A Round Robin of Writer Blog Posts

Every now and then I like to publish a list of cool things to read on other people’s blogs. This is not quite one of those posts but there are links to other people’s blogs.

However, there are a few posts on those other blogs, that I have written along with other people’s [psts on similar topics. I did something sort of similar with 5 Writer Blogs you Should Definitely Read.

Author Platforms

Sometimes it seems Author Platforms is all I talk about. I promise this is not the case.

First up, for Author Buzz UKA Comprehensive Guide to Author Platforms really is very comprehensive. Hopefully, it is the most definitive explanation of Author Platforms that will ever be needed.

Other posts on author platforms worth a read:

How is your author platform going? Got any questions?

Scary Stories

I recently published an article titled “The thin line between scary and hilarious” on my own Author Buzz network blog. I took a look at how humour and horror were essentially the same things.

I don’t have a list of other writers blogs with scary stories on them. Maybe because I have not found many indie author blogs with scary stories on them. Other than The Legend of Spicer Cove by L. L. Winder, I got nothing.

Can you recommend an author blog with scary stories on it?

Author Earnings

Talking of scary stories, what most authors earn is scary. Scary low. Ever since Author Buzz published the “The Shocking Truth about Author Earnings“, it has been bothering me that we authors do not earn that much. Here are some other views on the subject.

 

 

What do you think about the state of author earnings?

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Writers’ Blog Train: Stop number one

Toot, toot. The blog train is pulling into the station. Kickstarting a weekly roundup of blog posts that will move from blog to blog.

<<< Previous Blog Train (actually the “about blog trains” post)

To help me get this first entry in the blog train written I am going to be working from the Directory of Thanet Writers’ blogs. When the train lands on your blog, you don’t have to stick just with the blogs listed there, but it can make a good starting point.

Jess Joy

Jess is a relatively new blogger. As far as I knew her first attempt at blogging was as part of our competition. She’s really great at it and always a joy to read. It turns out, however, that Jess has written blogs before. Lots.

Jess often posts short form fiction. One worthy pair of posts worth a mention features the same character. They are both competition entries and very clever twists of the theme at that.

Jess recently turned an obvious biographic prompt into a fantastic short story. “Something to write home about” is definitely worth a read.

Thanet Star

I’m letting this blog in on a technicality. While not about writing Thanet Star is written by a writer (me). Topics tend to cover Broadstairs (and what a nice place it is), Manston (and how it should not be houses), and local politics. Also, when the mood takes me, I write about writer news such related to Thanet.

AUTHORity

Another regular participant in our competitions. Irving Benjamin not only writes but maintains a list of his favourite reading, and useful links for writers. Irving is also a poet and you can find poems he has written in a handy-dandy drop-down menu at the top of his site.

  • Just Don’t – which was a competition entry
  • My Canal – which was also an entry for an entirely different competition

Author Buzz

Author Buzz is a project to try and help writers and readers find each other. It’s still pretty new and a lot of work is still needed. Author Buzz needs some beta testers if you are interested in helping out.

Stories from the edge

I hope this blog has not gone into long term hibernation as the author has been a regular participant in the Thanet Creative Writers competition. The last post was In Response to the Prompt ‘Who do I admire?’ at the end of march.

Night of the Hats

Night of the Hats is a relative rarity among Thanet based or connected writers’ blogs (I know we are not really all from Thanet) in that it is hosted on blogspot. The last post was a competition prompt containing not just a little advice.

Thanet.Blog

That’s not a typing mistake, that’s the domain this blog is hosted on. not a writer as such (aside from the obvious fact that the blog is written) but an example of good writing nevertheless. Thanet spirit quest part one: The theatre of dreams is a travel log style ramble about Thanet and a good read too.

Writer Without a Clue

This is a blog written by a Thanet Creative writers founder and regular attendee. Criminally I have failed to award any competition wins to this blog even though it is very deserving. (Not to self, change that).

If you want to read an example of realistic and well-written dialog I suggest you check out Second Trust.

Kentish Rambler

Subtitled, “Writer, walker and rambling writer in the Kent countryside” that should tell you everything you need to know about the Kentish Rambler blog. The last post made at the start of May and titled March Ramblings contains a stunning array of beautiful photography.

Matthew Munson

Matthew Munson is a Thanet based author with at least two published books under his belt. He writes on a variety of topics and recently talked about homeschooling.

Aside from being a successful author and having a cool name, Matthew is also a really nice bloke. He is also far better at grammar and spelling than I am.

