Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, April 17-23, 2022

It’s time, once again, to get your mental corn popping!

Ibram X. Kendi: the danger more republicans should be talking about. (Spoiler: it’s white supremacy.) The Atlantic

Whitney Bauck interviews Reverend Lennox Yearwood: culture-building as climate work. Atmos

Mariupol mayor urges residents to flee as Russia mounts eastern Ukraine offensive. CBC

Emily Zarevich introduces us to Lesya Ukrainka: Ukraine’s beloved writer and activist. JSTOR Daily

Amy Cassidy, Mostafa Salem, Caroline Faraj, Obayda Nafaa and Jack Bantock: dozens injured in Sweden in riots after Quran burning. CNN

Laurentian mess didn’t bubble up; it trickled down. Sudbury.com editorial board

Melody Wilding lists eight signs of overfunctioning that lead to burnout (and how to stop). Forbes

Sadhbh O’Sullivan says there’s a reason we procrastinate, and it isn’t laziness. Refinery 29

Deepa Purushothaman and Lisen Stromberg: leaders, stop rewarding toxic rock stars. Harvard Business Review

Clark Quinn says we’re using the wrong bucket lists. Learnlets

Harold Jarche considers writing at electric speed. Then, he looks at the power of story.

Erin Blakemore tries to explain why Easter is celebrated with bunnies and eggs. National Geographic

Doyle Rice and Dinah Voyles Pulver: UN IPCC report shows the globe is on “track toward an unlivable world.” USA Today

Solar superflares and aurora science. Physics Girl

Guy Kawasaki interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson: astrophysicist, planetary scientist, and author. The Remarkable People Podcast

Nadia Drake explains why NASA has been ignoring Uranus. That may soon change. National Geographic

Bob McDonald interviews Riley Culberg about how the ridges on the surface of Europa could mean water—and life. CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks”

Florence + the Machine – Free

Thank you for visiting. I hope you found something to inspire a future creative project.

Even though May first is Sunday, I won’t be composing my next chapter update until the first full weekend in May. That’s the May 7-8 weekend. Just so you know.

So, until next tipsday, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, April 17-23, 2022

Happy Tuesday! You survived Monday 🙂 Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Sara Farmer enters the not-so-elementary university of Sherlock Holmes, part 1. Then, LA Bourgeois wants you to acknowledge your limitations and set your stage for success. Gabriela Pereira interviews GG Kellner about using history to speculate the future and change the present. Then, F.E. Choe helps you create your own writing space at home. Gracie Bialecki bemoans the double-edged sword of deadlines. Finally, Ashley Christiano lists five ways astrology can help you write your novel. DIY MFA

Jill Bearup says choreography doesn’t matter.

Jan O’Hara: and the Oscar for best reality show script goes to Will Smith (or, writerly takeaways from the infamous slap). Dave King is in search of faith and goodness. Then, Barbara Linn Probst considers time: backstory, flashback, and chronology. Natalie Hart wonders what if you gave up? Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland outlines the six challenges of writing a second novel. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin shares 11 writing exercises to help break writer’s block. Reedsy

Becca Puglisi shares creative ways to brainstorm story ideas. Then, Lynette M. Burrows presents one plotting tool for all. Ellen Buikema continues her literary tour of the senses with the power of vision in writing. Writers in the Storm

Alice Gaines offers three tools for deep point of view. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Margaret McNellis helps you tell your story with three tarot cards. Then, Catherine Baab-Maguira explains why Frankenstein still sells 40,000 copies a year. Jane Friedman

Erica Brozovsky talks about pronouns: the little words that say a lot. Otherwords | PBS Storied

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers one reason readers cheer for unlikeable characters. Then, Angela Ackerman explains how writers can turn the page this spring. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin: “Leave me alone—I know what I’m doing.” Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb: small steps and the value of just showing up.

