Five Links 12/7/19 Traci Kenworth

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Five Links 12/7/19

Traci Kenworth


1. “Imagine a hungry young screenwriter getting invited to a pitch session on a studio lot.

“What’ve you got for me, kid?” the producer says.

“Okay,” the screenwriter says, “we have this guy, see, he’s a king, see, and he’s got to make a speech. Only the guy stutters.”

“What’s the rest of it?”

“The rest of what?”

“The movie!”

2. “We hear it over and over: Show, don’t tell. You can’t get away from this advice, not in writing workshops, at conferences, or heck, even when visiting this blog. Writers Helping Writers and the thesaurus work we do is all about strengthening show, don’t tell skills.

There’s a good reason for this, though. Showing draws a reader in so they are more emotionally involved. Telling informs.

Often paired with “show, don’t tell” advice is the assertion that not all telling is bad. That’s also true. Telling is necessary, and acts as a balance to showing. If everything was shown, books would be 400,000 word monstrosities. An our readers? Asleep after twenty pages.

Does this means our stories should be equal parts showing and telling? Not by a long shot. In storytelling, showing is King.

The spirit of show, don’t tell is recognizing when a detail or moment is important, and then slowing things down briefly to describe it.”

3. “When I was in grade school, a nosy neighbor decided my parents were too conservative, so she loaned me some of her old books by Helen Van Slyke. My parents let me read anything in book form, so we were good to go. Helen was a divorced New York City career woman with views unlike those I would encounter in my hometown. Today, as I cull my book collection, I am revisiting some of those titles with a more mature perspective. Others may read her work and come away with an entirely different view, but here are some of the elements that jump out at me:”

4. “Anyone who is trying to build a career as a writer knows that making a living in the early years is an almost impossible challenge. But when a writer has sold a couple of books and had a little success, it’s natural to get out the calculator and try to figure out how fast a book could be written if all things were perfect. After all, there’s NaNoWriMo. If a writer could log in 50,000 words in one month, why couldn’t he do that every month? With taking a month off for the holidays and another month in case emergencies cropped up. . . why, that’s five books a year! Even with his modest advances, he could live on that, right?  He could quit his day job!

Not so fast.


Here’s what I heard from an editor about a writer a few years ago: “He needs to stop trying to write so fast. The deadlines that he proposes for each project don’t make sense. Are you telling me that he can write three complete manuscripts by December? Highly unlikely…”

Hmm. Sounds like this editor is anticipating the kind of problems that come with writing too fast. Let’s consider just a few.”

5. “If we’re a writer, we should also be a reader. I know that between day job, family obligations, and our desire to write, it can seem like we don’t have any time to read.

But for most of us, our love of reading stories is what brought us to writing in the first place. In addition, there are many benefits to reading once we’re a writer, so we should probably try to include reading in our lives.

However, the genres and stories we enjoy reading aren’t always the same ones we write, so that made me wonder what makes a genre appeal to us—either for reading or writing. Let’s take a look at reading, writing, and genres…

Why Should Writers Read?

Even though fitting reading into our busy schedules can be difficult, reading can help us in many ways:

  • learn from the classics of our genre
  • see what’s driving the newest bestsellers
  • keep up with new trends in our genre
  • refill our creative well
  • provide us with ideas to spark our imagination
  • practice self-care, reading just for enjoyment
  • and so on…”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “I landed at the writing cabin early this morning. I had the little gyrocopter buzz a mammoth and her calf to clear the runway, but it was a piece of cake after that. Frozen ground is almost as good as asphalt.

Lisa met me coming up the stairs. She wore a green, knee-length, Christmas dress with furry white trimming. “What are you doing here? Thought you were done for the year.”

“Not by a long shot. I stepped back to do promo, but never intended to take a longer break. How’s the coffee situation?”

“I can make some. I have the cabin wired as a smart home, so all I have to do is send a signal to the coffee maker.”

“Very efficient. I’d expect nothing less from you.”

“Go into the lobby and check out my Christmas tree. I’ll bring you a cup when it’s ready.”

2. “t’s the holiday season, and this is a tough time for most people. For, writers, it’s peace hell on Earth, largely—though not entirely—due to the whole ‘having to wear pants’ thing.

We authors, historically, have been a misunderstood group of people.

Burned as witches. No holiday there. Survival rate after a political coup? Close to zero. Odds of being shot? Pretty much hundred percent, which correlates closely with odds of keeping mouth shut #FunFact.

Friends and loved ones still invite us to holiday gatherings. Sadly, no ‘burned at stake’ or ‘firing squad’ option. Those require pants, but less talking and no prerequisite to bring some dumb@$$ ‘White Elephant’ gift and a nut-free appetizer.

