Tag Archives: fiction

BEST FICTION AND WRITING BLOGS

Edgar Allan Poe

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary legend. Compiled by ed.

Primordial BlogThe necessary ingredients for good science fiction
Diana PeachWorld-building: From Imagination to Reality
Evan DeHavenThe Stupidity of Removing Shakespeare
D. E. HaggertyTips for making your blog title catchy
Angie DokosThe Best Things About Reading
AquileanaPsychopomps in Mythology
Dan AlatorreFinish One Story, Don’t Chase Ten
Edgar Allan PoeHow to write a short story

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Best fiction and writing blogs

Jack London
The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary adventurer. Compiled by jack.

Ed A. MurrayWhere I find my inspiration to write
Alicia GaileAdding Flavor To Your Characters
Lissa PelzerTop 5 Writing Tips
J. McSpaddenThe Word Magician, the Story Wizard
Melissa TriplettFinding and Organizing Your Story Ideas
Sonyo EstavilloFocusing on the right details
Didi OviattFocusing on content over word count
Jan M. FlynnAvoiding the Draft
Sy & JeiSy & Jei’s Five Writing Tips

Do we still need gatekeepers?

Jill Schoolman

Literary Hub has published Kerri Arsenault’s Interview With A Gatekeeper. The featured gatekeeper is Jill Schoolman, the founder and publisher of Archipelago Books.

The title echoes the ongoing (and sometimes noisy) dispute about the future of publishing. (Check out this online brawl, for example.) “Gatekeeper” is a noun full of baggage, often used derisively by those who insist the rise of self-publishing has made traditional publishing obsolete. But that would mean people such as Jill Schoolman no longer have anything of value for either readers or writers.

The Literary Hub interview highlights the unique and well-suited skills and insights Schoolman brings to her job. She studied film and literature in college, learned three languages, has lived and worked in three continents, and has done freelance film work.

All of which adds up to a good foundation for an editor, which requires both the specialist’s skill and the generalist’s grasp of a variety of subjects — but as the interview reveals early on, it takes much, much more:

KA: How does one learn to be an editor?

JS: You have to be a good reader, a good writer, and have a good ear. I think you also need to be a good listener. You have to listen to the writer’s voice and not impose your own voice on a text. Being a good translator is a similar craft: to be able to feel the spirit of the text and see what the writer is trying to do. When you start out editing, there’s a tendency to over-edit, to be a bit heavy-handed. But the more you edit, the more you grow to respect the text. You can also feel very quickly if you are not adept at it. It’s not for everyone.

Sound like someone you’d like to read and edit your work? I would. Even in this age of CreateSpace and other self-publishing venues, gatekeepers like Schoolman still fulfill a much-needed role for both the reader and writer. Here’s an excerpt from author Tina Ann Forkner’s article 5 Reasons You Should Still Pursue a Traditional Book Contract:

Vetting is important. Having a traditional novel proves your book has been vetted by the industry and that your writing has been found worthy. When it comes to bookstores carrying your books, being traditionally published is still the best proof that your book is professional, well-edited, and has a great story that readers will want to read. You can be vetted in other ways if you are self-published, but it isn’t easy. Having a traditional publisher is still the best route if you want a wider readership.

The traditional submission process makes your novel better. Sure, you are going to get rejected. I’ve been rejected my fair share, and so have J.K. Rowling and John Grisham, but if I had to go through all of that rejection again, I would do it. The great thing about the traditional submission process is that every time you are rejected, you have to revisit your manuscript and make it better before sending it out again. Revision is a great teacher, and I’ve learned a ton from editors who have rejected my work. If you still decide to go the self-publication route someday, you will be glad that your manuscript was read, critiqued, and rejected by editors who knew what they were doing.

Being traditionally published is a VIP Pass. If you manage to get traditionally published, it will be good for the rest of your career. Even if you self-publish or go with a small publisher later, as I have, you’ll be able to say that you were previously published by a large traditional publisher.

Forkner’s point is that there’s much writers can learn from traditional publishing. Don’t get me wrong — I think the rise of self-publishing is a big plus for writers. In fact, self-publishing is a rebirth of the way authors got their work out to a mass audience in the early days of the printing press. Who could argue against the independence and opportunity for greater earnings now available to writers? Plus, as James Scott Bell has pointed out, a writerpreneur who publishes some works traditionally AND self-publishes enjoys more income than those who exclusively self-publish. And, as in other artistic endeavors, greater income affords greater freedom of expression.

The takeaway of this debate is that great publishing freedom requires even greater pre-publication self-discipline.

The Linguist as piñata

Noam Chomsky

From Scientific American:

Noam Chomsky’s political views attract so much attention that it’s easy to forget he’s a scientist, one of the most influential who ever lived. Beginning in the 1950s, Chomsky contended that all humans possess an innate capacity for language, activated in infancy by minimal environmental stimuli. He has elaborated and revised his theory of language acquisition ever since.

It’s a great article, and includes an interview with another accomplished linguist, Steven Pinker. Pinker concludes that even after decades of brutal examination and criticism, Chomsky’s famous thesis best explains how children master language. The alternatives boil down to arguing that language is an artificial construct of the rational mind that children, starting from a blank slate, must learn.

This vindication of Chomsky’s universal grammar theory is interesting on two counts, and both impact my writing. First, I’m fascinated by language. More important, scientific support of language as an inborn capability bolsters the view that people are naturally social, as opposed to the atomistic, rationalistic view of humanity pushed by both Hobbesians and Marxists.

We’re not plopped on this planet to enrich ourselves and consume; we are born to experience the world and find ourselves in it. That’s the worldview that animates everything I write.

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

hemingway-boxer

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary heavyweight. Compiled by ernie.

C.S. WildeFree Scene Planer
John HartnessMusic to write by
Miguel Olmedo MorellThe Day I Filmed Tolkien’s Grandson
Fionn GrantThere Is No Original
PenstrickenA Fight Scene Worth Reading
Janice HardyBackstory: Finding the Right Balance
Alice OsbornWhy I Love Editing
Ernest Hemingway Seven Tips on How to Write Fiction

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

Ezra Pound

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, all guaranteed to make you a literary rock star. Compiled by ezra.

John Hartness5 Reasons Why Your Story or Novel Gets Rejected
A. J. HumpageHow to Pace A Novel
A. E. StueveOn the Writing Process
Nicloa AlterThe Power of Competitions and Selections in YA Fiction
Emily BartonLiterary or Genre, It’s The Plot That Counts
Anna H. LucyThe Art That Does Have The Power To Save Lives
Brigido AnayaMastery, and the Meaning of Practise
Julian YanoverCSI: Poetry

Best Fiction and Writing Blogs

Jack London

The best fiction and writing blog posts from around the ‘net, with advice and inspiration guaranteed to make you a literary adventurer. Compiled by jack.

Bob MayerTrue Grit. Writer Style.
Shaun LevinTaking Your Notebook for a Walk
Julian YanoverThe most Poetic cities in the World [infographic]
Mike CharaOn John Hudspith and Editors and Editing
Sarah K.L. WilsonHow to Avoid Major YA Errors
Andrew FergusonCreating Characters of the Opposite Gender
P. S. HoffmanWrite Everyday with these Nine Strategies
Jack LondonAdvice on Honing Your Creative Craft