In the Blogosphere: 3/14-3/25

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m making one of my resolutions to be better with these blogosphere posts.  *Well, I’m trying, but I’ve been reallllllly busy!* I’ve saved a lot of great stuff, though, and it’s all definitely worth a read.

HOW-TOs

Are you in query hell right now? Author Shawn Klomparens offers five easy steps to writing a query letter in this guest post on Writer Unboxed.

If you need more help in snagging an agent, check out Trans/plant/portation’s thoughts on the subject: maybe break some rules.

Okay, so what if that’s not the problem—what if you’re just Procrastination Patty (or Paul) these days? Here, Christine MacDonald gives six tips on getting back on track—applicable to any field, really.

So, now that you’ve signed with an agent and an editor snapped up your book in a major deal, it’s time to start planning your release party. W00t! Here’s author Jody Hedlund’s advice.

Pepper . . . I mean, Procrastination Patty. "Let's go shopping for flip-flops!"

CRAFT

We hear it all the time, but it’s important enough to revisit—all the time.  Here, Kidlit.com’s Mary Kole talks about specificity in setting.

And what’s a great setting without great characters?  TotallytheBomb.com’s Jamie Harrington says compelling characters come from what you, the author, know.

If you’re feeling a little sketchville on how to get to know your characters, fear not. The awesomesauce ladies of Adventures in Children’s Publishing have laid it all out for you in terms of Goal, Motivation, Conflict, and Tension.

BETAS, CPS & FRESH EYES—OH MY!

If you feel a case of writer-brain coming on, author Julie Ann Lindsey suggests you get a critique partner.  Lord knows mine have saved my sanity life on more than one occasion!

But how do you go about being a GOOD crit partner or beta reader?  YA Highway to the rescue!*

*Not just applicable to YA writers.

RESOURCES

TONS of my writing friends are passing their time and trying to increase their platforms by submitting short stories to anthologies.  But where does one go to find such markets? On Nick Daws‘ Writing Blog (Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog?), Nick himself lists seven of the top resources for that very purpose. Thanks, Nick!

This was originally intended for NaNoWriMo, back in November. However, as many writing friends seem to be getting over their winter freeze and jumping into new projects, here’s Write Anything’s Andrea Allison with ten Web sites to aid you through the plotting and planning process.

YOWZAS

Say it isn’t so!

Dude, these guys are so smart. Here’s Hank Green on lexical gaps—and the opposite of virginity.

Agree?  Here is American Book Reviews’ take on the 100 best first lines from novels.

Happy Friday, my loves!

Any good plans?

In the Blogosphere: 2/28-3/11

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m making one of my resolutions to be better with these blogosphere posts.  *Well, I’m trying, but I’ve been reallllllly busy!* I’ve saved a lot of great stuff, though, and it’s all definitely worth a read.

AGENT ADVICE

Here on Pub Rants, Kristen Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency shows you four easy steps for a “killer” opening—or, four things that will KILL your opening.

Does writing in the young adult genre appeal to you?  Or, are you already doing it but are unsure if you’re doing it well?  Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Lit pimps Regina L. Brooks’s book, Writing Great Books for Young Adults.

LET’S GET TECHNICAL

I’ve done a “Straight Dope” post on this, but don’t take it from me—take it from the Grammar Girl herself: Mignon Fogarty talks the capitalization of proper nouns.

Here, YA Highway’s Amanda Hannah helps you strengthen those sentences, simile-and-metaphor style.

Feeling tense?  Claire King is feeling first person present tense—and she makes a case for when and where (and why) it’s appropriate.

After checking out what Kristen Nelson says NOT to do in your beginning chapters, New York Times bestselling author (Across the Universe) Beth Revis spills on what TO do in order to hook readers in your first chapter in this post on the League of Extraordinary Writers.

Here, Gabriela Pereira of DIY MFA gives some concrete tips and exercises to create concrete characters.

CHUGGING ALONG

Are you a Type A writer?  In this post, author Jody Hedlund suggests that, if you devise and stick to a writing plan, you’re likely to be a more successful writer.

End-of-winter sluggishness contributing to your writer’s block?  Here, horror writer of awesome Zoe C. Courtman offers tips on how to sweat through the blockage!

ORGANIZATION TIPS & NO EXCUSES!

And while we’re on the subject of writing regularly and successfully, organization is key to clearing out distractions.  Incarnate author and ferret aficionado Jodi Meadows agrees in this post, where she shares her secret for keeping her inbox organized.

Where is all the time for writing?  It’s hard to come by, says D4EO agent Mandy Hubbard, but that’s no excuse.  She says you must find the time—and she does it with Debbie Ridpath Ohi cartoons!

I’m looking forward to seeing some writer friends at SCBWI this weekend—can’t wait to tell you all about it!

How about you?  Anything fun this weekend?

