Posts tagged writing
Posts tagged writing
1) A behind-the-scenes look at creating the cover of A Memory of Light.
2) Book Riot rounds up The Best Coffee Mugs for Book Lovers, like this one:
3) Bad Writing Advice from Famous Authors at Flavorwire.
4) AbeBooks names 50 Essential Science Fiction Books — do you agree with their picks?
1) 5 Ways to Organize Your Reading Piles — I use Pinterest, Goodreads and a good old-fashioned reading journal because I don’t want everything I read to be public.
2) 23% of Americans 16-years-old and up read an ebook this year, up from 16% a year ago. More stats from a Pew Research survey at Publishers Weekly.
3) io9 gathered some quotes about writing from George R.R. Martin.
4) BookRiot rounds up 10 Drool-Worthy Secret Passage Bookshelves. (I reblogged some photos from this the other day, too.)
5) Via Query Quagmire, the 5 in 5 Challenge — come up with five categories for the year and read five books in each. I don’t know if I’d be able to come up with five categories I can realistically read 5 books in without making them too generic but I might try. It’s an interesting idea other than the usual “Read X number of books in 2013” challenge.
Writers, really useful stuff alert! GalleyCat has gathered links to 23 pitches, for a variety of genres, to agents that ultimately ended up getting represented and sold.
I blogged for the Harlequin Blog today, gathering links to all So You Think You Can Write blogs and chats about revisions and submitting to help polish your NaNoWriMo or SYTYCW manuscripts for submission to Harlequin.
1) With NaNoWriMo winding down, io9 offers advice on How to Tell if the First Draft of Your Novel Just Isn’t Worth Salvaging.
2) Looking for an entry-level publishing job in NYC? Harlequin has a job opening for an editorial assistant.
4) EW counts down 21 Classic Opening Lines in Books. #1 for all time belongs to Pride & Prejudice. End of discussion.
We know that writing can be a complicated craft. Sometimes the juices won’t flow, sometimes we hit a stumbling block and we need to muster all our strength to keep going. Other times, the words just seem to pour out. Writing is a skill, and luckily for us, it can be cultivated. We can try harder, learn new things, improve, edit and create something people will enjoy reading.
In that spirit, we have asked Paul Taunton, Senior Editor for The Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group, to share with us the five most common writing mistakes he sees time and time again.
1. Following the trends too closely. Publishers are often asked about what is trending, and what the next trend is. But the bottom line is, if you start writing when something is trending, you’re bound to miss it. Furthermore, a trend is started when something is original and refreshing, and that’s what you should be going for in the first place. The trend starter is usually the one that has the most success. And why not be original?
2. Marketing your writing before it’s done. Of course your peers are interested in what you’re working on, but there’s not much a publisher or publication can usually do with an unfinished project—and one of the main things they want to know is whether you can finish it. It can also be tempting to start marketing your work when you’re stuck because it feels productive: instead, find another way to get re-inspired.
3. Emphasizing style too much over story. Though a beautiful line is always great, story is what often motivates people to keep reading a novel. Writers sometimes trust that the quality of their prose or a few amazing passages will make up for weaknesses on other areas, but that’s not necessarily the case. And even if it is, why not make your novel as strong as it can be on all fronts?
4. Writing without adequate background. No, you don’t have to be a cop to write about cops. You don’t have to have siblings to write about siblings. But keep in mind that successful writers often have vocations or relationships that inform their writing—or they’ve done a lot of research. Usually the small details that make a story realistic are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the research the author has done, or the knowledge and experience that they have. A quick disclaimer, though: don’t go overboard and never finish your novel because you’re investigating everything in the world that possibly relates to it.
5. Paying too close attention to rules (including the above). Take advice for what it’s worth and how you think it can make you a better writer—don’t treat it as a formula for success. Your own ideas and convictions are ultimately worth much more, especially when they’re backed up by thoughtful consideration.
- Never, ever, EVER kill the dog.
- Meetings in coffee shops are to be avoided at all costs. Exceptions: Clandestine meetings between government spies of opposite genders when said clandestine meeting simply cannot take place in a laundromat.
- Wizarding school is so over. Direct all inquiries to Ms. Rowling and Ms. Le Guin, respectively.
Bwahaha! Go read the entire list — equally split between the sarcastic (“Text messages do not exist.”) and solid advice (“Dream sequences are to be avoided at all costs.”).
I tweeted some advice about synopsis a couple nights ago while I was struggling to write cover copy for Carina Press from a not-very-complete synopsis. Since it got retweeted a bunch, thought I’d share and expand on my thoughts a bit here. The original tweets are in bold.
“Trying to write copy for a romance novel when the synopsis doesn’t include a lot about the romance & characters’ emotions is very difficult.”
This happens way more often than you’d think. Authors sometimes get too caught up with plot or external conflict details and don’t mention enough about their internal conflict and how their relationship develops alongside the other action.
“For acquisition and copywriting, synopses that cover both plot & characters’ emotional journey are much more helpful.”
For romances, my personal preference is a roughly 50/50 split between plot and emotion — something happens, followed by the characters’ reaction to it and how it impacts their relationship.
Tell us why the characters are attracted to each other (besides good looks), too.
We know the h/h will find the other attractive…but that’s not enough to convince us or the reader that the characters are unique and that they will have an HEA. Phrases like “their attraction grows” are too general. What makes it grow? What about the h/h’s personality appeals to the other?
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Harlequin editors also wrote a great post about writing synopses for So You Think You Can Write. Read it here.
Please enjoy what will almost certainly be the best thing on the internet for the month of November.
National Novel Writing Month has begun! Here are some resources for writing your own book this month:
1) 60 pieces of writing advice gathered by Galleycat.
3) If you’re writing a romance, join the Harlequin Community NaNoWriMo Support Group.