I was going to start my blog entry this way:
If you hear a thumping sound, please don’t worry. It’s probably just the sound of me repeatedly banging my head against the wall. Nothing to worry about, really.
It was going to deteriorate from there into a wholehearted whine. I’d had one of those weeks, due to both writing and non-writing related angst. And the writing-related issues would basically have justified tattooing the word idiot on my forehead, because it was due to my own stupid fault and could be summed up thus: failed to read submission guidelines. Yep, the number one reason for form rejection of manuscripts. No more to be said.
Just as I was wondering why I even bothered, something happened to lift my spirits.
I was randomly selected for a 1000 word crit by the highly talented Janice Hardy from her blog. Not only would I value her input into my work, but the sheer big-heartedness of this gift made my day. She might be busting a gut to finish her own MS, but still found the time to offer three readers her personalised input. That’s the sort of generosity evident in the writer-verse.
So instead of detailing evidence of my own stupidity, I’ll sing the praises of the resources freely available to writers in the blogosphere. Mainly because it’s far more interesting, but also because I have gained so much, and been so inspired by the generosity of writers, it’s high time for some appreciation.
Now, eighteen-odd months ago, I had no idea that writers blogged. Yep, and I’d never heard of the Beatles either. Or that amazing wheel-thingo that might just catch on as a useful tool.
Writers’ blogs have been a source of Ah-ha moments. The publishing industry might be cut-throat and unforgiving. But instead of taking advantage of any opportunity to slag-off the competition or jeopardise others’ chances of reaching the holy grail – writers’ (and agents’ and editors’) blogs are a shining example of sharing the skills needed to make a piece of writing shine.
So, in order of discovery, the amazing blogs that changed my approach to writing. And my heartfelt thanks to all.
I’d never heard of a query before hitting her home page. After a few days of devouring every entry and comment, my neurons went firing in entirely new directions. I thought I knew how to summarise a plot. I thought I could write a plot. This blog taught me I was wrong. If I can’t answer these questions (Who is the MC? What do they want? What’s stopping them getting it? What decision do they need to make to reach their goal? What will happen if they don’t?) then there really is no plot. Simple? Yeah. Obvious? No way.
Oh, the hours of mirth! He taught me to not take my plots too seriously. I have posted queries on his blog – not that any stories were actually ready to query, but really to test how well my plot held water. The guy is a genius for identifying holes, (and lampooning them). Any he misses, his minions will happily point out. I’ve been both a minion and a querier. And both experiences have left me richer.
Not as well known as the others, but honestly – a must-bookmark site for anybody considering self publishing on Amazon/ Smashwords and so on. She has detailed her forays with unflinching honesty. With the analytical brain of a scientist, she outlines her marketing strategies, and demonstrates their effectiveness. I’m not ready to launch my babies into the Amazon jungle – yet – but when I do I will go back and memorise her approaches.
Hilarious grammar advice. And no, those aren’t three words randomly selected by one of those poetry-writing programmes, I mean it. Check it out.
For a fresh take on the fundamental skills of writing and self editing, Janice Hardy’s blog is the most comprehensive, simplest and fresh blog I’ve seen. It’s as informative as a writing course. I especially like the “red flags” she suggests one searches for in one’s manuscript to identify areas that need tightening. I’ve followed her advice and strengthened my writing immensely as a result.
This lady, the anonymous Authoress, must be an Olympic-level networker, because she has enticed a truckload of agents to come to her blog and take their pick from fifty hopefuls’ queries or openings in her monthly Secret Agent comp. You’d expect the agents to shy away, given they have slushpiles the size of Everest, but, no. They actually read through them and post comments about why/ why not. Fascinating – particularly as a lucky writer might actually end up with a deal as a result. Real-life drama!
Any blogs you care to add to the above?