Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 9-15, 2019

Here we are, in mid-June, half-way through the year. Celebrate whatever you’ve accomplished and enjoy some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Arthur Klepchukov says, word count goals shouldn’t be your only goals. Jim Dempsey explains how to respond to criticism. Sarah Callender considers things she forgets to remember when she’s writing a novel: mood. Kathryn Craft: when something good incites story. Writer Unboxed

Julie Glover shares five tips for writing great dialogue from The Gilmour Girls. Barbara Linn Probst takes a fresh look at “writing what you know.” Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci returns with part three of her dialogue series: it’s all about tags.

K.M. Weiland lists six requirements for writing better character goals. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jami Gold: are story goals slowing your pace? Writers Helping Writers

Then, Jami follows up on her own blog: can passive goals ever be good for our stories?

Alexa Donne shares her magic editing hack that fixes pacing.

Nathan Bransford lists the most common mistakes writers make. Then he explains what it takes to write a good climax for a novel.

Leanne Sowul wants you to balance the supply and demand of the writing life. DIY MFA

Sarah McGuire explains how to guide a critique. Fiction University

Cat Rose explains how to survive a conference even if you’re an introvert. The Creative Penn

Bunny helps you select classical music to set any scene. Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at four problematic tropes to drop and what you can do instead. Mythcreants

Jane van Koerverden reports on the $6K literary award to honour YA books written in an indigenous language. CBC

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found something of value in the mix.

Until Thursday, be well. See you then 🙂

Tipsday2019

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 2-8, 2019

A fairly substantial batch of thoughty links to get your mental corn popping this week.

The BBC shares the latest in the Sudan crisis: the African Union suspends Sudan’s membership.

Richard Nieva reports that YouTube will ban supremacist and hoax videos in tougher hate speech policy. CNet

Denise Brodey: how one billion disabled people hit the business radar. Forbes

Liza Gross wonders, can efforts to bottle MDMA’s magic transform psychiatry? The Verge

Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall say that work-life balance is a myth. Here’s what they recommend instead. Time

Knvul Sheikh: creative types reserve a special corner of the brain for dreaming big. Scientific American

Matt Reynolds: the natural genius of ants is helping us build better algorithms. Wired

Verge Science tries to decipher ratspeak with DeepSqueak.

Robert Macfarlane takes us into the invisible city beneath Paris. The New Yorker

Franchesca Street takes us on a tour of abandoned sacred places around the world. CNN

The BBC reports on the long-lost Lewis Chessman found in Edinburgh family’s drawer.

Mara Johnson-Groh looks at how art advances astronomy. UnDark

SciShow Space news introduces us to the forbidden planet and new ways to produce oxygen in space.

Andrew Zaleski: urban forests are dying, but Baltimore shows us how to bring them back. Popular Science

Emma Stevens sings “Blackbird” in Mi’kmaq (yes, even Sir Paul himself made a thing about this performance).

Thanks for stopping by and, until next tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 2-8, 2019

Here’s a nice bundle of informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

Jael McHenry is making room for silence. Nancy Johnson: what white writers should know about telling black stories. Donald Maass explores the myriad ways in which mystery shapes your story (and returns to the pithy one-word titles). Cathy Yardley offers a snapshot of her writing process. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland explains how to write interesting scenes. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Scott Bell wants you to stay thirsty. Writers Helping Writers

Sara Letourneau is identifying themes in poetry. Laura Highcove wants you to reclaim your agency from writer’s block. Then, Charlene Jimenez describes the five people fiction writers need in their lives. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci rails against her ten most hated hero tropes.

Fae Rowan suggests these six f-words to create compelling characters. Writers in the Storm

Tara East guest posts on Joanna Penn’s blog: how overwriters can reduce their word count. The Creative Penn

Emily Wenstrom suggests several different tools to track world building in a fantasy series. Writer’s Digest

Chris Winkle explores five relationship dynamics for stronger romances. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains five ways terrain affects fantasy battles. Mythcreants

Hank Green shares eight things he wished he’d known when he wrote his first book – vlogbrothers

Nathan Bransford thinks this Roald Dahl video is everything. I so love process-y stuff 🙂

And Catherine Ryan Howard shares her process (in parts—more to come): the BIG IDEA.

I hope you enjoyed this curation and found something for your current of next creative project.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose to thoughty!

Until then, be well, my writerly friends 🙂

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 26-June 1, 2019

Here’s a solid mix of video and articles to get your mental corn popping.