Matthew D. Brown

One blog you might not be familiar with is my writing blog. It’s pretty new and part of why there had to be a pause in the competition (it turns out even I have limits). The Matthew D. Brown blog is also host to serialised stories which come out roughly each week (give or take a bit).

Currently, there are two stories:

  1. That story with a cat in it – a sci-fi spoof
  2. Legend – a fresh take on fairy tales and fantasy

I’d really appreciate some attention in the form of comment so I know if the stories I am posting catch your interest or not. I am probably going to tailor things based on the feedback I get so your comments matter a great deal to me.

A writing prompt

I though it would be nice to end the train this week with a writing prompt. We’ve been publishing them most weeks so there are plenty to choose from. I thought I would pick a personal favourite of mine – “And then the murders began“. Do with that one what you will.

Over to you

I hope I have shown you something that might be worth a read. Feel free to copy the general pattern of this post (and the images) for your own train posts or, when the train is with you, mix it up as you see fit.

I nominate Jess Joy to host the next blog train. Jess, over to you. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to anywhere near as verbose as me).

(this will be linked up when it is live) Next Blog Train >>>

Everything you ever wated to know about sharing links

During the competition, I have had a lot of people direct questions to me on the subject of sharing links. I am going to try and explain everything I know in a way that I hope will be useful.

In my opening paragraph, you might have noticed some differently coloured clickable text. The word “competition” links to the competition overview from week 1 while the word “links” leads to the jargon buster (which tells you what a link is). Pretty nifty right?

You can also share links on Facebook. I have no doubt that you have seen friends sharing news and funny blog posts every single day. You can also share your own content too.

Sharing links on Facebook the easy way

Take a look at almost any blog or news site and you will see things that look something like this.

Screenshot from 2017-03-17 14:27:44.png

That is from one of our competition entries.

Do you notice the button that says “Facebook”? This is what that link looks like on this blog.

Screenshot from 2017-03-17 14:29:59.png

You can see that three shares have already been detected. Is that not awesome?

Give the “Facebook” button a click. And this happens.

Screenshot from 2017-03-17 14:31:34.png

That box is all ready for me to share that link to my Facebook wall. There is even a box which invites me to “say something about this”. When I am done I can press “Post to Facebook” (bottom right).

That is all well and good but I want to share this link to our group. Do you see where it says “share on your own timeline”? Let’s click that and change it.

Screenshot from 2017-03-17 14:32:45.png

I chose “share in group”. And then when the group box appeared I started typing until the group I wanted was in the list. Then I gave that a click.

Now I get to share the link to the group instead.

Sharing links to Facebook the advanced way

That was the easy way to share links. Now we are going to learn about an advanced way to share links that will also help you learn something about blogging.

It’s actually almost as easy. However, this link sharing method is just a touch more fiddly.

Look up right now. At the top of your screen – you can probably see a long bar. Something like this:

Screenshot from 2017-03-17 14:34:19

Do you see the text inside the box? That is the address of the page you are looking at. As you did not have to log in or enter any magic passwords to see this post, if you were to give this link to someone else, they would see this article just the same as you would.

copy-url

Now, let us copy that. You can highlight the text, right-click, and press copy; or you can highlight the text and press control+C; on an android device long press and choose copy.

If you take that text and go over to the facebook group you can paste it into a message. You will see exactly the same stuff appear as when you shared it from the button.

However, there will be this big bit of ugly text. You can go ahead and remove that from your post – facebook is done with it now and understands that you want to share the link.

This technique allows you to share almost any page on Facebook. You can even use it to share the group, pages, and events too.

How to share links in a blog post

Links on blog posts are formatted using the a tag and the href attribute. Don’t worry – you don’t need to know about that if you are using WordPress. If you are interested you can check the HTML view of your post later and see what I mean.

WP-post

If you have posted on a blog before then you have probably seen something like this before. If you have yet to get that far check out this guide which will talk you through everything you need to know about getting started with posting on WordPress.

Take a close look at the toolbar. After the B for bold and I for italics, there are two links for bulleted and numbered lists. After that is an icon which is supposed to look like links in a chain. That’s for linking with.

First, you highlight your text that you want linked and then you press that link button. You should get a box like this:

Screenshot from 2017-03-17 14:43:11

You will probably notice that there are a list of our blog posts in the big box. That’s a helpful tool to help you make links to your own stuff. Linking to related content that you have already posted is a great idea but that is a story for another time.

Right now we are interested in the first box that says URL. URL is another name for the link text that we copied before. Paste the link text in the URL box. Then press “Add Link”.

