The next chapter: April 2023 update

Welcome to the first next chapter, back in its monthly format. This means it will be epic. Sorry, not sorry.

The month in writing

I’ve had to completely revamp my annual plan. Well, not completely, but mostly 🙂

My original plan had been to finish mapping out Alice in Thunderland in January and finish the first draft in February and March while continuing to work with Suzy on Reality Bomb. But a budget situation at work and the attendant loss of income meant I couldn’t continue working with Suzy. We parted ways at the end of January.

I then thought I’d continue working on my own and sign up again once my position and salary had been restored, but Phil had his accident (on Valentine’s Day, I’ll remind you), and all writing work was suspended until such time as he recovered.

In the interim, I got the hare-brained idea to start applying for grants. All of them.

Now that Phil’s recovered, I’ve committed to …

  1. Finish my #ActuallyAutistic Author presentation script and resources,
  2. Revise my poetry manuscript from now through June (in progress),
  3. Write a creative non-fiction (CNF) piece for a call due in early May (in progress),
  4. Work on another CNF piece,
  5. Revise a short story for an anthology call later in May (started),
  6. Start working with Suzy again (come hell or high water, as they say),
  7. Revise another short story for a potential project,
  8. Apply for more grants in May and June (working on one, now),
  9. Deliver my #AAA presentation in June or July,
  10. Revise yet another short story for future submission,
  11. Revamp my web site (some of it’s already done—just bits and pieces left),
  12. Work on new poetry,
  13. Work on a CNF project,
  14. Start work on my new fiction project in September, and
  15. Apply for more grants, September through November.

You can see why I’ve decided to cut back on blogging in the interim.

Alice is taking a back seat, for now. I think it was a good project, but I don’t have the head space or energy to get back to it right now. I do have the outline finished and a solid idea of where I need to head when I do get back to revisions. So, it’s in a good place.

That was the only big change from my original plan, aside from pushing out some timelines because life is what happens when you may other any plans.

So far, the experiment in rearranging my creative life (i.e., giving up curation and returning to monthly updates) seems to be working. I’m a lot less stressed out, that’s for sure. Or I was.

Just gonna let the Excel speak for itself.

Unfortunately, the universe couldn’t take it easy on me. An added stress is that a general strike was called on April 19, 2023. I’m showing up and showing solidarity, but the first day was bitterly cold and I had to take a nap after I got home (which I never do) to warm up and recover. Subsequent days weren’t any easier, though I planned a bit better each day.

My executive function is definitely compromised. Meltdowns each morning, naps most afternoons, and I’m having trouble functioning on any level. At least I didn’t have to picket on the weekends. As of today (April 30, 2023) there’s a new offer on the table, but I haven’t heard anything yet. I expect we’ll be back on the picket line tomorrow.

In other developments, I’ll be one of three judges for the K. Valerie Connor Memorial Poetry Celebration contest held by the Leacock Museum in Orillia this year. I’m honoured to have been considered.

I received another bit of amazing (ah-MA-zing!) news this morning, but I’ll have to wait a bit before I make that announcement. Stay tuned! And yes, I’m a tease.

Filling the well

Just picking up from where I left off in my next chapter weekly updates. I’m not recapping the whole month (!) As you’ll see, it’s been a month FULL of events.

I attended the online book launch for Fonda Lee’s The Untethered Sky on April 10th. A great conversation between Fonda and Andrea Stewart about all aspects of the creative process.

I had signed up for a FOLD Academy webinar with Liselle Sambury on April 8th, but was unable to watch it live, because recovery. I watched the replay once it was posted to their YouTube channel. It’s an interesting method, and Sambury offered a lot of alternatives for outlining and tracking your novel.

I signed up for an Authors Publish webinar on a new (to me) poetry form, the zuihitsu, with Eugenia Leigh. Because it was held during the workday, I watched the replay. Zuihitsu is a fascinating form, but I don’t know if I could manage the consciously disordered nature of a zuihitsu collection. It does track with some of the ideas I’m hoping to play with poetically, though. We’ll see where it leads.

