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Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:

Infodumps: Why you should embrace them (Patty Jansen)

Historical Fiction: It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7… (Beverley Patt)

Deal Breakers (Kristine Kathryn Rusch)

Play What You Can’t (Bernie Mojzes aka brni)

Reading like a writer (Carmela Martino)

The Cruelest Hoax (Victoria Strauss)

That and Which (Terri-Lynne DeFino aka bogwitch64 )

Notes from the writing life (Eric Blank)

O Itchy Trigger Finger (Jane Lebak)

5 Reasons Why Your Online Marketing Doesn’t Work (Jane Friedman) 

If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time). Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.

If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2010 and last week’s list.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 29th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
I've tried to post several times and keep getting bumped! Thanks for the fine roundup, including that bogwitch character. She's a little strange. Be careful with her.
Jul. 29th, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC)
Lol, poor LJ. Let's hope things get back to normal soon.
Jul. 29th, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, the joys of the infodump... especially when it's clear that the author has done their research (good) but fallen in love with their research (not quite so good) and just wants to, well, share...

While I like what the poster says, I'm not sure I wholly agree, because I do think we overestimate what the reader needs to know to get with it and how much they will simply grab from context or can skim over (maybe I should go over and comment, though I don't like to criticise).

One of the things I learned from reading authors like Georgette Heyer and P G Wodehouse - or novels written in other centuries, including the 20th! where a lot of what we would put in as exposition wasn't because it was just everyday knowledge - is learning the truly startling amount you CAN assume the reader will just pick up from context - a good (or in their cases great) writer can weave in terminology/slang/social mores, even hard backstory etc with the barest of explanation and trust the reader to pick it up and run with it. I try for 'self-explanatory' info-traces wherever I can, even if it means adjusting the backstory a little to allow the reader to make connections with real life... but it is true that sometimes less IS enough from the reader's POV (and is it okay with you if I make a post myself of this comment, seeing as it's gotten out of hand??? :)

And the historical one is a good checklist, especially and a thousand and three percent if writing a fairly recent period - it is surprisingly harder to remember what waa different about the 1990s than research the 1940s...

Edited at 2011-07-29 10:51 pm (UTC)
Jul. 30th, 2011 08:40 am (UTC)
I think much of what Patty said in her post about infodumps had science fiction and fantasy in mind, where the blanks are often harder to fill in, but I know what you mean.

Personally, the blanks I hate to see go unaddressed are more plot-based eg: in a crime story, when the detective disocvers the identity of the killer and makes a mad dash across town to stop another murder or catch him/her before they escape in a light aircraft etc. Why doesn't he just call the station and get them to send the nearest police car to the scene?
Jul. 30th, 2011 10:35 am (UTC)
Oh yes, THAT sort of blank I am with you all the way on (one of my firm rules is, if the only reason a character does something stupid is that, if he didn't, you wouldn't have a story... you don't have a story).
Jul. 30th, 2011 04:12 am (UTC)
The "Deal Breaker" was great. I printed it out...being optmistic. And I still can't believe that hoax. To me it seems sooooo obvious from the get go. Agents talk with you about representation And who gets a book deal on the same day they get an agent. And editors have to attend meetings to get approval to acquire a book. BUT...I know all of this because I've researched it and asked around. If you're new to the industry, you wouldn't know.

Jul. 30th, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
I'm glad you found them helpful :)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 31st, 2011 10:01 am (UTC)
To be honest, as far as hoaxes go, I think claims about magical cures for cancer (or autism, for that matter) are more cruel, but it was certainly a rotten thing to do.

I suspect the hoaxer deliberately exaggerated the commission so that he/she could later claim the victim should have known it wasn't for real.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



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