Review of D.G. Valdron’s The Mermaid’s Tale

About the book:

themermaidstaleIn a city of majesty and brutality, of warring races and fragile alliances, a sacred mermaid has been brutally murdered. An abomination, a soulless Arukh is summoned to hunt the killer. As the world around the Arukh drifts into war and madness, her search for justice leads her on a journey to discover redemption and even beauty in the midst of chaos.

Published by Five Rivers Publishing.

My thoughts:

The Mermaid’s Tale is a fable of personhood wrapped in a murder mystery framed by a fantasy setting, peopled by familiar races that are presented in subtly original ways.

Valdron’s protagonist has no name. Most Arukh (orcs) don’t. The few that have been so graced have earned their names by distinguishing themselves from their mad and murderous brethren. Each race has its own name for the Arukh, but all of them translate to either abomination, or abortion.

The Arukh are the sterile offspring of vampires and goblins and considered to be soulless. They are housed in lodges and governed by trolls, dwarves, or vampires and are largely used as expendable troops in warfare, which the various races engage in frequently with one another.

Something horrible has happened, though. A mermaid, one of a race considered sacred, has been brutally murdered. The selk call upon the Arukh to investigate and find the killer. It is implied that this particular Arukh is known for her skill in this area, but not why.

As she investigates, the trail of the killer leads the Arukh to each of the races in turn and the world is eventually fleshed out very cleverly in the form of told tales and legends. The mystery is what first draws readers in, but the world and its stories are what compel readers to continue turning pages.

Valdron’s world is a young one of unmitigated violence and the Arukh’s life is one of degradation. She fails repeatedly in her quest and makes many wrong assumptions, but for all that, the story itself is one of hope and redemption and the climax and denouement are both satisfying and bittersweet.

Readers will be left wanting more (moar!) of Valdron’s world and more of his surprisingly complex protagonist.

I lurved The Mermaid’s Tale.

My rating:

Five out of five stars. I did say lurve, didn’t I?

About the author:DGValdron

Den Valdron, is a reclusive writer, originally from New Brunswick, currently living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Over the years, he has published in print and online a variety of short stories of speculative fiction, and articles on obscure pop culture topics.

Like many writers, his previous occupations have included mechanic, carpenter, schoolteacher, journalist and ditch-digger. He is currently an aboriginal rights lawyer.

He loves B-movies and tries to be nice to people. The Mermaid’s Tale is his first published novel.

You can connect with Den on Facebook.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 17-23, 2016

Less angsty this week, as promised, but there’s still some serious.

Germany finally apologizes for its other genocide—more than a century later. Lynsey Chutel for Quartz.

Physician groups representing 426,000 doctors demand a stop to gun violence. American Psychiatric Association.

How Americans came together after Orlando. Conor Friedersdorf for The Atlantic.

Jim C. Hines considers another pointless police shooting.

Ok. New direction.

Twelve female activists who are changing the world. Joe McCarthy for Global Citizen.

Got privilege? What Lori Lakin Hutcherson told a white friend asked her opinion about white privilege. Good Black News.

Why I’m a racist. Not what you think. Just read it. Beyond the Glass Wall.

Dr. Nadine Caron is Canada’s first female First Nations surgeon. CBC’s the Current.

Canadian doctors have successfully reversed the effect of MS in a patient using stem cells. Notable.ca

Chris Hadfield: Questions for a Star Man. Nova’s secret life of scientists and engineers.

 

Hubble takes a long look into the heart of the crab nebula. Phil Plait for Slate. Later, he shares a year of Earth’s days in time lapse.

A walk in the woods: how walks are improving mental health. S.A. Mathieson for The Guardian.

Jen Granneman lists twelve things every highly sensitive person needs. Introvert, dear.

Another brief dip, but it’s important.

Lauren McKeon breaks fifteen years of silence. Toronto Life.

The real reason women love witches. Anne Theriault for The Establishment.

Buzzfeed presents seventeen maps that will change the way you view the world.

An orca rescue on Newsiosity.

The Oregon Supreme Court rules that dogs are sentient beings and not merely property. Bark Post.