I met with my poetry editor, Tanis MacDonald, on the 12th. It was less fraught than I thought it would be (and that would have been on me—Tanis was lovely). Now I have my marching orders and some work to do 🙂

I attended the Writing Success Series Discovery Night on April 13th. I’ve signed up for the Donald Maass six-webinar package and will return for individual sessions by Eric Maisel, Janice Hardy, Tiffany Yates Martin, and Beth Baranay.

I signed up for another Dan Blank webinar about defining your identity and creative voice on April 14th. Again, because it was during the workday, I watched the replay. Dan has a lot of good information about how to engage with social media on your terms and it all begins with defining your identity and creative voice.

On April 15th, my friend and former poet laureate of Sudbury, Vera Constantineau, launched her poetry collection. Enlightened by Defilement is a collection of haibun inspired by the 108 defilements of Buddhism. It was a lovely afternoon at the Hilton Garden Inn, good food, and a lot of familiar faces that I haven’t seen in a while 🙂

That was a big week of writing-related events, I realized, and dialled it back a bit. Yeah, all of the above was in one week. I might have overdone things a bit.

Just four more writing-related events in the month.

I purchased a Rambo Academy webinar on revision that I could watch at my leisure, which I did.

I attended Mary Robinette Kowal’s Barriers to Writing webinar on Sunday, April 23. It was extremely helpful in a few different ways.

Finally, I registered for a TWUC webinar on marketing and self-promotion presented by Rod Carley and Ali Bryan, which I also watched in replay. With my debut poetry collection coming up next year, it was very helpful!

I almost forgot! The FOLD started on April 30th, but as the bulk of the event is in May, I’ll leave the details until next month’s update.

In the self-care department, I had an appointment with my doctor because of a bump on the inside of my wrist. It’s a ganglion cyst and nothing to worry about unless it gets bigger and/or starts causing pain or impeding my range of motion. Something to monitor for now.

Phil had another physio appointment and an appointment with an endocrinologist for his type II diabetes. Unfortunately, the diabetic clinic is being shut down. It’s disappointing because he was finally getting the treatment and support he needed. And then his appointment with the endocrinologist was cancelled. Super frustrating.

I took Torvi to the vet for her annual exam and flea/tic/worm medication. An expensive trip, but she was her crazy, adorable self for Dr. Andrews, and she’ll be protected for the coming year.

What I’m watching and reading

I finished watching The Witcher: Blood Origin (Netflix). An interesting origin story for the witchers, with great characters, fight scenes, and a tie-in to the main series. Also, it was only four episodes, so it didn’t have time to fall prey to some of the gaffs other series suffer from.

Next, I watched The Wonder (Netflix), based on the novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue. Mystery and pathos. Lib Wright is a nurse who is called upon, with a nun, to perform a 14-day watch on a girl is a small Irish village who hasn’t eaten in four months. Ah, my heart.

I finished watching the first season of The Peripheral (Amazon). Bizarre and brain-twisty, but I loved it. Virtual reality isn’t just VR. It’s time travel and the creation of alternate realities called stubs. A VR gamer and her ex-military brother are inducted into a program with new technology, and a whole new world of complex future and present political and corporate intrigue changes their lives.

I also finished off the first season of Extraordinary (Disney +). In a world where most people develop powers (some of which are bizarre, and others, totally useless), protagonist Jen is powerless. She’s also a horrible person who has no money to pay for the expensive treatment that could rectify the situation. Growth happens. British series. British humour.

Then, I watched Ghosted (Apple +). It was the fun escape I needed after three days of picketing. Lots of cameos by popular action actors. I was laughing out loud. It might have been the dysregulation, but I enjoyed it. There was some problematic content, though, like the white male protagonist getting all stalkery (repeated texts, tracking her, a surprise trip to see her) on his love interest after she apparently ghosts him. Unfortunately, the stalking is critical to the plot. Like, there would be none without his intrusive and unwanted behaviour.

