2011 Best of Writing, E-books, Elements of Style, Future of Reading, Social Media platform, Strunk and White, Writing

2011 Best of Writing Articles and a Rap on Writing

The year is coming to a close and with it another chapter in the book of my writing life. The generosity of writer’s, agents, and publisher’s who blog have helped me shorten my learning curve and fuel my desire to continue writing into 2012.
  
To help prepare one in the endeavor of becoming a writer I’ve done a little research on the best articles on writing and publishing. In the writing world the ongoing debate of e-books versus traditional publishing, the future of reading, and building social media platforms seemed to dominate the writer’s landscape. With all of that information it’s easy to get overwhelmed. 


To quickly get a ‘lay of the land’ here are two links to the best of 2011 articles on writing. And for those who need tough love and ongoing assistance follow The Evil Editor. This site focuses on queries, synopses, and the beginning pages of a story. If you are a non-techie but want to learn and improve in social media, podcasting, and other tech advice for authors, go to Author Media.


Writer’s Digest assembled The 18 Most Popular Articles on Writing. They culled through 1,300 articles and found the most widely read articles on fiction and non-fiction writing tips, agenting, publishing, and writing query letters.


From Jane Friedman we have the 12 Must Read Articles of 2011.


For those who are visual and auditory learners, this post ends with a refresher on Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. In rap. (Turn off the juke box at the bottom unless you want a real music experience).

I hope you feel prepared to march forward and give your computer chair a twirl, hover your fingers over the keyboard, and begin writing on January 1, 2012. (Even if it’s at 11:00 p.m.). 

Encouragement, Jane Friedman, Kirsten Lamb, Rachel Gardner, Self Publishing, Writer Unboxed, Writing, Writing blogs, Writing classes, Writing Resources

How to Save Time for Writing





There are few things I like to do other than write or find writing resources to help me become a better writer. Sure I miss watching my favorite television shows, coffee with friends, walking the dog, and watching my kids grow (I’m lying they are all 18-25, they’re grown). Sometimes I prefer to write than go on a date but perhaps that will change when the right one comes along. How I save time for writing besides the aforementioned is to look for shortcuts, i.e. good advice. Why reinvent the wheel? 

When I find great resources I believe in sharing them to help the next writer in his/her endeavor. Many publishers, agents, and authors have blogs that help writers become better. I usually stay away from any with bells and whistles on their blogs (flickering ads) or anyone admantly pushing their book. I don’t mind that their book cover is on their sidebar I just don’t want flashing arrows pointing to it or their ad popping up on my screen.
In the past few months I’ve found that I’ve kept returning to the same bloggers, who I believe are experts in the writing field. These are, in no particular order:
Jane Friedman‘s blog. She featured Writing Advice That Saves You 5 Years. It links to Steal This List. She has an archive of free advice for writers and is an editor at Writer’s Digest, a magazine I finally subscribed to after reading it at the library for four months.

And for plot and structure, I know no better teacher than The Plot Whisper. I learn better when I can read something and hear something. TPW has YouTube videos on each lesson, for FREE. 

Kirsten Lamb is the Queen of Blogging and Social Media. Her post The Right Way, Wrong Way, Smart Way caught my attention and is well worth the read. 
Rachell Gardner is a literary agent who has resources for writers who want to improve their craft and prepare themselves for publication. 
Writer Unboxed was started by two aspiring writers who began a community of contributing authors. They are “about the craft and business of fiction.” 


Deciding to go the e-book route and self publish, Joe Konrath’s blog tells it like it is-to him. He makes a lot of sense (he has sold books the traditional way) and now sells tons of his books, for e-readers. 


