Friday Links: Stories Only You Can Tell

This week I’m focused on the idea that there are stories only you can tell. Writers sometimes struggle to find their unique voice. But often the problem lies in trying to tell a story that has no personal connection.

Last weekend, at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, I listened to a number of very different keynote speeches. Tetsuro Shigematsu shared tales of family, of his relationships with his sisters, his father, and how they influenced the stories he told. Amal El-Mohtar spoke of belonging, of the sense memory of scent and how a whiff of something familiar and beloved can draw you into a community. Mary Robinette Kowal spoke about mechanics and voice and that something else that draws you in–or rather her charming puppet did. Liza Palmer talked about being real on the page, and the importance of being real in life first. These writers, and many others over the course of the conference, dug deep into themselves to tap into their stories. They shared personal moments, and in doing so, chose specific details to make the narrative relatable.

When writing fiction, writers dig just as deeply into their psyches to make their stories sing. Every story you write is your own story, whether you mine true-life experiences or let your imagination roam. Find the bits that touch your heart, make you laugh or cry. The choices you make will reveal your unique voice, and will result in stories only you can tell.

This week’s collection of links is something of a hodgepodge, but I hope you will consider them in light of the above. Think about it while reading great books, while working on your current project, while going for a run. Enjoy, and happy writing.

This Week’s Links

I Talked to 150 Writers and Here’s the Best Advice They Had. – A great collection of tidbits from a wide selection of authors.

How a kid who didn’t read a book until he was 17 grew up to become a literary star. – Short interview with award-winning YA author Jason Reynolds.

13 new Halloween reads to chill, amuse, inform, and terrify. – Some books to add to your seasonal TBR pile this weekend.

23 Writing Competitions to Enter Before the End of the Year. – A varied list of competitions with upcoming deadlines.

50 Great Narrative Nonfiction Books. – Some wonderful nonfiction to break up that pile of novels you’re working on, inform, inspire, and entertain.

The original synopsis of Harry Potter that J.K. Rowling sent to publishers has been revealed. – A few caveats: Rowling probably sent this (or something similar) to agents, and ultimately her agent sent it to publishers. It’s just the first page, as visible in the new British Library exhibit. Finally, it is definitely the synopsis, not the pitch or query as was declared by BuzzFeed elsewhere. But it gives a great idea of the pacing and level of detail for a synopsis. I’d guess this runs about 2-3 pages total.

Cold War Noir: 10 Novels that Defined an Anxious Era. – Given current politics, these types of novels are once again all the rage.

Necessary Whimsy: Vampire Bunnies and Other Weird-But-Fun Halloween Reads. – For anyone looking for a little humor with their  horror this year.

Friday Links: Sparking Creative Whimsy

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., coming on the heels of another busy week. Thanks to everyone who came out and pitched during the Twitter Pitch Fest on Wednesday, and to everyone else who spread the word, cheered on the writers who were pitching, or was just generally excited during the event. We had a fabulous time and saw so many amazing pitches over the 8-hour window. I know we’re going to be busy reading for quite a while.

For those of you who didn’t hear about the pitch fest until too late, weren’t quite ready to pitch your manuscript, or couldn’t quite imagine pitching in 140 characters or less, please remember that The Knight Agency is open to general submissions, and we’re always happy to read your queries. Please check out our submission guidelines for complete details.

Now on to this week’s links! I’ve got a pretty broad assortment, including some whimsy in honor of the holiday. Whether you’re hanging out at the beach or poolside, picnicking or kicking back at home, I hope you all have a lovely time this weekend and manage to squeeze in a bit of personal creative time. Even if you set aside your writing project, take some photos or try your hand at sketching, bake something delicious or play in your garden. You’ll be surprised at what sorts of inspiration pop up when you’re occupied with other things. You might even generate some fresh ideas to help push your goals forward in this second half of the year. Enjoy!

All Stories Are the Same – On the constants of dramatic storytelling.

5 Writing Tips to Creating a Page Turner – Author Eileen Cook offers a great checklist for making sure you keep your reader hooked.

Habitually Chic: A Little Life – Bookshelf envy, which I share with you all. Scroll down to see author Hanya Yanagihara’s amazing book collection.

The Obsessively Detailed Map of American Literature’s Most Epic Road Trips – Fun for planning a summer road trip, even if it’s just of the armchair variety.

10 Lessons Learned from My First Grown-Up Writing Job – One writer shares some hard-earned knowledge.

OED Birthday Word Generator – Find out what word originated around the year you were born.

Putting Borges’ Infinite Library on the Internet – A look at how the concept behind Borges’ story about the Library of Babel translates to the web.

Friday Links: Emerging from the Writing Cave

Some weeks get away from us, one project or another eating all of our time to the point where, waking up on Friday feels akin to stepping off a roller coaster that left your knees a touch wobbly and the earth not quite solid beneath your feet. This can happen with any occupation or hobby, but for writers it might seem even more disorienting if they’ve spent that roller coaster ride involved with a fictional world. A number of this week’s links focus on the sorts of big projects that a person can sink into, emerging later with a fresh perspective. I hope they inspire you to delve deep with your own work in progress this weekend, or to lose yourself in a wonderful fat book. Happy writing!

Fast Draft Hell: 7 Lessons I Learned (Almost) Writing a Novel in 14 Days – An intriguing look at the experience of writing a really fast first draft.

12 Things I Noticed While Reading Every Short Story Published in 2014-15 – On patterns discovered and realizations made over the course of a major reading experience.

