Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 19-25, 2018

Just a little thoughty this week.

Alexandra Hansen: is it possible to catch up on sleep? Yes and no. Quartzy

What if solar energy was as easy as pressing “print”? PBS Reinventors

 

Mary Halton interviews Farah Alibay: when flying to Mars is your day job. BBC

Green Porno: the mantis with Isabella Rossellini (!)

 

True facts about the aye aye. Ze Frank

 

Hope something in this odd mix popped your mental corn.

Be well until the weekend and my next chapter update for August.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 19-25, 2018

It’s the last week of August (!) Where did the summer go? Ah well, console yourself with some informal writing learnings.

K.M. Weiland offers three thoughts on what to do about writer’s jealousy. Helping Writers Become Authors

Julianna Baggott: the every-novel-is-wildly-different guide to revision. Favourite bit – “Here’s a hard truth: Each novel teaches the writer how to write it.” Writer Unboxed

Barbara O’Neal uncovers the mysteries of creativity and meditation. Writer Unboxed

Sara Letourneau expounds on the art of writing out of sequence. Writers Helping Writers

Three videos from Ellen Brock. First: how to write chapter openings

 

How to write chapter endings

 

And … how to use chapter titles

 

Cait Reynolds offers a field guide to the North American beta reader. Kristen Lamb

Jami Gold gives us a reminder to enjoy the journey. Later in the week, she applies writing lessons to life.

Chuck Wendig: originality is overrated in authorland. Terribleminds

Janice Hardy says, a well-written novel can still stink. Fiction University

And here are two videos from Jenna Moreci. First, her top ten writing mistakes.

 

And then, her top ten pieces of writing advice.

 

Dave Lerner lists five reasons not to write a persecution flip story. Mythcreants

Movie Mama watches The Princess Bride for the first time. Funny or Die

 

Be well until Thursday.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 12-18, 2018

Thoughty Thursday is more video than not, this week. Still, let’s see if we can’t get your mental corn popping.

Annakeara Stinson says, hacks for overthinking aren’t as complex as you think. Elite Daily

Rob Harvilla eulogizes Aretha Franklin, a pop star who could make you see God. The Ringer

Chasing asteroids: dual missions sniff out clues to the solar system’s past. Eva Botkin-Kowacki for the Christian Science Monitor.

Tilly the river otter teaches her kit, Mo, how to swim. Oregon Zoo

 

Liz Langley wonders how jellyfish rule the seas … without brains. National Geographic

This dog LURVES the new ball-popper 🙂

 

True facts about the land snail. Ze Frank

 

And true facts about the mantis.

 

I hope you were edutained 🙂

Until next tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 12-18, 2018

Ah! It’s Tuesday again. You know what that means. Another batch of informal writerly learnings. Here’s tipsday!

K.M. Weiland explains how to market your book when you hate marketing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Roz Morris leads a quiet rebellion against three pieces of conventional marketing wisdom. Nail Your Novel

Kathleen McCleary explains why the books we read when we’re young stick with us forever. Writer Unboxed

Vaughn Roycroft: finding my voice. So easy. So Hard. Writer Unboxed

September C. Fawkes is crafting a “body language voice.” Writers Helping Writers

Colleen M. Story tells us why writers need confidence and gives us five ways to boost ours. Writers in the Storm

Margie Lawson sets writing craft to the side in her latest Writers in the Storm post: are you riding the horse, or is the horse riding you?

Jenny Hansen wants you to focus on your story’s DNA. Writers in the Storm

Pamela Taylor writes about the perils of linguistic anachronisms. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira presents strong female protagonists from Thrillerfest 2018. DIY MFA

Jacquelin Cangro lists five ways to develop your close reading skills. DIY MFA

Jami Gold invites you to go beyond the limits of visual cues.

