Link Feast vol 64 – Helpful Writing Tips

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If You Have Time For Only One Link

How to Know Which Parts of Your Story Readers Will Like Best (It Isn’t Always What You Think) by K.M. Weiland

On Writing Partners, Teams and Big Casts

How to Create Powerful Character Combos by Chris Winkle

18 Ways for Protagonists to Contribute by Chris Winkle

Five Underused Character Archetypes by Chris Winkle

Head, Heart, Gut (aka How to Create a Polarized Ensemble) – a collection of posts by Matt Bird, really worth checking out

http://www.secretsofstory.com/2017/05/head-heart-gut-aka-how-to-create.html

Creating a Polarized Ensemble, Part 1: The Pros and Cons of Polarization by Matt Bird (the first post of the series)

http://www.secretsofstory.com/2012/10/creating-polarized-ensemble-part-1-pros.html

On Writing

What Keeps You From Success? Are You a Prisoner of Unexamined Beliefs? by Anne R. Allen

How to Find Your Writing Purpose by Leanne Sowul

Resistance Wakes Up With Me by Steven Pressfield

Writing Tips: 6 Ways to Give Perfectionism the Boot by T. Thorn Coyle

A Prayer to the Muse by Steven Pressfield

For National Novel Writing Month, Two Vital Reminders by Chuck Wendig

3 Ways to Keep Writing When Times Are Tough by Chandler Bolt

When Your Writing Dreams Change by Julie Glover

The Benefits of Writing a Novel “Just For Fun” by Janice Hardy

How to Build a Long Term Writing Career by James Scott Bell

NaNoWriMo is coming… Are You Ready? By Jami Gold (how much do we need to prep for NaNo + resource links)

How Predictable Should a Story Be? By Chris Winkle

Five Archetypes That Can Steal the Hero’s Spotlight by Oren Ashkenazi

The Villain Has No Empathy by Steven Pressfield

The Villain Never Says He’s Sorry by Steven Pressfied

Six Ways to Make Your Villains Likable by Chris Winkle (what if the villain said he’s sorry. Or is he just sorry [not sorry]…)

Scene Layering With an Example by Rebecca Zanetti

Wow Your Fantasy Reader – 10 Tips For Writing Wonder by Yours Truly

Representing People of Color in Fantasy When Their Country/Continent Doesn’t Exist by Mod Lesya

10 Steps to Writing a Novella by Delilah S. Dawson

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2013/04/guest-author-delilah-s-dawson-10-steps.html

Book Marketing

Do I Need a Platform and If So, How High? by Anne Greenwood Brown

Book Blog Reviews and Bookstagram: How Influencers Help Authors Reach Agents, Publishers and Readers by Julie Valerie

Authors! Refresh, Rehab, Repair and Renovate: How to Rejuvenate Your Backlist by Ruth Harris

Deep Stuff

We Are the Weirdos, Mister: Power, Rage and Teenage Witches by Kate Racculia

If You Master This Listening Technique, You’ll Hear What People Don’t Say Out Loud by Cathy Salit

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/if-you-master-this-listening-technique-you-ll-hear-what-people-don-t-say-out-loud

Fun Stuff

Episode 70: 2nd Annual Halloween Special Listener Edition – Part One (30 Halloween themed 500 word Flash Fiction stories read out loud)

Episode 71: 2nd Annual Halloween Special Listener Edition – Part Two (30 more Halloween themed 500 word Flash Fiction stories read out loud. My story, The Midnight Gamble, is read starting at 2:02:17)

Why I’m a horrible person by Ristay (a hilarious webcomic)

https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/ristay/why-i-am-a-horrible-person/viewer?title_no=170400&episode_no=15

All the New Fantasy Books Coming Out in November at Tor.com

All the New YA SFF Books Coming Out in November at Tor.com

November’s New Releases by Amanda at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (mostly romance book recs)

The Midnight Gamble – A Halloween Flash Fiction Story

Ten minutes to midnight”, the dealer reminds me.

A warning. At midnight the doors will close and if I’m still here, I will be trapped in this cursed place until next Halloween.

A calculated risk. Now is the time for the game I came here to win. “Deal me one more hand.”

“Sir, you have already lost your soul and your firstborn. What more do you have to offer to the house?”

“Call me Michael.”

“Michael”, she agrees with impatience. My heart sings at hearing my name again from her lips. “Your bet, please.”

