Otherwhere: Monday Distraction

The art of noticing
The art of noticing

The sun is shining in my window! We are having a run of glorious warm, spring-like days.  Here are some of the links that have caught my attention over the past week:

Writing

This, about another wildly successful indie author/publisher, will either cheer you or make you sick with jealousy.

Jennifer Louden on the art of noticing, some good advice for writers here.

Thoughts on that topic dreaded to all novelists, theme. (Don’t let the word scare you away–there’s good stuff here.)

Don’t let age stop you from writing.

On choosing viewpoint.

I’m not a fan girl of Chuck Palahniuk, but I did like this article, especially the end.

50 great writing blogs.

Knitting

I know, this is a blog about writing. But I can’t resist this article about men who knit and the link to the two cool guys from whom I got it.

What are you reading about/interested in/writing about this week?

Photo by Erik Newth

Otherwhere: A Bright Shiny New Month!

present-heart-gift-4077-lHey, its February! How about that? January went by in a blink, it seems to me I was just in Nashville.  I have it on good authority that this month is going to be a good one, full of new ideas and energy.  But first, let’s wrap up January with a look at some of the posts I read over the last week.

Contests, Submitting, Etc.

Okay, I was all proud of myself because I had an interview with the editor of the New York Times column, Modern Love. But now I can’t find the link. So I went in search of it and found this and this.  I think that last one was the one I originally had in mind–some good tips for submitting there.  And here are the submission guidelines from the Gray Lady herself.

If you’re interested in free-lancing, here’s an article for you.

Women’s fiction writers, here’s a contest for you!

Odds and Ends About Writing

Taming the green-eyed monster.  (Who me? Jealous?)

Finding beta readers.

Plotting. If you’re like me, its a big bugaboo. Janice Hardy offers good advice.

Comedy writing secrets. (Here’s a tip: its hard! My first novel, Emma Jean’s Bad Behavior, was funny, but that wasn’t entirely purposeful, its just the way it came out.)

What to do in the empty spaces between books.

Other Items of Interest

Knitting is good for you! (And thanks to Jenni for sending me this link.)

Breakthrough moments.  (And I got this link here.)

Achieve more by doing less (or, multi-tasking is bad for you).

Finally, I offer this link to the NYT book review of Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff.  I mentioned in my Friday post that I had started it and wasn’t quite sure of it. But now I’m totally absorbed and loving it.  The author plays with narrative structure and viewpoint in a way that is unique and would usually annoy me but for some reason doesn’t. Its a dense book, but one I think is really worth reading.

What have you been reading/thinking about/perusing this week?

Photo by plattmunk.

Otherwhere: Last Week in January

dog with sunglassesYeah, it really is the last week in January.  Amazing.   And the sun is shining in my window as I write this–even more amazing!  Here are some coolio links for the past week:

Writing Stuff

In which genre do you write? Understanding how genre affects marketing is one key to success.

Every book needs a good editor, and if your publisher does not offer you one, you’ll need to pay for it yourself.  Here’s a post about how to lessen those costs.

One of the best things you can do in order to write gripping fiction is to torture your character.  This is really hard for most of us!  But Stephen Pressfield has some tips on how to make your hero suffer.

Method acting for writers. I’ve always thought acting and writing had a lot in common.  Thanks to Caroline Harrison for sending me this.

I’ve become more and more aware of diversity and trying to foster it in the fictional worlds I create. Here’s a post that talks more about it.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but it only gets harder (it being writing).

And in news unrelated to writing, check out this interesting idea, which assigns three words to every location on earth as an easy way to standardize addresses.

Also, I want to make this sweater.

That is all.  No wait, it isn’t.  I have a question.  Actually, you may not be able to answer it. But I’ll go ahead anyway. What days are you most apt to spend time reading a blog post?  I’m trying to figure out a consistent schedule for posting.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday? Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday? (Which has sort of been what I’m doing, except then I dreamed up Five on Friday so that gums everything up.) Any ideas appreciated.

The photo has nothing to do with anything. I just liked it. Credit: Duchessa.

Otherwhere: January 16, 2016

6a00d8341cb7f353ef01b7c6cefc78970b-320wiFirst of all, can you believe it is the middle of January already? Geesh, time flies.  I guess being out of town the first week of the month made it fly all the faster.  By the way, my wise meditation teacher has a theory on why we think that time goes faster as we age: because we’ve done the same things so many times that we are doing them mindlessly.  And if we took the time to do them mindfully, time would slow down again. I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly struggling to be more mindful, so this is good impetus.

