Tagged important writing links

Miss Carriger Recommends 20+ Blogs & Podcasts for Authors (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

My dear Gentle Reader,

This one if for authors/writers who are interested in publishing & marketing their books.

This post is part of my occasional FAQ series where I endeavor to answer questions I get asked all the time. (Mainly so I have a perma-link to point people at in future.)

Below I list the blogs and podcasts I find most useful as a hybrid author (including those related to indie and self publishing). I recommend picking episodes/posts based on topic.

(I keep this list as updated as possible.)

Miss Carriger’s Top 11 Blogs for Authors

  1. Goodreads Authors & Advertisers Blog
  2. Build Book Buzz
  3. Elizabeth Spann Craig
  4. Kikolani
  5. Business Rusch
  6. Live Write Thrive
  7. Smart Blogger
  8. The Blood-Red Pencil
  9. Fiction University (was The Other Side of the Story)
  10. Writer Beware
  11. Writer Unboxed

Gail consumes her blogs via Feedly.

Miss Carriger’s Top 12 Podcasts for Authors

  1. The Author Biz Podcast
  2. Authority Self-Publishing Podcast
  3. The Creative Penn Podcast
  4. Internet Business Mastery Podcast
  5. The Murverse Annex (Ditch Diggers & I Should Be Writing Podcasts)
  6. Novel Marketing Podcast
  7. Online Marketing Made Easy
  8. The Publishing Profits Podcast (no homepage, just search & add)
  9. The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast
  10. Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast
  11. The Self Publishing Podcast
  12. The Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast

Gail consumes her podcasts using Overcast.

Gail’s pinterest board Writer Education is full of more recommended resources for authors.

{Gail’s monthly read along for June is Local Custom by Lee & Miller.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Poison or Protect Audiobook.
    StatusOut now!
    Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?

COMING SOON

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 vi antique-royals tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Gender Neutral Pronouns: Singular ‘They’

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

15 Productivity Apps to Help Keep Your Writing Goals on Track

Book News:

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm says of Prudence:

“Gail’s characters are so much fun…”

Quote of the Day:

“She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”

~ Annie Dillard

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Gail Carriger On Plot Versus Pace ~ Or Figuring Out Why That Book Sucks (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Pace is an interesting concept for readers to grasp but it’s something authors talk about all the time. It’s not the physical movement of characters through space and time within the story, nor is it the over-arching journey those characters are on (be it emotional or physical or both). That’s plot.

1. So what do you mean by pace, Miss Gail?

Pace is literally how fast readers turn the page. Pace has to do with everything from the size of the paragraphs, to sentence structure, to word choice, to when and where dialogue interrupts description. Pace involves the tone of voice in narration, introduction of new characters, encounters between characters, comedic or suspenseful moments, and revelations about feelings.

If you feel like a book is boring, or drags you down, or is work to read then either the author has a pacing issue, or you don’t like how they are handling pace. I sometimes describe such books as too chewy.

Different genres of books, and even different sub genres, tackle pace differently. Suspense has a much faster pace then a cozy mystery, for example. Contemporary romance is faster paced than historical, YA fantasy is faster than epic fantasy, and so forth. I tend to avoid epic fantasy for example because I find the pace mind numbingly slow.

A good developmental editor helps her author, first and foremost, with pacing. Usually, it’s her job to identify flaws in pacing, when reader attention drifts. A good DE may even try to determine why it’s happening. A bad one will attribute all flaws to plot.

2. Plot is still pretty darn important.

In romance, for example, the plot of the relationship is vital, from when the first kiss happens, to when each character admits to their feelings about the other (or others). And that’s because there are, indeed, elements of pacing in plotting.

You’ll hear authors sometimes refer to these key plot moments as “pulse points.” When and where a writer drops these elements, and how frequently they are deployed, dictates reader involvement and focus.

3. But still not as important as pace.

Here’s an interesting note to end on.

Did you know that when two professional authors get together to talk, they rarely tell each other is the plot of their respective novels? In fact, describing plot is a clear indication of an amateur author, or a non-writer. In some circles, it’s considered quite rude.

Why? Because plot is a whole lot less important than pace, and pace cannot be described. (That’s why this blog post is so rambly.) This is why authors tend to rely on an elevator pitch, even after decades in the game, and sitting across the table from an author friend.

