Tuesday 5: Writing Resources

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Writing/Publishing Websites
From Rachelle Gardner

For Writers
From Jody Hedlund

WritingSpark.com
From Alicia Sparks

Fiction Writing Tools & Words of Inspiration
From Sherry Soule

5 MUST READ Blogs for Indie Authors
From Indie Author News

Tuesday 10: Writing Resources and Free Downloads

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Happy Tuesday, dear writing friends!

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Holly Lisle’s official website: A huge resource for writers – many writing courses and articles to be found here.

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Elizabeth S Craig on Twitter: Tweets many quality writing resources and articles throughout the day.

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April Brown’s Writer’s Resources: Categorized writing articles/resources.

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The Indie Exchange: For authors, bloggers, and readers.

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KindleFinds: They promote eBooks that don’t suck (seriously, it’s their tagline).

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Master List of Writers on Google+: Post from Debbie Ohi.

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Write or Die: I’ve posted this one before, but it’s worth mentioning again. Click if you’re having trouble meeting your word count (like so many of us creative souls; daydreams are so much more fun).

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Grammarly on Facebook: Grammarly isn’t a free service, but you’ll want to “like” them just for the status updates (lots of humor).

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Rules of Fog: Free on Amazon Kindle

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Highway to Hell by Alex Laybourne: Free on Amazon Kindle

Thursday 10: Writing Tips, Challenges, Exercises; Free Kindle eBooks; Social Media Tips

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Writing Process

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1. From Open CultureWriting Tips by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman & George Orwell 

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2. From Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing: WIP Writing Exercises to Recharge Your Creativity

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Writing Mechanics 

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3. Daily Writing Tips (run by a team of professional writers and editors)

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Writing Challenge

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4. Blogging from A-Z Challenge April 2012 (links to challenge home page)

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Free Kindle eBooks 

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5. Scott Nicholson Library, Volume 1 (links to Amazon)

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6. Five Free eBooks, Various Authors (Mystery, Romance, Thriller) – links to Week in Rewind

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Social Media 

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7. From Mashable: 10 Pro Tips For Writers Using Social Media

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8. From Jeff Bullas: How to Get 50% More Impressions on Your Facebook Page

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9. From Social Media Magic: 10 Powerful Tips To Stimulate Facebook Fan Interaction

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10. From Red Lemon Club:  7 Ways to Turn Your Social Media Connections Into Paying Clients

8 Links: Hooking Readers, NaNoWriMo, and More

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From Lyn Midnight‘s WriMos FTW! (a blog-hub for 2011 Nanoers):
Whammo! You hooked ’em! by Julie A. Lindsay
A great article on the importance of hooking readers in the first pages of your novel, including tips to help make that happen.

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From Jody Hedlund‘s website:
How to Keep Writing When the Honeymoon is Over
Tips to help you stay with your first draft after the initial euphoria is gone.

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From Bob Mayer at Write it Forward:
The real gatekeepers in publishing now? Authors.
Tips to help you establish and maintain your status as a published writer.

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From The Writers’ Workshop:
Quick Guide to Writing Convincing Characters
Another excellent approach to an essential pre-writing step.    

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From EelKat on Squidoo:
NaNoWriMo: Reaching 50,000 Using EelKat’s Methods
13 steps to success from one of my favorite Tweeters.

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From Scott Eagen‘s blog:
A NaNo No No
If you’re so behind on NaNo you don’t have even a wisp of hope of catching up, take heart. Not everyone believes NaNoWriMo is worth it.

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Writing friends on Twitter: follow Jon Winokur (from AdviceToWriters) for excellent daily writing tips.

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Finally, just for fun – from The Office of Letters and Light (official organizers of NaNoWriMo):
The 30 Covers, 30 Days Blog
Why not take a break from writing to browse a few well-done book covers? You may find some inspiration here (or at least a cover artist worth bookmarking for the future).

5 Distraction-Free Writing Programs

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Ah, NaNoWriMo. 30 days of wild creativity, a reach-for-the-stars mindset that may or may not dissolve December 1st, and last but not least, overwhelming opportunities for procrastination. Especially during the month of November, procrastination can quickly lead to the death of a novel – and a dream.

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Enter full-screen writing programs. As the saying goes, being a writer is 3% creativity, 97% not getting distracted by the Internet. Q10 saved my novel in November of 2009 (Although I also used a pair of noise-reduction headphones. Yeah, a full-screen text editor can only do so much; it can’t block out real life distractions. But hey, it’s a start, right?). And it may just save yours. If you’re one of those people who have to fight the urge to check Facebook every five minutes, take a look at the programs below:

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Q10 (Freeware; Windows): “a simple but powerful text editor designed and built with writers in mind . . . Q10 is small, fast and keeps out of your way . . . Q10 will clean your kitchen, walk your dog and make excellent coffee. Well, not really. But it’s really good as a full-screen text editor.”

