Monday, February 8, 2016

The Top Five: Best Writing-Related Articles from February 1-5

5. "How to Find and Work With a Freelance Editor" on Nathan Bransford (Christine Pride, guest columnist)

Link: http://bit.ly/1PKxHjT

It's not enough to have a great idea for a novel. It's not even enough to create interesting characters and a fast-paced plot and an attention-grabbing hook. You could have the greatest story idea in the history of the world, but if your work hasn't been edited for those sticky little errors in grammar and punctuation and spelling, you can't expect it to be taken seriously. That's the sad truth today.

It's also, though, an empowering truth. Now you know what you need to do to make your novel or memoir or whatever the best it can possibly be. Get it edited. And here's an expert post on what to look for and what to expect from that process.

Do you have an editor with whom you regularly work? What's your favorite part about the editing process? What's your least favorite part? Why?


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4. "Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 48: No Conflict Between Characters" on Helping Writers Become Authors (K. M. Weiland)

Link: http://bit.ly/1QQX6aI

Maybe you've already got an editor (see #5 above) and you're hot and heavy into the revision process, but you keep coming across comments in the margins in your editor's decisive handwriting: "Boring," "Not enough going on," "Nothing happening." All of that together can mean many things, but one huge indication of "nothing going on" is a lack of conflict. Story is driven by conflict; otherwise, we don't care what happens.

So what does it take to infuse conflict into every single page and paragraph of your manuscript? Start with conflict between characters, and read this excellent post on what you can do to deliberately bore your readers to death, should that be your goal ... or to solve the dullness problem and keep them turning pages.

Where does your work-in-progress (WIP) lack conflict? What three things will you change to infuse conflict into that scene, chapter, or interaction?


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3. "Emmie Mears: Hi, Hello, We're Here to Revoke Your Artist Card" on terribleminds.com (Emmie Mears, guest columnist)

Link: http://bit.ly/1T0t06C

Almost every writer, if he or she is honest, will admit to having felt like an impostor. Like you actually have no talent or gifts or ability whatsoever, and why are you even sitting at a desk day after day pretending to be able to write when you know you're only producing drivel that no one will want to read?

That's impostor syndrome. And it's hideous and awful and horrible and debilitating ... and normal. Yes, normal. I promise. Check out this hilarious, unrepentant, uncouth, insightful editorial on the subject by an author colleague of Chuck Wendig's. He only posts the best.

When have you felt most like an impostor? What made you feel that way? What did you do with those feelings? What will you do differently next time?


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2. "13 Productivity Apps to Help Keep Your Writing Goals on Track" on The Write Life (Jett Farrell-Vega)

Link: http://bit.ly/1mnTjXt

You know your limitations. You know what distracts you the most, what you have to do before you can get into the right mindset for writing, what rituals and routines make your muse show up on time every day. You know yourself best. Here are more than a dozen different recommendations for ways that technology can assist you in achieving your writing goals, so you don't stay too distracted or disorganized to create.

What one distraction is your biggest nemesis? Is there any app in the article that will help you eliminate that? What two other actionable steps will you take to minimize its impact on you?


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1. "Nourishing Our Creativity to Help Our Writing" on Jami Gold

Link: http://bit.ly/1SEtBwp

Maybe you find yourself blocked. Maybe you can't figure out how to move your character past an obstacle. Maybe the amazing story idea you had last night or last week looks flat and boring on paper. Maybe you just can't think of the right word. What you need is a dose of creativity, something upon which your imagination can draw and expand.

Whether you see yourself as an artist or not, I guarantee you'll get a lot of inspiration out of this brilliant, beautifully written post by author Jami Gold, whose honest approach to the topic will reassure you that even long-time, multi-published authors need regular infusions of creativity. Why not you, too?

Why not you? What do you think keeps you from being creative? What one new thing will you try this week to jar your creativity back to work, even if you have to take a leap outside your comfort zone to do it? Will you commit?


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Happy Fat Tuesday tomorrow, readers, and happy Ash Wednesday this week! What are you up to these days?

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