90 Secrets Of Bestselling Authors

The always reliable Writer’s Digest has provided this handy list of quotes from bestselling authors, chronicling their advice on writing, including how to find and corral inspiration, craft effective characters, discover your writing style and finally getting that manuscript published. Definitely a useful tool if you are in a rut!


—No. 1—
“Every idea is my last. I feel sure of it. So, I try to do the best with each as it comes and that’s where my responsibility ends. But I just don’t wait for ideas. I look for them. Constantly. And if I don’t use the ideas that I find, they’re going to quit showing up.”
—Peg Bracken

—No. 2—
“If you stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music, you automatically explode every morning like Old Faithful. I have never had a dry spell in my life, mainly because I feed myself well, to the point of bursting. I wake early and hear my morning voices leaping around in my head like jumping beans. I get out of bed quickly, to trap them before they escape.”
—Ray Bradbury

—No. 3—
“Good writing is remembering detail. Most people want to forget. Don’t forget things that were painful or embarrassing or silly. Turn them into a story that tells the truth.”
—Paula Danziger

—No. 4—
“I have never felt like I was creating anything. For me, writing is like walking through a desert and all at once, poking up through the hardpan, I see the top of a chimney. I know there’s a house under there, and I’m pretty sure that I can dig it up if I want. That’s how I feel. It’s like the stories are already there. What they pay me for is the leap of faith that says: ‘If I sit down and do this, everything will come out OK.’”
—Stephen King

Make sure to check out the rest at their site.

Monday's Writing Links

This week’s links mourn the passing of Anne McCaffrey, feature a new short story by Alan Moore, highlight the releases of Michael Connelly’s ‘The Drop’ and showcase a tumblr dedicated to cool bookshelves.

It’s sad to hear about Anne McCaffrey’s passing. Although she was 85 and apparently lived a full and fruitful life, there is always an element of tragedy when someone leaves us. She was definitely an influential author, who deserved a larger audience in the era of any and every fantasy series being snapped up by movie studios and TV networks alike. Hopefully that won’t be too far off in the future for her ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ series.

In other news, November wraps up this week, so if you’ve got a NaNoWriMo goal in sight, this is that last sprint toward the finish line. Stay on target and then you can reward yourself by spending the entirety of December reading on the beach…or editing in your car on lunch breaks if you don’t have beach access. Either way, congrats to all participants, regardless of where you finished with your manuscript.


– RIP Anne McCaffrey (sfwa)

– The Influence Of Anne McCaffrey (tor)

– Kirkus Review Of Michael Connelly’s ‘The Drop’ (kirkus)

– New Agent Alert: Marie Lamba Of The Jennifer Dechiara Literary Agency (guidetoliteraryagents)

– The Future Of The Book As Depicted In Science Fiction (tor)

– How Long Should Novel Chapters Be? (writersdigest)

– Kirkus Review’s Best Fiction Of 2011 (kirkus)

– Alan Moore’s Short Story From Dodgem Logic (newhumanist)

– A Tumblr Just For Great Bookshelves (bookshelf)

– Bruce Lee Interviewed For ‘The Green Hornet’ TV Show (youtube)

– The Best Scenes In Terrible Movies (avclub)

Monday's Writing Links

Today’s Writing Links feature a glowing review of Stephen King’s  11/22/63, a bold prediction on what book series will be TV’s next ‘Game of Thrones’, and the first entry into the AV Club’s feature Author Meet Reader.

Stephen King, who may only be known to girls age 13-19 as the guy who doesn’t like ‘Twilight’, adds another notch to his already impressive belt full of notches with his latest book 11/22/63.  The novel probes the Kennedy assassination with the fantastical twist of time travel involved. Here is the synopsis:

“On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force.

Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.”

So, be sure to check that one out. Also, as the year draws to a close, one of the many things I look forward to are the end of the year lists that will soon be posted. I really enjoy reading the “best of” lists that come out at the end of the year, especially those regarding books. It’s a great guide for picking up a pile of new books to read for the new year. I’m always perpetually behind on reading books that actually come out that year (I think I only read four or five books published in 2011 this year), but as is the trend, I’ll use most of 2012 to catch up on the rest. I apologize to deserving authors for this twelve month royalty delay, but that’s just the way things seem to happen with me.


– AV Club Reviews Stephen King’s ’11/22/63′ (avclub)

– Having A Sellable Novel Doesn’t Make You A Sell-Out (sfwa)

– Will Lev Grossman’s ‘The Magicians’ Be TVs Next ‘Game Of Thrones’? (mtv)

– JM Tohline: Your Job Is To Write, Not Worry (writersdigest)

– Reader Meets Author: Patton Oswalt (avclub)

– Angry Robot Launching A Young Adult Imprint (io9)

– Lost Interview Of Mark Hamill From 1977 (sfsignal)

– Author Interview With Michael Dempsey (scififanletter)

– Keep An Eye Out For KC Shaw’s ‘Blood & Ashes’ This Week (kcshaw)

This Month's io9 Book Club: Heart Of Iron

Just a reminder to those out there in search of a book club to join, especially a sci-fi oriented one, popular sci-fi website io9 will be conducting their online book club at the end of the month (11/29). This month they will be discussing Ekaterina Sedia’s Siberian sci-fi locomotive story ‘Heart of Iron.’

I’m certainly going to do my best to read ‘Heart of Iron’ by the end of the month, but I know it will be directly influenced by the amount of turkey and red wine consumed next week. But, if you aren’t trapped in a food coma and manage to pick up a copy and read it by then, make sure to stop by at the end of the month and let everyone know what you think.


