Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 21-27, 2015

W00t! You wanted moar writerly goodness? Well, here it is!

In local publishing news, Latitude 46 moves into the void left by Your Scrivener Press. The Northern Life.

Listen to K.M. Weiland’s weekly podcast (and subscribe) or read her companion post. Last week’s offering: What every writer ought to know about omniscient point of view (POV).

How to make your secondary characters truly memorable. Katie’s Wednesday vlog.

Will readers find you protagonist worthy? Angela Ackerman on Writers Helping Writers.

The bigger the dream, the greater the resistance. When resistance pays you a compliment. Steven Pressfield.

The four dangers of writing and critique groups. The title says ‘hidden dangers,’ but they’re not really hidden. First-timers and eternal optimists might be blind to them, though. Jennie Nash on Jane Friedman’s blog.

How to write about guns without sounding like a doorknob. Benjamin Sobieck (who was much more polite about it that I was) guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog.

The Listen Inside podcast from Readers in the Know features chapter 2 from Veronica Sicoe’s The Deep Link.

The ten best literary love songs brought to you by Quirk Books.

BuzzFeed compiles their list of the 53 best opening lines in literature.

Not to be outdone, Penguin Random House offered its list of captivating first lines.

In case you weren’t already crushed by the weight of your unread book stack, BuzzFeed compiles this list of ALL 339 books referenced in Gilmour Girls.

i09 lists its essential cyberpunk reads.

ZDNet shares their list of 26 essential science fiction novels that will help you prepare for the future.

Where Japanese science fiction has been and where it’s going. Japanese Times.

The 2015 Sunburst Awards finalists announced on the CBC.

And here’s Quill & Quire’s piece on the awards.

The brilliant ideas that didn’t make it into Pixar’s Inside Out. i09.

I must say that Phil and I are enjoying Sense8 quite a bit. Then again, we love well-developed character and story. The slow burn is just fine with us. Here’s Bram E. Geiben’s take on season 1 for i09.

Moar season 2 fodder for your Droughtlander jonesing. Carter Matt.

See you on Thoughty Thursday!

Tipsday

Advertisements

Sundog snippet: Miscellaneous things are miscellaneous

Okay peoples.

This is just going to be a bunch of pictures.

I’ll put captions on them so you can figure out why I’m sharing them 😛

A visitor

A visitor

No past the bud blast yet, but I haz a flowers!

No past the bud blast yet, but I haz a flowers!

A friendship ball from my recently retired friends, Sue and Monique

A friendship ball from my recently retired friends, Sue and Monique

My office door. I went for the pattina this time.

My office door. I went for the pattina this time.

Or maybe I was just lazy. Either way, the door's done and hung. So there.

Or maybe I was just lazy. Either way, the door’s done and hung. So there.

And that’s it for this weekend of bloggage.

Next week: The Next Chapter June 2015 update will be coming up.

How to get published with Madeleine Callway and Wordstock Sudbury 2015

I know I’m a little tardy with this report, but after spending the day at Wordstock on Saturday, I was exhausted, and returning to work on Tuesday, so forgive me, but I’m not going to apologize outright.

So first up is Madeleine Harris-Callway’s “How to get published” workshop which took place on June 18.

To Madeleine, there are three main components: confidence, commitment, and courage. Her presentation focused on the traditional publishing industry because that’s where she’s had her experience and her success.

After introducing the group to her experience and to the state of publishing today, we moved onto the three C’s of publishing success.

I’ll go over each component in a little more detail below:

Confidence

Perfect your writing skills.