{Gail’s monthly read along for January is A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Developmental edit (third draft).
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft Complete. On Lay Away.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and some very unexpected gifts.
  • Competence (working title) ~ Custard Protocol Book 3
    Status: Outline
    Third in the Custard Protocol series featuring Primrose, Rue, and all their crazy friends.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Axel Ender (Norwegian artist, 1853-1920) In Expectation

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

A world-famous photographer captured candid pictures of people reading

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Poem: How to choose a wife, Victorian Style “If you’ve seen her drink three cups of tea”

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

4 Things Real Authors Have that Amateurs Don’t

Book News:

Fan Art Alexia Soulless By Sarah Lynne Christianson

Quote of the Day:

“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”
~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Using WordPress Plugin Redirection For Evergreen Universal Links (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

This is one of those I searched the web and couldn’t find the answer. Then figured out how to do it, and feel like I must pay it forward to save other authors the pain and agony of trying to figure it out. It may not apply to you, Gentle Reader, for which I appologize.

This post only applies to she who has a website on the WordPress platform.

Other options, why you might wish/not wish to use this method, how to devise a system for your links, and so forth, can be found on Carolyn Jewel’s most excellent blog post:

Evergreening Your Links

You might want to read that first. That post is why I felt compelled to write this one.

Other caveats:

  • Initiate at your own risk. I understand that plugins can make your site more virus vulnerable.
  • I am a technophobe ignoramus numb-nuts.
  • My method might not be ideal for you.
  • This post might be out of date, if read after December 2016.
  • Blah blah blah.

Still with me?

1. Go to your WordPress plugin dashboard.

1. WordPress Plugin

Click Add New.

Search, download and install, Redirection.

2. Scroll through your list of plugins to find Redirection.

If not activated. Activate.

2. WordPress Plugin Redirection

3. Click Settings underneath the name “Redirection”

THIS PART IS KEY.

3. WOrdpress Plugin Redirection Settings

If this is your first time using Redirection then you need to SET UP GROUPS. Redirection will open for you under the Options tab. You need to click on the Groups tab.

4. Create at least one Group

Why? Because without a group you will get an error message. My groups are my series, and various other categories intuitive to me. Here’s an example for some of my groups.

wordpress plugin redirection groups

Create a group/groups that works for you. Mainly you will need this to sort and find your redirects later in case you want to change them. So think in terms of intuitive categories of links you might want to have short URLs for. As an example, I have a couple FAQ blog posts I am always pointing people to, so I’ve set up redirects for those under the Group “FAQ Blog”.

5. Create your first redirect

Click on Redirects.

At the bottom will be Add new redirection

Redirection

Source URL is THE NEW URL YOU ARE CREATING

it will read http://nameofyourwordpresssite.com/yournewcode

Let’s say I want a redirect for this blog post. I might name it something like:

http://gailcarriger.com/evergreen

Now, if you are using this to evergreen your book links you’ll need to come up with an easy sorting system. Carolyn tells you how to do that. An example for me would be:

Link to buy Soulless on Amazon. Soulless is the first in the Parasol Protectorate series.

http://gailcarriger.com/pps_a

pps_a means “Parasol Protectorate Soulless on Amazon.” Go head, try it. I’ll wait. ppc_k, for example, would be the second book, Changeless, on Kobo. That’s my system, you use whatever works for you.

Redirection

Ok so that is the Source URL

In the bottom box you put the Target URL.

That’s the page you want the link to actually go to.

The example for Soulless to Amazon above it goes to: https://www.amazon.com/Soulless-Parasol-Protectorate-Book-1-ebook/dp/B002NPCJ3G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1477958676&sr=1-2&keywords=soulless&linkCode=ll1&tag=authgailcarr-20&linkId=f72ab91bb0e1c17e6afca24f9ed2d100

Can you see why I might want to shorten it?

Using the drop down you assign it to the correct Group, whatever it may be.

Leave the other settings (Match & Action) as is (you can change them later if needed) standard setting is Match: URL only & Action: Redirect to URL & Regular expression: [unchecked]

Click Add Redirection.

You can test it out.

If it’s temporary, you can change the setting to a 307 instead of a 301, but that can be changed later, no mater what assignment. Don’t fret.

