Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Tantalizing Ten: February

Welcome back to another month of The Tantalizing Ten, where I share ten of my favorite blog articles targeted to writers that I have come across this month (whether or not the articles were actually written this month). School was kicking my rear in February, so my blog posting and blog reading were severely curtailed, but I did manage to make note of a few that I thought were the finest of February.

Note: If you have read January's "Tantalizing Ten," then you might see a pattern here on the sites I frequent and enjoy. I do not apologize for this. If you don't like it, then bite me leave a note in the comments on other interesting, useful, and (preferably) amusing writing sites.

Warning: Some articles may contain graphic language or references to things inappropriate for children. If this may bother you, then why are you on a blog in which I compare story arcs to sex?

Serious, But in a Pee-Yourself-Laughing Kind of Way

1. Terrible Minds: 25 Things I Want to Say to So-Called "Aspiring" Writers
Excerpt:  I’m just going to type this out a dozen times so it’s clear: finish your shit. Finish your shit. Finish your shit. Finish your shit. Finish your shit. Finish your shit! FINISH YOUR SHIT. Finish. Your. Shit. Fiiiiniiiish yooooour shiiiiit. COMPLETO EL POOPO. Vervollständigen Sie Ihre Fäkalien!

2. Terrible Minds: 25 Reasons That Writers are Bug-Fuck Nuts
Excerpt: We are trained to be gifted liars. Anybody who writes fiction — or works for Fox News — is tasked with the job of convincing others that Things That Are Absolutely Not True are, in fact, Totally Fucking True. Our entire job is predicated on being good at spinning a complicated web of deception. Truth? Bo-ring. Lies? High-five! Lies make Story Jesus giggle as if you’re tickling his tummy. I imagine all writers have those moments where they’re sitting around their office, pantsless, an empty whiskey bottle spinning idly at their feet — they rub their eyes and mutter, “I don’t know what’s real and what’s fake anymore.” Then the writer hops on his rocket unicorn and goes to buy a cat-burger from the fish-faced Atlantean fellow down on Bumbershoot Street. See? The lies just fall out of me. Like chewing gum from a dead man’s mouth.

Shooting Straight: Writing

3. Jane Friedman: 3 Questions Every Creative Person Must Ask
Excerpt: How much of yourself are you going to share? And which part? 

Let’s assume you do want an audience (of any size). It necessitates some kind of persona. Deciding not to have a persona (removing yourself from visibility, Pynchon style) is a persona.

You can’t imitate someone else’s persona. You can only be yourself. Some of us think famous people are (or ought to be) aloof and distant, so we imitate aloofness, even when it has nothing to do with our personality.

4. Writer's Digest: How to Get a Short Story Published Like a Pro
Excerpt: As a writer you probably hear a lot of advice about how to get your novel published, how to write a perfect query letter, how to get an agent or editor’s attention and so forth. But what if you want to know how to get a short story published? How is the process different for submitting to literary journals or magazines different from approaching a book publisher?

5. Writer's Digest: Ten Tips to Avoid Clichés in Writing
Excerpt: We’re drawn to clichés because they’re convenient. And convenience for writers—convenient plots, convenient characters, convenient coincidences, convenient settings or situations or strings of words—almost always spells doom.

6. Write to Done: Writing Secrets of Prolific Authors
Excerpt: Write Every Day. 

When you’re motivated, you’ll write every day. When you write every day, you’ll increase your motivation to write.
Some writers find they lose momentum if they don’t write every day. Others find it better to take a break from writing every so often.

7. Wordplay: A Writer's Guide to Punctuation
Excerpt: Punctuation in a story is like the spice in a soup. When we’re sipping that soup off our spoons, we’re not likely to notice or identify every spice that has created the uniquely delicious flavor caressing our taste buds. Same goes for punctuation. When shaken out with a skillful hand, the very effectiveness of punctuation makes it go unnoticed. On the other hand, when we choose the wrong punctuation in the wrong place, the result is the readerly equivalent of coughing over too much cayenne pepper. 

8. Wordplay: A Wordplayer's Manifesto
Excerpt: To make the most of our lives as writers, we must understand the core principles and defining moments of being an author. We must boldly claim our goals, and we must remember, refine, and renew our commitments every day. To help us keep our sights set high, we need to declare ourselves to ourselves, as well as the rest of the world.

9. Christina Katz: Forget Infatuation: Your Writing Career Wants A Commitment
Excerpt: [I]f you want to have a successful, long-term writing career, than the relationship between you and your work is going to look a lot more like marriage than anything else. ... Because marriage isn’t just about love; it’s also about partnership and commitment.

10. Christina Katz: 10 Things to Never Do On Social Media
Excerpt: [N]ever think that social networking replaces cultivating a real life. It doesn’t. Social networking compliments and expands your real life. Unplug once and a while to make sure your real life is not getting neglected.


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