  1. Formal learning
  • Creative writing courses at universities and colleges.
    Cambrian College: The Essentials of Writing Fiction
    Correspondence courses: e.g. Humber College, Toronto
  • Writing workshops by established teachers.
    Brian Henry – Quick Brown Fox
  • Workshops and panels by published authors.
    Literary festivals
    Authors associations
    Public libraries
  1. Feedback on your work
  • Critique groups are essential to success
    Join and existing group, or form your own.
    Consider manuscript evaluation services or freelance editors
    Find them through professional associations or writing conferences.
    Explore mentoring programs
    Find them through professional associations, universities or colleges, or make a private agreement with an established author.
  1. Grow into a novel
  • Write short fiction first for magazines or anthologies
    Start a blog
  1. Writing awards and contests
  • An excellent way to get recognition for your writing
    Short story competitions
    Unpublished novel contests

Commitment

  1. Just write
  • Every day
    Use the ten minute rule (even if you don’t feel like it, try writing for 10 minutes – if you still want to stop, then stop)
    Critique groups provide motivation
  1. Network
  • Join writing associations
    Stay in touch with writers you’ve met
    Attend book launches
    Local author readings
    Attend literary festivals and conferences
  1. Social Media
  • Join online literary groups
    Connect to other writers through Facebook and Twitter
    Subscribe to online writing publications
    Join literary sites (e.g. Goodreads)

Courage

  1. Rejection is the norm
  2. Take heart – even famous authors were rejected
  3. Use strategy
  • Contact publishers in your genre only
    Study their websites
    Follow their submission guidelines to the letter
  • Edit your queries and proposals – eliminate typos and formatting mistakes
  • Multiple submissions are fine
    Follow up
  • Find an agent
    Study their websites
    Follow their submission guidelines to the letter
    Attend pitches at writing conferences
  • Consider small publishers
  • Consider epublishers

Then, Madeleine ended the evening with a Q&A session.

Having organized the session, I forgot to take pictures 😦

Wordstock Sudbury 2015

This was only the second edition of the festival, but the organizers made a number of improvements.

Friday night began with a reception at the Speakeasy, followed by the announcement of the Youth Writing Contest winners and “An evening with Terry Fallis and Sandra Shamas.”

Saturday started early with book table set up and the organization of the two venues for the workshops and panels at Sudbury Secondary School. Over at the Greater Sudbury Public Library, Danielle Daniel held a children’s story time.

As of 10:30 am, the workshops and panels began and continued right through until 5:15 pm. I’ll let you read the program on their web site to get the details if you wish.

Madeleine Callway readingI participated in the author readings at noon, attended the genre fiction panel at 1 pm, volunteered at the indie book table until 4 pm, and then caught the graphic novel panel.

After we closed up the book table, the venue moved to the Motley Kitchen at 6 pm for a dinner and performance by Corin Raymond, back to Sudbury Secondary for Cheryl Cecchetto’s book launch, and finally back to the Motley Kitchen for Spoken Word After Dark.

It was a busy day. Hence the tired.

Wordstock Sudbury 2015 was a success, in my opinion, but it has room to develop and grow as a literary festival.

I’m looking forward to the next iteration.

Genre Panel

Graphic Novel Panel

Up next: I’m getting miscellaneous.

Ad Astra 2015 day 2: What’s your punk?

Panellists: Ian Keeling, Angela Keeley, Gemma Files

What's your punk? panel

AK: What is a –punk?

IK: Punk, to me, is an attitude. Skate punk, for instance. It’s anti-authoritarian. You find it in video games and anime.

GF: When you punk a genre, you’re deconstructing it.

AK: Punk comes from the music of the same name but is most closely identified with industrial and Goth sub-cultures. It’s an aesthetic. You can have diesel punk, steam punk, and desert punk (think Tank Girl or Mad Max).

GF: It can also transfer from fashion into fiction. “I’ve made this persona and I want a story that this persona can exist in.”

Q: How do you world build in a punk setting?

GF: There’s an element of alternative history. What if the industrial revolution had gotten stuck in the steam age? You look to the relevant historical period and research.

IK: You have to do enough research to make your world feel authentic.

AK: It’s retro-futurism. In fiction, look to H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), and Marlowe (Faust).

Q: I’d like to write in a(n) (Art) Deco punk setting. What should I aim for in terms of aesthetic?

GF: The aesthetic of an age is always attached to other things.