And on that positive note, I bid thee adieu.

Until the weekend.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 17-23, 2016

I am pleased to present your informal writerly learnings for the week.

K.M. Weiland: four ways to verify if your story concept is strong enough. Helping writers become authors. Also: four places to find the best story conflict.

You know what your novel means, but does your reader? Roz Morris advises that you approch the problem with two mindsets. Nail your novel.

Liz Lazzara guest posts on Writer Unboxed. Storytelling: an exercise in empathy.

Jeanne Kisacky: the synergy of the first draft, whether you trim or embellish. Writer Unboxed.

Dan Blank presents a hobbit’s guide to launching your book. Writer Unboxed.

Pamela Hodges lists fourteen books that should be on every writer’s shelf. The Write Practice.

Jennifer Louden guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: five ways to develop your writer’s voice.

Karen Woodward: never give up your dreams.

Chris Winkle offers seven common causes of reader confusion. Mythcreants.

Gail Carriger lends her expertise to Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. How to write (and how not to write) an author bio.

Derek Newman-Stille interviews Kate Story for Through the Twisted Woods.

The Writer’s Block features Matt Murphy.

Victoria (V.E.) Schwab writes about the slow pursuit of overnight success.

Writing as resistance. Chris Hedges for Truth Dig.

Keeping up with the Wangs. (SF related.) The Economist.

Grant Munroe interviews Margaret Atwood for Literary Hub.

Gabrielle Bellot explains why Calvin and Hobbes is great literature. Literary Hub.

This live-action Futurama fan film is both incredibly impressive and creepy. Bryan Menegus for i09.

Coldplay and Michael J. Fox play a tribute to Back to the Future. The Hollywood Reporter.

The Vulture lists every major film reference in Stranger Things. This series is full of homage. Lurve.

John Squires shares what Stephen King thinks about Stranger Things. iHorror.

Germain Lussier presents the first Wonder Woman trailer. Yum! i09

Come back Thursday ya’ll and get ya’s some thoughty 🙂

Tipsday

The Canadian Writers’ Summit 2016: Achieving your dream: the shadow side

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that needs correction or clarification, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com

Panellists: Suzanne Alyssa Andrew, Carrie Snyder, Maria Meindl, Heidi Reimer, Sarah Henstra (Moderator)

theshadowside

SH: Everyone talks about the struggle that precedes publication, but what about what happens afterward?

[Panellists introduced.]

What’s been your experience with the shadow side?

HR: I’ve been thinking about this because I achieved my creative goals and felt things nobody I knew had ever mentioned. I finished my novel and I felt depressed rather than elated. My spouse is an actor and he’s experienced in the art of letting go. In his world, it’s a recognized thing that all actors experience. It’s not in mine. When I won the Chatelaine contest, I was elated, and then terrified. I looked up their distribution and readership on line. That amount of exposure made me feel vulnerable. I physically recoiled. Something intensely private was about to become public. I talked to friends about my distress.

MM: I feel like I’ve confronted the connection between success and darkness in my life. My grandmother was Mona Gould. By the time I was a child in the 60’s, her poem, “This was My Brother at Dieppe” was everywhere. When her success faded, she turned to alcohol and became bitter. What I learned from that experience is that success is harmful. It can destroy you. When she died, I received boxes of her materials. It took me five years to sort through it. She started promoting her work at the age of eleven. Her poem was sponsored by an arms manufacturer, but she was a pacifist. She didn’t feel she could object. Now I understand that it’s not success that’s destructive, but the lack of a forum and the means to use it.

