Monday, February 15, 2016

The Top Five: Best Writing-Related Articles from February 8-12

5. "How to Connect on Twitter Without Selling Out Your Community" on There Are No Rules blog at WritersDigest.com (DMG Byrnes, guest columnist)

Link: http://bit.ly/1oev2V5

As social media go, Twitter can be a tough nut to crack. You've only got 140 characters, which includes spaces and punctuation (give me a break). People complain when you add more than your requisite share of hashtags per message. And it's often a challenge to find ways to engage and still get word out about your own books. Check out this excellent post on how to circumvent some of the difficulties and make a fresh start on Twitter.

Are you on Twitter? What do you like about the platform? What do you hate about it? What would you change about it?


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4. "Here's a Fun Way to Build Your Freelance Writing Brand --- And It's Free!" on The Write Life (Marian Schembari)

Link: http://bit.ly/1R3sRNP

Working to build your brand can be a challenge, whether you're a freelance writer or a blogger or an author or all of the above. What do you stand for? What do you represent? How do you want people to know you? What do you want others to associate you with? (For instance, what comes to mind when you think of Jane Friedman? Paula Dean? Michael Hyatt?) Here's a (free!) tool you can use to rack up some face-time in your chosen industry.

What's your brand? What do you think people think of when they see your name? What do you want them to think of? What can you change to bridge that gap?


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3. "Are You Confusing Readers?" on Live Write Breathe (Janalyn Voigt)

Link: http://bit.ly/1PVPSmE

Okay, fiction and memoir writers, and even nonfiction writers ... I'm sure you've seen a list like this one before. Still, there's no accounting for how many times it can take before something really sinks in so that we start recognizing it as a problem and work to change it, so I feel justified citing a brief, well-written article like this one. Check your writing against these things, from redundancy to wordiness, that can leave readers confused.

Which one of the pitfalls on the list is your nemesis? How do you watch out for that in your own writing? How can you recognize it earlier?


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2. "5 Common Problems with Beginnings" on Fiction University (Janice Hardy)

Link: http://bit.ly/20xTWeu

As hard as it is to get through that middle hump of your novel, or to craft just the perfect ending to a well-told tale, there's something about beginnings that make them equally difficult. The beginning sets up everything that comes after ... everything. I've even heard it said that the very first sentence of your novel should summarize the entire rest of the story, even if the reader won't realize that until the conclusion. Here are five prevalent challenges that come with starting your story.

Are any of those problems present in your own work-in-progress? What steps will you take to correct them?


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1. "How to Make Beta Reading Work For Us" on Jami Gold

Link: http://bit.ly/1R3tuad

Beta reading has been going on for a while now (as in, decades at least) but it's only recently been given a name. And it turns out that it's one of the most helpful things an author can arrange for his or her current work-in-progress. We authors are too close to our own works to pick out problems with pace and mood and tension and characterization. That's what beta readers are for. Author Jami Gold knows whereof she speaks, and this post is packed with great advice on finding beta readers and establishing working relationships.

Do you use beta readers? Why or why not? After reading the article, did your opinion change?


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And that's the lineup for last week. What resonated with you? What fell flat for you? What are you working on these days? How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?

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