Five Links 2/22/2020

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The links to a product that lead to Amazon are called affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you purchase through the click. These links are all books or items I’ve read or used and highly recommend. They are keepers for me.

Five Links 2/22/2020

Traci Kenworth

Writing:

1. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/02/fall-in-love-with-your-second-act/You better believe there will be times in your life
When you’ll be feeling like a stumbling fool
So take it from me you’ll learn more from your accidents
Than anything that you could ever learn at school

The Second Act

How many of you struggle with the second act?

The second act of our stories is often called the Saggy Middle and tends to be the part of the writing process that authors struggle with the most.

But there are other types of second acts. Like the second act after you get an agent. Or the second act after you sign your first contract, or get your first deadline, or your first set of reviews—whether positive or negative. 

Or, more personally, a second act can be the period of time after divorce, after a loved one has passed, after the kids have left the house, or after a big move. And if you’re a writer (which if you’re reading this post, more than likely are!), then you’re also trying to figure out how to write a book during this second act.” Story of my life, lol.

2. https://writerunboxed.com/2020/02/21/the-authors-guilds-2020-report/ “On Wednesday (February 19), the Authors Guild released news of a new report it commissioned from the University of Colorado’s Christine Larson.  Called “The Profession of Author in the 21st Century,” the report is important reading for anyone who is working in the trade as an author or would like to.”

3. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/02/how-to-build-powerful-character-relationships/ “Character relationships are, in many ways, the glue that holds a story together. Almost every tale has at least one relationship at the heart of it, often more. Rarely can a character sustain a story on their own; they need others: friends, family, mentors, lovers, enemies, strangers, pets, something. The story cast might be large or small, and these relationships may not even be with other people.”

4. https://stevelaube.com/dont-make-your-readers-whack-through-weasel-words/ “Since I waxed eloquently about weasel words last week, I just really thought I should share this very astonishing post. Truly it is just so important that authors really strive to write tightly so that the reader doesn’t just close the book because the writer uses, like, too many weasel words.

As we survey various techniques to the establishment of accomplished prose, we are obliged to contemplate the aphorism that there is no requirement to employ a ten-dollar phrase when a five-cent expression will suffice. What do you opine? Does broad lexis succor prose? Do you discover your reading gratification to be enhanced by immense libretti, or do you favor unpretentious communication?

“I enjoy the occasional need to employ a thesaurus,” Midori said candidly. She changed the topic. “I’m wondering about descriptor tags,” she mused curiously.

“I don’t know,” Knox responded thoughtfully. “Do you really believe they add to the dialogue?” he asked sardonically.”

5. https://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2020/02/21/power-stations-of-the-mind-a-piece-of-not-quite-lost-at-the-liminal-residency/

Research & Fun Tidbits:

1. https://colleenchesebro.com/2020/02/21/a-message-from-the-sisters-of-the-fey/ “It’s time to notify our readers of the changes coming to the Sisters of the Fey blog. In the months ahead, you will see the blog and the posts migrating to the personal blogs of the authors. Once that process is complete, this blog will cease to exist.”  Hugs. Look forward to seeing what you post on your own blogs!

2. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/02/likable-and-relatable-why-and-how-do-they-matter/ “The question of likability, especially for female protagonists, is a topic that’s sparked heated debate. Male protagonists have, traditionally, had an easier time of it. There have been rascals and rogues as well as knights. For every Atticus Finch, there’s a Rhett Butler. Female protagonists have had a more difficult history. Eccentricity is permitted (think of Elinor Oliphant). So too, anti-heroines are allowed in psychological thrillers like Flynn’s Gone Girl or Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. Yet a truly unlikeable female protagonist is relatively rare.

Sometimes relatability is suggested as an alternative. “Your heroine doesn’t have to be perfect,” we’re told. “She can have weaknesses, make mistakes. That makes her someone we can connect with. It makes her relatable.”

Some have rejected both concepts. They point out that great characters in literature have been self-centered, self-deluding, ambitious, jealous, craven, angry, broken. As Mohsin Hamid notes in the New York Times (September 24, 2013), we can love a book without liking its protagonist. In fact, it’s often the “fatal flaw” and ensuing struggle that make us turn the pages.” I think a heroine can be anything you want as long as she makes decisions that lead to her falling off a cliff within the story. (Of course, not literally.)

3. http://dianahurwitz.blogspot.com/2020/02/mastering-conflict-in-scenes.html “Every scene should contain conflict. This idea set me on my search to figure out what that meant and how I could achieve it. I found that conflicts create tension which encourages readers to turn the page.

The tension lies with the wanting. It can be a small thing: to escape an emotion, to get a cup of coffee. Every main character in the scene should want something out of the exchange in each scene: to vent, to get information, to cause trouble, to ease trouble, to find something, to lose themselves in something. 

Whether or not they get it is up to you. They can get it and be satisfied, not get it and need to try again, get it and find out it wasn’t what they needed or requires something further. This is how you propel the reader as they meander or speed through your story. Goals and obstacles supply the gas that keeps the story motor running.
Here are some articles on how to craft conflict to create tension.”

4. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/02/conflict-thesaurus-entry-losing-a-phone/ “Conflict is very often the magic sauce for generating tension and turning a ho-hum story into one that rivets readers. As such, every scene should contain a struggle of some kind. Maybe it’s an internal tug-of-war having to do with difficult decisions, morals, or temptations. Or it possibly could come from an external source—other characters, unfortunate circumstances, or the force of nature itself.

It’s our hope that this thesaurus will help you come up with meaningful and fitting conflict options for your stories. Think about what your character wants and how best to block them, then choose a source of conflict that will ramp up the tension in each scene.”

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Some More Serious Things:

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Teaser Fiction & Poetry:

1. https://seths.blog/2020/02/action-figures/

2. https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/three-things-challenge-150/

3. https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2020/02/20/night-talk/

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Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. https://colleenchesebro.com/2020/02/21/colleens-2020-book-reviews-moments-we-love-by-author-balroop-singh-balroopshado/ “I was delighted to receive this book as a gift, as it had been on my to-be-purchased and read list for some time. “Moments We Love,” is a delightful collection of free verse and rhyming poetry dedicated to a subject dear to all of our hearts – love.

From the first page onward, I discovered that Singh’s poetry dealt with a wide range of human emotions, all drawing upon her astute observations of the human condition.

The collection lead me through the distinct categories of love beginning with young love and progressing into a more mature form of love, moving into memories of love, and even touching on the subject of forbidden love. By the end of the book, I was faced with the loss of love.”

2. https://mystictalestintin.wordpress.com/2020/02/21/review-of-small-is-big/ “In this case, small is indeed a lot. ‘Small is Big’ by Rafaa Dalvi, the third in the series, is a compilation of 100 micro tales each containing a flavour of its own. The tales infused with the right amount of thrill is the perfect combination to a pleasant, light read.

The author delicately handled all the different topics he penned down as micro tales. The writing style and the suspense it created is truly praise-worthy. My favourite one was the last tale ‘The End’; it so aptly concluded the book. The eerie-ness conveyed through the dark stories were spine-thrilling. I do appreciate the way the author penned down so many varied thoughts under a single shed. Each of the them was better than the other. The title and the cover beautifully complemented the book.

A few of the micro-tales did manage to confuse me a bit owing to the twisted way it was penned down. Nonetheless I enjoyed them all dearly.”

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2 thoughts on “Five Links 2/22/2020

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