Link Feast For Writers, vol. 45: Antagonist Special

Blog posts are a fun and fast way to learn about writing and marketing our books.

Here’s a smorgasbord of links for you. The chef recommends this week’s special, the dark and conflicting section of the menu. Bon appetit!

 

On Writing

3 Writer’s Commandments and the Dreaded “S” Word by Jenny Hansen

Three Phases of Becoming a Master Author by Kristen Lamb

6 Ways to Write Every Day by Karen Woodward

5 Unexpected Lessons From Inside the Iowa Writer’s Workshop by Dina Nayeri

Being Profilic by David Farland

Changing the World One Story At a Time, Part 1 by David Farland

Changing the World One Story At a Time, Part 2 by David Farland

Idea vs. Concept by Larry Brooks

How to Develop Any Idea Into a Great Story by Elizabeth Sims

Character Development Tricks by Sheldon at Dramaticapedia

Creating Emotional Frustration In Your Characters by Rachel Scheller

Different Kind of Story Openings: Shock and Seduction by Karen Woodward

7 Reasons Agents Stop Reading Your First Chapter by Livia Blackburne

Storyteller’s Rulebook: Beware of Instant Conflict by Matt Bird

How to Organize Time For a Dramatic Story by Michael Rabiger & Mick Hurbis Cherrier

5 Ways to Practice the Art of Double Duty Writing by Susan Squires

Don’t Be an Information Dumper by Don McNair

Storyteller’s Rulebook: Add an OMFG Scene by Matt Bird

Jawing About Writing and Writing About Jaws by Sharla Rae

Series vs. Stand-Alone: What Should We Work On Next? by Jami Gold

The Rules of Romantic Comedy by Karen Woodward

What Is Urban Fantasy Anyway? by Emma Newman

Do You Make These 5 Surprising Short Story Mistakes? (Writer’s Relief)

 

Writing the Antagonist

Structure Part 3: Introducing the Opposition by Kristen Lamb

Scene Antagonists and Big Boss Troublemakers by Kristen Lamb

What Makes a Great Villain? by Alexandra Sokoloff

Villains: The Forces of Antagonism by Alexandra Sokoloff

Make Your Antagonist a Force For Good by Jami Gold

12 Tips On How To Write Antagonists Your Readers Will Love To Hate by Karen Woodward

Not All Villains Are the Heroes of Their Own Stories by Matt Bird

The Language of the Corrupted by Matt Bird

 

Book Marketing

Platform Is Craft by Dan Blank

The Dirty Secret of Author Platform (Hint: It’s Difficult) by Dan Blank

Mark Coker, Founder Of Smashwords: Six Ways To Increase Book Sales by Karen Woodward

12 Ideas For Email Updates You’ll Actually Enjoy Writing by Toni at DuoLit

Before Publishing Your eBook: A 3 Month Checklist by Laura Pepper Wu

(Note: This is a product plug. This ebook sounds really useful, and the previous books of Laura have been high quality. But make up your own mind.)

Book Marketing: 9 Activities to Boost Your Author Career by Dana Sitar

Where Can Authors Advertise for the B&N, Apple, and Kobo Stores? by Lindsay Buroker

 

(Self-)Publishing

Four Steps To a Winning Query by Gabriela Pereira

Amazon KDP Select: Is It Worthwhile For Authors? by C.J. Lyons

Amazon Buys Goodreads: What Does It Mean for Authors and Readers? by Dan Blank

Business Rusch: The Logic Behind Self Publishing by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The New World of Publishing: The Assumption of Agents by Dean Wesley Smith

Self-Publishing in 30 Minutes and 50 Seconds by Joel Friedlander

 

Blogging

The Changing Nature of Blogging For Fiction Writers by Jody Hedlund

5 Ways to Improve Your Blog Today by Dino Dogan

21 Critical Tasks to Perform As Soon As You Start a Blog by Ramsay at Blog Tyrant

How to Blog Like You Mean to Change the World by Justine Musk

Don’t Let the Well Run Dry: Content Strategy and Your Blog by Liz Bauman

The Art of Keeping Your Audience Coming Back For More by Robert Bruce

Recycle Your Blog Content: 3 Ways to Re-Feature Popular Articles on Your Site by Chris Robley

3 SEO Myths That Scare Writers (And How You Can Use Them to Your Advantage) by Alexis Grant

Google Reader Alternatives by Amy Lynn Andrews

When Should We Upgrade to a Paid Site? by Jami Gold

WordPress.COM vs. WordPress.ORG — Which Is Better for Writers? by Jami Gold

Is Your Site Secure? Tips From a Tech Guy by Jay Donovan

Does Your Site Welcome Disabled Readers? by Linda Adams

 

Social Media

What To Do When Social Media Bums You Out by Abby Kerr

But Do You *Like* Like a Facebook Page? by Talli Roland

4 Compelling Reasons For Creative People to Start Using Google+ by Mark McGuinness

Pinterest for Authors: How to Promote Your Writing on the Fastest Growing Website Ever by Chris Robley

How Novelist Justine Musk Builds a Fictional World on Pinterest by Lauren Rae Orsini

