I used to post a lot of links to other people saying smart and/or interesting things on the net. That’s trailed off of late, and I think I should revive the practice. I’m going to start by collecting the old links here—some of which will certainly be dead by now—and then start adding new ones as I find them.

NEW THINGS

This, so very much this. Juliet McKenna saying smart and true things about why the shoutback against the sexist knuckle-draggers in the industry matters so much. I have been very ragey lately, and adding my weight to the discussion not out of despair, but out of hope. Things are changing for the better in sf right now, and there is no better time to push.

David B. Coe being incredibly smart about professionalism in publishing.

OLD THINGS (I will update these as I go through the reblogging project)

Lilith Saintcrow saying smart things about writing combat, though I’d argue that this is good way to look at any sort of scene. Reason, Stakes, & Cost.

Kristin Nelson on a vicious little clause in the new Macmillan boilerplate.

Mindy Klasky starts an interesting discussion on ebooks at the SFNovelists blog.

Chuck Wendig writes a gonzo humor piece on why you don’t want to be a writer.

Jim Hines on sexual harassment at conventions, particularly by publishing professionals. First he did a bit of background and a problem description. Next he did something about it and created a resource on reporting that harassment. Thank you, Jim.

Lilith Saintcrow on giving yourself permission to write garbage. Nothing like it for getting over perfectionist paralysis.

Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware on reality checks and publishing scams. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Kristin Nelson’s top 10 reasons for turning down SF&F query letters. If you’re looking for an agent, read this.

Scrivener’s Error on the Martha Grimes/Agent lawsuit. Meaty analysis of an important precedent setting lawsuit in the land of author/agent relations. Important reading for the working professional.

Alma Alexander at SFNovelists on Impostor Syndrome. I’ve never experienced this, but it’s an absolutely endemic malady of the writer breed.

John Scalzi on either writing matters enough to you that you find the time to write. Or you don’t. Harsh but true.

Douglas Martini on dating writers. Both funny and a fair amount of truth to be found here.

Cat Valente on what a con takes out of you if you’re doing it as a pro and part of your job.

On a related note, Lilith Saintcrow on the costs of writing. It isn’t easy and it isn’t effort free.

Kristin Nelson on the incredible power of story. This one makes me quite snuffly.

Kristin Nelson on interesting developments in the ebook market, and why royalties are almost certainly going to go up if publishers want to keep writers in the fold.

Ace/Roc editor Jessica Wade talking about what an editor does.

Jim Hines on the forthcoming “death” of print publishing. Yeah, I don’t think print’s on its way out any time soon either though, as with Jim I expect e-publishing to make up a much larger percentage of the market going forward than it does now.

Lilith Saintcrow on how to go about getting published.

Alyx Dellamonica on being compelled to write. File under can’t not, and leaking weirdness.

Sarah Monette saying smart things about learning.

Michelle Sagara explains why she’s not fussed about people not reading her books. I am in complete agreement with this post.

Jim Hines saying smart things about how rapidly publishing has been changing. Or why pros who entered the filed at different times may give you wildly different advice on the same publishing questions.

Via Lilith Saintcrow: Michael Bhaskar on the production costs of ebooks—I think he misses a few things in terms of places where costs savings can enter the chain, including, warehousing, and returns, but he’s right about the large fixed costs. Also, Nora O’Neill with a historical perspective on why paper books aren’t going away any time soon—though I think the percentage of physical books as a part of the whole is going to go down substantially.

Agent Kristin Nelson on the working of bookscan and how it can affect a carreer.

Nalo Hopkinson on story failure modes.

Kris Rusch on when and how to incorporate.

Tobias Buckell on why you don’t see a lot of mid-career writing advice online. This one is part of an ongoing conversation that’s been going on in the writersphere including big chunks at Scalzi’s and Jay Lake’s among others.

Michael Thomas on BarCon and knowing when to keep your mouth shut.

Jim Hines on taking the hits to your career and ego without going down for the count.

Finally, Lilith Saintcrow on (as usual) a bunch of stuff, including “artist is not a dirty word,” which linked to her talking about the myth of the self-destructive artist, and the fact that getting paid is not selling out. Also, how to avoid being a self-indulgent noodlehead in public.

Snurched from Jay Lake: Jeff Vandermeer being very funny on the future of publishing.

Agent Kristin Nelson on why you often can’t buy an ebook in English outside the U.S.

Charlie Stross on the post-novel empty feeling. I only get this occasionally. I’m more prone to delight at the opportunity to move on to the next shiny thing.

Lilith Saintcrow on the writer’s need for time to be alone, and for stubbornness as a step on the way to developing your process, and on doing what you love even when you’re afraid.

There’s an interesting conversation going on about whether it’s possible to be a full time science fiction writer. I picked it up at Scalzi’s where he linked to this piece by Sawyer. More recently Silverberg has entered the discussion which I picked up, again via Scalzi. There’s a sub-piece in the Silverberg bit chipping off writers of popular fantasy into a different subset as though they’re not really part of the field, which is an argument that tends to annoy me, but hey what do I know, I write fantasy that’s intended to be popular. Anyway, very worth taking a look at the ongoing discussion.

