Five Links 5/1/2020
1. https://writershelpingwriters.net/2020/04/conflict-thesaurus-entry-an-estranged-relative-showing-up/ “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.”
4. https://writersinthestormblog.com/2020/05/loving-your-hateful-antagonist/ “The antagonist is a character that many readers love and many writers hate. In fact, one of my author friends told me that writing her antagonist was a painful experience. “It was a really hard book to write. I had nightmares when I was writing about this character. It was one of the best feelings in the world when I finished writing this.”
In writing my current book, The Hobo Code, I learned what she meant. The book’s main antagonist is a psychopath. To capture the essence of the character, I picked the brain of a retired forensic psychologist and her suggestions surprised me. For example, she recommended I not write chapters from that antagonist’s perspective. “You don’t want to go there,” she said vehemently. “It will give you nightmares.”
I wonder how many forensic psychologists have PTSD by the time they retire.”
5. http://booksbywomen.org/writing-uncertainty-in-uncertain-times/ “n the period since WWII and the Cold War, it is doubtful that we have a frame of reference for the uncertainty with which people lived in the past. Until the unprecedented danger and constrictions of COVID-19, our era, in contrast to previous history, has come to expect that life is fairly free of dangers, other than perhaps those we inflict upon ourselves, severe illnesses, and, more recently, mass shootings.
My generation suffered through mumps and measles, which made us very sick. There were those for whom the results were far more dire. I had rheumatic fever as a child. Smallpox had been eradicated by then through vaccination. The great fear was polio. One girl in my hometown lived her life in an iron lung. A boy at a sleepover woke totally paralyzed and later died. By the time I reached fourth grade the Salk vaccine ended those fears.
There are still terrible things that threaten us: birth defects, mental and emotional disorders, and cancer. There is still an occasional incidence of something once highly epidemic; my husband contracted cholera from eating a contaminated raw oyster. These events tend to affect individuals, not whole societies, entire countries, let alone the world.”
Research & Fun Bits:
1. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/life-in-the-modern-era/ “Things have been slow around here, but I don’t want you guys to forget about me. I wasn’t designed to work from home, but I’m doing it anyway.
There have been a lot of connectivity issues and delays, but I’m getting things done somehow. I was supposed to be in Savanna this week, but that got canceled. The conference went virtual, so I’ve been attending Zoom meetings like everyone else. It works, but doesn’t encourage a lot of interaction. Today is my flex day, but there was one meeting I wanted to sit in on late morning. This seems to be how it’s done right now.
I always get up early, so I had some writing time before I had to log in. I’ve been on a roll with Lanternfish, but I have samples out for critique. That made it easy enough to eliminate for today.”
2. https://acoup.blog/2020/05/01/collections-the-battle-of-helms-deep-part-i-bargaining-for-goods-at-helms-gate/ “This is the long-awaited first part of a series taking a historian’s look at the Battle of Helm’s Deep from both J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers (1954) and Peter Jackson’s 2002 film of the same name. We’re going to discuss how historically plausible each sequence of events is and, in the process, talk a fair bit more about how pre-gunpowder (although we will actually get some gunpowder explosives!) warfare works.
Before we dive in, I want to remind old readers and notify new readers alike that you can support me on Patreon. If you want to register for email updates to know when every new post lands, you can do so by clicking this button:”
Some Things More Serious:
1. https://jenanita01.com/2020/04/28/progress-report-or-how-i-learned-to-love-my-work-again/ “I have been an editor/proof-reader for years and always considered myself reasonably good at my job. I never had any complaints, which is my benchmark for how good you really are. In fact, several Literary Agents complimented me on the quality of our submissions.
English was always my favourite subject and I read a lot of books, but never once considered being a writer. I was far too busy managing Anita’s books, back in the day when manuscripts had to be submitted to agents and publishers in a very particular fashion.
Over the years, we received stacks of very encouraging and favourable letters from both agents and publishers alike, almost leading to publication a couple of times but sadly, despite almost being good enough, Anita was never published.”
Teaser Fiction & Poetry:
Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:
1. https://michellemuto.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/6004/ “The Haunting Season:
Be careful what you let in…
Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a month-long study on the paranormal. Jess, who talks to ghosts, quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects. One is a girl possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who really knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead.” This book is SO good! It’s true to it’s name: haunting!
2. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2020/04/29/announcing-dust-grim/ “’m excited to see how people react to this — it’s very plainly a kids’ book, as I wanted to write something in line with what my son could read by the time he’s of that age, and this should time out pretty well for that. I’m in the middle of editing the book now, and am very pleased to be working with Deirdre Jones, who like my Del Rey editor Tricia has sought to bring out the best version of the vision I’m putting into the book, which is to me the ideal editor-author relationship. Thanks to Deirdre and LB for wanting this book, and for my wonderagent, Stacia Decker, for helping deliver that deal. Hopefully you all will dig it. We initially considered using a pseudonym for it, but there was the feeling that though I’m traditionally an adult author (though I’ve written YA, and those books are on sale this month at Amazon, btw) with a adult social media presence, it shouldn’t impact what kids that age look for or care about. But maybe that’ll change and you’ll find this book coming out under my carefully-crafted pseudonym, RICK RIORDAN. I don’t think anyone has taken that one yet! Failing that, I could always go with the name of my great grand-uncle, JOHN KENNEY ROWLING, though I think it’d be classier to use the first two initials? Whatever.
More as I have it, folks.
Also P.S. the name Michelle under that photo is not my name, but rather, the photographer credit.”
3. https://middlegrademojo.com/2020/04/29/the-mojo-minute-with-erin-entrada-kelly/ “As the nation anxiously awaits the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the Thomas siblings explore complicated galaxies of their own: life in a tense and crowded house in Park, Delaware; unrequited first crushes; and the pressures of fitting in and finding their place in the world. Smart and responsible Bernadette, known as “Bird,” aspires to be the first female space shuttle commander for NASA. Her twin brother, Fitch, struggles with an explosive temper that he doesn’t understand. And their older brother Cash is in danger of failing 7th grade, again.
“Kelly writes a heartfelt story of family and the bond of siblings. . . . Put this book in your orbit.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Newbery Award–winner Kelly follows three Delaware siblings in the weeks leading up to the January 1986 launch of the Challenger. . . . Kelly shows the incredible power of words—the irreparable damage they inflict and their ability to uplift—while crafting a captivating story about family’s enduring bonds.” (Publishers Weekly)”
4. https://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2020/04/28/curse-of-the-blacknoc-witch-blog-tour-fantasy/ “Samuel dreamed of being a lot of things, but a monster trapped in a forest realm never entered his mind. The Blacknoc Curse wasn’t supposed to be true, only a children’s story meant to persuade them away from evil. Yet, here he was tasked with hunting cursed kids. There’s nothing left for Samuel except the horror surrounding him.
Layla, a young girl tormented by the same curse, is dropped into the terrifying forest every night, running from the monsters intent on taking her life. She meets Samuel and vows to save all the children, especially Samuel, from their torment.
Working together can they defeat the Blacknoc Curse?”