Great Stuff for Writers, March 5 & 6, 2013

Sorry for the light late-in-the-day post but I’ve spent most of the day as a judge at a science fair, then had a meeting to run this evening. So, without further ado…

CRAFT

Yuvi Zalkow’s (@yuvi) back with some material he extracted from a Skype interview with author Thaisa Frank (@ThaisaFrank). What struck him, and it may strike you too, is her comment about The Failure of the Intended Story, by which she means, she starts to write a story and gets stuck. The process of getting un-stuck then reveals the better/deeper/more real story. How about that? Said another way, if we were to treat “writer’s block” not as a block but a deflector, like a bumper in a pinball machine, we can use it to our advantage, to go in a new and more profitable (artistically and maybe commercially) direction.

Who is your reader? That’s a question we keep getting told we need to answer. Some people advocate doing so in excruciating detail—imagine that ideal reader down to the color of her toenails. Joe Moore (@JoeMoore_writer) takes a different approach: the person you’re writing for is you! Check out the case he makes in his Kill Zone blog.

TECHNOLOGY

Beth Hayden (@bethjhayden) has been running a series on Copyblogger on content marketing research. I mostly haven’t included it in these posts because, to be honest, my brain went tilt on the whole concept. I’m just not ready to absorb most of it. But her final post, Case Study: How Keyword Research Works in the Wild, is basic enough that I can follow it and maybe you will be able to, too. It follows Colorado-based professional organizer (yes, we have people in America whose paid job is to help other people get organized) Sarah Gabriele as she builds and refines her list of keywords for her web site. Yes, the post ends with a plug for Copyblogger’s “Scribe” content marketing system, but it looks like anyone can follow the six steps of the process to good effect without spending the roughly $100-$250 per month Copyblogger charges. If you find yourself interested in the other posts in the series, there are links to them at the bottom of this final one.

THE WRITING LIFE

With a title like Don’t Go on TV with Your Fly Open, you have to assume a post like the one on Writer Unboxed from Allie Larkin (@allielarkin) is going to be funny. Okay, maybe you don’t, but in this case, you should, because it is. Sure, it’s got good advice about how to behave when you’re out publicizing your latest and greatest—own your expertise; learn your best camera angles; banish your, like, verbal tics—but it’s all presented in tongue-in-cheek humor that will raise a smile, or more.

Uh-oh! Common-sense (which ain’t so common) alert! Dean Wesley Smith (@DeanWesleySmith) carries three bits of Writing and Publishing Advice from Harlan Coben on changes in the publishing industry and what to think about them (don’t worry about what you can’t affect), advice to new writers regarding social media (don’t get too wrapped up in it), and general advice to new writers (“Just shut up and write.”!). These quotes are from an interview he did with Anthony J. Franze on yet another blog called The Big Thrill.

OPINION

I’m not going to be expressing my own opinion here but one I sure agree with. Robert Bruce (@robertbruce76) over at 101 Books is currently reading Doris Lessing’s novel The Golden Notebook. As part of his research on the book, he came across some Lessing quotes on literary critics (to be kind, she doesn’t think much of them) and why some books are determined to be “good” while others are not, and how readers should respond to that (they should make their own decisions). As far as I’m concerned, Lessing hit it on the head. See exactly what she said in Why Do You Read What You Read?

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