Three Links 2/28/2020 Loleta Abi

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Three Links 2/28/2020

Loleta Abi


1. “Editing is the process of making our words (and sentences, scenes, and story) better. Unless we’re one of those authors who think everything we write is perfect from the moment we first type out the words, we all deal with the process of editing.

Whether we rely on heavy doses of self-editing, beta readers, critique partners, or professional editors, the editing process forces us to take a closer look at what we’ve written. That analysis might leave us with questions our Googling and research can’t answer.

In those times, it can to help to be able to ask a professional editor:

  • What type of editor should we get?
  • Do we have to accept every suggestion from our editor?
  • What does this advice really mean and how do we apply it?
  • Is that advice a strict rule, or can we bend it a bit?” I would think that would apply to any editor of your work. You have your own version of the story. Pick your battles.

2. “I’m going through previous blog posts looking for materials to share with you. My intent is to flesh out the 7 Elements of Historical fiction, which just happens to be the most popular post on my blog. Having just reread a bit from Your Grandmother is Lying by Leah Klocek it strikes me that not only is this bit relevant to those writing historical fiction, but in this world of fake news and deliberate misinformation, the advice could be helpful to all of us.

Leah asks: Did you take AP history classes in high school? If so, prepare for a flashback when I say this: APPARTS.

APPARTS is an acronym used to help students critically analyze primary and secondary source documents. It breaks down into the following categories and questions, each of which you should be able to answer before you can decide how trustworthy a source is and whether you can, with any integrity, use the information it gives you:

Author: Who created the source? What was his/her background? Did s/he have a vested interest in pushing a specific point of view?”

3. is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” — Desmond Tutu

By PJ Parrish

I know many of you will relate to this. You’ve finished your manuscript. {{{cheering from the peanut gallery}}. You set it aside for the recommended two, three, four weeks, as long as you could stand it. Now, you open that file and…

Rewrite time. Black cloud over the head because the task ahead is daunting. Where to start? Is it worth it? What if it stinks?

I have a little rewriting to do this week. Not just polish the chapter I just finished. Not just fix the problems with my muddy middle. Not just tweak the opening. I have to rewrite The. Whole. Darn. Thing. All thirty-four chapters. All 371 pages. All 102,542 words. Well, not every word. I just stuck that in to get the sympathy vote.” She’s right. You do it one bite at a time. One paragraph, three paragraphs, whatever works for you. If you do this a bit each time, before you know it fifty pages go by and then another and another and so on.

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “During some conference appointments, I’ve heard authors say that they didn’t work very hard on their title because they’ve heard that the publishing house will change it anyway. It is true that the title is frequently changed by the publisher, but there’s good reason to put some effort into the title even when you’re  trying to find representation or a publishing home for your book.

When I read query letters, one of the first items that jumps off the page for me is the title of the book. I don’t stop reading the query at the title, but a poor title might sway me to feel negatively about a project even when the book is great. The most common issue I see is titles that don’t match the genre of the writing. Other times authors will just use the main character’s name as a title. Rarely are books published with a name as the title, so it’s best to try to think of something more creative that has to do with the plot.” If you read this blog regularly, you’ll recall that James Scott Bell wrote on this topic and pointed out that Dean Koontz didn’t sell his first book till he hit upon the perfect title. Titles are more important than you realize. Keep twisting the words till you find the right one. Even if they change it. If it gets you that sale, it was worth it!


3. “Often I will receive submissions of novels tying in an element of mystery and suspense with romance. Writers targeting the romantic-suspense market will find difficulty in placing this type of story. Why? Because romantic-suspense readers have certain expectations that won’t be met with a mere element of mystery and intrigue.

In my experience trying to sell and market romantic suspense, I have found that the readers of this genre want all-out adventure and crime solving along with compelling romance. The suspense is foremost, with the romance being tied in so deeply that the story won’t survive without it.

The romantic leads must be the hero and heroine. Neither can be on the sidelines, witnessing the problem or contributing almost nothing to its solution. They must be intricately involved in solving the crime. This is why readers will often see a detective assigned to protect someone in danger. The detective can be either the male or female protagonist.”

Some Things More Serious:

1. “A joke about writing, meaning, and interpretation has circulated online for a long time. The idea is that literary analysis often delves far past an author’s intentions into imagining nonexistent meaning, usually in an attempt to establish deeper layers in a piece of writing (and thus justify their reason to analyze).

In the joke, a Venn diagram of two circles—”What the author meant” and “What your English teacher thinks the author meant”—barely overlap. The joke is funny because it rings true for many.

From school assignments to book reviews, we might have encountered those with puffed up, self-important, and/or false analyses of stories. (Or we might have half-tongue-in-cheek tried out those methods ourselves to aim for a better grade. *grin*) The general impression is that level of analysis exists mainly to make those doing the analyzing seem smart rather than having anything to do with the story itself.

