Posts tagged ‘nathanbransford’

June 11th, 2010

The Chirps of Other Wordbirds

by Madeleine Rex

I’ve been gone so long that all my readers must:

  1. Really miss me
  2. Really hate me
  3. Have forgotten me

No matter how you feel or what you’ve forgotten, I am back, if temporarily, with The Chirps of Other Wordbirds, my weekly collection of the fabulous posts I’ve read recently. Most, if not all, are writing/publishing related, and I can assure you that every one is a gem!

First off: I’m sorry. Next week is my last week of Middle School (this is the best sentence ever), and I’ve been busier than usual lately. I haven’t neglected my blog for this long since last year, at which time I shouldn’t have been deemed a blogger. I’m hoping this upcoming week is more prosperous, but, if not, I’ll be back after the 18th!

The Greatness this Week:

The Post: Nathan Bransford, aka Mr. Literary Agent Celebrity, posted about his psychic agent-powers that have told him The Rejection Letter of the Future Will Be Silence. I find this idea incredibly interesting, and Nathan’s thoughts on the incredible nature of publishing in the digital era are well-put.

The Quote:

No one sits around thinking, “You know what the problem with the Internet is? Too many web pages.” Would you even notice if suddenly there were a million more sites on the Internet? How would you even know? We all benefit from the seemingly infinite scope of the Internet and we’ve devised a means of navigating the greatest concentration of information and knowledge the world has ever seen.

So what’s the big deal if a few hundred thousand more books hit the digital stores every year? We will find a way to find the books we want to read, just as surely as we’re able to find the restaurants we eat at and the movies we want to see and the shoes we want to buy out of the many, many available options.

The Post: One of the most discussed topics of the year is the digital publishing revolution. Eric at Pimp My Novel has an interesting take on not just e-books, but on the death of particular publishing formats, particularly audio books and large print.

The Quote:

As we progress further into the Most Glorious Digital Age, mes auteurs, I can’t help but feel that some book formats and practices are going to be made obsolete. Now, before anyone gets started with “Kindle-this” and “iPad-that,” I’m not suggesting that 1.) these changes will render print books in general obsolete, or 2.) these changes will be specific to any one e-reader, company, or file format.

They are as follows: large print and audio books (as they currently exist) are goners.

The Post: Titles catch my eye. Book covers catch my eye. These are the things that make books pretty and shiny and appealing. As a writer, I love titles. Occasionally, I come up with titles before even a fragment of an idea presents itself. Eric (again) posted about the crucial nature of titles and why it’s important to get them right in A Rose by Any Other Name. (Plus, he gives tips!)

The Quote:

Sad but true, author-amigos: sometimes the title you pick for your book is terrible.

Sometimes an author selects a title that simply doesn’t work for his or her genre (e.g. titling a romance Guns and Bros and Explosions). Occasionally an author unwittingly (or worse, wittingly) gives his or her book a title that’s uncomfortably similar to the title of a very different, much more widely known work (e.g. naming a memoir about directing a summer camp for disabled youth in Germany Mein Kamp).

The Post: Kathleen at GotYA posted “I am not Margo… Or John Green,” a post in which she ogles over Paper Towns (review forthcoming here at Wordbird… hopefully) and talks about how, as readers and writers, we’re destined to find authors we want to kill but hug before we do so. They’re too good to be true. Worse yet, their general awesomeness is about ten times what you imagine you could ever achieve. (And I actually said something to that effect to Miranda the other day, and, coincidentally, I was talking about John Green, too.)

The Quote:

It’s not that I don’t love John Green. If anything, I love him too much. You see, John Green is the author who makes me want to fall to my knees and cry, “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!”

I have this theory that everyone has an author like that—even if they haven’t come across them yet.

You know that line in “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen” where the narrators says, “The race is long; in the end, it’s only against yourself.” I believe that line. I really do. Almost all of the time. I suspect there are a few published writers that I’m better than and lots of published writers who leave me in the dust. That doesn’t bother me. But when I read John Green, there are moments when I stop and think that I’m just not worthy to practice the same craft.

The Post: Take Advantage of the Morning, folks! Sarah Enni published a very true post on how important it is to wake up in the morning, free of the troubles of life, and squeeze out a few words. I’ve been writing 500 words in the morning for months, and believe me, those words are precious.

The Quote:

It doesn’t matter what you write down: dreams; conversations from real life or imagined ones; events of the day before — anything at all. “Your primary purpose now is not to bring forth deathless words, but to write any words at all which are not pure nonsense,” Brande writes. Anything your brain comes up with before it is exposed to the daily deluge of external influence.

Have a great weekend!

May 21st, 2010

The Chirps of Other Wordbirds

by Madeleine Rex

Because I had an absolutely thrilling time the other day while compiling a list of blogs you either are following or should be, and I’ve read a remarkable amount of fantastic posts this week, I resolved to compile yet another list. This time, of said fantastic posts.

Without further ado, the most beautiful and in-tune chirps of other Wordbirds this week:

(Not all of these posts were posted this week, I simply read them this week.)

The post(s): Kiersten White has been on a rampage concerning romance in YA novels. She’s touched on love triangles, the bad boy rage, sterotypes in YA lit, and love. Her stream of posts has been incredibly insightful, and, honestly, I’ve agreed with everything she’s said. So, yes, please read.

The Quote:

Here’s my opinion. You can’t tell me that you love and care about someone and then tell me you’re also considering another person as an option and can’t deny your attraction to them. Of COURSE you can. Attraction may be instantaneous, but lust is always a choice. Progression is always a choice. So these heroines who are actively dating/stringing along more than one guy? Sorry, girls: you aren’t confused or torn. You’re a player. (Or playa, if you want to be hip. Which, if you are dating two guys, you probably already think you are.)

