Useful Writing Links

May 23, 2010 at 6:39 am (Death's Daughter, Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , , )

Useful, or maybe just interesting. I’ve been finding some great blogs recently and really want to share all of them but have limited myself to those that I think will be most helpful.

I think anyone thinking about self-publishing should check out Stephen Tremp’s blog, Breakthrough Blogs.  He’s been keeping us up to date on his publishing journey and the steps it ahs taken.  You may need to go through a few posts but there is some excellent information to be found.

Margot Kinberg on Confessions of a Mystery Novelist has an interesting post discussing development of characters and the changes they make with age. Some of her examples are quite interesting and the discussion that follows was well worth the read.

Martin Edwards on Do You Write Under Your Own Name discusses the authenticity and whether it is always necessary. Some interesting points made here.

The blog Plot to Punctuation has a great post, Seven Ways to Show Character Growth.  Fantastic ideas to explore.

From JannaTWrites Blog, Writer’s are Like Superman.  Gave me a smile.

Cheryl Angst discusses the Top 3 Things she focuses on while writing.

Always a Writer asks you what you promise the reader. This one got me thinking.

Then, just because it is my blog, I’m throwing in a link to the excerpt from Death’s Daughter.

As usual, if you have a link you think will be helpful, please add it in your comment but try to make sure it is writing related and not spam.  Wishing everyone the best.

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My Favourite Female Protagonist

May 20, 2010 at 8:50 am (Character, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , )

Following on from yesterday, where I sent out the call for bloggers to tell us about their favourite female protagonist, today I am sharing mine.

I went through all of my fantasy and looked longingly at old favourites and yet I knew right from the beginning who I was going to pick as my favourite.

The winner is:  Nest from the Knight of the Word Trilogy by Terry Brooks.

Nest is such an interesting protagonist. She isn’t little miss confident and she doesn’t run straight over every other character. She is quiet and thinks things through. She’s afraid and yet determined. As the series goes on she progresses from a child looking for guidance to a woman who is ready to create her own path.  Nest is definitely my favourite protagonist and she owes it to the strong character development that takes place throughout the series.

Favourite Nest moment:  Has to come from book two, when Nest is really transitioning from girl to woman and she meets with John Ross for the first time since she was a child.  The subtle shift in their relationship is so beautifully constructed.

Close runner up, Tori Alexander, just couldn’t match the development because Tori started her trilogy already fairly confident and determined and didn’t undergo as much change.  Jill from Katherine Kerr’s Deverry series is always great fun but her transition isn’t as smooth or as logical at times. I could have picked Calandra but I think I’m biased on that one.

If you haven’t added your link yet – visit yesterday’s post and add your blog.  Can’t wait to find out who your favourite female protagonist is and why.

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Favourite Female Protagonist

May 20, 2010 at 5:50 am (Character, fiction) (, , , , , , , )

I love reading books with interesting female protagonists.  Anything other than the basic damsel in distress works for me. Strong, funny, awkward, shy, as long as they feel fresh and unique. What I want to know is who are your favourite female protagonists from books or movies.

So…if you’re interested create a post sharing your favourite female protagonist and then add your link to the list.  Let’s see how many female protagonists we can list.

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Click here to enter your link and view the entire list of entered links…

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Lots of Links

May 16, 2010 at 6:26 am (Thoughts on Writing, Weekly Review) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Not reflecting on the week anymore – mostly because I don’t know from week to week whether I’m going to be online or off anymore (hopefully I’ll be online more often than off).  However, I still want to share some great writing links so here they are.

I’ll start with the self-promotion and get it out of the way.  If you haven’t checked out Death’s Daughter, here’s the link.  Or you can read an excerpt here. And if you happen to have a kindle you can buy it from Amazon here.  Self-promotion over and onto some useful links for all the writers out there.

My Pick

Let the Words Flow asks nine writers whether they outline their plots before writing.  Some great insight.

Other Links

  • Jane Friedman from There Are No Rules has once again shared a list of the best tweets for writers – which comes with a whole lot of links that writers may find helpful. Well worth checking out.
  • Helen Ginger on Straight from Hel looks at the use of details in a story.
  • Beth Groundwater on Inkspot shares some useful brainstorming techniques.

Hopefully some of these links will be helpful for you and if you have some other links that you would like to share, feel free to leave them in the comments. Just try to make sure they are writing related. Thanks.

