In the Blogosphere: 8/9-8/13

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have about 50 links saved, dating all the way back to May/June-ish (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’ll catch up eventually, right?

CONFERENCE GOODIES

You know how, when you go to some writers’ conferences, they give you a goodie bag?  Well, here are some links that are better than that!  Yes, they all are from kids’ lit conferences, but the skills are not just for kids’ lit writers.

Here, get soundbites from tons of industry professionals at the recent SCBWI L.A. conference—courtesy of the fabulous Michelle Schusterman of YA Highway.

The more I say "goodie bag," the more I want to giggle. #growup

In this post, over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing, the inimitable Martina Boone presents us with literary agent Elana Roth’s two cents about high concept (from the SCBWI ME/DE/WV conference).

Also, if you *weren’t* one of the thousands who attended this week’s free online writing conference, WriteOnCon, get out from under your rock and click here to check it out.  Most (if not all?) of the posts and vlogs are up there.  Such a fab event!

YA YA YA

Here *are* some things specific to YA writers.

This adorable post, by the equally-as-adorable Nathan-Bransford-repped Natalie Whipple teaches you how to Tweet and blog like a YA author.  Yes, I am guilty of all these things.

I’ve posted links on this subject before (mostly by Andrea Brown lit agent Mary Kole), but here is Deborah Halverson—The Editor’s—take on swearing in YA lit.

Also, over at his blogThe Book Deal—editor Alan Rinzler shares tips on writing YA from three Dystel & Goderich Literary Management agents, Stacey Glick, Michael Bourret, and Jim McCarthy.

ON KRAFT*

It’s all about the mission, baby.  The Storyfixer, Larry Brooks, discusses what makes a successful short story.

In this post at See Heather Write, freelancer/editor Heather Trese uses one of my favorite shows (How I Met Your Mother) to discuss character consistency.  Or lack thereof.

Why, yes - I *am* the cheesiest!

And while we’re on the subject of characters, Seth Frederiksen talks about how to make leading characters great at Fuel Your Writing.

As a little precursor to a “Pointers from the Pros” post I will be running soon, here’s The Donald (Donald Maass), over at Writer Unboxed, talking about creating tension.

*In case you missed my D.Maass/RWA10 post earlier this week, here it isPimping out her own blog? Why, yes, she is! (And talking about herself in third person, too—what a freak-a-zoid!)

I don't know what you hearrrrd about me . . . (What ever happened to 50 Cent anyway?)

HEHE

I heart these fellow Clevelanders and YA authors, Lisa and Laura RoeckerHere, they talk about how writing novels is a little like peeing your pants.

Oh—and this is why I love YA author John Green:

*See what I did there? 🙂

In the Blogosphere: 7/5-7/16

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

SOCIAL NETWORKING

We’ve all got Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn accounts in order to boost our platforms, right?  But how do we make sure we’re using these tools effectively?

Here, Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary Management says voice is key when blogging.

As well, Writer Unboxed’s Kathleen Bolton discusses five rules to keep in mind before posting anything online.

VOICE

I’ve had several writer friends ask me about voice lately.  What is it?  How do you craft it?  Is it something you just have to *have*, or can it be developed?

Ah, voice. You slippery, intangible bastard, you.

In her “Footnotes” series over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, guest blogger Nancy Parish lists five voice-related articles that just might help you answer some of those questions.

As well, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Nathan Bransford weighs in on the subject.

TREND-TASTIC

There is much debate on whether or not one should write to trends. The common school of thought is that, once something is trendy on the shelves, that particular trend is about three years old—and, therefore, no longer the “it” thing.

D4Eo Literary’s Mandy Hubbard posted a very interesting two-part series on trends.  Here, she discusses what’s trendy (like, in the slush pile) and what possible holes there are in the market.  Here, she divulges what she’s noticed editors are currently seeking.  (She also says NOT to write to trends.)

Going along with the idea of writing the books you want to write and staying true to yourself, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Sarah LaPolla says we could all learn a thing or two from Betty White at her Glass Cases blog.

A MATTER OF STYLE

I’ve been doing a lot of editing lately, so I’ve been paying a lot of attention to grammar and formatting.  And, of course, that differs, depending on what type of writing you’re doing and who you’re writing it for.

At his Questions and Quandaries blog, Writer’s Digest’s Brian A. Klems preaches to the choir (well, if I’m the choir) about The Chicago Manual of Style. Here, he gives a nice little breakdown of what stylebooks to use and when—and he offers practical advice in terms of grammar and style as well.

Adjectives are the devil—and The Conversion Chronicles’s Daphne Gray-Grant agrees in this fantastic pro-verb post.