The Post: Sarah Enni discusses the importance of three dementional characters in Make Like Avatar and Get 3D. She gives some great examples. This should be, in my opinion, a writer’s key focus.

The Quote:

It’s important for characters to have primary features or qualities that make them real, whole people.

Strong-willed, jealous, honest, manipulative, naive. Every character in your work should have a defining quality.

But, they should also confront situations in your book in which they show the opposite of that quality.

The Post: Carrie Ryan wrote an astronomically brilliant post concerning love triangles. She asserts that…

The Quote:

To me, a love triangle done right isn’t about a female character’s affections bouncing back and forth between two men, it’s about her internal struggle within herself as she figures out who she wants to be and what’s important to her.

More on the Post: I love the above take and adamantly believe that writers should approach the love triangle arrangement with this in mind.

The Post: Author Mike Duran guest posts for Rachelle Gardner and virtually dumps a bucket of ice water on top of you. Don’t think that the book contract is the end of the yellow brick road. There’s always another mountain to scramble over.

The Quote:

Authors expend so much energy and angst on landing an agent and getting the first book contract that by the time we arrive it’s unclear whether we have reached the summit or just base camp.

The Post: Nathan Bransford gives some instruction on one-sentence pitches. I appreciate the way he broke the sentence down into sections and gave an example. In my opinion, the one-sentence pitch is the most daunting.

The Quote:

the one sentence pitch as the core of all the summarizing you’re going to do in the future. It’s the heart of your book, whittled down to one sentence. It’s what you build around when crafting longer pitches.

The Post: Elana Johnson convinces all to stop being shlumpy underachievers. Not only is this important, but she makes it funny.

The Quote:

Some pointers:

1. Take showers. This will eliminate your physical shlumpiness, thus giving the persona of non-shlumpy. Hey, at least pretend, right?

2. Recognize that you have the Force. This will allow you to become Neo (“I am the One.”) or Luke (“Use the Force, Luke!”) but in your own special way. You might need to pen a motto for yourself. Mine? “Hey, at least I didn’t kill anyone.”

3. Share your awesome. This will help you realize that there are a lot of other people out there trying to be less shlumpy too

More on the Quote: Okay, that was about all you need to see, but the rest of the post is funny and encouraging as well.

And, there you are, the greatness that was this week in the blog-o-verse. I highly recommend reading the above posts. All of them were informative, but more importantly, all of them were fascinating.

What posts have you read this week that inspired, informed, or were simply fascinating?

Meanwhile, I’m about to start editing. Who’s got the Tylenol? I see a headache in my future…

P.S. If you liked the layout and link-theme of this post, let me know. I’m willing to make this a weekly deal! (And I might just do so anyway, even if no one cares, because this is my blog and I am ruler. Kidding. Partly.)

May 18th, 2010

The Biz

by Madeleine Rex

It’s common knowledge that a businessman/woman needs to know his/her market. Inside and out. Backwards and forwards. Better than the back of their hand.

In the case of publishing, that does not entail following current trends or stealing the voice of a (currently) popular author. That’s like plagiarism of ideas. We all know that 1) If you’re a writer, you’ve probably written pages upon pages in the past, and you’ve got your own voice. Don’t tape over it; and 2) that trends pass. They’re like seasons. Except there aren’t four. There are fifteen hundred million. Keeping up with them will be detrimental to your writing time.

However, you don’t want to be entirely oblivious. I’m not talking of the market, but of publishing in general. Rachelle Gardner recently tweeted something that caught my eye:

“Dear Agent, here is a link where you can see my manuscript.” That is not a query, sorry.

Yeah, no. Not a query. That example screams one of two things. Either the writer had absolutely no idea what he or she was doing or he/she has a terrible, sour sense of humor. I doubt agents are looking for either. Every inkling of information someone could ever dream of wanting to know regarding querying, agents, critiques, publishing, etc. can be found on the internet. It’s all here. There’s a fantastic array of publishing-related blogs and sites. If only one has the will to look.

Elana recently posted about communicating with non-writers. You know; those people who don’t stay up at night pondering how to write a single sentence or accurately describe the emotional aftereffects of murdering someone? These are the people who still believe that you can get your book published with sheer will. People ask me, “Are you going to get it published?” (It being my book.) I tell them it’s not that easy, but what I really want to say is, “Why don’t you try to get it published?!”

Really, this publishing thing? It’s murder. Which makes us all suicidal.

Knowledge, in this instance, is your weapon. Use it. Don’t make a fool out of yourself, and by golly make sure you know what a query is.

I’ve compiled a list of the major publishing blog/sites. Of course, many of you already have your weapon in hand and are ready to face the publishing world. However, if you find that you don’t recognize one of the names below, I’d check it out.

Nathan Bransford’s Blog (The literary agent celebrity.)

Rachelle Gardner’s Rants & Ramblings

Kristin Nelson’s Pub Rants

Eric’s Pimp my Novel

The Query Tracker Blog

Absolute Write Forums

Writer’s Digest Forums (By the way, you’re in idiot if you’re an aspiring author and have not yet subscribed to WD. I’m not going to tip-toe around your feelings here. Do it. Now. You will not regret it.)

Steph Bowe’s Hey! Teenager of the Year (Check out Steph’s blog particularly if your a teen writer.)

Naturally, I’m missing a lot. If you have any blogs/sites you would recommend, let me know. I’ll be adding a separate link column in my sidebar for such things soon.

So, don’t be naive. Don’t assume anything. Just do your research. Get to know your market and the world you intend to live in before you work and live in it.

You wouldn’t by a house without walking through it, would you?