Best of the Web for Short Story Writers Aug 23, 2013

I do a lot of reading about writing, sifting through the fluff and the downright wrong, so you don’t have to. Here’s what I’ve found in the past month or so that you should find pretty inspiring. Dive in.

Forever Young

Stop Trying To Go Viral – by Dan Blank

Start reading websites for writers and you’ll inevitably find a whole bunch of articles about how you *must* be developing a ‘platform’ so that readers will flock to your books. Dan’s article introduces a little sanity into the debate.

And on that note, I particularly enjoy Chuck Wendig’s quote on the topic of platform: “Here’s the thing: a writer without a platform can still get published if he has a kick-ass book, but a writer with a great platform isn’t likely to get published if his book is better off being dragged out behind the barn and shot in the head.”

Along the same lines, you might want to pay particular attention to the last two paragraphs of Seth Godin’s short blog post: You Could Just Make Something Awesome Instead.

Simplify: Let Go Of Your Crutches by Leo Babauta

Not directly about writing, but if you’re looking for some motivation to help you stop stalling on your next (or current) story, take a deep, cleansing breath and go and read Leo’s article.

Mindy King’s Rules for Writing In A Voice from The Happiness Project

A short article about how a TV writer reminds herself to write characters who are more than cardboard cutouts. Really useful. (Your list may vary from Mindy’s but it’s an exercise you might want to try.)

Related: Elizabeth S. Craig’s recent post about voice. She give a great piece of advice about how to hold onto a character’s voice once you’ve found it and then gives you a rabbit-hole of further reading links to fall down. Go, enjoy!

Jealousing Is The New Writing Exercise bt Liz Argall

This is an exercise I have long advocated (It’s part of the Copycat Writing class in the StoryADay Warm Up Course). Liz’s writes about it in a way that will make you want to try it! (This page loaded oddly in my browser. You may need to scroll down.)

10 Ways For an ADD Writer to be OOH! SHINY! by Kristen Lamb

Because we’re all a little bit ADD…

And along the same lines:

What Do You Focus On by Charlotte Rains Dixon

“What you put your attention on, grows”. Seems simple when she puts it like that, huh? Tips and tricks for turning your writing habit into something you focus on and relish.

The Single Largest Cause of Writer’s Block Might Not Be What You Believe by Kristen Lamb

Kristen’s on fire this month! This is well worth a read.

Top Ten Pieces of Writing Advice gathered by Flash Fiction Chronicles

You may have seen some of these quotes from great authors littered abour the Web, but here are ten of the best in one place.

The Encyclopaedid of Ethical Failures by the US Department of Defense (Downloads as a .doc file)

Looking for a plot or a crisis ripped from, well, not the headlines but a Department of Defense list of its own cock-ups? Read through this instructional manual produced by the DOD and I defy you not to get a story idea or two!

BONUS (about reading, not writing)

How school reading lists have changed over the past 100 years from GalleyCat.
(I’m all for kids reading modern writers but I’m a big sad to see that nothing on the 2012 snapshot was published earlier than 1953. What say you? — Ed)