Chris Winkle shares some lessons from the hyped writing of Dawn of Wonder. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists five stories that don’t understand power and privilege. Mythcreants

“In search of doors.” V.E. Schwab’s 2018 J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature. Tor.com

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you got something you needed to progress in your creative endeavors.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Be well until then!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 5-11, 2018

It’s time to get your mental corn popping, that is, to present you with some interesting stuff in the hope that the resulting creative connections will lead to your next awesome project! Yup, that’s what thoughty Thursday’s all about.

Patricia Grisafi writes about the terrible “what if”: how OCD makes every day a matter of life and death. The Guardian

Brenda Knowles wonders if solitary activities are only half-fixes for anxiety and depression. Space2Live

Your brain on caffeine with Shannon Odell. Inverse

 

Tom Wipple: how to edit a human. On unlocking the human genome, ethics, and CRISPR. 1843

Jason Pontin discusses the genetics (and ethics) of making humans fit for Mars. Wired

Disney princesses look more like children as the years pass. It’s not accidental. It’s all about neoteny. It’s Okay to be Smart

 

And, for your amusement: Ze Frank’s true facts about the dung beetle.

 

Be well until next tipsday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 5-11, 2018

Another Monday survived and here I am with another batch of informal writerly learnings for you.

K.M. Weiland offers four ways to choose a better theme for your book. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jael McHenry: the writer’s real enemies. Writer Unboxed

Nancy Johnson wants you to find the tribe that fuels your writing. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft says, if you want to create pockets of story, expand inward. Writer Unboxed

Success means taking the long (no, longer than that!) view. Robin LaFevers on Writer Unboxed.

Kathryn Magendie recommends Gas-X for writers—results may vary. Take the bloat out of your manuscript! Writer Unboxed

Gabriela Pereira returns to Writers Helping Writers with part four of her writing by design series: contrast, or light versus dark.

Bess Cozby offers five tools to rock your revision. DIY MFA

Ellen Brock explains how to describe a character (without boring your readers).

 

Chuck Wendig: your first draft does not require your faith in it. The work just needs the work. Terribleminds

Jami Gold warns, don’t assume showing is better. There is a place for telling in your novel.

Chris Winkle explores four challenges of nonlinear narratives. Mythcreants

Ashley Allis illustrates the philosophy of Hayao Miyazaki: the flawed concept of good versus evil. Brilliant. Geeks are Sexy

And that was tipsday for this week. Come on back on Thursday for some thoughty, if you don’t mind 🙂

Until then, be well, my writerly friends.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 29-Aug 4, 2018

Thanks for coming back! It’s Friday eve and time to get your mental corn popping.

Anne McLaughlin reminds us that August first is Lughnassadh.

Ephrat Livni: the artful science behind the scent of bottled rain. Quartz

Brian Kahn exposes how the quietest place in America is becoming a warzone. Gizmodo

Brad Stulberg introduces us to the equation that will make us better at everything. Outside

Christa Couture hosts a summer edition of CBC’s “Tapestry”: rethinking disability.

Michael Finkel explores the amazing journey our minds go on when we sleep. National Geographic

Annaliese Griffin recommends Wednesday as the best day to take off. Quartzy

Shannon Odell: your brain on alcohol. Inverse

 

Natalie Wolchover: the peculiar math that could underlie the laws of nature. Wired

Nadia Drake gives us the facts on the underground lake found on Mars. National Geographic

​This star might be hiding new elements. SciShow Space

 

Jesse Grady explains what dog and cat years really mean. Popular Science

Julija Televičiūtė brings us the story of how a puppy saved from a fire became a fire fighting dog. Bored Panda

Ze Frank: true facts about the owl. Not as hilarious as some, but still cute 🙂

Until the next time I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 29-Aug 4, 2018

Here is your weekly dose of informal writerly learnings.

Linda Yezak shares two simple pacing techniques that grab reader emotions. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan Donovan offers some tips on writing through life catastrophe. Writers in the Storm

Kim Bullock says that changed perceptions equal character growth. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass: words when there are no words. Writer Unboxed

Cathy Yardley explains how to write fiction that’s fresh. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt explains why writers are like magic. Writer Unboxed

Editor Ellen Brock explains how authors hook readers with tasty examples from three books in different genres.