Ben Lindbergh celebrates UC Berkeley’s SETI@home’s 20th anniversary. The Ringer

Greg Nichols reports on technology in development: a robotic trauma centre in a backpack could be MASH for millennials. ZDNet

Arriana Mcylmore: these black women gamers teamed up to take on the worst online trolls. Fast Company

Kati Morton has a chat about what bothers her about self-care.

ASAP Science talks about sleep hygiene and shares a technique that may help you fall asleep in two minutes (!)

Jenna Birch explains what leads you to burnout—and how to recover from it—according to your Myers-Briggs type. Well and Good

SciShow Psych delves into what the statistics are really saying about teens and screen time.

SciShow news looks at how an AI was trained to predict the effects of non-coding DNA and how these effects could be linked to autism spectrum disorder.

The Walrus dedicates an issue to death. It’s amazing. So much good here. Really. You’ll want to read it all.

Nick Summers: science has brought back the scent of a long-dead flower, sort of. Engadget

Tom Allan looks at the wildlife haven Chernobyl became after people left. The Guardian

Tim MacWelch lists 11 gross animals you can eat in a survival situation. Includes cooking recommendations, too … Popular Science

Ian Sample says that exploding stars could have been the reason we started walking on two legs. The Guardian

David Grimm shares the research of Maren Huck, who clipped cameras to the collars of 16 cats and let them do their thing. Science

This made me laugh. So. Hard. Dogs trying to catch treats, mid-air. The Awesome Daily

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to take away with you 🙂

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 26-June 1, 2019

You’ve survived Monday! Reward yourself with these informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland unpacks four challenges of writing for a modern audience. Helping Writers Become Authors

Julia Munroe Martin shares lessons from a revision. Writer Unboxed

Leslie Marshman: when giving up is not an option. Tiffany Yates Martin waxes on the rarity of one random “yes” and what to do if you never get one. (Hint: keep writing!) Laurie Schnebly wants you to grab ‘em, keep ‘em, bring ‘em back. Writers in the Storm

Jenn Walton is turning daily news into story fodder. Bronwen Fleetwood helps you figure out whether your book is YA or adult. Charlene Jimenez shares five truths about receiving writing critiques. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy five tips to help you move forward when you’re stuck on a scene. Fiction University

Becca Puglisi explains how to introduce otherworldly elements without confusing readers. Then, Oren Ashkenazi says, stories need to stop promoting torture. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig: on running and writing and how a little becomes a lot. Terribleminds

Jami Gold discusses the importance of balance in our lives.

Mareila Santos introduces us to Beth Phelan, the literary agent behind #DVPit, who brings new voices of colour to the literary world. Ozy

And that was Tipsday.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

The next chapter: May 2019 update

Ah … Here we are in June. And it still feels like we’re stuck in May, weather-wise. The pin cherry blossoms are just emerging this weekend. That’s a little over two weeks behind schedule. The pines are candling and the lilacs finally have leaves. Though the temperature is ranging from the mid-teens to low twenties Celsius, I’m still wearing socks most days. We haven’t removed the duvet from the bed, though we have turned off the furnace.

Thank you, global warming, for drawing down all that arctic air 😦

Mind you, we haven’t had it as bad as some with the flooding in the east and the forest fires in the west.

I’ll just be thankful.

Just some of the lovely skies I’ve been graced with in the last month.

The month in writing

I finally finished drafting Tamisashki. It didn’t take me as long as Playing with Fire did last year (I was drafting through September). So, I’m happy with this progress.

It’s not a perfect draft. There are a couple of points where I lost my way, despite knowing the destination. I had to stop at one point and reassess the chapter, then write out, very plainly what needed to happen. This actually affects two chapters and I’ll have to backtrack with the notes.

At one point, I forgot to add in a chapter/POV where I wanted until after I was a few chapters past. I went back and inserted it and then rearranged all the others. I’ll have to rewrite about half of them because events are now out of sequence. I have notes for all of these, too.

There are a lot of question marks and parenthetical notes where I forgot the names of characters (and didn’t think to write them down at the time), place names, and the like. I’ll catch most of these on the reread and add the notes then.

Finally, my final chapter is basically an epilogue as Fer travels around Noreuna, fulfilling promises deferred by the various crises that have occurred throughout the series. I started writing it out and rambled again, so I wrote terse little paragraphs about each location, whose POV it would be in and what would happen there. Again, I’ll fill it out in revision.

