothing to lift me out of the muck. Lately, I wondered what might be more fruitful, and I hit on the idea of writer candy—completely accessible, easy ways to nourish our muse and get us back to the page. They’re treats that don’t depend on factors outside our control such as an elusive rush of inspiration or energized productivity or on validation from gatekeepers.
I’ve been feeling discouraged since early spring. A handful of tough rejections have felt like indictments not only of my writing but, given that I write memoir and personal essay, also of me.
Such setbacks can get under our skin and pervade everything about our writer selves in ways both overt and subtle. Although my early summer was jam-packed with immersive, positive writerly experiences (Yale Writers’ Workshop, Denver’s LitFest, Barrelhouse’s Writer Camp), I couldn’t seem to shake the insecurity the rejections provoked.”
3. https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/figure-out-your-characters-arc/ “This is a question I receive commonly—and with good reason. Not only is your character’s arc central to all your other story choices—plot and theme foremost among them—character arc can also seem like one of the most daunting parts of story. Mostly this is because of its very integrality. In so many ways, your character’s arc is your story.
As we’ve discussed lately,”
4. https://www.livewritethrive.com/2019/08/26/every-novel-scene-should-contain-a-death/ “I hope that catchy title intrigues you. I’ll explain.
I’ve launched my new online course Emotional Mastery for Fiction Writers, and it goes deep into both character and reader emotion.
One very important emotional aspect of a novel is character change. But I bet you haven’t thought of change as a kind of death.
Author and writing instructor James Scott Bell says every scene should contain a death. What does he mean? He’s not talking only about literal death, which might be the case in a suspense/thriller or murder mystery. He means we want our POV character to change by the end of every scene in some small or large way.
In that moment, something should have died: a dream, an opinion, a relationship, a hope, an assumption, a fear or worry … and so on.”
5. https://nicholasrossis.wordpress.com/2019/08/25/self-publishing-basics/ “This is a guest post by Linda Cartwright. Linda is an educator and a writer on the verge of coming out as an independent author after years of freelancing and ghost-writing. Her darkest secret is that writing is only her second favorite thing to do… after reading. You can follow Linda on Twitter.
In preparation for her own book launch, Linda has been studying self-publishing basics. She’s sharing here what she’s discovered so far, from choosing the right publishing platform to creating a killer book cover.”
Research & Fun Bits:
3. https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2019/08/25/writing-update-2/ “Hello to all. It has been a while since I have reported on the status of my writing projects, so I thought I would now.
I have finished the first draft of my political thriller, and I emphasize the first draft. As I recommend to other writers, I have not done any revision on it, and it needs much, may I say, much work. I will set it aside for a few weeks before attacking draft 2. In that draft, I will focus on getting the plot correct.
I am also working on the 4th draft of my fantasy novel, and I hope that draft is done in, at most, one month. If my goals are met with this book, I will either self-publish or pitch it early next year.
I am continuing to pitch my YA novel to agents. I am giving it until early next spring, and if I have had no success finding an agent or publisher, I will move forward with self-publishing that book.”
4. https://audreydriscoll.com/2019/08/25/seeing-in-the-dark/ “he characters in my novels and stories frequently roam around in the dark, often on some sort of nefarious business. Writing those scenes can be tough. If I want a character to see something important, I have to furnish a plausible light source. In fiction set in the present day, there are reliable flashlights and the mobile phone’s flashlight feature. Imminent battery death can supply a bit of tension to the scene.
But what about earlier eras? Much of my writing is set in the past, specifically the early to mid 20th century. I’ve spent a good deal of time checking whether a specific light source existed at a particular time. When did electric torches (otherwise known as flashlights) come into common use? Eighteen ninety-six. What about car headlights? The earliest ones were carbide lamps. Integrated all-electric lights weren’t common until the 1920s.
Sources of Light
Other light sources include torches (the kind with actual flames), camp fires, glowing lava, candles, oil lamps, gaslights, street lights, moonlight, starlight, lightning flashes, and the ability to see in the dark. (The last is not to be bestowed on a character unless they’re really special, because for humans, it’s a superpower.) Whichever mode of illumination I select, it has to fit the situation. No flashlights (or electric torches) before the late 19th century. Lightning bolts aren’t”
Something More Serious:
1. https://elodienowodazkij.com/2019/08/26/lets-talk-mental-health-for-a-moment/ “And yes, it’s somewhat related to my books. For some reason, I’ve been thinking about mental health and how therapy has helped me and I just posted my random thoughts on Twitter.
So I thought, I’d share them here too. Because…why not?
Deep breath, here we go.
I ‘m not sure who needs to hear this, but I’ve been thinking about mental health and that I should share my own experience. I was in therapy for 2 years in Germany. I have high-functioning anxiety and needed to deal with a few things on top of that anxiety and/or resulting from that anxiety. I was working full-time, and was gaining more and more responsibility at work. I loved my high-stress job (for the most part), and I was good at it (at least I want to believe so).
One of the reasons I was able to do that much was thanks to therapy. My therapist used Cognitive behavioral techniques.”
2. https://killzoneblog.com/2019/08/a-real-life-monster-will-soon-walk-free.html “Back in 2017, I shared the story of the Toolbox Killers on my blog. I’m reposting it today to help bring attention to the case, because one of the men in the deadly duo dubbed the “Toolbox Killers” is scheduled to walk free this year.
Halloween night, 1979, 16-year-old Shirley Lynette Ledford made one fatal mistake — trusting the two men who offered her a ride. Forty-eight hours later, a jogger found her naked remains on a random front lawn in Sunland, California. Posed with her legs apart, her mutilated corpse lay in an ivy patch.