“My creativity, my Muse. I’m a writer.”

She closes her eyes and seems to confer with the house through the twisted connection I’m here to end.

“The house accepts. And your prize?”

“You, Miriel, with your memories intact. And all the claims of this place and all connections to it severed.”

She blinks in surprise and opens her mouth but no sound comes out. Then the power takes her over again, and she shivers and whispers. “The house accepts.”

“Then deal.”

And she does. Her hands are steady even though she refuses to meet my eyes.

She reveals her hand, one card at a time. Ten of Hearts, Knight of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts. Sweat beads on my forehead and my hands tremble. Her last card, Three of Spades.

And I have a pair of Nines.

I won. I fucking won.

“Mikey”, she breathes and finally looks at me. A smile blooms on her face, and she is radiant, more beautiful than ever. She remembers. She’s my Miri again.

A deep gong sounds. And again at steady intervals. Fuck. It’s almost midnight. I grab her hand and we run for the door like our lives depend on it. The house trembles like the earth is shaking but our momentum keeps us upright.

We rush through the door and halfway to the gate. Only then I dare to look behind me. The house is there one moment, then it blinks away. It’s over. We’re safe.

Miri stops us and pulls my head down for a desperate kiss. I crush her to me and never intend to let go.

I hold and hold until she finally pulls away.

“I love an idiot”, she groans. “Your soul, Mikey. You should have left me there.”

“Never. I love you, baby.”

“You promised away our firstborn”, her voice breaks. “The whole reason why…”

“I’m so sorry”, I say quietly. “We will find a way.”

“No! No. It isn’t meant to be. We get your soul back, and that’s it.”

“New try next year?”, I ask, only half joking.

She gives me a withering glare. “Don’t be a total dumbass. But we’ll find a way.”

I take her hand. We walk away, together, and right this moment all is well in the world.


Thank you for reading. And Happy Halloween!

If you want to hear the story read out loud, listen to Rebecca Galardo’s and Holly Lisle’s Halloween episode for their podcast Alone In the Room With Invisible People. My story starts at 2:02:17. I highly recommend you to listen the other stories too. They’re stellar.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What did you think of the story? And how are you spending your Halloween? Do you dress up? What has been your favourite Halloween costume?

Link Feast vol 63 – Writing Links

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Cersei, Voldemort, Hannibal Lecter, Saruman, Joker… We love to hate a good villain. 

Since it’s almost Halloween, this Link Feast has a special section about writing villains and monsters. 

Drop a comment below and share who are your favourite bad guys and critters from books, films and TV.

If You Have Time For Only One Link

The Bodies of the Girls Who Made Me: On Fanfic and Storytelling by Seanan McGuire 

On Writing Villains & Monsters

The Brain Behind the Story: The Big Boss Troublemaker (BBT) by Kristen Lamb

Scaredy-Pants! 4 Breeches – er – BREACHES That Elicit Fear in Your Characters by Bonnie Randall

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2019/10/scaredy-pants-4-breeches-er-breaches.html

Five Tropes That Make a Villain Look Incompetent by Oren Ashkenazi

How to Plot a Mystery, Part 5: Figure Out What Went Wrong by Matt Bird

www.secretsofstory.com/2017/02/how-to-plot-mystery-part-5-figure-out.html

Storyteller’s Rulebook: The Mastermind Exception by Matt Bird

http://www.secretsofstory.com/2011/01/storytellers-rulebook-63-but-there-are.html

When to Narrate a Villain’s Point of View by Chris Winkle

Writing Monsters: What Makes a Monster Scary? by Philip Athans

5 Frankenstein Inspired Stories That Recontextualize the Monster by Natalie Zutter

The Evolution of Dragons in Western Literature: A History by Yvonne Shiau

On Writing

Author Mindset: 4 Practices For Overcoming Self-Doubt by Philip Kenney

Writing Boldly, Without Fear by Heather Webb

Writers: How to Ditch Distraction and Focus by Rochelle Melander

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2019/10/writers-how-to-ditch-distraction-and.html