CS: I always wanted to be a writer. As I was driving in from Waterloo, I tried to figure out what that seven-year-old girl’s impulse was. I focused everything on becoming an author. I published by first book at the age of twenty-nine. It was written when I was twenty-six. It was another eight years before I published my second novel. In 2012, The Juliet Stories came out and was nominated for a Governor General’s Award. It was a huge moment for me. I embraced the high and I rode it. I wasn’t prepared for not winning, though. I mean, I knew I wasn’t going to but knowing it and experiencing it are two different things. They informed us ahead of the public announcement and I sat with the secret for a week. I felt ashamed. I was afraid of disappointing my kids and everyone else who’d been so supportive of me and my book. I didn’t know how to cope with it. I am so grateful for my blog because I was able to get my experience out there. I almost changed careers. I had my acceptance to McMaster’s midwifery program in one hand and the offer for The Girl Runner in the other. I thought I’d made a mistake in pursuing my dream. Now I’m making a living as a writer. It’s wonderful and it’s amazingly difficult at the same time. It’s hard to be here and to be vulnerable in front of you.

SAA: Everything you’ve all said resonates. I’ve just published my first novel and I, too, have always wanted to be a writer. I went on a book tour and it was the first time my family had heard me read my work. I play bass in a band. It’s a group, a community. We share. In literary circles, I find there’s a lack of transparency, especially about publishing in Canada. I think the reality’s worse than any of us realize. There’s a lot of pressure to market your own book. I invested in promotion. I’m a freelance writer. I don’t regret making that investment. At the time I figured, I’ll worry about it later. Well, it’s later and I’m feeling the financial impact. I have second book paralysis, knowing how hard it was promoting my first. Musicians are open and honest about the challenges. They offer each other advice and strategies. Authors in Canada don’t talk about these issues. We’re worried about seeming ungrateful. It’s very isolating. We need to be more vocal as a community.

SH: Can any of you comment further on shame and vulnerability?

CS: You’re novel is something you’ve worked on for years. It will be judged. There will be reviews. I’m a private person. I work through things in writing. It doesn’t feel right to be so exposed. To create anything of value, you have to go there, though. I was terrified of being changed by success. I can deal with rejection, but I have no experience in dealing with success.

SAA: It’s about being a creative person in the public sphere. You can get so involved in the persona you adopt for the media that you can start to feel schizophrenic. We don’t express our real feelings on social media. Everyone else seems more successful, happier. You compare yourself to others and find yourself wanting. There’s another reality to the one presented on Facebook.

HR: When I was published for the first time (I wrote an essay about the experience) I suffered anxiety and panic attacks. If it’s not discussed openely, everyone thinks it’s only them. I have a novel on submission. I received a rejection and felt relief. I know what to do with rejection. A ‘yes’ involves a whole other world. I was happy to stay in my identity as a rejected writer. You have to redefine yourself in light of success.

SH: Is this a question of gender? We’re all women on this panel.

MM: There’s a line between the inner and outer worlds of the author. There’s a free-floating shame still attached to being a woman and a woman writer in particular. Hélène Cixous once asked, “write? With what right?” We’ve internalized this social message. It’s about taking charge of the narrative. Take hold of the narrative. Be heard. It’s a gendered issue.

CS: Are there any men authors in the audience?

Aud: Yes. When the questions was asked, all the women were nodding and the men were shaking their heads. We don’t talk about the shadow side.

MM: The word authorship, etymologically, it means leadership, mastery. As a woman, I didn’t feel welcomed into that world.

SH: Many authors speak of their novels as their ‘book babies.’ There’s a stigma to post-partum depression. You’re not allowed to feel down after having a human baby. Have you found anything that helps?

SAA: Being someone who had this dream, I had high expectations. Being in a band dialled those expectations back. Check your expectations. Talk about it with other authors. What does success mean to you?

CS: Create a safe, private space in which to create. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t create while you’re doing publicity. It’s not what I thought the job was. I have to remember why I write. I have to turn off all of my expectations. I’m still a writer, even if I never get published again. I wanted to make a living as a writer. I have. But there are worse things than not making a living as a writer.

HR: I did a releasing ritual. I needed to get all of that stuff out. Society says you should be happy. I felt loss. I had to write it out. I had to acknowledge the feelings and affirm what I wanted.

SH: How do you not miss the moment because you’re rushing on to the next fifty things you have to do? You have to celebrate your successes. Ania Szado says you also have to honour your losses.

MM: When my book came out, my Rabbi did a blessing over the book. It was a wonderful thing, on the Sabbath, so, no selling, no pressure. We were just honouring a life event.