Directory of Book Bloggers on Pinterest by Mandy at The Well-Read Wife

 

Collected Wisdom

Writer Resources by Gene Lempp

Twitterific by Elizabeth S. Craig

Friday Features by Yesenia Vargas

 

Deep Stuff

The Grass Is Greener When You Water It by Lisa Hall-Wilson

The Not Knowing Path of Being an Entrepreneur by Leo Baubata

What We Lack in a Hyperconnected World by Leo Baubata

The Green Beret Survival Guide by Bob Mayer (some really useful questions to ponder if you live in an earthquake area – or write Post-Apocalyptic novels)

 

Fun Stuff

The Blacksmith Duel by Jim Paw-Paw Wilson

10 Dinosaur Myths That Need to Go Extinct by Brian Switek

Immortal Monday: Hades, God of the Underworld by Debra Kristi

The Day Thor Came To Visit by Kristy K. James

Fiction Affliction: April Releases In Urban Fantasy by Suzanne Johnson

Fiction Affliction: Genre Benders For April by Suzanne Johnson

Fiction Affliction: April Releases in Fantasy by Suzanne Johnson

Link Feast For Writers, vol. 44

Writing blogs are a great way to learn about the craft and marketing our work. Enjoy the posts I’ve hoarded, some older, some recent.

And tune in for the next Link Feast, coming out in two weeks.

 

If You Have Time For Only One Thing

The Art of Asking: For Creative Writers and Storytellers by Chuck Wendig

(This is worth your 15 minutes. I promise. Watch the talk.)

 

On Writing

What Lights Your Creative Spirit on Fire? by Jenny Hansen

Inspiration Hunting in the Publishing World by Sonali Dev

What Kind of an Author Do You Want to Be? by David Farland

How to Write Better, Faster & Easier by Matching Your Writing Process With the Way You Think by Don Fry

Why Some Books Are Harder to Write Than Others by Janice Hardy

The Faster I Write, the Better the Book? by Roni Loren

Be a Copycat by Keith Cronin

The Play’s the Thing by Robin LaFevers

Setting – The First, Most Crucial Choice for your Career AND your Character by Blythe Gifford

How to Use Your Logline, Tagline and Pitch to Write a Stronger Story by Marcy Kennedy

 

Characters

Creating Characters – What You Really Need by David Farland

Creating Characters – What You Really Need, Part 2 by David Farland

What Your Character Really Needs – The Central Question by David Farland

How to Create a Compelling Character: Contrast Their Outer and Inner Lives by Matt Bird

Know More Than You Show, Part 1: Characters by Matt Bird

Writing From an Authentic Teen Viewpoint by Lydia Sharp

The Hero’s Journey – My Pros and Cons by Veronica Sicoe

Rich Relationships by Donald Maass

Choose Wisely: Metaphors In Character by Jael McHenry

 

Plotting etc.

Know More Than You Show, Part 2: Plot by Matt Bird

Every Scene Needs It’s Own Hero by Matt Bird

Where Should a Second Chapter Start? by Beth Hill

Stressed-Out Characters – Just the Way We Want Them by Diane Krause

Why Serious Books Need Humor and Levity to Work by Sarah Skilton

Handling Cliffhanger Endings With Multiple POVs by Janice Hardy

The Clock Is Ticking – 5 Tips For Tighter, Cleaner Writing by Kristen Lamb

Know More Than You Show, Conclusion: Theme by Matt Bird

When You Really, Really Care by Dave King

The Battle of Science and Magic, Part One – Particles and Pixie Dust by Victoria Hooper

Be Your Own Book Doctor by Janice Hardy

The 7 Deadly Sins of Self-Editing by Janice Gable Bashman & Kathryn Craft

Cynicism Is Never Romantic With Handsome Hansel

Playing the Short Game: Why Short Fiction? by Douglas Smith

 

Book Marketing

Focusing on the Writing First by Elizabeth S. Craig

Measure Your (Self-)Publishing Competence by Joel Friedlander

(Awesome breakdown of 6 Core Skills all writers need)

Tactics vs. Strategy by C.J. Lyons

The ABCs of Voice Values: Part 2 (H-P) by Abby Kerr

The ABCs of Voice Values, Part 3 (Q-Z) by Abby Kerr

8 Book Marketing Tasks To Tackle BEFORE Your Book Is Published by Toni at DuoLit

3 Ways to Build Meaningful Connections to Move Your Writing Career Forward by Monica Carter Tagore

It’s Write O’Clock: Do You Know Who Your Contacts Are? by Susan Spann

Book Promotion Advice From Popular Indie Fantasy Author Joseph Lallo

Why I Cut My Email List In Half by C.J. Lyons

How to Book Your Own Virtual Book Tour by Chris Robley

When Visibility Doesn’t Lead to Book Sales by Genevieve Pearson

(Self-)Publishing

The #1 Reason for #QueryFails – How to Avoid Automatic Rejection from a Reviewer, Agent, Editor or Blogger by Anne R. Allen

