Category Archives: Articles

About This Writing Stuff…

This week, PJ Parrish weighs in on the proper use of metaphors while editor Beth Hill delves into the differences between showing and telling. At Writer Unboxed, Kathryn Craft discusses enhancing dialogue through misdirection and modulation, David Corbett provides two methods of motivating your protagonist, and Lynne Griffin advises us to knot up our stories with conflict and tension.

Jonathan Vars offers tips on creating time-bomb plots and effective use of settings, and Kate Coe reviews the etiquette of editing another writer’s work.

All that and little more… Enjoy!

Do You Dare to Eat a Peach? Finding the Perfect Metaphor by PJ Parrish

Bring Your Dialogue to Life by Kathryn Craft

Motivating the Reluctant Protagonist by David Corbett

Dying to Know, Afraid to Find Out: Building Tension in Fiction by Lynne Griffin

Building an Author Website: The First Step to Publishing by Joe Bunting

12 Tips to Get Unstuck and Finish Writing Your Book by Lorna Faith

Showing and Telling Particulars by Beth Hill

3 Tips to Creating a Time Bomb Plot Device and How to Create a Setting from Nothing in 5 Steps by Jonathan Vars

Editing Someone Else’s Work by Kate Coe

 

About This Writing Stuff…

This week, Goodreads announces a change to its US giveaway program and it comes with alarming costs. The Authors Guild provides information on the new GOP tax bill and Douglas Preston laments the fact that writers can no longer make a living from their craft.

From The Guardian, a recent study comparing literary fiction against science fiction returned rather “stupefying” results. John Gilstrap discusses the importance of book cover design while K.M. Weiland and Becca Puglisi each offer different tactics for character development.  From Writers Helping Writers, Sacha Black gives us the nitty gritty on sentence structure.

All that and a little more. Enjoy!

Goodreads Announces New US Giveaway Program by Greg Seguin

What Authors Need to Know About the New Tax Bills by The Authors Guild

Why Is It So Goddamned Hard to Make a Living as a Writer Today? by Douglas Preston

(Too) Close Third Person by Jeanne Kisacky

Science Fiction Triggers ‘Poorer Reading’, Study Finds by Alison Flood

Judging a Book By Its Cover by John Gilstrap

4 Ways to Amplify Your Characters’ Subtext by K.M. Weiland

Writing Characters that Mirror Real Life by Becca Puglisi via Kristen Lamb

Action Beats: More than Dialogue Tag Surrogates by Kathy Steinmann

Getting Jiggy with the Nitty Gritty, or, Improving Your Sentences by Sacha Black

About This Writing Stuff…

This week, David Gaughran and Anne R. Allen analyze Amazon’s heavy-handed measures of fraud detection that are forcing the innocent to suffer for the guilty. P.J. Parrish illustrates the revision process using one of her own manuscripts while Ruth Harris and Andrew Falconer offer tips on writing historical fiction.

We strike gold with… who else, but… Jami Gold! Jami is busy with NaNoWriMo, so she has invited guest bloggers to discuss such topics as Imposter Syndrome (Kassandra Lamb), Deep POV (Lisa Hall-Wilson), and Productivity (J. Rose).

From the latter, this statement leapt out at me: “We’re trained to work ourselves to the bone, and that we should best each other about “who’s the most busy” or “who has the least amount of time.” I challenge you to step away from this game! Do you really want to be #1 at being stressed and being busy all the time so you don’t have time to enjoy your life?”

All that and a little more. Enjoy!

Amazon’s Hall of Spinning Knives by David Gaughran

Don’t Let Impostor Syndrome Ruin Your Writing by Kassandra Lamb via Jami Gold

Deep POV and Hidden Messages in Subtext by Lisa Hall-Wilson via Jami Gold

Creating the Right Mindset to Be Productive by J. Rose via Jami Gold

Cutting Open the Sausage: A Hard Look at Rewriting by PJ Parrish

Plunge Into Story Action—and Genre by Kathryn Craft

A Character’s POV = A Character’s Truth by Sarah Callender

Five Essentials of Historical Fantasy by Andrew Falconer

How to Use Authentic Historical Detail to Trigger Emotions and Memories in Your Readers by Ruth Harris

The Most Important Rule of Backstory by Andrea Lundgren

Amazon’s Latest Crackdowns: Do They Include Amazon Review Trolls? by Anne R. Allen

 

 

About This Writing Stuff…

This week, Maggie Doonan counsels us on when to throw in the towel on a writing project while Julia Munroe Martin opens up about why she abandoned one of hers.