6. How to fix?

All you do is find your new redirect, click on the setting icon (the little gear) below it, and fix whatever needs fixing. Here’s what the above example looks like:

redirection settings

You see how the Source URL got shortened because it is native to my WordPress site? You want that.

That’s it.

No go forth and redirect away!

Like this post, find it helpful?

Support the author by buying her stuff. Here’s a fun one. (Yerp, that’s a redirect.)

Like the Redirection plugin?

It’s free to use but expensive to make, throw them a dollar or two. You can do it via the plugin, under the Support tab.

support

Now aren’t you cool?

Hugs!

Yours, Gail

P.S. If you have further tips on using Redirection for Evergreening/Universal Links  you can feel free to leave them in the comments. However, I’m not going to trouble shoot or be your tech support. I already have a set of parents for that.

Commenters should feel free to help each other. Be nice, be a community, be kind, and have fun. When in doubt, there’s champagne or chocolate. Solves most of my problems.

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: First draft done. Resting before second draft.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1870s, Japan via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

1870s, Japan via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My Friend

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

1893 Shangani Last Stand

1893 Shangani Last Stand

1893-shangani-last-stand-info-copy

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

11 Legendary Literary Hoaxes

Book News:

Podcast Discussion of the Lesbian Talk Show, starts: 21:40 End: ~30:20

Quote of the Day:

“The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
~ G.K. Chesterton

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy


Fun & Practical Gift Ideas for the Writer in Your Life

Posted by Gail Carriger

NaNoWriMo has ended and the holidays are upon us. So here are some fun ideas for gifts for the writer in your life, Gentle Reader.

Gifts for Writers

1. Profession association membership: Coupon to purchase membership for your budding author in something like SFWA (if they qualify) or RWA. (You can always give a coupon for drop-in attendance at the local RWA chapter, which allows your author to sample this experience.)

2. Octopus pen ($7).

3. Scrivener ($40-$45) & Scrivener iOS $15-30 & Scrivener for Dummies ($13 – $17): I’ll be moving to this processing program soon. Designed by and for writers. Every author I know who uses it, loves it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

4. The experience gift. Check about to see if the there is a local writers conference, for example Pike’s Peak Writers runs a wonderful annual event in Colorado Springs. Sometimes these are run through a local university and often local libraries know about such things.

5. Professional courses: offer up a professional course, evening class, or private lessons in something useful to a writer or a small business. All things from Scrivener, to Office, to the basics of bookkeeping to Photoshop 101 can be helpful for beginning writers.

6. Professional Magazine subscription: A subscription to Locus Magazine, or RT or something similar (depending on genre) is a nice jumping off point.

7. Do a “writer’s mug” take on the following idea.

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: First draft done. Resting before second draft.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1910 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Garden Parasol

1910 Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Garden Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Tiny book playing cards

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Tea Cyclopedia: A Celebration of the World’s Favorite Drink

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Student Writing Guide: Transitions

Book News:

Jo of Vampire Book Club says:

“Imprudence firmly cemented the Custard Protocol series as a worthy successor to Parasol Protectorate. Filled with adventure, friendship and romance, this is an immensely fun ride, in a wonderfully amusing world.”

Quote of the Day:

“We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.”
~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


NaNoWriMo Links & Quotes Tip Sheet (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

NaNoWriMo is nearing its close, well at least rounding toward the finish line, Gentle Reader. And lest you think of giving up remember Oscar’s wise words:

“Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned.”
~ Oscar Wilde

I’m back from Singapore but a bit to jet lagged to really do much online at the moment. I promise I have a write up on the festival and the amazing city to come. I also managed to get through the first draft read through of SAS. Woot! (You guys, it’s really good.)

“Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”
~ T. S. Eliot

So for NaNo I thought you might enjoy so really fun links to writing articles around the net! If you aren’t a writer, I apologize, and I promise to be back to my witty, useless, irreverent self in a few days.

“If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
~ Isaac Asimov

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. Oh don’t look so shocked.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: First draft completed. Lay away rest of this month.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Joung Ladies Journal- Wednesday, February 1, 1865 Item ID- v. 44, plate 76

Joung Ladies Journal- Wednesday, February 1, 1865 Item ID- v. 44, plate 76

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

What Department Store Workers Looked Like in 1898

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Importance of Fiction
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Four Writing Myths and Why They Suck the Ink out of Writers

Book News:

Soulless made this list of 50 YA Books from #nastywomenread

Quote of the Day:

“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
~ Catherine Drinker Bowen

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!


