Friday Five: Feb. 24 Edition

Alpha Male Body Language for Writers (a guest post by Mary Buckham on Kelly Stone‘s blog): “Reading male body language can either be a lifetime of trial and error – or involves a specific study of what sets them apart from women. Knowing and understanding male body language is very important for women writers to make sure their portrayal of male characters are accurate and grounded in ‘scientific’ facts, as opposed to simply being based on personal experience of viewpoint.”

The Difference Between Writing and Being a Writer by Tanya Chernov: “Every now and again I come across someone who, tickled by my profession of writing, reveals that he/she has harbored thoughts of “getting a book published and making a bunch of money.” I want to tread carefully here because I never, ever wish to discourage anyone from pursuing an artistic inclination, however I can’t help but squirm with great irritation at the widely held beliefs that 1) Writing is easy enough to just pick up one day on a whim, 2) Publishing a book happens all the time, so how hard can it be, right? And 3) Writing a book = making money. These notions are fallacies, I am sorry to say, making those of us who are persistent and passionate enough to really make an earnest effort to do the work of a writer a much heartier bunch of folk than most would assume. Almost anyone can write, but there’s a reason not just anyone can be a writer.

If You Can’t Spellcheck, Can You Be Trusted to Fact Check? by Rosanne E. Lortz: “In short, poor orthography leads one to suspect poor historiography.”

The importance of building readership and maintaining the relationship by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

5 Tips for Getting the Most From Critique Groups from The Author Chronicles: “Some writers like critique groups, some think they are a waste of time. I think they can be a valuable resource for a writer, provided you go into them with the right mindset.”

Bonus Video: Video Clips taken from Bob Mayer‘s Writing Workshops —

Thought for the Day: The Mountaintop

“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” –Vince Lombardi

How do you get to get to the top of the mountain? You don’t wish it into existence. You don’t dream about it. You put in hard work, building up your strength and honing your abilities. You buy the right equipment and use that same equipment to scale the mountain. The same goes for writing and anything else you want to achieve.

A teacher used to tell this joke in class: A man prayed to God that he would win the lottery. Every week, he prayed and asked God to give him the winning ticket. Finally, God answered, “Okay, you’ll win this week, but first you have to buy the ticket.”

Buy the ticket. Invest in yourself and your dream. Act on the dreams and wishes you have.

Happy writing!

Friday Five: Feb. 17 Edition

Gentle Resolutions for the Writer via Bits & Bytes: “Writers, too, sometimes make resolutions or set goals. Beware setting lofty goals that are unrealistic and end up making you depressed. Be kind to yourself. Make resolutions or set goals that won’t drive you crazy as you attempt to meet them.”

Life Lessons from Romance Novels via MSN: “You may know them as “bodice rippers,” but romance novels offer much more than longhaired, big-breasted heiresses fainting over bare-chested men. Instead, “characters in these books struggle with many of the same issues we do, and they still end up happy and deserving of love,” says Debra Holland, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and romance novelist herself. Here are some important lessons you can learn from romantic reads.”

First Drafts: The Curse of the Blinking Cursor, a.k.a. Staring at a Blank Screen, Waiting for the Book to Write Itself via Sarah Tanner: “In reality, I fall between the plotters and the pantsers of the writing world. I need to have a feel for my characters before I start, plus a rough outline of the plot. Without this, my staring-at-a-blank-screen time increases substantially. However, experience has shown me that I don’t truly know who my characters are – or where their story is going – until well into the first draft. Consequently, the detailed charts and notes I create during the pre-writing stage are heavily revised before tackling the second draft. I accept this, and regard the charts as a jumping off point for my story. They give me a sense of security, particularly when I have a bad writing day and feel as if I’m floundering.”

Scott Morgan: 5 Things Writers Should Do (When They Want To Suck) and its compliment, 5 Things Writers Should Never Do (When They Want To Suck)  

Friday Five: Feb. 10 Edition

The 4-Hour Social Media Workweek: Quick and dirty formula: Set aside a few minutes a day doing certain activities online (listening, replying, sharing and creating) and then shut off. The goal here is to engage but within limits.

20 New Keys To Social Media Etiquette: The dos and don’ts of social media — Know these and you will make the digital Emily Posts in your life happy. All are important but take special heed to #5 (if you are doing book trailers), #8, #10 (ask someone which photo you should use), #13-#17 (I love Twitter and hate to see it misused)

How To Create An Unbeatable Call To Action: I suck at selling. I failed at Mary Kay and XXX. I failed at getting my Girl Scout patch for selling cookies. I am not good at the pushiness of selling. I’ve gotten better at developing pitches and trying to seal the deal (Hello, the pitch sessions at Moonlight & Magnolias.) This article is a good way to think about how you sell your book, yourself/Brand You.

Hot or smart: Getting past stereotypes: Stereotypes vs. archetypes.

The 29 Plot Templates: There’s nothing new under the sun. That thought used to depress me. But with age, comes wisdom (and gray hair and more bills). Now, I know that true, there is nothing really truly new (a great example of this is called Facebook, at one point in time pre-internet it was called the Yellow Pages, the church social or the village well). But each iteration and generation puts a new spin on things.

Same thing with a book.