Querying? Think Outside the Box to Get Noticed by LynDee Walker

Turn One Agent’s No Into Another Agent’s Yes by Wendy Burt-Thomas

The Business Rusch: The Bad Book by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (reader & editor preferences)

What Does the Future Look Like For Traditional Publishers and What Does That Mean For Self-Published Authors? by D.D. Scott

Go-To List for Helpful Indie Resources (The Writer’s Guide to Publishing)

The Business Rusch: Binge Reading by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Frontiers of Publishing by Jason Dyck

Book Promotion – What’s Working at Amazon in 2013 by Lindsay Buroker

 

Blogging

Do Authors Need a Website and Blog? by Jami Gold

To Blog Or Not To Blog, That Is Jane Friedman’s Question by Karen Woodward

What Should an Author Website Include by Jami Gold

Which Content-Marketing Tasks Can Wait Until After Your Site Launches? by Amy Harrison

How to Build an Online Marketing Audience of People You Don’t Know by Manon Eileen

How Authors Can Survive the Death of Google Reader by Caitlin Muir

5 Lessons Cat Videos Can Teach Us About Blissfully Mindless Content by Marie Rotter

3 Criticial Thigs to Remember About Guest Posting by Danny Iny

 

Social Media

Wonder Twin Powers…ACTIVATE! Introverts & Extroverts Unite by Kristen Lamb

7 Ways Buffer Will Change Your (Social Media) Life by Shannon at DuoLit

Can Social Media Tools Make Us a Social Tool? by Kristen Lamb

Twitter: My 5 Unshakable Beliefs by Ann Neugebauer

 

Collected Wisdom

Writing Resources by Gene Lempp

Twitterific by Elizabeth S. Craig

Friday Features by Yesenia Vargas

 

Deep Stuff

How to Tell if You’re Really Overloaded (and What to Do About It) by Mark McGuinness

Is It Better to Be a Good Person or a Great One? by Mary Kennedy

Enough Feisty Princesses: Disney Needs an Introverted Heroine by Lindsay Lowe

Will Old People Take Over the World by George Dvorsky

 

Fun Stuff

The Funniest Amazon Review I’ve Seen This Month by Jenny Hansen

5 Shockingly Advanced Ancient Buildings That Shouldn’t Exist by Eric Yosomono

The 21 Happiest Objects of All Time by Jessica Misener

Fiction Affliction: March Releases in Fantasy by Suzanne Johnson

Fiction Affliction: March Releases in Urban Fantasy by Suzanne Johnson

Fiction Affliction: Genre Benders For March by Suzanne Johnson

Link Feast For Writers, vol. 43

This week’s Link Feast got a tad bloated since I wanted to make this one to be special. It will be the last Link Feast for a while.

I got a full time job. So until I get used to the vastly diminished free time and balancing work and family, my blogging is pretty much on hold. I might be able to whip up some partially written posts but I make no promises when.

Meanwhile, enjoy the link collections of Elizabeth S. Craig, Gene Lempp and Yesenia Vargas. And write. And then write some more 🙂

 

If You Have Time For Only One Thing

Be the Gatekeeper of Your Mind by Rachelle Gardner

 

On Writing

How To Push Past The Bullshit And Write That Goddamn Novel: A Very Simple No-Fuckery Writing Plan To Get Shit Done by Chuck Wendig

The Forrest Gump Guide to Writing That Bites Readers in the Buttocks by Jon Morrow

How Badly Do You Want the Dream? by Kristen Lamb

7 Things Confident Writers Don’t Do by Kristen Lamb

Enemies of the Art, Part 8 – Being a Starter, Not a Finisher by Kristen Lamb

To Find Success, Learn to Embrace the Meantime by Kristen Lamb

Defining Yourself as a Writer by David Farland

The Appeal to “Intellect” in Fiction by David Farland

How to Work on More Than One Book At a Time by James Scott Bell

8 Books For Writers by Raima Larter

A 12-Step Checklist For a “Sexy” Synopsis by Shannon Donnelly

 

Concept

Good to Great: Nail a Better Concept to Empower Your Story by Larry Brooks

“Side Effects” (Deconstruction 1) – The True Concept by Larry Brooks

“Side Effects” (Deconstruction #2) – Putting Concept to Work In the Narrative… Even Before You Write It by Larry Brooks

 

Characters

Three Questions to Get to the Heart of Your Story by Janice Hardy

Dig Deep Into Character by Kathy Steffen

Why Character Arcs (and Growth) Make Readers Care by Janice Hardy

Strong Character Voices by David Farland

Cultural Guilt by David Farland

How to Get Out of Your Character’s Way by Amy Sue Nathan

Dealing With a Large Cast of Characters by David Farland

 

Plotting

Plot, Story and Tension by Karen Woodward

Writing and the Monomyth, Part 1 by Karen Woodward

Writing and the Monomyth, Part 2 by Karen Woodward

4 Steps of Organizing Plot Ideas Into a Novel by Jody Hedlund

Visual Methods of Writing by Robert Ferrigno

Worksheets For the Breakout Novelist by Donald Maass

Storyteller’s Rulebook: Move Up the Timeline by Matt Bird

Putting Emotional Twists In Your Tales by David Farland

How to Write a Scene in 11 Steps [Infographic] by Jason Boog

 