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I have my reasons…

May 14, 2010 at 6:40 am (Character, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , )

…and my characters should have their reasons.

It is really quite difficult to like a character, or even respect them, if they have no real reason for their actions.  We may laugh at the cliche of an actor asking what their motivation is, but without it, things become pretty pointless, pretty quickly.

I recently started reading a book (it doesn’t really matter which one). Within two chapters I was incredibly frustrated with the protagonist.  Mostly because they had wandered randomly through rooms and observed really strange things but hadn’t reacted to anything and had just made the decision to leave the building – though why they were there in the first place had yet to be established. The whole time, as a reader, I was wanting the protagonist to turn and figure out why something was in a certain place or doing something.  I wanted to know why they were there, why they were so indifferent to the bizarre surroundings.  I wanted to know what was going on inside their head so that I could figure out whether they were just really composed on the outside but freaking out on the inside.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much further into the story. I made the decision that whether or not the author ever explained what the protagonist was doing and why, I wasn’t going to continue reading it.

This is kind of an extreme case and there is every possibility that within the next chapter all may have been explained.

More commonly we find villains who are bad because, well, the protagonist needed someone in their way.

We find sidekicks who help because… They’re a sidekick.  That’s their job.

We have hench men who hench but have no apparent personality or individual drive for anything and as a consequence fade into obscurity.

And the unforgivable – heroes who are good because they are.

How imporant do you think character motivation is?  Better yet – have you got an example of a protagonist who drove you crazy because they seemed to have no motivation?

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Rules for Writing Fiction

May 13, 2010 at 7:25 am (Planning, Structure, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , )

I visited a blog called the Life and Laughs of me the other day and came across a post entitled, Rules for Writing Fiction.  It is well worth a read if for nothing else than to get you thinking about whether you have any rules you follow consistently when writing fiction.

Personally, I disagreed with rule 8 on this list.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Personally I like being kept in suspense as a reader, as long as the revelation is worth the wait.

That said, number 6 – be a sadist – is an excellent rule.  Just because you feel connected to your protagonist and have spent so much time on them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t heap ruin and pain upon them. It makes for a far more interesting story.

So what are your rules for writing fiction?

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I Am Not A Blade of Grass

May 12, 2010 at 6:31 am (Editing, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , )

Okay, I am aware that the list of things I am not would far surpass the list of things that I am.

I’ve recently realised that despite my being part of gen Y and being fully aware that language is a dynamic, living, changing  thing and that I am a very big fan of splitting infinitives and breaking other traditional grammatical rules, I am not simply going to go wherever the wind is blowing.

Specifically, I’ve recently realised that when I’m reading other people’s blogs, I don’t mind the occasional spelling error or sentence fragment. Most of us write blogs quickly, do a once over and a spell check and that’s about it. If someone points out a massive error in the comments, maybe go back and edit. Blogs are not generally going to be a perfectly polished type of text. Some people will disagree with me and I know there are people who spend ages over each blog and that works for them.

Despite that, it really bothers me when I’m reading a blog and it isn’t punctuated. I’m not talking about every comma being in the right place and correct use of semi-colons, I’m just talking about basic full stops and capital letters with an occasional apostrophe. It really puts me off to the point where I don’t remember the content at all. Same with lower case I’s. It doesn’t take that much more effort to tag the shift key while typing to make it a capital.

Maybe this is me being overly pedantic about things other people don’t find important but there we have it. It interferes with my ability to enjoy content.

I’d love to hear your opinion.

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Response to Writing Blind

May 11, 2010 at 7:39 am (Planning, Thoughts on Writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I ran across a post by Kyle on his blog “Exercise in Futility” called Writing Blind and really started thinking.  Kyle asks:

How much should I know about my story before sitting down to start on a draft?  Should I have the entire plot mapped out, with all the main plot points, or should I just go with it, and write whatever comes to mind?

And really, we all ask that question from time to time. We get an idea, get really excited and maybe want to leap straight into writing, and some people have to start writing straight away or they lose that spark, that fire, whatever it is that drives them to write the idea down. Others know from experience that they have to have at least an outline, while others still won’t consider drafting without detailed chapter by chapter break downs and six hundred colour coded notes on each character.