Richard Curtis on: Are agents doomed? Interesting perspective on what happens to intermediaries in a disintermediating world. It links to a piece on alternative revenue streams for agents by Jane Friedman which offers some more perspective, but I’m not at all sure that most of those alternative revenue streams are a good idea for writers and some of them strike me as possibly actively bad for writers in that they fuzz up the line between what a reputable agent will do and what the scammers claim to do. He also links to Are Agents Underpaid by Victoria Strauss, which is a nice piece of the puzzle.

Agent Kristin Nelson on the working of bookscan and how it can affect a carreer.

Nalo Hopkinson on story failure modes.

Kris Rusch on when and how to incorporate.

Tobias Buckell on why you don’t see a lot of mid-career writing advice online. This one is part of an ongoing conversation that’s been going on in the writersphere including big chunks at Scalzi’s and Jay Lake’s among others.

Michael Thomas on BarCon and knowing when to keep your mouth shut.

Jim Hines on taking the hits to your career and ego without going down for the count.

Finally, Lilith Saintcrow on (as usual) a bunch of stuff, including “artist is not a dirty word,” which linked to her talking about the myth of the self-destructive artist, and the fact that getting paid is not selling out. Also, how to avoid being a self-indulgent noodlehead in public.

Snurched from Jay Lake: Jeff Vandermeer being very funny on the future of publishing.

Agent Kristin Nelson on why you often can’t buy an ebook in English outside the U.S.

Charlie Stross on the post-novel empty feeling. I only get this occasionally. I’m more prone to delight at the opportunity to move on to the next shiny thing.

Lilith Saintcrow on the writer’s need for time to be alone, and for stubbornness as a step on the way to developing your process, and on doing what you love even when you’re afraid.

There’s an interesting conversation going on about whether it’s possible to be a full time science fiction writer. I picked it up at Scalzi’s where he linked to this piece by Sawyer. More recently Silverberg has entered the discussion which I picked up, again via Scalzi. There’s a sub-piece in the Silverberg bit chipping off writers of popular fantasy into a different subset as though they’re not really part of the field, which is an argument that tends to annoy me, but hey what do I know, I write fantasy that’s intended to be popular. Anyway, very worth taking a look at the ongoing discussion.

Richard Curtis on: Are agents doomed? Interesting perspective on what happens to intermediaries in a disintermediating world. It links to a piece on alternative revenue streams for agents by Jane Friedman which offers some more perspective, but I’m not at all sure that most of those alternative revenue streams are a good idea for writers and some of them strike me as possibly actively bad for writers in that they fuzz up the line between what a reputable agent will do and what the scammers claim to do. He also links to Are Agents Underpaid by Victoria Strauss, which is a nice piece of the puzzle.

Lilith Saintcrow on the importance of dreaming, and on persistence.

Scalzi on why attempting to punish a publisher for bad behavior by not buying an author usually hurts the author but doesn’t much impact the publisher. Lilith Saintcrow agreeing.

Sarah Monette on craft vs inspiration in art.

Judith Tarr on 10 things writers and others get wrong about horses. Very useful this. Also things horse people take for granted. I’m a bit less sanguine on this one as it kind of elides the difference between horse people in a modern culture where horses are an expensive luxury and people who have to use horses in a pre-machine age culture where there is no reasonable alternative, but it’s still got valuable and important insights for the fantasy author.

Stacy-Deanne talking about traditional publishing vs. self-publishing, and how much better off you are in the former.

Kristin Nelson is making the best argument I’ve ever seen for not self-publishing if you want to make a career of selling novels via the large or medium presses, or at least for not doing it under your own name. Basically, if you self-pub in any way that generates an ISBN, the sales of that book are going to be tracked by bookscan and forever tied to your name. And every time an editor looks at your stuff they’re going to be able to check bookscan and find out that your first book sold 75 copies and they’ll know that that number is going to come up when they try to sell you to the bookstores and that’s a very bad thing.

Jim Van Pelt with some interesting thoughts on fiction and essay and tools of writing.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden saying official things about Tor.com’s submission policies for short fiction.

Finally, Charlie Stross to provide that segue into fanficton. First, saying more smart things about writing in the 8th part of his publishing misconceptions series, this one on the life and income of a writer. Hint, it’s a rough job in a lot of ways.

Next, Charlie talks about his own personal position and feelings about people fanficing in his worlds and says pretty much what I would have said in terms of substance. I also like Jim Butcher’s statement on fanfic in terms of outlining some practicalities and politesse. Likewise John Scalzi’s take. And as a reference publishing/entertainment lawyer C.E.Petit talking about the legal landscape of fanfic in great depth.

Going back to Charlie, let me quote the part of his fanfic FAQ* that I am especially taken with: “In summary: I am not a precious sparkly unicorn who is obsessed with the purity of his characters — rather, I am a glittery and avaricious dragon who is jealous of his steaming pile of gold. If you do not steal the dragon’s gold, the dragon will leave you alone. Offer to bring the dragon more gold and the dragon will be your friend.”

