Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 13-19, 2020

Welcome to thoughty Thursday, the curation of random stuff intended to get your mental corn popping.

Nina Bahadur explains how Black doulas are fighting the maternal mortality crisis. CBS

Rashawn Ray interrogates what defunding the police means and does the idea have merit? Brookings

Evie Muir: racial gaslighting and microaggressions can’t be ignored any longer. Refinery 29

Margot Gage Witvliet: I’m a covid-19 long-hauler and an epidemiologist—here’s how it feels to have symptoms for months. (Included in the BLM section because there are elements of racial gaslighting at play.) The Conversation


How and when will we have a covid-19 vaccine? ASAP Science

Sarah Newey and Paul Nuki explain how the pandemic set global development back 25 years in 25 weeks. The Telegraph

Sophie Haigney: the pandemic is transforming how Americans use public libraries, parks, and streets—and it’s depriving vulnerable people of space when they need it most. Insider

Minda Zetlin shares five habits that will help you stay focused all day and Traci Stein explains why they work. (To help with covid brain.) Inc.


Why do we dream? Amy Adkins | TED-Ed

Nina Totenberg reports on the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, champion of gender equality, at 87. NPR

Hope Reese interviews Noam Chomsky about his new book: there’s reason for hope. JSTOR Daily

Nadia Drake: possible sign of life on Venus stirs heated debate. National Geographic

Jonathan Amos wonders, will private firms win the race to Venus? BBC

Dark matter is even stranger than we thought. SciShow Space

Ian Bogost: your phone wasn’t built for the apocalypse. The Atlantic

Rachel Lovell explains how nanoclay turns desert into farmland in the UAE. BBC

Enjoy some frissons musicale with this Pentatonix cover of Tears for Fears’ Mad World.

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you’re able to take away something to inspire your next 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, Sept 13-19, 2020

It’s another tipsday, your opportunity to catch up on some informal writerly goodness.

Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

And in the midst of the pandemic and ongoing demonstration, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dies. Such a blow for equality and justice. I hope her last wish can be honoured and her absence on SCOTUS won’t be filled until after the US election.

We’re seeing a bump in infection rates and we’re being told to brace for a second wave. This was something epidemiologists predicted could happen, way back in March. People tend to forget this. Despite what a certain president says, we will not have a vaccine that’s widely available before next year.

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance when possible. Get your flu shots when they become available. Take care and stay safe.

Onto the curation:

K.M. Weiland: the crucial link between your story’s inciting incident and its climactic moment. Helping Writers Become Authors

C.S. Lakin explains how your premise determines your characters. Live, Write, Thrive

Shaelin has a chat about writing selfishly. Shaelin Writes

Eldred Bird says that a great story is like music to the eyes. Then, Barbara Linn Probst explains why your book matters. Later in the week, Jenny Hansen explains why storytellers are the most powerful people in the world. Writers in the Storm

Lucia Tang promotes the art of the constructive critique. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Meg LaTorre lists 17 things she hates to see in romance. iWriterly

Dave King helps you manage your cast. Then, Barbara Linn Probst shares road, neighbourhood, sky: a three-layer approach to writing a novel. Writer Unboxed

Lucy V. Hay shares awesome writing tips from six famous writers. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten tips for writing fight scenes.

Lauren J. Sharkey talks dollars and sense. And, my latest Speculations: how the NASA-SpaceX collaboration can inspire your writing. Sara Farmer interviews Adam Smyer. Later in the week, Lynne Golodner shares five tips for narrowing your focus. DIY MFA

Susan DeFreitas shares three common issues with early drafts. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle lists seven ways jokes can sabotage your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi sheds light on how Le Guin laid a shaky foundation for Earthsea. Mythcreants

Waubgeshig Rice launches his new column at Open Book: stories of the North.

Thanks for the visit. I hope you found something that will 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, Sept 6-12, 2020

Welcome to thoughty Thursday, a convenient way to research, inspire creative Ideas (what I call popping your mental corn), learn something cool, or otherwise support your creativity.

For the past several months, I’ve isolated posts related to anti-racism and the pandemic for your convenience.

