Friday Five: May 25 Edition

1. Mixing the Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations to Create Something Fresh (Adventures in YA and Children’s Literature): “Every book we write is also a living bookshelf of every book we’ve ever read. The words of our mentors and the faces of the beloved friends we’ve laughed with and cried with haunt our pages like shadows beneath our sentences. So, since we are all unique, we shouldn’t be afraid to mix it up.”

2. 10 Pieces of Writing Advice I’ve Gotten from Other People(Andrew Jack): “I tell people I’m not qualified to give writing advice, but no one ever seems to believe me. It’s the truth, I’m blundering along through this like everyone else, and if I do have any good advice it’s because I’m learning from my own bad decisions. Or, I’ve gotten it from someone who does know what they’re doing.”

3. The Key to Finding Peace When You Sit Down to Write(Courage 2 Create): “The first step to establishing peace throughout your day is to become increasingly aware of what is causing the chaos in your life. Thich Nhat Hanh would say that whenever we feel worn out, anxious, upset or filled with turmoil then that means we have come into direct contact with toxins. Toxins make us feel angry, upset, anxious, hopeless, restless, they make us feel bad about ourselves and worst of all they cause our mind to bound around in chaos.”

4. An Introvert’s Guide to Social Media (Once Written, Twice Shy): “The cool thing about online social media is that it allows you to connect with other people without that live interaction some of us find overwhelming. No speeches, no cocktail parties, no worrying what to wear or whether you’ve got spinach in your teeth. And in today’s world, if you’ve published a digital version of your book, social media provides a relatively low-stress, free way to promote your book.
But where do you start?”

5. The Nuts and Bolts of Writing a Novella (Seekerville): “What did I leave out to get the story down in 25,000 words? Nothing. This is a mini-novel, so everything must be there. Just more compact, squeezed together,tightened. Descriptions and secondary characters must be pared down to get the story written in what’s around one-third of a novel’s word count.”

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Friday Five: May 18 Edition

1. Additional tips on better self-editing (David Sheets, SPJ): “Blame this boom in boo-boos on the ease of electronic publishing, which has reduced the gap between writing and marketing to a barely perceptible slit and goads us into stream-of-consciousness creativity. We are all just a keystroke away from fame and fortune, we’d like to think. Thus, we’re inclined to rush the process.”

2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T isn’t free (Kristen Lamb): “I am here merely to help you use this tool called social media in the most time-effective way, because the best thing you can do to become a successful author or even a brand is to write more books. Write as many books as you can! Good books.”

3. I wrote a five year plan (and you can, too) (Simple Mom): “Our plan is dreaming big, but it’s also possible.”

4. The Internist: Letting Your Reader Inside Your Protagonist (Ruby Slippered Sisterhood):  “That skating-over-the-surface style – which can be expedient in a first draft when you have plots to figure out – can be downright lazy in a final work.  (And I’m not just pointing fingers here, I’m just as guilty of lazy writing as the next scribbler.  But if we are aware of the areas we short-shrifted the reader, we are better able to add an extra level of shine to our finished works. Here are some tips to take your reader deeper.”

5. Five reasons to keep writing (James Killick): “We’ve all been there – staring at a blank page wondering what the hell we’re going to write on it, or worse, why the hell we’re even trying in the first place. A novel or a play can take years of effort and without recognition or appreciation sometimes writing the thing can start to feel like a waste of a good life. Sometimes it’s hard to remember why you do it. Here are some reminders.”

Friday Five: May 11 Edition

1. Helpful Critiquing (Savvy Authors): “If you’re a working writer, you already know how difficult it is to judge your own work. The mental image we have is of what we meant to say; sometimes that may not have been achieved. If you’re part of a writing group, critiques are an integral part of the process and you want the same helpful feedback you’d like on your own work. In analyzing other’s work, you educate your own eye and become a better editor. And brainstorming solutions for the problems other writers face gives you a chance to apply those to your own work.”

2. But Is It a Scene? (Faeries, Dragons and Spaceships): “Screenwriting is a great place to try to understand what needs to be in a scene. Even though the average script is 110 pages, and most novels are 2-3 times that, the principle is the same, and sometimes easier to see in screenwriting.
David Trotter in The Screenwriter’s Bible has a very informative list for making great scenes.”

3. Proving Them Wrong (Shelly Bell): “My teacher was not happy and asked again what I seriously wanted to do. I shrugged and looked at the wall and answered again. “Write.” I was told since I had never really shown much interest (well, at school anyway) in joining the paper or entering writing contests, I should think again . . .I did, but that’s another story for another day. Little did I know I would end up fulfilling this prophecy. And this one was pretty much on the money because twenty years later, I would end up on an island writing a book. And it’s been the best accidental prediction a girl could ask for.”

4. Let’s Get Productive (Suzanne Purvis): “So more than ever we must sit our butts in the chair and produce. Here are 16  tips to help you do just that.  Many you probably know, but here there once again, as a reminder to get those words down.”

5. How to Pimp Your Facebook Page (Julie Ortolon): “Authors, are you struggling with the appearance of your Facebook page in the new layout? Here are some quick tips to help you get a great look.”

Friday Five: May 4 Edition

1. Characterization and the kitchen sink (Seven  Sassy Sisters): “Knowing the characters we create is key to a well-plotted and emotional story. I have a character sheet generated from different classes I took to help me create my hero and heroine. But, to be honest, most of the information didn’t appeal to the “I like things quirky” in me….So, I sit my character in a chair beside me and I ask him: ‘How do you load your dishwasher?'”

 2. Write, Damnit (GradHacker): “My first post was August 2010, and I’ve written almost two posts per week since then, coming to a grand total of 180 posts to date. The posts are about 600 to 800 words long depending on the length of the journal article or my opinion. It used to take me about two hours two write that many words. Now it’s about an hour, and the posts always range on the longer end of the spectrum. I honestly didn’t realize until recently the writing benefits that I had been getting from an activity I consider to be a hobby. I now have the power to sit down at my computer and pound out 800 words with little difficulty.”
3. Living Loud. Living NOW (Pam Asberry): “I have stopped flogging myself in penance for things I cannot change; I have stopped asking myself, “what if?”  Instead of imagining a future fraught with loneliness and peril – always the default; why don’t we envision futures filled with unicorns and rainbows? – I choose to focus on the many blessings I have in right here, right now. Yesterday is gone; I have little, if any, control over much of what is yet to be – besides, of course, what I can do in the present moment. And I’m going to play that moment for all it’s worth.”
4. How to Make Worrying Work for You (Courage 2 Create): “Today, I recommend listening to your worries, instead of trying to shut them out. First, find out what specific situation The Worry is most concerned about. Then, write down a small, easy, and immediate action you can take in the next week or so to address every, single worry. When you do this, I promise you will feel much better afterward. Why? Because instead of ignoring or shouting at The Worry’s request, you are thoughtfully listening to The Worry and giving it a practical answer.”
5. Beware–Writers have long memories (Shelli Johnson): “Most writers have long memories. Some of us may wish we didn’t. But the fact remains that if you cross us, hurt us, humiliate us, or do any multitude of things that make us feel less than, you can pretty much bet that you will, at some undetermined point in the future, show up in a story and not in a pleasant way.”