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!  🙂

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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!

Quick Hi + Scary Story Contest Winners

I just returned from a great weekend in Columbus, Ohio, where I not only got to meet five Write-Brainiacs IRL (who I’d never met IRL before) but I also got to meet and hang with a few other really cool folks who were attending World Fantasy Con—some of whom I “knew” from Twitter and some of whom I didn’t.  Plus, there were a ton of agents and authors I’ve interviewed and/or stalked researched, so it pretty much awesome.

Me with Laura Atchison and Brittany Roshelle

Simon C. Larter, Sara McClung, and Carol Valdez Miller

Gina Penney and me

Carol and me with Karen Hooper

An exhausting, but all-around faboo, weekend.  I’m always so sad when these writerly functions come to an end and it’s back to the real world!

PAYING IT FORWARD

I’d like to show a little love for WB member and woman-of-awesome Candace Ganger, who is running another contest—I Heart Joy like BR80—over on her blog, The Misadventures in Candyland.

Check it out here.

IN OTHER NEWS

On the way up to the buckeye state, my husband and I were entertained by the “Scare Me in 1,000 Words or Less” entries, and we have the winners:

First prize—a book + DVD combo of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein . . . and Kenneth Branagh’s mutant of a movie adaptation of the same name—goes to . . .

E. Cluff Elliott

for

“Death Wheels”

Shoot me an e-mail with your snail mail addy, Cluffer, and I’ll send out your swag this week!

Second prize—a 10-page critique from me—goes to . . .

Andi Newton

for

“What Doesn’t Make Us Stronger”

E-mail me and we can chat about it, Andi.

Congrats, guys!  All the entries were good—so hard to choose!—but in the end, I went with the most classically suspenseful and classically scary.

OKAY . . .

Well, since I am making a big push to complete my second manuscript this month for NaNoWraMo (National Novel Wrap-up Month), I’m off in search of a couple thousand words!

Good luck to NaNoWriMo and WraMo folks galore!

In the Blogosphere: 8/16-8/20

“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 May/June-ish (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’ll catch up eventually, right?

STORY OPENERS

Story openers is a topic we’ve touched on before, here on the blog (here’s the post from our Shenandoah Writers Online live chat on that very subject), but let’s see what other have had to say about it.

Here, D4EO Literary’s Mandy Hubbard dishes on the five things she looks for in the opening pages.

Over at his blog, Constant Revision, the inimitable Simon C. Larter explains the methods behind the madness in his very own opening lines.

And, for a little bit of fun, YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) lists a ton of first lines—so you can see a lot of these tips in action.

YOUR PITCH DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A BITCH

Think you’re ready to query or pitch?  Here’s a comprehensive pre-submission checklist from Martina Boone and Marissa Graff’s brainchild, Adventures in Children’s Publishing.  (<—post not *just* for kids’ lit, BTW)

As you go to write (or tweak) your pitch, check out Anne Brown’s four steps to battling the query in her guest post at Writer Unboxed.

And, why stress over the query?  WordServe Literary’s Rachelle Gardner divulges all the secrets to a great pitch right here!

ON SANITY

As kids and teacher-types go back to school, and as the summer comes to a close (can you believe it’s almost the end of August??), it’s time to start thinking about that evil time management thing again.

Here’s some advice on how to juggle it all from time management master and über-awesome young adult author Maggie Stiefvater.

COMMISERATE

And, if you’re feeling the rejection blues, you’re not alone:

Have a great rest-of-the-weekend!  I’m battling a cold (which is why this post was late).  Boo!!

In the Blogosphere: 12/7-12/11

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

FOR MENTAL HEALTH

Here’s a handy-dandy little post to bookmark for those rainy days of rejection.  On Inkygirl.com, freelancer Debbie Ridpath Ohi lists famous/successful authors whose famous/successful works were rejected—maybe even more than your manuscript!

WRITER’S DIGESTers

Here, Dana Girard of Novelists Inc. talks literary agents and publishing with my “sort-of” boss, Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest (editor of Guide to Literary Agents, Screenwriter’s & Playwright’s Market, and Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript).  Chuck is gracious enough to give me the opportunities not only to interview agents for the GLA blog but also to write pieces for the 2011 editions of GLA & SPM, so I def wanted to give him props.

In this post on her blog, Jane Friedman, also of Writer’s Digest, discusses how getting professional headshots taken can affect your writing career.  It really struck me, as one who hasn’t quite gotten around to doing that yet…but she makes a good point, and it’s something that might not automatically occur to one.

Here, WD’s Friedman is at it again–only this time, she discusses a big mistake many writers make in story openings.

If you don’t get Writer’s Digest (what’s wrong with you??), here’s an article that ran in the October 2009 issue in which literary agent extraordinaire Donald Maass talks passion in writing.

RESOURCES

This is Plot to Perfection’s first post in their six-part series on character revision.  Although the series is geared toward NaNoWriMo survivors, it’s great info for anyone who wants to examine character in terms of: dialogue, mannerisms, physical attributes, attitudes, and personal growth.

As I reviewed the next URL for this next post on what YA literature needs more of (cultural diversity), I realized I bookmarked another post about the same video. I may have been out of it this week, but apparently, I’ve been consistent as well! Fellow aspiring author Simon C. Larter captured the essence of what I was thinking, but if you just want to watch the video on Kickstarter.com and learn how to support an independent publishing company actively seeking kids’ multicultural books, here you go.

Because I have a name people misspell, mispronounce, and misunderstand, I’ve long been interested in names.  I never really thought about pen names, but in this post, literary agent Nathan Bransford outlines the pros and cons of using a nom de plume.

**Incidentally, another “Ricki Schultz” (who IS. NOT. ME.) has published a poem online.  It’s somewhat difficult to find—especially now that my name comes up a bit more on the Internet because of this blog and my agent interviews—but I always worry someone is going to think I wrote the poem.  Which I didn’t.  Did I say that already? Perhaps I should create a pseudonym.  Any suggestions? 😉

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, he wasn't a real doctor??