Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, May 1-7, 2022

Happy Friday eve! It’s time, once again, to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Amir Vera, Omar Jiminez, and Ashley Killough: hearing today (May 2nd) may be the last chance for the Tulsa race massacre survivors to get justice. CNN

Dorothy Berry takes a deep zoom into the 1836 broadside, “Slave Market of America.” JSTOR Daily

MN Human Rights probe finds pattern of racism in Minneapolis Police Department. MPR

America’s history of stealing vulnerable children of color. The Amber Ruffin Show

Natasha Bertrand, Katie Bo Lillis, Jennifer Hansler, Alex Marquardt, and Brad Lendon: Putin may soon officially declare war on Ukraine, US and western officials say. CNN

Luke Mogelson explains how Ukrainians saved their capital. The New Yorker

Cara Anna and Yesica Fisch: evacuations under way in Mariupol; Pelosi visits Ukraine. Associated Press

Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward report that the US Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows. Politico

Jim C. Hines shares his thoughts on blood donation and bodily autonomy.

Rae Ellen Bichell: Colorado braces to become refuge for abortion access if “Roe” weakened. NPR

A new podcast from Manitoulin Island helps teach Anishnaabemowin language. CBC

Heather Brady offers this explainer: Mexico’s Independence Day marks the beginning of a decade-long revolution (and should not be confused with Cinco de Mayo). National Geographic

Nik Wheeler: Cinco de Mayo. History

Mary Gordon: Laurentian University has an obligation to turn over gallery, artwork. The Sudbury Star

Sarah Luterman says autistic people have been excluded from advocacy conversations. Julia Bascom is changing that. 19th News

Jessica Stillman: did you really “click” with someone? A new study offers a research-backed way to tell. Inc.

Annie Lord: sometimes, a routine is just an excuse to stop taking chances. Vogue

Mental health at work: it’s (finally) time to talk about it. Fast Company

Emma Hinchcliffe reports that Naomi Osaka is partnering with startup Modern Health. Fortune

Clark Quinn explains why learning and development isn’t better. Learnlets

After 15,000 years, it’s waking up … Physics Girl

Emily Conover reveals how muons spill secrets about Earth’s hidden structures (and other things). Science News

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you found something to support a future creative project.

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

 

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 1-7, 2022

Ah, Tuesday. Monday has been endured/survived and we’re one day closer to the weekend. Fortify yourself for the rest of the week with some informal writerly learnings!

Lauren J. Sharkey is aimlessly acquiring and agent. Then, Adam W. Burgess helps you build your LGBTQ+ summer reading list. Gabriela Pereira interviews Jessi Honard and Marie Parks about using the “loop method” to co-write your novel. Later in the week, Mary Adkins suggests your best writing goal based on your enneagram number. DIY MFA

Five easy ways to get story ideas. Reedsy

Greer Macallister says you can’t do it all. Then, Sarah Penner talks about hiding your villain in plain sight. Donald Maass: it’s simple. It’s complicated. It’s a novel. Keith Cronin offers some tough love from a guy named Francis. Then, Liz Michalski says hello, village. Writer Unboxed

What’s wrong with Calanthe’s armour? Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland explains the role of the antagonist in story structure (part 1 of 2). Helping Writers Become Authors

Brooke Warner says we all need to be protected against predatory publishing practices. Then, Kristen Tsetsi interviews Alan Davis about the benefits of MFA programs. Anne Carley: not a journal person? Post-pandemic might be the perfect time to start. Jane Friedman

Five things I got (very) wrong about writing craft. Shaelin Writes

September C. Fawkes shows you how to use crisis to reveal character. Writers Helping Writers

Lisa Norman explains what to do if you’ve been hacked! Or have you? Later in the week, Kris Maze explains how to create a powerful synopsis to sell your book. Writers in the Storm

Kristen Lamb discusses the mother wound and fiction.

