Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 21-27, 2018

This will be the last Tipsday before #NaNoWriMo! Once again, where did the time go?!

Just to be clear, for the month of November, I will be desperately attempting to write 50,000 words of a new novel project. There will be no curation. I have, however, decided to do quick check in posts, once a week, so the blog will not be totally inactive. More on that in this weekend’s next chapter update.

In the meantime, enjoy some informal writerly learnings!

Harrison Demchick stops by Helping Writers Become Authors: four things writers can learn from making a movie.

Kim Bullock wonders, is resurrecting a shelved manuscript a good idea or a waste of time? Writer Unboxed

Barbara O’Neal wants you to identify your core story and values. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft shares some thoughts on originality in fiction. Writers in the Storm

Amy Shojai shares seven steps to publishing success from an accidental writer. Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Sherrilyn Kenyon: tips for long-term author success. The Creative Penn

Jami Gold helps you take your readers on a journey with storytelling.

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten fantasy tropes.

 

Aliette de Bodard stops by Terribleminds to discuss cannibalizing a draft (or, the art of rewriting).

Gabriela Pereira interviews Melanie Moyer for DIY MFA radio: the imaginary friend as narrator.

Manuela Williams offers five tips for writing a helpful critique. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle shares six ways you can bluff killing your protagonist. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb: why you (actually) don’t suck and what to do when the abyss stares back.

Sarah Laskow explains how writers map their imaginary worlds. Atlas Obscura

RL Goldberg plots our steps toward creating a trans literary canon. The Paris Review

The new Outlander season 4 trailer—eeeeee!

 

And that was Tipsday. I know, I’ll be in withdrawal, too, but I’ll have enough NaNo to distract me 🙂

Don’t miss out on the final thoughty Thursday until December. I’m going out (just on a break) with a bang!

Until then, be well, my writerly friends.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 14-20, 2018

As we head into the home stretch for the weekend, take some time to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Gloria Galloway reports on the vast region of the Northwest Territories declared an Indigenous protected area. The Globe and Mail

Andi Murphy explains how the Navajo nation is reclaiming its native food culture. Eater

Ephrat Livni: there’s a problem at the heart of #metoo—here’s how we solve it. Quartz

David Freeman: an Antarctic ice shelf is singing, and it sounds like an eerie sci-fi soundtrack. NBC News

Andrew Freedman says, scientists still have hope that climate change can be mitigated. Click through to the UN report if you want to have nightmares, but really, it’s a call to arms. We can still take action to prevent the absolute worst from happening. Axios

SciShow Space reveals how space exploration could be done efficiently through the interplanetary superhighway.

 

Leslie Gonzales shares some lesser-known facts about the Vikings. History 101

Saga Vanacek pulled a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake. The Guardian

Bernhard Warner warns (ha!) of the dangers of building a better bee—frankenbee! The Guardian

The Pet Collective shares some trampoline fun!

 

Bubble time with raccoons. Viral Hog

 

And … that was thoughty Thursday for another week.

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, Oct 14-20, 2018

Another lovely week filled with informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland explores why writers cherish language. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy stops by Writers in the Storm: plot backward to move forward with your novel.

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers five tips on writing a trauma backstory. Writers in the Storm

Roz Morris explains how to outline your novel without killing the fun of writing it. Nail Your Novel

Lisa Cron tells you how to nail your first three pages. Writers Helping Writers

Barbara Poelle answers another funny you should ask question: how fast-paced should a thriller be? Writer’s Digest

Janice Hardy tells you what you need to know about internalization. Fiction University

Rachael Stephen: how to write when you don’t want to. #preptober

 

Sara Letourneau helps you let go of perfectionism the DIY MFA way. DIY MFA

Dan Koboldt stops by Jane Friedman’s blog to explain how to research your writing to ensure technical accuracy. Also, check out Dan’s new book: Putting the Science in Fiction. I’m a fan 🙂

Kathleen McCleary: it takes a village. Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson wonders, but how much are you reading? Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle presents six wordcraft questions writers fight over. Then, Oren Ashkenazi points out seven common problems with speculative fiction technology. Mythcreants

Cold Crash Pictures debunks the four most annoying scientific inaccuracies in film.