The Books That Get People Talking by Kathleen McCleary

Confession of a Lapsed Reader by Sarah McCoy

How Is Our Protagonist Challenged to Improve? (& a Worksheet) by Jami Gold

Analysis: Carnival Row Shows Us the Damage a Reveal Can Do by Chris Winkle

Five Reasons Stories Have Slow Openings and How to Fix Them by Oren Ashkenazi

Romance Beats vs. 12 Stages of Intimacy by Jami Gold

How to Describe Your Main Character by James Scott Bell

Seven Common Causes of Reader Confusion by Chris Winkle

How to Train Your Editor Brain by Tiffany Yates Martin

Professional Romance Novelists Can Write 3000 Words a Day. Here’s How They Do It by Thu-Huong Ha

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/professional-romance-novelists-can-write-3-000-words-a-day-here-s-how-they-do-it

Caveat 1: Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. If you just bought your first running shoes, you should not compare your output to authors who have been at it for years. Set a writing goal you can fairly easily beat so you are always writing to success. When hitting that goal gets easy, slowly increase your aim.

Caveat 2: Romance novels tend to have very clear story beats and structures. If you are writing something longer and a genre not so clearly defined, do expect more meandering and need to pause and figure out where your story is going.


Caveat 3: Many of the most recent super productive self-pub wonders reach their astonishing word counts by dictating their stories instead of writing them.

How Publishing Business Works, Being a Business-Minded Author & Book Marketing

Current Trends in Book Publishing by Jane Friedman

Business Musings: The Three Kinds of Writers (Rethinking the Writing Business Part 14) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Business Musings: But I Can’t Afford…. (Rethinking the Writing Business Part 15) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

(How to make sure your author business stays healthy, and to not overspend on business ventures that you don’t crucially need. How to analyse the costs and benefits.)

From Indie Author to Creative Empire With Michael Anderle by Joanna Penn

(Michael has been doing for years the kind of licensing Kris Rusch is talking about in her blog series)

He Has Come to Solve Your Plot Problems by James Scott Bell (now here’s how you puff your own book in an entertaining way)

Influencer Outreach 101: How to Get Other People to Promote Your Book by Tim Grahl

Deep Stuff

How to Automate a Habit and Never Think About It Again by James Clear

These Poverty Fighting Startups Are Slaying Silicon Valley’s Sacred Cows by Ciara Byrne

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/these-poverty-fighting-startups-are-slaying-silicon-valley-s-sacred-cows

Japan’s most remote onsen (hot spring) by Lily Crossley-Baxter

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20191015-japans-most-remote-onsen

Fun Stuff

The Rec League: Books For Your Inner Goth by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2019/10/the-rec-league-books-for-your-inner-goth/

Beyond Frankenstein: 7 Contemporary Monster Books Written by Women by Mallory O’Meara

Link Feast, vol 62 – Writing Advice For Authors

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The Seductive Power of a New Book Idea: When to Give in to the Romance? by Ruth Harris

On Writing

Adulthood 2.0: After Your Dream Comes True by Bryn Greenwood

The Blank Page Is Not Neutral by Steven Pressfield

Writers, Remember. The Wand Chooses the Wizard by Michelle Barker (Always sound like yourself. Only you can be you. When you try to be someone else, you are only a weak copy.)

On Getting Feedback by Elizabeth S. Craig

Lessons Learned From a Decade in Publishing by Janice Hardy

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2019/10/lessons-learned-from-decade-in.html

Stories vs Situations: How to Tell If a Story Will Work by Jeff Lyons

Story Development Tools & Techniques: The Whistles and Bells Test by Jeff Lyons

How to Tell If Your Story Has Too Much Plot, Not Enough Character by K.M. Weiland

Pulp Heroes by Steven Pressfield

The Secret to Writing Fascinating Villains by Laurence MacNaughton

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2019/10/the-secret-to-writing-fascinating.html

12 Signs You’re Afraid of Your WIP by Kathryn Craft

Writing Tips: Unforgettable Endings With James Scott Bell by Joanna Penn

Endings Are Not Stoppings: On Game Of Thrones and How We Conclude Our Stories by Chuck Wending (warning: language and spoilers of the final episode of the series) 

Tearing Down the Throne: Interrogating Power Structures in Western Epic Fantasy by Jenn Lyons

Writing a Future in Which You Choose Your Own Nation by Ada Palmer

Manuscript Evaluations: What They Are and What to Expect by Sarah Chauncey

Collaborative Writing In a Shared World by David Mark Brown

Jerry Seinfeld’s 5 Step Comedy Writing Process by Jess Zafarris

The Publishing World

How Reese Witherspoon became the new high priestess of book clubs by Constance Grady