Now, since I know everyone wants to know about the kerfuffle and is wondering about the dragon and the unicorn, here is a link to Scalzi’s post summarizing the mess, and another to the blog of the unicorn.
Jay Lake saying smart things about motivation.Margo Lanagan at Justine Larbalestier’s blog saying smart thing about allowing yourself time to not write. I’m just coming out a long (for me) window of that and have three books on deck that need to be written in the next 18 months. I think it will be easier for having had the down time.Jim Hines saying smart things about the literary costs of the American health care system. i.e. there are an awful lot of good books not getting written because most writers need to have a second job if they want to have health care.Michael Damian Thomas saying smart things about new writers and convention going. Parts one and two.

Lilith Saintcrow saying smart things about dealing with rejection.

Don’t be the guy in this post by Teresa Nielsen Hayden, and do click through to see Colleen Lindsay’s original post.

Michael Stackpole saying smart things about making your fiction more visible online.

Via Jay Lake, Carrie Vaughn being smart on initiative. The post was inspired by another post that Carrie linked to. It’s by Kurt Busiek and it’s a really interesting article on the same subject plus rule breaking as a natural mode for breaking into comics because, fundamentally there are no rules. Much of what he has to say is also applicable to books, though not all, and it’s always important to remember that certain sorts of rule breaking are counter-productive.

What Lynne Thomas said in re: the idiot at the new Dr. Who special screening.

Interesting guest poster Milena Popova over at Charlie Stross’s blog. Talking about why content is a public good. I find her economic arguments about the nature of content to be fairly convincing on some levels. I’m much less in alignment with her conclusions. In part because she cites Cory Doctorow as evidence and well, I don’t think that Cory’s generalizable, no matter how much he protests otherwise. I think that some of what he does can be made to work for other writers, but an awful lot of it works because he’s Cory Doctorow and he has self-publicity skills and platform building skills that the vast majority of authors simply don’t. Updated to add:And C.E. Petit also has problems. Very interesting rebuttal.

Mike Shatzkin on the coming disruption in publishing due to the changing dynamics of the market and ebooks.

Charlie Stross’s misconceptions of publishing series continues with covers, and clean up.

Dean Wesley Smith on the pluses and minuses of the traditional agent/author relationship. I don’t entirely agree with Dean about agents because I think that what is true for Dean is not the same as what is true for me which is not the same as what is true for someone who’s just trying to break in now, but his killing the sacred cows of publishing series is a must read.

Laura Resnic’s collected series on book covers. This is something I read originally as she was putting them out. Very worthwhile reading.

Kristin Nelson with a rant on some idiot unethical agent who’s managed to screw up electronic contract flow for everybody who deal with Penguin.

Kristin Nelson doing Q&A: parts one and two.

The ever fabulous Jackie Kessler on never giving up.

S.C. Butler on writing what you don’t know.

Justine Larbalestier on bad advice on getting published.

Ruthanne Reid on the secret to getting published, which references Lilith Saintcrow on never knowing if something is good enough. While I think these are both smart posts for many writers they both make me want to point out that you actually don’t have to be insecure about your writing either to get better or to succeed. It’s perfectly possible to know that something is not as good as you could make it in ten years when you’re a better writer and to still feel that that’s okay.

Put another way: today, I will write the best book I can write. When it is finished I will send it out and keep working so that tomorrow’s book will be better. I like writing. I think that it is fun. I like most of what I write even while I’m writing it, and I often like it more when it’s done and I’m getting ready to send it out. I even usually like it when I look back on it ten years later, though I almost always find that it’s not nearly as good as what I’m doing now. That’s because despite being content with what I’m writing, I’m also constantly striving to get better. So far the system has produced more than 20 stories and 5 novels that have found professional publication. It’s okay to like your work and be confident in it, really and truly.

And, just because it’s bizarre: The Star Wars story as Icelandic Saga.

Charlie’s ongoing series on publishing misconceptions—book length.

Lilith Saintcrow on why she loves this job.

Claire Light on the structure of story.

More on common publishing misconceptions from Charlie Stross. What authors actually sell to publishers. And Territories, Translations and Foreign Rights. If you’re at all interested in the business of publishing this series is a must read.

Ursala Le Guin being interviewed about the Google Books deal. She doesn’t like it any more than I do. In fact, she likes it a lot less.

The NYT with some more or less hard numbers on epublishing.

Jim Hines on why advances matter.

On becoming an editor. (I think I snerched this from Charlie Stross)

Kristin Nelson is rocking on ebooks and contract this week. Redefining net receipts. Also, ebooks and royalty statements. And, ebooks and bonus clauses.

Scalzi, being funny and smart while pointing to the Stross publishing series I linked last go round.

In a related post. Scalzi: writers creating jobs.

Carole Baron at Huffpost, talking about things that editors do regardless of publication medium.

David Coe over at SFNovlists talking about loving the work.

Jim Hines also at SFNovelists saying funny things about publishing terminology.

Charlie Stross saying smart things about the ways in which publishing is not like people think it is. Publishing misconceptions, the first in a series. With a very nice assist in comments from C.E. Petit. Ooh, and episode two came in before I posted: How books are made.

And on a related topic, C.E. Petit has a long discussion on copyright and book editions. (snerched from Jay Lake) I haven’t fully read this one yet, but I trust both Jay’s judgment that it’s worth reading if you’re a publishing geek and Petit’s ability to do the topic justice.

Snerched from my editor, the marvelous Anne Sowards: “behind the scenes at Penguin–“Type Matters“, a series of short videos about book designers & fonts.” Fascinating stuff, if you’re a publishing geek.