 

Jenna Moreci lists her worst sci-fi tropes ever.

 

And Cold Crash Pictures tackles four more sexist tropes.

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something helpful in this curation.

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 7-13, 2018

Here are a few links to get your mental corn popping.

Steve LeVine shows us the state of current space exploration efforts worldwide: the new global race to space. Axios

SciShow Space News covers the potential discovery of the first exomoon and ice blades on Europa.

 

Diane Selkirk encounters North America’s nearly forgotten language. BBC

John Paul Brammer profiles eight LGBTQ+ and two-spirit Native Americans changing the world. them

Neri Oxman, working in MIT’s material ecology lab, has intrigued the likes of Björk and Brad Pitt. Penelope Green for The New York Times.

Samantha Nutt proposes the lessons women are asking men to learn. The Globe and Mail

SciShow takes a close, terrifying look at toxic shock syndrome.

 

I am mine. This is what Alzheimer’s looks like at 41. Shannon Proudfoot for McLean’s.

Jim C. Hines shares his thoughts on mental health awareness day (another post about depression).

Jenna Moreci does a special YouTube episode on mental illness, too (with bonus Cliff notes!)

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something you can use in your current creative project.

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, Oct 7-13, 2018

I’m back with another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

DiAnn Mills helps you find your character’s blind spot. Writer Unboxed

Jeanne Kisacky explores the link between non-verbal communication and backstory. Writer Unboxed

Sarah Callender: knowing when you’ve peaked. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie considers the tiny former planet. What we can learn about persistence from Pluto. Writer Unboxed

Jenny Hansen contemplates the eternal question: to NaNo, or not to NaNo … ? Writers in the Storm

Orly Konig share how squirrel-brain helped her writing. Writers in the Storm

Sacha Black explains how to redeem your villain with killer twists. Writers Helping Writers

Deborah Dixon explains why representation in literature is important and how to handle it. Writers Helping Writers

Pamela Taylor examines the six key elements of historical narrative. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jennie Nash for DIY MFA radio: empower yourself and your writing.

Jenn Walton shares five benefits of tough feedback. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy stops by Jami Gold’s blog to show you how to use focused brainstorming to develop your plot.

Literary agent Britt Siess shares five steps to nailing your query letter. Writer’s Digest

Chuck Wendig writes a post for world mental health day: when writer’s block is actually depression.  Later in the week, he recounts his firing from Marvel. It’s a travesty, a triumph of trolls. Chuck’s astute irreverence has inspired me and saved my writerly sanity more times than I can count. Terribleminds

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes stories in which six characters are siloed into separate stories. Mythcreants

And that was Tipsday.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 30-Oct 6, 2018

The thoughy’s focused on psychology and neuroscience this week. What appropriate subject matter for getting your mental corn popping 🙂

Lisa Margonelli enters the jaw-dropping world of termites: a giant, crawling brain. The Guardian

Mark Humphries presents a new prime suspect for depression. The Spike/Medium

Bruce Goldman-Stanford says people with depression have low blood levels of this stuff (but that doesn’t mean you should rush out to buy some). Futurity

Joseph Frankel: hallucinations are everywhere. The Atlantic

Ermin Misirlisoy explains what happens when your body is no longer yours. Medium

Paula Cocozza examines night terrors: what do anxiety dreams mean? The Guardian

Inverse: Your brain on horror with Shannon Odell.

 

Jacqueline Detwiler introduces us to the heroes of science who are unlocking the brain. Popular Mechanics

Ayodeji Awosika explains why it’s dangerous to focus on finding your passion and what you should do instead. Medium

And that was thoughty Thursday.