In reading, I finished T.J. Klune’s Wolfsong. The protagonist, Oxnard, or Ox is clearly autistic coded. And bisexual (pan?). I loved the book for that alone, but it was a love story between a human boy and his wolf pack. Correction, packs. There are some explicit sex scenes if you’re not into that kind of thing. My heart (again)!

Then, I finished The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson. A fascinating historical fiction based on true events. Look up the blue people. They were an actual thing. And the packhorse librarians. Loved it!

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

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

Book Launch: Enlightened by Defilement by Vera Constantineau

Yesterday, On Saturday, April 15, 2023, I attended the launch of Vera’s collection of haibun, Enlightened by Defilement, at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Sudbury.

It was a lovely afternoon and I saw many members of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild, who came out to support our former Poet Laureate. Heather Campbell, the publisher behind Latitude 46 was also there, and I reconnected with an old friend (hi, Linda!—waves frantically).

Emily DeAngelis conducted an interview with Vera and asked her to read a few poems. It was a different format, and I appreciated it. The Sudbury Star interviewed Vera, as well.

The event was catered with sushi, spring rolls, fruit, cheese, meats, and crackers. Very good!

There was something for everyone.

I’ll encourage everyone to support Vera and Latitude 46 by purchasing a copy, either directly from the publisher’s page, or through

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, April 2-8, 2023

My last thoughty Thursday! Parting is such sweet sorrow. Feel free to peruse the archives if you need to get your mental corn popping in the future.

Picture of a moon emerging from behind clouds.

Kaelyn Forde introduces us to the women fighting one of the harshest abortion laws in the Americas. The Walrus

Candace Maracle: Elisapie gets nostalgic with Inuktitut rendition of Blondie’s Heart of Glass. And it’s freakin’ awesome! CBC Indigenous

Guy Kawasaki interviews Temple Grandin: different minds for different times. The Remarkable People Podcast

Sagy Zwirn is all about the fire and brimstone, or how the dichotomy of heaven and hell came to be, and why it bears no resemblance to what the Bible actually says. JSTOR Daily

Lorne Cook and Matthew Lee: Finland joins NATO in major blow to Russia over Ukraine War. Associated Press

Anne Trafton reports that new nanoparticles can perform gene editing in the lungs, offering hope for Cystic Fibrosis and other lung disease patients. MIT News

Nicole Schmidt wonders, will groceries ever be affordable? The Walrus

Stephen Clark: NASA names crew for first human mission to the moon in over 50 years. Spaceflight Now

Brett Tingly explains why NASA’s Artemis II will only fly around the moon, not orbit, or land.

JWST scores another ringed world with new image of Uranus. Shiny! NASA

Gaia discovers a new family of black holes.

Davide Castelvecchi: light waves squeezed through “slits in time.” Nature

Ashawnta Jackson: money, murder, and Mrs. Clem. JSTOR Daily

Erin Blakemore explains why England’s “lost king” ended up buried beneath a parking lot. National Geographic

Henry Grabar explains how Paris kicked out the cars. Slate

Bob Weber: scientists confirm first Canadian fossil of a dire wolf, Ice Age predator featured in Game of Thrones. The Globe and Mail

Researchers discover birds with neurotoxin-laden feathers in New Guinea.

Annette McGivney takes us inside the stunning brains of natures hardest workers: “Bees are sentient.” The Guardian

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

Until my next chapter update (returning to it’s monthly format, so the first weekend in May), be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, April 2-8, 2023

Welcome to the last tipsday for the foreseeable. As I mentioned in my most recent next chapter weekly, I’m cutting back on social media to devote more time to writing and revision.

It’s been a while since Torvi made an appearance 🙂

Julianna Baggott: yes, I know how hard it is. Donald Maass explains where connection comes from. Then, Elizabeth Huergo muses on frigates and ChatGPT. Writer Unboxed

Margie Lawson is writing fresh: laughs, giggles, and snorts that carry power. Then, Hannah Jacobson explains what you can do with book awards and reviews. Stefan Emunds says characterization is one of the most vital writing skills. Writers in the Storm

What makes a movie “feminist”? Princess Weekes

Elizabeth Spann Craig is writing longhand.

