Friday Links: Assorted Inspiration for Readers and Writers

Happy Friday! I’m not certain where this week has gone. Last week was short, so I expected this week to drag, and yet it flew by and I still have a handful of things to tackle from my to-do list before I can call it the weekend. So no fancy themes or writing philosophies this week, just a fun set of links that I hope you find entertaining and inspiring to kick off the weekend. Enjoy, and happy writing!

170 YA Books Hitting Shelves This Summer – A huge list of upcoming new releases, with something for everyone.

10 Great Spy Thrillers that Could Be New York Times’ Headlines – For anyone feeling like the recent U.S./Russia news is reminiscent of the Cold War.

How to Be a Writer on Social Media: Advice from Roxane Gay, Alexander Chee, Celeste Ng, and Adam M. Grant – Tips on how to negotiate the social media mine field and get the most from various platforms.

Why Read a Utopian Novel in 2017? – Because there’s a lot to be said for imagining the world solving some of its more pressing problems, even if others crop up.

$20,000 for a 100-Word Story: The Museum of Words Flash Fiction Contest – Details and rules for this lucrative prize.

11 Very Short Stories You Must Read Immediately – Good reading for busy schedules.

Liu Xiaobo, Nobel Peace Prize laureate imprisoned in China, dies at 61 – An obituary for the noted writer and dissident.

Friday Links: “Literary Borrowing” and Other Writing Inspiration

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a lovely week and you have some terrific plans for the weekend ahead. As always, I encourage you to carve out some time to focus on your writing goals, whether that means working on your current writing project, taking a workshop, doing some creative exercises, or reading for inspiration. With any luck, you’ll manage more than one of these. Don’t let the temptations of summer lure you too far off track.

When it comes to inspiration, a new experience, some time in a museum, or just a rambling walk can do wonders to spark ideas, but historically speaking, writers are well known for taking inspiration from the works that came before them. That’s why it’s so important to read, to know the foundations of your genre and others so you’re aware of what’s new ground versus well-trod territory. There aren’t that many stories to be told, but the way you tell them, the twists that only you can put on familiar themes, are what set your works apart from the ones that inspire you.

So this week’s links include lots of book recs, as well as some thoughts on how writers “recycle” the ideas that inspire them. Enjoy, and happy writing!

Writing in the Shadow of a Masterpiece: On Homage – Margot Livesy on “literary borrowing.”

In Praise of Daphne duMaurier – A look at the English author whose works have inspired a devoted, steady following.

50 Crucial Feminist YA Novels – A terrific round up of titles you might want to add to your TBR list.

8 Book Subscription Boxes Featuring Diverse Authors – A selection of subscriptions at different price points that focus on diversity.

Here Are all the Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Arriving in July – Some of the most anticipated titles in the genre releasing this month. (A couple have already made it to my TBR list.)

The Sunday Times Short Story Award 2018 – Details for this year’s round of the lucrative prize, open to writers worldwide.

Fairy Tales Still Inspire Modern Female Writers – I’d argue this wasn’t limited to women writers, but they do seem to use this type of source material more frequently than men do. Still, an interesting piece with some good book recs included.

8 Books that Feature Bisexual Women (and Don’t Focus on their Sex Lives) – Some more great reads to consider for that TBR list.

Friday Links: Pop Culture and the Writer

TGIF! There seems to be a confluence of significant pop culture landmarks today. First, of course, we have the anniversary of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, which premiered on the WB 20 years ago today. There are a ton of great articles and reminiscences floating around — far more than I could have included here — but I did find a particularly writer-specific one to share in today’s links. But do poke around and see what else is out there if Buffy is your kind of gal.

For those of you in a Marvel state of mind, today is the 100th birthday of Sergeant James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes, faithful sidekick of Captain America, most recently personified by actor Sebastian Stan. There are a lot of birthday wishes for Bucky appearing on Twitter and Tumblr. He looks damn good for 100.

Finally, for the Harry Potter set, today is Remus Lupin’s birthday as well. I believe per the books he would be somewhere in his late 40s. I’ve seen a few posts celebrating Lupin, also. You really have to love fandoms.

So what does my little outburst of geekdom have to do with writing or publishing? There’s a lot to be said for creating characters that encourage this sort of knowledge and acknowledgement, even celebration. What makes them so beloved? Why do readers and viewers feel so connected to them? How did they become so real? Take a look at the source material for any of the above, or for your own favorite successful works, and figure out what really makes those characters tick.