Anne Aguirre ranting funnily about things that piss her off. Three down is why I’m linking, because it is funny and smart.

Beth Hangelli being wise about life again.

J Cheney, saying smart things about some of the downsides of the writing life, including, not successful enough guilt and the lack of coworkers to complain to. (snerched from Michael Damian Thomas)

Laura Anne Gilman talking about ways to trash your career. or, tell your editor if there’s a problem. Really. Now, before it’s too late.

Jim Hines’ survey on first professional book sales led Meagan Crewe to post about her earlier survey on the myth of publishing connections. Very interesting data.

On Justine Larbalestier’s blog a guest post by Varian Johnson on Battling Time Suck.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden has a great post up at Making Light about the latest frivolous lawsuit aimed at prying money out of Rowling. There’s a lot of smart things in the post and thread about copyright and the difference between idea and execution. Ideas are cheap and plentiful.

Agent Kristin Nelson on the sheer ridiculousness of publishers holding a reserve against returns on ebooks.

Damian Kulash op-ed at the NYT discussing the need for music companies despite the fact that they do really boneheaded things from time to time, with an example of that very boneheadedness in relation to you-tube, videos, and embedding. Interesting lessons for publishing here.

Pat Rothfuss saying smart things about how much easier it is to become a writer if you live someplace cheap. Tobias Buckell concurs. All I can add is: true dat.

Jay Lake saying smart things about listening to writing advice from pros. Or, just because it worked for us doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Sharon Lee with a breakdown of writing income and writer finances. Or, it’s not a great way to get rich. Seanan McGuire with more on the same topic.

2010 Macmillan Amazonfail links: Snerched from Jay Lake, two posts on Apple’s entry into ebooks both of which predate Amazonfail and both of which talk about the disruptive effects of the agency model. One, and Two. Serious smackdown on ebook costs and publishing realities. Some very interesting stuff here. New Macmillan author Blake Charlton freaking out about Amazonfail in a very way with a very funny post. Cat Valente on why she doesn’t see self-publishing replacing traditional publishing any time soon. Some very good thinking in here, though I’m not sure the cheese thing is the best analogy. Sean Fodera with a very nice post on publisher overheads. Lots of good discussion in the thread too.

Jay Lake saying smart things About the life cycle of a manuscript going through publication and all the things a publisher does. This is related to the Amazon Macmillan mess, but would be a smart thing even without that. In the future I will direct my writing students to take a look at this post.

Agent Joshua Bilmes talking about e-book royalty structur

My friend Beth being wise about life once again.

Tim Powers annotated bibliography. Want!

Very interesting take on the Amazonfail (Macmillan edition) scuffle by a former music industry exec.

A legal perspective on the same issue by way of how it might impact the Google settlement from C.E. Petit.

Jeff Vandermeer talks about the issue from the point of view of a sense of entitlement.

Kris Rusch on professional courtesy.

Kristin Nelson on the iPad and it’s coming impact on books and book contracts.

Lilith Saintcrow on righting when you don’wanna!

Fun and funny for word nerds: HapiSofi at Absolute Write on hiring an independent copyeditor—via Teresa Nielsen Hayden Making Light .

Seanan McGuire on what authors do and don’t control and in terms of the latest Amazon mess.

Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan saying interesting things about process. SRB’s side of the conversation could practically be me.

Kris Rusch saying smart things about coping with feelings of professional jealousy, both your own, and that directed at you.

Kevin J Anderson talks about his experience reading slush.

Deanna Hoak talks about healthy eating and the home alone desk job.

Interesting news from the world of the Kindle, new 70% percent royalty rate epub.

Dean Wesley Smith on agents. I don’t always agree with everything Dean says but there are few people in the business who know more about its in and outs. My disagreements with Dean come in part because I think that he’s far enough away from entering the field that some things that are true for Dean are not true for people just coming in now—hell, that’s true for me as well. Some things have changed in interesting ways just in the few years I’ve been here.

Lilith Saintcrow on editors as allies. Really, your editor is on your side. Oh, and also, acting like what you want to become, in this case, a professional writer.

Snerched from Jay Lake, Paul M Jessup on how to filter advice on writing.

My friend Beth on the part day-dreams play.

Justine Larbalestier on book covers.

Jo Walton on reading SF.

Lilith Saintcrow talking about skill vs. talent.

Jeff VanderMeer on paying it forward and literary leverage.

Odd things: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields…candy.

The physics of space battles at gizmodo.

My friend Beth on defining success.

Kristin Nelson on how non-compete clauses are being reworded to prevent you from exercising digital rights if you don’t license them to your publisher.

An interesting discussion on Steve Brust’s blog about donate buttons and being an artist–most of the action is in the comment thread.

J Steven York on the value of covers and how that can be lost with ebooks.

Mari Mancusi guest posting at Kristin Nelson’s blog: Never give up. Never surrender.

Lilith Saintcrow on how writing (producing art) can save your life. Smart and wise and may I note that what you write can save other’s lives as well. I’m pretty sure books saved mine.

Kris Rusch writing about careers and setbacks and how things may not look the same from the inside as they do from the outside. Much here to think about in terms of setting and achieving goals and writer jealousy. She quotes Robert Silverberg: “So my career, marked as it has been by triumph after triumph, has often seemed to me like nothing but a formidable struggle.”

