January, 2010

the attention economy and the case for compelling fiction: what it is, why you need to write it

1 Writing fiction in the digital age means dealing with the realities of the attention economy. Content is everywhere. Information is everywhere. Attention, as Michael H Goldfaber points out in WIRED magazine remains limited. There are only so many minds per capita, and each mind pays attention to one thing at a time (just like…

Jan 28, 2010 · 23 Comments / ADD YOURS

what the kindle taught me about my reading habits, and why the print novel will never die (maybe)

1 I once had an argument with my ex-husband (okay, we had many arguments, but that’s not the point) about the future of traditional publishing: within five to ten years, he declared airily, print publishing would cease to exist. No way, said I, because people still like and need the physical, the tangible. No matter…

Jan 27, 2010 · 13 Comments / ADD YOURS

why the Kindle makes me want to be a more compelling writer

1 I buy books like a maniac. For readers like me, a Kindle makes economic sense. In theory. In actual practice, downloading books onto my Kindle instead of buying the more expensive, book-object versions hasn’t saved me any money. It just means I can download more books. And I do. I can read about a…

Jan 25, 2010 · 14 Comments / ADD YOURS

how to get ahead as a writer: putting the deliberate into deliberate practice, part two

Part One is here 1. READ. Reading is so non-negotiable that I wrote what is practically a manifesto about this– and I’m not talking casual, three-books-a-year reading, or even three books a month. John D MacDonald put the standard at three books a week (tip: it helps to get rid of your TV set). Stephen…

Jan 22, 2010 · 13 Comments / ADD YOURS

the secret to becoming a successful published writer: putting the ‘deliberate’ into ‘deliberate practice’

You might love or hate Malcolm Gladwell, but since his book OUTLIERS came out the idea of “10,000 hours” has entered mainstream culture. Gladwell argues: When we look at any kind of cognitively complex field — for example, playing chess, writing fiction or being a neurosurgeon — we find that you are unlikely to master…

Jan 21, 2010 · 24 Comments / ADD YOURS

how to hook me with your author blog and make me follow you (and buy your books) with the devotion of a dachshund

There’s an article in the latest issue of Writer’s Digest that takes you through the “7 steps of starting an author blog”. It’s a helpful article and worth reading. The problem with these articles aimed at writers — particularly fiction writers — particularly unpublished fiction writers who don’t have a following beyond their relatives (and…

Jan 20, 2010 · 38 Comments / ADD YOURS

the problem with outlines and word quotas (and why they sometimes might lead to sucky writing)

1 I believe in outlines. Except when I don’t. I believe in daily word quotas. Except when I don’t. I believe in encountering the work, which an outline can prevent you from doing. 2 Last week I was struggling with a scene in my novel-in-progress (THE DECADENTS). I had it in outline and knew what…

Jan 17, 2010 · 17 Comments / ADD YOURS

how to work with your subconscious to write a book that ‘hangs together’ (so an agent won’t reject it)

My agent once told me about a manuscript she was considering for representation. She was enjoying it. She thought it well-written. But when she reached the final page, she knew she would reject it. “It was too muddled at the center,” she said. “I still didn’t know what the book was about.” Which reminded me…

Jan 14, 2010 · 12 Comments / ADD YOURS

5 reasons why I believe this person will one day get published

One of the members of my writing workshop had a major breakthrough. “She’s writing at a publishable level,” I said (when someone’s work is being critiqued, we discuss it as if she’s not there). Rachel, the workshop leader, nodded and agreed and looked visibly moved: she’s been working with this woman for a while now…

Jan 12, 2010 · 25 Comments / ADD YOURS

WRITING AND SUCCESS IN THE DIGITAL AGE: who are you writing for (and will they want to read you)?

1 One of my favorite blogs to follow is socialmedia rockstar Chris Brogan’s. So when Chris blogged about a book he loved (and by a YA author I have much respect for), it was like two wires crossing to spark off a deep, personal pleasure in my own little virtual universe. I found Chris’s post…

Jan 7, 2010 · 11 Comments / ADD YOURS
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