On that note, I offer up a little more pop culture love, plus a nice assortment of other writerly links to help kick off your weekend. Enjoy, and happy writing!

10 Famous Writers on Loving Buffy the Vampire Slayer – A good group of authors offering up a variety of reasons why they love the show.

7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Writing Files – Sometimes it’s procrastination, but sometimes it’s just plain necessary. Some helpful advice on getting organized.

How to Develop Relationships with Other Writers – Some excellent tips for finding your writing tribe.

Margaret Atwood on What “The Handmaid’s Tale” Means in the Age of Trump – The author looks at her own work in regards to the current political climate.

Writing Contests in 2017 – A searchable database compiled by the folks at Reedsy. With thanks to Arielle Contreras for the link.

10 Essential Books to Read from Iran – A nice list to help anyone looking to diversify that TBR stack.

 

Friday Links from North of the Border

Greetings from beautiful Surrey, British Columbia, Canada! I’m in conference mode, hence the somewhat late post today. I intended to schedule something last night but it just never happened, so I’m sneaking in between pitches and dinner to leave you a few goodies for your weekend entertainment. I hope you find them interesting and inspiring. Happy writing!

12 Awesome Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the British Library – For curiosity’s sake or for adventure/travel plans.

Excellent Nonfiction about Girls for Tween and Teen Readers – Great list, whether you’re shopping for the teen reader in your life or for a bit of industry research.

Interview with a Gatekeeper: Algonquin’s Elisabeth Scharlatt – One editor/publisher opens up about the industry.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon – Read all day on October 22nd! Sorry for the late announcement but there’s still time to join in if you want.

17 Short Story Competitions to Enter Before the End of the Year – Pretty much what it says.

What the Deuce: The Curse Words of Charles Dickens – A look at how the author got around the censorship of his time.

Friday Links: A Hodgepodge of Inspiration

TGIF! I’m currently in Las Vegas on the fringes of the RT Book Lovers Convention (meaning I’m not really attending, but I’m there in the background, holding a few meetings), but I cannot leave you without Friday Links! So here are this week’s goodies. Whatever your plans for the weekend, I hope you squeeze in a bit of time to write. After all, every word counts, even those that end up being part of what gets cut in a revision. The most difficult thing to fix is a blank page, so fill your pages with words and go from there. Enjoy!

Why You Should Write Something Pointless – Some helpful tips to take the pressure off.

9 Websites for Readers Who Think about Books All Day, Every Day – You probably know most of these, but just in case…

Shakespeare on a Stamp – In honor of the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard, the Royal Mail has put the man on the stamp. Or at least his words.

We Want to Hear New Voices: Diversity in Sci-fi and Fantasy – An interview with Zen Cho and Andre Carrington on diversity in sff, with some great reading suggestions from both the speakers and the folks calling in.

Ploughshares Emerging Writer’s Contest – Deadline approaching May 15th, so check it out.

Ruth Sepetys at LA Times Festival of Books

Friday Links

Happy fall, northern hemisphere! Of course here in SoCal, as predicted, we’re still waiting for the weather to catch up with the season, but sometimes I think fall is just a state of mind. All those years of heading back to school each September have me brainwashed; new notebooks, new school books, new books to read, and then a nice fall housecleaning before the craziness of the holidays hits. Okay, that last one was less school related and more about my mother, but you get the idea.

As we near the end of September, it’s also a good time to assess your writing year and set or modify your goals for the last quarter of 2015. How are you doing? Accomplish what you’d hoped to? Gone off track along the way? Take a few minutes this weekend or early next week to give your progress a good looking over and maybe peek at the calendar for October through December. Mark your goals so you know what’s on your plate. Maybe there’s a contest you intend to enter or you have a deadline looming. Get your ducks in a row and then write, write, write.

Of course, feel free to take a little break now and then to check out some of these links. I hope they inspire you to some wonderful levels of productivity. Enjoy!

What Every Successful Novel Opening Must Do: Myth vs. Reality – An interesting look at the dos and don’ts of writing the opening paragraphs.

An Interview of Jessa Crispin – The creator and publisher of Bookslut.com gets interviewed on her own site about her new book (which I have already read and loved) and her fascinating travels through Europe.

Nom de Vie: Literary Social Media in the Age of Ferrante – What it means to have a pen name and refuse to self-promote in this social-media-obsessed world.

15 Short Story Competitions to Enter Before the End of the Year – Pretty much as written.

4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Manuscript Found – Fascinating little write up on this ancient text believed to pre-date the Book of the Dead.