Kristing Nelson on why you should be paying close attention to Google books, especially if you’re a writer–you might be missing out on income that should be coming your way.

My friend Pat Rothfuss: Everyone Hates Their Job Sometimes.

Kate Astres posts: The Unpublished Author’s Guide to Convention Schmoozing. I am not in total agreement with this post, but it’s mostly good advice and it’s also funny.

Kristin Nelson on Macmillan’s new move to pay authors less for e-rights. And why that might not be the best idea they’ve ever had.

Speaking of contract grabs, how about this language: “edited, in all media, throughout the universe, in perpetuity.” from America’s got talent, via the the Wall Street Journal.

John Scalzi on Amazon’s new dumb idea for digital rights protection. This one’s a doozy and would simultaneously violate copyright, most contracts, and really really piss authors off.

Elizabeth Bear on common pitfalls for new authors.

My friend Beth Hanggeli saying smart things about being a writer and showing off your work. Also, off the topic of writing, wise things about lasts.

And Michael Stackpole dissects Cory Doctorow’s “experiment” in publishing, or, it’s really not an experiment at all, just another clever promotional tool. Part II, on ebooks in general.

Snurched from Alex Bledsoe, Agent Nathan Bransford lots of big (maybe*) scary news from the etailing side of publishing. *Depends at least in part on whether you’re already or expect to be a hardcover author.

The ever entertaining and often wise Jim Hines on Writer Envy.

Jeff Hecht on the Google settlement, or my book belongs to me, not Google.

John Howell on why science fiction authors can’t win with the literary world.

Because it’s cool, a Tardis cake.

Agent Kristin Nelson writing a series of posts on understanding royalty statements. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Amanda Palmer on asking for money for art.

Megan Crewe guest blogs for Agent Kristin Nelson, exploding the you must have connections to get published.

Lilith Saintcrow on the good and the bad of cliche.

Matthew Hughes: No surrender. Just go read it. Trust me on this one.

Kristin Nelson on pitching to agents and earning out.

Ilona Andrews on publishers as gatekeepers…or not.

EMI joins the growing legions of heavyweight opposition to the Google books deal. w00t!

And here’s part of why the “w00t!” above: Google books plans to turn some of those digital books it’s scanned back into paper books. So, lets see, scan out-of-print books, offer the author’s a pittance, and then reprint them without all those bothersome royalties. What a great idea…if you’re not the author. Mind you they do note this: “For starters, Google is only allowing The Espresso Machine to publish from the section of its digital library that consists of 2 million books no longer protected by copyright.” but somehow that “for starters” bit makes me very unhappy.

Update: Google book settlement hearing postponed. w00t!

Via Kristin Nelson, a scammer gets sued. Florida Attorney General Sues Writer’s Literary Agency and Robert Fletcher. This is a win for the good guys and should get lots of linkage so that it’s highly visible in search results.

Harlan Ellison’s Dramatic Reading of the Seussified “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script” is hilarious, though I have somewhat mixed feelings about the original post.

Jay Lake on story length, lots to chew over here.

Dean Wesley Smith, turning writing truisms on their heads and shaking them hard. Fast vs. slow writing. All writing is rewriting. And, growing out of the rewrite discussion, redrafting. There’s a ton of stuff in here that’s really really worth reading.

James Scott Bell on keeping on keeping on and the writer’s job.

Scott Lynch does a very nice smackdown on an over-entitled, whiny, “reader” who doesn’t think author’s should put up tip jars.

The US Register (it really out to registrar) of Copyrights comes down hard on the Google book settlement. For yay!

Kristine Kathryn Rusch on publishing setbacks and bouncing back.

Deadline Dames’ Dame Rinda making with the funny on waiting to hear back from the publishing industry.

Steven York’s Bad Agent Sydney T. Cat Answers Writer Questions (Badly)

Fred Pohl on Writers of the Future.

Lilith Saintcrow on wordcount.

Jeri Smith Ready talking about the different levels of editing that go into a novel.

Jeremiah Tolbert: five lies writers believe about editors.

Lilith Saintcrow. On not responding to reviews. On truth in fiction, I’m less sanguine on this one, but I can see its validity on some levels. On the fact that, yes, if you want to be a professional writer they are going to be judging you. On the stages of deadline acceptance.

Big discussion on Jay Lake’s blogs about the Kindle: Part 1a and 1b and 2.

Lilith Saintcrow. The Hack Manifesto. As another “hack,” this one warms my heart. Genre and Compression in which she discusses the idea of genre and the problems some have with as well as the internal pressure one feels to dive deep into a work, especially when it’s new and shiny. You need more than a good book to make it in this business. Friday five, the physical act of writing, story as arc and three more nice bits, though I’m not sure I agree with 3.

Justine Larbalestier on aspiring writers asking the wrong questions, I’m not entirely in agreement with this one or the post it riffs off if, but it’s still a smart piece of work.

At SFNovelists S.C. Butler, author and all around good guy, talks about writing the next book as the best possible use of an author’s time.

Also at SFNovelists Kate Elliot talking about field of vision, and breaking into the publishing biz. I think that she’s right that this is important, especially for newbies, though I have to admit that I don’t do it nearly as much as used to our ought.