I’ve come to understand my own writing pattern fairly well and ever I still wonder whether I could do it better. I don’t plan too much. Mostly because I don’t look at any of my notes once I start writing the first draft. I just don’t. I close my eyes and type and when I feel my fingers slowing I read what I’ve written and sometimes start writing again and sometimes read blogs or tweets or go watch television or do some other work until I feel ready to write again.

However I never start a draft without having written out an outline and character profiles and concept maps. I have a notebook with all of these things in it. I just don’t use them once I’m writing.

My theory is it is a safety net. It’s like when I used to play the clarinet. I would practise a piece over and over again. I could play it perfectly. It could play it without ever actually looking at the music and I knew this because half the time I would forget to turn the page of the music. However, if someone took the music away I suddenly would freeze and wouldn’t be able to tell you what the first note was. The music was my safety net. I didn’t need it, but it made me feel like I knew what I was doing and so I was fine.

My note book with my plans is my safety net. If I get really, really stuck on something and I desperately want to finish it (though usually when I’m that stuck it is because what I’m working on is rubbish) I can go back and see where I was meant to be going and where I’ve gone wrong. That and I usually remember most of what I’ve written down in the book anyway and so I’m following the plan and just adding bits to it and tweaking it as I go.

And that works for me.

The advice I read many time, given to me by many of the bloggers out there, when I first started trying to write for something more than my own enjoyment was that every writer has to find what works for them. Read what others do and then try some of the different suggestions but don’t feel like there is some ‘right’ way to accomplish the task.

Incidentally, I would love to hear what is working for other people at the moment because I’m always looking for new ideas.

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Picasso Blog Award

February 12, 2010 at 5:37 am (Author Info) (, , , , )

I recently received the Picasso blog award from Little Scribbler. Thanks so much for passing this on to me.

As a condition of  the award, I have to  state seven facts about myself, and then pass the award onto seven other bloggers.


http://littlescribbler.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/picasso-award.jpg

  1. I use my computer’s mouse with my left hand.
  2. I love watching anime, particularly a fan of Bleach and Sailor Moon.
  3. I think dessert should always be chocolate – or at least have something chocolate flavoured involved.
  4. I really don’t like movies about talking animals but love animals that talk in books.
  5. No matter what other people tell me, I still believe that colour coding is the best system for organising books/DVD’s and anything else that requires organisation.
  6. My calendar is currently on the correct month. That probably won’t happen again for the rest of this year.
  7. Claymation is just creepy.

Alright, now for seven bloggers to pass this award onto.

Jemi Fraser from Just Jemi.

Carol Kilgore from Under the Tiki Hut.

Ann Elle Altman from All Write With Coffee.

Patricia Stoltley.

Elspeth Antonelli from It’s a Mystery.

Helen Ginger from Straight from Hel.

Eric from Working My Muse.

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Over the Top Blog Award

February 8, 2010 at 5:31 am (Other) (, , , , )

Last week Carol Kilgore at Under the Tiki Hut passed on the Over the Top blog award to me.

This is a cool award. The rules are that I must mention Carol’s name and blog. Also I must answer a string of questions with one-word only answers and pass the award to five other bloggers here and by leaving a comment on their blogs.

So first I’ll answer the questions, then we’ll talk about passing it on.

Your cell phone? Paperweight
Your Hair? Unpredictable
Your Favorite Food? Chocolate
Your Dream Last Night? Freaky
What Room Are You In? Study
Your Hobby? Reading
Your Fear? Accidents
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Somewhere
Where Were You Last Night? Bed
Something That You Aren’t? Forgettable (hopefully)
Wish List Item? Magic-wand
Where Did You Grow Up? South-East QLD
Last Thing You Did? read
What Are You Wearing? clothes
Your TV? Functional
Your Pets? Kitten
Friends? Possibly
Your Life? Manageable
Your Mood? Reflective
Your Favorite Color? Red
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Fridge


And the five bloggers I’m passing the Over the Top Blog Award to are:

Elizabeth Spann Craig at Mystery Writing is Murder

Alex J Cavenaugh at Alex J Cavanaugh

V.V. Denam at V.V. Denam

Corra McFeydon at From the desk of a writer

Crystal Clear Proofing

Please visit their blogs and you’ll see for yourself how Over the Top they are – and in such awesome ways.

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