Why has the majestic griffin been forgotten? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how Rochelle Weinstein revises: building grassroots success. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle reveals how to make your craft more pretentious. Oren Ashkenazi: no, social justice warriors aren’t reducing diversity in fiction. Mythcreants

The worldview genre: stories about maturation, disillusionment, and revelation. Story Grid

The quarter life crisis is more stressful than ever. The Take

Clara Pasieka: Cree author, David A. Robertson questions why Durham District School Board removed his book from shelves. CBC

How libraries became a quiet battlefront in the war on Ukraine. CBC

Ukraine’s national poet. JSTOR Daily

Thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

The next chapter:  April 2022 update

As I write, the sun is shining, the windows are open, and a lovely breeze is flowing through the house. Yes, spring has finally arrived in northeastern Ontario. I’m feeling good.

Before we get to the month in writing, here are your monthly PSAs:

All lives cannot matter until BIPOC lives matter.

Even if there are no longer restrictions in your area, please continue to mind public and national health advisories. Wash your hands, maintain physical distance, mask indoors/on public transit, and, if you’re old enough, or immune compromised, please register to get your second booster. Not only is covid endemic now, but these health practices will help you to avoid other viruses, like the flu and even the common cold.

I stand with the Ukraine and deplore Putin’s unprovoked destruction of civilian targets and lives.

The month in writing

April was … not good.

It’s the new fiscal at work and, most days, my spoons ran out before I could devote any time to revision. There were other issues, but I’ll get into those in filling the well.

This month, I resisted the urge to amend my revision goals part-way through the month once I saw they were unattainable, as has been my habit in the past.

So, of my 20,000-word revision goal, I only revised 8,333 words, or 42%.

I wrote 4,866 words of my 5,000-word blogging goal, or 97%.

I revised one short story (which needs more work, but I’m letting it sit). I added 202 words to the draft. My goal was 250 words, which works out to 81%.

I was notified part-way through the month that a piece of short fiction that was accepted in 2021 would be appearing in the next issue of Polar Borealis. The issue has not been posted yet, so I won’t like to it, but it should be available by my next update.

Work on the anthology that accepted my story in January progresses. Cover and TOC reveals should be coming soon. Again, I’ll keep you posted.

I have my eyes on a couple open calls and hope to submit something to them in May.

At the end of January, I had applied to Your Personal Odyssey, the Odyssey Workshop’s new one-on-one mentorship program. I was notified in February that I had not been accepted from the early bird applicants, and in April, I learned that I had not been accepted at all. As with Odyssey, the new program had generated a lot of interest. Thousands of applicants for a handful of seats. While I am disappointed, I know the competition was intense and I was encouraged to try again next year. I will 🙂

Filling the well

On April 4th, I attended “Death to Show, Don’t Tell,” a webinar from Writing the Other. Excellent, as always. On the 13th, I attended the joint CAA/SFCanada webinar “How to Land that Writer’s Grant” presented by A.M. Todd. I’ve been entertaining applying for grants again.

I watched a couple of Jane Friedman webinars, “Maybe it’s not your Plot” presented by Susan DeFreitas, and “Building Better Critique Groups” by Lisa Cooper Ellison.

On the 19th, I started another series with Dan Blank with “Define your Creative Voice.” The second, “Create a Sharing System” was on the 26th. Then, I attended “First Pages” with Emily Colin through Authors Publish on the 20th.

Also, on the 26th was an OAC information session. It was focused more on visual artists, collaborations, and organizational funding, but I still gleaned some good information. Finally, I attended “Outlining for Pantsers” by Henry Lien through the Rambo Academy on April 30th.

There was a lot of writerly learning going on 🙂

The DTA situation is resolved. For now. I think. There may be further repercussions, but I’ll deal with those as they arise. I had to continue the trial accommodation through to the end of April, on labour relations’ insistence. My doctor declined to answer the additional questions LR wanted answered. If they’re not satisfied, they may send me for further evaluation with Health Canada. Whatever. I may have to contact my union representative again.

That uneasiness also put me off my game and the enforced days off only made me feel like I was behind at work. Another stress.

I had another therapy session and meeting with my support group.

When I saw my doctor to have the functional abilities form filled out again, I consulted him about some shoulder pain I’ve been experiencing. He suspects tendinitis. And I’m off to see a physiotherapist next week.

