1. https://annerallen.com/2019/08/decline-mainstream-fiction/ “Choosing a genre for your novel is one of the toughest challenges for many new writers. This week both former agent Nathan Bransford and current agent Jessica Faust wrote posts telling authors their books must have a genre. But new writers may not know why this has become such a hard-and-fast rule, or why the publishing world has become so fragmented.
Some writers may think that they can just go indie, bypass all those agent rules, and they won’t need no stinkin’ genres.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Categories are even more important if you’re selling through Amazon and other online retailers.”
2. https://www.janefriedman.com/metaphor-and-imagery/ “Metaphors, similes, and creative imagery can be useful, creative tools for relaying emotion. In case you don’t remember, a metaphor, according to Reedsy, is “a literary device that imaginatively draws a comparison between two unlike things. It does this by stating that Thing A is Thing B.” A simile compares things, usually with as or like.
Filmmakers carefully construct image systems similar to how writers use motifs in fiction: with color, placement, sound, or emblematic imagery. They are used to subtly manipulate the emotional state of the viewer.
Take the time to add these skills to your writer’s toolbox because they will help you become an emotional master.”
If you have ever found yourself forcing out a few words while listening to a crowd of negative voices in your head or staring miserably at 1567 words you wrote yesterday, which now sound like nonsense, you will understand.
Social media doesn’t help. There are days when it feels like everyone else has the perfect writing life. They’ve smashed their daily word count target, come up with ten new ideas for future books, caught the eye of an interested agent, watched their blog post go viral and taken over every form of social media known to mankind…all before lunch.
You, on the other hand have not written anything since you woke up because you can’t find your favourite pen, the coffee machine is on the blink, your dog has run off with your notebook, you can’t remember the last time you wrote more than two paragraphs, you’re still nursing an eight-day cold, over breakfast your husband said your latest romance book premise is ‘unrealistic’ and the kids are running riot.
It’s on days like these when we need to read about other writers and their not so perfect writing lives. Their stories are smile inducing and in some cases feel like a much-needed virtual hug.” Things don’t go as planned always for me. Sometimes a get a sentence. Sometimes two words. Then there’s the days things just flow on and on.
4. https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/learn-5-types-of-character-arc-at-a-glance-the-3-negative-arcs-part-2-of-2/ “Stories are about change. Sometimes that change is positive, driven by hopeful or even heroic people. But sometimes that change is negative, driven by humanity’s darkest urges and blindnesses. Both stories are necessary, which is why we’re rounding out our two-part series with a beat-by-beat look at the three Negative Arcs—the Disillusionment Arc, the Fall Arc, and the Corruption Arc.”
5. https://www.livewritethrive.com/2019/08/05/action-that-evokes-emotion-in-your-readers/ “Have you ever read a passage in a novel that made you cry? Stirred up indignation? Real terror? I am often moved by passages I read in both fiction and nonfiction. Masterful writers can wrench emotional reaction from me even with random passages.
We’re told to get readers to bond with our protagonist within the first couple of pages, something few writers can do well. Yes, we might get readers interested in our characters and even riveted by their personalities and actions in the opening scenes, but do we truly care for them? Depending on your genre and story, you might not want readers to care for your protagonist all that much (at the start).
As we grow attached to characters throughout the reading of a great novel, we care more about them. And that makes it easier for emotion to be evoked in us. All along the way, a writer must carefully manipulate readers’ emotion, in a deliberate fashion, to try to get them to feel what he wants them to feel.”
Research & Fun Tidbits:
1. https://thesilenteye.co.uk/2019/08/04/that-still-small-voice/ “As we each begin the conscious journey of the seeker we may become aware of a sense of presence; a realisation that seems to spring from a place deeper than thought. We may have spent a lifetime in study, engaging the brain and its processes, bringing them to bear on the abstract concepts of existence and creation. We apply logic, lose ourselves in meditation, we learn and collate techniques and information, examine perspectives and points of view. We assimilate the useful, discard the inappropriate and file what seems to be correct for our own understanding in the index of the mind. We may hold the acceptance of what we have learned close; guarding it as a precious thing or we can set it free and feel its flight.”
2. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/aug/01/the-catcher-in-the-rye-fans-jd-salinger-holden-caulfield “From everyteen to annoying: are today’s young readers turning on The Catcher in the Rye?
JD Salinger’s Holden Caulfield once seemed the universal voice of teenage angst, but now he’s too quaint for young people. Can we learn to love it again, asks Dana Czapnik.”
3. https://joanhall.blog/2019/08/05/marfa-lights/ “Hey, y’all! If any of you have read the “about me” page, you know I love a good mystery. I also enjoy hearing and reading about legends and folklore. Mysteries and unexplained events have generated ideas for several of my stories.
Today, I’m excited to have the first post of a new weekly series—Mystery Monday. Each week, I’ll feature a different event. Some posts will be mysteries involving real people, while others may be a legend or piece of folklore that’s been passed down from generation to generation. So, without further ado…
What better place to begin than with a famous mystery from my home state?”
4. https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/finally/ “Today wound up being a good writing day. Otto got me up around six this morning. I took the time for breakfast, feeding the dogs, surfing my social media. My typical morning.
I read back through what I wrote the other day, then forged ahead. My MO is to rush forward and get to the action. My better stories come across when I take my time. Part of my rush is why I come up with short word counts. Having a large cast really helps on these, too.
Part of me worries about making the intro boring, but I don’t think that’s the case here. I threw in a few fun things, you know a killing and dumping of the body, a man hunt by the root monsters, cracking open a tomb, that kind of thing.”
5. https://thepbsblog.com/2019/08/05/the-velvet-note-presents-velvet-voices/ “Since 2015, The Velvet Note has consistently been named one of the best Jazz Clubs in Georgia, and I have the honor of headlining its first Author/Word event. “Velvet Voices,” is a thought-provoking series of presentations by authors, historians and spoken-word artists and premiers on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, in Alpharetta, Georgia from 7:00-9:30p. The series will run from 8/21 through 9/25, and I am the opener for the first show reading excerpts from my Historical Fiction novel Renaissance: The Nora White Story. Some fantastic poets will bless the mic, and it is also an open mic for attendees.”
Some Things More Serious:
1. https://nicholasrossis.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/nellie-bly-pioneering-female-journalist/ “With all the controversy surrounding fake media and fake news, it’s easy to forget that real journalism not only has existed for a long time but has many forgotten heroes. One of them is Elizabeth Cochrane, a pioneering female journalist who’s finally getting her dues.
As The Washington Post reports, Nellie Bly, as Elizabeth’s pen name was, volunteered for an assignment so horrific that no one else had dared attempt: to infiltrate the notorious mental asylum on Blackwell’s Island and expose the abuses there. She had no guarantee she’d be able to leave and no way of entering except as an inmate.” What a brave, wonderful woman!
3. https://lithub.com/i-cant-teach-while-wondering-who-has-a-gun/ “This is the beginning of a short story written by a college student and turned in to his creative writing professor—me. He had turned in other stories as well, about how I had died. Sometimes, a character with this student’s same name and physical appearance saved me from a violent perpetrator. Sometimes he was the violent perpetrator.
“It’s fiction,” he said. “Isn’t that what this is? A fiction class?””
4. https://lithub.com/the-long-history-of-white-nationalism-in-america/ “Detailing the history of white nationalism in America is trickier than it first appears. This is because, despite the egalitarian rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence, the United States operated as a de facto white-supremacist nation for most of its history. This has been a subject of controversy for decades. No one disputes that slavery poses a problem for the narrative that America is, and always was, a beacon for freedom and equality. But debates continue as to what the most important Founding Fathers “really” thought about race and the future of equality.