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FocusWriter (Free; Linux, Windows, Mac OS X): “a simple, distraction-free writing environment. It utilizes a hide-away interface that you access by moving your mouse to the edges of the screen, allowing the program to have a familiar look and feel to it while still getting out of the way so that you can immerse yourself in your work.”

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WriteMonkey (Free; Windows): “zenware* writing application with an extremely stripped down user interface, leaving you alone with your thoughts and your words. It is light, fast and free. With an array of innovative tools under the hood, it helps you write better. Editing is for another day …”

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PyRoom (Free; Check website for OS) “a free editor that stays out your way – and keeps other things out of your way, too. As a fullscreen editor without buttons, widgets, formatting options, menus and with only the minimum of required dialog windows, it doesn’t have any distractions and lets you focus on writing and only writing.”

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JDarkRoom (Free; Windows, Mac, Linux): “a popular, simple full-screen text file editor with none of the usual bells and whistles that might distract you from the job in hand. If you are writing a speech, novel, essay, thesis or just need to be able to concentrate on your writing, then JDarkRoom may help you.”

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P.S. 5 days and counting.

7 Sites That Will Help You Bring Your Characters to Life

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I know, I know, I’m late again. And I can’t even blame it on Columbus this time.

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From Deb Dorchak at Behind the Words:
Passion For Characters, an article about the the emotional journey a writer must take to turn flat, two-dimensional characters into well-rounded people who step off the page and into the reader’s imagination.

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From Viv at Zen and the Art of Tightrope Walking:
Where do heroes come from? Exploring the bond between writer and characters, a similar and very moving article. I couldn’t choose between them; they’re both worth the read.

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From Charissa Weaks at The Writer’s Resource:
Threads of a Novel, a three part series about the three main components of a novel:
Part 1: Character Emotional Development Plotline
Part 2: Dramatic Action Plot
Part 3: Thematic Significance

Also take a look at Top 10 Strongest Human Fears on Charissa Weaks’ other page, A Day in the Life of An Aspiring Author. This is a good insight into the collective psyche of humankind, which should be a huge help in designing your characters. The Character Mining workshop handout is also really helpful, and it’s in PDF format for convenient downloading.

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From Lisa Hall Wilson at Girls With Pens:
Reactive vs. Proactive Characters: Buffy vs Bella, an article that compares the allure of kickass female warrior Buffy (the vampire slayer) and passive Bella Swan of the Twilight saga. This is another important lesson when building characters.

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An old (1998) article from The Lazy Scholar at Writers Write of The Internet Writing Journal:
How to Create a Character Profile, a good explanation for why the sometimes-exhaustive character sketch is important, maybe even crucial, for designing and maintaining the lives of your characters.

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Finally, another character sheet from Laura Cushing at Gather, just in case you haven’t yet found one you love.

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See you Monday, dear writing friends. I hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend.

10 Character Sketch Templates and Generators

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Sketch Templates – Now. There are a thousand good ones floating around the interwebs, so I won’t overwhelm you. After all, a character sheet is only as valuable as it is helpful to the author, right? What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa. And if character sheets don’t do anything for you? Don’t fear. There are other ways to get to know your characters. We’ll go over a few of those on Friday. In the meantime, here are three character sheets to get you started:

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Not technically a character sheet, but it works – This is incredibly detailed; it’s separated into 71 different questionnaires.

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Character Questionnaire – A long number of essay-type questions with a fantasy element attached. It’s part of a larger fantasy website, but it’s perfectly tweakable to work for your purposes.

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Eclectics dot com Character Chart – I like this one because it’s shorter and not as overwhelming, but it still gets the introduction rolling.

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Generators – It doesn’t make you any less of an author. Like all prompts and other writing tools, they’re to get the creativity flowing. Not to mention they’re incredibly useful in and of themselves.

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Fake Name Generator: The most detailed of its kind I’ve ever seen, complete with randomly generated birth date, address, phone number, height, weight, occupation, even fake social security and credit card numbers. Also check out the Sims Family Generator while you’re there.

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Behind the Name: Allows you to generate names by nationality and/or from mythology, ancient cultures, the Bible, history, literature, theology, and more (the ‘and more’ is the most interesting, so make sure you check it out). The Behind the Name main site provides statistics, histories, and meanings on any name you look up, so… er, don’t get distracted looking up the names of everyone you know while you’re supposed to be doing something else. Not that you would.

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The Random Name Generator uses data from the U.S. census to generate names based on the obscurity factor you input; it can generate up to 30 names at a time.

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The YA Character Generator and Mystery/Thriller Character Generator. These are pretty detailed and definitely worth a glance if one of them fits your genre.

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Seventh Sanctum: I can’t say enough about this site. It has generators galore, almost anything you’d ever need to generate for a story. You will want to bookmark this one. The link will land on the ‘Characters’ page, but peruse the top left sidebar for more. Check out the right sidebar for links to other generator sites or other generators related to what you’re currently viewing.

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Let’s put your character in a sticky situation. ‘Nuff said. That’s a fun one.

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Have fun, dear writing friends.

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