A lot of good links this week from writing sex and dialogue to eReaders–good or bad? to sexism in reviews.

  • How To Promote Your Book – Politely by Derek Haines (via Jynnipher Olbert and Allan Douglas): Tips on promoting your book without making people hate you.
  • You Can Stuff Your Mary Sue Where the Sun Don’t Shine by Zoë Marriott: What a Mary-Sue character is not (any girl that annoys you), what it is, and a plea to stop the gender hate-on by using this phrase.
  • Guest post by Kristen Lamb on Scene Antagonists and Big Boss Troublemakers @ Adventure’s in Children’s Publishing blog: A LOT of manuscript problems can be traced back to an unclear antagonist.
  • Guest post by author Liz Borino on Writing Natural Dialogue @ It’s All About Writing: What dialogue should be doing and how to make it happen.
  • When available, the author link goes to their Twitter page.  If I tell you who linked me to the article, it’s so you can follow those clever people on twitter.  Because I love twitter.  And you should, too.

    Twice a week, I’m going to post the very best content I’ve found online. On Monday, you’ll get my best writing finds for the last week.  On Friday, the stuff that amuses, confuses, or maddens me.

    When available, the author link goes to their Twitter page.  Because I love twitter.  And you should, too.

    Are you a Twilight enthusiast? A Bella-Wannabe? Mooning endlessly over Bella’s identification withWuthering Heights and thinking the only thing as great as being the author of Edward would be being the author of Heathcliff?

    Just so you know: the author of Heathcliff was dissed by her publisher, left unpublished until he could ride the coattails of her sister Charlotte, then published in a terrible edition with sloppy typesetting and cheap paper, and ignored by the reading public, who found Heathcliff—beyond reprehensible—downright disgusting. Emily Bronte was a bonafide literary genius whose greatest work, a saga in verse, was altered after her death against her passionately-clear wishes by busybody Charlotte and re-published in its mutilated form, although half the poems had vanished by then and have never been recovered. Emily Bronte died young, unloved, unhappy, unfulfilled. Undiscovered.

    And the author of Edward can’t write for beans. She stumbled on a misogynist aspect of our culture she could exploit in impressionable kids, along with a really good marketer. That really good marketer is now busy with Twilight, and you are in their backwash.

    via A. Victoria Mixon, Editor » Blog Archive » 6 Personality Types Who Will Fail as Writers.

    This article is great, Ms. Mixon is better.  People who speak their minds and can back it up with facts–priceless.

    So I’m a third to a half of the way through my manuscript and oh. my. God.

    I knew the beginning.  I had so much to write, to get all these threads and storylines moving.  I had to write and then condense and rewrite just to make sure I could get in everything important without rambling.  And then I get to this point and I’ve got nothing.  What comes next?  I sort of know the ending, though not the specifics, so where do I go from here?  Some ideas.

    1. A preset time (say, 30 minutes) of freewriting, preferably with a program that pushes you to just keep writing, like Write or Die.
    2. Use note cards to just jot down scenes or even ideas and then piece them into order.  Great advice from Johanna Harness on her magic note cards.
    3. Use these 4 tips from Writer’s Digest to tame your ideas.

    Don’t worry about failing. Be fearless about taming your best ideas, and about tossing out those that don’t fit your model. Choose paths that illuminate your own unique take on the world.

    Most importantly, don’t give up! The middle is supposed to be hard, the whole writing process can be hard.  Don’t let that make you think you don’t have what it takes to be a writer.

    I know, subtle title, right?  So, I’m revising because I realized I need more sexual chemistry.  And how do I get that?  Subtle sensuality.

    It’s not that I’m an idiot when it comes to writing the sex.  Some people have told me I’m quite adept at it.  It’s just that, sometimes, when you’re trying to get a hundred other things right, like plot and characters and goals and motivation–you get it, it’s easy to forget that people who just jump into bed aren’t sexy.

    I started thinking about personal space.  I’m married with kids, so people are in my space all the time.  We hug, we kiss good night, we hold hands.  I forgot, for a moment, how sexy personal space could be.

    Because letting someone in your personal space, past that bubble, is incredibly intimate. Click To Tweet

    A touch on the hand, a massage, a hand brushing the thigh–tell me that couldn’t send your blood pressure through the roof with the right person.  So, I’m focusing on showing sexual chemistry and attraction by showing that secret, tingly sharing of personal space and putting off the payoff as loooooong as possible.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Maybe even posting a sampling.

