Friday Links: Writers (and Readers) to Light Your Seat on Fire

TGIF! Though to be honest, it hardly feels like Friday to me, since I was traveling the early part of the week. Short weeks have the distinct disadvantage of providing you with a full five days of work (and often more) and the need to squeeze it into a shorter time span. So this is going to be something of an abreviated post, but I hope it gives you all some food for thought and maybe fires up your creative instincts. Just a small reminder: we’re heading into the last days of the month, so this weekend is a great time to think of what your goals were and wrap things up before kicking off May with a nice clean slate.

As mentioned above, it’s been a busy week, so my links list is on the short side. But bigger isn’t always better, and I hope the ideas and individuals on the other end of these links make you excited to go write and get your stories into the world. Enjoy!

Meet Lisa Lucas, the Ultimate Cheerleader for Literature – A lovely interview with the executive director of the National Book Foundation.

Why You Love the Smell of Old Books – On our sense of smell and its link to meaning and memories.

Granta 139: Best of Young American Novelists 3 – Every ten years, Granta magazine makes a list of the most promising young novelists under 40. Here’s this year’s list, with links to some of their work (some locked to subscribers, others open).

10 More of the Best Young American Novelists – Because every list can be improved upon.

Opportunities for Writers: May and June, 2017 – A round up of places to submit your work, etc., with deadlines in the next two months.

Friday Links: Inspiration and Creative Risk-Taking

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you’ve had a terrific week and that your weekend looks equally bright. Spring has truly sprung here in SoCal, and I have the twitchy nose to prove it. Suddenly everything is in bloom. But that’s fine with me, because I always think spring is a highly creative time. Something about all those new things growing and in bloom, plans formulating for summer vacation, stretching muscles that are stiff from curling up in a cozy spot all winter. It’s a great time to brush off your old, neglected ambitions and get moving. So if you’ve found yourself dragging when it comes to getting your writing done, I want you to shake off those cobwebs, flex your fingers, and get to work. Try something new, aim high, and tell that internal voice-of-doom to take a hike.

To inspire some creativity and perhaps a bit of risk-taking, I’ve got a bunch of fun links for you this week. Even if there’s still snow on the ground outside your window, or you’re in the other hemisphere facing down the start of autumn, take a few minutes over the weekend to dive into a different project or take a fresh look at an old one. You never know what kind of inspiration might take hold. Happy writing!

This Is How to Be Creatively Productive – Thoughts from writer and artist Danny Gregory.

Polygon Map Generation Demo – World-building a completely new land for your fantasy novel or story? Use this site to generate an all-new continent to go with your setting.

Readers are willing to follow writers into risky territory: Alexander Chee on Writing and The Queen of the Night – Some terrific observations about how and when it can pay off to write something truly different.

Wit and the Art of Conversation – Thoughts on what wit is, precisely, and observations on what makes it appealing. Great for writers working on improving their dialogue.

6 Ways to Track Down a Magazine Editor – Advice for anyone in the freelance trenches or looking to get into freelance writing. If you’ve been thinking about it and putting it off, what are you waiting for? Go for it.

Second Cousins,” “Once Removed,” and More, Explained in Chart Form – Handy relative definitions, very useful for anyone sorting out a big family drama, on paper or in real life.

A Lifelong Lover of Books Breaks Ground Atop the Literary World – Q&A with Lisa Lucas, who recently became the first woman and first African American to head up the National Book Foundation. Proof that there’s always new ground to break.

Friday Links

TGIF!! I hope you had a great week and that your plans for the weekend are even better. For those of you who haven’t heard, there’s a “Make Time to Read” Readathon taking place tomorrow, January 24th, in an effort to raise money for various educational programs through the National Book Foundation, encouraging children to read. People have been setting up to fundraise as individuals or teams for the past several weeks, but you can also make a straight-up donation if you wish, and of course all participants are welcome to read from noon to 4pm tomorrow for the official Readathon. It’s a wonderful cause, so please consider donating a few dollars if you can.

Now on to Friday Links! I’ve got a nice assortment this week, so I hope they inspire you to do a little reading and writing of your own. Enjoy!

Words You Didn’t Realize Come from Books – A fun collection of words and their literary origins.

How to Create a Killer Opening for Your Science Fiction Short Story – If you look carefully, you’ll see you can apply much of this to other types of stories as well.

The Bestselling Books of 2014 – By the numbers. Curious as to how many copies some of the most popular books have moved? This rundown will give you some perspective on the industry.

Cleaning the Dust from the Window – An interesting look at the history of poetry in Russia.

What Makes Jo Walton So Great? – In honor of the release of Walton’s latest book, a compilation of her reviews/literary musings from Tor.com, editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden discusses Walton and her approach to discussing books. A really great analysis of what makes for an intriguing, open ended literary conversation.

10 New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Read – A good assortment of stand-alone works that won’t hook you into yet another series.