On Learning to Let Go of the 10% ~ Writing Tips for NaNoWriMo (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, fooling around on Pinterest recently I came across this image, Gentle Reader:

archaeology-kitten

It’s cute right?

Except it’s also WRONG. Archaeology Kitten would say: straighten up that scarp. Walls, on a dig, are features of the site. (That is: they’re something immovable from the target culture that archaeologists are excavating and will leave in situ. Artifacts are objects archaeologists are digging up that may be moved off the site. Here ends this Arch 101 lesson.) Test pits, like this one, have SCARP not walls.

OK, so what does that have to do with writing?

What this meme did was hit up against my very specific area of expertise. I’m an archaeologist, so all I saw was an error in terminology and therefore I didn’t find it funny. Or cute. I stopped relating to it entirely.

Look. I devoutly believe that it’s my responsibility as a writer to get everything I can correct, or as correct as possible to existing  truth or fact (if known). Which is to say, I strive for accuracy not precision.

And then stop.

Here’s the rub for us perfectionists (and most writers are): there are things you will get wrong without realizing it. There are things you will type that you didn’t even know you had to research. There are things outside of your control, (like when an editor ignores STETs).

This is will result in the 10% rule.

10% of the people reading your book will notice this kind of mistake and 1% will care.

The healthiest thing you can do as a writer? Learn to let go of that 10%.

10% of the people who read your book will find a mistake of some kind. Sometimes they find what they think is a mistake, but isn’t. Sometimes they will leave a bad review because of this. Sometimes they are the type of person who likes to take umbrage. About 1 in 100 of those people will actually write an email or leave a comment (for example, see here). (If you’re self-pub and they love your books, you might consider recruiting said individual to beta read for you, but I digress.)

It was a long road for me, but I’ve learned to accept that the 10% rule is always in place. The more readers I have, the larger the number of people who fall into that 10%.

Why accept it? Otherwise you’d never get a book out of me.

Gail Carriger Cat Lilliput Stopping Her From Writing

There is always someone out there who knows more about that specific thing than I do*. And if I infringe on their expertise, then they will get upset and it will impact their enjoyment of my book.

I can try to forestall this by inviting experts to beta read for me. (For example, I had an academic expert in 1890s India read over the second half of Prudence. I also have a horse expert and a gun expert on call, because these are not my bailiwick but come up a lot in the Victorian era.) I know some authors put teams of fan-experts together to consult regularly, particularly if they write military or procedurals and haven’t been in service themselves.

But in the end, I write fiction, and I want to write it quickly (well, as quickly as possible). That means learning to relax about the things I didn’t know to research, or didn’t catch.

(Although, I’m ridiculously proud that so far I haven’t gotten one expert error letter for Poison or Protect. No, that’s not an invitation.)

Gail Carriger Poof Pass Tea Cat

Which is ABSOLUTELY not to say that a self-pub author should allow herself to cop-out on copy-edits and proof passes. I devoutly believe that authors MUST hire a professional for one if not both of these steps. However, I am saying that learning to relax about the 10% expert nitpicking will make you a much less neurotic writer.

Relax. Your primary job it to write it, and finish it. Let go of the 10%.

But it’s still SCARP.

Your archaeology expert, signing off.

Back: Chokepukio (Wari - Inka) Fore: Hacienda (Colonial)

P.S. Yeah we authors tend to keep track of each other’s expertise. And yes, so far, a half dozen of my author friends have called me to ask me about archaeology stuff for some project or another. So there is that resource too.

* Thing I actually do know more about than any other human? SEM analysis of 8th-12th century Islamic glazed pottery from an industrial production site in Raqqa, Syria. For which I am the world’s last standing expert, and likely to remain so, as the site no longer exists.

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. Oh don’t look so shocked.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Rough draft completed. Lay away this month. First pass red through starts in December.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Fashion plate, 1877, France she who worshipscarlin tumblr

Fashion plate, 1877, France she who worshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Gail's Carousel With Romancing the Inventor at the front

Gail’s Carousel With Romancing the Inventor at the front

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“A morning visit should be paid between the hours of two and four p.m., in winter, and two and five in summer.”
~ Etiquette for Gentlemen
{those are my kind of hours}

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”
~ Howard Aiken

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
~ Thich Nat Hahn

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!