Compelling Writing

Making the Pages Cry by Becca Puglisi

Immerse the Reader in Your World and Never Let Them Up For Air by Kristen Lamb

Those So-Called Clichés by David Farland

 

Revising

How To Karate Your Novel And Edit That Motherfucker Hard: A No-Foolin’ Fix-That-Shit Editing Plan To Finish The Goddamn Job by Chuck Wendig

Edit Your Shit: Editing For Content by Chuck Wendig

Self-Editing 101 – 13 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Opening Chapter by Anne R. Allen

Avoid Reader Confusion by Elizabeth S. Craig

Telling Yourself to Show: How to Identify Flat Scenes by Janice Hardy

What Is Your Stylistic Device? by Patience Bloom

10 Proofreading Tips For Self-Publishers by Anna Lewis

 

Genres

Sleeps With Monsters: Epic Fantasy Is Crushingly Conservative? by Liz Bourke

What Is Gaslight Fantasy? by Terri Windling

Dystopian Round Table: The Appeal of Dystopian Fiction by John Joseph Adams

Teens and Dystopias by Scott Westerfield

 

Book Marketing

What’s Going On with Readers Today? Goodreads Finds Out

5 Essential Skills For Today’s Online Marketer by Chris Brogan

Building an Author Brand by Ali Cross (IndieReCon)

The ABCs of Voice Values: Learn to “Read” Your Brand & Your Right People (Part 1, A-G) by Abby Kerr

Marketing Plans Made Easy by S.R. Johannes (IndieReCon)

Insert Brilliant Category Romance Title Here! by Patience Bloom

10 Ways to Make Your Cover Stand Out in the Crowd by Alicia Kat Dillman (IndieReCon)

Creative Book Launches That Command Attention by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (IndieReCon)

Money Matters Most in Book Marketing by Rob Eagar

Top 10 Tips: How to Create an Effective Author Website by Malle Vallik

E.C. Myers: Reading Between the Lines (this is one of the juiciest bios & author introductions I’ve ever seen)

12 Steps to Blog Tour Success by Joel Friedlander (IndieReCon)

Why Non-Fiction Books Are the New Ultimate Business Card by Ryan Holiday

 

(Self-)Publishing

The Financial Reality of a (Trad Published) Genre Novelist by Jason Boog

The Death of Publishing by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

How Have Things Changed In the Last 3 Years in Indie Publishing by Bob Mayer

Interview with Jane Friedman (The State of Publishing and All Kind of Great Writing Tips) by Jerry Waxler

Lessons Learned and Tips From Indie Authors by Ali Cross (IndieReCon)

Top 10 Tips For Successful Self-Publishing by Barbara Freethy (IndieReCon)

Measuring Success by Susan Kaye Quinn (IndieReCon)

Partnering With an Agent by Steena Holmes (IndieReCon)

Amazon’s Bestselling Author Theresa Ragan Treats You to the Steps She Took to Self-Publish

Building a Best-Selling Publishing Team by Miral Sattar of BiblioCrunch (IndieReCon)

The Recipe For Indie Success: Advice From 4 Successful Authors by Shannon at DuoLit

Joe Konrath Talks About How to Sell Books on Amazon by Karen Woodward

Breaking Into International Markets by Orna Ross of ALLi (IndieReCon)

Amazon’s Recommendation Engine Trumps the Competition by David Gaughran

The Shocking Truth: Book Buyers Have Minds of Their Own Chris McVeigh

Here’s the Problem With Book Publishers’ Discovery Problem by Laura Hazard Owen

(Fascinating insight on how super readers – most writers, I suspect – can understand how the average readers discover and select books. An average reader being someone who only reads 6 books / year)

What Aren’t Bookstores Doing? by Jenn Northington

 

Blogging

Why Do We Blog? by Molly Greene

Is Blogging Still Essential to a Fiction Writer’s Platform by Mike Duran

What the Heck Do I Blog About? Blogging Ideas For Fiction Authors Stuck In a Rut by Laura Pepper Wu

Make Your Blog the Event of the Year (And Have People Clamor to Attend) by Tea Silvestre

Get It Done: 7 Tips for Writing When You Don’t Have Enough Time by Tea Silvestre

 

Social Media

9 Tips For Making Online Friends by Jami Gold

Build Your Online Writing Community by Gabriela Pereira

Resolve to Tweet Better in 2013 by Nina Badzin

How I Got a Six-Figure Twitter Following (and Why It Doesn’t Matter) by Jane Friedman

0 – 4000 In a Snap – How to Build a Quality Twitter Following Fast by Molly Greene

Twitter Basics – The Proper Care and Feeding of Hashtags by Marcy Kennedy

Facebook: Should We Use a Profile Or a Page by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Facebook Tricks For Better Engagement by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make On Facebook and How to Avoid Them by Lisa Hall-Wilson

The Weird Thing About Facebook: Status Updates Are the Most Memorable Writing You Do by Jennifer Miller

It’s Not You Facebook, It’s Me — Okay, It’s Partly You: Why I Unfriended Almost Everyone by Matthew Ingram

 

Collected Wisdom

Twitterific by Elizabeth S. Craig

Writing Resources by Gene Lempp

Friday Features by Yesenia Vargas

 

Deep Stuff

Must Read Monday: The Happiness Project by Roni Loren

15 Ways to Rock Your Sister’s World by Jenny Hansen

Women in Media: Why Our Stories Count by August McLaughlin

2 Critical Myths That Separate Top Performers From Ordinary People by Ramit Sethi (This is a sales page. But you can ignore that and focus on the meat, the myths. And yet, if you have sales pages, are yours this convincing?)