That is all there is to it. While you are getting used to adding links I highly recommend that you give your links a test click after you publish to check they are all working. If one has gone wrong you can always hit edit and have another go.

Using links for pings

If you link to the current competition post from the competition entry, you will ping our blog and (once we’ve checked it is a true ping) someone (probably me) will okay it. Then your link will appear in the list under the competition post.

On WordPress, you do not have to do anything special. It will take care of everything for you.

Over to you

I hope that this has proven to be a helpful tutorial. I did not expect to ever write a WordPress tutorial in my life and so far I have written three just for this blog. Please let me know if I was clear enough and if you could follow what I was saying – I am still quite new to writing introductory tutorials.

Do you have anything to add? What neat things have you found to do with links?

Week Two Winners

Late but arriving as fast as I can format text, are the winners for the Week Two competition. The theme was time travel which reminds me, if I don’t hit publish soon I will need a time machine because guests are about to arrive for

The theme was time travel which reminds me, if I don’t hit publish soon I will need a time machine because guests are about to arrive for Tea and Chat. The irony of getting a post out late during Time Travel week is not lost on me.

As always, there were three winners to identify:

  1. Best Post
  2. Best Comment
  3. Most Commented upon

I am aware that one or two of you are still tinkering with WordPress or trying to figure out how to get started. I have also learned that things that I take for granted like adding a link to something specific is not at all clear for everyone (yet). I promise to write about linking specifically as soon as I can. I put together a WordPress FAQ for those that need it.

Things that particularly impressed me

The quality of the work this week was really astounding. What was I thinking, imagining that I could pick out just a few winners?

Congratulations to everyone who was using WordPress and dealt with the sudden change to the editor this week.

Unexpected plot twists. I saw a real handbrake turn of a plot twist this week. It was so good that I felt it was worth a mention.

Everything I look for in a time travel story was found in one perfect short story. Despite a snafu with the linking making the text a bit hard to read (all blue from links and my dyslexia, not so fun) it was nevertheless perfectly told.

A poem that almost sets up a story not told was the tease we had this week. I want to read the story of good intentions derailed by temptation.

A very honest reflection. Ine of the best ways to write is to be brutally honest. This is a post that typifies that honesty perfectly.

A perfect insight into a writer’s mind. What more can you say? This was a fantastic reflection on the engine of writing. Asking “what if” and filling in the blanks of unknowns. Loved it.

A novel approach to an old topic. This read like some old school sci-fi, a bit rough around the edges, but what a story!

Sci-fi and comedy delivered with a comfortable ease. I liked the way the author self-inserted their own writer persona as the main protagonist. Also, coffee powered time travel.

Poetry with a plot twist. I love the way, in so few lines, this poet plays with several tropes of time travel.

Some constructive criticism

This is aimed at no one in particular but are just some observations that I hope will help you. To be honest, there was so much to praise about this week’s batch of entries that I struggled to find anything to write in this section.

Don’t forget to post

First, and most obviously, don’t do what I just did – promise a post and then utterly fail to get it published. I feel like I should still apologise some more for that. Such a silly mistake.

Centre aligned paragraphs

I saw a lot more centre align text this week than last. It is a topic I address to businesses fairly frequently. This is probably because I have something of a unique perspective on odd text. I am dyslexic and centred text (and a few other unusual formattings) plays merry hell with my ability to read it. (Don’t worry, I am a geek and can get my browser to correct my view for me).

Generally, people centre text when they want it to look balanced, appear to be different, or just want to make it stand out or look “nice”. It might look okay to you but if you raise the reading difficulty of the text by quite a bit.

WordPress users have the Block Quote option which looks like a pair of opening quote marks. That will definitely make the text appear to be different. Other options include italics, bold, a different colour, or full justify. Our WordPress FAQ has more details on how to use these features.

Links

Links are great. Links are how the Web works. Linking to something is like sharing love. It is a great way to build the community around you. I have promised to try and produce a guide to linking. I will be doing that soon.

If you can figure out linking then try to always link to what you are talking about. Some of you do – this is to your credit.

As a side note, links work best if they are added in after the text is written. Put them in at the end, is my advice. This can also help avoid situations where the editor tries to make everything one giant link.

Please note that I never knock off marks for not linking but you will not get as much out of the contest if you do not link out when it counts.

The Winners

Best Post: Ansteysp

OMG, you writers! I honestly had a good reason to give each and every last one of you the prize for “best” post. The batch of posts this week was amazing. Each one typified a great post in some way. It almost came down to my simply drawing names out of a hat – that’s how hard it was to pick a winner this week.