SH: Do you want to say something about your definition of success?

MM: The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much others define success for us. We also internalize those definitions and move the bar.

CS: My ‘word of the year’ was success. It terrified me. To everyone else, it looks like success. To me, it doesn’t feel like success. It has a lot to do with what we expect.

SAA: Amy Winehouse’s definition of success was to sing. That’s it. When she got big, she imploded.

Q: What issues turn you on to writing?

CS: I write because I have something to say. Later, the issues grow out of what I’ve written.

SAA: Despite all the challenges of writing, we all have something to say. The joy of writing is in expressing something, of speaking to your readers.

Q: How do you relate to your readers and how is that relationship affected by the shadow side?

MM: I used to be more involved in small press publication. A man bought my book for a dollar and then returned later to tell me that he was moved. It was a wonderful feeling.

SAA: I started out on fire about online marketing. Eventually, I felt like I was speaking into the void. It wasn’t until I went on tour that I felt it was real. I could talk to people. Writers are rarefied outside Toronto.

CS: I was at a writers’ festival in BC and a woman gave me an envelope. In her letter she asked me how I had known her so intimately? She felt like I had written for her, to her. It was humbling.

SH: When I launched Mad Miss Mimic last year, a girl bought the book, sat down, and didn’t stop reading all night. My favourite thing is when parents send me pictures of their kids reading the books. It’s old school. One reader can change your world.

Q: What kind of support do you look for?

SAA: I get the best support from other writers. I have a wonderful agent, Samantha Haywood, and she held my hand through the process.

Q: What strategy do you use to deal with criticism?

CS: I bounce back really quickly now. I’m as polite as possible in person. Privately, I allow myself 24 hours of bleakness, and then I get over it.

SAA: A lot of critique says more about the critic than the writer.

Q: Do you get requests for information from aspiring writers?

CS: Yes. I have advice on my blog. I’ll respond to individual requests for advice from friends.

HR: Take me out for lunch and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.

Q: How do you deal with family stuff?

HR: I write what I write and when it goes out into the world, I panic. The Chatelaine article reveals some personal information about my relationship with my dad. I had to tell him when I heard that it would be published. I was worried, but it was good. It’s best to deal with it directly.

And that was time.

Next week, I’m going to post another book review.  It’s a five-star so you can look forward to that 🙂

Be well until next I post, my friends.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 10-16, 2016

There’s a lot of terrible things happening in the world today. Don’t worry I’m not all about the doom and gloom . . . just mostly.

A black police chief speaks out about the Dallas attacks. Juleyka Lantigua-Williams for The Atlantic.

Mother Jones shares President Obama’s speech at the Dallas Memorial.

Jim C. Hines offers some thoughts and links on Black Lives Matter.

Harvard study on police shootings and race offers some surprising results. The Tribunist. A friend conscientiously pointed me in the direction of a couple of other interpretations. Roland Fryer answers reader questions about his Harvard study. Amanda Cox for The New York Times. Dara Lind explains why she’s skeptical of Fryer’s study. Vox.

Henry Rollins: white America couldn’t handle what black America deals with every day. The L.A Times. My favourite bit: “I’m an educated, Caucasian, heterosexual male. Does this ensure I will have success and live the American Dream? Obviously it doesn’t, but it damn sure drops me on second base with a great opportunity to steal third.”

Locally, Paula Wharton invited the police chief to her home to talk race relations. CBC.

Scott Gilmore says that Canada’s racism problem is even worse than America’s. MacLean’s Magazine, January 22, 2015. I’d have preferred a more balanced look at the way both countries treat our Native North American peoples, or how we both treat our people of colour. Mixing it up doesn’t present either population in a way from which we could draw meaningful conclusions or find ways to take positive, supporting action.

Another  Canadian tragedy: Taliyah Marsman’s body found. CBC.

Well, this is no surprise . . . Canadians’ moral compass set differently from that of our neighbours to the south. Bruce Anderson and David Coletto present research for Abacus Data.

Let’s try for a little of the uplift, now.