Friday Links

Happy Friday! This week saw rain in Los Angeles — finally — and some much more normal temperatures for a change of pace, not that they’re expected to last. But at least the past couple of mornings have felt like fall, bringing to mind the early weeks of each new school year, walking up the block with my bag filled with shiny textbooks and pristine notebooks. And of course with thoughts of school come thoughts of reading, so I’m hoping I can get through some work-related tasks today and leave a bit of time to indulge in a book with a cover this weekend. Though by then it will be back in the 90s.

But first, I have Friday Links for you! If you’re feeling in the reading mood, I’ve a bunch of new recs, and of course the usual round up of odds and ends. I hope you find them entertaining and inspiring. Have a wonderful weekend!

We Need Diverse Books Summer Reading Series – A compilation of the books they recommended for various age groups over the course of the summer, basing suggestions on what readers might enjoy if they liked other popular titles.

2015 National Book Awards – This year’s long lists in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and books for young readers.

Margaret Atwood: This Much I Know – A brief interview with the author.

Mortified – Artist, writer, and educator Danny Gregory discusses his feelings upon discovering that, in the wake of a busy schedule that left no time for drawing, he seemed to forgotten how, and also how he got his groove back.

The Masters Review Fall Fiction Contest – For emerging writers. Entry deadline October 31st, 2015.

 

Friday Links

Happy May! We’re a third of the way through 2015, so before we get to this week’s links, I want to give you all a little nudge. How’s the writing going? Are you happy with your progress? Are you keeping up with the goals you set yourself back at the start of the year? Maybe you’ve zipped right past them, or maybe things have come up to send you off on a fresh tangent — for better or for worse.

Since we’re heading into the weekend, I suggest you set aside an hour or two to examine your writing activity so far and to assess what you’d like to accomplish going forward. No beating yourself up if you haven’t done what you planned; just dust off your goals and take a look at your calendar and determine what you need to do to get back on track. Good luck!

That said, it’s time for this week’s Friday links. Enjoy!

Ray Bradbury on Madmen – A lost interview with the author from 1972.

2016 Helen Sheehan Book Prize – For an unpublished YA novel. Check out the prize page for complete details.

Jane Austen’s Real Mr. Darcy Unmasked by Historian – Maybe.

The Anxiety of the First-Time Novelist – An amusing anecdote about “the author crazies.”

The Moth International Short Story Prize – For those of you writing short fiction.

Friday Links

TGIF! I hope you all had a terrific week and made some excellent plans for the weekend! The weather appears to be doing strange things all over the country right now, so it might be a great weekend to stay inside with a good book and/or work on your current writing project. Whatever you’re up to, I hope you enjoy the links I’ve lined up for today. At the very least, they should make for some good Friday-afternoon distraction. Happy writing!

How Will I Live? Fame, Money, Day Jobs, and Fiction Writing – An interesting look at what makes the perfect day job for a writer.

Latino Spec Fiction, April 2015 – A wonderful roundup of new speculative fiction by Latino authors for those of you looking to broaden your horizons and/or diversify your to-read list.

Her Stinging Critiques Propel Young Adult Bestsellers – A profile of Julie Strauss-Gabel, an editor at Dutton Children’s Books and the power behind numerous recent successful YA titles.

Competitions for Writers, May and June 2015 – A list of upcoming contests, prizes, etc. for writers.

Vladimir Nabokov on What Makes a Good Reader – The author’s thoughts on how to get the most out of your reading.

Friday Links

Happy Friday! It’s a really wet day here in SoCal, complete with flash flood warnings and mud slides. The perfect day to stay in with a good book and/or a writing project. Of course, I have a rather limited supply of flashlights and candles, so I’m just going to charge up my iPad and hope the power hangs on.

In the meantime, however, I have Friday Links for you all! Some more good book recs, particularly for those of you looking for diverse reading material, plus the usual assortment of oddities. Whatever you have planned for your weekend, I wish you some good reading and writing time. Enjoy!

I Read 50 Books by People of Color This Year – One reader’s round up of a year in diverse reading.

Let’s Talk about Science Fiction Books by Women – Another good list, this time focusing on sf by female authors.

Elena Ferrante, Author of the Naples Novels, Stays Mysterious – Interview with the Italian author whose air of mystery has led to rampant speculation regarding her identity.

The Gothic Life and Times of Horace Walpole – Learn about the father of the gothic novel.

19 Short Story Competitions in 2015 – Start marking your calendars now with these contest deadlines for the upcoming year.