In the Blogosphere: 2/12-2/25

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m making one of my resolutions to be better with these blogosphere posts.  *Well, I’m trying, but I’ve been reallllllly busy!* I’ve saved a lot of great stuff, though, and it’s all definitely worth a read.

AGENT STUFF

At RWA nationals in 2010, I attended a fantabulous session with agents of awesome Holly Root and Barbara Poelle, Pocket Books senior editor Abby Zidle, and author Jenny Gardiner, where they reenacted what happens in an acquisitions editorial meeting.  SO eye-opening! Along those same lines, WordServe Literary’s Rachelle Gardner recreates a pub committee meeting here.

Is there such a thing as a fictional memoir?  The Query Shark herself, FinePrint Literary’s Janet Reid answers that question.

PLATFORM & MARKETING

Over at Writer Unboxed, Writer’s Digest and the University of Cincinnati’s Jane Friedman gives tips about using Facebook as a marketing tool—without becoming a nuisance.

And, here, author Jody Hedlund offers seven ways you can market your book—gasp!without the Internet.

VEWY CWAFTY

Here, my favorite Scotsman, Simon C. Larter, says action through dialogue is where it’s at!  And he also calls Shakespeare “Billy Shakes,” which is one of the reasons we’re be-fris. 🙂

But how does one write good dialogue, you ask?  Former agent turned author Nathan Bransford tells you here.

Also, I absolutely love the Sentence Strengthening series on YA HighwayHere’s one on how to more effectively use adjectives and adverbs (or not use them, as the case sometimes is).

Want more strength in your writing?  On Write Anything, Annie Evett lists some weak words to “bin” in her series on self-editing tips.

And here is a fantastic, comprehensive resource with that lists tropes (common storytelling devices or conventions) for . . . just about everything.  You could seriously spend months playing around in there!

HOW-TOS

Need to send a press releaseAngus Shaw over at The Blog Herald tells you how.

And here, agent Natalie Fischer gives some advice on how to avoid making common mistakes in your manuscript.

OTHER STUFF

We’ve all experienced it—perhaps you’re even going through it right now:  The CraziesHere, author Ally Carter talks about The Crazies—what they are, what not to do when you have them, and how to combat them.

I’m sure some of us have learned this the hard way: Taylor Mali’s The The Impotence of Proofreading. Enjoy.

Happy weekend, everyone! 🙂

In the Blogosphere: 1/10-2/11

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m making one of my resolutions to be better with these blogosphere posts.  *Well, I’m trying, but I’ve been reallllllly busy!* I’ve saved a lot of great stuff, though, and it’s all definitely worth a read.

I’ve decided just to focus on agents and querying and . . . stuff, since I need to get a jump on WB workshop stuff this weekend.

Hope you enjoy!

AGENTS & QUERYING & STUFF

I jumped back into the query pool this week with my latest YA contemporary manuscript, so this is largely for me.  :)  Oh yeah—and any of you also at this stage.  Hee.

Many of us have formulated our own lists of “dream agents,” based on stalking meeting some of the industry’s finest at conferences and workshop, reading interviews and blogs, etc.  Here, the Michelle Wolfson-repped rom-com author, Tawna Feske, talks about the downside of dream agents.

See that butterfly net? That's my dream agent. *Creepy much*? You know who you are . . . OK--you prob don't, and that's prob a good thing!🙂

And, just in case that depresses you, here is another post by Feske, where she shows her agent-catching query.  For a little inspiration!

Agents dishing out query tips online in response to their query inboxes becomes a heated debate around the blogosphere at least twice a year, but I think it’s a valid discussion whenever it pops up.  Here, Heather Trese of See Heather Write asks: Is the #queries hashtag really good?

Querying can be extremely frustrating (understatement much?), and it can lead to writers getting pushed over the edge of good sense and expressing their frustrations in their Tweets or Facebook statuses. Translation: not good.  Here, Bridget Pilloud has the answer—a bitch box, or the Bitchy Comment Receptacle.  You need to bitch?  Pilloud provides a sounding board—and then deletes your comment so no one will see it.  Win-win!

Ever wonder how agents actually evaluate fulls when they request them?  Well, she doesn’t speak for all of agentkind, but Andrea Brown lit agent Mary Kole says she does it like this.

Going to a conference?  Here’s what kt literary’s Kate Schafer Testerman has to say about talking to agents IRL.

I had the distinct pain pleasure of writing my synopsis for my new MS this weekend.  I had *forgotten* about this, the fabulous Shawntelle Madison’s synopsis wizard.  But you should def check it out!

In my editing of MS #2—as well as in the reading of John Green, Maureen Johnson, E. Lockhart, and other YA all-stars, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the “mature voice” in teen fictionHere are amazegent Mary Kole’s thoughts on the subject.