In the Blogosphere: 6/7-6/18

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

THE NEXT STEP

I’ve focused a lot here on the blog about querying, but what about the next steps?

Here, QueryTracker’s Mary Lindsey asks Erin Murphy Literary Agency’s Joan Paquette about agent-requested revisions.

D4EO Literary Agency’s Mandy Hubbard also weighed in on this subject, both from the author’s perspective as well as from the agent’s perspective.

Over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, guest blogger Felice Prager tells what to ask an agent when you’re lucky enough to be offered representation.

And, once you’ve signed and you’re working with an editor (and the revisions keep rolling in), here’s some advice from Greyhaus Literary Agency’s Scott Eagan on how to work (productively) with an editor.

Step one (one one): We can have some fun . . .

CHARACTER RELATIONSHIPS

One thing that deserves much attention when you’re plotting, writing, and revising is how characters relate to one another.  Curtis Brown, Ltd., agent Nathan Bransford discusses dynamic character relationships by referring to one of my YA author heroes, John Green Squee!

On her blog, Writing It Out, dystopian YA author Beth Revis talks about creating compelling love triangles, where something is at stake for all three characters—not just the third wheel.

Decisions, decisions . . .

TRENDY VS. TRUE

Over at Writer Unboxed, Ray Rhamey makes some important points about following industry trends as opposed to staying true to the stories you want to write—even if they aren’t “what’s hot” right now.

"He's so hot right now!"

GREAT NEWS

Dying to go to a writers’ conference but can’t afford it?  Write kids’ lit?  YA authors Elana Johnson, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Jamie Harrington, Casey McCormick, Shannon Messenger and Jen Stayrook have pooled their awesomeness to bring us a FREE, online writers’ conference—WriteOnCon—Aug. 10-12.  Canyoubelieveit??? Click here for details.

HILARIOUS AND A HALF

Since I’m always a fan of grammatical humor, here’s Allie of Hyperbole and a Half’s take on idiots people who write “a lot” as one word.

In the Blogosphere: 4/26-5/21

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

It’s been a few weeks since I did one of these posts.  As I’ve mentioned, it’s been busy, busy, busy.  I’ve been saving posts, but I haven’t been sharing them—how inconsiderate of me!

RESOURCES

This oldie but goodie post is from John Robert Marlow’s Self Editing Blog, and it deals with something I’ve seen a lot of lately: bouncing eyeballs.  Many writers—especially those writing young adult lit—have eyes and jaws and stomachs (and such) doing all sorts of things they couldn’t possibly be doing.  And while expressions like “she rolled her eyes,” “his jaw fell to the floor,” “his stomach dropped to his knees” are simply that—expressions—idioms—they can sometimes be jarring to the reader, and it is recommended by many that writers avoid using such phrases.  Marlow’s post does a great job of explaining why.

I mean, this is an eye-roll according to Morfland of OpticalFantasies.com!

And, my absolute favorite example of this comes from when I attended book doctor Bobbie Christmas’s class at the 2008 Southeastern Writers Association conference.  Christmas said she was editing a romance novel, and one of the lines read, “Her eyes were glued to his crotch.”  If you think about that image—the literal image—that can definitely take you out of what I’m sure was supposed to be a hot-and-heavy moment!

But I digress. 🙂

In this post, Paulo Campos of yingle yangle suggests using film to expand your use of body language.

WRITING FOR YOUNGSTERS

Since I write YA and am a recovering high school (and middle school for one year) English teacher, I have a soft spot for all things kids’-lit related.

In her guest post on the Guide to Literary Agents blog, Jewel Allen offers some tips on writing middle-grade lit kids will dig.

To swear or not to swear?  Andrea Brown Literary Agency’s Mary Kole discusses this very question in a few posts over at her blog, Kidlit.comHere is the first of those posts.

LOGLINES & YOU

In the quest for representation, I have discussed queries and pitches and loglines a lot with other writers as well as here on the blog.

Over at Writer Unboxed, Kathleen Bolton explains why you need to be able to boil down your novel to one or two sentences.

Curtis Brown Ltd’s Nathan Bransford concurs.

Here, Bransford tells you just how to do that.

Perfect your pitch! (Yes, Kyle, this pic is for you. Sadly, though, I have no idea who this player is. Sorry - I'm trying, though!)

PEP TALK

And what would the writing world be without pep talks?

Over at TotallytheBomb.com, YA author Jamie Harrington uses Rick Astley to keep us going when writing gets tough.

Sick of Nathan Bransford yet?  Get over it!  Here, he ‘splains that willpower is the greatest strength a writer can have.