What I’m watching and reading

I watched a lot in April. A side effect of all those days off, I guess.

Phil and I watched the final season of The Last Kingdom. It was good, but it felt rushed. As with many series rushing to their endings, various characters acted out of character, changed their minds or opinions in quick succession, but it turned out all right. Uhtred got Bebbanburg back and secured King Edward’s rule.

I watched the final season of Killing Eve. I enjoyed it right up until the ending. I’ve read a few opinion pieces about it, because apparently, I’m not alone, but none of the reasons cited really sat well with me. Based on the series name, a foreshadowing the series continued to hammer home with a tarot card reading which predicted glory for Villanelle and Death for Eve in the final episode, I would have expected Eve to die. I might not have been happy with it, but it would have made sense. I might even have been okay with Villanelle dying. I was not at all satisfied with how the series did it, though. Carolyn did not deserve the win.

Yes. I get it. The world of spies and assassins is cutthroat. Carolyn was one of the OG Twelve. She’s got it in her. But she’s a traitor twice over. She decided to let Villanelle and Eve (the former more than the latter) take out the twelve for her and I could see that she was going to use Villanelle to get back in with MI6, but it felt unjust for her to succeed. I hoped that when Pam walked away from her offer, that Carolyn might have been scuttled, but really all it did was steel her determination to kill Villanelle. It makes sense. But it was deeply unsatisfying.

I finished off the first season of The Hardy Boys. It was cute. The retro, middle grade entry in the CW’s cadre of reboots.

Then, I finished watching the final season of Lost in Space. A good ending, all in all, but, like so many other series I’ve watched recently, the ending felt rushed.

Season two of The Witcher was ok. I’ll watch the next season. Still haven’t read any of the books, though.

I also watched Get Back. It was interesting to see the Beatles’ process in action even as they were slowly moving toward their breakup. The tension and dissatisfaction were palpable, even through the old footage.

Brené Brown’s Atlas of the Heart was fabulous, though. Big fan.

Finally, I watched two movies. The first was The Adam Project. It was made by the same team that did Free Guy but wasn’t quite as much fun. I did enjoy it, though.

The Batman wasn’t bad. Given how many reboots the series has had and how many actors have played the role, I was surprised they were able to pull together something original.

In terms of reading, I read another four books in April.

The first was A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders. It’s a great craft book, but I’ve never been that fond of the Russian authors.

Next, I read Victories Greater than Death by Charlie Jane Anders. A bit of a twist on the usual YA SF. A young girl grows up with the knowledge that she’s an alien and that her people are coming back for her when her beacon activates. When the beacon activates, she learns she’s actually the clone of a dead war hero who never wanted to be cloned. She returns in the middle of a galactic war and when the military tries to reinstate her original memories (essential for fighting said galactic war), the procedure fails. And things go downhill from there.

Then, I finished Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. I know the novel won the Booker, but—can I say this? I liked the series better. The novel feels reminiscent (to me) of Moby Dick, but instead of whaling, the narrator (he’s not a protagonist) seeks to ease his troubles in the gold fields of New Zealand and gets wrapped up in the mystery involving Anna Wetherell, Emery Staines, and Crosbie Wells. I appreciated the conceit of astrology, but the central characters of the novel (again, my opinion) are largely absent until the last third of the novel.

Finally, I finished Allaigna’s Song: Overture, by J.M. Landels. I enjoyed it. It’s a quiet, secondary world fantasy, though. More court intrigue and legacy of secrets than action and adventure.

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

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

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, April 24-30, 2022

It’s almost the weekend and time to get your mental corn popping!

Michela Moscufo reports that Harvard sets up $100 million endowment for slavery reparations. Reuters

Leah Thomas interviews Rachel Cargle about Black climate optimism. Atmos

Straight Black men in drag for the sake of comedy. Khadija Mbowe

Daniel Boffey and Lorenzo Tondo: Russia accused of bombing Mariupol humanitarian corridor. The Guardian

John Henley reports that Finland and Sweden have agreed to submit NATO applications. The Guardian

Terry Nguyen says Gen Z does not dream of labor. Vox

Molly Longmans says having no filter at work is actually a good thing. Refinery 29

Seth Borenstein: ideas on mute? Study: remote meetings dampen brainstorming. Associated Press

Morgan Leonhardt says hybrid work isn’t working well for most women. Fortune

Harold Jarche: dare to un-lead.

