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Best of the Blogs

Best of the Blogs: 30 September 2017

Best of the blogs: the best posts I’ve read this week on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing. Okay, mostly on writing.

Writing

Writing Addictive Fiction

What is addictive fiction? It’s fiction that keeps the reader turning the page. In this guest post at Write to Done, Victoria Mixon shares The 3 Secrets to Addictive Fiction.

Writing Conflict

Is your conflict true conflict that’s necessary for the story, or is it just a temporary obstacle, an unimportant delaying tactic you’ve included because you know you need conflict in fiction? Janice Hardy visits Romance University to answer this question in 3 Ways to Tell if Your Conflict is Just a Delay Tactic.

Writing Scenes

Orly Konig visits Fiction University to share tips on Using Seasons (not seasoning) to Deepen a Scene. I love the idea of considering the season as part of the setting. Seasons tell us something about location – is Christmas in summer or winter? Seasons can also be used to reflect characterisation—does the character call it fall or autumn?

Writing Subtext

KM Weiland offers 4 Ways to Mine Your Characters’ Subtext. Great subtext, to me, is the mark of a great novel. It’s when I can read a scene and feel I know something about the characters before they acknowledge it for themselves. Yet the author didn’t tell me. The author showed me, through great subtext.

I’d add one thing to KM Weiland’s advice: don’t worry about adding subtext on your first draft (although you might find it comes out naturally). Use your first draft to nail down your plot and characters, then consider where you could add subtext (or remove telling) in your second and subsequent drafts.

Writer Productivity

I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of “productivity hacks” online (although none of them have yet told me how to get more hours in the day). In particular, many writers find it difficult to carve out time for writing, especially those who have other roles: wife, mother, employee, homeschooler, church volunteer … (ringing any bells?).

Joanna Davidson Politano visited the American Christian Fiction Writers blog to offer Help for the Time-Starved Writer. She says:

The truth is, you don’t need more time to write—you need a deeper reserve of creativity and strength and ideas that can only be found in intimate relationship with the Father.

Not the productivity hack you were expecting, right?

Marketing

Finally, Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader give his tips on writing a regular link post (like this best of the blogs post). Author Blogging 102: A Practical Guide to Developing Your Weekly or Monthly Link Post covers both non-fiction and fiction link posts.

That’s a great idea: I hear a lot of fiction authors saying they don’t know what to blog about, so a weekly or monthly link post is a great idea. Fiction authors can link to book reviews or author interviews in their genre, or to posts that might interest their readers.

His best tip? Read all the posts first. It’s something I do, even with the posts I share on Twitter. You don’t want to unknowingly share something you fundamentally disagree with without some kind of comment.

What do you like in my weekly link post? What would you like to see more of … or less of?

Best of the Blogs

Best of the Blogs: 23 September 2017

Best of the Blogs: it’s all about writing this week!

This week was the monthly Author ToolBox Blog Hop, courtesy of Raimey Gallant. While all the posts were good (and you can click here to find the links to each post), there were two I thought were outstanding.

Characterisation

The first was from Erika Timar, who applies her experience in creating characters as an online RPG gamer to writing fiction in Character Creation—Building From Cliches. She points out that readers like familiar characters because they are relatable … and relatable is the key to being marketable.

Author Intrusion

The second was from editor ML Keller, on Correctly Using Author Intrusion. It’s a form of telling, but as I discussed in my own post this week, telling isn’t always bad. I would point out that her examples were older novels. Do you know of any contemporary novels that use author intrusion well?

Other excellent writing posts …

Story Secrets

Award-winning author Rachel Hauck visited Novel Rocket to share The Secret To Powerful Stories. How does your novel rate against Rachel’s criteria?

Subplots

In Five Tips for Organising Subplots, KM Weiland gives three types of plot, four types of subplot, and her five top tips. Her main point: there are no subplots, just plots.

Flashbacks

Finally, Kristen Lamb visits Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi at Writers Helping Writers to share about Flashbacks: when is a flashback not a flashback, and the difference between a flashback and a parallel timeline.

What great blog posts have you read this week? Share in the comments.

Best of the Blogs: 28 October 2016

The best blog posts I’ve read in the week to 21 October 2016, on writing, publishing, and marketing.

But first: a giveaway

Can’t Help Falling, the second novel from New Zealand author Kara Isaac has just released, and I’ve got one Kindle version to give away. Click here to enter.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England.