Tara Isabella Burton explains why you should study theology, even if you don’t believe in god. The Atlantic.

The real story of the woman behind the Migrant Mother Depression era photos. The Vintage News.

Laurie Penny reports on life-hacks for the poor and aimless. What’s the real message behind the trend of self-care? The Baffler.

The Hurrian Hymn dates back to 1400 B.C. and it’s totally amazing 🙂 The Vintage News.

The spoon theory as explained by Christine Miserandino. ButYouDontLookSick.com

This photo of the Milky Way, taken in Namibia, looks like it was taken in the daytime. Photos are tricky. Phil Plait for Slate. He also presents evidence of a planet orbiting in a triple star system. Hubble shows us a beauty that hides a beast.

Jason Daley reports on a mission to Marianas Trench that records dozens of crazy deep sea creatures. Smithsonian Magazine.

This cyborg stingray is the coolest thing you’ll see all day. George Dvorsky for Gizmodo. Later in the week, George writes about ten predictions that should scare the hell out of you. Great fodder for SF? Methinks so!

Open Culture presents a 1965 video of Joni Mitchell performing . . . before she was Joni Mitchell.

I hope you’ve managed to pull some inspiration from this lot. I aim to be more uplifting next week. But we’ll see what fresh hell 2016 offers.

Practice gratitude. Breathe.

Be well.

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 10-16, 2016

Got some goodies for you this week 🙂

Roz Morris shares three steps to a smoother writing style. Nail your novel.

If you just keep writing, will you get better? Barbara Baig guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog. Later in the week, Elizabeth Sims guests with this post: internal dialogue is the greatest tool for gaining reader confidence.

K.M. Weiland offers seven reasons you need story theory. Helping writers become authors. She returns with more lessons from Marvel: how to write subtext in dialogue.

MJ Bush brings her usual awesome in her advanced techniques (and insights) for jaw-dropping dialogue. Writingeekery.

Sophie Masson shares a few tips on writing fiction for middle grade audiences. Writer Unboxed.

David Corbett builds on Heather Bouwman’s WU post of the week previous with Sisyphus, happiness, and the Abyss.

Lisa Cron explains why it’s crucial to write ugly. Writer Unboxed.

Marcy Kennedy returns with part three of her reading as a writer series (with links to part 1 and part 2).

Elizabeth Kauffman rounds up some of the DIYMFA launch team’s posts from the last weeks (with a lovely nod to one by yours truly). Gabriela Pereira interviews Emma Straub for DIYMFA Radio. And then Andree Neal writes a guest post for DIYMFA (you might notice her in the round up, as well).

S.L. Huang guest posts on Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds on the subject of manpain (!)

David D. Levine: a passion for Mars. Tor.com

Posche Burke: on white writers, ‘daring’ topics, and the unappreciated legacy of Octavia Butler. The National Post.

Ayodeji Awosika shares the undisputed secret to becoming a great writer.  Creativity is a muscle. Be yourself.

How to be a writer: the map is the territory. Ramona Ausubel shares her winding path to publication. Literary Hub.

Award news!

Airship Ambassador interviews Holly Schofield.

Connie Verzak recaps the Outlander season 2 finale for Scotland Now. Oh, the feelz.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Celebration reel.

 

See you Thursday for some weighty thoughty.

Tipsday

Ad Astra 2016, day 2: Common mistakes from an editor’s perspective

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that needs correction or clarification, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com

Panellists: Dominik Parisien, Linda Poitevin, Nina Munteanu

MostCommonMistakes

With this session, I chose a different approach. There was a lot of discussion and insight, with examples from various editing projects, none of which I was able to capture effectively on the page. The editors focused on the three parts of a story, the beginning, middle, and end, and, interestingly enough, they discussed three main problems with each part of a story.

As a result, this is a very point-form summary of the main points of the panel.

So here’s the description of the panel from the program:

Whether it’s easy-to-correct grammatical errors or awkward sentence structure, or more complex issues related to characterization, plot, or research, in this panel you’ll hear real editors share the most common mistakes that they see new or inexperienced writers make and tips on how to avoid them. They’ll tell you the things they encounter that have a simple fix, but also the things they encounter that are warning signs of larger problems.

