One of the things I have always loved to do is to pass on my knowledge and passions. It is this that has driven me to blog over the years, first about programming and technical matters and now about writing. In this vein from time to time I plan to post reviews up here, of books, websites and software, possibly even movies and television though I spend a lot less time watching and thinking about them; and I know a fair bit less about them than I do the others.
To kick off this review series I’d like to introduce all of you who haven’t yet stumbled across her to Paperback Writer, the blog of S.L. Viehl, writer of the Stardoc series amongst others.
For quite some time now I have been a big fan of S.L Viehl, dating from my time at Holly Lisle’s Forward Motion where I had the opportunity to meet her a few times. It was years later that I finally got around to reading the Stardoc books (which I recommend) and it was sometime afterwards that I found her website. Ever since it has been a regular on my RSS feeds.
PBW, the name she goes by on the website, fills her blog with an assortment of charming anecdotes and pictures, level-headed writing advice and satire that is not only humorous, but quite witty – something that seems more and more rare these days. Some of my favourite of her posts have been lightly poking her tongue out at the romance writers association. I’m not sure if she is a member in good standing anymore, likely not given that she does not seem too fond of their principles, but she is a romance writer as well as a science fiction author and in these posts is quite irreverent and insightful about the “rules” of writing romance.
Another of her regular pieces is the “ten” lists, where she lists ten resources she has found that she feels would be useful to her readers, many of which are obviously also writers. These lists regularly feature interesting little freeware software programs and recently have focused on links for NaNoWriMo participants.
She was also one of the most insightful commenters on the recent Scribd controversy, where the website which she had used to provide free ebooks for several years had decided, without consulting the content owners, to start charging for downloads of the content; in effect perpetrating a mass fraud whereby they sold content they did not own the rights to. Since that time she has been hosting her free ebooks on Google Docs, and the collection contains both short books on writing and a collection of templates for assisting in novel plotting and character development which I have personally found quite useful on several occasions.
In short, PBW easily makes my top-list of writers blogs as she provides a lot more than a simple marketing commentary of her upcoming books and events, but rather provides a commentary on many aspects of life itself. The blog is quite entertaining and I wholly recommend it.