I recently discovered that Lilith Saintcrow is a terribly smart writer, especially on the subject of writing, so I’ve been slowly digging through her blog and will be posting smart bits as I find them. Here’s the latest batch:

Hidden hinges or plot pivots.

Writing in the scary places—I’m not going to be very good at describing this one because it’s simply not how I approach writing and I flat don’t agree that it’s true for every writer, but it’s certainly true for some. She’s talking about emotionally grounding the story in the things that really matter to the writer (which I do agree with) in a way which is often painful for the writer (which is where we part company). I’m firmly of the opinion that you don’t have to bleed to write good stuff. Which is not to say that I never do, just that I don’t think it’s necessarily and always a good idea.

On writer priorities. A fabulous post on making a writing a priority and how that balances with the rest of your life. It was inspired by this fabulous post by Keri Arthur on achieving the dream.

Jim McDonald at Making Light talks about “Robert M. Fletcher, Literary Scammer” parts I and II. Part II is the more interesting read and is not dependent on having read part I.

Another exciting episode of read the guidelines and check your agency info to make sure that…oh, the agency hasn’t moved. This one from Kristin Nelson.

My google alerts twigged me to this one. A site that does literature maps showing who an author is close to in reader space. This one is for me and I haven’t played around with the system at all, but I imagine it can be made to work for any writer you’re interested in mapping.

Lilith Saintcrow on writers and social media dos and don’ts.

Peter Cooper guest post at Nathan Bransford’s blog. Rejecting the Hobbit.

The Intern on writing retreats.

Laura Rede of the Death Pixies saying very smart things about Writers of the Future.

J. Steven York on the future of ebook readers.

Today Neil Gaiman linked to a couple of earlier posts about letting go of a piece, or when is a story done. 1 and 2, both a bit down the page.

And, just added, Mike Briggs (Patrica Briggs’ husband) saying incredibly smart things about copyright. Snurched from Kat Richardson.

There are a bunch of folks talking about time and persistence and writing and sacrifice this week, not just Scalzi. Via Jay lake: calendula_witch on practice, the Boston Globe’s article on Grit, and one of Jay’s own older posts on psychotic persistence. Also, over at the Death Pixies, Robbie Knutson on procrastination.

Next up, J. Steven York with a very smart post on agents.

Dean Wesley Smith has a smart new entry in his life without series on the catastrophic results that would follow the sudden destruction of copyright.

Finally, Agent Kristin Nelson has an interesting post on treating writing as a business, that I find to be both good advice on some levels and something I violently disagree with on some levels. The discussion in the comments is something I want to watch, which is a good part of why I’m linking it here. In particular, the poster who points out how very little control a writer has over the big things and in their career and the people arguing with them on the basis of believing the myth of self-promotion as panacea for success.

Nola J. Moore saying smart things about collaboration.

Michael Damian Thomas saying smart things about in-group slapfights, a post triggered by this smart post on the same subject by Cristalia.

John Scalzi saying smart things about making the time to write. I’m not wholly in agreement with him on this one, but I think his is one good way to look at the issue.

Justine Larbalestier saying smart things about how you judge your own success. She picked up the topic from Maureen Johnson’s excellent post on not judging your success by the numbers.

Joshua Palmetier’s Query Project just went live. This is a follow up to his Plot Synopsis Project. The idea is for a bunch of f&sf pros to post the materials they used to sell books (synopses) or land agents (queries). This is a great resource and worth checking out especially if you’re in the hunt right now. I participated in the synopsis project (down at the bottom all by myself in the other authors section) and will be involved in synopsis two in a couple of weeks. I’d have done the query project but I’ve never written one since I ended up with both of my agents by other means.

So, since neither one of them did so, I will. Or own Eleanor Arnason and Tate Hallaway are saying smart things on their home blogs. Tate is talking about the experience of reading and how it interfaces with writing. And Eleanor has four big posts here. Go read them forthwith.

Swordsmith’s excellent publishing diary segment on agents over on Daily Kos

The next installment of swordsmith’s wonderful publishing industry diary series is up at Kos, here, this one is about copyediting.

Another Swordsmith guide to publishing post this time on ideas.

Next installment up from Swordsmith. Today’s topic: Editing. This just a great ongoing series on the realities of the publishing world from a writer, editor and writing teacher who has worked in the genre for years.

Swordsmith has another publishing diary up at Daily Kos, this one on royalties and author payment. Great series.

Eleanor Arnason saying smart things over at her personal blog about the Mundane Science Fiction movement. Go look.

Eleanor Arnason saying smart things about writing and Inspiration.

Sometime ago, Jay Lake posted about writers’ group dynamics.

Eleanor Arnason on SF and book clubs.

Good post on cons and con going by Chris York over here. Smart advice.

Interesting take on pitches over at the Samhain Publishing Blog.

This morning, the New York Times money section has an interesting article called The Greatest Mystery: Making a Best Seller which discusses something I’ve always believed and that is that publishers don’t actually have a clue why some books sell and others done. (Oh, and I’m thinking about writing whatever this woman writes — check out her advance: $40,000? I’ve never known anyone to get that on what sounds like a first book.)

