Writing links (#SFWApro)

Author Jessie Burton recounts her search (and query letter) for her agent.
•Genius, Malcolm Gladwell says is often associated with starting young and being good from the first. Sometimes it takes time. Needless to say, at 56 I find this encouraging.
•John Scalzi with a history of how his books got published.
Eight ways to think like an athlete. The focus is fitness, but I think it applies to other goals too. Alison McKenzie looks at approaching life as a gamer.
Suggestions for boosting your presence on Goodreads.
•Pal MM Cooper says to get to know your characters, find out what they do when they’re bored.
•An agent says don’t give up on your novel just because it’s in a dead genre.
•A friend of mine, Sherry Harris, writes about her journey to authorhood. Plus she has a photo of one of my old articles from the Destin Log in the blog post.
•I wrote about the Janelle Asselin freak-out a while back (former DC editor Asselin criticized a comic-book cover. Rape threats followed). While this Twitter thread doesn’t go there, it does condemn Asselin as biased, negative and unable to give a good critique (as someone who gives critiques, I’d say she did a great one). And her criticizing the cover is a personal attack.
•Speaking of sexism in comics, Greg Rucka goes off (justifiably) on fans who hate fan-girls. I have links to more discussions of that topic here.
•iO9 discusses the idea of dubious consent in paranormal romance—e.g., the female lead can’t help it because of the male’s magic pheromones or whatever—and argues that even though it’s presented as sexy and romantic, it’s rape. No argument here. It does make me perversely appreciate Jim Hines’ decision to discuss the issue at length in Libriomancer.
•Foz Meadows discusses the challenges of writing about unsympathetic women, particularly unsympathetic mothers—the big challenge being that anti-heroic women get judged much more harshly than men (I linked to a similar discussion of this on Salon back in January).
I’ve sometimes thought of this when I hear complaints about how husbands are so often shown being dumb and unable to handle household tasks. If shows wrote the woman as a bad mother she wouldn’t be endearing, she’d be unsympathetic (Lucy may have been a ditz but she did cook the meals and bring up little Ricky). Roseanne Barr is one of the few women who’s ever pulled off a non-perfect TV mother.
•A reminder why we need diverse books and diverse heroes.
This is the sort of thing that discourages me from keeping my fiction in the cloud.
•Multiple links here to the ongoing battle between Hachette Books and Amazon, which Hachette says is keeping the publisher’s books at minimal stock levels and restocking slowly to discourage Amazon shoppers from buying. The alleged goal is to put pressure on Hachette to give better terms to Amazon (this is similar to how Wal-Mart whittles down prices from suppliers). I’m inclined to agree with some of the comments at the links, this is why one company dominating the marketplace is often a bad deal.

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