 

Fun Stuff

How Game of Thrones Season 3 Will Split A Storm of Swords by Chris Lough

‘Hunger Games’ Success Proves Dystopia Is the New Supernatural by Brooke Tarnoff

F*ck Year Warrior Women Picture Blog

Are You Ready to Have Kids? This Quiz Should Tell You by Little White Lion (thanks for this funny link, Jenny Hansen)

Writer Horoscopes Monopoly Style by Donna Gambale

Link Feast For Writers, vol. 35

Happy New Year! I hope these links help to make year 2013 kickass for you. Enjoy.

 

If You Have Time For Only One Thing

Suicide, Shame and the Painful Truth About Accomplishing Your Goals by Jon Morrow

 

On Writing

How to Keep Production Going All Year by Dean Wesley Smith

Writing Five Minutes a Day by Alexandra Sokoloff

Should A Writer Let Her Reader’s Expectations Influence Her Artistic Judgement? by Karen Woodward

Logline Library (hundreds of movie loglines)

Losing My Religion: Misconceptions About Tone by Matt Bird

13 Ways to Create Compelling Characters by Justine Musk

Dangerously Genre Savvy Villains (TV Tropes, check out some of the examples)

Name That Character: Top 10 Tips (The Script Lab)

The Paradox by Donald Maass

Stephen King’s Magic: How To Write Compelling Characters & Great Openings by Karen Woodward

A Simple Way to Create Suspense by Lee Child

Act and Sequence Bridges by Alexandra Sokoloff

The Past Is a Foreign Country, So Learn the Language by Matt Bird

The Importance of Setting by Meredith Bond

Four Tips For Fixing the Infamous Info Dump by Jami Gold

How Many Drafts Does It Take to Write a Novel by Karen Woodward

10 Things I Know About How Writers Read by Jenny Hansen

YA Authors Are Creating a New Steamy Genre by Leslie Kaufman

Download and Study Award Nominated Screenplays

 

Book Marketing

Do You Have a Personal Platform Plan for 2013? by Michael Hyatt

Why Authors Must Build Direct Channels to Readers (Kindle Review)

Your Author Business Plan: Compare, Contrast and Conquer by Susan Spann

Feel Like You’re Running in Place? 4 Simple Ways to Track Your Book Marketing Process by Toni at DuoLit

25 Things I Learned From Doing Business in 2012 by Abby Kerr

Your Story Is Your Marketing Strategy by Vanessa Merit Nornberg

 

(Self-)Publishing

Writing and Publishing in 2013: How to Survive and Thrive, Part One by Karen Woodward

Writing and Publishing in 2013: How to Survive and Thrive, Part Two by Karen Woodward

What’s Ahead in 2013–Predictions for the Future of Publishing and Authors of the Digital Age by Kristen Lamb

Konrath’s Resolutions For Writers by J.A. Konrath (damn inspiring)

Kindleboards: How to Add Your Signature to Your Profile, Network and Other Tips by Laura Pepper Wu

 

Blogging

A Rant on Why I Disagree With So Many Blogging and Marketing Experts by Marcus Sheridan

How to Make Your Site the Destination For Your Market by Chris Garrett

7 Ways to Fascinate Your Readers and Build a Hugely Loyal Following by Henneke Duistermaat

How to Quit Publishing Bad Content by Sonia Simone

4 Tips For Writing a Blog Post Opening That Turns Heads by Tara Horner

How a Quick Analysis of Your Top Posts Can Improve Your Blogging Results Next Year by Michael Hyatt

8 Incredibly Simple Ways to to Get More People to Read Your Content by Pamela Wilson

How to Get 40 000 Readers Without Guest Blogging by Gregory Ciotti

Reblogging Etiquette by Marcy Kennedy

‘Tis the Season to Be Chaotic, Is Reblogging the Answer? by Jami Gold

How to Improve Your Website Trust Factor by Chris Garrett

 

Social Media

A Simple Cheat Sheet for Using Pinterest for Marketing [Infographic] by Pamela Vaughan

Pinterest Could Be the Ultimate Tool for Curating Content by Tami Smith

 

Collected Wisdom

Twitterific by Elizabeth S. Craig

Friday Features by Yesenia Vargas

 

Deep Stuff

Everyday Deeds That Keep the Darkness At Bay by Lisa Hall-Wilson

Mommy Quandrary: Teaching Faith When You’re Not Sure Where You Stand by Roni Loren

Urgency: The Natural Way to Prioritize by Mark Forster

50+ Better Questions To Ask Than How To Be More Productive by Charles Gilkey

Checklist of Rationality Habits by Anna Salamon (Myers-Briggs TJs do this naturally, we FPs need some help)

The Busy Trap by Tim Kreider

 

Fun Stuff

The Evil Overlord List (TV Tropes)

2012 Fiction Wrap Up From Tor.com (few dozen SFF short stories)

Roni Loren’s Unforgettable Reads of 2012

Link Feast, vol. 25 – NaNoWriMo Special

What is the biggest amount of words you’ve typed during one month?