So, confession: I got a Kindle for Christmas . . . and I love it!  Of course, it WILL NOT take the place of holding an actual book in my hands, but I have already found it great for traveling, working out, and it was VERY helpful last weekend, when I needed to read two harder-to-find books for an interview I was doing.  Agent Kristin Nelson agrees in this post, about the power of story—in any medium.

CONGRATS

A special WOO HOO goes out this week to my Twitter soulmate, Cambria Dillon, who signed with literary agent Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst & Associates!  SO EXCITED FOR YOU, girl!!!!!!!!  *mwah!*

What better way to celebrate than this??

In the Blogosphere: 12/6-1/7

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m making one of my resolutions to be better with these blogosphere posts.  I’ve saved lots of great stuff, and it’s all definitely worth a read.

QUERY STUFF

The onset of January seems to signal the big “okay” in terms of opening the query floodgates after the usual holiday standstill.  With that in mind, here are some links to help you with your queries:

  • I recently found this Yahoo! Group dedicated to giving and receiving feedback exclusively on queries.
  • Here, former agent extraordinaire Nathan Bransford tells you how to write a query.

I ain't afraid 'a no procrastination!

PROCRASTINATION BUSTERS

The new year is also a time to buckle down, set some goals, and get back at it.

Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die can help you do just that.

As well, Christine Macdonald offers six tips to help you combat procrastination.

You know that whole multitasking thing you’re doing?  Here, Writing for Digital discusses how he’s thought multitasking has helped him—but he also mentions some studies that suggest it can work against creativity and productivity.  V. interesting!

One good way to be productive is to set a routine.  However, Dale Challener Roe over at Write Anything suggests you re-evaluate your regimen, to make sure you don’t get in a rut.

PICKY STUFF

As my writing group and crit partners know, I’m quick to point out unnecessary dialogue tags.  *Ahem—most of them are unnecessary.  When you *must* tag, however, it’s better to do so through an action sentence.

Not Enough Words and Simon C. Larter agree.  Thanks, guys!

To cliff hang (at the ends of chapters) or not to cliff hang? Ray Rhamey shares his thoughts over at Writer Unboxed.

Agent of awesome Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency answers a reader’s question about scene and chapter length as well as where to break.

CHILD’S PLAY

Middle-grade novels are hot right now, and “boy books” are even more sought after by agents and editors.  Here, Kole discusses character and voice in MG boy books as well as touches on what author Hannah Moskowitz calls “The Boy Problem.”

Moving into more adult subjects in kids’ lit FinePrint Literary agent Suzie Townsend touches on violence while Kole talks about mature voices.

UNCLE NATHAN’S DEMYSTIFICATION

Um, how creepy was that section title?

I’ve got a lot of Nathan Bransford links saved.  Here are some faves:

  • Here, NB discusses publishers’ service packages are changing
  • Here, he explains the meaning of that mysterious term we hear all the time “high concept
  • Here, he tells us how to write a novel! (And he would know—he’s an author!)

DOs & DON’Ts

On her blog, author Jody Hedlund talks about self promo—without the eye-rolls.

Over at Pub Rants, Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary provides one more question authors should ask agents before signing the big representation contract.

At Everything 2, Antonio M. D’souza (aka digitalboy) lists the 10 commandments of bad writers.

AWESOME

This week, it was announced that a “politically correct” version of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is to be released.  A former student of mine, Dan Wilbur, runs the blog Better Book Titles, and here is his answer to that.

Have a great weekend, peeps!

In the Blogosphere: 11/22-12/3

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have about so many links saved, some dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’m getting there!

CREATING CHARACTERS

Heather Trese over at See Heather Write blogged some of her great notes from the SCBWI conference.  Here, she shares what she learned about creating characters from author Carolyn Mackler.

Over at Writer Unboxed, The Donald (Donald Maass) talks about how to write characters—ones who are on and off the page.

This fantabulicious post on creating memorable characters comes to us from author and D4EO agent Mandy Hubbard, in a guest post she did at the WriteOnCon blog.

What is Aladdin doing with Ariel! I'm telling Eric & Jasmine . . . oh wait.

RULES, OR A LACK THEREOF

Freelancer Kelly James-Enger talks about the 10% rule as applied to word count.

At There Are No Rules, Writer’s Digest and the University of Cincinnati’s Jane Friedman relays Dennis Hensley’s “12 things that matter to agents and editors when being pitched by writers.”

And while we’re on the subject of rules and percentages, Authoress Anonymous over at Miss Snark’s First Victim talks about the 25% rule, when it comes to plot.

TAKING THE BLAH OUT OF BLOGGING

Here, Paranormalcy author and popular blogger Kiersten White gives some blogging tips.

Here, author and speaker Jody Hedlund makes a case for blogging—and how it can help any kind of writer.