Why we’re still so obsessed with the Heather. The Take

Chris Winkle recommends seven external plots for relationship-centered stories. Then, Oren Ashkenazi wonders how useful Michael Moorcock’s ten rules of writing are.  Mythcreants

Angie Hodapp helps you balance the explainable with the inexplicable in speculative fiction. Then, Kristin Nelson says all the writing talent in the world won’t save the wrong story. Pub Rants

Why is Turning Red getting so many weird reviews? Xiran Jay Zhao

Alana Pickerel: new poster exhibit by the Sudbury Writers’ Guild highlights Sudbury’s rainbow hospital. CTV Northern Ontario

Alan Neal interviews John Degen of the Writers’ Union of Canada about proposed Copyright Act changes. CBC’s “All in a Day”

Thanks for taking the time to stop by, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, April 10-16, 2022

Get ready for the weekend with these articles sure to make your mental corn pop.

Omar Jimenez, Elizabeth Joseph, Steve Almasy, and Tiffany Anthony: videos show the fatal police shooting of Patrick Lyoya after struggle during a traffic stop. CNN

Camile Busette wants to overcome racism to advance economic opportunity. Brookings

Maud Newton says that digging into her family’s racist history turned up problems America is still wrestling with. Time

Anti-trans bills are disgusting. We deserve better. The Amber Ruffin Show

Yuras Karmenau, Adam Schreck, and Cara Anna: Mariupol mayor says siege has killed more than 10,000 civilians. Associated Press

Rachel Treisman reports that a Russian warship was sunk by Ukrainian missiles. NPR

Finland to decide on NATO membership within weeks, says PM Marin. The war in Ukraine has increased tension on the border between Finland and Russia. BBC

Jaclyn Diaz points out how images of Zelenskyy show the physical toll trauma and stress can have on the body. NPR

Vignesh Ramachandran: how the Sikh community’s experiences with hate crimes show why data collection is so important. PBS News Hour

Neda Ulaby: museums turn to immersive tech to preserve the stories of aging Holocaust survivors. NPR

Hannah Gadsby on her autism diagnosis: “I’ve always been plagued by the sense that I was a little out of whack.” The Guardian

Anis Heydari reveals how respecting Ramadan at work means more than asking, “Not even water?” CBC

Dene Moore explains how “ghosting” is haunting the job-hunting process. The Globe and Mail

Hannah Good asked 22 readers what their ideal office would look like. Here’s what they said. Washington Post

Clark Quinn: sensitivities and sensibilities. Learnlets

Harold Jarche: understanding work systems.

The human genome wasn’t completely decoded … until now. SciShow

Stephen Burgen explains why an ancient water system is being brought back to life in Spain. The Guardian

Miranda Whelehan went on TV to explain Just Stop Oil and it became a parody of Don’t Look Up. The Guardian

Women, sex, and the internet. Khadija Mbowe

Lisa Respers France announces that Hallmark to debut romance with lead character who has Down Syndrome. CNN

Kylie Cheung: Millie Bobby Brown calls out “gross” media coverage after her 18th birthday. Jezebel

Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I hope you found something the inspire a future creative project.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, April 10-16, 2022

Welcome to tipsday, your opportunity to stock up on informal writerly learnings.

Ann Marie Nieves: book PR & marketing questions answered, part VII. Jim Dempsey wants you to exploit your hero’s flaws. Then, Kathleen McCleary is getting over it. Kathryn Crafts says foreshadowing is a revision skill to love. Later in the week, Desmond Hall drops some more writerly wisdom on us. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin shares seven ways to level up your writing process. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland shares 14 tips for dealing with the passage of time in a story. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman introduces us to the magic of World Anvil. Then, Monica Corwin suggests eight ways to stay open to story. Jenny Hansen: the extraordinary blessings of asking for help. Writers in the Storm

Have humans always feared sharks? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Jane explains why so many blogs and newsletters aren’t worth the writer’s effort. Then, Lisa Cooper Ellison explains how to gracefully leave your writing group. Jane Friedman

