Monthly Mash-up: 10 Writing Craft Books And Blog Posts

April 28th, 2012

writing craft books and blog postsThere are so many great writing craft books and blog posts out there I just had to do my first monthly mash-up focusing on those. The following are some of my favorite books, in no particular order:

Writing craft books:

  1. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland — Brenda shows us that no writing is absolute crap. In fact, she challenges us to write the worst piece possible, then goes on to show how in even the worst there will be a few gems. She tells us cherish the quiet moments because that is when our stories are percolating.
  2. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell — James walks us through the four act set-up, character arc, various plotting methods and a myriad of other techniques that make writing more efficient (if you’re a plotter, that is). Pantsers can find great information in this book, as well, with questions to ponder either before or after the first draft and different methods of revising once the draft is complete.
  3. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks — Larry explains the six core competencies of concept, character, theme, story structure (plot), scene construction and writing voice, showing us why each of these are important to writing a great story. He also breaks structure down into easily understandable points and gives an idea of how to judge the length of a potential story.
  4. The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes — Ralph helps writers understand that we are not alone in our fears. He gives anecdotes of how famous authors coped with that fear, even encouraging each of us to develop rituals that help get us through the fear of setting words on the page (or screen).
  5. Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell — From redefining failure and success to learning how to embrace failures, John shows us that making both small and monumental mistakes is something to strive for rather than try to avoid. If you’re worrying about falling on your face as a writer, especially as an indie, this is a great book for learning how to accept failing as part of becoming successful.

Writing craft books aren’t the only place to get great information. There are hundreds, perhaps millions, of great blog posts with exceptional advice on how to be the best writer you can be. Here are just a few:

Writing Blog Posts:

  1. Do You Judge A Book By Its Cover by Diana Murdock — Diana gives us a peak into how she chose the cover of her book, Souled.
  2. Tips for Writing Back Cover Copy a guest post by Roz Morris on Jamie Gold’s blog — Having trouble condensing your entire book into a couple of paragraphs? Roz has some tips on what do to and what not to do to capture your story and make readers want to snuggle up with your book.
  3. Saying ‘No’ — A Successful Writer’s Must by August McLaughlin — If you’re struggling to get any writing accomplished because others think you can drop everything to help them, the August has some great ideas on how to set boundaries.
  4. Ask the Editor: How can I cut back on the abundance of pronouns in my writing? by Kira McFadden on Novel Publicity — Having problems with an abundance of he/she/it? Kira shows us how to rewrite passages to limit the number of pronouns used.
  5. 7 Setting Basics That Can Bring a Story to Life by Jody Hedlund — Setting can really bring a scene alive and move the plot forward if we use it properly. Jody gives us 7 ways to make setting almost a character in itself.

These are 10 of my favorite writing craft books and blog posts. I have hundreds more because I’m a craft junkie, as Jillian Kent said in her guest post on Rachelle Gardner’s blog. (Psst… That’s #11. :D) I’m always looking for more blogs to read and books to buy on the craft of writing, so, if you have one you love, please share it in the comments. Happy writing!

7 Links To Understanding (And Finding) Beta Readers

April 14th, 2012

3997687488_05f3e2de10_m_editingPerhaps one of the most daunting things I have yet to accomplish with my current WIP, Apprentice Cat, is finding enough beta readers. I imagine its a problem many of you have or will face, too. I’ve put together 7 links to understanding (and finding) beta readers, as well as critique partners and editors, in this post in hopes that it will be helpful to us all.

  1. Finally, an answer! Here’s the difference between line, copy, and content editing by Pavarti K. Tyler: Besides giving a quick idea to what beta readers and critique partners are, Pavarti shares gives us the inside scoop on what each type of editor does and why you might want one.
  2. 3 Ways to Determine if Your Writing is Crap by Jody Hedlund: In this post Jody breaks down the different levels of readers an author might use from “unskilled” beta readers (those who aren’t writers) to fellow writers to professional editors.
  3. Does my manuscript look fat in this? 7 reasons why writers need critique partners by Laura Pepper Wu: Laura explains what makes a great critique partner and why having one is so important.
  4. Ask Jami: How Do We Find Beta Readers? by Jami Gold: In this post, Jami goes into detail what a beta reader does and some ways we can find them, including offering ourselves as beta readers.
  5. The Art of Critiquing: I explain what makes a good critique and give some suggestions of what to do before handing over your manuscript to a beta reader or critique partner in this post.
  6. Critters Makes for Better Writing: In this post I give a more in-depth look at one online resource for critiques.
  7. Bad Critique Groups—8 Things That Can Push a Group Over to the Dark Side by Anne R. Allen: No one wants to be in a bad critique group, so Ruth gives us 8 things from having no rules to dogmatic PC/Religious policepersons to watch out for when choosing a crit group.

Do you know of other resources for finding a beta reader?

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