Becca Puglisi says, if you need organizational help, try Trello. Then, Colleen M. Story shares six ways to make your author blog more successful. Writers Helping Writers

Is cyberpunk actually punk? Tale Foundry

Amy L. Bernstein provides a framework for moving beyond your first draft. Then, Matt Holmes lists the four pillars of book marketing, or how to sell more books in less time. Amy Goldmacher explains how to differentiate between desire and desperation in pursuit of publication. Next, John Matthew Fox helps you find comp titles using ChatGPT. Jane Friedman

My revision process—first draft to ready for publication. Shaelin Writes

Ashley Christiano shares chakras for storytellers, part 2: putting concept into practice. Then, Manuela Williams considers four poetry book cover design trends. Stacy Frazer explains how to recover from creative burnout and enhance your energy. Next, Lori Walker interviews Danielle Mitchell about reading and writing poetry. Brenda Rech shares five things she learned by entering writing contests. DIY MFA

Seven exercises to improve dialogue. Reedsy

Janice Hardy lists three steps to crafting a story arc that sucks (your readers in). Fiction University

Tiffany Yates Martin discovers how Camille Pagán revises—by betting on herself. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle offers six tips for writing your first novel—and series. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that undermine their own stakes. Mythcreants

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress. You can always peruse the archives.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends.

The next chapter weekly: April 2-8, 2023

Welcome to week 14, and, sadly, the last next chapter weekly for a while (see below). I’ve enjoyed this experiment and think I’ll return to it when I have more time or more spoons or what have you.

An image of The Moon tarot card.

From the tarot this week, I drew The Moon, which represents dreams, mystery, deception, illusion, fears, and the unknown. Something is not what it seems. So, am I delusional to think I’ll be able to devote more time to my writing and make significant progress toward my goals? I don’t know.

I’d like to hang my hat on the dreams alone, because dreams (the ones you have when you’re asleep) are cool, and aspirations (the dreams you have when you’re conscious) are a motivating force.

An image of The Mound of Wonders card from the Shaman's Pack.

From the Shaman’s pack I drew The Mound of Wonders, which represents the empowerment of earth. So, a faery mound. There’s another tale from the Mabinogion about when Pwyll met Rhiannon—you guessed it—at a faery mound. This card seems to be more about elemental power rather than mythic significance. And that’s fine because I love me some elemental magic. Earth is a good place to start, with grounding and steadfast intention.

This week also saw the Pink full moon in Libra on the 6th. That was the night the graupel (I’ve been calling it gropel—yeesh) started, and it was overcast. She’s been out the nights since and has been glorious. I formulated my full moon release and did a guided meditation.

The week in writing

Just blogging again.

I wrote 1,954 words for the week, and 2,535 words for April so far.

A screenshot of an Excel sheet showing writing progress of 2,535 words for April 1 to 8, 2023.

Last weekend, Pulp Literature did the cover reveal for issue 38, and—my name’s on the cover! First time ever! Eeeee! And the cover is gorgeous, am I right?

An image of the cover of Pulp Literature 38, spring 2023.

Early in the week, I emailed my poetry editor, Tanis MacDonald, and work will begin on my poetry collection, verra soon.

I got my first Canada Council Grant application submitted! I have no idea how any of these grants will work out. Will wait and see and report back when I have something to report.

I’ve given some thought to what I’m going to do with blogging and social media now that work on my poetry manuscript will be starting and my work with Suzy will be resuming. Rather than a complete hiatus, I’m thinking of something more strategic.

I’ll be giving up curation for the foreseeable and moving these next chapter updates to monthly ones again. So, no weekly tarot draws or other paganish stuff. I’ll still do that for myself, but I won’t be sharing it.

As I mentioned off the top, I’ll probably return to the weekly format at some point, but something else has got to give before that happens. Phil is mostly recovered now and has resumed most of the household responsibilities. This frees up some time, but I’m still working full time, and I only have so much vacation.