Save


NaNoWriMo Q&A With Gail Carriger

Posted by Gail Carriger

This post spawned off of a forum discussion, Gentle Reader.

During NaNoWriMo I usually get an influx of questions on places like Goodreads regarding the craft of writing. I’m happy to answer them, although I don’t consider teaching about writing my forté. (Here is a good post on NaNoWriMo for those who’ve no idea what I’m on about.)

So I puttered about and pulled together some interview questions that I felt might help the baby-booking NaNoWriMo-er.

How do you break down your book into chapters? 

My chapters are usually around 6k words long or 10 pages, for the novel length Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series. However, it’s more like 4k for the Finishing School YA stuff and novellas. If I were intending my 50k NaNoWriMo project to resolve at 50k, then I’d likely go with a 4k/chapter length. And yes, you do need to get comfortable with thinking about your book in terms of word count, not page count. In the internet age, page count is too flexible.

Professionally speaking?

On deadline, 6k is perfect for me as it’s about one week of writing/rereading. Also, that works out to 16 chapters, (plus any starting bits or epilogues), giving me a 96k book. I like to stay under 100k, so that works for me. Plus, 16 feels like a nice satisfying number. Of course, a novel rarely actually comes out that tidy. But I’m optimistic.

“Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”
~ Robert A. Heinlein

What makes you decide to end a chapter and break flow?

Flow breakdown is a consequence of pace, climax, and tension. Usually, it’s something like: 8 chapters end on a cliff hanger, 6 chapters end on an up note, 2 end on a downer. These are intermixed with each other and are a result of my genre, author voice, comedic bent, and style. Someone who writes horror, or suspense, or dark epics for example, would make different choices.

Gail Carriger Poof Pass Tea Cat

How do you discipline yourself to write?

I use shameless bribery: cup of tea if I finish the chapter, sushi every 25k, new shoes when I finish the first draft. I also punish myself. If I haven’t made my word count I can’t watch TV. Not even GBBO.

“You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.”
~ William Gibson

How do you make your writing funny?

Mostly I take ridiculous characters and put them into absurd situations. I don’t know about you, but the times I find myself laughing the most are when I’m chatting with my friends. So, I use friends ruthlessly as inspiration. My other tactic is when something comes up in the plot, I ask myself not “what would my character do next?” but “what is the most bizarre solution to this problem?” Sometimes this backfires on me in a “Douglas Adams kind of way” in which case I have to switch tactics and ask myself “what would PG Wodehouse do?”

Other ways to add humor?

There are intrinsically funny words, situations, and characters – so throwing any one of those into a scene always helps. I watch and read a lot of comedy, and I’m always alert to funny things around me. I’ve developed an inconvenient tendency to step back while reading, watching, or talking to ask myself, “Why was that funny?” I don’t necessarily copy the occurrence, but I do file it away as technique. I have an addiction to bad puns and ludicrous analogies, so sometimes I go overboard.

Here’s a great article on ways to write humor.

Three Tips for Collecting a Wealth of Humorous Material from Almost An Author

“My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.”
~ Elmore Leonard

That’s all I have for now. Enjoy writing dear NoNoWriMo-ers, and rememebr my old adage?

Don’t forget the funny!

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. Oh don’t look so shocked.}

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Fashion plate, 1878, England via shewhosorshipscarlin tumnblr

Fashion plate, 1878, England via shewhosorshipscarlin tumnblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Victorian Printing Press, New Zealand

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Gail Carriger's Office Writing SAS

Gail Carriger’s Office Writing SAS

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“Tea has been one of saviors of mankind. I verily believe that, but for the introduction of tea and coffee, Europe might have drunk itself to death.”
~ Sir James Crichton-Browne

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!


Helpful Podcasts for Writers ~ NaNoWriMo Tip Sheet (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) around the interwebs, Gentle Reader. I don’t participate myself. Let’s be perfectly honest ~ it’s a dumb month to pick. Always has been. For me it’s particularly inappropriate as I’ve spent the first half of November, for years, on book tour for a Finishing School book. And this year I go to Singapore.