YOU’RE GROUNDED!

This post goes along with the one from the last “In the Blogosphere” post (about the “prime real estate” of your manuscript).  In it, the awesome Mary Kole talks about grounding the reader in all things your story—in every chapter.

Here, the Kole-ster does it again (that was supposed to be pronounced “KOLE-stur,” but, admittedly, looks like “molester.”  And kind of made me chuckle too much to fix.* Sorry, MK!) , answering questions about international writers and settings.

KID STUFF

Over at YA Highway, guest columnist Amna Mohdin says your taste in books is your own.

Here, Heather Trese gives some tips on writing for boys, of the middle-grade variety.

Mmm. Tasty

AGENT ADVICE

Tossing around the idea of submitting directly to publishers, sans agent?  YA author Hannah Moskowitz makes a case for why you want to have an agent.

Here is Greenhouse Literary agent Sarah Davies on how to find the best agent for your work.

Yes, I interview lit agents on the GLA blog, and I want to give props to this faboo interview with the aforementioned Sarah Davies (by Michelle Schusterman over at YA Highway).

JUST SO YOU KNOW . . .

In this post at Write Anything, Andrea Allison gives the straight dope on point of view, for all those who need a little refresher course.

Just can’t get away from it—voice!  Here, T.H. Mafi sheds some light on this somewhat intangible, but oh-so-important thing.

Have a newsletter? Sean D’Souza at Copyblogger tells you five reasons no one is reading it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

In the Blogosphere: 11/15-11/19

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have about 50 links saved, dating all the way back to the summer (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’m getting there!

CRAFTING A WINNER

At Kidlit.com, über fantastic Andrea Brown agent Mary Kole talks about “prime real estate”—and the three places she considers that to be in your manuscript.  Um—sold!

Here, Kole says, if your characters shoot glances, you should be shot!*

In her guest post on Writer Unboxed, the ZOMG-awesome Laura Espinosa (a Write-Brainiac!) tells how getting in touch with your inner actor can help you iron out those pesky, hard-to-write scenes.

Q&A

This question has come up with some international Write-Brained Network folks—yes, we are global, people!!  Here, Mary Kole (yes, again—she’s on fire!!) discusses how to handle your manuscript if you are an international writer and/or writing international settings.

Paranormalcy author, the adorable Kiersten White answers reader questions and dishes on how/when to query as well as how to make blog follower friends.

THE FUTURE

Here, the now-former agent extraordinaire, author Nathan Bransford, debunks the top 10 myths about the future of e-publishing.

In the yeeeeeeear two thousaaaaaaaaaaaaand!

“RE” STUFF (-VISION & -SOURCES)

Many folks have tackled this subject, but here is the Suzie-Townsend-repped Kristin Miller of YA Highway’s take on how to revise and resubmit.

Here, on See Heather Write, Heather Trese outlines some of her incredible takeaways from a session on revising with Gennifer Choldenko. (Really really faboo post!)

The fabulous duo at Adventures in Children’s Publishing (Martina Boone and Marissa Graff) details the seven basic plot types in this equally as fabulous post.  Where does yours fit?

If you’re looking for some awesome Web resources for writers, the good folks of EduChoices.org have compiled 50 of the best in terms of reference; fiction, nonfiction, and freelance writng; and writing in general.

ATTRACTION

Here, author Jody Hedlund suggests how to attract readers to your bloggity blog. (<—Well, she doesn’t actually call it that!)

In her guest post over at Writer Unboxed, Writer’s Digest and the University of Cincinnati’s own Jane Friedman says specificity sets apart the professionals from the amateurs.

Over at the Huffington Post , Denise Brodey gives a five-point plan on how to sell books. Having a Twitter account won’t do it alone.

WHATCHOO TALKIN’ ABOUT, WILLIS?

Write Anything’s Annie Evett did a neat little four-part series on dialogue.  Check it out: part one, part two, part three, & part four.

Over at Inky Fresh Press, the OMGiDONTknowWHATi’dDOwithoutHER Write-Brainiac Bridgid Gallagher offers five tips on how to improve that elusive thing everyone wants to grab hold of: voice.

On her blog, freelancer and YA writer Heather Trese does it again, relaying valuable info she learned about voice during a workshop with Rachel Vail.

THERE THERE

Here, the inimitable T.H. Mafi (Tahereh), delivers the best writerly pep talk evarrr.  Bookmark it, folks.  Fo’ realz.

Feeling a little bipolar about your manuscript?  Jody Hedlund says that’s normal, and she offers suggestions on how to deal.

BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME

At Querypolitan, the fabulous Kate Hart *just may* be on to something: Edward Cullen and Vanilla Ice—one and the same?

ALSO?

Please check out my new Web site.🙂

Happy weekend!!!

*OK—she doesn’t quite put it *that* way!