National Novel Writing MonthNational Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenges us to write a 50K word novel in 30 days.

It is doable as thousands of challenge winners from past years show us.

This week’s Link Feast provides you with tips and tools to imagine, plot, write and finish your NaNo novel.

Yes, there are links too 😛 *coughs* I got a little carried away with my own tips.

Please leave a comment and share what kind of a story you’ll write this year. Or if you don’t participate NaNo, tell us what you’re working on right now.

And if you have advice on how to finish a novel, we’d love to hear it 🙂

Happy browsing. And have fun writing!

 

Imagine It

Ack, I don’t have a clue what to write about.

 

1. A story idea can start with a genre. What kind of books do you like reading? Are they mainly within one or two genres?

Have you every thought it would be cool to read a book that did something different? Say, about vampires who don’t drink blood but leech off emotions.

Horror movie 30 Days of Night showed us really monstrous vampires during a month in Alaska when the sun doesn’t rise at all. Dun dun dun. Not your average shiny vampire boyfriend story.

 

2. Take a trope or a cliche and twist it. For example in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series the Chosen One failed years ago and ushered the world into a dark era. And in Stephen King’s The Stand, the Chosen One is an old lady.

TV Tropes is a great resource for finding cliches to revamp.

 

3. Change an old plot and make something new out of it. George R.R. Martin set his War of the Roses to a fantasy world with his Game of Thrones series. You could set your war… in space.

Or how about Shakespeare in modern day high school? You get the movie She’s The Man, a Twelfth Night remake where a girl pretends she’s a guy.

Not to mention all those new Pride and Prejudice versions, like the one with zombies. Or the erotica edition. Basically, combine any old idea with a new angle and run with it.

 

4. Come up with a character concept, or a single scene and build up from there. I’ve gotten ideas from news titles. Visual prompts might also help. I use Pinterest to mine visual ideas.

Female Character Inspirations (A Pinterest board)

Male Character Inspirations (A Pinterest board)

Badass Villains (A Pinterest board)

 

5. Brainstorm a few dozen of awesome beginning lines/paragraphs that would hook you to read on. Pick the one that resonates the most with you and see where that seed leads you. Get ideas from your favorite novels.

Two of my favorites are:

“The last camel collapsed at noon.” – Key to Rebecca by Ken Follett

(I can see a desert setting in my mind’s eye and the caravan in dire straits)

“Janice Capshaw liked to run at night.” – Midnight by Dean Koontz

(I instantly want to know more. I’m imaging a horrible scene where poor Janice is mauled to death)

 

6. Adopt a plot. Or a character or a quirk. Adoption Society board in NaNoWriMo forums has threads dedicated to various concepts to adopt.

 

Those are just some ideas. If you need more juice to kickstart your creative engine, see the links below.

But seriously, don’t go with the first idea that comes to your mind. Come up with at least a dozen and see which one has the most potential of becoming a full 50K (or more) words novel that you want to finish.

 

BuildYourPlot

Picture by Catie Rhodes @WANACommons

Plot It

1. What is your story about? Try condensing it into a log-line that has the following elements:

1) your protagonist 2) active verb 3) active goal 4) antagonist 5) stakes

Like: Batman must stop Joker before he destroys Gotham City and kills the woman Batman loves.

 

2. Know your characters. At bare minimum you need the main character, the antagonist and a few side characters. Maybe a mentor, sidekick or a love interest. The Big Boss Troublemaker might need some minions too.

To get into the main character’s mind and to get their voice down, you could do some pre-writing excercises during October, like write letters or diary entries as the character would write it. Or write a short story about an event in their past.

 

3. Know yourself and your writing process. Do you like to plot every detail of your story before starting to write? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?

If you’re a plotter, you get stuck if you don’t know what the big picture is and what will happen next. If you’re a pantser, you get bored if you know too much about your story in advance. It feels like the story has already been told.

If you don’t know which you are, there are links to help you with identification.

 

4. A compromise between the two is figuring out just the major events of your story.

See more at the links below. They have great examples and explanations of what story structure is.

 

5. Every scene must have a purpose and conflict. Someone must oppose someone and something needs to change as a result.

In the best case scenario, you’re totally jazzed to write every single scene. If you’re not, think about why. What could you add to the scene or change so it would thrill you more? For example, if it’s a transition scene, like characters travel from one place to another, you can just scrap it.

Or spice it up somehow. For example, bandits could attack, or the characters have a fight of the decade that leads to one of them breaking off the party.

 

Write It

Write It

Image by Kristin Nador @WANACommons

1. Organize your life for November so you can write. To reach 50K words, you need to write 1666 words per day, every day. Depending on your writing speed, that means at least an hour of writing every day, more likely 2 – 4 hours.