AK: Think of Gotham in Tim Burton’s Batman. The tortured but beautiful body was a fascination of the age. The 20’s were glittery and then the Great Depression happened.

Q: We haven’t mentioned cyberpunk yet. What about The Difference Engine?

AK: Charles Babbage was the inventor of the Babbage Engine, or the difference engine. In fiction the invention/thing itself is aware.

Q: Are there any contemporary punks?

AK: It’s hard to write an alternative history about now.

GF: Karl Schrader is a futurist, or rather an “ambiguist.” His question is, how do we make complicated ideas simple/accessible through story? The future is the only period that is wholly ambiguous.

AK: Colonialism belongs in this conversation. It has the transgressive and rebellious aspects required for a punk. Punk is always dystopian. Otherwise it’s gaslight fantasy. The prevailing mood of a dystopia is distrust of government.

IK: I’d argue that we live in a flawed society, not a dystopia.

GF: The horror iteration is splatter punk. It’s extreme in everything. It’s a response to mainstream horror authors like Stephen King, whom some people view as “tame.”

IK: Has punk lost its meaning?

AK: I don’t think so. Look at A Knight’s Tale. That’s medieval punk.

GF: Punk is intended to be offensive and in your face.

IK: Chaucer was a rowdy, irreverent writer. Was he punk, or meta? Is postmodernism the original punk?

GF: The Dadaists, maybe.

AK: Punk lacks the self-awareness of meta or postmodernism. A Clockwork Orange was not punk. It was a visceral reaction to the direction Burgess saw society heading in.

Q: Can you punk gender? How do you write a gender neutral being?

IK: Choose a pronoun/word and use it consistently, but realize that it will make your book more obscure/niche.

And that was time.

This was one of the most interesting panels I attended. It had a distinctively academic/intellectual bent that I kind of appreciated.

Tomorrow: How to get published with M.H. Callway, and Wordstock Sudbury. And things might get a little miscellaneous 😉

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 14-20, 2015

A couple of fraught issues to start you off today, and then we move through psych and science to some feel-good at the end.

Jon Stewart on the Charleston church shooting:

The RCMP report that there have been 1,118 missing or murdered aboriginal women since 1980. CTV News.

13 brave, indigenous women share their stories of how they almost joined the missing. McLean’s.

Delilah S. Dawson isn’t going to tear you down. She’s going to build you up. Whimsy Dark.

Can diet shape your mental health? Gives a whole new meeting to ‘you are what you eat’ 🙂 The Globe and Mail.

The genetic link between creativity and mental illness has been found. Collective Evolution.

Why Finland’s teachers are different. The Guardian.

They’ve discovered the compound responsible for ‘old person smell.’ Mental Floss.

The link between stress, creativity, and orgasm: Naomi Wolf writes about the vagina in her new book. BrainPickings.

Take a look at this adorable octopus. What are scientists thinking of naming it? Adorabilis 🙂 BoredPanda.

How jellyfish put themselves back together. The National Geographic.

How does a creature reproduce when it’s actually four creatures? On man o’ wars and other siphonophores. i09.

Kayakers have a close encounter with a whale 🙂

Dogs will snub people who are mean to their owners. IFLS.

Kangaroos are lefties (and why handedness is rare in animals). The National Geographic.

I shared a post a few weeks ago about how mice were shown to have inherited their parents’ fears. Well, here’s another article on the subject. Science Gymnasium.

NASA is one step closer to its mission to Europa. i09.

Dr. Michelle Thaller: We are all dead stars. The Atlantic.

Yes, androids do dream of electric sheep. The Guardian.

Darwin’s grandfather once thought up a plan that would destroy the world. i09.

The Barra McNeils and Ashley McIsaac in Windsor:

Hope you have lots of great ideas this week!

See you Saturday.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 14-20, 2015

Another wonderful week for Writerly Goodness!

What’s the key event and how is it different from the inciting incident and the first plot point? I know I still forget the distinctions. K.M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors.