Many historians, especially contemporary conservative historians, are inclined to view the marquee names of the American Revolution as opponents of slavery who made an immoral choice—allowing slavery to continue—for the sake of keeping the union together. There is no doubt that Thomas Jefferson, among others, was convinced that slavery could not and should not persist in the United States, at least in the long term. Yet even if we view Jefferson’s statements on this subject as sincere, it is equally clear that Jefferson was no racial egalitarian—see his “Notes on the State of Virginia,” where he states his belief that blacks “are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.” The case against Jefferson as an egalitarian is even weaker when we note that Jefferson hoped that, after slavery was eventually abolished, freed blacks would be returned to Africa.”
eeting famous writers never makes Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah feel “weird or nerdy”, he says. After all, George Saunders was his university tutor and later became a friend. The writer’s writer Lynne Tillman was his mentor. Roxane Gay has stamped a cover quote on Friday Black, his debut short story collection, urging the world simply to “read this book”.
Since its publication last autumn, Adjei-Brenyah has had more than enough opportunities to test his reaction to meeting his literary heroes – moments such as the night in February when he unexpectedly won the book of the year prize at the PEN awards. Zadie Smith was sitting directly behind him as they read his name out. “She looked so regal and epic – her aura is so strong. And Zadie Smith had read my book!” Dazed and giggly, the 28-year-old radiates a self-assured, effervescent energy – albeit one he describes as something of a cover. “I have to be even keel about all [of this], otherwise I will go crazy,” he says.”
Teaser Fiction & Poetry:
1. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-winter-chapter-nineteen-winterising-the-palace-by-sally-cronin/ “As the stores beneath the palace began to accumulate under the watchful eye of Chef Marcelle, other preparations needed to be made to ensure the palace remained dry and warm in the coming rainy season.
The Queen was not looking forward to her first winter in her new home. She was a fairy who had lived for hundreds of years in almost year-round sunshine, where she could sit in a branch of her magnolia tree, soaking up the rays.
Of course she appreciated that, to maintain her beauty”
Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:
“On a winter morning she lost a piece of her heart. Can she find it
Evangeline isn’t feeling very festive this December.
The frosty mornings and twinkling fairy lights only remind her it’s been a year since she lost her adoptive mother, who took her in as a baby and raised her as her own.
She’s never felt more alone – until she discovers her birth mother’s identity. And where to find her.
A lifetime and thousands of miles have separated Evangeline and Bonnie. Now, travelling to New Zealand could be Evangeline’s chance to confront the woman who gave her up.
But is she ready for what she’ll find?
The answers she’s been looking for, a new family to heal her . . . Or someone she could never have expected?”
2. https://culturevultureexpress.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/wuthering-heights-by-emily-bronte-review/ “It was the first classic book I read when I was 13 but I have never reviewed it until now. This was the only book the author wrote in her short life and her writing style is gorgeous. There is zero pretentiousness and a great emotive, matter-of-fact style. I love the way she wrote.
The novel tells the love story of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw and the love triangle they are in with Edgar Linton who is interested in Catherine. Set in the Yorkshire moors, Lockwood who is Thrushcross Grange’s new tenant rests up at Wuthering Heights which his landlord owns. Here he hears all the story!”
3. https://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/the-sentinels-alliance-silent-sea-chronicles-3-by-suzanne-rogerson-bookreview-rogersonsm/ “Can new alliances save the islands of the Silent Sea from the murderers stalking their shores?
As the island of Kalaya and its people recover from civil war, a new threat surfaces. Invaders from the island of Elkena hunt the seas, butchering those who possess magic. Their scar-faced captain seeks the Fire Mage who it has been foretold will kill him and Tei and her people are in his warpath.”
4. http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/latest-reads-black-summer-m-w-craven/ “Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.
So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.
Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?
And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.”
5. http://lizlovesbooks.com/lizlovesbooks/latest-reads-the-hiding-game-louise-phillips/ “Abby Jones, a young nanny from a small town outside Boston, is the last person with infant Jacob Rotterdam when he becomes seriously ill. Within hours, tragically, he dies, and Abby is charged with his murder.
Heather Baxter, her defense attorney, knows the case is not as clear cut as the Assistant District Attorney claims, and with enormous media attention on the trial, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
When Heather digs deeper, the shadows of her own past, and her mother’s unsolved murder 25 years earlier, in the same small town, begin to unravel with deadly consequences, placing both Heather, and her young client in danger.
Will Heather find the link between Abby and what happened to her mother all those years before? And will Abby walk free?”