Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 25-May 1, 2021

Let’s get your mental corn popping, shall we?

Alanna Durkin Richer and Lindsay Whitehurst: 1 verdict, and then 6 police killings across America in 24 hours. Associated Press

Ibram X. Kendi: compliance will not save me. The Atlantic

Judas and the Black Messiah, Explained – Self-Preservation Won’t Save You. The Take

Chi Luu: how being polite with the police can backfire. JSTOR Daily

Mimi Fox Melton and Karla Monterosso: if you want a truly equitable workplace, get over your fear of conflict. Fast Company

Michael Luo relates the forgotten history of the purging of Chinese from America. The New Yorker

Ryan Lenora Brown: Séverine Autesserre has seen peacekeeping fail. Here’s her advice on getting it right. Christian Science Monitor

I Kissed a Girl: the messy legacy of a queerbait hit. Melina Pendulum

Matthew Wills: eighteenth-century spies in the European silk industry. JSTOR Daily

Rachael Stephen shares some tools for soothing and survival.

Oliver Burkeman explores the idea of the clockwork universe: is free will an illusion? The Guardian

Gordon Johnston highlights the pink supermoon April 26 and celestial events over the next month. NASA Solar System Exploration

April’s “pink” supermoon around the world—in pictures. The Guardian

Calla Cofield: astronomers release new all-sky map of the Milky Way. NASA

Nina Munteanu wants you to watch Borealis.

Kate Kellaway interviews tree whisperer, Suzanne Simard: “They get along, they listen—they’re attuned.” The Guardian

Guy Kawasaki has a conversation about conservation with Dr. Jane Goodall. Remarkable People Podcast

Sophia Quaglia reports that scientists find a way to remove polluting micro-plastics with bacteria. The Guardian

Royce Kurmelov explains how solar power continues to shock the world. The Guardian

Communication while dreaming. SciShow Psych

Tessa Vikander: beavers chew through a 4.5-inch-thick tube, disrupting power to 900 BC customers. CTV

Thank you for taking the time to visit, 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: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 25-May 1, 2021

Welcome to the first tipsday of May 🙂 Get your informal writerly learnings while they last (just kidding, the archives are always accessible)!

Kim Bullock: what your protagonist’s Spotify playlist might reveal. Elizabeth Huergo recommends Kathleen Acalá and the extraordinary. Then, Sophie Masson shares her experience writing an exclusive audio novel. With apologies for the earworm, Lisa Janice Cohen says she’s “losing my ambition.” Milo Todd wants you to read outside your lane. Writer Unboxed

Tim Hickson: on writing great character descriptions (and he shares one of Shaelin’s). Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland delves into the king’s shadow archetypes in part 12 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin Bishop shares three great writing tips that no one ever talks about. Reedsy

Janice Hardy explains why you should know who your narrator is speaking to. Fiction University

David Kadavy promotes mind management, not time management. The Creative Penn

On her own channel, Shaelin shares her short fiction writing process. Shaelin Writes

Tasha Seegmiller shows you how to build your own MFA experience. Then, Eldred Bird lists five writing tips we love to hate. Later in the week, John Peragine discusses serialized storytelling (part 1). Writers in the Storm

Yara-ma-yha-who: Australia’s Regurgitating, Blood-Sucking Monster. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Susan DeFreitas shares three key tactics for crafting powerful scenes. Then, Catherine Baab-Maguira wonders, what if it takes 12 years to get an agent? Jane Friedman

The paradox of cottagecore. The Take

Richelle Lyn helps you create your own virtual writers sabbatical. Then, Amanda Polick explains how to ignite tension in your story with food and natural disaster. Gabriela Pereira interviews Rena Rossner about weaving together history, folklore, and fairy tale. Later in the week, Finola Austin lists traps to avoid when writing in first person. Then, Angyne Smith shares five tips to make your writers’ circle sing. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci shares ten self-care tips for when you’re busy AF.

Angela Ackerman explains how to write emotion well: know your character. Writers Helping Writers

Bunny and Svend Phillips collaborate on this list of five tired tropes about teenagers. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Revenger fails at technology. Mythcreants

Kristin Nelson is not a fan of publishing house mergers: a non-love story. Pub Rants

Ashawnta Jackson introduces us to the haiku of Richard Wright. JSTOR Daily

Thanks for stopping 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: April 2021 update

Welcome to May 2021, the pandemic age. It’s been a month and I’m back to share all my writerly shenanigans.

Your monthly PSAs:

All lives cannot matter until BIPOC lives matter.