Dani McClain shares some advice on how to talk to kids about racism and police violence. The Atlantic

Gabriela Fowler explains what it feels like to “pass as white” when you’re mixed race. Buzzfeed

How the death of George Floyd sparked a street art movement. The Smithsonian Magazine

Daniel King shares Ashima Yadava’s portraits of survival. Mother Jones


Rebecca Renner explains why every year—especially 2020—feels like the worst year ever. Doomscrolling, anyone? Anyone? Beuller? National Geographic

Why is it so hard to remember things right now? SciShow Psych

Eleanor Cummins says, the office will never be the same. Popular Science

Alexandra Jones: Jessica Meir returned from the ISS to a pandemic-ridden Earth. The Face

Tammy Chen is a dentist who’s seeing more cracked teeth. How is that connected to the pandemic? The New York Times


The biggest lie about renewable energy. ASAP Science

Paul Vallely explains how philanthropy benefits the super-rich. The Guardian

Alan Yuhas reveals that Roanoake’s “lost colony” was never lost (according to a new book). The New York times

Kat Lonsdorf revisits Fukushima: the ghost towns behind the gates. NPR

Amber Dance considers experiments on mice in space and how they’ll keep human bone and muscle strong on the ISS. Knowable

Gerardo Carrillo: “mammoth central” found at Mexican airport construction site. The Washington Post

Sarah Bahr announces that the Met will hire its first full-time Native American curator. The New York Times

Thanks for visiting and I hope you took away something to support your next 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, Sept 6-12, 2020

Welcome to tipsday, my humble curation of informal writerly goodness.

Before we get to the resources, Black and Indigenous (and all other racialized or marginalized) lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

We’re officially six months into #pandemic life and here in the northeast, we’re waiting for the other show to fall following the return to school last week. We’re already experiencing a bump in infection numbers, likely due to covid exhaustion and the relaxation of safety measures over the Labour Day long weekend.

Wear your masks, maintain physical distance, and wash your hands. We don’t have a vaccine yet.

Now let’s move on to supporting your creative endeavours.

Jael McHenry: is writing work? The answer is not as simple as you’d think. Jim Dempsey wants you to edit at your own pace. Then, Juliet Marillier offers some advice on writing a many-stranded story. Kathryn Craft shares a quiz actually helpful for writers. Later in the week, David Corbett discusses love, hope, and the dystopian darkness. Writer Unboxed

The “bury your gays” trope, explained. The Take

K.M. Weiland shares the 15 steps she uses to self-publish. Helping Writers Become Authors

Yen Cabag is creating believable characters. Elizabeth Spann Craig

The Disney princess trope, explained. The Take

Laurence MacNaughton shares the three-minute scene fix. Fiction University

Jami Gold wants you to explore your options for story conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Inigo vs. Westley: perfectly subversive. Why is this in tipsday? It’s all about storytelling through fight scenes! Jill Bearup

Angela Yeh believes that poetry can change the world. Later in the week, Sara Farmer interviews Ausma Zehanat Khan. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig muses on plot and character (and giving writing advice at the end of the world). Terribleminds

Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes: fiction faves of the espionage pros. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle explains how our stories abandon morality for gray-colored lenses. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the terrible movie climaxes from Marvel’s phase one. Mythcreants

Shaelin Bishop shares six misconceptions she had about writing. Shaelin Writes

Nina Munteanu considers cymatics and how frequency changes the very nature of matter and energy.

Anne Ray takes us on a journey from La Jetée to Twelve Monkeys to covid-19. JSTOR Daily

This first episode of the new season was awesome! Desmond Cole, Saleema Nawaz, and John Elizabeth Stintzi. Shelagh Rogers, The Next Chapter, CBC.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 30-Sept 5, 2020

Welcome to thoughty Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday! Revive yourselves for the weekend by getting your mental corn popping 🙂

Theresa Waldrop shares the latest news about the Portland protest shooting death. CNN

Safia Samee Ali: where protesters go, armed militia and vigilantes likely follow with little to stop them. NBC News