Anyway, there’s lots going on around the interwebs this month, even if it is January.  When I was a kid, I hated January.  It seemed do depressing and blah after the holidays.  Now I see it differently–and I love it.  The month feels clean and fresh to me, and the unlimited blank canvas of the year stretches before me.   I’m thinking up ideas for books and content, and getting inspired about things I can do.  Accordingly, I’ve got a mixed bag of links today.  (Oh, when do I have anything but a mixed bag? It is just the way my brain works.)

Writing

How to tell if a subplot is leading you astray, by the always-reliable Janice Hardy.

Stealing time.  We all need more of it!

Creating strong female protagonists.  Always a concern of mine.

The importance of play.

How to find the meaning of life through writing.  Victoria Mixon, author of this post, is listed on the link below.  Nice bit of synchronicity.

Larry Brooks on his rabid belief in story structure.  He will hunt you down and kill you if you don’t follow his method exactly. Or at least that’s how his writing comes off.  He drives me nuts, but he does make some good points, though his bombastic voice often makes me resist his advice.

A list of the best writing blogs.  Some of these are very familiar to me (and probably you), but others, not so much. I can’t quite figure out why they refer to all of them as “copywriting” blogs, though.  Ah well, its a great reference.

Marketing

Creating your author brand.  This relates four easy steps to take. I like.

How to boost your freelance income with a blog.

Making money from your poetry.  I’m still dubious, but the article has some good ideas.

Guilty Pleasures/Time Sucks

I’m in love with a mad Russian and his name is Eugene Kaspersky.  He’s the head of an international cyber-security firm and he flies around the world in his spare time, which is always.  Goes to obscure places (Kamchatka, anyone?) and takes tons of great photos, which he accompanies with wry commentary.

That’s it, that’s all I’ve got.  Have a great weekend and share any great links, writing-related or otherwise, you might come across–including your very own blog!

Otherwhere: It’s Almost Christmas!

6a00d8341cb7f353ef01b8d0b226d1970c-320wiI’ve got a bushel full of links for you today, many of them Christmas-related, because, in case you hadn’t noticed, the big day is only five days away. Awk! Excuse me while I go wrap some presents.  No, instead I’ll do what I always do when I’m feeling overwhelmed: fart around on the internet.  Here are some of my finds:

If you haven’t seen it yet, this video of Santa signing with a deaf child is worth a view.

It’s not too late for a holiday baking spree! (I’ve got cookies in the oven even as I type.)

And how about some Christmas ornaments from Paris?

Okay, enough of this holiday foolishness, let’s get down to writing.

Like everyone else, I watched the Adele special. (Because, Adele.) At one point she commented that singing is hard. Writing is hard, too, as this post attests.  But, like all the good things, it is totally worth it.

One of the reasons it is hard is that as a writer, one must learn to weather rejection and failure.  Here’s some advice on how to do this, from one of my favorite authors.

How do you describe your protagonist?  Because, when you are writing in their viewpoint, it can be tricky.  The ever-reliable Janice Hardy has advice for you.

And, here’s an interesting take on what takes some writers so loooooong to write.

Here is one of the links referenced in the above post.  This one is from Joanna Penn on writing fast.  It’s a podcast, to which I am morally opposed (because who has time to listen to them) but bless her writerly heart, she’s got a transcript on the page.

Okay, that’s it, that’s all I got.  I’m off to In-law Dinner #2.  By happenstance, last night we attended a dinner party with the in-laws from my son’s side.  Tonight it is dinner with in-laws from my daughter’s side.  Lucky for us, we all like each other!

PS–does anybody know of a way to save a WordPress post when you’ve accidentally deleted it, as happened to me the first time I wrote it?  You know, like word has the little squiggle icon that you can hit when you want to get something back.

Otherwhere: Only One Day Late This Week!

It appears that Christmas is kicking my ass.  Appears that way, because it feels like I’ve been crazy xmas_christmas_miniature_109097_lbusy, so busy that I’ve not collected my usual round-up of links.  But I’m not running around shopping like crazy because I refuse to spend time in malls and do most of it online.  And I gave up writing Christmas cards years ago.  I do, however, decorate the house and spend tons of time with family.  This past weekend we rode the Holiday Express train in the pouring rain, which is a blast.  And today we’re celebrating the four-year-old’s birthday with corn dogs and mac and cheese. And let us not forget the cheese cake I made last night that has so much cream cheese and peanut butter in it that it weighs ten pounds, I swear.  You so want to come to dinner now, don’t you?

Anyway, I didn’t save links for you but I decided that I could still do my weekly Otherwhere post by sharing some of my favorite places on the web and you can go soak up all the richness of them yourself.   So here we go:

Writing

Writer Unboxed is a blog written by a variety of people, some better than others, but it is always worth checking out.

Jane Friedman always has the inside scoop on publishing.

