Friday, November 22, 2013

Five Brilliant Writing Tips From Paul Harding

All right, I have a lot of fun sharing the worst possible writing advice.  But occasionally I stumble upon writing advice that is actually brilliant, and this is it.  Five tips from Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Harding.  And against my better judgment as a purveyor of dreadfulness,  I am sharing the link.

This is the URL in case you have to cut and paste:


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Really Bad Writing Advice: How To Be A Writer While Not Writing Your Book

Those of us whose efforts to write an entire novel during the month of November have met with the same success as our efforts to write an entire novel during any other month -- which is to say, um, limited success -- are now grappling with a new challenge to our credibility as writers.  Which is to say, if I am not actually writing, if I am, say turning out a grand total of 6,000 meh words in three weeks, what can I do that will allow me to announce to the world that I'm writing a novel with a straight face (Footnote #1)? 

Apart from writing.

I have culled the best-ever hints from a cyber-world replete with splendid suggestions, and here they are:

1.) Immediately term your failure to produce this novel "writer's block."  This is completely credible and writeresque as long as you're angsty enough about it.  Hence, you cannot spend the time you're not writing zipping around Bloomingdale's with a smile on your face or doing lunch unless you also bang your head on the table and drink a lot during said lunch.  Indeed, you get to spend inordinate amounts of time with friends and family calling yourself a writer's blocked writer as long as you whine a lot.  

2.) Writing exercises.  Just google "writer's block" and "jump start" and you will find enough writing exercises to keep you not writing your novel for years, or possibly a lifetime.  

3.) Writer's conferences.  Consider the cognitive dissonance factor.  You pay the enormous enrollment fee.  You get a name tag.  You gossip about agents and editors and the collapse of publishing as we know it.  You're too busy being a writer to write. 

4.) Research.  This is especially good for YA writers who might actually die if they don't get to Bloomingdale's, assuming they are willing to stalk young adults up and down the escalators, eavesdropping assiduously the whole time they're (Footnote #2) loading up on new sweaters.  Also, who can claim to possess even a passing familiarity with popular culture if she hasn't watched TV for four or five days straight?

5.) Study grammar.  This is tedious and extremely time-consuming, but it could permit you -- should you ever get around to writing -- to produce prose that doesn't require footnotes with Grammatical Hints.

(Footnote #1) Grammatical Hint: The announcement would entail the straight face.  The writer can have any kind of face she wants due to the fact that she's supposedly sitting alone in a room writing so nobody knows what kind of face she has.

(Footnote #2) Other Grammatical Hint: The so-called writer loads up on the sweaters; it doesn't matter what the young adults load up on as long as you're creeping around behind them analyzing their sentence structure.


Friday, November 15, 2013

What You Should Absolutely, 100% Be Doing While Not Writing

Dear Clueless,

I am so sad and miserable!  What shall I do while not writing.  My time is so empty and I am at wit's end, listlessly making birdhouses out of used popsicle sticks and home-made glue, and stalking people.  Which is hard, because all the people worth stalking are inside writing.

Go On, Order Me Around


If you lack a blog, you must immediately get one.  This will eat up no end of time.

If you have a blog, then you must participate in every blog event imaginable. 

Oh look!  Starting 11/19, there is an international signed ARC giveaway of Afterparty that bloggers can join any day of its 2 week duration.  This is to celebrate S&S releasing the first 3 chapters of said book online. 

You should click here!!!!!  You should sign up!!!!  Only think how much happier you will be now that you have something to do!

Shameless (sitting in for Clueless who is too busy promoting to order people around)

P.S. Thanks guys!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Another Afterparty ARC Giveaway on Goodreads!

Dear Clueless,

My beloved publisher is graciously doing another Goodreads giveaway of the ARC of my new book.  Is it too self-promotional and icky to carry on about this on my blog?  Again.  Or perhaps constantly?

Promotionally Challenged

Dear Promo,

Yes.  Do it anyway.


And good grief, blog followers, this is actually relevant to my life because (!!!!!) Simon & Schuster is giving away 3 ARC's of Afterparty, in a Goodreads giveaway ending on Dec. 7, 2013, one month before the book is released.  Go win Afterparty!!!  (And, as your back-up, you could always preorder dozens and dozens of copies for your friends, neighbors, relatives near and far, underfunded library and letter carrier.)

Friday, November 8, 2013

NaNo: So How Behind Are YOU? * or * The 5 Top Reasons You Don't Have TIme to NaNo

So, doing a modified #NaNoWriMo seemed like a pretty good idea.  Not actually doing NaNo, mind you.  But the idea of having 30,000 pristine (as in unedited, un-reread, and very likely dreadful) words in hand on Nov. 30 was pretty damned appealing.

This being Nov. 8th, that would make me 8,000 words behind.  Give or take.

And given my goal of being the last writer standing after wiping out everybody else with my spectacularly bad advice, here are the top 5 reasons you shouldn't be writing either.

1.) Social networking is vital to your survival as a writer.  Even years prior to publication, you need to be building a platform assiduously by tweeting, posting on Facebook, documenting the minutia of your every breathing moment via embarrassing selfies, pinning*, embracing Tumblr, and blogging at least every 2.5 minutes.  Conservatively.

2.) Social media has to be interactive.  How can you be expected to engage with others every 2.5 minutes if you aren't spending the other 2.499999 minutes perusing all of their tweets, Facebook posts, embarrassing selfies, pins and edifying blogs?

3.) All writers need fun facts.  How dirty your hair is and how peculiarly earthy you smell due to the fact that you are Nanoing obsessively does not count as a fun fact.  How the hell are you going to be amusing on panels with a life devoid of fun facts?  Obviously, you need to learn to do magic tricks and fly a single engine plane after making said plane out of papier mache and refurbished vacuum cleaner parts in your basement.

4.) Assuming you are writing YA -- if not, just ignore everything I say; I have no interest in destroying your career -- you need to have your plane-making fingers on the pulse of popular culture.  Even the most super-duper NaNo playlist is a woefully insufficient connection to life outside your NaNo chamber.  You must go to movies, clubs, 4-H club meetings and the mall.  Immediately.

5.) You need new shoes.

*Oh no, another footnote: Yes, I'm pinning.  You should immediately go spend several hours admiring my many really nice pins and follow all of my boards.  Repeatedly.  This would be highly interactive of you.