MayProgress

I started off with the goal of 5k words and had to keep increasing it as I went. I ended up with a goal of 7,500 words, and I wrote 8,451 words, or 113%. I was supposed to be finished drafting last month. Technically, there shouldn’t have been a goal for drafting at all.

I wrote 3,186 words on this blog, or 114% of my 2,800-word goal.

I wrote 1,592 words for my next Speculations column, or 159% of my 1,000-word goal.

And I added in another goal because I wrote another 174 words on a short story that’s in revision. I set the goal at 250 for a 70% result.

I also finalized the absolute last bits of my poetry collection (a wrote two new poems for a friend) and will be sending it out for review soonish. Then, it will be off to a few small publishers for consideration.

I continue to make slow progress with my critiquing.

I did not write a new story. I did not revise any of my past published short fiction. If you remember last month’s next chapter update, I gave up on those goals as being overly ambitious.

I have started to review the Ascension series, starting with my notes and character sketches and all that. One of the things I aim to do in the next months is to assemble my series “bible.” I’ve also started to review book one, which I’m thinking of renaming. I definitely have to rework Fer’s scenes in the first act and I’m also thinking of adding a couple more chapters from other POV characters to fill in some gaps.

I’ve scheduled myself to be reviewing/revising through to the end of September this year. I don’t know how far I’ll get. I’ll do what I can in the time that I have.

While I didn’t get much work on the short fiction done, I’m going to continue to devote some time to it. I’d really like to have the two pieces finished, revised, and ready to send out somewhere soonish.

I was supposed to start working on spiffing up Reality Bomb for posting to my critique group. Sadly, I didn’t do more than open up the doc in May, but I hope to get to it in June.

And that’s it for the month in writing.

Filling the well

In May, I didn’t attend a poetry reading or a play, I went to Christina’s Coffee House, an annual charity fundraising event held at the Caruso Club.

Cristina Faiella Roque spent countless hours on the road with her family throughout her four-year battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Although there are travel grants available, the costs incurred in lodging, gas and food can be a tremendous strain on families. It was with this in mind that Cristina’s family and friends decided to hold an annual fundraising event in celebration of her giving spirit.

There was music and dance, a 50/50 draw, mystery boxed, silent auction, and other coffee-themed games of chance. Coffee and desserts were free, and supper was a nominal extra fee. I went with a group of friends from work and fun was had by all.

All the proceeds went to the Cristina Care Fund at the Northern Cancer Foundation.

What I’ve been watching and reading

I forgot another one. Magicians finished up in April and I forgot to mention it not because, like Deadly Class, I thought it was mediocre. I think I might have been a wee bit in denial. I know the series has diverged from Grossman’s books (all adaptations have to, to some degree) but I’ve been enjoying the series immensely. Even Phil thinks it’s one of the best things on TV these days 🙂 The season finale gave me the feels. More than that, I won’t say, cause spoilers, and this is one series I think you should all see for yourselves.

In May, most of the network series came to a close. They were all … ok. Supergirl and Arrow worked themselves up to next season’s Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline. The Flash is supposed to be headed there, as well, but I haven’t finished plodding through the season on Netflix. DC’s Legends is doing its own thing, as it has for the past couple of years.

Grey’s Anatomy finished on a down note, but I was unmoved.

I’m still enjoying Killing Eve and was happy with how the season concluded.

And, of course, there was Game of Thrones. I won’t get into my overall critique of the season except to say that I share a lot of concerns that others have expressed. I think the DBs did the best they could with the time and budget they had at their disposal. I’m looking forward to reading the books (whenever George R.R. Martin gets them finished) to see how the character arcs that are similar in the show evolve with more interiority and development over time.

Phil and I watched Blade Runner 2049 and thought is was okay. At least it wasn’t a rehash of the original, but it was hardly necessary. We have a bit of a problem these days with Hollywood’s lack of an original idea.

We started watching Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets but haven’t finished it … which should tell you something about what we thought of it.

Reading-wise, I read Emma Newman’s Between Two Thorns and quite enjoyed it. It’s a masquerade/portal fantasy with some interesting worldbuilding. The protagonist is competent but not special. In fact, pains are taken to show just how ordinary she is. Def not a chosen one 🙂 The ending was uncomfortable, but inevitable. There was no way for the protagonist to escape her arranged marriage, the 19th century intrigues of her family, or the fae-touched world she was born into.

I devoured Storm of Locusts, Rebecca Roanhorse’s follow up to Trail of Lightning. If anything, it was even better than the first novel. Highly recommend it. Just read them both. You’re welcome.

