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

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

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

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

Your brain on caffeine with Shannon Odell. Inverse

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

Be well until next tipsday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Chris Winkle explores four challenges of nonlinear narratives. Mythcreants

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

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

Until then, be well, my writerly friends.

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

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

Anne McLaughlin reminds us that August first is Lughnassadh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shannon Odell: your brain on alcohol. Inverse

 

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

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

​This star might be hiding new elements. SciShow Space

 

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

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

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

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

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

Here is your weekly dose of informal writerly learnings.

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

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

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

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

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

Jo Eberhardt explains why writers are like magic. Writer Unboxed

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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The next chapter: July 2018 update

Greetings, all you writerly people!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s ahead for me?

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

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

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

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

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

The Next Chapter

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Watch a black bear take a bath.

 

And that was your Thoughty Thursday for the week.

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

Until then, be well!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 22-28, 2018

Give yourself the treat of informal writerly learnings on this last day of July 🙂

Jane Friedman excerpts from Diana Kimpton’s Plots and Plotting on her blog: how to skillfully use subplots in your novel.

K.M. Weiland shares four steps to turn an idea into a story that rocks. Helping Writers Become Authors

Anne Greenwood Brown explains how to write emotional scenes when you’d really rather not. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb encourages you to build a world, hook a reader. Writer Unboxed

Joanna Penn interviews Samantha Keel about writing effective injuries for your characters. The Creative Penn

Kathryn Craft: our capacity for brilliance. Writers in the Storm

Rachael Stephen: how to punch perfectionism in its dumb face.

 

Leanne Sowul is writing for life. DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson explores voice across genre: by any other name. DIY MFA

Laura Stradiotto interviews Gail Anderson-Dargatz: overcoming the fear of writing. I attended her workshop on Saturday—stellar! The Sudbury Star

Jeff Vandermeer shares his views on the art and science of structuring a novel. Electric Lit

Anne Quito: the graceful restoration of a 200-year-old serif typeface reveals the problem with digital fonts. Quartzy

Hope you found something to move your craft forward.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 15-21, 2018

And here we are in the land of Friday Eve. Have some thoughty to see you through to the weekend.

Ephrat Livni says, look up at the moon every night, not just when there’s a lunar eclipse. Quartz

Rhett Allain presents a comprehensive guide to the physics of running on the moon. Wired

Ryan F. Mandelbaum: cosmic ray mystery finally solved by supermassive black hole emitting ultra-high-energy cosmic rays directly at Earth. The supermassive black hole is called a blazar. So cool. Gizmodo

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry recommends evacuations near the French River. CTV Northern Ontario

The Parry Sound 33 forest fire grows to 1,900 hectares and jumps the Key River. The Northern Life

Eric Barker says that the secret to loving your life is … amor fati. The Week

Laura Beil: the brain may clean out Alzheimer’s plaques during sleep. Yet another reason to get a quality night’s sleep. Science News

Kate Snow and Jon Schuppe: how a small forensics company is cracking years-old cold cases. NBC News

Jennifer Dixon: dead bodies, wild dogs, and squatters in government-owned Detroit houses. USA Today

Lynn Freehill-Maye profiles Daniel Toole, who finds the untapped potential of alleys. CityLab

Ze Frank – true facts about the sea pig (from 2013, but they’re all hysterical)

 

And more true facts, this time about the tarsier.

 

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

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 15-21, 2018

You made it through Monday! Time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland: how to write unique themes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jan O’Hara offers you her guide to hacking the optimal writing environment. Writer Unboxed

Margaret Dilloway shares her thoughts on how to write while the world’s burning down. Writer Unboxed

Andrew Wood shares his five steps to create a perfect fantasy world. Later in the week, Janice Hardy lists four signs that you might be confusing, and not intriguing, your readers in your opening scene. Fiction university

Jeff Vandermeer imparts his best tips for cultivating creativity from the world around you. Writer’s Digest

Lisa Cron says, there will be blood (or your story may be in deep trouble). Writers Helping Writers

Sara Letourneau helps you recognize themes at each stage of the writing process. Later in the week, Lisa E. Betz lists five story blunders and the secrets to avoiding them. DIY MFA

And here’s my latest DIY MFA column on mythic structure: The Virgin’s Promise, part two.

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains how to use deep POV without tying and anchor to your novel’s pace. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle explains why we shouldn’t be fighting over trigger warnings. Then, Oren Ashkenazi reviews five common worldbuilding mistakes. Mythcreants

T.J. Berry talks about her favourite bit of Space Unicorn Blues. Mary Robinette Kowal

And that was Tipsday.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 8-14, 2018

I’ve been a little short on the thoughty, lately. Heat kind of melts my brain. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Helen Thomson: strange stories of extraordinary brains and what we can learn from them. The Wall Street Journal

Lauren Sharkey: why don’t we know more about migraines? BBC

Richard Hollingham reports on the rocket scientists mixing up a giant firework. BBC

Kate Brown reports on a female-led art restoration movement in Florence and how it’s reshaping the canon. Art Net News

Do animals like music? SciShow

 

Enjoy your Friday and your weekend.

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

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