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2015 Recap and Link Roundup!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

*throws confetti*

Ah, yes, ‘tis the time of year again where I tell all my followers what happened this year even though a good many of y’all were here to see it anyway.

Whatever. I’m still gonna do it.

*slams down sheet of paper with statistics all over it*

BAM!

Most Views in One Day: May 25th, Movie Review: 50 to 1

Most Popular Post Day: Friday (holy crap does this mean I actually stuck to my schedule a little bit? Hell yes it does! *throws more confetti*)

Top 5 Blog Posts by Views:

  1. Jurassic World Rumors & Speculation
  2. Showing Western Pleasure Amid the Politics & Controversy
  3. Writing About Horses: Why They Aren't Like People
  4. Writing The Disciplines: Show Jumping
  5. Book Review: NIL by Lynne Matson
    1. ***Note: 2 of these posts were written back in 2014. How badass is that?! (My inner fangirl is screaming in delight that my Jurassic World post is my reigning most popular post. :D )

Adding on to those, I've spent the last few months completely overhauling WD, from a whole new site design to trying my hand at Tumblr and *gasp* that time I made Horseclicks' Top 50 Horse Blogs! (Sadly, new photos for the blog are still very low on my to-do list.)

Not bad for a chick still living on the edge of her seat & waiting for the inevitable day where The Big Move becomes an actual reality, huh? (SOON. SO VERY, VERY SOON I CAN TASTE IT.)

Not only was it a comparatively busy year for my bitty little blog, but it was a busy year for my Pinterest, too. I saved so many blog posts on writing that it took me FOREVER to filter through them & find the ones that were really worth adding to this list.

So, without further ado, the official list of All The Links I Found This Year That Helped Me Grow As A Writer. (Wow. That's a mouthful.)

Writing in General

Fuck You, Clean Reader: Authorial Consent Matters

This is basically Chuck Wendig ripping Clean Reader a new one because apparently now there's an app that censors/edits your work after it's been published. He makes some hella fine points in this beyond just the B.S. that is Clean Reader, as well.

Removing the Creeps From Romance

SOMEONE SAID IT. THANK YOU GOD, SOMEONE FINALLY SAID IT. And the writer gave options and alternatives, too, so the whiny pissbabies can shut up.

What is Theme? Deconstructing an Elusive Concept

This post was an absolute revelation for me. Theme has been stumping me for years, but then this post came out and OMG I GET IT HOLY SHIT. Read on if you, too, are or have ever been stumped by theme.

Is the Cliffhanger Ending Overrated?

No lie, guys, I'm one of those weirdos who loves a good cliffhanger, so reading this made me feel so much better about liking them so much. If you're planning to end any of your plot lines in a cliffhanger, this post and its comments are a must-read.

(That said, did you write a book with a cliffhanger-y ending? Are you looking for someone to review it? *grabby hands* GIVE IT TO MEEEEEE.)

10 Things New Writers MUST Know!

Nothing in this post is particularly shocking/revolutionary to me, but I'm chalking that up to my realist mentality. Still, it made the list because it's a good, solid, grounding reminder.

Characters

How "Strong Female Characters" Still End Up Weak and Powerless (Or, "Do They Pass the Action Figure Test?")

Another golden post by Chuck Wendig giving authors yet another way to make sure the women in their stories are proper characters.

The Zero-Fuckery Quick-Create Guide To Kick-Ass Characters (And All The Crazy Plot Stuff That Surrounds 'Em)

This. Because it saved my characters. Also by Chuck Wendig.

The Protagonist Problem: why is the hero or heroine so often the least interesting character in the book?

This is a great resource for fleshing out your main character if you've realized s/he has fallen a bit flat. The writer gives you a lot to consider when it comes to your main character, including whether you've picked the right one or not.

Writing With Color

This isn't one post, but a blog with a collection of many, many unbelievably helpful posts for writers. Basically, WWC is a tumblr blog run by a handful of exceptionally tolerant people of color who are sick and tired of being misrepresented in fiction and want to help writers do better. As a white writer who tries to write inclusively because it's just, y'know, realistic, this blog is an absolute wealth of information. I've come across questions/topics on this blog that I've wondered about, but wasn't sure how to approach my PoC friends about. WWC takes that awkwardness away completely. You need to follow this blog. Don't argue, just do it.