Sue Coletta: what is rhythmic writing? Emily Young shares six tips for writing compelling action scenes. Writers Helping Writers

Crafting as a magic system. Tale Foundry

Abigail K. Perry poses seven questions to ask about your first chapter. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Claire Stanford about character development in literary fiction. Angela Yeh wants you to embrace your inner poet-activist! Then, Lewis Jorstad suggests five secondary character arcs to strengthen your cast. Later in the week, Linda Dahl explains how to inject humor to relive narrative tension. DIY MFA

The Heather trope and why we’re so obsessed with her. The Take

Story beats: the key to line-by-line writing. Morality genre: altruism stories of redemption, punishment, and testing. Performance genre: stories about sports, music, business, and art. Four Core Framework: the foundational elements of storytelling. Story Grid

How to write realistic male characters. Jenna Moreci

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how writers Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke survive. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle says the best characters eat their spinach—and their candy. Illustrated by Bunny. Then, Oren Ashkenazi critiques five inexplicable planets from Star Trek. Mythcreants

The three planes of story and creating causal connections. A very personal literary theory. Shaelin Writes

Kristen Lamb warns that bloated writing makes readers sick.

Nina Munteanu shares example steps for keeping a nature journal.

Anne Delaney examines chronemics and the nonverbal language of time. JSTOR Daily

Thank you for spending some time with me. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, April 3-9, 2022

Another week, another batch of cool stuff to get your mental corn popping.

Kevin Breuninger announces that the US Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson to Supreme Court, making her the first Black woman to serve as justice. CNBC

Marlene Lenthang reveals that police won’t be charged in the death of Amir Locke. NBC News

Why did it take so long to pass an anti-lynching law? The Amber Ruffin Show

Anthony Conwright: white anxiety, redefined. African American Policy Forum

Killings in Ukrainian city of Bucha are “clearly war crimes,” says Joly. CBC

And after Russia denies responsibility (the Ukraine’s murdering their own citizens? Yeah, right), Gerry Doyle reports that satellite images show dead civilians in Bucha while it was still in Russian hands. Reuters

Joshua Yaffa: prisoners in a Novyi Bykiv cellar. The New Yorker

Anna Piela: Muslim women and the politics of the head scarf. JSTOR Daily

Reshma Saujani says no one wants to go back to the office as much as white men. Time

Katie Tobin: antiwork feminism asks women to imagine a life without work. Vice

Sarah Laing wonders, have you ever been the victim of “weaponized incompetence”? The Kit

Michelle Fox reports that a four-day workweek pilot is underway in the US and Canada. CNBC

Derek Thompson explains what happens when there are too many meetings. The Atlantic

Rebecca Deczynski says employees spend more time coordinating their work than actually working. The remedy? Fewer meetings! Inc.

Clark Quinn: confidence and correctness. Learnlets

Rebecca Klar wants you to check out this report: Instagram failed to act on abusive DMs sent to three female public figures. The Hill

Guy Kawasaki interviews Susan Cain, NYT bestselling author and introvert. The Remarkable People Podcast

What is life (featuring Brian Cox)? Be Smart

Emily Atkin and Caitlin Looby explain the meaning of half a degree: a new way to think about climate change. GQ

Patrick Smith reports that Darwin’s “tree of life” notebooks mysteriously returned after 20 years. NBC News

Michael Marshall: “impossible” chemistry may reveal the origins of life on Earth. National Geographic

Fiona Harvey reveals that better use of groundwater could transform Africa, research says. The Guardian

Olivia Box wonders how cities can keep water clean now and into the future. JSTOR Daily

True facts: Sea stars. Ze Frank

Linda Geddes explains how mushrooms communicate with each other using up to 50 “words,” according to scientist. The Guardian

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, April 3-9, 2022

Welcome to tipsday, your opportunity to stock up on informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Richelle Lyn wonders whether to trademark or not to trademark. Then, Ambre Leffler recommends the marble jar experiment to balance your energy account. Marina Barakatt discusses Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel. Then, Laura Whitfield is facing shame and healing through writing a memoir. Later in the week, Madhushree Ghosh shares five books on family and belonging by Southeast Asian writers. DIY MFA

Ellen Brock helps you write your novel’s second quarter.