Monday's Writing Links

In today’s Monday’s Writing Links, the AV Club interviews ‘100 Bullets’ writer Brian Azzarello, Tor asks what the first book you bought was, JA Konrath uses sales figures to argue in favor of the self publishing/Amazon route and the coolest child’s nursery ever is unveiled.

The holidays are right around the corner, so I hope everyone is being productive this week in order to relax with family and decompress next week. Everyone needs a break, even from writing. It’s okay. Your manuscript will still be there when you get back and your characters will be just as dysfunctional as when you left them. So, especially for those NaNoWriMo participants out there, make that final push this week so you can take that much needed break next week. It will be much deserved. Until then, links!


– AV Club Interviews Brian Azzarello (avclub)

– Why There Are So Few Superheroes In YA Literature (sfsignal)

– What Was The First Book You Bought? (tor)

– How To Gain Perspective On Your Work (writersdigest)

– Before They Were Famous: Odd Jobs Of Literary Greats (writersdigest)

– Lee Goldberg And JA Konrath Discuss Self Publishing Sale Numbers (jakonrath)

– New Agent Alert: Linda Epstein (guidetolitararyagents)

– HBO Annouces TV Adaptation For ‘The Corrections’ (avclub)

– Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust Announces Winter 2012 Online Classes (sfwa)

– The Spokes Of The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy (io9)

– An Amazing Star Wars Nursery (blastr)

What Would The Soundtrack To Your Book Sound Like?

For writers, music can be a great aid to the creative process. It can evoke a certain mood, set the scene for the story and even bring out new emotions in your characters. Chronicled in an earlier post, what music you listen to while writing can greatly influence the overall tone of what your book becomes.

However, today’s post addresses the topic of music entering into the actual reading of a book. Certainly, the union of music and reading can have its problems, as reading requires a great deal of concentration which can be easily disrupted by an influx of lyric heavy music. It is absolutely not necessary for reading to have an auditory component. I pose this more as a hypothetical. I know plenty of people prefer to be left alone with their thoughts and the words on the pages, and that’s absolutely fine.

But that doesn’t mean reading with a soundtrack can’t be done and isn’t done quite frequently. I mean, just look at the woman in this picture, she seems to be totally on board with it. That, or the stock photo people paid her to look like she’s having a good time.

Either way, I must ask authors out there, for those readers that enjoy reading while listening to music, what would the preferred soundtrack to your book sound like?* What would play during the action? What would play in the heart wrenching moments, like at the end of your book when your protagonist must release his trusty domesticated ocelot back into the wild? What about the funny scenes? If you know your soundtrack, let us know what it would sound like.

*Note: Claiming it would sound like a Wes Anderson movie might be a mild copout.

Kickstarter Project To Support: Patrick Gannon's 2012 Cut Paper Art Calendar

I try to keep non-writing posts to a minimum, but they’re bound to pop up here and there, because the mind tends to wander, especially when it should be focused on a single task (NaNoWriMo, I’m making odd awkwardly timed glances in your direction for fear that we may make eye contact and I may then be forced to resume you instead of looking at pictures of people’s cute pets on reddit).

Anyway, today’s post confronts a really cool project that I think people should check out and support if they feel up to it. That project is amazing cut paper artist Patrick Gannon’s 2012 Calendar, which he currently has a kickstarter project up for. If you haven’t seen Gannon’s work before, make sure to check out his site and then rush over to his kickstarter project to support the effort and pick up a really cool calendar, commission a piece or receive one of the other rewards offered. Kickstarter is a great place to support creativity, so make sure to check it out.

Monday's Writing Links: Tuesday Edition

Today’s Monday’s Writing Links: Tuesday Edition highlights upcoming film adaptations of popular books, including Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit.’

Kiwi director Peter Jackson has always been great to fans, indulging them with extensive production diaries that include and to an extent involve them in the process of making a movie. This week, he was nice enough to do a video showing fans the special equipment that’s being used to shoot ‘The Hobbit’ in 3D. Although 3D has its fair share of detractors, this is a really cool featurette and definitely worth watching if you have any interest in film and its evolving technology.

In other news, I hope everyone’s NaNoWriMo is going well. I have personally fallen flat on my face with my NaNoWriMo goal, but the good news is that if you fall flat on your face, you can take a nap while you’re there. Which would round out the worst motivational poster ever.  My rambling is more or less my concession for this year, but if you’re going strong, keep at it. You’re off to a great start!

Also, it can’t be ignored that for some inexplicable reason, MGM has decided to make a ‘Where’s Waldo’ movie, which will see them packing people into theaters to squint a lot at a really big screen. Either way, links.


– ‘The Hobbit’: 3D Production Diary (mymiddleearth)

– MGM Acquires Rights To Make A Live Action ‘Where’s Waldo’ Movie (comingsoon)

– ‘Pride And Prejudice And Zombies’ Loses 3rd Director (reuters)

– Brian K. Vaughn Will Be Screenwriter For StephenKing’s ‘Under The Dome’ (comingsoon)

– The Scotsman Interviews Stephen King (scotsman)

– How To Avoid Parenting Your Characters (writersdigest)

– Should Writers Blog, And Why? (sfwa)

– China Miéville on Scholarly SF/F and The Academic/Fan Divide (sfsignal)

– Miriam Kriss: What’s Working In The Young Adult Market (guidetoliteraryagents)

– AV Club Reviews Chris Hardwick’s ‘The Nerdist Way’ (avclub)

– New Agent Alert: Brooks Sherman (writersdigest)