Friday, June 25, 2010

Best Articles This Week for Writers 6/25/2010

Another great week in the blogosphere, along with some timely and excellent trends in blog topics. We're a little shy on contests that you can enter in the coming weeks though. Please let us know if you hear of anything to add. We wish we could visit every blog, but we can't. So if you come across a fantastic post, please share it with us.

  • Conference Success Stories [DFW Writer's Conference] Three authors tell how they landed an agent through a conference.
  • Pre-published [Dystel & Goderich] Michael Bourret provides a reminder of the things you give up once you are published: time to explore your craft, and discovering new characters and plot-twists by happenstance without having to color within the lines of an outline.
  • Why No Writer Knows What He's Doing [Wordplay] K.M. Weiland explains why even a Pulitzer Prize winner is an apprentice when it comes to "this unexplainable magic [that] can somehow pour from our unworthy fingertips and create something that will touch the lives of others and be remembered beyond our own lifetimes."
  • The Secret to Getting Published [Coming Down the Mountain] You have to want it more than anything else. Karen tells us what getting published means, and what it doesn't mean.
  • Sunshine Shouldn't Stop Us [The Writing Bug] A little motivation for sticking to a daily writing schedule courtesy of the post office.
  • How to Call Your Must When You Need Her [The Creative Penn] Guest post from Jim Wawro with four sure-fire steps to creativity.
The Craft of Writing
  • Creating a New World: Inside the Mind of Author R.J. Anderson [Inkpop] What does it take to write compelling fantasy? The author of WAYFARER provides a few things to consider.
  • The Central Action of a Story [Murderati via @ElizabethCraig] Alexandra Sokoloff discusses seeding the "PLAN" to let the reader know that you're in the driver's seat.
  • The Plan [Alexandra Sokoloff] Learn how to spot and analyze the main character's plan to assess on whether yours will be strong enough. Contains links to analyses of a number of blockbuster films.
  • Stimulus First, Then Reaction [] Literary agent Mary Kole notes that an error she commonly sees in the manuscripts submitted to her is one in which writers try to build suspense by placing a reaction to an event or trigger before revealing the event to the reader.
  • The Hero's Journey Part 11: Resurrection [Justus R. Stone] The next part in his very thorough series, this article covers the last threshold before the hero returns to the ordinary word a changed individual.
  • The Rule of Twenty [Upstart Crowe Literary Agency] Michael Sterns shares a rule he first heard from Bruce Coville that can help you weed out unoriginal plot lines, characters or names from your manuscript until you dig down to the shining, unique ideas you're capable of reaching.
  • Tips from the Masters of Writing [C. Patrick Schulze] Sage advice via quotes with a little bit of analysis thrown in.
  • Meta-Vampires [Dystel & Goderich] Michael Bourret lets wanna-be vamp author dinosaurs illustrate the tell-don't-show trend he's been seeing in submissions lately. Excellent!
  • When to Tell Instead of Show [] Mary Kole shares an essay from Melissa Koosmann about "Good Telling" as illustrated by J.K. Rowling. Completely brilliant.
  • Plot Trick: Showing Character Emotion, Not Telling  [Plot Whisperer] Sometimes deep emotion is barely discernable, but it is always there. Martha Alderson recommends "writers keep a notepad and pen with them at all times in coffee shops, at the beach, waiting at bus stops to jot down not only the traditional snippets of overhead dialogue but to note the behaviors that indicate emotion in the passer-bys."
  • Parentification [The Character Therapist] Jeannie Campbell covers the psychology of a very common element in YA fiction.
  • Suspending Disbelief [Help I Need A Publisher] Consistency is key, plus reason and strong narrative voice.
  • Inherent Contradictions in Character [Talk to You Universe via @ElizabethCraig] Juliette Wade explains an important ingredient in creating compelling characters for your novel.
  • Peer Critique Submissions Open Until Tomorrow [Write It Sideways] Submit the first 250 words of your adult or YA fantasy, literary, or mystery for critique. Awesome opportunity!
  • Toughening Up [Jody Hedlund] Learning to accept feedback is a necessary part of the process of becoming a published author.
To Market
  • May Query Stats [Caryn Johnson Literary Agency] Elana Roth lists her overall query responses for the month -- how many, what type, etc.
  • Basic Information on Query Letters [Folio Literary Management via Victoria Mixon] Literary agent Jeff Kleinman discusses how writers psyche themselves out and the possible obstacles we face when writing a query letter. And then he shows us how to overcome them.
  • Synopsis Writing Made Easy [The Kill Zone via @JaySubject] The synopsis in five easy steps.
  • 7 Things That Can Go Wrong with Your Query Letter [A. Victoria Mixon] Fun, and unfortunately all too true.
  • Luxury of Choice [Jennifer Represents] Jennifer Laughran (@Literaticat) from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency reminds writers to notify all agents who have your fulls when an offer comes in.
  • The Politics of Offers [Caren Johnson Literary Agency] Agent Elana Roth (@ElanaRoth) gives  you an agent's perspective on what you can do before making a decision after you receive the call, how long you have, and more about what goes into getting the call in the first place.
  • Why I Write Vague Rejection Letters [Nathan Bransford] Lit agent with Curtis Browne explains that it is often impossible to articulate what makes him not love a manuscript enough to take it on.
  • Talk about the Money [Pub Rants] Agent Kristin Nelson discusses how much you can expect for an advance by genre.
  • Pitching to Agents: A Survivor's Story [] Shannon Messenger provides tips for pitching at a conference.
  • Agent Spotlight: Adriana Dominguez [Literary Rambles] Casey McCormick provides ALL the lowdown on a great agent with Full Circle Literary.
  • How Not to Be an Email Goober [Don't pet me] Fantastic suggestions on how to avoid #queryfails because you hit the send button too early.
Trends & Issues
  • To Kiera Cass, author of The Siren, for having The Selection and it's WHOLE TRILOGY picked up by HarperCollins in a fantastic deal. For those not familiar with the story, Kiera self-pubbed her first novel, The Siren after not finding an agent interested in it, then quickly found representation by Elana Roth of the Caren Johnson Literary Agency for her second book. The Siren was voted Most Underappreciated YA Novel in our recent poll - so there are a lot of people who believe this is well-deserved and are sharing Kiera's happy dance.
  • To Kaitlin Ward for landing an agent for her YA work!
  • To Neil Gaiman for the Carnegie Medal awarded to The Graveyard Book!
  • Christina Meredith and the Chudney Agency for the sale of Counting Cars to Greenwillow.
  • Brenda Stanley for the sale of I Am Nuchu to Westside Books.
  • Name the Event Contest [Coming Down the Mountain] Help Karen rename the We're Readers & Writers Not Salesmen So Leave Us Alone salad event and win manuscript critiques, promotion, and more.
Just for Smiles