Until next Tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 30-Oct 6, 2018

I’m back with your weekly infusion of informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland answers six outstanding questions about structure. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jael McHenry is writing someone else’s story. Or, she has and is sharing the tale with us 🙂 Writer Unboxed

Nancy Johnson explores her experience with writing as resistance. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass: the weight. Writer Unboxed

Catherine McKenzie is writing through chaos. Writer Unboxed

Natalia Sylvester waxes on revision as a form of reimagining. Writer Unboxed

Lisa Hall-Wilson gives us a checklist for writing deep POV like a pro. Writers in the Storm

Margie Lawson touts the brilliance of backstory slip-ins. Writers in the Storm

Tamar Sloan says that capturing complex emotion is a writer’s superpower. Writers Helping Writers

Terry Brooks takes over Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds: more than the story. Later in the week S.L. Huang says, let’s also write our joy.

E.R. Ramzipoor stops by Fiction University: writing about slavery in historical fiction.

Ayman Jaber: making teleportation work in your story. Mythcreants

Jami Gold offers some NaNoWriMo prep tips for getting your story idea ready.

Cold Crash Pictures lists their five favourite feminist tropes (as a counterpoint to the last video I shared from them).

 

If you found something helpful in this mix, consider coming back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends 🙂

tipsday2016

Torvi tales: an overdue post

Torvi

Phil was mucking around with a graphics program and made this 🙂

Torvi turned one on Sept 26, 2018. That was two weeks ago last Wednesday but, at the time, I didn’t have the brain (AKA the wherewithal) to even make a quick post on Facebook about it.

The day job is a continuing challenge to me. It’s been nothing but continual change—and not small or incremental, either—for the past seven years and I think I reached my limit about two years ago. I’ve been running on fumes ever since.

When the latest round of this-is-where-we’re-heading-whether-you-like-it-or-not hit, I was struggling to keep my head above water and my time at home was devoted to finishing up Playing with Fire and trying to do a decent job of critiquing the work of some new writerly friends.

So, I stopped posting my sunrise/sunset and other pics and kept my head down.

Then, Phil’s retirement became official (read real) with a defined last day of work and package. It imposed almost as many burdens/worries as it alleviated, but the decision is made and can’t be taken back.

We’re in for an uncertain time ahead.

Torvi is, as I mentioned in my next chapter post yesterday, still a handful. At Thanksgiving supper last night, I had to keep her on the leash the whole time. She’s just so excited when people come over, and the people she most wants to meet (read jump all over and attack with love) are the least capable of withstanding the Torvi onslaught. I even took her on an extra-long walk yesterday, hoping to burn off some of her energy, but she’d missed her walk the night before as we were out celebrating a friend’s 50th, so it probably just evened out.

She still has fits of bitey-ness, what Phil and I call the pre-poop and post-poop crazies (one because she’s gotta go and the other because she’s so relieved, all she can think to do it take a tear around the house), puts her front paws up on the kitchen counter, dining room table, desk, or other surface, and grabs whatever’s in reach of her toothy maw, and we have to put her in a controlled down (leashing her, getting her to lie down, and stepping on the leash to keep her there) for most evening meals and some breakfasts. Meal times are when she’s most likely to have a fit of the biteys.

Though I walk her twice a day, I still need to get her out to play fetch or recall until she’s burned out. It’s hard to do when I’m pretty burned out myself.

She’s a work-in-progress. Our other two dogs were a year and a half to two years old before they became calm companions.

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Torvi is not amused.

Without further delay, here are the promised Torvi tales:

The skinned knee

As I mentioned, I walk Torvi twice a day, morning and evening. One evening in early August (yes, that’s how long this tale has been waiting for its telling), we were coming home and the light at the intersections changed before I could get to press the walk signal button.

I figured I could do a gentle jog and we’d cross the road in time. It wasn’t something we hadn’t done many times before. We’d even jogged at both obedience classes. Yes, Torvi gets a little excited when I break into a jog, but she usually stays by my side. I thought nothing of it.

This time, Torvi started gambolling about and gambolled right in front of my feet.

I went down, in the middle of the intersection, skinned my knee pretty bad (like, ten-year-old attempts to learn to skateboard bad), bashed up my shoulder through my jean jacket, and lost my glasses. I was mortified. But I didn’t let go of the leash, thank goodness.

Even though all the lanes were filled with waiting vehicles, I didn’t hear one, “are you okay?” I collected myself, retrieved my glasses, and hobbled to the other side of the street. Only then did I think to be miffed at the lack of concern shown by the drivers.