Emelia Mason has spent her career finding the dirt on the rich and famous. But deep down past this fearless tabloid-reporter façade, there’s a nerdy Narnia-obsessed girl who still can’t resist climbing into wardrobes to check for the magical land on the other side. When a story she writes produces tragic results, she flees to Oxford, England—home to C.S. Lewis—to try and make amends for the damage she has caused.

Peter Carlisle was on his way to become one of Great Britain’s best rowers—until he injured his shoulder and lost his chance at glory. He’s determined to fight his way back to the top even if it means risking permanent disability to do so. It’s the only way he can find his way past failing the one person who never stopped believing in his Olympic dream.

When Peter and Emelia cross paths on her first night in Oxford, the attraction is instant and they find common ground in their shared love of Narnia. But can the lessons from a fantasyland be enough to hold them together when secrets of the real world threaten to tear them apart? Cobblestone streets, an aristocratic estate, and an antique shop with curious a wardrobe bring the world of Narnia to life in Kara Isaac’s inspiring and romantic story about second chances.

The first chapter is at the bottom of this post. But now, back to our regular feature: what’s best in the blogs this week.

Writing

Fiction authors need to show and not tell. It’s easier said than done (and easier told that shown!). Janice Hardy visits Helping Writers Become Authors to share an excellent article on 3 Ways Writers Can Instantly Spot Telling … which is the first step in eliminating it.

Book coach Jennie Nash visits The Book Designer to go Back to the Basics on Backstory. This is an excellent post which also contains links to five previous posts in the series, all written to help you write the perfect chapter.

Publishing

Anne R Allen shares 10 Tips for Choosing Your Book Title—there is some meaty stuff in this post.

Marketing

Draft2Digital have advice on How to Build an Author Platform. Despite the title, this post is not so much about developing an author platform. It’s more about how you can use some clever tools to improve your passive marketing—like putting store links in the backs of your books. It’s from Draft2Digital so they’re obviously pushing their own publishing platform, but why not? I’ve only heard good things about them (and I’m happy to be corrected on that).

Fun

I’m no athlete, but our family are fans of the TV show Ninja Warrior (although we prefer the subtitled to the US version. Sorry, American readers). Anyway, this dad also has a daughter who loves Ninja Warrior … but he’s taken his fandom a little further than most people: Baby Ninja Warrior

 And here’s the beginning of Can’t Help Falling:

Remember: click here to enter the giveaway

Best of the Blogs: 30 September 2016

The best posts I’ve read in this week on writing and social media, a fun video … and two giveaways.

Writing

KM Weiland at Helping Writers Become Authors has an excellent post on the differences between scenes and chapters: 7 Questions You Have About Scenes vs. Chapters

And Joanna Penn, on 7 Steps to Writing Your First Novel

(Hmm. There must be something significant about the number seven.)

Social Media

Two articles on social media this week, both from Social Media Examiner.

First, Twitter has introduced something called Twitter Cards. Here’s how to use them: Using Twitter Cards for Business

Second, a detailed guide to using Medium–which I don’t use, but now I’m wondering if I should! What do you think? Here’s the guide: Medium for Business

Thought

Yes, many of us feel we’re becoming overwhelmed by social media … and that’s not always a good thing. In I Used to Be A Human Being, Andrew Sullivan muses on his social media journey, from non-user to addict to recovery. This is a long article. Very long. So long I gave up halfway through, which I suspect partly defeats the purpose of the article. Or perhaps it reinforces the fact we’ve become a planet of skimmers rather than readers.

Fun

And for a bit of fun … 17 British accents in just five minutes:

Giveaways

I’m also currently running two giveaways, partly to test out the KingSumo WordPress plugin I’ve recently purchased. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so I want to see if it’s worth it! Check out the giveaways, then come back and tell me what you think in the comments.

One Kindle copy of My Hope Next Door by Tammy L Gray.

Click here to enter the giveaway (ends 5 October)

Click here to read my review of My Hope Next Door

One Kindle copy of An Aussie Summer Christmas novella collection

Click here to enter the giveaway (ends 10 October)

Click here to read my review of An Aussie Summer Christmas

Relz Reviews

And if you’re really in the mood to score some free Christian fiction, head over to Relz Reviewz, where uber-blogger Rel is celebrating her ten-year anniversary of blogging with a heap of giveaways.

 

What’s the best blog post you’ve read this week? Share in the comments.