Free that time. Get your family and friends on the same page, and stress to them how important this project is to you. During November, cleaning is not necessary, writing is. During November, your kids can eat canned food. During November, you do fun stuff with pals only after you’ve written your daily quota.

It’s just one month. You can do it.

 

2. Develop pre-writing rituals. Athletes do warm ups before the real excercise. Musicians warm up their fingers. Writers need to get their mind on the creative mode too. How do you get into the zone in 5 -15 mins?

 

3. No editing while writing. When you release your inner Editor, your creative Muse runs away screaming.

 

4. Write crap. Lets face it, some of your writing will suck. Accept it and love it. Without the steaming pile of turd, you won’t get the pearls either. And you will polish the story to perfection when you edit it. Then it will shine. But first you need to get the words on paper. The good and the bad. It’s impossible to write only divine things.

 

Pantser tip

Picture by Jenny Kaczorowski @WANACommons

5. Tip for a pantser: It’s OK to write the story in non-chronological order. If you don’t know anything else about your story except the bare bones, expand from there. What would logically happen next? What would be the most interesting consequence? What would be the nightmare scenario? Show us how your characters react to what just happened.

 

6. Tip for a plotter: It’s OK to revise the plan in the middle of a story. You might spot an inconsistency, come up with a brilliant alternative, or realize you just aren’t excited about your story. Take a break and realign your story. Then continue writing.

 

Finish It

1. Show up. When you’ve decided when you will write, that time should be for writing only. Even if your mind is totally blank, don’t turn on the internet. Just sit there and wait. You can even close your eyes. Eventually your Muse will be so bored that you’ll get some words.

2. Stop writing in the middle of the scene. Even better, in the middle of a sentence. That way you know exactly what you need to write next.

3. Reward yourself. Every time you finish your daily word count, do something awesome, like read or eat chocolate. During November, don’t do those awesome things at any other times. Only after writing. Soon your brain will work like a well-trained Pavlovian dog, eager for the treat.

 

If you get stuck, here are some angles to unstick you:

Unstick your writing

Unstick your writing

4. Try writing in a different way. Write longhand. Or go somewhere else to write. Try a cafeteria or the library.

5. If you know the ending, or even one event that might happen further in the story, backtrack from there. What needs to happen for your characters to get there?

6. Sleep on it. Think your story while laying down and drifting to dreams. Maybe your unconsciousness will give you the answer.

7. Enter ninjas to your story. Or make something explode. Or write a sex scene. Just because. Anything that lights the fireworks for you and remotely fits your story.

More Scene Unstickers (NaNoWriMo Forums)

8. Ask a writing buddy for advice. If you don’t know any other writers, post your question to the NaNoWriMo forums or Tweet it with a hashtag #NaNoWriMo , #writing or #MyWANA

 

You might hit a moment when you seriously consider dropping your story and starting a new one. Stop. Reconsider.

9. Why did you start writing this story? What excited you about it? Was it a character, a scene, an idea? Does it still thrill you? Have you deviated away from that kernel of awesome? How can you steer the story back to it? Or can you add other kernels that jazz up the whole story?

 

The most important thing is: believe in your writing. You can do it. You will rock NaNoWriMo 2012.

There. Pep talk is done.

And now the links you’ve been waiting for.

 

Imagine It

First You Need an Idea by Alexandra Sokoloff

The Struggle For Ideas by Janice Hardy

Writing Ideas by Glen C. Strathy

How To Steal a Plot For Your Book and Get Away With It by Suzannah Windsor Freeman

Four Tips on Adding a New Twist to an Old Plot by Janice Hardy

How to decide which idea to go with?

Choosing the Right Idea for a Book by Tony Leville

9 Ways To Overcome the Too Many Ideas Syndrome by Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant

I Have an Idea For a Novel! Now What? by Janice Hardy

You Need a Compelling Premise to Finish 50K Words by Kara Lennox

 

Build It

If you write fantasy, urban fantasy or science fiction, your setting needs to be as detailed as your characters. A vibrant setting will inspire your plot and add depth and unique touches to your characters.

World Building Link Mashup by me

Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions by Patricia Wrede

30 Days of World Building

World Building Part 1: Physical Setting by Fae Rowan

World Building Part 2: Social and Cultural Aspects by Fae Rowan

World Building Techniques — Keep Your Reader Grounded In Your Story by Fae Rowan

No Stress World Building by Lori Devoti

World Building on a Theme by Janice Hardy

Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements Into Your Story by Stephen Harper (Amazon link)

This book is the best resource I have ever seen on building cultures for your urban fantasy species (vampires, werewolves, faeries etc.) Works 100% for fantasy cultures and alien races too.