 

Elisabeth Kauffman answers another ask the editor question: five reasons your revision process may have stalled. DIY MFA

Robin Lovett explains how to balance author voice with writing modes. DIY MFA

C.S. Lakin covers Michael Hauge’s six stages of the hero’s character arc. Writers Helping Writers

Oren Ashkenazi reviews eight absurdities we force on female characters. Mythcreants

Tom Jacobs says that fantasy and science fiction readers make good romantic partners. Pacific Standard

And speaking of good romantic partners, here’s a season 4 teaser for Outlander.

 

Alison Flood reports on the “spectacular” ancient public library discovered in Germany. The Guardian

Fun with words time! Erika Berlin lists 50 collective nouns for your favourite groups of animals. Mental Floss

Be well until Thursday, when you can come back for some thoughty 🙂

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The next chapter: July 2018 update

Greetings, all you writerly people!

I think I’ve said this nearly every month this year but, once again, July was weird. This whole year has been weird.

I have to concede the effects that not only Phil’s health issues last year, but also the issues he’s been experiencing with his employer—not to mention the increasing stress of my day job—continue to have on me. I think these have been some of the chief contributing factors to my protracted burnout. When you have shit going on in other aspects of your life, it inevitably affects your creativity.

And while Phil’s health issues have been addressed and he continues, according to all recent test results, to be healthy, the work-related stresses are not at an end. I find myself struggling. Doubting. Resisting. Self-sabotaging.

As I mentioned previously, Phil’s work issues should be resolved by the end of the year. Unfortunately, my work stresses are just ramping up again. It’s usually the way things happen. One of us is in an upswing while the other is spiralling downward. I’m hoping that the fact that we’ve both been on the downward trend for the last while means that relief is in my future as well.

Once again, July has been hit and miss, but more hit than miss 😉 In other words, I wrote more days than I didn’t. Still, even adjusting my writing goal down for Playing with Fire, I was just shy of it, writing 4,858 words of my 5,000-word goal. That’s 97%.

As I like to say, every word’s a victory.

I wrote 3,454 words on this blog, or 123% of my 2,800-words goal. I had no other writing-related goals in July.

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I attended Ad Astra on July 14th and 15th, though. Because I’d spent so much on my grand adventure last year, I didn’t attend Ad Astra, even though Brandon Sanderson was one of the guests of honour. Normally, Ad Astra is in May. This year, they moved it into July and I think it was a good move.

It felt a bit more understated than in past years, and I decided that, this time, I was going to focus a bit more on networking and chatting up my fellow writers and less on rushing from panel to panel, making all the notes I could.

Last year, at WorldCon, I made the decision not to post my panel notes, but I still made notes, and I still rushed from panel to panel in a vain attempt to cram all the things into my wee skull. This year, I attended panels out of interest and enjoyed them. I didn’t take scads of notes, and I took the time to be social.

I introduced myself to J.M. Landels, one of the people behind Pulp Literature Magazine and Press, which I have been supporting through Kickstarter and other means since its inception. I met up with fellow SFCanada members Joe Mahoney and Douglas Smith. I enjoyed the company of fellow CAA members, Matt Bin and Ness Ricci-Thode, who introduced me to a number of her writing friends from the K-W area, several of whom were also CAA members. And I attended Jane Ann McLachlan’s book launch for The Sorrow Stone, her historical fiction release. There, I won a door prize of some lovely red wine, which has already been consumed 🙂

I also reconnected with Beverly Bambury, publicist to the stars. She actually remembered me before I had a chance to say, “hi.” I also saw a lot more people in passing that I’ve met in the past, like Robert Sawyer.