Gail Carriger on NaNoWriMo

That said, it doesn’t mean I’m not supportive of the Great NaNo. I don’t often post “how to write blogs” or the like. I think there are plenty of other authors out there who do it better than I ever could (waves at Chuck, Rachel, Kameron). In fact, I consider myself best at being an enabler. Find me at a convention and I’m one of those:

There’s a fun thing, let go do that! Food, yeah food, eat the food. And we’re walking. Party, bar, that way! And we’re drinking.

As opposed to actually organizing the thing, food, walk, or party in the first place.

But in order to be both supportive and enabling, over the course of this month, you will see a few blog posts from me that I hope will be helpful if you are participating in NaNoWriMo, or even if you just like to write and wish to perhaps publish some day.

Without further ado, Gentle Writer, here is my…

List of Top 8 Podcasts Every Author Should be Listening To…

  1. I Should Be Writing ~ Best for: emotional sympathy, writer struggles, general hand holding.
  2. Beyond the Trope ~ Best for: craft and passion. Focuses on “the deep, artistic depths of fiction” with a casual style and general inclination to geek out.
  3. The Creative Penn ~  Best for: self-publishing, book marketing, and creative entrepreneurship. Good at interviewing and sticking to topics. Pick what you want based on the episode title.
  4. Ditch Diggers (via The Murverse Annex) ~ Professional authors get brutally honest about being both professional and an author. There may be a few rants from yours truly.
  5. Internet Business Mastery ~ Best for: tips on general social media marketing and brand interaction. Not specifically for authors, which is why it is interesting as many of the core premises are still useful. But you will have to learn to ignore the dumb business lingo and constant coach marketing. If you can’t take either (and boy do I understand that) but want something with this outsider perspective try Smart Passive Income or The Social Media Examiner Show (BONUS very short episodes) instead.
  6. Rocking Self Publishing ~ Best for: self-publishing, book marketing, and creative entrepreneurship. Similar to Penn quality entirely depends on the strength of the interview. They focus on a single subject for the interview, but they tend to drift more.
  7. Writing Excuses ~ Quick pithy tips from four luminaries in SF/F. If you are a beginning author and aren’t already listening to this, you’re hopeless.
  8. The Roundtable Podcast ~ 20 min author interviews focused on craft, then a work-shopping interview in which a professional author talks craft specific to a pitched project.

“It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.”
~ Will Shetterly

The caveat: as with all things, these recommendations are aligned with my taste as reader, listener, and writer. As such, they tend to favor the SF/F genre, female authors, and friendly attitudes. This may not be what you’re looking for but it’s what I like. This is, after all, my little corner of the internet. MINE! Wha ha ha ha.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
~ Jack London

I’ve left comments open but your recommendations are likely better spent on NaNoWriMo forums and if you’re spammy or snarky that sucker will get the snip snip snip. Here in Gail’s little world we play nice and polite or not at all. Etiquette must be observed!

“Use your imagination. Trust me, your lives are not interesting. Don’t write them down.”
~ W. B. Kinsella

You don’t have to take my word for it: 15 Inspiring Writing Podcasts to Subscribe to Right Now

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Portrait of Ava Gardner, 1960’s via fawnvelveteen tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Alexia character cookie

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Indonesian Mimic Octopus

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Kubler-Ross Model of Grief Associated with Editing and Rewriting

Book News:
BookNut101 of 21st Century Once Upon a Times blog says of Manners & Mutiny: “Did it meet my expectations? Uh yes. Yes, it did indeed! In fact, I will go so far as to say that it exceeded my expectations – it pulled all the elements of the series together and was both entertaining and informative. I was never left feeling like the author was racing to the finish line. Rather, I felt that every chapter and every scene was calculated.”

Quote of the Day:
“Pointed dialogues about yesterday’s eggs and the toughness of Saturday’s meat are conducted fortissimo between cheerful youths in the road and satirical young women in print dresses, who come out of their kitchen doors on to little balconies.”
~ P. G. Wodehouse, The Man with Two Left Feet And Other Stories


Comedy Author Looks at Humor on the Internet (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Analyzing humor on the Internet is one of my favorite pastimes. I know, the moment you start to look at why something is funny, it ceases to be funny. But that is my lot in life now. Every time I laugh, I then think: Ooo, why did I just laugh? Writing humor kinda ruins humor, but my life was in ruins before I started these messy writer shenanigans. (See what I did there?)