With the help of the image that commonly shares the joke, the term blue curtainshas become a shorthand reference for that style of analysis:”

2. “Hey, so, I’ve got some travel upcoming here in the next handful of months — Tucson Festival of Books in March, Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference (Colorado Springs) in April, and I’m giving the keynote address at the Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC in August. There is also, in case you haven’t heard, a probable pandemic attempting to throttle the globe right now.

Let’s talk about the pandemic part.

Now, let’s say up front that, presently, COVID-19 or SARS2-COV or SARS 2: VIRAL BOOGALOO, represents no need to run around with your head on fire. In the wise words of Douglas Adams, DON’T PANIC. We have relatively few cases here in the USA, and outside China, it remains so far slower than maybe some have expected. And presently, it would seem as if the overall illness is mild for most, excepting those over 60 or the immunocompromised.

But, let’s also be clear, those over 60, and the immunocompromised, aren’t nothing. They’re a sizable population and are (gasp) people, just the same. Further, novel coronavirus (which is not, sadly, a coronavirus that reads novels) is a fast-moving unknown. We don’t know everything about it yet. It presently seems to have a mortality rate of 2%, which is low, though considerably higher than you get with an average flu year, which is ~0.2% — but, again, those numbers could change. Ideally, it goes down, because as we understand it more and get ahead of it, it cuts fatalities. But it could also go up. (Let’s recall that the 1918 Spanish flu started out mild.) And two percent is still pretty scary! If even 20% of the global population catches it, as they did with swine flu in 2009, that’s 1.5 billion people. If two percent of them die, that’s 30 million people.”

3. “Broadly speaking, setting is a time and place of the past. In more than one survey, readers of historical fiction state that bringing the past to life is the primary reason for reading historical fiction. Successful historical fiction will do just that — transport readers into the past. Creating an authentic and convincing setting is critical.

According to Mark Sullivan, author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky: “The best historical novels transport the reader to another time and place so convincingly that it is like being swept away. If it’s done right, a historical novel can be an unforgettable experience, truly magical. There’s the sheer novelty of the setting and characters, and you can feel that the author understands her world cold. But that alone won’t do it. The best historical writers get in the minds of their characters in accordance with their times and then plumb the human emotions that are timeless.” More about characters later.

To do justice to the topic of setting, we’ll look at why setting is important to readers, the long list of ingredients that constitute setting, the research sources authors can tap into to explore the setting for their novels, and the reflections,”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:




Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “Stephanie Burgis’ The Harwood Spellbook series thus far follows women scandalously refusing to conform to the traditions of Angland, an alternate version of nineteenth-century England with magic and mythical beings like elves and fey. In this world, the Celtic queen Boudicca successfully defeated the Romans, leading to the establishment of a group of ruling women known as the Boudiccate—and a strict gender divide between political and magical careers. After all, it’s known that ladies are suited to pursuits requiring a practical nature, such as governing, and gentlemen are suited to more creative pursuits that will not be hindered by their emotional, irrational natures, such as magic.

But Cassandra Harwood was determined to learn magic regardless of society’s rules and has been working to break down barriers for women. Aided by her perseverance and her family name, she became the first woman to be accepted into the academy for magicians. Though she excelled at it, her magical career was cut short after she had an accident that prevented her from being able to actually cast spells. After she had some time to grieve and accept the fact that her plans had been upended, she decided to use her knowledge to help other women who wished to learn magic do so, and she opened the first school for female magicians in Thornbound. The recently-released novella Moontangled deals with the aftereffects of events in Thornbound for Juliana Banks, a magician-in-training at the new school, and Caroline Fennell, a politician—a secretly engaged couple whose relationship is in jeopardy.

After having received some unusually distant letters from Caroline since the last time she saw her, Juliana believes that the ball at the Thornfell College of Magic will be the perfect opportunity for her and her fiancée to reconnect. But their private excursion into the woods does not end up being the romantic rendezvous she’d imagined: Caroline breaks off their engagement, assuming Juliana will be better off without her now that she’s a pariah with damaged career prospects. Though devastated by this turn of events, Juliana says she understands without telling Caroline how she truly feels, assuming that her formerly betrothed has chosen her ambitions over her.

Yet the woods of Thornfell are dark and full of terrors, and when the fey who lurk there interfere in their lives, both women are determined to protect the one she loves…”


3. “On the Caribbean island of Camaho, forensics expert Michael ‘Digger’ Digson is in deep trouble.

His fellow CID detective Miss Stanislaus kills a man in self-defence – their superiors believe it was murder, and Digger given just six weeks to prove his friend is innocent.

While the authorities bear down on them, Digger and Miss Stanislaus investigate a shocking roadside murder, the first tremors of a storm of crime and corruption that will break over Camaho at any moment.

I really loved the writing in Black Rain Falling, such an atmospheric sense of place, such richly layered characters, I immersed myself into it and devoured every page.”

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