Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 28-July 4, 2020

Welcome to thoughty Thursday! You know what that means, tomorrow is Friday. You’ve almost made it through another week. It’s time to get your mental corn popping!

Dionne Brand considers narrative, reckoning, and the calculus of living and dying. The Toronto Star

James Hopkin: court rules in favour of Robinson Huron Treaty beneficiaries. Soo Today

Mahdere Yared talks about the long-term effects of racism. TEDxPineCrestSchool

Claire Lampen: cops in riot gear stormed the violin vigil for Elijah McClain. The Cut

Priya Satia explains what’s really Orwellian about our global Black Lives Matter moment. Slate

Chi Luu highlights the sorry state of apologies. JSTOR Daily

Denise Oliver Velez connects the dots between Mount Rushmore, the KKK, and sanitized American history. Because a certain person held a rally there and tried to call BLM a racist attack on … I can’t even finish that sentence. From 2015. NONE OF THIS IS NEW. Daily KOS


SciShow Space news: black hole mergers and a possible gas giant core

Nadia Drake: mysterious cosmic object consumed by black hole baffles astronomers. National Geographic

Dr. Emily Zarka studies the bunyip. Monstrum

Thanks for visiting, and I hop that you found something to inspire your next creative project.

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 28-July 4, 2020

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

Because the only restaurant service other than take out currently allowed in our city is on a patio, local restaurants have been erecting patios all over the place, even getting exemptions from the municipal by-laws to create patio spaces on sidewalks. The complication, of course, is that people with disabilities, of which there are many living in the downtown core where most of these patios are popping up, are now having to use the street and risk what traffic there is, to move from place to place.

Yes, our economy needs to recover, but not at cost to the disadvantaged members of our community.

We have to commit to using the disruption of covid-19 to recover in a sustainable and respectful way. This is our chance to change our society for the better.

Thanks for your attention. Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week.

The Take takes on the white savior trope.

Natalie Hart is gaining wisdom and whimsy from the natural world. Donald Maass: we are unsafe. Then, Bryn Greenwood is on the way to Jerusalem (not quite what you think). Barbara Linn Probst clarifies that it’s not write what you know, but write from what you know: cooking life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland examines the three stages of a writer’s life and how your age affects your writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenn Walton wants you to write outside your comfort zone. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood wonders, is this a YA thing? On pay rates, racism, and toxicity in publishing. DIY MFA

Elizabeth Hartl shares some tips for overcoming imposter syndrome. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci returns with ten more tips for evoking emotion in your writing.

Jami Gold provides five ways to climb the learning curve.

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the terrible writing of Eragon’s sequel. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that killed the wrong character. Mythcreants

Writing the morally ambiguous character. Shaelin Writes

Anthony R. Cardno interviews Nisi Shawl for Pride Month.

20 Canadian books for kids and teens to read for National Indigenous History Month. CBC Books

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 21-27, 2020

Welcome to Thursday! You know what that means; it’s time to get your mental corn popping.

Tanya Talaga: there have always been two Canadas. In this reckoning on racism, both must stand together for Indigenous people now. The Globe and Mail

Cammy D shares his experience as a Black youth in Canada.

Hop Hopkins: racism is killing the planet. Sierra Club

Brene Brown talks to Ibram X. Kendi about how to be an antiracist.

Catherine Halley compiles a syllabus on institutionalized racism. JSTOR Daily

Greta Heggeness announces that you can now virtually visit the nation’s civil rights landmarks. PureWow

Brenna Ehrlich recounts the windy history of Penny Lane: the Beatles, the slave trade, and a now-resolved controversy. Rolling Stone

The Chicks—March March

The JSTOR Daily editors list 15 Black women who should be (more) famous.


Evan Ratliff: we can protect the economy from pandemics. Why didn’t we? Wired

Jessica Stewart: NASA releases stunning, high-res photos of Jupiter’s swirling atmosphere. My Modern Met

SciShow Space news: our galaxy could be full of exoplanets with oceans and Pluto’s surprising history.