Julie Duffy wants you to find the fun. Then, Greer Macallister shares the pleasures and pitfalls of changing genres. Donald Maass: there are forces at work here. Nancy Johnson shares three tips for using real-world events. Then, David Corbett makes the next instalment in the continuing saga of the murdered darlings, prologue edition. Writer Unboxed

Tim Hickson fixes Legend of Korra. Hello, Future Me

Harrison Demchick reveals how to write about the pandemic (or not). Helping Writers Become Authors

Karen Debonis: from non-writer to published author in 20 short years. Then, Janice Hardy shares five ways to add depth to a scene. Julie Glover offers 10 common corrections she makes when copyediting. Writers in the Storm

Look what Jill Bearup accidentally made …

Joanna Penn interviews Tiffany Yates Martin about Intuitive Editing. The Creative Penn

Alex J. Cavanaugh talks about taking a writing break. Elizabeth Spann Craig

The story resolution creates a satisfying ending for the reader. Story Grid

Princess Weekes explores the failure of Black Disney.

Adam Rosen explains why you should consider a university press for your book. Then, Lisa Ellison Cooper reveals why your amazing writing group might be failing you. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford says there are no writing rules, but there are principles.

How to use symbolism in your writing. Reedsy

Kristen Lamb: memory shapes characters and sharpens conflict. Then, Kristen covers literary larceny and why people should be ashamed.

Colleen M. Story debunks one popular myth writers believe about writer’s block. Writers Helping Writers

Why aren’t angels scary anymore? Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Tiffany Yates Martin reveals how KJ Dell’Antonia revises: embracing opportunity. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle profiles five mediocre white men from big-budget stories. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five underwhelming reveals in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Sands Hall: “The ways of fiction are devious indeed.” Was Wallace Stegner guilty of plagiarism? Alta

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, March 27-April 2, 2022

It’s time, once again, to get your mental corn popping.

Paige Skinner: police bodycam footage shows Black Panther director Ryan Coogler mistakenly detained as a bank robber. Buzzfeed

Charlotte Nolin, a two-spirit Métis elder, says “Change has begun,” on Transgender Day of Visibility. CBC

Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau: Relief for Kyiv? Russia vows to scale back near the capital. Associated Press

Talks resume as Ukraine denies hitting depot on Russian soil. Nebi Qena, Yuras Karmenau, and AP staff for CTV News.

Morgan Godvin considers mothers and war. JSTOR Daily

Emily Zarevich lauds Marie Curie as a Polish resistor. JSTOR Daily

Olivia Stefanovich reports that Pope Francis apologizes to Indigenous delegates to “deplorable” abuses of residential schools. CBC

Nina Feldman: people with “medium covid” are caught in the middle with little support. NPR

Kim Fahner recounts her continuing struggle with long covid. The Republic of Poetry

Laura Zabel explains how artists can lead a pandemic recovery. Bloomberg

Let’s talk “gold diggers.” Khadija Mbowe

Megan Marples says that workplace “energy vampires” can drain your lifeforce. Stop them with these tips. CNN

Richard Fry: young women are out-earning young men in several US cities. Pew Research

Laura Vanderkam explains why you rethink that morning meeting. Fast Company

Clark Quinn shares his personal knowledge management approach. Learnlets

99 years later … we solved it! Physics Girl

Laura Ungar: scientists finally finish decoding the entire human genome. Associated Press

Hiroshima University develops new procedure to interpret x-ray emission spectra of liquid water. Phys.org