Jay Lake has an interesting post on reusing and overusing words in a story.

Eleanor Arnason is once again saying smart things about writing on her blog. This time on the subject of what the writer owes the reader.

Jay Lake saying smart things about contracts.

Jay Lake and Ken Scholes saying smart things about persistence and writing success.

Also, Nancy Pickard saying smart things about writing and tension.

Nancy Pickard saying smart things about writing and voice over at her blog.

Elizabeth Bear saying smart things about writing and rules.

Kelly Swails (X) saying smart things about readers and writing.

Nancy Pickard says very smart things about strong emotion as a root and driver of good writing. Go read it, she is wise.

David Coe saying smart things about rejection.

This has to be one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen on the internet. Cool, yet disturbing. Go look.

In which my friend Jackie Kessler says smart things about not letting the plot outline tie you up.

Scalzi on why it’s an astonishingly bad idea to sell your work to Dragon Magazine at the moment.

Elizabeth Bear has two recent posts which both made me laugh last night. First is one beautiful sentence: “The incidence of melodramatic bad behavior by artists is directly proportional to the competence and tolerance levels of their spouses.” Second is a new episode of cat and monkey. I stop by Bear’s blog for a number of reasons, but you could take all the rest away and cat and monkey would be reason enough.

Kelly Swails (X) saying smart things about alpha and beta readers.

Elizabeth Bear saying smart things about revision, collaboration, and most of all about using techniques that work and discarding those that don’t. I don’t revise in quite the same way Bear does and I don’t collaborate in quite the same way, but that’s fine because I’m one hundred percent with her that it’s all about what works for you and that everything else is more or less a side issue.

Here’s an interesting post about cliche from Ann Lekie’s LJ called “Slushpile Musings”.

Kristin Nelson saying smart things about the writing community.

Justine Larbalestier saying smart things about what is and is most definitely not infringement, plagiarism, etc. Nice discussion in comments as well.

Interesting article on Wired about SF as the only remaining philosophical literature. I found it via this post at sciencefictionbiology.blogspot.

Nancy Pickard is saying smart things about rewrites and emotional context.

John Scalzi quite some time ago on The New Comprehensible, or writing for the non-scifi reader.

Jay Lake saying smart things about writing and markets: Part 1, Part 2. Oh, and more from Jay on queries.

Nancy Pickard, showing it with pictures on the topic of first drafts.

Justine Larbelastier on the complete lack of symbolism in her draft process (I’m the same way).

Maureen Johnson has brain monkeys (snerched from Justine) and all I can say is: me too.

Scott Westerfeld on sometimes a zombie is just a zombie–written long ago, but still relevant (once again snerched from Justine, though I originally read this by following a link from Making Light)

Jeff Vandermeer on writing a novel in two months (via Jay Lake). This is faster than I currently write but not enormously so, and in the range I’m shooting for, i.e. three books a year with about four months of fallow time built in there in big blocks.

GhostFolk says smart things about honoring your process and learning the craft in comments on one of my posts here at Wyrdsmiths. If you missed it, it’s worth taking a look.

Justine Larbalestier* saying smart things about blurbequette.

Nancy Pickard is saying smart things about rewrites again.

Joshua Palmatier has put together a great resource for new writers with his Plot Synopsis Project wherein a bunch of us put up synopses of books that went on to sell. I agreed to this a couple of weeks ago and set up the post in advance. Without further ado, here’s the link to the WebMage Plot

Snerched from Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Making Light: A link to an essay on how 1,000 True Fans can support an artist. Very interesting stuff.

So, a while back I posted a link to someone talking about survival as an artist and 1,000 True Fans. I found it interesting but not entirely convincing, which is why it got posted as “Interesting Things” rather than “Smart Things.” There were some unspoken assumptions that I felt needed more examination. Now, John Scalzi has done the necessary examination. So, John Scalzi saying smart things about 1,000 True Fans.

Kristin Nelson is saying some amazingly smart things about how to construct a pitch and query. If you’re in the agent hunt go read the last 5-8 posts right now. The relevant ones so far are one, two, three, and four.

Justine Larbalestier is saying smart things about ideas being the easy part

A lot of people were saying smart things on the intertubes yesterday.

Suricattus (Laura Anne Gilman) and Jay Lake on contracts.

Agent Kristin Nelson on putting together pitches and queries.

Justine Larbalestier on how to finish a novel.

Steph Zvan saying smart things about breaking writing rules some weeks ago.

Also, Kimberly Frost saying smart things about hard things being good to do.

Justine Larbalestier on writing blurbs and on writing on the hard days.

Stephanie Zvan saying smart things about taking critique.

What Scalzi said, oh and Bear, and Hines. Orson Scott Card is foaming again. Dude, take a deep breath and stop wigging out about other peoples’ marriage aspirations and sex lives; your bigotry is showing. Or, in greater depth: Scalzi. Bear. Hines. (The order I found them in)

Jay Lake is saying smart things* about the process of getting your craft to the level of consistent professional sales. *in comments he notes the model comes from Dean Wesley Smith—one of my more important mentors and someone who has a lot of smart things to say about writing.

My former student, Writers of the Future winner, and indie novelist Laura Bradley Rede has some things to say about YA that I find both fascinating and quite possibly brilliant.