Anne R. Allen warns new writers against mistakes that could leave them prey to publishing scams. James Scott Bell offers two methods to jumpstart your writing session. Over at MythCreants, Chris Winkle advises us on ways to better give and receive criticism.

Writer pal Kathryn Craft shares her experiences with exploring and pitching new ideas after her first two novels were published. David Gaughran provides tips on how to maximize the benefits of Kindle Unlimited. From Writer Unboxed, Steven James waxes eloquent about the “agathokakological” nature of humanity.

All that and a little more… Enjoy!

4 Signs It’s Time to Quit a Writing Project by Maggie Doonan

7 New Writer Mistakes that Make You Vulnerable to Predators by Anne R. Allen

What Happens When You Run Out of Novels? by Kathryn Craft via Sandra Hutchison

The Visibility Gambit by David Gaughran

Two Writing Mind Tricks to Get You Rolling  and Weaving Backstory into Frontstory by James Scott Bell

Telling the Truth in Fiction by Steven James

Seven Things I Learned from Wrecking my Novel by Julia Munroe Martin

A Storyteller’s Guide to Criticism by Chris Winkle

Memoir or Fiction? Should You Novelize Your Real Life Experiences? by Anne R. Allen

 

About This Writing Stuff…

My attempt to restore this weekly feature on my blog was thwarted a few months into the year by a series of challenging, distressing, exhilarating, and generally overwhelming events—from editing a new speculative fiction anthology to the death of my mother-in-law, from a six-week home renovation to a partial roof collapse at my place of employment that caused 100-hour work weeks, from caring for a sick bunny (he’s better now, thankfully) to building a new website for one of the small-press publishers I work with.

My bunny, Peanut!
My bunny, Peanut!

Despite such “interesting times,” I managed to write four new chapters in my SF novel-in-progress and hammered out a 7K-word short story just this week. Honestly, that’s paltry progress compared to my usual output, but I’m grateful for anything given the mayhem of 2017—and we still have four months to go!

On a high note, my paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters, was accepted by Firebringer Press and should be released next year as an eBook, audio book (recorded by yours truly), and in paperback paired up with a vampire novella written by Steven H. Wilson, fellow scribe and owner of Firebringer.

So much about this excites me beyond the obvious thrill of a new release. We plan to produce the paperback in the fashion of the old ACE doubles where you read one novella, then flip the book over read the other. Readers of a certain age (ahem) and older grew up enjoying those and I relish the prospect of producing a book in that format today.

Ace Double Novels

Additionally, the speculative fiction anthology I’m editing is actually volume three in the Middle of Eternity series, also published by Firebringer. This third book, Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity, is also slated for a 2018 release.

Back on topic, About This Writing Stuff… might end up appearing on a monthly basis rather than weekly as I try to balance my life and catch up on my writing, editing, and publishing schedules, not to mention maintain my health and sanity. Until then, I hope you find the articles below useful.

From Digital Book World, Beth Bacon teaches us about Creative Briefs, while Gordon Warnock urges not to disregard libraries when marketing our books.  Over in the Kill Zone, James Scott Bell talks tough and Jordan Dane wants us to keep it real.

Kristen Lamb and Janice Hardy sub for Jami Gold on her blog with a deep dive into antagonists and conflict.  As an aside, Jami is battling a health issue that she openly discusses on her blog and I want to take a moment to wish her the best.

All that and a little more… enjoy!

How to Write a Creative Brief So Your Graphic Designer Creates an Amazing Book Cover by Beth Bacon

Libraries Gone Digital: 4 Ways Libraries Expand Your Reach as an Author by Gordon Warnock

Conflict: Why It Isn’t Just About Fighting by Janice Hardy via Jami Gold

3 Ways to Add Depth to a Novel by Jody Hedlund

How to Talk Tough by James Scott Bell

How a Professional Editor Can Improve Your Writing by Jim Dempsey via Writer Unboxed

Dialogue: Ten Ways to Make it Real by Jordan Dane


Antagonist Series by Kristen Lamb via Jami Gold

What is an Antagonist?

“He’s His Own Worst Enemy”

What’s Driving Our Story?

Inner and Outer Demons

The End-All-Be-All of Our Story