Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weekend Fun

I've discovered quite a lot of good links, lately, and I thought it was about time for some Saturday linkage fun. 

First is an interview with author Stephen Koch, talking about his book The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: a Guide to the Craft of Fiction. Sound familiar? It should, because I've ranted about his fiction guide a few times now. Yes, the title is long. But the book is great. And the interview actually has some good advice for fiction writers. My favorite quote: 

"Listen, the number of people who really encourage young writers is very, very small. Most of the time, a young unpublished writer is facing not only her or his own self-doubt, but frozen indifference “out there” and a lot of nay saying from people up close. What on earth would be the point of adding my voice to this overwhelming negative chorus? ...I remember the student who set me straight: 'You’re wondering whose going to tell us how hard it is? Who’s going to warn us about failure? Everybody, that’s who.'" 

That quote in and of itself made me read the book.

Our next link is of another interview, of another fiction guide. Isn't this exciting? Authors Sandra Newman and Howard Mittlemark talk about their book How NOT to Write a Novel, which they describe as a satiric dictionary of newbie mistakes and solutions. This is one of those short interviews you can read in five minutes, but it's worth it for the humor alone. My favorite line:

"Interviewer: 'Everyone has a novel in them.' Discuss. 

Howard Mittlemark: Everyone has a kidney in them too. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to try to take it out."

You can check out the How NOT to Write a Novel website for more humor. 

I can't remember if I've linked to this before, but I think I'm going to go ahead and link to it again: Noah Lukeman's short e-book How to Write a Great Query is up for free download on Amazon. I can't say much about that, since I've downloaded it, but been too busy to read it. So. Is it fun?

Next link up is the Gender Genie. Supposedly, it can tell you the gender of a whoever is writing a particular manuscript, which it does by analyzing 500 word chunks of writing. (The more words, the better it can analyze.) Okay, you say. Neat but pointless. Except that this can be very helpful if, say, you're a girl writing from the POV of a guy. 

Have you ever wondered if your novel's title is of bestseller quality? This Lulu Titlescorer will look at your title and analyze your chances of getting a number one hit. Is it accurate? Well, try typing in Twilight or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and you'll see they scored 59.3% and 14.6%, respectively. The analyzer favors short, figurative titles, especially ones with verbs and nouns. The site itself admits that there's a margin of doubt. But they also say "it guessed right in nearly 70% of the cases." My opinion is that this is a pretty decent yardstick for whether your title works or not. 

Our third random-fun link is a list of writer mistake terms. The Turkey City Lexicon lists and describes everything from Said Bookisms, to Tom Swifties, to As You Know Bob, and Dues ex Machina. It's a great list. I think some of the titles could have been changed and some of the explanations would have made more sense with real examples, but all in all, I found it helpful. Favorite quote: 

"Burly Detective" Syndrome

Fear of proper names. Found in most of the same pulp magazines that abound with "said" bookisms and Tom Swifties. This is where you can't call Mike Shayne "Shayne" but substitute "the burly detective" or "the red-headed sleuth." Like the "said" bookish it comes from the entirely wrong-headed conviction that you can't use the same word twice in the same sentence, paragraph, or even page. This is only true of particularly strong and highly visible words, like, say, "vertiginous." It's always better to re-use an ordinary, simple noun or verb rather than contrive a cumbersome method of avoiding it.

And FINALLY, I have for you a short video entitled Octopus Love. It has nothing to do with writing except that it's a great story. I mean, look at the stakes! The video is less than three minutes long, and the stakes get raised at least four or five times. I think it's a great example of the tension-release process we are supposed to develop in our writing. Plus it's hilarious. 


-Creative A 

1 comment:

Annie King said...

Great links. Thanks!

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