The capri leggings I was wearing were trashed (though, upon consideration later, I thought I should have turned them into bike shorts) and it took the rest of the month for my knee to heal up.

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Gambolling pup.

The toad

Not long afterward, I was taking Torvi out for her pre-bed time pee, and noticed a dark shape moving over the non-lawn. Torvi noticed it before I did and was on it before I could hold her back.

First, she put her mouth on it, and came up with a strange look on her face, licking and drooling. In retaliation for the icky taste, she pounced on the poor thing, but it had already puffed itself up and looked like nothing so much as a stone.

This was the work of seconds and, by the time I hauled her away and further into the yard to do her business, and then into the house, I realized the dark shape had been an innocent toad. And I wasn’t half sure the dear thing had survived Torvi’s attentions.

I got her inside and gave her a big drink of fresh water to get the toad taste out of her mouth. We went to bed, me still worrying about the toad.

It was gone the next morning, though. I like to think it made it to the shelter of the deck (which is where I think it was heading), though it is possible another animal came around and took advantage of the situation. We have foxes, raccoons, and feral cats in the area, any of which could have done the job.

I still say “hi” to our deck toad, though, whether it’s actually there, or not.

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The pic I took on the 26th–happy belated?

My shoes

We’ve been slowly opening the house to Torvi. Initially, we kept all the doors closed and the gate up at the doorway to the side entrance and basement stairs. I’d open the door to whatever room we were in so that we could keep an eye on her and at night, we’d close her in the bedroom with us.

We started by opening the bedroom door at night, but keeping the others closed. Then, we gradually trusted her to have the run of the upstairs until she tore the already ragged bath mat a few new holes, and now we keep the bathroom door shut for the most part.

We’ve started taking the gate down unless Phil’s eating something in his office downstairs, in which case he generally chases Torvi upstairs and puts up the gate himself.

One evening, though, the gate was down and Torvi had gone downstairs for some daddy-time. She generally settles on the old pillows I put down there for her or brings down a toy to chew on. As the sounds of chewing are nothing unusual, Phil didn’t think anything was wrong. Until he got up for a bio-break, and then I heard the shouting from all the way upstairs in my office.

Torvi had taken one of my shoes downstairs and was happily destroying it.

Now, I have foot issues. I’ve had orthotics for years—and yes, they were in the shoes, but, for whatever reason, she hadn’t touched the one in the shoe she chose to chew on—I’ve had plantar fasciitis, and, most recently, compressed fatty pads on my heels. I’d just this year invested in a really good pair of running shoes that have made all the difference. And now it was $200 down the drain, er, the dog’s gullet.

Though there was some great distress, the shoe was chewed and there wasn’t anything I could do that would un-chew it. So, I took the orthotics out of the ruined shoes, tossed the shoes, popped the orthotics into a cheap old pair of walking shoes, and decided to go shopping at my next opportunity.

By the way, the cheap old walking shoes? They’re going to the charity bin. The shoes are still in good shape, but when I took Torvi for her evening walk in those things, it was like walking on slabs of concrete. Even with the orthotics.

Fast-forward to the next day and I’m looking for the same brand and style of running shoe as the pair Torvi had chewed—Saucony Everun. The store was out of stock. So was the other location, not that I’d have driven across town in the moment to get them. I decided to try another pair of Everuns in a different style and size, and decided they’d work. They were $20 cheaper than the style I’d purchased previous and I counted it a win.

Though I’d told the sales associate my dog-gone tale of woe, I repeated my sorry story to the cashier, who, it turns out, was a dog person who knew my pain. She gave me a further discount on the shoes. That’s customer service 🙂

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We now have matching reflective vests for evening walks.

Here ends this riveting edition of Torvi tales.

Doubtless, there will be more to come.

Be well, be kind, and stay strong until next time!

The next chapter: September 2018 update

Happy Thanksgiving, to all my Canadian friends! And happy Columbus Day to all my American ones. To be honest, I don’t know what other celebrations might be taking place this weekend elsewhere in the world. If you have something special to celebrate, I wish you joy. If nothing else, it’s the weekend, and reason enough to celebrate.