Wash your hands, maintain physical distance, wear your masks, don’t go out unless you have to. The new variants mean this pandemic isn’t over yet.

The month in writing

I can’t seem to get my head into this next round of RB revisions. I set a modest goal of 5,000 words and wrote just under half that (48%). 2,408 words, to be more precise. At least I got some writing done on the project? Yay?

Moving on to short fiction, I finished the new short story I barely started last month and started on revisions of another story. So, 2,591 words written of my 2,500-word goal, or 104%, and 1,088 words of my 1,500-word revision goal, or 73%.

I submitted to two anthology calls.

In related news, I received the sweet, sweet news that one of the stories I submitted in February was accepted for future publication, and the editor of one of the anthology calls was in touch to let me know that the story I submitted was accepted for publication as well. It’s been a happy-dancing kind of month.

I’ll let you know more when I’m able.

Finally, I blogged 5,429 words of my 3,750-word goal, or 145%.

I aimed to write 6,250 words and wrote 8,020 words, or 128% of goal. My goal was to revise 6,500 words and I only managed 3,496, or 54%. 91% overall. Not bad.

Filling the well

In April, I signed up for a Roz Morris self-editing workshop offered by Jane Friedman. Excellent investment. It ran for three weeks, April 15, 22, and 29.

I stopped by the Writing Excuses online reunion on April 17th and watched a great interview between Rosanna Deerchild and Eden Robinson on the 24th. Finally, I signed up for a Canadian Authors/SF Canada webinar with Douglas Smith based on his writing craft book of the same name, Playing the Short Game.

But … it was a busy month. 3 EAP appointments, 5 hours of assessment (more on this next month when I get the results), and 8 hours of strategic planning, board meeting, and volunteer recognition event for Canadian Authors. All that plus a full-time job? Woof.

I also signed up for my vaccination with a local pharmacy. Phil hasn’t heard about his, yet, though others of our acquaintance have had their first shots. It’s a wait and see kind of game when you’re in relatively good health.

I ended the month at a tidy 164 lbs. Something I didn’t mention last month was that the 170 lbs that was my goal weight was also what I weighed when I got married. The weight loss has slowed and I’m good with that. My next goal is to try and tighten up all the lose flesh I suddenly have.

I’m trying to take care of myself. So far, it’s working out.  

What I’m watching and reading

In the viewing department, I finished the most recent season of The Crown. It was interesting to get a fictionalized version of the early Diana and Thatcher years. The whole Crown Corporate Complex isn’t painted in a very sympathetic light, though.

Then, it was the second season of Discovery of Witches. YUM! They did some drastic rewriting of the book but most of the critical events are there. Loved.

The Irregulars was something that Phil and I started to watch together, but he tapped out before the second episode ended. It wasn’t bad, but the series’ versions of Holmes and Watson didn’t sit well with me. It’s true that the series wasn’t about them, but the rag-tag band of orphans that helps them. I’ll probably watch the next season. If there is one.

Finally, I got to see the series finale of Wynona Earp. Wacky hijinx ensued, as usual, but everything worked out and all the characters got their respective happy endings.

I read four books and a collection of short stories in April.

First up was The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis. Having watched the series, I wanted to read the book. Interestingly, the one thing that bugged me about the series, that everyone loved Beth, was not true in the book. The book also portrayed Beth in a less sympathetic light, which I liked. In my experience, the book is almost always better than the movie, regardless of which media is consumed first.

Then, I read Sarah Gailey’s The Echo Wife. Loved! Fabulous interweaving of various takes on cloning. A complex, unlikeable protagonist. This was recommended by one of my critique group members for my rewrite of RB. I’ve taken notes but can honestly only hope to be half as good as Gailey. Probably not even.

Next, I read A Dream So Dark, the sequel to A Blade So Black, by L.L. McKinney. Another yummy read. Unlike most YA fantasy authors, McKinney made the bold decision to keep young protagonist Alice’s mother in the picture. There’s a reason most parents are absent or dead. They either become antagonist figures, taking attention from the main conflict, or they rob the protagonist of agency. A little of both happened in the novel, but I think McKinney handled it well.

Of course, I had to follow it up with a reread of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It’s a classic.

Finally, I read Naomi Kritzer’s short fiction collection Cat Pictures, Please and Other Stories. The titular story won the Hugo. The whole collection is amazing.

And that was April in this writer’s life.

