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Best of the Blogs

Christian Editing Services | Best of the Blogs | 21 October 2017

The best of the blogs: must-read posts on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing your books.

Writing

Genre

What is women’s fiction? (Yes, it is a recognised genre.) Orly Konig visits Seekerville and attempts to explain The Mystery of Women’s Fiction.

Prologues

Many publishing professionals warn writers against using prologues. Why? And when can a prologue be a good idea? Meg LaToree-Snyder gives her tips in The Great Debate: To Prologue or Not To Prologue.

It may also depend on the genre you’re writing. I’ve read that Young Adult books shouldn’t have prologues, because young adult readers don’t read them. I asked my teenage daughter, and she says she only reads the prologue if it’s less than a page … and sometimes not even then.

Plot

To plot or pants? And how? Jenny Hansen shares a range of plotting methods at Writers in the Storm. Me? I’m working through Story Genius by Lisa Cron, supplemented by feedback from Michael Hauge (which I’ll talk about in my post next Wednesday).

Productivity

Tamara Alexander visits Inspired by Life and Fiction to share 10 Tips for Staying Focused. I’m going to work on #1 and #4 over the next week. What are you going to focus on?

Writing Skills

What are you good at in terms of writing? What are you not so good at? Are you ever tempted to do more of what you’re good at to avoid improving your weaker areas? In this post, Julianna Baggott challenges us to take her writerly skills test, and work on our weak areas.

Karen Hertzberg from Grammarly uses cooking as an analogy for writing as she shares 9 Easy Tips That Will Improve Bland Writing.

Motivation

KM Weiland from Helping Writers Become Authors has a great post: The Only Good Reason to Write, in which she outlines five not-so-good reasons to write, and (surprise!) the only good reason. Do you agree with her conclusion?

I won’t be posting Best of the Blogs next week (28 October 2017), because I’ll be in Australia at the Omega Writers Conference. But I have a book review for you instead, so stay tuned. Subscribed. Feedly-d. Or however you read blogs.

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?