“A’ghailleann”: On Language-Learning and the Decolonisation of the Mind – Looking at the cultural significance of learning a colonized language.

The First Science Fiction Novel?: Kelly Link and John Crowley Discuss The Chemical Wedding – Regarding the project to bring out a new edition of the 17th century work.

If You Use This Font... – A fun graphic matching fonts with personalities.

Joe Hill Remembers Where He Came From (Part One) – An in-depth interview with the author. Second part linked from bottom of the first.

The Whole Spy’s Guide to the Internet: Untangling the Web – Trying to explain would just ruin this for you. Just read it. You’ll thank me.

Friday Links: A Few of Publishing’s Many Faces

Happy Friday, everyone! This week flew by, which means I’m looking at a busy weekend of things I didn’t quite manage to fit into my week. I hope you all had a good one and that your weekend looks a little bit more relaxing than mine.

For this week’s links, I have a few interesting looks at the publishing industry from very different angles — writers new and experienced, a long-time reviewer, technical innovators, and more, along with a few other fun odds and ends. Together I hope they form an intriguing mosaic and illustrate the way that there is no single story when it comes to this industry. You have to find the journey and the space that works for you.

Have a wonderful weekend, and happy writing!

Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read – How e-books report back to publishers, and what they might do with the data.

24 Things No One Tells You about Book Publishing – Author Curtis Sittenfeld on her publishing experience.

The Rumpus Interview with Jessa Crispin – Crispin, the long-time publisher of Bookslut (which I am sad to say will be shutting down in May after 14 years), discusses her two recent books and her take on the publishing industry.

The Literary Fiction Drinking Game – From the pages of McSweeney’s. Because it was there, and I was amused.

A Fairytale for all Aspiring Writers – Amazon.com interviews Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest, about her “overnight” success.

2015 RT Award Winners – Romantic Times announces this year’s winners of their Reviewers’ Choice and Career Achievement Awards.

How to Beat Writer’s Block – An interesting article that might help you shake your story loose.

Lighten Up and Write: Day 7 of the Writing Challenge

Monday got you down? Daily writing starting to wear on your creativity? Fear not! The video below, from this year’s NerdCon, will both entertain and revive you, plus hopefully inspire you to let your imagination roam free. So settle in to watch. (I recommend you avoid drinking for the duration, for fear of spraying your keyboard.)

Now go write.

Friday Links

How was everyone’s week? Mine has flown by and there’s still quite a bit on today’s to-do list. But first I wanted to swing through and leave you links to kick off your weekend. I’ve got some fun things lined up, so I hope you take a few minutes to go check them out. Regardless, wishing you a weekend filled with books and writing. Enjoy!

18 Perfect Short Stories that Pack More of a Punch than Most Novels – Great collection of both old and new.

Kelly Link: Get in Trouble – A podcast interview with the author on the occasion of the release of her latest story collection.

The Weird and Wonderful Cover Art of Mexican Paperbacks – As described. A fun assortment of artwork from various pulp titles.

The Weight of Knowledge: On Moving Books – The cost of moving an extensive personal library. I might possibly have nightmares on this topic.

25 Maps that Explain the English Language – Includes origins and influences, and gives you a hint as to why English is so complex and inconsistent.

 

Friday Links

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope 2015 is treating you well so far, and that you’re all back in the swing of your regular schedules. I feel mostly caught up with post-holiday backlog and am preparing to tackle my extremely full submissions box. If I fall in and disappear, never to be heard from again, you’ll know what happened. Smothered by a sea of manuscripts…

I’ve got this week’s assortment of links for you. It turned out fairly reading-centric for whatever reason. Just the nature of what caught my eye. I hope it inspires your reading activities for the week ahead, and that you’re inspired to do a little writing of your own, as well. Enjoy!

They’re Watching You Read – Interesting piece by Francine Prose.

Author Robert Stone, Known for ‘Dog Soldiers’, Dies at 77 – A lovely little remembrance for the author by NPR.

Hearing Is Believing – Fascinating article on the rise of the dramatic podcast as a form of entertainment.

23 Words for Book Lovers that Really Should Exist – Just a bit of fun, but I agree some of these ideas really do need their own words.

Kazuo Ishiguro: How I Wrote ‘The Remains of the Day’ in Four Weeks – NaNoWriMo isn’t the only approach to drafting quickly.

Friday Links

Happy Friday! It’s officially the start of the Easter weekend in much of the world, and so for all of you celebrating, enjoy. Our offices are closed today, so I’m taking the time to catch up on some non-work related things and — I hope — do some personal reading. My TBR pile has been glaring at me especially hard the past few weeks.

But before I go “off duty,” I have some fun links for you to kick off the weekend. They’re definitely a bit all over the place today, so I hope you find something that sparks your imagination or just entertains you. Have a great weekend!

The Virtual Moleskine – A look at the history of this popular notebook, and at their efforts to add a digital option.

A Photographic Tour of America’s Libraries – In honor of National Library Week.

Bookmarks Competition Winners – Book Depository held a contest, and these charming designs were the winners.

In Pakistan, Literary Spring Is Both Renaissance and Resistance – A look at the book festival behind held in Lahore, despite the atmosphere of political instability and oppression.

The Power of Garcia Marquez – A look back at the writer, who passed away yesterday.

Holiday bonus: Peeps Show 2014, Winner and Finalists – An adorable and entertaining use of Peeps — those traditional too-sweet, sticky Easter-time treats — in storytelling. Worth a look, whatever your beliefs.