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

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 18-24, 2021

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

Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Justice served. CBC

Vanessa Romo: Ma’Khia Bryant shot by Columbus police. NPR

Aymann Ismail says, there’s a reason this keeps happening in Minnesota. Slate

Frederick Joseph: the fact that the officer who shot Daunte Wright is a white woman matters. White supremacy isn’t just about white men. Cosmopolitan

Mitch Dudek: Adam Toledo remembered as a kid with a big imagination and an affinity for shows about zombies. Chicago Sun Times

Madeline Holcombe and Dakin Andone: the US has reported at least 50 mass shootings since Atlanta. CNN

Robert P Baird examines the invention of whiteness: the long history of a dangerous idea. The Guardian

Lauren Frayer relates how India went from a ray of hope to a world record for the most covid cases in a single day. NPR

Gina Kolato explains how Kati Kariko helped shield the world from coronavirus. The New York Times

David Treuer says, return national parks to the tribes. The Atlantic

How ocean currents work (and how we’re breaking them). It’s okay to be smart

Emma Newburger: here’s what countries pledged at Biden’s global climate summit. NBC

Molly Taft presents the history of Earth Day, from radical roots to elementary school classrooms. Teen Vogue

$20 million in NOSM money in jeopardy because of Laurentian insolvency, med school dean says. CBC

Angela Gemmill reports that the Laurentian University financial crisis is not typical of other northeastern Ontario post-secondary institutions. CBC

Ingenuity takes flight! NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

And then, the Perseverance rover extracts first oxygen from Mars. NASA

Nadia Drake: SpaceX launch kicks off regular commercial flights into orbit. National Geographic

New warp drive possibilities. PBS Space Time

Nikk Ogasa reports that nuclear fallout is showing up in honey decades after bomb tests. Poor bees! Science

Marie M. Daly, the unsung hero behind the building blocks of DNA. SciShow

Kara McKenna: how Canada is trying to protect its last three spotted owls. The Guardian

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire your next creative project.

This weekend, I hope to post my monthly next chapter update.

Until then, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 18-24, 2021

Your weekly batch of informal writerly learnings has arrived. Get them while they’re hot!

Jan O’Hara shares a display hack for your story’s outline. Dave King: the non-writing part of writing. Then, Barbara Linn Probst wonders, why was my protagonist so prickly? Juliana Baggott explains when to reject rejection. Yuvi Zalkow wants you to make something terrible (and make it again). Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy says infighting is a lousy way to create conflict in your novel. Then, Bonnie Randall deconstructs Deadly Illusions to explain what not to do with your manuscript. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland explores the queen’s shadow archetypes in part 11 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin Bishop shares her top 12 writing tips. Shaelin Writes

Becca Puglisi shares tips for landing a guest posting gig. Then Barbara Linn Probst shares ten different writing tricks to make your point. Later in the week, Laurie Schnebly Campbell explains when, why and how to show emotion. Writers in the Storm

Jane Friedman explains how the pandemic is affecting book publishing. Jane Friedman

Princess Weekes wonders, what’s in a (pen) name? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Adam W. Burgess touts the magic of queer fiction. Gabriela Pereira interviews C.L. Clark about character, conflict, and world building in fantasy. Janelle Hardy wants you to shift creative resistance using your body. Then, LA Bougeois shares five creativity exercises to fire up your writing muse. DIY MFA

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers four tips for writing your characters PTSD and trauma memories. Writers Helping Writers

The actress trope. The Take

Chris Winkle offers five tips for using an arbitrary magic system. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five novels with bizarre tangents. Mythcreants

Zoraida Córdova explains what it’s like writing Gamora in ‘Women of Marvel’ #1. Marvel

Camonghne Felix interviews Barry Jenkins about bringing The Underground Railroad to TV. Vanity Fair

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: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 11-17, 2021

It’s time to get your mental corn popping with thoughty Thursday.

Mohamed Ibrahim: Minnesota officer meant to draw taser, not handgun. Why didn’t she, then?  Associated Press

Cheryl Teh: police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, prohibited tear gas—then broke the rule almost immediately. Insider

Jim C. Hines offers his thoughts on American violence and American racism.

Daikin Andone and Chris Boyette report that two Virginia police officers used excessive force during traffic stop of army officer. CNN

Livia Gershon explains how the media covered police brutality three decades ago. JSTOR Daily

Ashawnta Jackson looks back at Sesame Street’s first Black Muppet: Roosevelt Franklin. JSTOR Daily

Caitlin Dickerson: America never wanted the poor, tired, huddled masses. The Atlantic

Bryann Aguilar: Ontario gives police authority to stop pedestrians, vehicles, to ask purpose of travel. CTV

Jane Gersterthen reports that Ontario police won’t conduct random spot checks despite their new authority. CBC

Staff and students stressed and uncertain as Laurentian University job terminations announced today (April 12). CBC