Ashitha Nagesh explains how “hyper-liberal” Portland’s racist past is resurfacing. BBC

The peace reporters. Videos of police violence at #BLM protests with the testimony of the people who took them. Content warning on this one. The videos of police violence are difficult to watch. They’re optional, though. You can just read the words of the people who took the videos and get a sense of what it means to be a witness in these difficult situations. The Verge


Jesmyn Ward waxes on witness and respair: a personal tragedy followed by pandemic. Vanity Fair

Why Tuesday feels like July and sometimes never during covid (how we perceive time). It’s Okay to be Smart

Jessica Stillman: the Greeks had a word for the specific kind of bad you’re feeling right now. Acedia. Inc.

Patrick Adams wants us to meet Gertrude Elion, the woman who gave the world anti-viral drugs. National Geographic


Heidi Wachter explains why we need to fill the greenspace gap. Shondaland

Studying the brain with quantum mechanics. SciShow Psych

Rachel Kraus wonders, what is an algorithm, anyway? Mashable

Jess Romeo sheds light on the long history of comet phobia. JSTOR Daily

Emily Zarka introduces us to Spring-Heeled Jack. PBS Storied | Monstrum

Daniel Oberhaus: gravity, gizmos, and Jim Woodward’s grant theory of interstellar travel. Wired

The Martian crustal dichotomy. SciShow Space

Carrie Whitney introduces us to the man behind the legend of Sitting Bull. How Stuff Works

Chadwick Boseman, rest in power. New Rockstars

Leah Greenblatt pays tribute to Chadwick Boseman: his life, his legacy, and his iconic roles. Entertainment Weekly

Stan Horaczek explains how cats and dogs see the world. Popular Science

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire your next 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, Aug 30-Sept 5, 2020

Starting a short week with a Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday is tough. Fortify yourselves with some informal writerly learnings.

First: Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

#pandemiclife is entering its sixth month and there’s no end in sight even though everyone has covid brain and is exhausted by the restraint and safety restrictions.

Today marked the return to schools for most children in Ontario. I wish them well, but I still worry. We’ve been told to expect a bump in infections, like it’s acceptable to sacrifice children’s and teachers’ and their families’ health.

Please wear your masks, respect social distancing, wash your hands, and stay safe.

Nancy Johnson explains what it’s like writing while Black in times like these. Kristan Hoffman hopes you’ll try these ideas to stay active in your writing life. Donald Maass wonders what—and how much—belongs in your novel? Erika Liodice explains how to give an out-of-print book new life through self-publishing. Liza Nash Taylor says she’s late to the party: on being a debut novelist at 60. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares seven considerations for your antagonist’s motivations (which will save you so much trouble). Helping Writers Become Authors

Orly Konig: suspenders for pantsers. Fiction University

James Scott Bell describes hanging upside down and other creative moves. Writers Helping Writers

The feminist trope explained. The Take

Jenn Walton: sweet writing is made of dreams. Then, Brenda Joyce Patterson explains how to establish a literary mentorship. Later in the week, Neha Mediratta wonders, are you giving yourself a chance? Then, A.R. Taylor offers five tips for creating your villain. DIY MFA

What is a motif? How is it different from theme and symbol? And how can you use motif in your writing? Reedsy

Joe Ponepinto advises that if you want to avoid rejection, take the writer out of the story. Jane Friedman

Angie Hodapp says, your protagonist must fail. Pub Rants

Jami Gold considers the black moment: understanding our options.

Shaelin explains how to raise your story’s stakes. Reedsy

Chris Winkle lists nine options for high stakes conflict without violence. Oren Ashkenazi: The Umbrella Academy shows us why it’s important to plan your powers. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb explains how story forges and refines character.