Best Comment: Kentish Rambler

There were several great comments to choose from this week. I spend ages go back and forth between them all trying to make up my mind. You have all really gotten into the whole constructive feedback groove this week. This was a hard call to make.

Post with most comments: Irving Benjamin

The runaway winner for most comments was Irving’s post. You all did a good job of picking up comments and commenting on each other’s work but this post just picked up a few more.

And Now: Week Three

Why not congratulate the winners (and other participants) by giving them some comment love.

Best of luck to everyone who takes part with this week’s theme. It’s not too late if you want to join in now – there are 10 themes left to go.

You can find out about the Week Three theme here.

Week Two: posts for you to comment on

As you know, I have been watching with great interest as the Week Two Theme posts are going up.

This is a list of all the posts for this week’s theme that I have seen so far. I will update this post as more show up.

More to come as you publish them…

Opps, I missed one.

And there’s more:

5 Great Sites for Writers

When it comes to writing advice there is a lot of junk out there. There is also a lot of really good content hidden among the junk. If you are willing to search, there is truly amazing advice that will supercharge your writing with its insights. Here are five (ish) links that I think you will definitely want to bookmark.

1. Bane of Your Resistance

Bane of Your Resistance is a blog all about overcoming resistance to writing (such as writers block or being too busy to write). The tag line actually says so you can stop feeling guilty and really enjoy writing again.

Bane of Your Resistance is written by Rosanne Bane, TEDx speaker and general expert on such things. Rosanne Bane is a creativity coach, writing and creativity instructor, speaker and author. In other words, she knows what she is talking about.

If you struggle with not writing, and we all have at some point, then Rosanne Bane is the person that you need to be reading.

2. Funds for Writers

Funds for Writers is a website all about getting paid as a writer. It tells you all about grants you could apply for, competitions that pay well, and much more. While this would be of more use if you like American dollars and live in, say, the USA, it is nevertheless a great place to get inspired to think outside the box about funding your writing.

This will not be a site for everyone. Taking what you learn on Funds for Writers and the American market and applying it to the UK is going to take some personal effort and for some of us, that effort is just not worth it. For those us willing and able to put in the time, Funds for Writers can be a great source of inspiration.

3. Writers Helping Writers

Some of the best advice for writers I have read was found on Writers Helping Writers. If you are looking for advice on creating vivid characters, demonstrating motivation, dealing with difficult issues of pain in a story, or any other topic (those were just the ones on the front page when I looked just now), I assure you that you will come away feeling inspired and educated.

As the title of the website says, this is a site where writers offer advice and help to other writers. All of the articles are geared this way and the quality of advice is very high.

I have seen plenty of “me too” sites where the drive for daily content has resulted in a declining quality of articles and a general desperation that drives the editors to publish any half-baked junk they get sent. Writers Helping Writers is just the opposite. It is a website packed to the nines with high-quality advice. Advice that you could and should read.

4. Better Novel Project

The Better Novel Project is a blog that deconstructs best-selling novels scene by scene to show you why and how the novel works the way it does.

Take, for example, How to Write a Fight Scene (in 11 Steps). This is not just one writer’s personal opinion but a breakdown of how such scenes work in best-selling stories.

Before I wrote this guide I had not seen the fight scene breakdown. I stopped writing this guide and read the fight scene article intently. I can honestly say I have a better idea of how to write a fight than I ever did before.

If you only read one new blog this year, read this one.

5. Stack Overflow, no seriously.

“Can you really mean that?” you might be asking. “But Matt,” you might say, “SO is a geek website all about computers.” (Which it is).

Stay with me for a moment because I am about to let you in a secret. There are subsections of SO that are just perfect for writers. The first is called Writers and the second is Worldbuilding. I get lost reading these sites sometimes and have had some great feedback on many complicated issues. For example, the conditions under which a moon could be terraformed.

For example, in World Building, I got very good scientific insight into the conditions under which a moon could be terraformed and how that process might actually work in a very specific scenario.

Before you go and get stuck in, you need to understand that this is not a forum and chit chat is not well tolerated. SO is a question and answer site. The idea is that the best questions and the best answers rise to the top and the community is very active towards that goal.

Writers and Worldbuilding can be powerful friends to help you plan and write you great novel but it is worth taking the introductory tour first.

A bonus mention

With so many great sites that I could recommend (and a few I could recommend you avoid) there were always going to be ones I had to leave out. Here is a bonus link: Writers in the Storm it is a blog, every bit as good as the others I have already shared. With a title like that, I had to include it anyway.