Other Weekly Round-Ups:
Did we miss anything? Anyone? Please leave a comment!

Happy reading and joyous writing,

Martina & Marissa


  1. Wow! Exhaustive list - I know what I'll be doing today!

  2. I have to tell everyone that I've been away on vacation all week and Martina put all these links together entirely by herself. She's totally done everything for the blog without batting an eyelash. I am in awe of what an amazing blogging machine she is. But even more so, I am astounded at what an awesome friend she is. Thank you, Martina! Love you!


  3. Wow, Martina, that was amazing. I've only read maybe two of those links. And I missed Kaitlin's big news. Thanks for letting us know. :D

    *heads off to congratulate Kaitlin*

  4. Thanks for all the hard work! Wow!

  5. Oh, I have a contest for you to include! Or it's a game, really, but there are prizes to be won. For the month of July I'm hosting a game of Book Cover Bingo tied in with my Creative Spaces interview series. Here is a link to where I explain how the game will work:

    Thank you for compiling this great list of links. Lots of great stuff here to check out!

  6. Wow, you guys. I am in awe of what you have here. In. total. awe.

    You are beyond awesome! (And my new favorite stop on Fridays.) :)

  7. you two BLOW MY MIND.


    thanks so much for the linkage, and for all the fabulous posts!!

  8. I appreciate this since I've been a total ghost this week. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  9. Great list. My favorite part is seeing author's good news. Thanks.

  10. Okay, first of all--New Follower! *waves* I really don't know how I've missed this blog before, but I'm so glad I found it now. What an amazing resource!

    And thank you so much for linking my post on QT. I feel so honored--especially to be amongst such awesome linkage. Off to check the other links now!

  11. You guys know EVERYTHING. Thank you!!

  12. Martina, hats of to you! Great job, as always. This blog is my favorite Friday stop.

  13. That is a staggering list. Your work is very much appreciated, as always.

  14. On my breaks from writing today I've been coming here and can I just say wow, wow, wow. And...thanks!

  15. I've had a busy week - thanks for the handy-dandy list of what I missed :)

  16. This is a great list. Excuse me now as I sit back with my coffee and get caught up with your list.


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