Links: Another year, another planet

First it was Christmas, and I got lots of Christmas and birthday presents. Then not much happened. Then it was New Year.
(My diary for this week, 1972)

I’ll start this week’s roundup with the not-much-happened part, since this is chiefly a blog about writing and nobody, but nobody, writes anything much when the entire family’s dropped by/there’s a party going on/the turkey’s about to burn. Matt tweeted away like a good’un throughout the week, and left a scattering of links to items ranging from a thought-provoking article about the nature of copyright, to a brief note about a trope, to a couple of pieces about Star Wars <sigh>. Well, this is his blog!

The best part about Matt tweeting as he surfs is that he finds a very wide repertoire of beguiling–and sometimes useful–sites. Two of this week’s batch I hadn’t come across before, edittorrent and Quick Writing Tips, regularly publish thoughtful and original pieces on the written word. All grist to the mill, as they say.

When browsing in more familiar territory Matt and I often find we highlight the same items, give or take the sci-fi articles on io9.com. So it was with Janice Hardy’s re-post this week about the mid-point reversal, and Nathan Bransford’s about the courage a character needs before s/he can determine their own fate. (It seems it’s re-post season, this week when not much happens.) We also pounced on Kristen Lamb’s long, cool look at the ways in which a traditional critique group can help or hinder a novelist. As Matt paraphrased it, “Get your writing group to critique your outline, not your prose.”

Julie Eshbaugh of the Let The Words Flow team is another Christmas baby. She celebrated her birthday this year with a reflective post explaining why she writes exclusively for young adults, and offered several pointers to help you decide whether your own writing future lies in the same market. Natalie Whipple was equally deep in reflection, albeit for different reasons. She reached back into her memories of childhood and pulled out a rather lovely metaphor about how the way you view the past can affect your life.

One of the things I like best about following Natalie’s blog is that she always comes across as very human. It’s totally in character that her post telling us to look for the bright spots in our dismal past was followed a day later by a heartfelt farewell to the Year of Suck. Judging by the number of posts I’ve seen on the subject, she’s far from alone in that sentiment!

From a publishing industry perspective 2010 wasn’t so much sucky as transitory, according to Nathan Bransford. From a literary perspective it wasn’t even that; Anna Staniszewski and Jen Brubacher both listed their favourite reads of the year online, and it was positively a good year for the short story, according to the Guardian‘s Chris Power. Also in the Guardian, Kate Figes interviewed publishers about books that had failed to meet their expectations in 2010, and the book on the market they most wish they’d published themselves. Meanwhile Suzannah Windsor Freeman kept the flag flying for the new writer with her top ten fiction writing articles of the year on Write It Sideways.

The New Year marked the end of Barbara Poelle’s humorous weekly blog posts for Dead Guy, and a celebration for Jodi Cleghorn as her latest story was accepted for an Australian anthology. Over at Lit Drift, Alison Leiby agreed with Natalie’s assessment of 2010 enough that she came up with a couple of humour books to add to your 2011 reading list.

Kristen Lamb posted about New Year resolutions and how to give yourself the best chance of fulfilling them, and the Guardian‘s Kathryn Schulz wrote about why it’s better to make even a crazy, unattainable resolution for the New Year than none at all.

And finally, Scott G F Bailey over at The Literary Lab celebrated the New Year by posting an appropriately seasonal poem penned by Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Ring Out, Wild Bells. Tennyson was Poet Laureate for over forty years, which probably explains why much of his poetry lacks passion. This particular poem was published in 1850, the year Tennyson became Laureate. Vive la différence!

Happy 2011, everyone, and may your camels increase!

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