Seekerville’s Camy Tang gives some ways one can balance writing and, well, everything else in life.  Stress not—it *can* be done!

PLATFORM

What’s this whole platform thing everyone’s talking about all the time?  Well, YA author Jamie Harrington will tell you.  She did a great little series over at her blog.  A must-read/view for all writers.

In the Blogosphere: 3/22-3/26

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

STRATEGERY

Over at Incurable Disease of Writing, guest blogger, bestselling author, award-winning screenwriter and educator Ami Hendrickson offers a three-step approach to editing.

Here are two great posts, brought to you by Naomi Dunford of Itty Biz: Marketing for Businesses without Marketing DepartmentsThe first discusses the difference between being hungry and starving and is a must-read for all writers.  The second talks about the dreaded “elevator pitch” and suggests you boil yours down to seven words, like the people passing out prostitution pamphlets in Las Vegas.

As well, the good folks at Lyrical Press, Inc. give six strategies to overcome what they call “author fatigue” (when writers lose their way, about 50 pages into their manuscripts).

REASSURANCE

I recently found a group blog, Old People Writing for Teens (OPWFT), and it’s one of my new favorite places to visit.  Particularly if you’re in the querying stage, you’ll want to check out these three posts, which should help you feel better about any of your own submission slip-ups:

Are you neurotic?  Rejections and scathing critiques have you down?  Curtis Brown, Ltd., literary agent Nathan Bransford says feeling like you’re the worst writer (evaaaar!) might not be a bad thing.

In case you were wondering, it’s okay to suck.  Over on her blog, up-and-coming young adult author Myra McEntire asks you to listen to bestselling juvenile lit authors Meg Cabot and Maureen Johnson when it comes to writing—not her.

Why, thank you, bunny!

CONTESTS

Since I just realized I forgot to include the link in last week’s blogosphere post, here’s the link to the contest over at Getting Past the Gatekeeper that requires a love of Jane Austen as well as skill at writing queries.  You’ve got until April 5 to write a query as if you wrote, and are pitching, Pride and Prejudice for a chance to win some great Austen-related prizes!

Are you covering up a crazy past?  Over at bestselling middle-grade and young adult author Lauren Myracle’s blog, Jo Whittemore wants to know the craziest legal thing you’ve ever done to get something you wanted.  Two lucky winners will receive signed copies of Whittemore’s new book, Front Page Face-Off.

And, if you’re a glutton for punishment—which, if you’re a writer, you definitely are—try your hand at Script Frenzy‘s screenwriting contest.  Akin to NaNoWriMo‘s novel-in-a-month contest, participants will write a 100-page screenplay in the month of April.  This contest isn’t about the prize; it’s about the challenge!

I *heart* that this is about a school newspaper!

SPRING CLEANING

Get out the rubber gloves; it’s time to declutter your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  The Gawker‘s Brian Moylan suggests eight annoying FB and Twitter types to cut loose.

In the Blogosphere: 3/1-3/5

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week.

LIVING VICARIOUSLY THROUGH OTHERS

This week has been a positive one, in terms of getting some nibbles and bites on my manuscript.  I’m trying very hard to curb my excitement, however, as I know the road to publication is actually more like a jacked-up staircase.

In the interest of keeping positive, let’s live vicariously through three up-and-coming young adult authors:

  • Jodi Meadows.  Although this happened a few weeks ago, I only found out this week: my new pal, who has been up and down her jacked-up staircase for the past 7 years, signed with Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency (whom Jodi refers to as “agent of awesome”).
  • Sarah Wylie.  If this post doesn’t warm your heart, you’re dead inside.  Wylie, repped by FinePrint Literary‘s Suzie Townsend, announced her debut novel, All These Lives, was just sold at auction and will be out in 2012.
  • Steph Bowe.  This 16-year-old Aussie is repped by Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Ginger Clark, and her debut novel (working title: These Bones) will be published this September in Australia and New Zealand (Text Publishing) and the summer of 2011 in the U.S. (Egmont USA).  She’s also a part of The YA 5, a blog dedicated to changing the way young adult literature is discussed.

**Just a reminder: My guest blog on “leetspeak/text message lingo” in YA will appear on Bowe’s blog Monday, so don’t forget to check it out!

NIT PICKING

Thursday was National Grammar Day, and in the spirit of nitpicking, Curtis Brown Ltd.’s Nathan Bransford blogged about your spelling/grammar pet peeves.

Nerdfighter master and New York Times bestseller John Green adds to the grammar hilarity with this pic.