Something Phil’s accident and recovery has taught me is that I can’t do it all.

Curation isn’t a burden, per se, but it does take up a good chunk of time that I could be using to write or revise, or really, do anything creative. And there are others out there who are doing a more comprehensive job, like Elizabeth Spann Craig with her Twitterific links.

I also remember how much I enjoy my curation breaks for NaNoWriMo. Not having to do curation has actually made it possible for me to do NaNoWriMo in past years, in any capacity.

I’m going to use the break to rework my website. I have to update some pictures and messaging, redo the header to reflect my more recent publications. I have some decisions to make, as well. The site might become more static, especially if I turn my next chapter updates into a newsletter.

I won’t be as active on Twitter. Not that I was very active before. Other than my blog, the two main places you’ll find me will be on Facebook (just my personal account—I don’t intend to make an author page) and Instagram, where I post all my pictures. I may try doing more on Insta, but not right now.

Again, all these activities cost time and energy, and I only have so much of those, less as each year passes. If anything, I’m my autistic traits are becoming more prominent as I age, not less.

Filling the well

On Tuesday, I attended another TWUC Ontario Region Open Mic. Heard some poetry and some short fiction. It was nice to sit back and enjoy the work of other writers.

On Wednesday, the Sudbury Writers’ Guild Poetry Inner Circle brought in the lovely Tanis MacDonald (yes, my poetry editor) for a brief poetry workshop. Useful tools were shared. I’m sure I’ll be using some of them in the coming months 🙂

I also took Torvi for her grooming last Sunday, and Phil to his next physio appointment on Monday. He’s now starting strength training and his traumatized muscles are sore.

What I’m watching and reading

Phil and I finished watching the second season of Shadow and Bone. Neither of us enjoyed it as much as the first. Again, combining two book series that were never intended to happen at the same time means that each episode is packed with so many things happening, the show seems to hurtle toward its conclusion in a frenzy. And now it looks like they’re adding in the King of Scars duology as well. They’ve also had to make significant departures from the books and move events around. It’s really its own thing now and can’t be compared to the books that were its inspiration. It’s not bad, but I’m nervous about what future seasons will look like.

I watched the end of the first season of the new Quantum Leap. I like it. Ben Song is another kind, gentle soul who just wants to help everyone. I think the season finale ended the way it did in case it’s not renewed. We don’t know who’s coming back. So, they could move in either direction, or even bring Scott Bakula back for a limited run. They’ve made it very clear (repeatedly) that Sam never returned. Maybe part of Ben Song’s plan was to make it possible for Sam to stop leaping. I’ll watch the next season. If it’s renewed.

In reading, I finished Guy Gavriel Kay’s All the Seas of the World. It’s a sequel to A Brightness Long Ago and features many of the same characters. What can I say? Kay’s another author I’m completely unobjective about. I’ll read everything he writes, and I’ll love it.

I also finished reading K.M. Weiland’s latest writing craft book, Writing Archetypal Character Arcs. I’ve posted my review. Unsurprisingly, I loved it. This is a reference every writer should have on their desk. In print.

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

Until next tipsday (which will be the last for a while), be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

A hand holds a book with mystical energy floating up from it.
The next chapter.
A month in the writerly life.

Book review: K.M. Weiland’s Writing Archetypal Character Arcs

What Amazon says:

The Six Transformational Character Arcs of the Human Life

Ready to take your story’s character arcs and themes to the next level? This latest book from veteran writing teacher and story theorist K.M. Weiland ventures far beyond the popular and pervasive Hero’s Journey to explore six important archetypal character arcs, representing key moments of initiation in the human experience:

  • The Maiden
  • The Hero
  • The Queen
  • The King
  • The Crone
  • The Mage

Found in every genre from fantasy to drama to romance to adventure, these transformational stories are the secret of powerhouse fiction—as shown through a wide variety of real-story examples throughout the book.