Stacey Leasca: the lost continent of Zealandia disappeared millions of years ago, but these new maps show it in stunning detail. Travel + Leisure

True facts about the (very super clever) macaque. Ze Frank

Thanks for the visit. I hope you found something to inspire your next creative project.

I’ll be putting my next chapter update for June up this weekend. Until then, be well and stay safe!

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 21-27, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I’ll keep saying it until it’s true.

Pandemic life continues. A number of states have decided to roll back reopening. The Spanish flu pandemic lasted three years. Mind you, they didn’t have the world-wide medical resources to throw at the virus that we do. Still, I fear covid-19 will turn out to be a virus akin to the common cold and that a true vaccine will not be possible. What I hope is that immunologists will be able to account for mutations in covid-19 like they do with the annual flu vaccination and that we will have an ongoing method of control.

One way or another, this virus will change the way we live. I only hope that we take advantage of this opportunity to make the post-covid world a better one.

Cree Myles issues a challenge: if you want to unlearn racism, read Black science fiction authors. The Mary Sue

Tasha Seegmiller wants to have a candid conversation about publication. Then, Kris Maze wonders, is it YA, or not YA? Later in the week, Ellen Buikema explains how to develop a memorable character. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland is using all four cognitive functions as a writer. Helping Writers Become Authors

Manuela Williams shares the four elements of a compelling book blurb. DIY MFA

Bonnie Randall explains why you can’t concentrate right now. Fiction University

Nathan Bransford: a year of living uncomfortably.

Mathina Calliope: you win this round, comma. Jane Friedman

Shaelin questions whether these writing rules are really unbreakable. Reedsy

Jami Gold helps you fix choppy writing. Then, she wants you to make your chapters count.

Martha Alderson considers the emotional roller coaster all writers experience. Writers Helping Writers

John J. Kelley explains how to write characters with trauma. Then, Yuvi Zalkow is accepting the multi-creative lifestyle. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle helps you send a message with your story (without getting preachy). Then, Oren Ashkenazi discusses five characters with weak motivations and how to fix them. Mythcreants

Princess Weekes considers the influence of the Byronic hero. PBS Storied

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you’ve come away with something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 14-20, 2020

Listen, learn, and do better. This is the work. I hope some of the following will help.

Hal Johnson of Bodybreak explains how the show was a response to racism.

Ibram X. Kendi: the difference between antiracist and not racist. TED


Jessica Zucker wonders if you’re feeling anxious as the country reopens? You’re not alone. Vogue

When things fall apart: Tibetan Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chödrön on transformation through difficult times. Brain Pickings

Gloria Liu: walking is making a major comeback. Outside

Katelyn Burns introduces us to the trans kids helped by a pioneering project. The Guardian

Jon Hamilton: scientist’s pink cast leads to discovery about how the brain responds to disability. NPR

Matthew Sherrill wonders why John Ackerman is buying up America’s underground. Outside

PBS Eons looks at the world before plate tectonics.

Ethan Siegal explains the science behind the ridiculous headline: 36 alien civilizations in the Milky Way? Forbes

Chris Lee reveals what life on a movie set will look like in 2020. The Vulture

True facts about cats’ killer senses. Ze Frank

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you took away something that will support 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, June 14-20, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until all Black and Indigenous lives matter. I don’t have a huge platform, but I’ll make use of it as I can to keep this message front and centre for my readers. I’m still listening. I’m still learning. And I’m still trying to do better.

Meanwhile, reopening continues, to more or less success, given the area/province/state. They’re discovering people who’d apparently recovered from covid getting sick again two months on. Worldwide, the number of cases continue to increase. This thing is a beast.

Let’s get to the informal writerly learnings.

Vaughn Roycroft: regarding privilege, empathy, and voice. Writer Unboxed

A Black booktuber shares her experience. Click through to her other videos and to the resources in the notes. Silence is complicity. Listen. Do the work. Don’t stop. Bookish Realm

And if you’re a booktube fan, legitimately commit to diversify your viewing and support some of these lovely people. Google is a thing you can use. Besides, like one video and YouTube will generally cue up three similar vids for you to check out.