Nicole Mortillaro: a “cannibal” is on its way from the sun, but don’t worry, you may see the northern lights. CBC

Ashley Strickland reveals that Pluto has giant ice volcanoes that could hint at the possibility of life. CNN

Nadia Drake: most distant star ever seen found in Hubble Space Telescope image. National Geographic

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, March 27-April 2, 2022

Welcome to April! Celebrate the season with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Melissa Haas rounds out March with some leisure learning suggestions. Then, Kris Hill is writing dynamic combat scenes with Dungeons & Dragons. Gabriela Pereira interviews Rob Hart about setting as character in speculative fiction. Angela Yeh: world building without losing your mind (or the reader). Jeanette the Writer wants you to keep these five things in mind during the editing process. DIY MFA

The missing key to understanding Christopher Nolan. Like Stories of Old

K.M. Weiland shares six ways to create spectacular set-piece scenes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft: the autumn writer. Yasmin Angoe shares eight lessons learned as a debut author—so far. Then, Jeanne Kisacky offers a writer’s review of Aeon Timeline software. Sarah McCoy provides your guide to water when the inspiration well runs dry. Leslie Budewitz considers discomfort, intention, and creativity (again, click through to the podcast—it’s worth your time). Writer Unboxed

14 revision tips. How to edit your book. Shaelin Writes

Angela Ackerman points out setting description mistakes that weaken stories. Then, Becca Puglisi shows you how to use vocal cues to reveal hidden emotion. Writers Helping Writers

Kris Maze shares seven foolproof tricks to outsmart writing procrastination. Margie Lawson: beware of the Great Oz effect! Writers in the Storm

Nathan Bransford explains how to show a character reacting to a dramatic moment.

Sacha Black interview Mark Leslie Lefebvre and Helen Glynn-Jones about writing and marketing an anthology. The Rebel Author Podcast

Lindsay Ellis explains why magical realism is a global phenomenon. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Tiffany Yates Martin: character, conflict, and that infamous Oscar slap. Fox Print Editorial

The story crisis triggers change in the protagonist. The story climax reveals the character of the protagonist. Story Grid

Chris Winkle: originality is dead! Long live novelty! Mythcreants

Jenna Moreci shares her 10 best tips for action scenes.

100 things you might not know about Beverly Cleary. CBC Books

Eleanor Wachtel interviews Sarah Polley: from child star to award-winning filmmaker. CBC’s “Writers and Company”

Thank you for taking the time to stop by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends.

The next chapter: March 2022 update

Egad! Where does the time go? I know it’s a thing—that time seems to past faster the older you get—but, come on.

Before we get into the writerly update, my monthly PSAs:

I stand with Ukraine and condemn Putin’s unprovoked war.

All lives cannot matter until BIPOC lives matter.

Though restrictions have eased, case counts and hospitalisations are again on the rise. They’re talking about a sixth wave here in Canada. Wash your hands, maintain physical distance, mask when you can’t. Get vaccinated if you haven’t. Get boosted if you haven’t. Sign up for the next booster when it’s available.

The month in writing

March was a good month, I think.

I only have two projects to report on (that I recorded on my Excel tracker).

I set what I though was a reasonable revision goal for Reality Bomb of 20,000 words. And I revised 18,277 words, or 91%. I only have eight chapters left to go. Then I’ll take a short break to work through some revision notes in my map, consolidate the cause and effect between scenes and ensure that every scene has a proper structure. I’m in a good place, though there’s still work to be done. There always will be.

I blogged 5,982 words of my 6,000-word goal. Essentially 100%.

In terms of projects I’m not tracking, I worked on my Ascension series master document and have gotten to the point where I have to reread the existing material before I proceed.

I also submitted a piece of short fiction to an open submission period.