Rahil Sheikh introduces us to Kuli Kohli: “They wanted to drown me a birth—now, I’m a poet.” BBC

Thank you for visiting and I hope that you found something that will 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, Aug 23-29, 2020

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

Michael Tesler reports that support for Black Live Matter surged during the protests but is now waning among white Americans. FiveThirtyEight

Sarah Midkiff goes inside the Portland protests, separating fact from fiction. This is almost a month old. I think election hijinx are overtaking #BLM related news. Until this past weekend, when protests took precedence again. Refinery 29

Black lives matter: NBA walkout sparks historic sports boycott in US; Osaka withdraws, tennis halted. The boycott was short-lived, but sports teams are attempting to use their platforms to keep the message of #BLM front and centre. The Scroll

The national anthem protests, part 1, with Roger Goodell. Uncomfortable conversations with a Black man

And part 2.

Rebecca Ruiz explains why everyone should understand racial trauma right now. Mashable

N’dea Yancey-Bragg reveals five things you didn’t know about the March on Washington and MLK’s “I have a dream” speech. USA Today

Amy McKeever says that voter suppression has haunted America since its founding. National Geographic

Related: Matthew Wills reviews the suppression of Native American voters. JSTOR Daily


Jasmine Baker moved into her dorm at UNC Chapel Hill at the beginning of August. Two weeks later she, and just about everyone she knew, had covid-19. Slate

Matthew M.F. Miller explains how the pandemic has immeasurably altered our relationship with tech. Shondaland

Mary Mammoliti explains what it’s like to be blind in a socially distanced world. Refinery 29


Naomi Scherbel-Ball: Africa declared free of wild poliovirus. BBC

Katherine Ellison wonders who’s caring for the carers. Knowable

Zaria Gorvett explains why modern medicine ignores transgendered people. BBC

Abigail Bassett helps you determine whether someone is actually “toxic.” Shondaland

Is success hard work or luck? This actually plays into our perception (or lack thereof) of our privilege. Veritasium

Martha Mendoza and Frank Baker: massive northern California wildfires rage on. AP

Nell Greenfield Boyce: water, water, everywhere—and now scientists know where it came from. NPR

Joshua Sokol profiles the worst animal in the world: the mosquito. The Atlantic

Lesley Evans Ogden reports on the sea otter rescue plan that worked too well. BBC

Eva Botkin-Kowacki: herd community means there’s more to cows than we thought. Christian Science Monitor

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

This weekend, I should be posting my August next chapter update. Until then, be well and stay safe.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 23-29, 2020

Welcome to tipsday 🙂 Pick up some informal writerly learnings to get through your week.

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I don’t want this to be a “performative wokeness” thing. I believe it wholeheartedly. I’m going to keep putting this message out there until real change happens.

Next week will see Ontario students return to class. Though additional money has been allocated to help schoolboards prepare, there still doesn’t seem to be a firm plan across all schoolboards. We’re going to have to wait and see.

Tiffany Yates Martin considers whether you should set your stories in a pandemic world. Then, Laurie Schnebly Campbell wants you to follow your heroine beyond the Hero’s Journey. Writers in the Storm

Kathleen McCleary: get me out of here. Barbara O’Neal: a writer’s sacred task to observe. Then, Heather Webb is struggling through the shitty first draft. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin explains how to write a plot twist. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland offers five steps to get past your fears of sharing your work. Helping Writers Become Authors

Nathan Bransford compares third person omniscient, third person limited, and head-hopping.

Tim Hickson explains how class systems fall. Hello, Future Me

Savannah Cordova shares some predictions for publishing trends in late 2020 and beyond. Writers Helping Writers

Bonnie Randall is learning from the mistakes of the greats. Then, Janice Hardy offers three quick steps to write a scene. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb helps you find focus during crazy times: only so many ducks to give.

Sara Farmer interviews Marcie Rendon. DIY MFA

Nina Munteanu explores the Mozart effect and the power of music.

Oren Ashkenazi lists six common misconceptions of new writers. Mythcreants

Catching up on some awesome from The Take. First up: is Kill Bill’s Beatrix Kiddo a feminist hero?

Then, the model minority trope, explained.

Next, The Take explains how Kat, from 10 Things I Hate About You emphasizes the feminist message of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

Finally, the neurotic, type A woman trope, explained.