 

Animate It

Under Development: Ways To Create Characters by Janice Hardy

How To Create a Character by Holly Lisle

Characters by Jim Butcher

What Makes a Female Character Strong by Jami Gold

The Three Dimensions of Character Development by Larry Brooks

Crafting Backstory by Larry Brooks

Like Me! How To Create Sympathetic Characters by Roni Loren

The Art of Creating Believable Characters: No Mr. Nice Guy by Karen Woodward

Antagonist Links:

A First Class Bad Guy: How X-Men Can Help You Craft a Better Antagonist by Janice Hardy

Black Swan: The Trick to Inner and Outer Demons by Kristen Lamb

5 Quick Fixes to Make Readers Love Your Villain by Shannon Donnelly

Crafting a Character Arc by Larry Brooks

5 Steps To Building a Believable Character Arc

And then something for romance writers:

Michael Hauge’s Workshop: An Antidote to Love at First Sight by Jami Gold

Michael Hauge’s Workshop: Are These Characters the Perfect Match? by Jami Gold

 

Plot It

Are You a Pantser? How To Overcome Plotting Envy by Roni Loren

Look at how you plan things in real life. If you plan just the main points but not every step, you’re likely not a Plotter

What Is Your Plotting Process Like? Four Levels of Plotters and Pantsers by Roni Loren

What Is Your Premise? by Alexandra Sokoloff

How To Write Your Story’s Logline (one sentence description of the story)

Structure Part 4: Testing Your Idea – Is It Strong Enough To Make an Interesting Novel by Kristen Lamb

Structure Part 5: Keeping Focused – Understand Your “Seed Idea” by Kristen Lamb

Going Both Ways: Outlines For Plots, Pantser For Characters by Janice Hardy

To Finish Your Novel, Plan the Basics by Holly Lisle

How To Create a Plot Outline in 8 Simple Steps by Glen C.Strathy

Michael Hauge’s Workshop: Making Emotional Journeys and External Plots Play Together by Jami Gold

The Three-Act Structure Review & Assignments by Alexandra Sokoloff

What Finding Nemo Can Teach Us About Story Action by Kristen Lamb

Structure Part 2: Plot Problems: Falcor the Luck Dragon & the Purple Tornado by Kristen Lamb

Structure Part 3: Introducing the Opposition by Kristen Lamb

(For Pantsers) Outlining Without Outlining by Janice Hardy

(For Pantsers) Writing Out of Order by Elana Johnson

How To Write a Novel: The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson

The Hero’s Journey – Mythic Structure of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth

(For Plotters) The Three-Act, Eight Sequence Structure by Alexandra Sokoloff

(For Plotters) The Index Card Method and Structure Grid by Alexandra Sokoloff

(For Plotters) Story Elements Checklist For Brainstorming Index Cards by Alexandra Sokoloff

Putting It All Together by Jim Butcher

The Four Part Structure of the Character Arc by Larry Brooks

Beat Sheet for The Hunger Games Movie by Jessica Brody

Making Your Book Memorable: Creating Moments by Roni Loren (What are your favorite moments from the books you love?)

Scenes by Jim Butcher

Sequels by Jim Butcher (how characters react to events)

How To Make the Most of a Scene by Jami Gold

Every Scene Should Have At Least 3 Key Elements by Janice Hardy

The Scene Element Worksheet by Jami Gold

The Great Swampy Middle by Jim Butcher

Plot Fixer, Part 7: How To Pick Up the Pace in Your Story by Kara Lennox

5 Ways To Bring Your Descriptions To Life by Janice Hardy

Novel in 30 Days Worksheet Index (Writer’s Digest)

Writing Cheat Sheet (PDF crammed with writing advice)

 

Finish It

Be part of the NaNoWriMo community. Find yourself accountability partners. Report them your results daily. Your husband, friend or mom will do too. Read the daily pep talks. Read and post to the NaNo forums. But only after you have finished that day’s word count.

25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo by Chuck Wendig (Set your expectations right)

Can’t Finish That Novel? Try Dopamine by Chuck Wendig (I mentioned rewards already but he says it so much better)

NaNoWriMo Tips From Veterans (About.com Fiction Writing)

NaNoWriMo Tips For Success by Michelle Schusterman

Finishing NaNoWriMo – One Writer’s Cautionary Experience (Plot To Punctuation)

All times of the day are not equal for writing. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl determine when you are on your most productive and creative mood. Try to write at those times.

How Heatmapping Your Productivity Can Make You More Productive by Charles Gilkey

Like there is an optimal time for writing, there is an optimal environment too. Some like the peace and quiet of their home, others need background music or the buzz of the crowds at a cafeteria to write. What do you need to be creative?

Why You Need To Write Every Day by Jeff Goins (To create an habit)

How To Write Every Day: Jerry Seinfeld and the Chain Method by Karen Woodward

The Only One Who Can Hold You Back Is You by Rachel Aaron

The #1 Reason You’ll Never Finish Writing Your Novel by Suzannah Windsor Freeman

Three Ways To Avoid Pantser Pitfalls by Roni Loren

The Danger of Writing All The Good Bits First by Aprilynne Pike

Unpredictable… That’s What You Are – Keeping the Plot Fresh by Janice Hardy

Finishing Your Novel – Resources by Timothy Hallinan (great links)

 

Yay, you made it to the end! 🙂 Take a perseverance point. You will totally ace NaNoWriMo this year. Thank you for reading.

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