And here’s Katie’s Wednesday vlog: How to write a riveting characteristic moment.

Roz Morris shares her experience with repetitive stress injury (RSI).

Kassandra Lamb guests on Jami Gold’s blog: Nine psychology myths you need to avoid.

Tips on picking up the pace from Rebecca LuElla Miller.

Learn about the magic systems of Brandon Sanderson. Tor.com.

Five ways first contact could turn into an epic fail. Veronica Sicoe.

Neil Gaiman offers his thoughts on why stories last. (w/ Podcast) BrainPickings.

Liz Bourke ponders how we speak of strong female characters. This post refers to others I’ve shared in past weeks and takes it in a slightly different direction. Very interesting. Tor.com.

How can you keep readers from hating your characters? Jody Hedlund.

Beth Revis posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: How do you know you’re ready to publish? Agent Carly Watters of P.S. Literary wrote on the same topic last week 🙂

Dave King explores our motivations for writing. Writer Unboxed.

Kameron Hurley asks, why are we self-publishing? Locus.

Porter Anderson takes a look at Hugh Howey’s promotion of self-publishing and what it really means in the context of the continually evolving publishing industry. Thought Catalog.

Related: Nielsen Book’s latest results indicate that self-publishing is more like traditional publishing. Publishing perspectives.

Amazon changes its terms for KDP select. The Digital Reader.

Why I teach diverse literature. The Toast.

What librarians wish we knew about how to use a library. i09.

Authors share the places that inspire them. FlavorWire.

Ten books you should read before you see the movie. The Huffington Post.

Mark Twain’s advice to little girls. BrainPickings.

This is fun 🙂 Classic novels with clickbait titles. BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed shares 22 book-themed gifts for readers.

Watch the Scooby Doo crew’s fashion evolve through the last century. i09.

The first set photos of the new all-female Ghostbusters! i09.

Mike Hale states that Game of Thrones the series is going the way of Lost . . . What do you think? The New York Times.

Here are Charlie Jane Anders’s suggestions about how to fix Game of Thrones. Is it even possible? i09.

How Terry Dresbach’s costumes bring history to life on Outlander. Variety.

Orphan Black’s season finale: history yet to be written. It was awesome (IMO). The Wall Street Journal.

See you Thursday 🙂

Tipsday

Ad Astra 2015 day 2: High quality self-publishing

Panellists: Beverly Bambury, Caro Soles, Catherine Fitzsimmons, Samantha M. Beiko, Stephen Kotowych, Mark Leslie

Self-publishing panel

ML: When you self-publish, do you use your own name?

CS: It’s not professional.

BB: If it’s a small publisher that no one has ever heard of, why not use your own name?

SMB: It doesn’t really matter. The book will speak for itself.

SK: Using your professional name adds credibility.

ML: I run Kobo Writing Life for small publishers and independent authors. The top 15 to 20 best selling Kobo books are independently published.

BB: Does Kobo offer supports?

ML: We’re looking into how to best connect authors and services. There are a lot of predators out there. We should be bringing out something later this year.

BB: Supports vary. Authors have to do more regardless.

SMB: An author will finish writing and editing a book and say, “Well, that was a nightmare.” Fasten your seatbelts, people: it gets worse.

ML: What’s your best advice to the author considering self-publication?

CS: Join writers’ organizations. You find out what’s going on in publishing. Hire a copyeditor.

SMB: Come out to events like this one. Everyone really wants to help everyone else.

SK: Don’t spam people. Offer something of value.

CF: Don’t skimp on the cover, but be smart. Shop around.

CS: I do my own covers. You just have to learn how.

BB: Someone with a graphic design background could be better than an artist. Invest in an editor.

CS: A beautifully written story, if poorly copy edited, will lose competitions for awards and other opportunities.

ML: A good cover catches attention. A good back cover copy reels readers in. Write your next book. Nothing sells you last book like your next book.

CS: An ebook cover has to look good in thumbnail form.

CF: Check out Kindle cover disasters on Tumblr.

