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Three links that have made me smile this week:

How to respond to negative reviews” by Beth Revis:

“If there are people in the world who hate puppies, Harry Potter, chocolate, and/or bacon, then there are people in the world who hate your book. Put in that perspective, things aren’t so bad, huh?”

Evil Editor on vagueness in queries:

“It’s like opening a menu and reading:

Entree 1: Ingredients are combined lovingly and cooked to perfection, then spooned onto a plate and served.

Entree 2: A medley of items from our kitchen prepared stovetop by our chef and brought to your table.

Entree 3: Stuff, cooked.

Some specifics about these powerful people: who they are, what they want, what happens if they get it, how the superheroes plan to stop them, would be helpful.”

The scent of books, bottled:

Demeter “Paperback

Steidl “Paper Passion”



I’m at that stage polishing up book 2 that I’m chasing down experts to make sure I’ve used the right specialist vocabularies throughout. I’ve been speaking with (well, emailing) astrophysicists and a lock-keeper, et cetera. To ensure that I’ve accurately described the seasonal levels of a local waterway, I emailed a geologist.

He was very friendly, and mentioned that it was a funny thing to be asked about a crime novel, because he is actually a forensic geologist. I replied that I think I had attended a lecture of his, about forensic geology in the solving of the famous Soham murders. He replied that, no, that was a *different* local forensic geologist. But, his wife had been a forensic *archaeologist* on that case.

How fantastic to live in the city where there are multiple forensic geologists, and even a forensic archaeologist! I didn’t know such jobs existed.

This one has been posted all over the place, rightly so:

This one makes me laugh too:

This hilarious post about “a lot” v. “alot” was linked to in a lot of writerly places, and well it should be. It got me hooked on the site it came from, Hyperbole and a Half.

A recent post, called “The Party“, is a superbly told story. I don’t want to think too hard about it, because analyzing humor can really squeeze the fun out of it, but one thing really stands out to me: Look where it starts; look where it ends. That last sentence is utterly perfect, and leaves 90% of the experience up to the reader’s now-primed imagination.

I’m betting most people would START the story where this telling ends. At the very least, they would keep going. (And, in my opinion, lessen its impact.)

Structure is one of the most important aspects of story, at least as important as the words. I used to feel guilty over the time I spend experimenting with what scenes to include and designing their order, because it doesn’t result in any word-count progress. It feels weird to work for hours and end up with no pages to show for it.

I’m feeling less guilty now.

PS–This is SO FUNNY.

From “Envoy” by Billy Collins, a message to his just-published book:

"stay out as late as you like,
don't bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can."