Drafting

Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions

Sweet baby Jesus in a manger. This is the Holy Grail of fantasy world building questions and 100% is what I used when I wrote my NaNoWriMo novel bible back in October. I pulled 12 hand-written pages of questions (JUST questions!) from this source alone. If you write fantasy, you need this. NEED IT, I SAY.

How Many Obstacles are on the Hero's Journey?

If you're ever stuck wondering how to fill the middle of your story up with fabulousness, give this a read. The writer deconstructs three bestselling YA novels--Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight--to give you real-world, tried-and-true advice on what to do with your middle. (And her doodles are so hella cute!)

How To Write A Novel Outline (Like the Lady Boss You Are!)

As a pantser, I'm allergic to outlines, but not to thinking about things, and boy did this outline give me a lot to think about while drafting my NaNoWriMo MS. There's a lot here to think about outside of the typical outlines you find online--it reminds me more of a business plan than anything and that meshes really well with me :)--so whether you're a planner or a pantser, giving this outline a look-see is probably a good idea.

Editing

Revisionist Attitude: Mentally Preparing for Revisions

Because editing is scary shit, folks. Being in the right frame of mind from the beginning is the way to go, and this post will help you get there.

Introducing the Beta Reading Worksheet!

If you're interested in seeking out beta readers but you aren't sure what to ask, or you're beta reading someone else's manuscript, this is a must-read. I borrowed several questions off of this when I approached beta readers, and they gave me such great critiques.

The Simple Pre-Proofing Checklist

This handy list is for when you forget how to dot your i's and cross your t's. (It happens to all of us at some point, don't worry.)

Blogging, Author Platforms, & Marketing

How to Plan for A Successful Book Launch

This is a fairly comprehensive list of what all you can do to prepare for your book launch. I know I'll be using this post when it comes time to launch my pretties.

Enter Marketing Mayhem: Marketing Tips for Authors

This thing is chock full of great advice and ideas. You need to read this.

Blogging Edumacation: Blog Giveaway Rules Part 1 and Part 2

Good God, there is so much I didn't know about how to run a legal blog giveaway. These are equal parts terrifying and enlightening, and 100% necessary reading for anyone considering a blog giveaway. Granted, both of these posts were written in 2013, so who knows what'll have changed since then, but it gave me a hella lot to think about & research. 

Your Blog Needs A Start Here Page

This post raised a lot of great points and inevitably led to the creation of my very own start here page, which has become one of my most-clicked pages. Whoo!

Blogs I subscribe to that I suggest you follow too:

Janice Hardy's Fiction University

Ink & Quills

She's Novel

Writing With Color (via tumblr)

Terrible Minds (Chuck's blog, in case you're wondering)

Dan Koboldt

Better Novel Project

Helping Writers Become Authors

...And the inevitable Jurassic Park posts!

(C'mon, guys. Y'all had to know this was coming.)

The Science of Jurassic Park

This is part of Dan Koboldt's Science in Science Fiction series and written by someone who is clearly just as much of a JP fan as I am, except the author in question has 25+ years experience as a microbiologist. Not me. I haven't even been alive 25 years.

"Jurassic Park" on Helping Writers Become Authors

Among the many amazeballs things K.M. Weiland does on her fabulous website is her series on the Jurassic Park series. She, like me, is a total JP fangirl and has written many a post using Jurassic Park or one of its sequels as an example. Rather than take you to a specific post, I just linked to the Jurassic Park query on her site. Feast your eyes!

If you want to keep up with all the fabulous blog posts I read throughout the year, rather than wait all the way until January 1, 2017 for my next link roundup, be sure you're following me on Pinterest!

I'll be getting back to reviewing books next week (mostly because I didn't feel like posting a review on New Year's Day and I haven't had time to read with the holidays, anyway). Additionally, if you're a New Year's resolution addict like me, come back tomorrow to see all my wild and crazy New Year's resolutions!

And, if you're wondering what happened to the third and final installment of my Shit I Learned During NaNo 2015 series, it'll be out next Tuesday. Hint: it's all about how to design a horse that's suitable for your fantasy novel while still achieving suspension of disbelief and not falling into Prince of Persia's Friesian-in-a-desert problem. (Ack! That just drives me nuts.)

Happy new year, y'all!