Every few months, I highlight some of the newest additions to my Writers’ Resources page, where I post links to articles and essays on everything from craft advice to submission and publishing advice to blogging tips.
This is the first time, however, that, as part of my roundup, I’m writing a eulogy of sorts for a resource that I adored.
In January, the amazing website, Beyond the Margins, closed its virtual doors.
For those of you unfamiliar with Beyond the Margins, it was a vital resource, formed by a group of talented authors who sought to provide a forum where writers could muse about writing – the craft, the inspiration, the difficulties, the joy. I spent many hours perusing the site, particularly when I was stuck on a story or when my resolve to keep writing was low. I always came away from BTM inspired and excited.
Even though the site is no longer active, many of the essays that first appeared there are still accessible through the site’s archives. For instance, Kathy Crowley’s wonderful essay, “The Novel with Many Narrators is a Multiheaded Beast,” still remains on the site and therefore still appears on my Writers’ Resources page.
The site doesn’t have an archive per se; however, you can still access the remaining posts fairly easily. On the site’s welcome page, simply click on an author’s name in the menu bar, and you will be linked to that author’s BTM page, which lists the author’s bio, his/her website (if any), and links to the author’s BTM essays. For example, see Becky Tuch’s BTM page and her voluminous contributions to that site.
Some essays have been removed from BTM, presumably because the authors have other plans for those essays. While I’m excited for those authors, I’m sad to see their essays gone from this site. Still, I have hopes that those essays will appear elsewhere soon.
This is, I believe, the case for Robin Black’s BTM posts, which were fantastic. Her essays are as honest, thoughtful, and big-hearted as her fiction. I have used her essay, “On Reading One Another” countless times in my classes to help writers understand how to critique in a thoughtful, constructive way that inspires the writer to keep going.
In the meantime, if you need a Robin Black essay fix (which I always do), she was the guest blogger for the wonderful literary magazine, Gulf Coast. Gulf Coast’s Editors’ Blog is itself an amazing source of news and inspiration. My Writers’ Resources page catalogs several of Black’s Gulf Coast blog posts:
I’m always looking for posts that address the craft of writing in a thoughtful, inspirational way, and I was lucky enough to come across several in the past few months. For instance, Amy McElroy discusses the finer aspects of point of view in her post “Choosing and Staying True to a Point of View.” The goal of her post is to help writers become so familiar and adept with point of view that readers need never question a story’s POV but rather can be drawn in and captivated by it. It’s a post well worth reading.
You know all those writing tips from famous authors posted online that are meant to inspire us? Well, Evan S. Porter’s post, “19 Amazing Writing Tips & Techniques from Famous Writers That You Can Use Right Now” takes some of those quotes and interprets them, explaining how those tips can be practically applied to everyday writing.
One of my favorites is Porter’s interpretation of Hemingway’s famous quote: “Write drunk, edit sober.” Porter points out that what Hemingway was really trying to convey was that “writing and editing were not meant to occur at the same time.”
So, writers take heed: write sober and edit sober, but do them separately.
Finally, Susan Straight’s lovely essay, “On Learning to Write Without a Room of One’s Own,” explores the belief that “real” writers must be alone to create. As she points out, in this society where we are so often pulled in a thousand different directions by a thousand different obligations, alone time isn’t always an option. As Straight takes us through the chaotic settings in which she produced her gorgeous books, she exemplifies that solitude is not a prerequisite for writing. Says she:
For those of you who are beginning your stories, who might believe, as I once did, when someone tells you there are certain conditions necessary to be a serious writer, a real writer, let me say: I am writing this in a dollar notebook from Staples, with purple gel pen.
I’ve added some great submission-related posts to Writers’ Resources. For instance, Michael Alexander Chaney offers an update to his great list of flash fiction submission markets in his post, “Top Ten Journals to Submit Flash Fiction for Wigleaf’s Top 50 List”
In “Submittable From an Editor’s Point of View: Your Top 5 Questions Answered,” Kelly Davio, co-publisher and poetry editor of Tahoma Literary Review and the former managing editor of The Los Angeles Review, does a great job explaining how the popular submission manager, Submittable, works from an editor’s point of view. The comments section to her post contains a lively, informative debate between Davio and Nathaniel Tower, founding editor of Bartelby Snopes, about the quirks of Submittable.
One of my most exciting recent finds is Sue Coletta’s website. The site is chock full of advice about writing crime fiction, as well as about literary life and writing in general. One of my favorite parts of the site is the Crime Writer’s Resources, which contains links to everything you need to know to ensure that your characters are committing plausible, factually accurate crimes.
If you subscribe to Coletta’s site, you will also receive her booklet, “50 Ways to Murder Your Fictional Characters,” which I can’t wait to get my hands on!
Whether you’re writing genre fiction or literary fiction that deals with crime, or any kind of writing at all that touches on crime, Sue Coletta’s website is not to be missed.
If you have suggestions about articles you’d like me to add, or topics you’d like me to research and report back on, or a more helpful way to organize my Writers’ Resources page, please feel free to add a comment below or to contact me through my Contact page.
Remember, I’m here to help!
Place here an image gallery shortcode (Add Media → Create Gallery) or video-page URL starting with http://
Thank you so much, Colette! I’ve now automated the process so the 50 Ways To Murder… booklet comes immediately. I’ll definitely have to check out the rest of your finds. Thanks so much for sharing!
Here’s a roundup I wrote of ten literary mags that are great options for nonfiction writers looking for homes for straightforward personal essays if you think it might be of help 🙂 http://librarienne.com/10-great-lit-mags-for-straightforward-personal-essays/20140819
Yay! So glad that in the end my comment came through =)