I forgot to mention last month that the story I submitted to an anthology in January was rejected. It’s the life of a professional writer, submission and rejection. It’s an entirely negative-sounding process. Submission—to put yourself, or your work, at someone else’s mercy—and rejection—to be turned away. No wonder most people think writers are crazy 🙂

Filling the well

I attended two writerly events in March. The first was a workshop on planning and outlining your novel with Kate Heartfield, offered through the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. The second was a demonstration on how to use tarot cards to develop a character arc from Margaret McNellis.

I also watched the replay of Finding and Working with the Right Literary Agent with Howard Yoon offered through Jane Friedman.

In the self-care department, I had an appointment with my RMT, my therapist, and my support group. I’m working on identifying thought distortions in the moment. Self-awareness is hard work.

I made a discovery. I don’t need a duty to accommodate. I’ve managed 21 years in the public service without. I just have to monitor my mental health a little more closely and take my sick leave as I need it. In my autistic way, I was so focused on the DTA process and “doing things right” that I completely missed the obvious. I do get hyper-focused from time to time. Fortunately, I caught myself, with the help of my therapist, before I committed to a 30-hour work week and the accompanying cut in pay.

Financial wellbeing supports mental health. As the sole support for my household, a one-fifth cut in my income would have been a blow. And the uncertainty about whether I could pay down our remaining debts before I retire would have weighed heavily. The cut to my pension would not have been welcome, either.

I’m going to see through my “trial period”—just three more weeks—supported by the use of my sick leave. I just have to get a doctor’s note to say that I am capable of working full time, without restrictions, and I won’t pursue a DTA further. It’s a relief, really.

What I’m watching and reading

In terms of viewing, I have a gap to fill from January (!) At the time, I had watched the last episode of the most recent season of Nancy Drew, but the network broadcasting it was advertising its return in March, so I was unaware that it was the last episode.

I’ll fill that gap now by saying that the season was its usual highly supernatural, highly sexually charged stories that I’ve come to expect from Nancy and the Drew Crew. Though she finally has the chance to hook up with Ace, Temperance curses her so that if she ever confesses her love for Ace, he’ll die. Dun, dun, dun!

Back in the March viewing department, Phil and I watched the new Vikings: Valhalla. In tone, it strikes somewhere between the original Vikings and The Last Kingdom. One of the new cast is Leif Erikson (son of Erik the Red). I’m willing to see where it leads, though they do make liberal reference to the original Vikings and the historical inaccuracies therein.

The rest of what I watched was personal viewing. Three series and two movies.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow finished its season in early March. I could just say that the usual wackiness ensued, but there was a little more meat to this season. Gideon becomes human but an uncorrupted version of the Gideon AI exists and creates robot versions of the legends to hunt them down and kill them.

Batwoman ended around the same time and the angst of the season was resolved, Ryan’s back in charge of Wayne Enterprises, her brother is “cured,” and Alice is committed to doing the work of healing.

Discovery was good, but sappy. A first contact situation with traditional Starfleet values all over the place.

I watched Turning Red. I think it was awesome.

And, finally, I watched the new Dune. I appreciated the choices Villeneuve made, but there are still some issues.

I read four books in March.

The first was this has nothing to do with you by Lauren Carter. It was a story about healing from trauma, and very good, but I found it a difficult read because the protagonist’s name was Mel and the fictional city of Norbury is a stand-in for Sudbury. Though the trauma—how to deal when your mother kills your father for having an affair—was nothing I personally relate to, it was nonetheless an uncomfortable read. But Grommet was wonderful.

Then I read Matthew Saleses Craft in the Real World, in which the author makes the case for an alternate version of workshopping/critique within the MFA frame of reference, so that it’s more inclusive of craft from other cultures. Thought provoking. Excellent.

I followed that up with Intuitive Editing by Tiffany Yates Martin. OMG, so amazing. I have a feeling I’m going to return to it repeatedly.

Finally, I read Jael Richardson’s Gutter Child. Incredible. I’ll leave it there and encourage you all to read it.

And that was the month in this writer’s life.

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