Problems with beginnings

  • Not starting in the right place. Too early (prologues/backstory) or too late (character in danger immediately/no reader investment).
  • Not hooking the reader. If the reader puts the book down, you’re done before you’ve even gotten started.
  • Not having a distinctive, crisp voice.

Mel’s note: Most of these problems can only be solved by experience, either the author’s own, gained through practice, or by leveraging the experience of others, with the help of good critique partners/beta readers/freelance editor.

Problems with middles

  • Solving the character’s problem too early in the narrative. The story ends when the character achieves their goal.
  • Not knowing the story you’re telling/theme.
  • Presenting event after event to get the character from point A (the beginning) to point B (the end).

Mel’s note: Points two and three are related. If you don’t have a handle on your story and its theme, you’re most often going to end up with a series of unrelated events. My recommendation: read Steven Pressfield’s blog and books, and read to Shawn Coyne’s (Steven’s editor) Story Grid book and blog (and now podcast with Tim Grahl—excellent).

Problems with endings

  • Not ending (!).
  • Setting up for a series when the novel is a standalone, or failing to set up for another book when it’s a series.
  • No payoff for the reader/unsatisfactory ending.

Mel’s note: Begin with the ending in mind, even if you’re a die-hard pantser. Endings are torture if you’ve given them no thought until you get there and you’ll likely finish your draft with a hefty case of post-partum depression. Also, one of your editing exercises should be to ‘reverse engineer’ your story from the ending back to the beginning. You can see where important bits of foreshadowing need to be.

And that is my final entry in Ad Astra 2016 reportage. There were readings and launches and the Guest of Honour Brunch, but I wanted to enjoy those rather than record notes on them 😉

See you on Tipsday!

My favourite story archetype

QOTW 15: What’s Your Favorite Type of Story?

Now I want to know: what’s your favorite story archetype? If you need a refresher on these archetypes, look back at Chapter 11 to the section on conflict and power struggles. More importantly, I’d love to know why you chose that story type and whether you’re using it in your current work-in-progress (WIP).

content_QOTW-15

In presenting her QotW, Gabriela mentioned how much she enjoys underdog, or comeback stories.

I have to confess a fondness for the same. I tend to appreciate these stories in the context of the bildungsroman, or the classic story of a character who moves from innocence to experience, in short, the coming of age story.

In terms of the classics, a lot of Dickens’ works are of this type (Oliver Twist, Great Expectations).

I read (and write) a lot of fantasy, though. So I’ll give you a couple of examples from the genre.

I recently read (and enjoyed—a lot) Brent Weeks’s The Way of Shadows. In this novel, Azoth, a young guild rat, begins the story as a homeless orphan whose only aspiration is to stop being afraid all the time. In the attempt to attain his goal, he apprentices to a magical assassin, plays the part of a young noble in the course of his education, and eventually becomes the Night Angel, not by doing what’s expected of him, or what his master tells him to, but by doing what’s right.

Very Oliver Twist-ish, non?

An old favourite of mine is Mary Brown’s The Unlikely Ones. In this lovely fable, the protagonist, known only as Thing, is servant (slave) to a witch. She’s forced to wear a mask all the time because her mistress tells her how ugly she is.

Thing’s lie is very literal. She behaves like the Thing she’s always been told she was. Magic begins to happen when she starts to challenge the lie, however. What I like most about this novel is that Thing manages her transformation through acts of kindness.

My own novels, though I’d very much agree that my protagonists are all protectors, follow similar development and themes. Though they may all have special talents that eventually help them become ‘bigger than life’ characters, my protagonists begin their stories disadvantaged in some way. They have to learn through struggle and loss what they might become.

If you want to find out more about story archetypes, or any of the other writerly goodness that is DIYMFA visit the DIYMFA page!

Tomorrow: I’ll be sharing my notes on the final Ad Astra session I attended.

Next week: I’ll be starting on the panels and presentations I attended at the Canadian Writers’ Summit.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 3-9, 2016

With all the shootings of African Americans and police this week, I must admit to despair. Others have posted much more eloquently than I. Here is one post that spoke to me.