Writing Archetypal Character Arcs will teach you:

  • The archetypal beats for each of the six journeys
  • Which archetypes are right for your particular story
  • The best way to use archetypes in a series
  • How to choose the right archetypes for supporting characters
  • How to use archetypes to identify your story’s theme

You will also learn how to deepen your stories by implementing shadow archetypes (the negative sides of each positive archetype), resting or “flat” archetypes (the fixed stage between each of the main arcs), and archetypal antagonists (the epic antagonistic forces that oppose each of the positive archetypes in their journeys). The Hero’s Journey is just the beginning.

Learning about archetypal character arcs will change the way you view stories—and life—forever.

My thoughts:

K.M. Weiland has a passion for story structure (Structuring Your Novel) and character arc (Creating Character Arcs). Now, she adds to her writing craft oeuvre with Writing Archetypal Character Arcs.

Her journey began with Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth (The Hero’s Journey) and his discussion of Jungian archetypes in his seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. But Campbell’s work has always lacked the feminine dimension and anything leading up to or following the Monomyth/Hero’s Journey.

To fill this gap, Weiland has read not only the works of Maureen Murdock, Kim Hudson, and Gail Carriger and their interpretations of the heroine’s journey, but she’s also delved deeply into archetypes at all stages of life’s journey through the works of numerous authors. One look at her list of references at the end of Writing Archetypal Character Arcs will make the craft writing book junkie or academic in you drool.

Though I intend to add a number of these books to my reading list (‘cause I’m a geek), you don’t have to. Weiland has studied and skillfully distilled these works into her book and lays them out for writers in an accessible way.

This is a writing craft book that you will want to buy in print and keep at your desk as a reference. It’s that good.

My Rating:


Go buy it now, peoples.

You’re welcome.

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, March 26-April 1, 2023

It is time, once again, to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Annie Hylton: where the children are buried. The Walrus

Michele Cyca wonders why more people are claiming Indigenous ancestry. The Walrus

Kai Chenk Thom says that kids deserve a new gender paradigm. The Walrus

Nathaniel Wade and Marilyn Cornish explain how to forgive yourself. Psyche Guides

Heidi Ledford: “astonishing” molecular syringe ferries proteins into human cells. This could improve drug delivery systems. Nature

Chris Vallance says AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million jobs. Not a new story. We’ve been hearing similar messages one way or the other since the industrial revolution. Sometimes it’s as bad as predicted, and sometimes it’s not. We have to wait and see. BBC

Guy Kawasaki interviews Wanda Harding about her journey from stars to students. The Remarkable People Podcast

Genelle Weule: Change’e-5 samples reveal water on Moon stored in glass beads. ABC

Daniel Lawler reports that a large asteroid to zoom between Earth and Moon.

Alexandra Witze: JWST gets best view yet of planet in hotly pursued star system. Nature

The obscure history of Japanese sea lords. PBS Origins

Amy McCaig reports that ancient DNA reveals entwined African and Asian ancestry along the Swahili coast. Rice University

Human cells help researchers understand squid camouflage. American Chemical Society

Why does every animal look like this? Be Smart

Robotic system offers hidden window into collective bee behaviour. École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

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

Until my next chapter weekly update, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, March 26-April 1, 2023

Welcome to April, and to tipsday, your opportunity to peruse a select curation of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Kamm Prongay offers one writer’s introduction to reading and writing essay. Then, Lori Walker interviews Patricia Leavy about the magic and science of writing. Anna M. Holmes wonders, are book cover design and blurbs agony or ecstasy? Next, Francesca Miracola shares five things to consider when writing a memoir that covers difficult subjects. DIY MFA

The unbelievably tragic story of Cú Chulainn. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Matthew Norman bemoans so many decisions. Then, Kim Bullock offers some self-care for writers in a pseudo-dystopian world. Tessa Barbosa offers some advice on handling editorial feedback without getting overwhelmed. Next, Mary McDonough is navigating and seeing beyond writers’ roadblocks. Julie Carrick Daltoon is playing with point of view: we are all heroes. Writer Unboxed