Janice Hardy writes Fiction University.  I think she publishes every day, which is astounding, especially because her posts are usually full of useful information on writing.

For you freelancers, Anne Wayman’s long-running blog About Freelance Writing has a bunch of great stuff, always.

Food

I just discovered Center Cut Cook and have founds some great recipes on this blog.  The author of it has her hands full with a husband suffering from cancer and a child with a serious medical problem so I always click on a few ads while I’m there.

I’ve been reading Kath Eats Real Food for years, and I’m not quite sure why because the constant perfection of the author gets a bit wearying.  But I do like her take on healthy food, so…

Okay, you really have to have a taste for rich food to follow The Pioneer Woman.  She’s become an industry onto herself with product lines at Walmart and a Food Network show, but I like her photos of the cattle on the ranch.

Knitting and Stitching

Of course I couldn’t resist adding a few under this category.

There’s Mason-Dixon Knitting, which just started up again after a few month’s absence.

And I love Fringe Association.  She’s got fabulous items in her store.

Alabama Chanin speaks for itself. Swoon.

And Sublime Stitching always has interesting things going on.

Farming

Yes, farming.  I’m a confirmed city girl, but I love reading about people mucking about in the mud.  I really only have one favorite under this category and that is:

Celi’s The Kitchen Garden. She runs a small family farm in Illinois and blogs daily, with tons of photos.  I marvel at her energy and fortitude and live very vicariously through her blog.  Though I’d love to go stay in her cabin and write for a week or two some time.

General

Oh, there’s BuzzFeed, which is aimed at a demographic much younger than me as far as I can tell, but I enjoy it anyway.  Sometimes their stories make me howl with laughter and that’s a great thing in anyone’s world.

And there’s Brain Pickings, which is an incredible weekly labor of love.

And Jezebel, also for younger women than me, but hey, I write women’s fiction, I need to know what’s going on in the minds of the younger generation. (Having a daughter and a daughter-in-law helps, too.)

Okay, honestly, I didn’t expect the list to get this out of control.  I’ve got more, but I’ll spare you and myself.  In the meantime, what are your go-to blogs?

Image by Jeff Belmonte, from Every Stock Photo.

Otherwhere: Unusual Monday Edition

typewriter_machine_write_266203_lIt has been a good week for interesting links around the web, and I have saved several in my travels.  As regular readers know, I usually do this post on Saturday.  But this week on Saturday, I was co-leading a workshop called The Ins and Outs of Publishing, which was held at an awesome bookstore, Another Read Through.  And then yesterday was one of those days when I just didn’t get near the computer much.  Which brings us to Monday.  And a wet and dark Monday it is, at least in Portland. So here are some links to brighten your day:

I really liked this prompt from Janice Hardy.

Typewriters are hip again! (My grandchildren love banging away on the antique typewriter that sits in my living room.  They are going to be waaay ahead of their time.)

The role of hope in writing fiction (this is about the actual writing of fiction, not the hope you have while trying to sell it).

Why can’t our fiction be as strange as real life has gotten?

Hate Twitter? Here’s how to master it in 15 minutes a day.

One way to up your productivity as a writer.

And Jane Friedman’s take on her own level of productivity.

The future of publishing remains bright.

“I’ve been hearing about the demise of publishing since the first day I stepped through the doors of a publisher back in 1978.”

And, finally, look at the good you can do when you become the most bestselling author in all the land!

 

Photo by wax115, found on everystockphoto.com.

Otherwhere: Grateful It’s Over

LT on chairYeah, so I know I wrote a whole post about being grateful and I am, truly and all.  But today, two days after I wore myself out cooking for 14 people and a baby, I have one more thing to be grateful about–and that is that Thanksgiving is over.  At about noon on Thursday, after being up since 5:30 working in the kitchen, I said, to nobody in particular, “I’m done.  Not doing this again.”

I’ll let you know how that works out next year at this time.

The thing is, turkey day has totally messed with my NaNoWriMo word count.  Last week, on which exact day I can’t remember because my brain is fogged, I figured I had about 10,000 words to go.  At my usual rate of 2,000 words a day, that seemed like a breeze to accomplish. EXCEPT I FAILED TO FACTOR IN COOKING FOR 14 PEOPLE ON THANKSGIVING.  And also, at least in my world, there’s not only cooking but cleaning, and lots of it, as well. So now, all these days later, I still have 10,000 words to go and oh, let’s see, three days to finish.  So I’m not going to make it.  But I’ll probably finish with about 42,000 words.  And that’s 42K more than I had on October 31.  And I wasn’t really doing it anyway, since I already had around 17,000 words.

