Saturday Summation – 12 July 2014

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…

Writing Stuff:

Trying to write that steamy scene? If you want your story to be more than just a vehicle to write about sex, then author Jenny Crusie offers some expert advice based upon successful experience in how to do this. She says:

“Don’t write sex scenes. Write fascinating scenes full of conflict that changes character and advances story shown through the sexual actions of the characters. Once you stop thinking “sex” and think “character and conflict,” it becomes a lot easier.”

Donald Maas offers advice and perspective on how a character’s goal shapes a story. He asks

“Have you come across scenes in excellent novels which seem to have no plot purpose but which work anyway?  Have you ever felt the undertow of a character’s yearning in commonplace action, tugging your awareness down below the surface of an everyday situation?  Such scenes are infused with the point of view character’s fundamental, underlying and (as yet) unmet need.”

I don’t actually believe in writer’s block,says Shannon Donnelly, and I fundamentally agree. For me I always think it is fear of something and we need to simply identify what that fear is in order to overcome it. Obviously, there are so many other thoughts behind “writer’s block” and Donnelly suggests that it is our instincts trying to tell us something. Check out her ideas about listening to those instincts to help us move forward.

“Write what you know” is a common mantra. Many people interpret it different ways. I like Keith Cronin’s take and how no matter what, our fiction still represents us as authors somehow; there’s always some small autobiographical influence.

Publishing Stuff:

I ran into a few posts this past week about things to know about publishing. I like the approach from an author who is straightforward. Useful perspective for both future authors and for non-writers who aren’t really sure how the whole process works.

This is an older post from June that I finally caught up on, but I’m glad I saved it. Linda Reffstatt gives a great summary of author-reader relationship. It may be that writers write for themselves, but truly, if we are writing to publish and sell, then we have to understand we are also writing for others. I appreciate how she explains how authors can treat their readers well and vice versa.

Remember that post I wrote about how an agent has to feel like your manuscript is one that s/he would rate 5-stars? Orly Konig-Lopez offers excellent insight as having been one who used to read submissions as a reader for an agent. Not only that, she then suggests how to turn the reader report into an editorial tool for your own manuscript. I love this resource.


Books I’ve Read, Recently:

I read a string of Jennifer Crusie novels while on vacation and if you enjoy romantic chick lit, nobody does it better.

The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen (YA)

Counting by 7s, Holly Goldberg Sloan (MG)

Currently reading: The Things We Do for Love, Kristin Hannah


Video of the Week:

I think I’ll be the bragging Mama this week. My oldest son joined his high school marching band this summer and they won some awards, which was more impressive given their small size (~35 members compared to 50-75 member bands). Here is a video of the show that won them the AA championship:


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2 Responses to Saturday Summation – 12 July 2014

  1. Jen (@JSQ79) says:

    I always enjoy these posts and the articles you share. I’ve still never read a Jennifer Cruise novel, but I think her blog is great. Maybe once I get out of my detective novel phase, I’ll give her a try.


  2. tantemary says:

    I too always enjoy these posts and articles you share! While I’m not a writer (yet?) I am intrigued by the process and you always have great tips/articles to share, thanks!


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