“Watch this” Wednesday: Gay Talese

Have you seen the New Yorker’s wonderful profile of journalist Gay Talese and his “underground think tank?” I loved hearing about his writing process and seeing how he collects and collages the memories of a lifetime.

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Friday Five

Five random things that helped make this a good week . . .

Jordan DaneAuthor Jordan Dane posted yesterday at The Kill Zone authors blog on five key ways to make your  characters memorable. It came at the perfect time for me (or the girls in the basement, at least) as I struggle with a flat opening to my latest WIP (a revision of last year’s Nanowrimo novel). The comments are just as valuable as her post, and she was kind enough to follow-up with more advice on Twitter. That’s some good author karma there, and you know she just made my TBR pile.

I watched this and laughed my ass off:

I love P!nk and I love you, Mr. Hart. Here’s to another 24 years!

Grooms see their brides for the first time...hanky required. (Photo Album - Imgur)And then I saw this photo album of grooms (thanks to a Twitter-tip from author Barbara O’Neal) at the first moment they see their brides. Awwww. That’s enough to crack even my hard shell. I think I’ll make Mr. Hart something that doesn’t come out of a box tonight in honor of our anniversary two weeks ago.

Reached new levels of cooperation with the wonderful Ms. G who teaches my equally wonderful six-year-old son, who has Asperger’s syndrome. Nice to have an ally in the endless battles with the school bureaucrats and policy-makers who grow further out of touch every day with the needs of kids and those trying to teach them.

One or two . . .  or three . . .  of these are in my near future. Tonight, after the little demons ones are nestled snug in their beds,  it’ll be me in my basement office, marg in hand, spilling ink and having fun. Ah, the zany life of a writer.

TGIF, my friends.


“Watch this” Wednesday: author Dan Wells on story structure

This week’s “watch this” is part one in an engaging five-part series on story structure by horror novelist Dan Wells.

Dan is one of the talented quartet behind the brilliant podcast Writing Excuses, which also features Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal and Howard Tayler.

Bonus:  Brandon Sanderson has posted the complete video footage of his 2012 creative writing class at Brigham Young University online. Check it out.


How to use your iPad to get unstuck

Today’s post is via the amazing Daphne Gray-Grant (aka The Publication Coach).

Sorry to mention this to my readers who don’t have iPads, but here’s a fabulous free app if you do. It’s called Unstuck. It’s easy to use if you have a problem (a “stuck moment”) and it gives you a positive way of reframing the trouble.

Once you’ve registered (at no charge) here’s how it works . . .

Read the rest of this post on Daphne’s blog. Linger awhile–you’ll find lots of other terrific tips there.


12 steps to better blog promotion

I was doing a little surfing this Sunday morning and discovered these terrific blog promotion tips from DivvyHQ. Their visual checklist is offered up freely for sharing. Head over to DivvyHQ’s website to download the file and printing instructions.


New Yorker to serialize story on Twitter tonight

Just a quickie, folks.

Have you heard the news? The New Yorker is serializing a new short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan on Twitter (@NYerFiction).

The first “chapter” of the futuristic spy thriller “Black Box” will hit the twitterverse tonight at 8-9 PM EST and the rest over the next ten evenings. The story will also appear in the magazine’s Science Fiction Issue, out Monday.

Here’s what Egan herself had to say about the story:

I found myself imagining a series of terse mental dispatches from a female spy of the future, working undercover by the Mediterranean Sea. I wrote these bulletins by hand in a Japanese notebook that had eight rectangles on each page. The story was originally nearly twice its present length; it took me a year, on and off, to control and calibrate the material into what is now “Black Box.”

This is both thrilling and scary to me. Finding new outlets for our work and new ways to connect with readers is great. But does this add even more pressure to produce content quickly and in copious amounts?

It’s an interesting experiment, taking the once-popular serial novel format to Twitter. I’ll be following along. Will you?


“Watch this” Wednesday: Revenge of the Rejected

Rejection letters are one of the soul-crushing realities of life as a writer.

Per all the wisdom of the interwebs, we’re to take them with a grain of salt. It’s only one person’s opinion, after all. A proper writer doesn’t wallow in despair.

A proper writer is grateful for the rejection. It has freed us to find that one agent or publisher out there who really gets us and will fight passionately for our story. Our book’s soul mate.  And look, this reject-er was kind enough to bullet everything wrong with our story, so that we might rewrite it in a way more pleasing to them and potential marketing departments. So many blessings in one short email or letter.

Yeah, right. Here’s what we really want to do:

This great clip, featuring Dylan Moran as Bernard Black, is from the British TV show Black Books that ran a few years back in the U.K. Very funny.