As well, one of my new favorites, YA author extraordinaire Maureen Johnson critiqued a query letter on the blog of superagent Daphne Unfeasible (her agent Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary‘s alter ego).

SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

At coffee with Jodi the other day, I brought up the subject of author advances.  Being that I didn’t know much about what to expect—I thought the average book deal was wayyyyy less than it actually is—Jodi put me in touch with this post by fantasy author Jim C. Hines.  I learned a lot!

Are you one of those Facebookers who changes your status every time something upsets you?  You might want to think twice about that after reading this post by Andrea Brown Literary Agency‘s Mary Kole over at Kidlit.com.

Excercise some.

Sometimes, dying dramatically or mysteriously is part of the job description when you sign up to be a writer.  The folks over at Schmoop.com take a peek at the fascinating deaths of nine famous writers.

STUFF THAT’S PROBABLY GOOD FOR YOU

Not that I can do this, but I can appreciate the idea behind it.  Author and webmaster of A Life Less Anxious: Freedom from Panic Attacks and Social Anxiety Without Drugs or Therapy Steve Pavilanis gives some tips on how to function without caffeine.

But - but - I need it!

In the Blogosphere: 2/15-2/26

“In the Blogosphere” is a weekly series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week.  Most posts will be from that week, but if I find some “oldies but goodies,” I’ll throw those up here as well.

I never find as much time to read blogs as I want, but here are a few posts that struck me this week—and last week, as I slacked and didn’t do a Blogosphere post last week.

SOME SPLAININ’ TO DO

I don’t know if it was just the places I was checking, but it seemed like a lot of industry peeps wanted to explain a lot of things to writers this week.  Maybe the winter freeze is making people write bad queries?  Or maybe it’s making writers whinier?

Among my favorite entries were by WordServe Literary‘s Rachelle Gardner and Carina Press‘s Angela James.

On her blog, Gardner explains why lit agencies have submission guidelines as well as why she might reject one’s work after she’s requested a partial or full.

James explains why they don’t give personalized rejections as well as why manuscripts are rejected in the first place.

LIT AGENTS

Ever a sweetie, Curtis Brown Ltd.‘s Nathan Bransford reminds us, as writers, to appreciate our biggest supporters, our loved ones.

Love you—and thanks for everything, Kyley T!

Over at Greyhaus Literary, Scott Eagan gives some advice on how to write young adult lit—or how not to write it.

This post on titles by FinePrint Literary‘s Janet Reid made me laugh, and it also answered some questions I had about the process.

RESOURCES

On her blog, Write on Target, YA and women’s fiction writer Debra L. Schubert posted this vlog, wherein she and her agent, Bernadette Baker-Baughman of Baker’s Mark Literary Agency talk publishing.

Being that much of my job now relies on waiting for responses from others, this post, by Peter Bregman over at Harvard Business Review, helps put a lot in perspective in terms of what to do when your voicemails and e-mails go unanswered.

Ring, dammit, ring!

QUERY HELP

On her Web site, kids’ lit author Hélène Boudreau makes writing queries look easy with this breakdown.

Here, Nathan Bransford talks about the difference between being savvy and sucking up; and here, he discusses the theory some have about querying in batches.

For another take on dissecting queries, check out QueryTracker‘s Query Ninja, Elana Johnson.  We’ve got sharks, we’ve got ninjas . . . what’s next? 🙂

. . . And here two takes on post-query etiquette:

-and-

TONGUE-IN-CHEEK QUERY HELP

On her Probably Just a Story blog, Laura Ellen Scott parodies Writer’s Digest‘s 21 tips on how to get out of the slush pile.

REALITY CHECKS

Andrea Brown Literary Agency‘s Mary Kole reminds us that getting an agent is not a magic bullet to publication; and, in this post, The Intern talks about why agents and editors would *like* to set you straight when you send bad queries—or non queries, as it were—(but why they just can’t).

As seen on TV.

CONTESTS

Some awesome peeps are giving away some awesome prizes!

Break out your tap shoes: Kids’ lit author, the award-winning Beth Kephart wants to know your definition of dance.  She’s giving away signed copies of her second YA novel, House of Dance, to two lucky commenters with the best entries (contest ends March 5).

Want to have your fiction published in Writer’s Digest?  Here, WD’s Zachary Petit lays out how to enter their monthly Your Story contest.

The paperback, out this March.

ALSO

Check out my recent interview with Books & Such Literary Agency‘s Etta Wilson on the Guide to Literary Agents blog.

Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Digest Books is calling for reviews and success stories, so show them some love, if you’ve ever used one of their trillions of resources and hearted it.