Also check out some more of my favorites listed on Top Ten Blogs for Writers


These resources save you time and money because many people pay for the kind of information these writers give and you can read them whenever you carve out 10 minutes. If you haven’t fulfilled your dream of writing a family history, memoir, magazine article or essay, here’s your chance to start again in the new year and save time to watch your children grow or go on that date. 
Genre Definitions, Genre rules, plotting, Writing

Genre Rules

It’s helpful to know what genre you will be writing before you start typing, don’t you think. If you’re a total pantser (flying by the seat of your pants) maybe you don’t. If you are in full tuxedo when you sit down to write, after you’ve written your “log line,” “detailed outline with plot twists,” and charted your story on a graph, before you write, then you can skip this post.
I’m a half-*ssed pantser myself. This means that I write down an idea for a story and think about the beginning and end. I’m sure there are better ways, but I’m being honest here. It’s the way I’ve approached my writing. After I jot down the idea I think about it some more, flesh it out and write down a one to three sentence description of the story. Then I do a loose outline of the story and that’s where I find the middle.
Before today I hadn’t thought too much about Genre rules, where it fits in the above scenario and all that it entails. But I came across two good blog posts about the ‘rules,’ of Young Adult, Literary Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, and Romance Genre.
Kristen Lamb says that understanding genre can help guide you in plotting your novel. Each genre has it’s own rules and expectations. Once you know the rules you know how to begin and navigate through your novel. She has written several posts on structure during the last two weeks. Ms. Lamb has a way of putting things that get her ideas across in a novel way,
In writing as in food, some combinations are never meant to go together. Paranormal thriller? Okay. Cool. Popcorn jelly beans. Literary thriller? Tuna ice cream of the writing world. Just my POV.”
Writer’s blog gives similar info on rules and word count on Historical Fiction, Horror, and Old Western Genre’s. They have another post on genres defined, including Chic Lit, Chica Lit, and Mommy Lit (do they really call these subgenre’s of Women’s Fiction these names?)
After Ms.Lamb is done with her posts this month, she will have made me lose my pants. You know, like Maya Angelou says: You do better when you know better.
AlvaradoFrazier, BookNook, Character building, Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos, fiction, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Building Fictional Characters

Feliz Day of All Souls or Dia De Los Muertos (DDLM). The last two days have been a whirlwind that rivals the 75 degree Southern California Santa Ana winds that we have today. I began NaNoWriMo on November 1st, while getting my micro mini bookstore, The BookNook, ready for opening this afternoon. The last week has been dedicated to unpacking books, retail labels, printing bookmarkers, and all that kind of stuff.

I had the nerve to take off to Los Angeles yesterday evening to catch “Come Fly Away With Me,” at the Pantages, in a quest to relax before opening day.  Ten minutes before the curtain rose I received a text that my cake pop treats would not be ready for me today after all, ‘so sorry.’ There was a problem at their bakery. I moaned and groaned (not in the text), said a prayer and began searching for other bakery numbers. Everyone was closed for the evening. Curtain rose, the musical was non-stop dancing to Frank Sinatra songs and I was taken away for 80 brief minutes. Turned my phone back on and a sweet mini-miracle, the bakery texted, everything fixed, your order will be ready.

I call the BookNook micro-mini because it is within a consignment shop, very nice, where I rent a small space for new and ‘gently read’ books. At the shop today is a DDLM commemoration and local artists will build an altar within the store for the community. People are free to bring candles, sugar skulls, marigolds, papel picado and Pan de Huevo.

Before I take my crates of books to the car, double check on my cake pops, and gather up my equipment I thought I’d post some references from my favorite sites on “Character” building for those who are interested in using this information for their NNWM challenge. (I’m already behind with only 1,643 words, but there are 28 days left).

Writer’s Digest did a good job on How to avoid Parenting your Characters. If you haven’t visited Holly Lisle  blog now is a good time to follow her and pick up some valuable pointers. IMHO she has one of the most helpful blogs for writers. Over at Kirsten Lamb, who is also a wealth of information and who collaborates with many authors to provide great info, is her article for creating legendary characters.

After my bookstore opening I hope to come back and do some more NNWM words. But in between what I hope are many customers, I will be over at the DDLM altar saying some prayers for the departed and enjoying some Pan De Huevo.