John Scalzi saying smart things about the value of an agent over the long term. He also says some important things about defeating proposition 8 in California…and he did it again while I was writing this. I am in complete agreement with him.

Nancy Pickard is saying smart things about story and contrast in reference to a photo of AndiF’s that she put up. It made me think, which I find to be tremendous fun.

Smart things via Beth Hanggeli: Toni McGee Causey on why comfort reading really matters. Go read this at once. It’s very powerful and exactly right. If anyone ever clobbers you over happy endings send them to this post.

Interesting things via Bear: Ozarque on artist spaces. Bear addressed this a bit as well in her link. And I thought it worth addressing too. My own studio is a huge screen porch in summer and our front room in winter. Hopefully the latter will soon be abandoned in favor of a solar where my old screen office used to sit (2nd floor back–I’m now writing on the front porch in the summer) but that depends on royalties and book sales so it could be another year or three depending.

A very interesting post from Argh Ink (Jenny Crusie) tying the black swan idea to novel turning points and reversals. Ganked from Norma Boe of the Death Pixies.

Anton Strout discusses a writer committing number seven on the list of really bad ideas for writers who are anxious about how long it’s taking the editor to get back to them.

Anton Strout saying smart things about self-publishing.

Elizabeth Bear saying exceptionally smart things about writing and being a writer.

Steph continues the discussion I started here with my post about the words not being all that important with a bunch of smart things about the value of words.

Nola J Moore saying very smart things about actually writing and not falling into the magical thinking trap of letting yourself pretend the work will do itself.

Justine Larbalestier saying smart things about one of my least favorite pieces of bad writing advice, the “write what you know” canard. Here’s what I had to say on the same subject some years ago.Justine Larbalestier says lots of smart thinga. She’s doing a series of posts on the craft of writing this month so it’s worth your while to just stop by periodically. I don’t agree with everything she says, but one of the great charms of writing is that there are as many right ways to do it as there are successful writer. Here she is on choosing the right POV, generating ideas and getting past the sticky places.

David Coe is also talking about POV: multiple vs. singular.

Agent Kristin is talking about successful queries with a real live example. A couple of follow up posts on Agent Kristin’s query post. The first, wherein the author give her take on the exact same query. The Second, wherein Agent Kristin shows you what she does after taking on the book in terms of her own letter to the editors. Together these make for a great dissection of the whole query process.

And archivist extraordinaire Lynne Thomas is saying really important things about not letting your livejournal posts go “fap” should the possible implosion of lj actually happen.

Jay Lake saying smart things about the issue of cultural appropriation and speculative fiction–much of interest in the comments as well.

J. Steven York on vanity publishing and how even when it’s a success it’s generally a lot more work than the traditional route for a lot less reward. A blog in three part 1, 2, 3.

Kaigou on the bookstore end of the biz.

Diana Peterfreund on writing synopses.

Elizabeth Bear on writing people who are not just like you.

Agent Kristin on cover consultation and, agent workload and picking up new authors. Plus more follow up on that query.

Justine Larbalestier on everything: Getting published. On characterization with an assist from Sarah Monette. On getting started. There is no wrong way to write a novel. On one character in search of a story. On insertion of backstory. On somebody else just published my WIP.

This has nothing to with writing, but it’s way cool: Using ecoli to make a better fuel.

Laura Anne Gilman righteously mocks someone trying to profit from beginning writer naivety. it starts about five paragraphs down the page. Very nice takedown of a nasty scam.

Via David Levine, Colleen Lindsay saying smart things about novel length

Stephanie Zvan saying smart things about what an editor does.

David Levine on the time investment in a novel.

Via Justine Larbalestier: Jenny Bent on the differences between being a fresh new agent and being an experienced one.

Via Jay Lake: Jeremiah Tolbert on getting started in SF

Dean Wesley Smith, who is one of my mentors, running a great series of posts on the publishing world without… The first two are “without returns” parts one and two the third is part one of “without agents.” All are very worthwhile reading for what they can teach the reader about the way the publishing industry works.

Lilith Saintcrow saying smart things about a bunch of stuff: you need more than a good book, self-promotion—the hard sell doesn’t work, and the secret to getting published which includes the same be professional message I was talking about at SFNovelists a while back, among a myriad of other good advice.

Plus Dean Wesley Smith on what life would be like without agents, parts one, and two.

My friend Beth saying smart things about choices.

My friend Stephanie saying smart things about another friend, James Hall, and the 15th birthday of the operating system he wrote: FreeDOS. More here.

Bits and Bobs (Parked here till I have time to make a page)

Over at SF Novelists I talk about the surreal experience of seeing your books being read by the people close to you.

I’m blogging today over at SFNovelists about how I ended up as a writer. I take as my starting point the talk I’m giving tonight at the local Public Library.

So, I’ve posted about my feline overlords and cats and writers in general over at SFNovelists. If you’re so inclined, go have a look.

So, it just occurred to me that I should probably mention that Cybermancy made VOYA‘s 2007 year’s best F&SF list. VOYA, or Voice of Youth Advocates is the primary YA librarian’s journal and a big voice in YA reviews. The list is here (PDF, sorry). Oh, and since I’m mentioning it, WebMage was on the 2006 list, here (another PDF).