Very silly squash

Thus you, Gentle Reader, have been warned: read the post at your own comedic risk.

Yes, humor is subjective. Every comic/humor writer knows this. We all realize there will be people out there who don’t get our stuff. This blog post is written from my perspective, which means I’m using examples of things I find funny. So you’ll have to read with that in mind.

Sample 1: Will it Sous Vide? Hot Pockets

  • What kind of humor? Clever, it made me smile but not actually chuckle.
  • What it does? Juxtaposes nostalgia for the hot pocket (and the Will it blend? meme) against the snotty modern food movement (as represented at, say, the Top Chef critics table) presenting results in a ridiculously scientific manner.
  • Why is it funny? Contrast (two things put together that you would never expect) is great for both shock and comedic value. Also this plays on call-back (hearkening to the older meme) and rule of three: words hot pocket + sous vide + the meme of will it blend

Sample 2: Town Square Live Feed Comments

  • What kind of humor? Ridiculous. It gave me a full on laugh. This is the kind of funny thing that I thought about again at 5am and started chuckling just remembering it.
  • What it does? Crowd sources the total ridiculousness of overreaction to the everyday.
  • Why is it funny? Pure silliness. Overreaction humor is one of my favorites. Recently, I read a m/m contemporary where a group of frat boys react to one of their own coming out as if he were giving birth (as a result of sensitivity training). People reacting in an out of control manner to perfectly ordinary everyday things = fertile ground for humor. The opposite also works. Much of Alexia’s humor comes from her not really reacting to things that would shock a normal person. Alexia is always practical and deadpan even when presented with a vampire attacking her in a library. Overreaction and underreaction are both great tools.

Sample 3: Cat vs Baby

attack-cat-baby
  • What kind of humor? Shock value. Bark of surprised laughter.
  • What it does? Surprises the viewer/reader into a laugh. This is the kind of humor that edges into horror.
  • Why is it funny? The baby is so happy and innocent waddling along and then bam CAT. Contrast is in play again (happy baby, angry cat), but really what’s funny is the unexpected nature of the attack. America’s Funniest home videos had their stock in trade on this kind of humor.

 Sample 4: Excuse Me

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-8-38-58-am
  • What kind of humor? Exaggerated everyday. The delighted chuckle of familiarity.
  • What it does? Plays on an everyday human experience though exaggeration and mockery.
  • Why is it funny? Anyone who has spent time with a cat (or a few dogs I know) has probably had this experience of using the bathroom and the cat insisting on joining. Some of us have stories of cats taking this to the next level. This is a particularly telling example because it also touches on taboo (private bathroom use) in a completely nonthreatening manner (the cat) allowing the twinge of discomfort to turn into humor. I, for example, often play with the fact that werewolves have to get naked to shift form, and how this contrasts with the strict morals of Victorian society. This works best with a character already highly positioned in society, e.g. Lord Maccon, than with one who is outside of society and female, e.g. Tasherit. Tash does get naked but rarely in a funny way, instead I play on her catlike nature to get humor. (Which makes me wonder if Tasherit has to constantly stop herself from trying to join people in the privy?)

Oh, that gives me an idea. TTFN.

{Gail’s monthly read along for October is The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Rough draft. Almost done.
    Something new and different for Gail, contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASE

MySistersSong_ebook

My Sister’s Song

The warrior Mithra must repel a Roman legion alone and armed only with one very tasty weapon.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1925-1935 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1925-1935 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1925-1935-the-metropolitan-museum-of-art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Anthropomorphic Hedgehogs Go about Their Daily Lives in Adorable Photo Series by Elena Eremina

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

What is Confirmation Bias?

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

A Return to Print? Not Exactly

Book News:

Author Interview with Gail Carriger

Quote of the Day:

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”
~ Orson Welles

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!

