Friday Five

1. Well, whew, yesterday was interesting, wasn't it? I do a love a good multi-faceted discussion, and I really hope that it was a corrective for people worrying too much for no good reason. As I said to someone in the comments of my last post: God knows if you want to be in this business, there are plenty of actual things to be anxious about. (That aren't these.)

2. And, I suppose I should say, maybe I'm biased, because my blog has been nothing but good for me. I've always thought of myself as a writer, first and foremost, and the blog as one venue where I do it in an informal way. I started doing this to be part of a conversation with my far-flung writer friends, and quickly discovered an even larger conversation that we're all in now, and that's constantly evolving to new places (like twitter) and in unexpected ways (again, like twitter). Almost every professional opportunity I've gotten can be traced back to my blog, at least indirectly. People who recommended me for various things knew me from here, or saw a piece of writing I did here, or I met someone at a conference who had read the blog, and so on. Best of all, I've made a whole bunch of real friends through blogging (and through just being lucky enough to be a part of so many intersecting and non-intersecting communities–science fiction and fantasy, YA and kidlit, lit fic, more lately a toe in romance, and etc.; many of them largely keep in touch online). Basically, blogging has been a great pleasure for me, and only an occasional annoyance. I know we've all been hearing lots of speculation about how blogging (or doing other types of writing like reviewing) can hurt your career or propositions or reputation. But it can also be good for your career and propositions and reputation*. And it's important to remember, as people wiser than me have said, that getting to the place where you can knock on the right doors is the easy part–nothing will get you through except the work. And that is true For All Doors. (Don't tell me if this blog has actually ruined everything for me, okay? And the world is filled with my secret enemies? I would rather not know.)

3. So, enough about all that.

4. Let's talk about kissing instead! Or, at least, let's talk about Kelly Fineman's fabulous analysis of several kisses that worked for her in prep for writing one herself. This is precisely the kind of thing people did in my grad program when they were struggling with a certain issue in their own work. She even identifies a flexible formula for same. Definitely go check it out.

5. If you didn't pop in for the D&D roundtable, do. not. miss. (Note: This is where a lot of those elusive teen boys go to read when they jump from middle grade to adult books, then and now.) I was so, so pleased with how it came out. You'll discover how Jed learned to tell stories, why Paolo worried more about his DragonLance novels than the Playboys stashed in his room, how Shveta read every Faerûn book in the library, how Chris realized he could be creative with other people, and how my own Christopher fell in love with the books so much it's only fitting his first novel became one. Speaking of which, there's a great interview with Christopher at the Wizards of the Coast site today, in which he reveals such tidbits as why Holly Black is to blame for Sandstorm, and shares some good advice that he gives to aspiring writers when teaching:

The most important advice I give is related to the biggest trap I see my students fall into over and over again. And that is this: read, read, read, and read some more. Read especially in the genre or genres you’re working in, but never neglect other forms of fiction and nonfiction. Be aware of who the players are by reading contemporary works, and be aware of what the foundational texts are by reading classics. It astonishes me how resistant to this idea many new writers are—you must be an expert in your field, and that means reading widely and deeply in it.

And I think that's a good enough place to wish you a grand weekend. Mine will be spent on deadline for a PW piece. Bring on the lattes.

*No, I am not channeling Mae West. Not *those* kind of propositions. Although, Mae West sometimes wore extremely large hats, and I approve.

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