Q: You mentioned two different kinds of editors. Could you elaborate?

SMB: There are substantive editors. They look at the big picture, structural stuff. They can cost a lot. A copyeditor or line editor looks at sentence structure, grammar, and syntax. Is this the best way to convey your intent? A proof reader looks at spelling and punctuation.

ML: Who’s looking at the revised copy? If you have beta readers, ask them, “Where did you fall out of the story?”

CF: With beta readers, the more the better.

ML: Beware the hype of the Kindle gold rush. Don’t look at self-publishing as your ticket. It’s a long term game, not a quick buck.

BB: As a publicist, I have people coming to me with unrealistic expectations.

Q: What are your thoughts on giving away your work for free?

CF: You shouldn’t start that way. If you have a complete series, then offer the first for free. If readers like it, they’ll buy the rest of the series.

ML: Kobo uses free in different ways. It works best when the call to action is to buy the author’s next book (series or otherwise).

SMB: If you have a novella, don’t give it away for free. It’s considered an exclusive item. Give it a limited run.

ML: Let’s run the numbers. Say you offer a book for free and 10,000 people download it. Of those 10,000, maybe 2,000 will open the book. Of those, only 350 will finish it. Of those, only 175 will buy the next book.

Q: How do you balance everything?

CS: That’s up to you.

SK: Schools can be a goldmine.

And that’s all we had time for.

Next week: Ad Astra gets punked 😉

And sorry folks, you’ll have to wait until next weekend for my report on Madeleine Callway’s workshop and Wordstock. I’m bushed.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 7-13, 2015

There’s a little bit of somethin’ somethin’ for everyone 🙂

Here was the thoughty controversy of the week: Tim Hunt doesn’t want women in the lab. Why? Because they fall in love with their male coworkers, they distract their male coworkers, and they cry (there’s no crying in science!).

So, of course, after making the statement, Hunt quit. That didn’t stop these ladies from taking it out of him with #distractifyinglysexy 🙂

Understanding the sensitive heart. The Elephant Journal.

This is for anyone who has had to watch a loved one die. There is something poetic about being there to witness the final struggle, even if the struggle is not a physical one. To sit with death. The Elephant Journal.

Sarah Knight left a job because happiness is more important to her than commitment. Quartz.

Which countries are the happiest? Find out in this article from 24/7 Wall St. Canada’s in there, but the Scandinavians rule (apparently)!

Indigenous cultures have less back pain. Why is that? NPR.

Baba Yaga’s House, a feminist alternative to seniors’ homes, opens in Paris. RFI.

Eight feminist lessons from Jane Austen. Bustle.

The psychology of inspirational women: Veronica Mars. Janina Scarlet for The Mary Sue.

Caitlyn Jenner got Vi Hart thinking about gender. Honest and awesome.

Sarah Jones delivers a sex talk from the future by way of six characters. Amazing TED Talk.

Margaret Atwood speaks out about Bill C-51. The National Observer.

The problem with patterns. The Creativity Post.

Find out more about the SEAL team that’s famous for taking out Osama Bin Laden. The New York Times.

The moon terminator illusion. Vsauce.

Did the dinosaurs really go extinct? It’s okay to be smart.

Eek! If a Boomslang bites you, you bleed to death (out of every orifice – ew). IFLS.

Here’s a little futuristic retro for you: This is what 1956 marketers thought 1976 roads would be like. Popular Mechanics.

13 rarely seen photos of Marilyn Monroe. Elle. She was such a beautiful woman.

This tribute to a beloved dog will have you bawling. But it is SO beautiful. Denali. Bustle.

So kawaii! A family of weasels scales a wall. The Telegraph.

And in case the song at the end of the Denali video got to you like it got to me:

Now go get that squishy grey thing of yours into gear 🙂

I’m off to get ready for the M.H. Callway workshop taking place in Sudbury this evening.

I will probably not post on Saturday this week because of Wordstock, but I’ll post Ad Astra and Wordstock reportage on Sunday. Ok? Ok. S’alright? S’alright!