Save

Save

Save


Writing Modes ~ Work, Fugue, & Trance (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, I tend to think in terms of three different types of writing modes. I haven’t talked much with other authors, and I’m sure everyone is different but I thought perhaps you’d like a peek into my divisions of author ability, as it were.

remote-set-up

1. Work Writing

Both the hardest and most common, this is the type of writing that feels like sweating blood. This is when I sit down and squeeze out the words, one after another. I try not to question myself, and just do it because I must, because it’s my job, and because I have a deadline. I make up games and bribe myself. I’ll do lots of silly things just to force myself to write those 2000 words for that day. When us authors talk about “training writer muscles,” this is the kind of writing we mean. The work of it. The business of it. If you want to be a career author I devoutly believe you must learn how to execute this kind of writing and never to rely on the other two.

2. Fugue Writing

I can’t remember who first used the term fugue with me, but I definitely stole it from someone (possibly one of the Armenian Lovers). I don’t like the idea of a muse (to me muse feels like I’m giving someone else credit for my work, talk to the Ancient Greeks about it). However, to use that analogy, fugue is the state when the muse has you in her warm embrace. Fugue is the best of writing. It’s being transported and having the words flow out of you. It’s the fingertips as conduit for something else. I think of the something else as my subconscious. Sometimes it’s Lord Akeldama. Fugue is when writing is fun and easy. For hobby writers, this can be the only type of writing that you do. I used to be like that in high school and college, only writing when I felt motivated. Chasing fugue, however, is the death nell for the professional author. It can’t be caught and you waste valuable time if you sit around waiting for it to drop. Instead you must activate Work Writing. It can also be dangerous if it happens too much in a book. To me it’s like a natural writer’s high, and I don’t want to depend upon it to get me typing in the morning. I find if I’ve had a run of fugue on a book then it is that much harder to motivate to finish without the fugue later.

3. Trance Writing

Trace is the rarest writing mode, for me. It’s not always pleasant, particularly for those around me. Fugue I usually welcome, immerse myself in happily, and then hop back out of, like a delightful swim in a cool lake. Trance is more like a wicked undertow. It drags me in and keeps me there sometimes for days. It’s hugely productive and I can double or even triple my word count, occasionally more than that, but I’m also absent. I’ll physically stop writing but I’m still there in my head, and pretty much anything and everything can cause a return to the computer. It can be painful on my body because I just forget things: food, posture, exercise, wrist pain.

Witness this conversation when I entered trance state over Poison or Protect:

AB: What do you mean you forgot to eat?
Gail: I remembered eventually. I also didn’t play with the cat.
AB: Poor little Lilliput!
Gail to the cat: I am sorry Lilliput. I’m just not really here right now. I’m somewhere in southern England in 1867. I promise, I’ll return eventually.

That’s what it feels like, usually for 24-48 hours I’m just absent, somewhere else.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, this only happens once or twice a year.

Now shall I tell you the great secret regarding all 3 of these modes?

The Glorious Truth

The reader will never know the difference.

In fact there’s a good chance when you go back a reread it yourself, you won’t be able to tell the difference. I never can. The hard working parts, the times it was like pulling teeth to get that daily word count done, the easy fugue times when the imagery simply flowed out of me, the rare and disconcerting trance times… You know what? They all read the same in the end. They all require editing. LOTS of editing. They were equally good and equally crap.

The point, in the end, is to sit down at the computer and type.

Rita winners on cover of RWA National Magazine

Rita winners on cover of RWA National Magazine

In other news congrats to the Rita Winners. Personal shout out to Alexis Hall’s For Real which took the erotic romance category and Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy’s Him which won mid-length contemporary romance. I read and enjoyed both these books, and it’s lovely to see m/m step in and take a non-LBGTQ specific categories!

{Gail’s monthly read along for September is Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Working proof. Releases Nov. 1 2016.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlourmaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novella? Novel? Who knows.
    Status: Rough draft.
    Something new and different for Gail, contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASE

MySistersSong_ebook

My Sister’s Song

The warrior Mithra must repel a Roman legion alone and armed only with one very tasty weapon.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1926-ensemble-lucien-lelong-1926-the-philadelphia-museum-of-art

Ensemble Lucien Lelong, 1926 The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

gailty-cute

Self & the wonderful Ty!

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Female Authors

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

why-have-an-alias

Book News:

mechanical-copy

Quote of the Day:

“Once we had been friends, once we had been lovers. And now we were just two people who knew each other too well, who had—through carelessness, not malice—hurt each other too much.”
~ Glitterland by Alexis Hall

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!


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