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/9/13/20802579/reese-witherspoon-reeses-book-club-oprah

7 ways book publishing will change over the next few years by Mike Shatzkin

People In Publishing I Learn From by Jane Friedman (The Who is Who in the Publishing news and blogging world)

Book Marketing & Blogging

To Sell More Books, Change the Story You Tell to Yourself About Marketing by Sue Campbell

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – August 2019 by Amy Collins

Please shut up: Why self promotion as an author doesn’t work by Delilah S. Dawson

https://www.whimsydark.com/blog/2015/4/13/please-shut-up-why-self-promotion-as-an-author-doesnt-work

How to Improve Your Amazon Book Descriptions by Penny Sansevieri

5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post With a Bang by Brian Clark

Deep Stuff

The Benefits of Optimism Are Real by Emily Esfahani Smith

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-benefits-of-optimism-are-real

The Inuit don’t shout at their children – so why do we? By Will Coldwell

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/12/the-inuit-dont-shout-at-their-children-so-why-do-we

Why Routines Are So Important to INFPs (Even Though We Hate Them) by Darcy Ritt (you can replace INFPs with Creatives or Spontaneous People)

How to Create a Chain Reaction of Good Habits by James Clear

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/how-to-create-a-chain-reaction-of-good-habits

The biggest lie tech people tell themselves – and the rest of us by Rose Eveleth

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/10/1/20887003/tech-technology-evolution-natural-inevitable-ethics

Fun Stuff

Watch the First Trailer For Robert Downey Jr’s Doctor Doolittle Reboot by Stubby the Rocket

7 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books to Curl Up With This Fall by S.W. Sondheimer

https://bookriot.com/2019/10/04/fall-sci-fi-fantasy-books-2019/

Hot Girl Summer Is Over, Long Live Hot Nerd Fall by Stubby the Rocket (The Doctor, Q, Joan Watson, Aziraphale, Henry Jones Sr., Rupert Giles… so many cool ones)

12 Popular Movies With Introverted Main Characters by Savanna Roberts

Link Feast, vol 61 – A Buffet of Juicy Writing Advice

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The Anti-Arc by Donald Maass

On Writing

Writing’s Secret Formula: How to Write Stories That Matter by Daryl Rothman
https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/how-to-write-stories-that-matter/#

Business Musings: Expect Failure by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (You fail by not trying and failing. We fail forward to success, and learn along the way)

In Six Words, These Writers Tell You an Entire Story by Sara Roncero-Menendez
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/six-word-story_n_5332833

How Do You Visualize Stories by Emily Asher-Perrin

A Practical Way to Overcome Imposter Syndrome by Darious Foroux

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/a-practical-way-to-overcome-imposter-syndrome

A Pessimist’s Collection of (Inspiring) Writing Quotes by Julie Glover

Displeasure Reading by Dave King

Narratology, Or Why We Need Stories to Make Sense by Arkady Martine (a bit academic but has an important message that explains why people have wildly different beliefs that fit their personal experiences and world views)

How to Develop High-Concept Book Ideas to Find More Success With Your Writing by Robert Lee Brewer

Write Better: The 7 Qualities of High Concept Stories by Jeff Lyons

The Making of a Hero or Heroine by Donald Maass

Characters: Audiences Read Stories, but Great Stories Read the Audience by Kristen Lamb

Motive: The Key to Writing Stories Readers Can’t Put Down by Kristen Lamb

Why Your Character (And You) Should Be Expert In Something by Alyssa Hollingsworth

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2019/09/why-your-character-and-you-should-be.html

Are You the One? Exploring the Chosen One Trope in SFF by Katy Rose Pool

9 Characters I Love Because They Are Hurting (And So Am I) by Emily Asher-Perrin

The Good Guy/Bad Guy Myth by Catherine Nichols

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-good-guy-bad-guy-myth

When the Ends Justify the Means: Five Villains Who See Themselves as Heroes by Jeff Lyons

Finding Your Story’s Theme by Jenny Hansen

Fate Versus Free-Will: Using Theme to Leverage Revision by Vaughn Roycroft

The Challenge of Sensational Story Openings by Peter Selgin

Don’t Be Afraid to Go There In Your Writing by James Scott Bell

Maybe No One Will Notice by Julie Carrick Dalton

“Showing” Through Exposition: A Study by Kathryn Craft

Effective Repetition In Writing As Demonstrated by A Song of Fire and Ice by Gavin Hurley