And here’s the list of programs being discontinued. They’re calling it Laurentian University’s Black Monday. Sudbury.com

Charlie Angus speaks eloquently in defense of Laurentian University. CPAC

Casey Stranges reports that all hockey and swim varsity teams chopped as Laurentian cuts continue. CBC

What neuroscience can learn from meditation. SciShow Psych

Ashifa Kassam explains how a tiny grain could change how humanity eats. The Guardian

Jaclyn Diaz reports that Floridians catch meteor’s close brush with Earth. NPR

Donna Sarkar: Earth has been hiding a fifth layer in its inner core. Discover

Naomi Fry touts the low-key, Carter-era pleasures of The Muppet Show. The New Yorker

True facts: trap jaw ants. Ze Frank

Thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope you found 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: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 11-17, 2021

Ah, Tuesday! The day when you get to catch up on your informal writerly learnings of the previous week.

Janice Hardy explains how the wrap up works in a novel. #storystructure Fiction University

K.M. Weiland continues her archetypal character arc series by introducing us to the hero’s shadow archetypes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Wonder Woman 1984: gravity would like a word … Jill Bearup

Kathleen Marple Kalb explains how to navigate a book launch through social media. Then, Sharon Oard Warner wonders which comes first: character or plot? Jane Friedman

Shaelin explains how to write science fiction. Reedsy

Then, she covers sci-fi tropes to avoid or embrace. Reedsy

Nicole Souza shares some tips for creating strong female characters. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Alli Sinclair wants to help you use your fiction skills to earn money. Writers Helping Writers

Jim Dempsey tells you how to cut the cost of a professional editor. Then, Kathleen McCleary explains how regrets reveal and forge character. Later in the week, Porter Anderson is suiting up for serialization. Kelsey Allagood: writer, know thyself. Writer Unboxed

Erica Brozovsky: what’s the longest word? Otherwords | PBS Storied

My latest Speculations column went live on April 13: celebrating Perseverance. DIY MFA

Brannan Sirratt defines nonfiction and fiction dimensions. Story Grid

Queer coding, explained. The Take

Piper Bayard lists 10 common kitchen items to use as weapons. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle explains how to teach world terms without confusing readers. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with unsatisfying endings. Mythcreants

The sympathetic villain. The Take

Kristen Lamb: how to write stories that grip readers and don’t let go.

Thom Dunn explains why it’s harder for neurodivergent people to break into publishing. Boing Boing

Julia Skinner: libraries and pandemics, past and present. JSTOR Daily

And that was tipsday for this week. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Join me at DIY MFA for my latest Speculations

This time on Speculations, it’s all about the Perseverance Rover (AKA Percy).

The mission is producing lots of cool science and media that can help you write you next SFnal story.

While your there, take some time to check out the other, excellent columns, and Gabriela’s fabulous supports and resources for writers.

Until tipsday, be well and stay safe!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 4-10, 2021

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

Clyde McGrady recounts the strange journey of “cancel” from a Black culture punchline to a white-grievance watchword. The Washington Post

Amanda Choo Quan grew up in a majority-minority country … that still has a problem with anti-Blackness. Harper’s Bazaar

Rhinelander v Rhinelander: The 1920s race and sex scandal you’ve never heard of. Melina Pendulum

Mohammed Elnaiem: Black conquistadors and Black maroons. JSTOR Daily

Sarah Jaquette Ray: climate anxiety is an overwhelmingly white phenomenon. “…is climate anxiety just code for white people wishing to hold onto their way of life or get ‘back to normal,’ to the comforts of their privilege?”  Scientific American

Anne Branigin reports that Asian American mothers and daughters are grieving together after the Atlanta spa attacks—and seeing each other anew. The Lily

Malcom & Yuri, yellow peril, ‘Orientalism’, the china doll, dragon lady, and the model minority. Kadija Mbowe

Raffi Khatchadourian recounts Anar Sabit’s experience surviving the Xinjiang crackdown. The New Yorker

Jenny Lamothe reports that faculty worried about the future of the University of Sudbury’s ground-breaking Indigenous studies program. Sudbury.com

Len Gillis: seven dead in seven days; covid-19 leaving a grim mark on Sudbury. Sudbury.com

This result could change physics forever. Physics Girl

Natalie Wolchover: “last hope” experiment finds evidence for unknown particles. Quanta

Sophia La Banca is shedding light on the cost of light pollution. JSTOR Daily

Meet your microglia, the brain’s overlooked superheroes. SciShow Psych

And that was your thoughty for the week. Thanks for stopping by 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.