How to structure a heist. Mary Robinette Kowal

Janice Hardy explains how to make backstory work for you. Then, Rayne Hall is plotting a short love story. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland shares how archetypes changed her life and her writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Kris Maze shows you how to gift your author estate — writing to retire, part 2. Then, J. Alexander Greenwood offers some tips from podcast hosts for a good show. Lynette M. Burrows is crafting a story with the forces of antagonism. Writers in the Storm

How Sherlock Holmes killed his author. Tale Foundry

Carly Watters defines upmarket fiction. Then, April Dávila helps you banish writer’s block in five minutes flat. Allison K. Williams explains why you should be writing on social media. Jane Friedman

Angela Ackerman explains how to uncover your character’s deepest fear. Then, she says, if your story needs a hit of organic conflict, look to your setting. Writers Helping Writers

How many words in a novel? Reedsy

Nathan Bransford: plinko scenes.

Tiffany Yates Martin considers lucky breaks and tough shakes. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle points out six signs of over-summarized prose. Then, Oren Ashkenazi says these eight RPGs also deserve mediocre movies. Mythcreants

Thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well.

The next chapter weekly: March 26-April 1, 2023

It’s lucky week 13, finishing off March and ending with April Fool’s Day. Which I don’t observe. I’ve never enjoyed practical jokes. Now that I know I’m autistic, this isn’t surprising.

From the tarot, I drew the Hanged Man, which represents ordeal, introspection, fate, acceptance, momento mori, stoicism, and stagnation. Well, I’ve certainly undergone an ordeal, but I’m on the other side of it, emerging from the overwhelm of work and household responsibilities. I have accepted it, but I haven’t been particularly stoic about it. I’m certainly not stagnating. So, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Not too sure what it means. More changes coming?

From the Shaman’s pack, I drew the Mother, who is Modron (literally Mother). Once again, from the tale of Culhwch and Olwen and the search for Mabon (the child of Modron). This card represents conception. When contemplating new projects, she can provide wise and loving advice. Well, there’s a lot of contemplation happening, and new projects are on the horizon.

The week in writing

Once again, just blogging. And grant applications (which I’m not tracking).

I wrote 1,306 words for the week and 7,084 words for March, total. That’s 109% of my goal. I wrote 581 words on April 1st, essentially this update. And again, the week’s visual tracking is broken into two parts.

I submitted my application for the Access Copyright Foundation’s Professional Development Grant on the 29th! Two down. Two to go (one due in the coming week and one in May).

Filling the well

I finished out the Perfect your Process Summit on Sunday and Monday. It’s usually a good variety of presenters.

I took Phil to his appointment with Dr. Vokey on Friday. The bone is healed! All that’s left is the soft tissue damage, which always take a long time. Phil’s resuming most of his former responsibilities around the house, but he can’t lift heave things yet, so laundry, shopping, etc. are still my responsibility.

What I’m watching and reading

I finished watching RRR. It took me three days with the run-time of 3 hrs 5 minutes. It was an epic tale. A young girl named Malli is abducted by the governor’s wife, and her village’s protector, Bheem, goes to Deli to rescue her. While there, he helps a man named Ram rescue a boy and the two become friends. Bheem is unaware that Ram is the police officer assigned to find and stop him from returning Malli to her village.

That’s just the set up. There are Bollywood numbers, romance, bromance, and tragedy. The fight scenes are over-the-top. Wild animals as distraction! Ram on Bheem’s shoulders, fighting as one! Ram dressed as Arjuna! The two men taking down an army of special forces and then destroying an entire compound!

So. Much. FUN!!

I read Annalee Newitz’s The Future of Another Timeline. A timely (sorry, not sorry) novel about an alternate world in which abortion was never made legal and reproductive rights are severely restricted. In the future, women called Queens have their hands amputated so they can focus on procreation.

But in this alternate reality, there are time machines that were discovered in the Earth. A whole new field of study, chronogeology opens up, and the protagonist wants to edit the past to make a better world. Compelling.

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

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