    Love scenes are not all about the physical act, they are more about the characters and the story. What happens to change them and advance the plot?

    via Writing the Love Scene in Fiction Stories: How to Add Heat to Romance Novels without Turning the Reader Off.

    The site is gone. But the thought is still fab, right?

    I want to land an agent and be published, you want to land an agent and be published.  I scream, you scream, we all scream for representation.

    Rejection is simply part of the process of being a writer.  It stings, it’s hard to get past.  But what’s the other choice?  Quit?  If that’s an option for you, then it’s probably the best course of action. Most of us, though, can’t imagine a life that doesn’t involve writing.  So, it’s not that quitting isn’t an option in the “I’m too tough to quit” way, it’s that it’s not an option, period.

    But what should you do?  When do you take it to heart, when do you wonder if it’s you or them, when do you make (God help us) more changes to your MS?

    1. If you’re not getting any requests for fulls or partials, work on your query and synopsis.  You’ve got a solid story, but if no one thinks it’s “right” for them, then you’re missing something.  Start there.  Send it to a crit group.  Do research on query letter and synopsis writing.
    2. If you get a request and you still get a generic no, go directly to beta readers, crit group, or crit partners.  Explore everything to see if you can make your story stronger.  But stand by your story.  If you know that’s how it was meant to be written, believe in yourself.  There’s a middle line.
    3. If you get a rejection with feedback, by all means, consider it strongly.  But not too strongly.  Take a step back.  Read your story.  Can you see where the feedback can be coming from?  Again, go to the betas and critique sources.  Evaluate.  Stand by your story.  It’s the same idea, but this time, you at least have something specific to look for.
    4. Most importantly, don’t give up.  Ever.

    All this to say, don’t resent the challenge. Stop complaining about how difficult it is. Nobody cares.

    via So You Can’t Seem to Land an Agent—Now What?.

    Excellent article about how to plot your novel so the reader can’t put it down.  Also, will explain what an “HCM” is.

    Today’s best novels make readers so desperate to know what happens next that they’ll stay up reading well past midnight, blistering thumbs and all, until THE END. Then and only then will they be able to relax, their souls flooded with satisfaction, relief and peace. Only to be followed—ideally!—by a gnawing sense of unfulfillment, anxiety and a compulsion to read more books by you.

    via Writer’s Digest – How to Make Your Novel a Page Turner.

    Emotional sex. Note that I am NOT coining the “love scene” euphemism. I do this deliberately-for now-though by the end, I’m hoping that’s exactly what sex will be, making love: sweet, hot, emotive sex that is unforgettable. And this can be done.

    This wonderful article (link @ the end) discusses making your sex scenes emotional (and overcoming the fear of writing the dreaded sex scene).

    Making sex emotional does NOT mean the characters have to be in love already. What it means is, they have to have inner conflict, tension, insecurities or physical or emotional limitations that add to the emotional wallop of the act itself, and add to tension later, if necessary.

    Yes, exactly!  This is how I’ve always written sex scenes, because those are the sex scenes I want to read.  But I’ve never, ever seen anyone put this to words.  Every scene in your novel should have conflict and it should move the story forward.  A sex scene is absolutely no different.

    Melissa James* gives examples and dissects them to show why they work.  I highly recommend this article if you ever plan on writing a sex scene–romance or not.

    via Wow! Women on Writing – An eZine for women writers, authors, editors, agents, publishers, and readers.

    *Website no longer available.

    There are as many ways to plan out a novel as there are writers. Each writer goes about it a different way.

    via Planning, Outlining, and Organizing Your Novel – Or Not! « Word Sharpeners.

    This is an excellent article on the many ways to plot your novel, even if you write by the seat of your pants (pantser!).

    A quick link to an article I found from twitter this morning (via VMGDesigns) on the Seven Bad Writing Habits You Learned in School.

    No one but you is an authority on your writing.

    Not me. Not your English teachers. Not Strunk and White and their highfalutin Elements of Style.

    The longer you write, the more you’ll realize that other writers can’t tell you what to do. You should listen to more experienced writers, sure, but never more than you listen to yourself.

    Good stuff.

    Later (after work): A look at my two opposing views of NaNo writing from the beginning and the end.