I started out by attending J.M. Landels’ reading from her novel Allaigna’s Song: Overture. Then, I headed to The Timey-Wimey Stuff with Jen Frankel, James Bambury, Cameron S. Currie, Cathy Hird, Kari Maaren, and Douglas Smith. It was interesting to hear how other authors used time travel in their fiction and how.

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I followed that up with The Business of Writing, with Jen Frankel, Beverly Bambury, Larry Hancock, Matthew Bin, and Jane Ann McLachlan. There was a lot of interesting information in this panel.

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After that, I broke for dinner, where I met up with Matt, Ness, and their friends, and then headed to what was the best panel of this year’s Ad Astra, Writing a Series.

Jen Frankel, Sarah WaterRaven, Justus R. Stone, Thomas Gofton, Kit Daven, and Lesley Livingston kept the room, which was packed to capacity, in stitches the whole time. Their chief collective advice: don’t do it. Apparently, when you get contracted to write a series, publishers generally set very steep deadlines. They don’t want readers to forget about novel one by the time the second is released.

After that was Writing Through Darkness, with Erik Buchanan, Adam Shaftoe-Durrant, and Cameron S. Currie, which was a very helpful panel on writing with mental illness. The panellists shared their strategies for improved mental health.

Then, I capped off the day with Jane Ann’s book launch.

On Sunday, I hung out at the dealer’s room and got myself this tasty pile of books.

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At the end of the month, Gail Anderson-Dargatz delivered a workshop on Writing Through Fear for members (and guests) of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild. We discussed the personality traits (read neuroses) and fears that most writers share, how these reveal themselves through the creative work, and how to address any problems that may arise because of them.

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It was, overall, a great month, despite my ongoing difficulties.

Torvi graduated from intermediate obedience, and is getting closer, all the time, to being a good dog.

What’s ahead for me?

I’m now (finally) within striking distance of the end of PwF (yay!). Once I finish with that draft, I’m going to organize my now-considerable notes (think series bible) before I begin another revision of Initiate of Stone and then I’ll be deep in outlining mode for the fifth and final book in the series, Tamisashki, for this year’s NaNoWriMo. I’d hoped to be able to get through revisions on the whole series, but that’s not going to happen. Next year. After I finish up with Tamisashki.

The exciting news I have for you this month is that I’ve found another critique group. It’s early days yet, and I have to spend some time getting my submission together, posting up my information on the various forums, and diving into another member’s posted draft. But I have a good feeling about this one. I think it’s going to help me break through some of my resistance and get back on track.

There was an admission process. These authors take their work seriously. Other than that, I’m not going to say much about it.

That’s all the writerly news I have to share with you this month.

Until the next time I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

The Next Chapter

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 22-28, 2018

It’s time to pop your mental corn, get those creative connections established, and generate awesome ideas for your craft.

Brain scans show four different types of depression. Kate Horowitz for Mental Floss.

Brenda Knowles explores avoidant attachment in adult relationships: the truth behind our need to be alone. Space2Live

SciShow Space stops video production to report on the underground lake on Mars.

 

Linda Webster tells a dog tail: my dog is teaching me to be resilient. The Globe and Mail

Those forest fires I posted about last week? Stephanie Johnson introduces us to Shawn Rae, a fire rescuer who’s saving people’s cottages from the French River fires. Parry Sound North Star

Adele Peters: the four-day work week is good for business. Fast Company

Abby Sewell and Stephanie Gengotti invite us inside the magical life of Europe’s family circuses. National Geographic

Dave Lucas explains what it is to love an old dog. Made me weep. Literary Hub

Stephen Dowling: the complicated truth about a cat’s purr. BBC

Sadie Dingfelder tells the story of the crane who fell in love with a human. The Washington Post

Moar Ze Frank: true facts about ducks (and their spiral genitals—seriously weird shit).

 

Watch a black bear take a bath.

 

And that was your Thoughty Thursday for the week.

This weekend, I’ll be composing my next chapter update for the month of July. Come back for a visit and see what I’ve been up to.

Until then, be well!

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