I love Twitter for all the cool articles I can find and share there. So I dug back through my feed for the best articles, posts, and videos I found and shared this past year!
Whether you’re an author, a blogger, or just a Christian who likes thinking deeply about things, here are some cool (and/or important) pieces for you to enjoy!
Writing and Story Development
This year I fell down the deep, dark hole of “writer YouTube”…Here are some of the amazing (and addicting) videos I found:
I found this video while researching my spy/suspense/action story Transmutation of Shadow, and it’s so cool!
via Overly Sarcastic Productions
Red does a great job recognizing that humans and computers have totally different ways of thinking…and she also breaks down the good, the evil, the friendly, and the realistic of writing robots in fiction.
via Thor Skywalker
We don’t hate female characters…we hate poorly done characters that serve a meta agenda, rather than feeling like genuine people within the story world.
Watch the video to see for yourself!
(Also check out this video – by Literature Devil – about “Mary Sue” characters…what they are, why people dislike them, and how they relate to the issue of “Social Justice Warriors”.)
via Theodore Krulik on Tor.com
Roger Zelazny wrote the Chronicles of Amber, which inspired my dad as a young writer…and became a surprise favorite with me when I read it. This interview with him gives insight into his writing process, his opinion of fantasy vs. science fiction, and on writing complex characters.
It’s not a video…so read it at your leisure.
via Felix the Fox Mysteries
Action plays a big role in my White Mesa Chronicles (especially Gladiator…guess why) and in Transmutation of Shadow. Thus it’s important to get the physics right!
This post (also not a video) will help you think about those pesky problems of what’s actually, physically possible in your story!
Also check out his post on making pre-modern (and fantasy) battles more realistic in terms of equipment, technique, and strategy. Remember: everything happens in context!
via Christa MacDonald on Christian Shelf-Esteem
If you’ve been in the “author” circle for long, you’ve heard you need an “elevator pitch”…a short, pithy expression of your book(s) that would fit into the space of an elevator ride, but make whoever’s listening want to hear more.
Christa MacDonald found she was making assumptions about what the people she was talking to would be interested in, and defending her work before anyone had raised any objections.
Read her post to see how she decided to let go of this fear rooted in pride, and share her stories at face value.
How we think about the world is crucial…and our different perspectives form a central part of who we are.
Each of these articles (or videos) explores a different element of our lives and challenges us to think about morality, culture, art, ourselves, and/or God in a different light.
via Extra Credits
Extra Credits create entertaining, thought-provoking videos about video games…how to make them well, how to tell meaningful stories through them, what they can mean for the broader culture, etc.
This one talks about how video games can force us to examine our own moral beliefs!
via Sean P. Carlin
In our cultural climate of reboots, sequels, prequels, reboot-sequels…Mr. Carlin has asked the question, “What is artistic originality anyway?”
Can we ever truly be free of our creative influences, and make “original” art?
Read his article to find out!
Also check out his article about his childhood of urban exploration in New York City, and how our shifting culture of security-consciousness makes that impossible for kids of the modern day. We’ve lost something…is it worth the price of “safety” to give up?
Read his piece and decide for yourself!
Micro-transactions are all over the place in free-to-play games…sort of like YouTube has started shoving ads in my face every time I want to load a video.
This video (on YouTube…ahem) talks about how it started…and why micro-transactions that affect game-play make players more unhappy than things that affect aesthetics.
via Kristen Lamb
This post was so interesting, I even wrote my own follow-up piece.
Basically: we all love free stuff. Getting free stuff, that is. But nothing is free…someone has to give it. And as authors give away more free stuff (books, songs, etc.) the more audiences expect free stuff, and the worse the whole problem gets.
Just go read her full post – then read my post about living generously!
(Also read her post about the flood of new books that self-publishing has created, and some strategies that we as an industry could use to find the “good fish” amidst the tsunami. Basically, go check out her blog in general.)
via Sabrina McDonald on Family Life
Yes, smartphone addiction is a thing, and yes, you can confront it. In fact, before drugging your kid up for ADHD, look into culling his screen time! It might be the trick you need.
via Lindsey Ellis
Having become, ahem, slightly addicted to YouTube this year, I naturally found channels/content providers that I liked and looked up all their videos.
However, as an author and blogger, I also have a feeling for the other side (people all over the world aren’t watching my face, but they can look up my words at any time).
When the wall between “media celebrity” and audience comes down…when your favorite YouTuber or author “gets real” and shares personal things…what does that do to them? What does it do to us? What are the “moral hazards” of this “authentic celebrity” culture?
If you’re not sure exactly what I mean, just watch the video! It’s thought-provoking! (Language cautions, though.)
via Chad Pettit
Did you know that some “Christian” readers have very specific guide-lines for what they consider to be “Christian” fiction? And that they’ll rake authors over the internet coals if they break these rules?
Perhaps we should go back to the BIBLE for a consideration of what we should be reading/writing in our fiction…and maybe we can extend some Christian kindness to our brothers and sisters.
This post is a plea for just that. Read it yourself!
via Scott Allen at WORLD Magazine
Ta-Nehisi Coates versus Martin Luther King, Jr. — two African-American thought leaders with very different approaches to the race issue. Justice and reconciliation will only come from a Jesus-centered worldview.
We authors are always looking for ways to better get books into readers’ hands. Here are some of the useful posts I’ve found on marketing:
via Jane Friedman
How do you describe your book so that someone else will want to buy it? Making the text easy to skim, and starting with a grabby line, are just a couple of the suggestions you’ll find here!
via Bad Redhead Media
Email newsletters are one of those things that are so important, yet so mystifying. These tips and tricks will help you look like a pro to your fans! (Hint: STOP USING G-MAIL ALREADY.)
via Anne R. Allen
Writing a blog post is different than writing a term paper. Here are some easily digestible, understandable tips to help anyone write a better blog!
via Vicky Who Reads
200+ bloggers were surveyed (anonymously) about how they want authors to interact with them. I found some of the answers very interesting, and it’s worth it to check out someone else’s perspective.
Blog post headlines are mysterious, but very important. Here’s some advice that is readable and digestible to make your blog headlines even better!
via Mixtus Media
You say you could never write a blog? That it’s too complicated, or too hard?
These six tips might just give you the tools and the steps you need to become a blogger (or to take your blog to a more professional level)!
Hope you enjoyed these posts!
Be sure to share the posts you liked best with your friends, and support the authors!
What did you enjoy learning this past year? What were your favorite things to read? Give us your suggestions!
Kimia Wood lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.
She’s currently bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.
Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier! You’ll also receive periodic updates on her latest reading and writing adventures.