Great Stuff for Writers, March 9-11, 2013

Whew! All caught up. Had a good weekend at the Tucson Festival of Books, but leaving the house before 6:15 in the morning and not getting back until late that night doesn’t leave much time for reading blogs or writing about them. No matter: we’re back on schedule.

CRAFT

Motivation-reaction units.” Sounds like parts from a rocket engine, doesn’t it? Katie Weiland (@KMWeiland) says no, that phrase is just another way of describing the cause-and-effect sequence that defines each event in a story. The cause is some kind of outside stimulus. The effect is the reaction—well, three reactions, actually: feeling and/or thought, physical action, speech. A writer doesn’t have to show each one every time (a character might not say a word while/after throwing a punch) but there needs to be the possibility of each.

BUSINESS

Publicist and marketer Sharon Bially (@SharonBially) provides a list of seven must-haves when determining whether a publicity firm is one you want to do business with in The Bad PR Hangover (and How to Avoid It). You’d think things like a detailed work plan from the publicist and open communications (2 of Sharon’s 7 items) would be self-evident, but according to some of her writer friends, they haven’t been. We have the right to be informed customers!

This is a real stunner: Victoria Strauss (@victoriastrauss) reports Another Class Action Suit Launched Against PublishAmerica (PA) on Writer Beware® Blogs. You might remember the previous suit was thrown out of court last year. The revised suit alleges, among other things (these are astonishing), that PA priced their clients’ books so high as to make them unsellable, intentionally inserted errors into the texts, and then offered to correct the errors—if the authors would pay them to do it. If these allegations are proven, wow. Just wow.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) joins the Writer Unboxed team today as their new Twitter columnist, and gets the party going with My 5 Unshakeable Beliefs. Don’t worry, these aren’t a bit preachy and they’re a lot practical. While 3 have to do with quality over quantity (of tweets and retweets posted and of followers) and one has to do with being yourself, the one I liked best was about those iffy tweets you’re tempted to write, but that little birdy on your shoulder is saying, “I wouldn’t if I were you….” Annie puts those in a Word file “incubator” for a few days. If they’re worth hatching a few days later, she tweets them. If not, the Delete key gets to do its magic. Smart.

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