Justin C. Cohen offers some advice for white people in the wake of the police murder of a black person.

David Wong explains why anxiety is the plague of the modern world. Cracked.

You must die to live. Science and non-duality.

This is a bit distressing. Chanty Binx speaks up after three years of harassment and a bizarre privacy breach. We Hunted the Mammoth.

Shahida Arabi shares twenty tactics highly manipulative narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths use to silence you. Thought Catalog.

Zack Beauchamp writes: Canada is the least xenophobic country in the western world. Vox.

But we have out problems:

How Karoli Kuns became a Hillary supporter after reading the candidate’s emails. Blue Nation Review.

Mike Wall covers Juno’s move into obit around Jupiter for Space.com. And Phil Plait covers the event for Slate.

This is the last thing Japan’s Black Hole satellite saw before it died. Ria Mizra for Gizmodo.

Maddie Stone reports that the prospects for alien life on Titan keep getting better. Gizmodo.

Why do you hate the sound of your own voice? ASAP Thought.

 

Dr. Seuss’s secret artwork is displayed at Vancouver gallery. CBC.

Animals transition to freedom as Argentina transforms zoo into a refuge. AP.

A woman uses an ancient Viking song to call cattle. LifeBuzz.

Lindsey Stirling: The Arena

 

See you Saturday!

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 3-9, 2016

Some very interesting posts and articles this week 🙂

K.M. Weiland continues her most common writing mistakes series with part 52: stagnant story conflict. Helping writers become authors. Becca Puglisi guest posts later in the week with four ways to choose the right story setting. Kate returns with more lessons from Marvel: how to transform your story with a moment of truth.

Must you have conflict in every scene, disaster in every act? Roz Morris says, yes, and no. Nail your novel.

Kathryn Craft shares ten ways to add a spark of fire to your fiction. Writer Unboxed.

Donald Maass explores how to stay ahead of yourself . . . and your reader. Writer Unboxed.

Heather Bouwman writes (in the) happy middles. Writer Unboxed.

Annie Neugebauer begins a new series for Writer Unboxed. The query letter, part one: the pitch.

Sara Letourneau looks at the protagonist-antagonist relationship in DIYMFA’s developing themes in your stories series.

Data mining reveals the six basic emotional arcs of storytelling. MIT Technology Review.

“The six basic emotional arcs are these:

A steady, ongoing rise in emotional valence, as in a rags-to-riches story such as Alice’s Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll. A steady ongoing fall in emotional valence, as in a tragedy such as Romeo and Juliet. A fall then a rise, such as the man-in-a-hole story, discussed by Vonnegut. A rise then a fall, such as the Greek myth of Icarus. Rise-fall-rise, such as Cinderella. Fall-rise-fall, such as Oedipus.

Susan Spann busts some popular copyright myths. Writers in the storm.

Hugh Howey writes about an idea, broken. The Wayfarer.

Shakespeare and music.

 

Underwritten female character: the movie. (Bwahahahaha!)

 

What Mallory Ortberg learned about heterosexual female desire from decades of reading. The Toast.

Ted Ed: What makes something Kafkaesque?

 

Airship Ambassador interviews Colleen Anderson in four parts: part one, part two, part three, and part four.

Jen Doll explains how A Wrinkle in Time changed science fiction forever. One of my formative reads. Who’d a thunk it? Mental Floss.

Shawn Taylor wonders why Hollywood is ignoring Octavia Butler. Fusion.

The New York Times called this guy daring for “daring” to tackle slavery through science fiction. (Includes the author’s response.) J. Hotham for Slate.

Jonathan Barkan celebrates 30 years of Big Trouble in Little China. Bloody Disgusting.

Emily Asher-Perrin: Jupiter Ascending is a chilling look at our future, in more ways than one. Tor.com

Phil and I are looking forward to checking this one out. Netflix’s 1980’s science fiction throwback Stranger Things is must (binge) watch TV. i09

Until thoughty Thursday!

Tipsday