Okay, enough about me.  Let’s head out and see what happened in other places on the internet this week.  It’s a short-ish list because lots of what was happening on the internet this week was Black Friday related.  But here we go:

How Long Should Your Legs Be?  A funny title but a good post from novelist Eleanor Brown.  I’ll let you figure out what she means.

Why I Left My Agent.  A guest post on Jane Friedman’s site, I read this one with avid interest.  Because, I love my agent and I love feeling like I have someone in my corner to help me with my career.  But, as we know, there’s a lot of changes in the publishing world these days and so I’m interested in all viewpoints.  You probably should be, too.

Why You Should Commit to Continuous Practice. I follow the author of this post, Saundra Goldman, on Instagram, and often like her snapshots of her writing practice.  Finally it occurred to me to go check out her website. Turns out she teaches with Natalie Goldberg and has a cool site.  Check it out.

A Literary Gift Guide: Top 15 Paris Books.  Because, Paris.  Always and forever.

Say No to Say Yes.  From Barbara O’Neal, one of my favorite writers.

Okay, that’s it for me.  That’s all I got.  I’m going to go eat leftover turkey and maybe sneak in a piece of pie for dessert.  How about you? How was your Thanksgiving?  (Or if you live overseas, what lovely non-turkey related things did you do this week?)

(Photo of my cat sleeping on my office chair, since I wasn’t using it.)

Otherwhere: November 21

PiepieIt is a sunny but very cold Saturday here, and I’m holed up inside trying to finish up my NaNoWriMo word count for the day before I start in on yet more cleaning in anticipation of hosting Thanksgiving.

But, as always, or at least for the last two weeks, I have saved up a lot of cool links as I travel the internet and I share them with you today.  Most of them have to do with writing, as befits a writing blog (duh) but I threw in a couple bonus links on other topics, too.  Here goes:

Writing

I didn’t find as many useful past as usual this week, but I do offer you a collection of posts on writing scenes.  I went in search of these for a student.  Collectively, I think they are helpful:

10 Ways to Launch Strong Scenes

Excellent advice here.

The actual advice in this post is a bit too anal for the way I write, but there are some interesting examples of scene lists from famous writers here.

This post is titled How to Write a Scene, and it may just help you do that. Let’s hope.

And, how about some writing prompts specifically oriented to getting you deeper into your scene?  Here you go.

Social Media

I adore Instagram.  I used to spend spare moments scrolling through my Facebook feed, but now I look at Instagram instead.  However, I’ve been a bit stumped as to how to use it effectively as a writer.  After all, there’s nothing particularly fascinating about photo after photo of a computer.

This post from Jane Friedman offers ideas.

Pie

Of course you need posts on pie.  Because, it is almost Thanksgiving.  And who isn’t baking pies this week?

Quiet Reflection–Making Pies From Scratch

Thanksgiving Pie Ideas

“Be Happy, Make Pie”

How to Make Pie Dough

Okay, enough with the pies. A couple other items of interest:

Here’s a brief, interesting history of Black Friday.

And, for the knitters, this post on knitting Icelandic sweaters makes me drool.  Its all I can do to stop myself from ordering pattern and yarn.  Except I have declared a moratorium on all yarn purchases until 2050, which is about when I will have finished all my current projects.

And now I am off to organize the hall closet so we can actually fit coats in it.  And dream of pie.  And cozy Lopi sweaters.

Otherwhere: Sadness and Distraction

PeaceforParisI do have some good links that I’ve been collecting for you all week. But my heart is so, so heavy today and I am distracted as I read the news about my beloved city, Paris.  It is so hard to know how to react or what to say in the face of such a horrible monstrosity.  About the best I can do is mimic what a woman from my church said: we must acknowledge what happened, and pray for the victims, their families, and to bring light to the minds that breed such hatred.  Arrggh.  Everything sounds so lame in reaction.

Okay.  Deep breath.  First, here are a couple of Paris-related posts:

Paris, My Darling from Janice Macleod.

A lovely post from some of my favorite knitters.

Paris Breakfasts. (That’s the name of her blog–but it covers way more than breakfasts.)

Shine On, Beautiful Paris.

And now, back to our usual topic, writing.

If you only read one link this week, read this one, about romanticizing rejection.

Can you promote your book without making yourself crazy? Hope so.  Here’s some tips to help.

Another post on writing fast, a current fav topic of mine.

I’ve got two great links from Austin Kleon this week.  This one, on what the real problem is with writer’s block.  And this one, an interview I enjoyed.

How about a nifty infographic on arranging your home office?  Here you go.

And why not try breaking in at the top with your magazine articles?

Finally, here’s advice for fitting in backstory without using flashbacks.

Okay, that’s it.  That’s all I’ve got today.  Carry on, and love one another, okay?.