No one could have imagined the horror she endured.
If you’re at all squeamish, you may want to stop reading. The following is a true account.”
3. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2019/08/3-tier-backup-for-writers/ “You know what breaks my heart as a fellow writer? When I read tweets like these in the morning, I want to sob into my cereal:
“I just discovered that I lost my 1st draft manuscript of 50k words… because my backup went weird and it wiped all my writing.”
“LOST. THE. OPENING. TO. A. MANUSCRIPT. Why do I not have a backup? Why don’t I save things in the correct places? Whyyyyyyy?!?!?”
The above are real tweets with names removed to protect the traumatized.
The question is why, with so many backup technologies available, does this still happen? It can be overwhelming to figure out the right backup strategy. There are too many choices: backup drives and cloud backup, Scrivener backups, Google Drive and Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox, to name just a few.
As an ex-techie (before I became a digital nomad writer), I’d like to share a framework for how to approach protecting your own work and sanity.” I tried Backblaze but they still haven’t backed up my computer in the last 14 days, just like my previous broken computer. I lost four files to Overdrive and couldn’t recover them through Backblaze. I’m going back to emailing myself the files plus flashdrives.
4. https://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/deal-with-social-media-exhaustion/ “If you’ve been working to promote yourself, build a platform, keep current and market your material you may have reached a point of social media exhaustion.
What to do?
You have to continue, but there are steps you can take to mitigate some of the overwhelming “shoulds.”
Here are nine suggestions if social media is burning you out.” I’ve been doing one of these tricks the past couple weeks. That is, writing my blog posts out ahead of time. I think I’ve gotten too frequent on the guest blogs I send to so I’m trying to pull back and let a while go between submissions to them. I need to branch out as well but I’m not sure where else would allow me to submit to them.
5. https://jamigold.com/2019/08/how-can-we-make-scenes-feel-stronger-with-sequels/ “My worksheets page is most often recommended for my beat sheets, but one of the other popular tools I share is the Elements of a Good Scene Checklist. The checklist (or the matching worksheet for use with multiple scenes) helps us identify whether a scene is truly necessary and contributing to our story.
Recently, I got an interesting question about scenes and sequels and how those relate to the Elements of a Good Scene Checklist. Specifically, the question focused on how (or if) we could use the Elements of a Good Scene tools to help us with sequels.
No, we’re not talking about book sequels, but about scene sequels. So before we dig into today’s question, let’s first explore the difference between scenes and sequels, as—like far too many words in the writing world—this is another concept we can think about in more than one way. *smile*”
Teaser Fiction & Poetry:
Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:
1. http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/latest-reads-the-cruel-stars-john-birmingham/ “Everybody thought the Sturm were dead, engulfed by the Dark. They were wrong.
Centuries after their defeat, the enemy has returned with an overwhelming attack on the fringes of human space. On the brink of annihilation, humankind’s only hope is a few brave souls who survived the initial onslaught: Commander Lucinda Hardy, thrust into uncertain command of the Royal Armadalen Navy’s only surviving warship; Booker3, a soldier of Earth, sentenced to die for treason, whose time on Death Row is cut short by the invasion; Alessia, a young royal of the Montanblanc Corporation, forced to flee when her home planet is overrun and her entire family executed; Sephina L’trel, the leader of an outlaw band who must call on all of their criminal skills to resist the invasion. And, finally, retired Admiral Frazer McLennan, the infamous hero of the first war with the Sturm hundreds of years ago, who hopes to rout his old foes once and for all or die trying.
These five flawed, reluctant heroes must band together to prevail against a relentless enemy and near-impossible odds. For if they fail, the future itself is doomed.
I LOVED this.”
2. http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/latest-reads-clear-my-name-paula-daly/ “When Carrie was accused of brutally murdering her husband’s lover, she denied it. She denied it when they arrested her, when they put her in front of a jury, and when they sent her to prison.
Now she’s three years into a fifteen-year sentence, away from the daughter she loves and the life she had built. And she is still denying that she is to blame.
Tess Gilroy has devoted her life to righting wrongs. Through her job for Innocence UK, a charity which takes on alleged miscarriages of justice, she works tirelessly to uncover the truth.
But when she is asked to take Carrie’s case, Tess realises that if she is to help this woman, she must risk uncovering the secrets she has struggled a lifetime to hide”
3. https://elodienowodazkij.com/2019/08/27/trust-me-trust-me-not-is-available-for-pre-order/ “I couldn’t put it down!
The suspense is awesome.
I just realized that I didn’t do a dedicated blog announcement about this book that means so much to me…so here it goes.
Discover Lacey & Hunter’s story in TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT, the third standalone book in the Gavert City series.
TRUST ME, TRUST ME NOT (Lacey & Hunter’s story) comes out on September 5th but you can pre-order it today!”
4. https://awriterofhistory.com/2019/08/27/was-jack-the-ripper-irish/ “This provocative question comes from Tessa Harris, author of A Deadly Deception, which released today. The theory forms the backdrop to the latest novel in the Constance Piper mystery series.
On the morning of November 9, 1888 a rent collector knocked at the door of one of his regular tenants at Number 13 Miller’s Court, Whitechapel. When he received no reply, he peered into the front room through a broken window pane. It took him several seconds, however, to make sense of what he saw. The room was so drenched in blood it was hard to make out that what was lying on the bed was the body of a woman. She was so badly mutilated that she was unrecognizable. Only later was she identified by her former lover from her eyes. She was, according to Joseph Barnett, Mary Jane Kelly – the most famous victim of the so-called Jack the Ripper. Or was she?”