Nic Stone: don’t just read about racism—read about Black people living. Cosmopolitan

Black Lives Matter. How can I help? Jenna Moreci

John Peragine helps you harness the power of pronouns (part 1). Then, Lori Freeland says, write your story forward. Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Kris Spisak about self-editing your novel. The Creative Penn

K.B. Owen visits Elizabeth Spann Craig’s blog: writing real-life historical characters.

Sangeeta Mehta interviews Stefanie Sanchez von Borstel and Leslie Zampetti about writing, pitching, and promoting in the age of coronavirus. Jane Friedman

Lucy V. Hays explains how to avoid a half-baked idea. Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb explains how you can use the Johari window to understand and harness the character blind spot.

Nathan Bransford: the climax should resolve your character’s desires.

Shaelin explains line editing (with examples). Reedsy

Rochelle Melander helps you revise your book for word choice. Fiction University

The Take considers the tomboy trope.

Chris Winkle gets facetious: if stories treated straight couples like they treated queer couples. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers five over-burdened stories and how to fix them. Mythcreants

Thanks for the visit. 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, June 7-13, 2020

Once again, I’m offering a cross section of relevant articles, posts, and videos that have helped me learn about anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism here in Canada and in the US.

An African Canadian response to the pandemic and international uprisings.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: reflections on the colour of my skin. Star Talk


Google now has a “streetview” of the International Space Station.

Chris Wright: the remarkable stuff scientists get done as they work from home. Wired

Amanda Mull writes about the end of minimalism (or, the triumph of clutter). The Atlantic

Sarah Gibbens: the Bajao are the first known humans to be genetically adapted to diving. National Geographic

Eve Conant looks at lucky charms around the world: from evil eyes to sacred hearts. National Geographic

Dr. Emily Zarka introduces us to the Jorōgumo, the deadly spider woman from Yokai lore. Monstrum

Sarah Prager reveals that in Han Dynasty China, bisexuality was the norm. JSTOR Daily

Luke Fater introduces us to six comfort foods born of historic times of discomfort. Atlas Obscura

David Klein: how eggshells and coffee grounds can make your garden grow. I’ve since been informed that coffee grounds are toxic to insects, birds, and animals. Maybe do your research. Chowhound

Thanks for stopping by. 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, be willing to listen, learn, and do better, and stay strong. The world needs your stories, now more than ever.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 7-13, 2020

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

Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Trans non-binary folks are non-binary folks.

These pandemic times are increasingly complex ones. Protests against anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism continue even as the world begins to “reopen.” Black and Indigenous people continue to suffer from and die because of police violence but, as has been pointed out, police violence is only the symptom. Institutionalized racism is the virus that must be eradicated.

Here in Canada, the RCMP has recently done an about face, first denying their endemic racism, and then admitting it and committing to do better. In the meantime, Indigenous and Black lives continue to be threatened.

People across the publishing industry—across all media, in fact—have been fired for their racism. Various governments are seriously considering defunding their police. Monuments to white supremacy are falling.

And TERFs who expose their prejudices are being publicly and thoroughly schooled.

The world is still in chaos. But with the continued protests, change is coming. I continue to hope and to support efforts to achieve reform and justice. I continue to listen and learn, because there’s so much I don’t know, and I want to do better.

Onto the informal writerly learnings!

Why poetry is so important/powerful/relevant right now. “Hollow” – Bristol’s City Poet, Vanessa Kisuule.

Jenny Hansen lists the eight Cs of character development. Writers in the Storm

Nya Wilcox busts six writing excuses and explains how she wrote—and published—a novel at the age of eleven. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman recommends questions to ask your publisher before you sign the contract.

Laura Highcove offers an introduction to writer’s intuition. DIY MFA

The Take explains the superhero genre.

Jami Gold helps you make the right impression with character introductions. Writers Helping Writers

On her own blog, Jami shares four further tips for making the right impression for your characters.