*makes note to hunt down and murder person who invented ‘White Elephant’ game’*

*Why is the elephant white and not pink?*

*makes note to google that later*

*makes note to put that in novel and kill it*

*along with the person who invented it*


4. “How do you know if you are a “good” writer or not?

I used to ask myself this question a lot, much more so in the months leading up to my first full-time writing job offer when I was getting rejected and talked down to so often that I almost gave up and started looking for a “real” job.

I even asked a few people I trusted if they thought I was “good at writing” or not, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing “wrong” and needed some kind of external validation that I wasn’t completely out of line in believing someone might actually hire me to write words on their behalf at some point.

But there is a reason no one ever had a decent answer for me — at the very least, I understand, in full, the error of my ways many years later and won’t make a similar mistake again.”

5. “Dear Santa,

Just a quick one from me today as I’m busy having an adventure! I mean, Christmas has come early!

We went out in the car the other night…for a really long drive in the dark…

She wasn’t best pleased, I have to say, wen she found me on the passenger seat, next to her in the front. Not when she’d fastened me into the back seat with my special safety belt harness.

I may have got a bit excited, ’cause I accidentally bit it in half…”

Some Things More Serious:

1. “You are here: Home > Blog > Are Libraries Still Relevant for Writers?

Are Libraries Still Relevant for Writers?




Bob Hostetler

By Bob Hostetler

On December 4, 2019

I recently asked my editor and writer friends on Twitter and Facebook if public libraries are still relevant for writers (and by their reply to give me permission to quote them). Well, that opened a can of words (see what I did there?)—so many that I can’t use them all—but here are some of their responses:


Brooke Jones Keith said, “I research online but I take inspiration from seeing and holding books…. Libraries are still a nostalgic way to reconnect to why I love what I get to do.”


J.D. Wininger agreed: “A library reminds me of where my loves for reading, and eventually writing, first began,” adding that it’s also “a place for community; where people can gather and share.” I use libraries for research, for reading, and more. They’re so versatile. They are absolutely a writer’s best friend!





Teaser Fiction & Poetry:






Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “Gustav Deissmann breathed deeply of musty air. For months he had picked his way through forgotten ruins of a failed empire, now a mere backwater republic among the dozens of republics that had sprouted from the ashes of the recent Great War.

“Such is the way of the world,” Deissmann muttered to himself. He flipped open his pen knife and cut through the hemp twine that bound a stack of cracked and crumbling parchments. “The mightiest lion may be brought down by a pack of dogs.”

His own native German Empire—now the emasculated Weimar Republic—had been allied with the late Ottoman Empire, a fact that made the current situation no more comfortable. Deissmann flexed stiff fingers, joints swollen by the damp air of the cellars of this sad remnant of a once-glorious palace. He began flipping through the worthless animal skins.

A pity, he mused. This city, this empire had been the heir to Rome itself. Steeped in learning and law and science when his own forebears had been illiterate pagans, sacrificing livestock and slaves and children to their rumbling thunder-gods in hope of a good harvest. If only the Byzantines had held fast to their faith. If only they had stood against the encroaching—”

2. “Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. The only show that brings you interviews with the characters you love.

I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Tisha, a dancer and mage from the dark land of Skaythe. Prepare to be enchanted! “Welcome to the show, Tisha.”

“Well met, friend.”

“What can you tell us about your brand of magic?”

“I belong to a small band on minstrels who draw upon vitalis, a power born of the sun and life itself. By movement and dance, I focus vitalis into my casting. Ever since I was very young, my drive has been to heal all sorts of wounds. That is why I travel with the other minstrels. My dance draws the people away out of their sorrows and gives them hope for the future.”

3. “The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.”


5. haven’t elected a Prime Minister, we’ve elected a lifestyle’.

As the fourth decade of the 21st century looms, new PM Guy Morrissey and his fitness guru wife Mona (hashtag MoMo) are hailed as the motivational couple to get the UK #FitForWork, with Mona promising to ‘change the BMI of the nation’.

Lita Stone is an influential blogger and social media addict, who watches as Guy and Mona’s policies become increasingly ruthless. Unemployment and homelessness are out of control. The solution? Vast new compounds all over the country, to house those who can no longer afford to keep a roof over their heads.

These are the Hope Villages, financed by US corporation Nutricorp.

Lita and her flatmates Nick and Kendall feel safe in their cosy cyberspace world. Unaware of how swiftly bad luck can snowball, they suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, behind the carefully constructed mirage of Hope.

8 thoughts on “Five Links 12/7/19 Traci Kenworth

  1. Thanks for the great links. I’m going to need to follow up on a few of these that I missed. And thanks again for including the review post. Much appreciated. 🙂 So much to read over the holidays. Have a great Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

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