Saturday Summation – 26 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:

I love the title of Tom Bentley’s post on the Writer Unboxed blog: “How Being a Presumptuous Asshat Can Help Your Writing” because it draws you in and then he does a great job of giving real-life examples of how an image of someone can change. He then uses those examples to show how we can create enticing layers for our characters. How can a character surprise a reader – or another character?

Mark Pryor gave a great rationale for killing off major characters in fiction. He talks of when it is necessary for story and development for the protagonists. This is key – killing a character must have relevance and not just be done for dramatic effect. I believe I posted it before, but I think it is interesting to re-link author Jen J. Danna’s post about a contract an author has with her reader, though, too. Looking at these viewpoints side-by-side – what do you think?

 

Reading Stuff:

Porter Anderson offers a lot of great points in this analysis of the inefficacy of 5-star and 1-star ratings. The only issue I have with it is that he almost makes it out as though to say they shouldn’t ever be used, but if they are never used, then isn’t the 4-star just the new 5-star? Does 5-star necessarily have to mean perfection? I feel that I can give a 5-star rating and still offer honest criticism that includes both what I loved and the parts I didn’t. Just because I didn’t like all parts of a story doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t think it was stellar overall. Your thoughts?

If you caught my post earlier this week about overanalyzing books, you can see some of the nitty gritty discussion that could come up (not in reviews, but in general discussions) when you’ve become a writer who reads. Agent Rachel Kent talks about getting caught in “writing ruts”.

 

Reading/Writing Stuff:

Matthew Salesses talks about the pressures of taking on diversity issues when you are a writer of color. If it isn’t hard enough to get more diverse books into more readers’ hands, we also put the onus of expecting that their authors continually be the spokespeople of racial issues. Salesses gives a glimpse into this unfair challenge: “Here is a not uncommon experience. Writer Emily X.R Pan was told by the white writers in her workshop that the racism in her story could never happen — though every incident had happened to her.”

 

Publishing Stuff:

I get asked a lot about if I would (or why I chose not to) self-publish. You can see my full opinion here (it hasn’t changed much), but NPR had a story this week about how many self-published authors are managing to make a living now from their work, which isn’t necessarily true of traditionally-published authors. If that is your goal (in addition to sharing your stories, of course), then the self-published route might be for you. I would still say this article does not necessarily represent the majority of self-published authors, though. It is easy – for those who haven’t fully researched all avenues – to mistakenly believe that this could easily be your path when in fact it is still hard work to meet that success on your own.

 

Song of the Week:

I spent a few days earlier this week at a friend’s place off of Lake Michigan. This song was on my travel playlist and seems fitting for beautiful summer days:

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