Jenna Moreci offers her first ten tips for evoking emotion through your writing.

Jim Dempsey is writing and hiking. Kathryn Craft shares six ways to add a dash of foreign language. Then, Laurie R. King helps you keep your series fresh. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy reveals the hidden danger backstory poses for writers (and it’s not what you think). Fiction University

Nathan Bransford: listen to your characters, but don’t let them run away with your story.

Hard worldbuilding vs. soft worldbuilding. And yes, Tim does discuss Harry Potter as an example of soft worldbuilding, so be warned if J.K.’s recent TERF-dom is offensive or triggering for you. Hello, Future Me

Chris Winkle is judging what backstory to keep and what to let go. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists what does and doesn’t make a signature weapon cool. Mythcreants

And that is tipsday for this week. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe. Be willing to listen, learn, and do better.

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 31-June 6, 2020

It’s time to get your mental corn popping.

Because I’m listening and learning and want to do better:

What a future without police could look like. Desmond Cole. Walrus talks.

Lawrence Hill on racism in Canada and the US after George Floyd’s death. CBC

 

Nadia Drake covers the Dragon capsule docking with the International Space Station. National Geographic

Dave Mosher: SpaceX’s Endeavour spaceship has made history by docking with the International Space Station with two NASA astronauts. Business Insider

SciShow Psych delves into the reason we’re having weird covid dreams.

Jessica Stewart shares this ancient Roman mosaic discovered in pristine condition beneath a vineyard in Italy. My Modern Met

Jennifer Pattison Tuohy: the beginner’s guide to propagating houseplants. Dwell

Emily Chung: these Canadian species are found nowhere else on Earth. CBC

Jake Rossen figures out what pets see when they watch television. Mental Floss

Thanks for visiting and 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.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 31-June 6, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I’m listening, I’m learning, and I’m trying to do better.

2020 has been an apocalyptic year between covid-19, George Floyd’s murder, and the resulting fed up protests. Last week I was mired in despair, complicit in my silence, and deeply aware—and ashamed—of my white privilege.

I’ve read Black authors, Indigenous authors, and authors of other cultural backgrounds. I’ve taken a few Writing the Other courses. I’ve long thought that Canada’s greatest shame was our treatment of Indigenous peoples, but I hadn’t realized the hateful legacy of Canada’s treatment of Black people. I’m deeply grateful to the Black writers who’ve published insightful articles in the Canadian media during the last week (I’ll share some of them on Thursday and in ensuing weeks).

I have hope, though, because all four officers involved in George Floyd’s murder have been charged, even though it took some time to happen. I have hope because of all the protests, not only across the US, but also across Canada and all over the world, in which white and black protestors have stood, or knelt, side by side, demanding change.

I understand it is only a beginning and that we cannot ease the pressure on our elected officials until true and lasting change occurs. But I have hope.

Now, onto the informal writerly learnings.

Therese Walsh: the ourstory of now (BLM). Don Maass: the quest in the quest (BLM). Jael McHenry is getting comfortable with failure. Writer Unboxed

David Chariandy in conversation with Lawrence Hill.

K.M. Weiland shares 11 exercises to enhance your visual storytelling skills. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jami Gold explains the point of foreshadowing. Later in the week, she suggests how to format unusual dialogue.

Jeanette the Writer: even MS Word says two spaces after a period is an error. Gabriela Pereira: this needs to be said (BLM). DIY MFA

Janice Hardy explains why you should tighten your novel’s narrative focus. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb says, unforgettable characters are fashioned from damaged pieces.

Michelle Barker warns of the dangers of anecdotal writing. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci discusses the worst friendship tropes in fiction (starting at 3:22).

Mira Singer analyzes three genre-defining books with underutilized tropes. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines six characters with poorly handled arcs. Mythcreants

Chi Luu: the linguistic case for shit hitting the fan. JSTOR

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you were able to find something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe. Whatever your lane (education, support, donate, protest) become part of the solution. And vote with your conscience. We need to put pressure on our politicians to make change stick.

Tipsday2019