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 7-13, 2015

Yeehaw! It’s another great week for Writerly Goodness 🙂

So this was a thing: Irene Gallo, a Tor employee made a personal statement in the comments of her personal Facebook account about the Sad Puppies (if you don’t know who they are, Google it) and was given a public scolding by her employer.

Here are some reactions:

Kameron Hurley.

Chuck Wendig.

Maureen Johnson and Holly Black defend their writerly friends.

A little local literary news about Wordstock. The Sudbury Star. It’s happening this weekend 🙂

Anna Lovind wrote this absolutely amazing post: A letter from the psych ward. The Blog.

Allison M. Dickson blogs about generalized anxiety, or, when your brain makes you think you’re dying. Because writing.

K.M. Weiland posted another in her most common writing mistakes series. Part 41: Inferring non-POV characters’ thoughts.

The only thing you need to know about writing strong, female characters. Katie’s Wednesday vlog.

Bruce Holsinger wrote this great post for Writer Unboxed on how to find you mythic theme.

Jefferson Smith, the creativity hacker, explains why readers bail on books (so we won’t make the same mistakes).

Though Extra Credits is a gaming channel on YouTube, the “awesome-per-second” rule is definitely Writerly Goodness!

Here’s part two of Mary Robinette Kowal’s interview on Adventures in SF Publishing. Told you I’d share 🙂

Sword and Laser interviews Beth Cato.

Check out these summer reads by award-winning SF women from Glamour (who knew?).

Stephen L. Carter responds to Ursula K. LeGuin’s anti-Amazon article (you may remember, I shared it last week). Bloomberg Review.

Anne Roiphe: A life 50 years in the writing. Publishers Weekly.

How Canadian writers changed The New Yorker. The National Post.

Wayson Choy talks about life, death, and the hallucinations that saved him. CBC.

You may have to turn up the volume a bit for this one, but it’s well worth it. Sheila from Dala (she’s the la) performs an intimate arrangement of W.B. Yeats’s “When you are old.”

Caitlin McDonald shared this cool thing of the day: The Last Bookstore.

You know you’re a serious book collector when . . . The Antiquarian.

Look at these 29 book-inspired tattoos. Buzzfeed. Breathtaking? I dunno.

Ok. I know this just marks me as a HUGE geek, but Reboot is coming back and it makes me #furiouslyhappy! The Huffington Post.

An Outlander wrap post, courtesy of Access Hollywood.

What do you think of the season two casting? Access Hollywood.

Whew! Gotta love the linkage 🙂

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Sundog snippet: Sewer, stove, and refinishing update

On Monday morning, the crew arrived to start digging up the driveway and replace the old, clay sewer pipe. Apparently the locates were finally done on Friday (though I was watching for them, and I didn’t see anyone . . .). So, yay!

The trenchening

I was quickly exiled from the house, though, when they had to move the stairs (our one remaining set).

The trenchening continued

Everything was excavated by the end of day on Monday. They reassembled the steps at the front door so we could get in and out of the house.

Tuesday morning, however, in the process of removing our pipe and compacting fill at the bottom of the trench, the crew uncovered a leak in my mom’s sewer pipe (about two feet over from ours).

Tuesday morning

So they had to replace a 12 foot length of her pipe as well.

Wednesday morning, they were here for about an hour to top up the fill under the side door and move the steps back into place.

Wednesday morning

And now we won’t have to worry about roots in our line.

Wednesday morning part 2

Unfortunately, the paving crew, the retaining wall people, and the carpenter who is supposed to build the new set of front steps, have not shown up.

But progress! Yay!

I started refinishing my office door (finally). It’s one of the things I wanted to do before my leave was over. With one week left, I figured I should get on that . . .

Stripping the door

And yesterday, our new stove arrived.

Shiny new stove

So all is well. For now. Will keep you posted on the paving and other stuff as things happen.

TTFN! Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Sundog snippet