Hephzibah Anderson reveals the surprising secrets of writers’ first drafts. BBC

Roxanne Fequiere: Black women are topping the bestsellers lists. What took so long? Elle

Farzana Doctor explains why her latest novel, Seven, is about khatna, or genital mutilation. Chatelaine

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 16-22, 2020

It’s time to get you mental corn popping.

Guy Kawasaki interviews Kathryn Finney for the Remarkable People podcast.

Emmanuel Acho and Matthew McConaughy. Uncomfortable conversations with a Black man

Luke Noronha examines life after deportation: no one tells you how lonely you’re going to be. The Guardian

Amy Thomas wonders, as statues are torn down, which monuments should we visit? National Geographic

Mohammed Elnaiem: on Black power in the Pacific. JSTOR Daily

Laura Pitcher: the history of the colour white and the women’s suffrage movement. Teen Vogue

Bonnie Berkowitz shares several things you didn’t know (or forgot) about how women got the vote. The Washington Post

Jewel Wicker lists the 16 best quotes about women of colour deserving the right to vote. Teen Vogue


Locally, Nancy Johnson writes a letter to the editor: are we doing enough to control the pandemic? The Sudbury Star

Olga Khazan: America’s terrible internet is making quarantine worse. Why millions of students still can’t get online. The Atlantic

Emma K. Atwood and Sarah Williamson: plague and protest go hand in hand. JSTOR Daily


Elizabeth Yuko explains how to embrace uncertainty, even if you’re nervous. Life Hacker

Billie Eilish – My Future. Not what I was expecting. In the best way 🙂

Richard Hollingham: the pioneering surgeons who cleaned up filthy hospitals. BBC

Meilan Solly invites you to peer into the past with photorealistic portraits of Roman emperors. The Smithsonian Magazine

Karen Gardiner considers Denmark’s 300-year-old homes of the future. BBC

Maggie Hiufu Wong: Japan’s first-ever hotel in a wooden castle breathes new life into a fading rural town. CNN

Jonathan Smith introduces us to Patrick Cashin, who captured the secrets of the New York City subway. Huck

SciShow Space news explains what happened to Betelgeuse and reports an accident at Arecibo.

Laura Poppick explains how the origin of mud is linked to the origin of life. Knowable

Tori B. Powell: taking care of plants is a lesson in empathy. Shondaland

Thank you for visiting. I hope you found something to inspire your next creative project.

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 16-22, 2020

Welcome to another week of informal writerly learnings!

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. This is a fundamental truth.

The EI ERB and CERB have been extended for the third time and three new transitional benefits are being created to support Canadians in this crisis. It’s resulted in chaos at work, but chaos has been the rule since March 15th.

Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay within your bubbles and avoid crowded events. Take care and stay safe. You don’t know who you could be putting at risk with careless behaviour.

K.M. Weiland shares five exercises for honing your story instincts. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft explains why he prefers novels with prologues. Dave King is discussing fiction in the time of plague. Then, Sarah Penner shares the results of a working-from-home survey: navigating changes to our work environments. Later in the week, Porter Anderson discusses emergent voices. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin Bishop shares some of her favourite writing techniques. Shaelin Writes

Tasha Seegmiller: every novel needs a village. Then, Barbara Linn Probst advises us to read like a writer and write like a reader. Later in the week, John Peragine explains the vital importance of your writing community. Writers in the Storm

The muse trope, explained. The Take

Rochelle Melander suggests some tools for revision. Fiction University

Christina Delay uses the lyrics of “Yesterday” to look back at the first act. Writers Helping Writers

Helen J. Darling helps you build your author newsletter list. Then, Pamela Taylor helps you figure out whether you’re writing historical fiction, or something else. Later in the week, Chere Hughes describes the key features of a no-fear critique. DIY MFA

Susan DeFreitas explains what your first 50 pages reveal. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford wants you to be very careful with dreams and hallucinations in novels.

Chris Winkle explains why story structures like the Hero’s Journey don’t work. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with anticlimactic endings. Mythcreants

What English can’t do. NativLang

Alexandra Alter: “We’ve already survived an apocalypse”: Indigenous authors are changing science fiction. The New York Times

Thanks for visiting and I hope you’re taking away something that will support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday2019