Even it it’s a nice, quiet supper with friends and/or family. Aren’t those really the best celebrations? Maybe it’s just introvert me.

I’m celebrating a few things. Torvi turned 1 on September 26. She’s still a handful, but she’s getting better every day (we have to believe that, regardless). Phil’s work troubles are almost at an end. It’s been formally announced, now, so I can say. Phil’s retiring November 30th. There’s going to be an adjustment period, but there it is.

Writing-wise, September saw me writing the last words on Playing with Fire. Finally. I also brushed up the last batch of chapters of Marushka and got them posted for critique. The only other writing I did in the month was to blog.

Here’s how the month looked, production-wise.

SeptProgress

I reviewed 11,852 words of Marushka and got the last chapters posted over the Labour Day long weekend. I kind of fudged my goal at 10k, so ended up with 119% of my “revision” goal. I put revision in quotes, because I didn’t really revise anything. As I wrote above, I reviewed it. Quick pass before I let it out the door, so to speak.

Once again, I set myself the modest writing goal of 5k on PwF. I ended up writing 6,108 words, or 122% of my goal. It’s the most I’ve written since June, so I take heart.

I estimated 2,600 words on the blog and wrote 2,610; so, 100%.

September wasn’t a month for creative events, but for more personal ones. For example, my coworkers arranged our annual Christmas in not-December (it’s been June, July, August, and now September, so far).

In October, I have a few things to get accomplished. In the critique group, I have to finish my critique of one novel and look at a novella. I also have to review the opening of a friend’s novel (not associated with the critique group).

I have another column due this month for DIY MFA. Aside from that, I’m trying to outline Tamisashki for NaNoWriMo. It’s the fifth and final book in my epic fantasy series and I don’t want to put myself in the same situation I was this year—interminable drafting.

The reason I was working on PwF for so long (if you don’t remember, and it’s totally okay if you don’t) is that, aside from my crazy burnout, I didn’t get a chance to finish my outline for the novel before NaNo, and Torvi, arrived. I had the protagonist’s plot line worked out, but the rest of it was all pantsing.

I’ve come to appreciate the preparatory work I do, even if I don’t end up sticking to the outline, and I usually don’t because I’m a creative monkey.

And, of course, there’s the blogging.

This year, I’m thinking of doing a weekly NaNo update post in November, just to keep something going up on the blog. We’ll see how things work out.

And that’s it for the writerly update this month.

Tomorrow, I’m going to post a special, Torvi-oriented blog and then it’s back to work and curation posts.

Thanks for stopping by and seeing what’s been up with me.

Be well until tomorrow.

The Next Chapter

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 23-29, 2018

Welcome to thoughty Thursday where the goal is to get your mental corn popping!

That Phoenix debacle that keeps popping up from time to time in my social media feeds or these curations? Yeah, that one. Here’s a video that may help explain things:

 

Sarah DiGiulio explains why your weird dreams actually make a lot of sense (according to neuroscience and psychology). NBC News

Megan Feldman Bettencourt: how forgiveness has been weaponized against women. In other words, to truly forgive someone, they have to be held accountable. Harper’s Bazaar

Linda Rodriguez McRobbie reports on the dead beneath London’s streets. Smithsonian Magazine

SciShow introduces us to the incredible biodiversity of Lake Baikal—plus, extremophiles!

 

Matt Reynolds examines the almighty tussle over whether we should talk to aliens or not. SETI, METI, and the arguments for and against. Wired

Stephanie Pappas: humans contribute to the Earth’s wobble. Scientific American

SciShow Space looks at the Dark Matter vs. MOND debate.

 

Eric Mack: NASA turns 60 and it’s reinventing itself for the SpaceX era. Cnet

Adrien Mauduit shares his time-lapse video of the skies over Tenerife:

 

Florence + the Machine cover Tori Amos’s “Cornflake Girl.”

 

Beck: Colours

 

I hope you found something interesting in this edutainment mix.

This weekend, I’ll be posting my next chapter update for September.

Until then, be well, my writerly friends 🙂

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