Here’s another grouping of wonderful articles from the blogging world for you to sink your teeth into. This week we’re treated to the insights of a creative writing teacher, the unchosen heroes of fantasy, the importance of reading, and using infographics to promote your books!
Top Ten Peeves of Creative Writing Teachers by Melodie Campbell for the blog of Anne R. Allen
Melodie Campbell has a wealth of experience when it comes to teaching the craft and this excellent article gives us a unique insight into the annoyances she regularly encounters.
My particular favourite is “My Editor Will Fix This.” I’ve said this to myself before. I’m lucky to have a best friend who reads and critiques my work and there’ve been times when I’ve thought, “Mark will help me fix this.” But I tell myself off for it. It’s lazy! Campbell explains why:
“If you are an artist or craftsman, you need to learn the tools of your trade. Writers deal in words, and our main tools are grammar, punctuation and diction. How could you expect to become a writer without mastering the tools of our trade?”
The article goes on to explore some of the more baffling things she’s heard in her time teaching, from students who ignore publisher’s guidelines to those who don’t bother to write, to those that do not read, and even other creative writing teachers attending her classes to steal material for their own. Madness!
If you’re thinking of getting into teaching, this article is an excellent insight into what you may find.
When No One Else Will Stand Up and Fight the Obvious Evil: The “Unchosen Ones” of Fantasy by Leah Schnelbach for Tor.com
So many stories focus on the ‘Chosen One’, the character the scribes wrote about aeons before. But some of my favourite characters are the reluctant heroes, the ones who have to pick up the mantle because there’s nobody left.
This article looks at some of the most beloved reluctant heroes in epic fantasy, like Vin and Kelsier from Sanderson’s Mistborn or the fearless Hobbits of the Lord of the Rings.
“It is Samwise Gamgee most of all, a quiet gardener who can’t even pluck up the courage to ask Rosie the Barmaid out for a night on the Hobbiton, that exemplifies Unchosen Heroism. He is small and terrified, and in way over his head, but when Frodo fails it is Sam who carries the Ring, remains incorruptible, and makes it possible for Middle-earth to dispel its great evil.”
Food for thought when writing your own stories!
The Importance of Reading if you want to Write by George L. Thomas
I love to lose myself in a book, but sometimes finding time can be hard with the shite life and work throws at you. Regardless, a writer ought to find the time to sneak in a few pages of reading each day. George L. Thomas nails the most important reason why in his excellent article:
“As a writer, reading is just as essential as putting your pen to paper. It is a part of the learning process, allowing you to see what has worked for other writers and authors and how they have structured their stories using character and plot to move them along.”
George goes on to explain the importance of reading widely and out of your comfort zone, how it improves your knowledge and grasp of language and grammar, how it can inspire you to write, and how it can keep your brain active and healthy.
I can relate to much of what George writes. Before I start writing I like to read a few chapters to get me in the mood. I keep a notebook in which I list new words I come across and their definitions, as well as any metaphors or similes I like. These new words tend to stick in my head after writing them down and also serves as a nifty little reference guide if I’m struggling.
7 Ways to Use Infographics to Promote Your Book by Amber Wilson for the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis
Infographics are something I’ve never considered for book promotions so I was drawn to this article like a moth to fire. As Amber Wilson explains, it’s hard for writers to stand out amongst a sea of others. Infographics could help you do that.
According to Amber, infographics offer “far better returns than photos and book covers. That is because your targeted audience will find it easier to understand and retain information on infographics.”
The article goes on to explain the nuts and bolts of making an effective infographic, such as focusing more on illustrations instead of text, and what you could use them for. For example, as a fantasy writer, it could be useful to explain parts of the fantasy world or the mysterious creatures that reside there. The idea is to create something interesting, intriguing, and appealing to the eye so that people will share it across the web!
A great bit of unique marketing advice!
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