How and Why I Use Online Alpha Readers While Writing Novels by Mary Robinette Kowal (She shares her super simple ABCD feedback format)

How to Give Useful Criticism by Jim Dempsey

Tolkien’s Elves: Married with Eldar Children by Jeff LaSala (explores one aspect of the culture building of THE master, Tolkien)

Could Multimedia Storytelling Work For You? by Anna Thu Nguyenova (shorter format, especially works for YA audiences)

Book Marketing & Your Publishing Path

The Business Rusch: What Is Discoverability? by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
https://kriswrites.com/2014/08/07/business-musings-what-is-discoverability-discoverability-part-oooops-i-left-this-out/

The Business Rusch: Word of Mouth by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
https://kriswrites.com/2013/05/22/the-business-rusch-word-of-mouth/

The Business Rusch: The Helpful Reader (Discoverability 2) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (more advice about Word of Mouth)
https://kriswrites.com/2013/11/27/the-business-rusch-the-helpful-reader-discoverability-part-two/

The Business Rusch: Marketing and Readers by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (the different kind of reader types)
https://kriswrites.com/2014/01/29/the-business-rusch-marketing-and-readers-discoverability-part-who-knows/

The Business Rusch: Surprise! by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (and how it relates to discoverability and book marketing)
https://kriswrites.com/2014/03/31/the-business-rusch-surprise-discoverability-part-what-the/

The Business Rusch:  What Kind of Writer Are You? by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (and how does this affect your marketing)
https://kriswrites.com/2014/08/09/business-musings-what-kind-of-writer-are-you/#sthash.N4jpOdPn.dpbs

The Business Rusch: Branding (Discoverability 6) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
https://kriswrites.com/2014/01/08/the-business-rusch-branding-discoverability-part-6-2/

I Hate Self-Promotion by Tim Grahl
https://booklaunch.com/authors-and-self-promotion/

How to Be a Professional Author And Not Die Screaming and Starving In a Lightless Abyss by Chuck Wendig (Survival guide for a Traditionally Published Author and how the biz works)

Here’s the Pitch – It’s a Hit! Crafting Your Novel’s Pitch Line by Janice Hardy 

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2011/10/heres-pitchits-hit-crafting-your-novels.html

(Even if you self-publish, this is handy knowledge. You can use the pitch as your back cover blurb. And when you have a pitchline, you never draw a blank and give a boring or rambling answer when someone asks you what your book is about)

How Literary Agents Agree and Differ: Lessons From the Annual Writer’s Digest Conference by Robert Lee Brewer

How to Write Successful Query Letters For Any Genre of Writing by Robert Lee Brewer

How to Hook a Literary Agent to Represent Your Writing and Get Published by Robert Lee Brewer

Evan Winter Explains How His Self-Published Book Was Picked Up by Orbit Books by Stubby the Rocket

Writers on Show: Publicity and the Introvert by Juliet Marillier

Deep Stuff

The Problem With the Hack Culture by Brad Stulberg

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-problem-with-hack-culture

“It’s not that some of these ideas aren’t important. Diets. Routines. Habits. Exercises. They all matter, but the context is what we miss. We are seeking the silver bullet when the reality is we need to nail the basics before we even consider the final 2 percent.”

“The only shortcut is hacking it every day.”  -Ryan Holiday

The Scientist Persuading Terrorists to Spill Their Secrets by Ian Leslie

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-scientists-persuading-terrorists-to-spill-their-secrets

(Rapport is the key. Put your own ego aside. A must read for every mystery writer, gives great insight on how police interviews really work. A useful read for anyone on how to get your message through in a conversation with a person you really disagree with… like your teenager who comes home late)

Fun Stuff

“That’s My Secret Cap. I’m Always Angry” Why I Love Prickly Heroines by Adele Buck

Dive Into October’s Harvest of New Sci-fi and Fantasy Books by Cheryl Eddy

https://io9.gizmodo.com/dive-into-octobers-harvest-of-new-sci-fi-and-fantasy-bo-1838191367

The Crack Squad of Librarians Who Track Down Half Forgotten Books by Jessica Leigh Hester

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-crack-squad-of-librarians-who-track-down-half-forgotten-books

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