To Pseudonym or Not to Pseudonym

Shakespeare very likely asked this question as well–though I’m sure he did it with more eloquence.

Whether or not to use a pseudonym (a pen name) is a question pretty much every writer asks themselves when considering publication. There are plenty of reasons to use one, and just as many not to. Read more

A Cautionary Tale: 3 Writing Rules That Can Derail Your Story

Lisa Cron wrote a fantastic blog post on Writer Unboxed, outlining three oft-preached and just as oft-misapplied ‘rules’ that can derail an otherwise brilliantly executed story.

Last year I had occasion to read a batch of ten page manuscript submissions in a hurry, one right after the other. What I noticed was startling in its consistency.

All of the writers had clearly spent time learning their craft. All of them had something to say. And all of them, by meticulously following what they’d been taught, had rendered their stories mute in the exact same way.

It was heartbreaking, given the talent in the room.

Read more

Tess Grantham on The Power of Doubt

Tess Grantham, a member of my writing group, Alchemy, has a brilliant post on her blog titled “The Power of Doubt”–how it hinders us as writers, and how it pushes us to become better.

…Doubt is the improver in baker’s flour. It’s the magic ingredient in Grandma’s secret steak and kidney pie recipe. It’s the great arbiter of good work. How are we supposed to improve anything if we believe everything we create is flawless?

Read the whole (fantastic) post here.

~ RM

CJ Jessop’s Take on The Avon Lady

CJ Jessop, an awesome writer (whose first novel I had a blast beta reading) and a member of my crit group, Alchemy, posted a 300-word short story on her blog in response to a writing challenge. The story could be on any topic, but had to contain the words SWAN, FUCHSIA, PARANOID, SMOTHER, SCREEN, and BODY. I think she did brilliantly, and it’s a well-spent minute and a half read, especially if you’re in need of a laugh!

Go read Ding Dong here.

~ RM

The Dreaded Sag

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This is a post about writing, I promise.

Since I write fantasy, I know a lot about killing tension. Fantasy and other spec-fic writers have a ton of information and backstory to convey, and more often than not this results in the story coming to a screeching halt. Epic fantasy, in particular, tends toward long, drawn-out ‘saggy bits’ that can try even the most patient reader’s tolerance.

So, as I wrestle over my own cartload of infodumpery, I’ve been trying to figure out the solution. Read more

Miss Snark, Literary Agent

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I came across Miss Snark’s blog years ago, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. The very aptly named Miss Snark describes her occupation as “Satan’s literary agent”.

Her blog provides an immense amount of information on the publishing industry, delivered in such a hilarious, scathing voice that her anonymity is a wise career move.

Miss Snark closed her blog in 2007, but I’d encourage anyone interested in the publishing industry to take a look at the wealth of information, insight, and humor she has left for us to enjoy. While names, titles, phone numbers, and specific query guidelines within the industry continue to fluctuate, the vast majority of Miss Snark’s information is just as relevant today as it was they day it was written.

Just… don’t take it personal, okay? She’s like that with everyone.

http://misssnark.blogspot.com/