Friday Links

Most definitely TGIF! It’s been a busy week, running up to the 4th of July holiday next week. With it falling on Wednesday, I suspect none of us are quite sure if that means people will mostly be around, or if everyone is just going to head for the hills today and not return until a week from Monday. We’re actually closed Wednesday through Friday next week, so that answers that question for some of you.

I hope those of you who are in the US have some fun holiday plans, and that the rest of the world has a good week in general! But first…links to kick off the weekend. Enjoy, and happy writing!

Nora Ephron’s List of What She Will Miss and What She Won’t – The world lost a talented lady this week, far too soon. I hope her list makes everyone who reads it stop for a moment and appreciate everything and everyone they love.

From Facebook to Fiction: The Tricks and Traps of First Person – Some thoughts on finding that first person voice that doesn’t sound like you.

On Research and Museums – Author Erin Morgenstern on how she comes up with her ideas and what she considers research.

Friday Links

Happy Friday, everyone! And happy summer, too, since we’ve officially kicked off the season this week. Have you put together some writing goals for the summer? Figured out how to get your pages done despite family vacation time and the lure of long, sunny days? If you haven’t, you might want to take an hour or so this weekend to give it some thought, particularly if you’re going to have kids under foot over the school holidays. (I recommend trips to the library; your kids can choose their books and give them a “test read” while you get some writing done.)

Meanwhile, I offer an assortment of links to entertain you, including some pages geared toward stirring your imagination and inspiring your writers’ brains. Enjoy, and happy writing!

How to Build a New York Times Bestseller (or Maybe Not) – John Scalzi on his most recent release, and why he thinks he hit the bestseller list.

Let’s Talk about Blog Tours – A good discussion of the pros and cons.

Sword Fighting: Not What You Think It Is – An interesting look at accurately describing an activity that frequents novels (primarily fantasy or historical) but has vanished from everyday life.

What to Do with a Bad Review – A look at reviewers’ approaches to diversity in the books they review.

Le Guin’s Hypothesis – Ursula Le Guin on “literary” versus “genre” fiction.

Fantasy Photos – Gorgeous fantasy-themed photographs in memory of the photographer’s mother, who died from brain cancer.

But What Are You Looking For?

Today over at The Knight Agency blog, I’m talking about what I’m looking for in submissions. This isn’t about the genres I represent, or what writing skills you need to hone before you send your manuscript out into the universe. Instead I ramble on about all the different story tropes and ideas that I love to encounter in books. Basically, it’s about things I love to read. It’s not all inclusive, but it still paints a pretty fair portrait of my favorite kinds of stories. Go check it out, and enjoy!

The Need for Speed

There seems to be more buzz than usual among genre writers seeking ways to increase their output. It used to be that producing one book a year was considered normal, a happy balance between flooding the market and allowing your readers to forget your name. Then that got pushed to two books a year. And then writers started juggling multiple series, sometimes in different sub-genres, and output began increasing exponentially, with expectations keeping pace.

For those doing the math, it actually seems pretty reasonable. A writer who churns out 1,000 words a day, five days a week, over a fifty-week period, will have 250,000 shiny new words at the end of the year, and that’s assuming they take weekends off and have a couple weeks of vacation. That’s about two-and-a-half to three novels. Or two novels and a bunch of short stories. Not a bad output.

Except writers know it’s not that simple. There’s more to writing a good book than simply writing the book. There’s rewriting and editing. Galley pages to review. You need to take some time to actually promote the book — updating websites, running contests, heading out for blog tours and book signings and the occasional conference. These are necessary distractions that can affect a writer’s daily output. And let’s not forget those other pesky things, like day jobs and kids and visiting in-laws.

So it’s perfectly understandable that writers are searching for ways to write faster. Whether that means hitting the daily word count in less time or simply producing more words per day, the goals are the same: Write more, better, and with less need for huge deletions. Tips for achieving this goal focus primarily on limiting distractions, such as phone and internet, and knowing where you want to go with the story before you sit down to write each day — both logical approaches that require no special tools or magic tricks. Fantasy writer Rachel Aaron talks about her own system over at her blog, and young adult writer Holly Black has challenged a group of writers to experiment based on Aaron’s ideas.

But why this need for speed? Are readers really so impatient that they can’t wait a little longer for an author’s next book? Is it because there are so many trilogies or quartets or open-ended series that we hear a greater clamor to find out where the story is taking us? Are the writers themselves pushing the race to publish — hoping that constant accessibility for readers will translate to popularity and more sales? Or are they simply trying to keep up with their flow of ideas?

I’m curious what you all think, both as readers and as writers. Do you wish your favorite authors would write more? Faster? Would you still love them as much if you needed to wait a year for their next work? And for the writers, do you feel pressure to hurry up and finish your latest project? Do you look for ways to increase your output and maybe squeeze in another book per year? Is this trend just in the genre community, or are more mainstream and literary writers getting pushed to write more? Is this all a reflection of our general impatience as human beings — the same rush that makes us flip channels during commercials when we watch TV — or is it something else?

Friday Links

Apologies for the quiet state of the blog this week. I am still digging out from my conference jaunt Monday and Tuesday. I’m suffering from a combination of work-pile-up and drained brain. Thank goodness it’s almost the weekend. The current plan is to retire to my couch with several client manuscripts and stir only in case of emergencies.

Meanwhile, I leave you with some links to kick off the weekend. Not too many, I’m afraid (see above), but I hope they make up in quality what they lack in quantity. Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend. Happy writing!

Conversations with Myself: An Author’s Guide to Writing Reading Group Guides – An interesting post over at The Millions.

Journey to Middle Earth – A gorgeous time-lapse film clip of New Zealand’s South Island.

Marvel Comics Makes History with a Gay X-Men Marriage – Partly because it’s about time, and partly because I’ll admit to a tiny Avengers addiction. I blame Joss Whedon.

Friday Links

Happy Friday, everyone! I am quite ready for the weekend, even though in my case it will be somewhat truncated as I’m heading off to the Santa Barbara Writers Conference on Sunday for a couple of days of chatting with writers about their work. It’s going to be an especially poignant conference this year, as Ray Bradbury was a frequent participant and supporter of the event. Still, I am looking forward to it. If you’re attending, please do say hello. I’ll be at the Agent Panel on Monday at 4 pm and then at the Wine & Cheese event that follows.

But today is Friday, which means links for the weekend. I hope you enjoy them and that the weekend is filled with fun and books and maybe a bit of writing. All those little bits add up, after all.

The DOJ Settlement and Why We Should Care – A look at how the DOJ ruling regarding e-book pricing affects writers.

Getty Launches Full-Text Website for Art History Research – Regarding a good new resource for any writers interested in art history or looking to research it for a WIP.

L.A. Times Summer Reading Guide – Because I love lists, and yes, it’s that time of year.

A Book Lover’s Guide to Reading and Walking at the Same Time – A valuable skill to cultivate, in my mind.

And 12 pieces of excellent advice for writers, from the wonderful Ray Bradbury. This is a bit long — nearly an hour — but worth every moment.