Clark Quinn unpacks superstitions for new practitioners. Learnlets

Joe Hanson shares illusions that will make you question reality. Be Smart

Romano Santos asks, are you breathing properly? Vice

Sadhbh O’Sullivan: too many thoughts living rent-free in your head? Try mind gardening. Refinery 29

Katie Tobin says slow living is the antidote to hustle culture—if you can access it. Refinery 29

Ginny Hogan: once upon a Facebook poke. Bustle

All five building blocks from DNA and RNA found in meteorites from the US, Canada, and Australia. CBC

Why are puppy-dog eyes so irresistible? SciShow

Christina Larson reveals that your dog’s personality may have little to do with its breed. Associated Press

This weekend, I’ll be posting my next chapter update for April.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, April 24-30, 2022

Welcome to May! Start off the month right with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Vaughn Roycroft: the applicability of … zombies? Elizabeth Huergo discusses social psychology and the novel. Then, Kelsey Allagood explains why you should embrace the fallow times. Diana Giovinazzo wants us to embrace our literary influences. Kristan Hoffman: revising the stories we tell ourselves. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland lists ten pros and cons to writing every day. Do you have to? (Hint: maybe not.) Helping Writers Become Authors

Princess Weekes discusses Beloved, Toni Morrison’s magnum opus about confronting a terrible past. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Kris Maze shares six ways to fix manuscript problems with an outline. Then, Laura Baker is discovering story magic: the x-factor. Eldred Bird poses ten questions to ask your characters. Writers in the Storm

Jim Denney shares the fast-writing secrets of C.S. Lewis. Live, Write, Thrive

Andrea A. Firth explains how the literary journal landscape is and isn’t changing. Allison K. Williams: writers, stop using social media (like that). Anne Carley wonders is journaling a waste of writing time? Jane Friedman

The hungry goddess. Tale Foundry

Melissa Haas offers some leisure learning for April 2022. Then, Colice Sanders is unpacking racism and colorism in character descriptions. Disha Walia shows you how to create your world with six questions. Then, Krystal N. Craiker provides a copyediting checklist: a recipe for clean, clear writing. Finally, Jeneva Rose goes through the five stages of dealing with rejection. DIY MFA

Becca Puglisi wants to know what’s your character hiding? Angela Ackerman: you wrote a killer love story … but did you romance the reader? Writers Helping Writers

The one thing every antihero fears … The Take

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how to transition into a flashback. Fox Print Editorial

The style genre: set the experience for the reader. The reality genre: realism or science fiction/fantasy. The time genre: how the reader experiences time in your story. Story Grid

The ten worst magic tropes. Jenna Moreci

Chris Winkle provides five tips for avoiding disorientation in your opening hook. Then, Oren Ashkenazi hosts a head-to-head-to-head competition between Antz, A Bug’s Life, and Ant-Man. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb says that lies, deception, and betrayal are the deepest wounds.

Tajja Isen explains how the book industry turns its racism into a marketable product. Literary Hub

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solar superflares and aurora science. Physics Girl

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

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

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

Florence + the Machine – Free

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jill Bearup says choreography doesn’t matter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clark Quinn: sensitivities and sensibilities. Learnlets

Harold Jarche: understanding work systems.

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

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

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

Women, sex, and the internet. Khadija Mbowe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have humans always feared sharks? Monstrum | PBS Storied

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

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

Crafting as a magic system. Tale Foundry

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

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

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

How to write realistic male characters. Jenna Moreci

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

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

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

Kristen Lamb warns that bloated writing makes readers sick.

Nina Munteanu shares example steps for keeping a nature journal.

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

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clark Quinn: confidence and correctness. Learnlets

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

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

What is life (featuring Brian Cox)? Be Smart

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

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

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

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

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

True facts: Sea stars. Ze Frank

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

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

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