Then, I read S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass. Everyone was apologizing to everyone else and faces/gazes were falling everywhere. Aside from those two irritating bits, it was a good story with unexpected twists. I find I’m liking a lot of the non-western tales I’m reading these days.

Finally, I read Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart. I liked the protagonist’s inability to craft a decent pun and the twist on the typical superhero story. Like his Mistborn series, the big bad wins and takes over the world. No one can fight against the epics, but the reckoners manage to take down the world’s most powerful tyrant with a lot of luck and a little something epic of their own.

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

Until Tipsday, 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, May 19-25, 2019

It’s time to get your mental corn popping!

Jon Hamilton: how the brain shapes pain and links ouch with emotion. NPR

Eric Barker shares FBI behaviourist Robin Dreeke’s seven tips to get people to like you. The Ladders

SciShow Space news considers Pluto’s ocean and MU 69 (the snowman-looking asteroid New Horizons passed in January).

 

Eddie King says that learning Morse code is still a valuable skill, even in the 21st century. Quartz

Nicole Javorsky tells the tale of how David Romero is bringing new life to Frank Lloyd Wright’s lost designs. CityLab

‘Cause Imogen. Telemiscommunications

 

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, May 19-25, 2019

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Vaughn Roycroft explains what makes a story epic … to him. Barbara O’Neal wonders, are you making writing harder than it needs to be? Heather Webb: protecting your creative mindspace. Writer Unboxed

Fae Rowan is soldiering on. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland shares 20 of the most instructive quotes about writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Victoria Mixon is contrasting and condensing characters: two sides of the same coin. Writers Helping Writers

The Tale Foundry looks at Sir Terry Pratchett’ unifying voice.

 

Allegra Huston stops by Jane Friedman’s blog to share the two basic rules of editing (and one rookie mistake).

Pamela Taylor is creating authentic character details: names. Research is fun! Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Jodi Thomas: turning characters into people. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle helps you understand appropriative worldbuilding. Then, Oren Ashkenazi warns against seven ways writers sabotage beta reading. Mythcreants

Jami Gold explains how pacing helps readers care about our characters.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something useful.

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 12-18, 2019

And now, it’s time to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Marina shares the dark saga of Katie Bouman (the woman who rendered the final image of the black hole). April 15, 2019 The Atlantic

Anne Harrington tells the tale of psychiatry, racism, and the birth of “Sesame Street.” UNDark

Milt Estrow recounts the many, many theories about Leonardo da Vinci. The Atlantic

Czerne Reid show us the “lost” book of exquisite botanical drawings rediscovered after 190 years. Women in STEM connection: the author/illustrator was Anne Wollstonecraft. National Geographic

Allison C. Meier: designing the butterfly-friendly city. CityLab

SciSchow says the bee-pocalypse is … fake.

 

Laura Tenenbaum blows the lid off three plastic recycling myths. I thought I was a good environmental citizen. Turns out we’ve all been lied to. Forbes

It’s okay to be smart takes a look—ha!—at where your eye colour really comes from.

 

SciShow news reports that we’re one step closer to understanding aging (and other effects of oxidative stress).

 

I hope something here has given you inspiration or research tools for a new 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, May 12-18, 2019

And here is your latest curation of informal writerly learnings.

Sophie Masson talks big publishers, small publishers, and contract negotiations. Jim Dempsey wants you to tune out your self-doubt. Julie Carrick Dalton praises the power of writerly kindness. Porter Anderson considers the place of place in our writing. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares five ways writers (try to) fake their way to good storytelling. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Navé and Alegra Huston stop by Jane Friedman’s blog: how to plan a book reading that delights your audience.

September C. Fawkes offers story structure in a flash. Then, Sacha Black wants you to nip and tuck your saggy middle with conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer covers the stages of editing grief. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Sam Sykes about the emotional weight of storytelling. DIY MFA

Jami Gold wonders, are you a pantser, a plotter, or something in between? Click through to the original tweet by Cheyenne A. Lepka—it’s AWESOME! Warmed this old gamer’s heart 🙂

Jenny Hansen shares Brené Brown’s top ten tips for success. Laura Drake follows up on Jenny’s column with this: dare to be vulnerable in your writing life. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle wants you to understand exploitative plots. Mythcreants

Guy Gavriel Kay offers some writing advice: don’t take writing advice. Literary Hub

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to help you with your latest creative project.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

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