Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 13-19, 2017

The triumphant return of Tipsday includes lots of informal writerly learning for you 🙂

K.M. Weiland shares four ways to write a thought-provoking mentor character. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Alida Winternheimer helps you choose the right POV. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sara Letourneau visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: struggling with (and regaining) confidence in your writing.

Dave King explores unspoken dialogue. Writer Unboxed

Kathleen McCleary: non-advice for writers. Writer Unboxed

Sorry I’ve missed a couple, but I’m picking up Janice Hardy’s birth of a book series with this instalment: writing the first draft. Fiction University

Monica Alvarado Frazier: when you need a kick in the writing butt.

Abigail K. Perry discusses the merits of writing back cover copy. DIY MFA

Irina Brignull shares five tips for creating characters readers will connect with. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle outlines the five essentials of omniscient narration. Mythcreants

Suzanne Purvis helps you get your fabulous characters into your synopsis. Writers in the Storm

Tasha Seegmiller: so you want to write an outline … Writers in the Storm

I’m so excited about this, I can’t even. Laurie Schnebly Campbell unpacks Kim Hudson’s heroine’s journey. Writers in the Storm

And, related: Rachael Stephen digs in and explains how Harmon’s plot embryo can be used to plot novels 🙂

 

Oren Ashkenazi lists six signs your story may be queerphobic. Mythcreants

Lynne M. Thomas visits Terribleminds to talk about Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction: fight on, space unicorns!

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry: I built my own goddamn castle. Tor.com

And though this is older, it’s still thought-provoking: a year of diverse authors (cue literary frenzy) (February 2015). Chris Brecheen

Nate Hoffelder guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: six common sense steps to securing a WordPress website.

Tim Ferriss visits Nathan Bransford’s blog: the definitive guide to SEO for authors.

E Ce Miller lists 23 words that every booklover (ahem, bibliophile) should incorporate into their vocabulary. Bustle

Amanda Morris reports on how fused imaging has revealed sixth-century writing hidden in a book’s binding. Northwestern University

Where did English come from? Claire Bowern for Ted-Ed.

 

Kristopher Jansma says, now, more than ever, we wish we had these lost Octavia Butler novels. Electric Lit

Dominic Patten: Ava DuVernay is part of the creative team bringing Octavia Butler’s Dawn to television. Deadline Hollywood

Ursula Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” defies genre. Gabrielle Bellot for Tor.com.

And that’s it until next Tipsday.

Be well. Good words at y’all 😉

tipsday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 16-22, 2017

At this moment, I’m somewhere over the Atlantic (I hope) on my way to Hamburg via Reykjavik. And so , yes, this will be your last dose of thoughty for a few weeks.

The CBC takes a look at how the Phoenix debacle has affected Sudbury’s public servants.

Melanie Lefebvre: it’s not my job to teach you about Indigenous people. The Walrus

Yvette Brend explains how Indigenous fire wisdom is the key to megafire prevention. CBC

Willie Drye reports that Blackbeard’s ship is now confirmed to be off North Carolina’s coast. National Geographic

Tom Spender: teleportation of photons today, humans tomorrow? BBC

SciShow: CERN’s new particle and the oldest form of (animal) life.

 

Brenda Knowles offers some tips for coping with social anxiety and how to build resilience. Space2Live

Mark Brown: report reveals that the arts help in recovery from mental illness. The Guardian

Peter Dinklage – light up the night

 

Emily Reynolds reports on ravens and their theory of mind. Wired

Bored Panda lists 50 of the happiest dog memes ever.

I hope to be back on the blogging horse on the weekend of August 19 with a post about the Writing Excuses cruise.

Be well until my return.

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 16-22, 2017

This will be my last Tipsday for a few weeks, but it’s a good ‘un 😉

K.M. Weiland delves into writing voice and the six things you need to know to improve it. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sacha Black visits Writers Helping Writers: myths and misconceptions of villains and mental health.

Then, Dario Ciriello drops by to discuss plotting for pantsers. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series with developing your characters. Fiction University

Jerry Jenkins stops by the BookBaby blog: become a demanding self-editor.

Annie Neugebauer explains why thought triggers are the Chekov’s gun of writing tricks. Writer Unboxed

Louie Cronin: stupid advice I have taken about writing. Writer Unboxed

Orly Konig Lopez: the shifting priorities of your writing career. Writers in the Storm

G. Myrthil: when life throws your writing routine off balance, remember these three things. DIY MFA

Linda Bernadette Burgess shares five things to remember when your manuscript hits close to home. DIY MFA

Oren Ashkenazi lists five magic items that break their stories. Mythcreants

Joanna Penn interviews Jeff Goins on the Creative Penn podcast.

Frank Miniter offers a no nonsense guide to marketing your book. Forbes

Kim Fahner talks about the Raining Poetry Project on CBC’s Morning North.

Nicole Brewer speaks of the influence of Anakana Schofield and Miriam Toews. Many Gendered Mothers

Constance Grady rereads Jane Austin’s most romantic scene: “I am half agony, half hope.” Vox

Christina DesMarais lists 43 embarrassing grammar errors even smart people make. Inc.

The 2017 Sunburst Award Shortlist.

Liz Bourke, Sleeps with Monsters: stop erasing women’s presence in SFF. Tor.com

Nikki Vanry lists five SFF novels with badass middle aged heroines. Book Riot

Hillary Kelly: our biggest questions after the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere. The Vulture

Eeeeeee! Emily Asher-Perrin announces the 13th Doctor! Tor.com

And moar eeeee! Leah Schnelbach shares the thrilling new trailer for Stranger Things 2. Tor.com

So much good stuff is coming out of SDCC 🙂 Germaine Lussier shares the latest Thor: Ragnarok trailer. i09

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Until then, be well.

tipsday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 9-15, 2017

It’s time again to pop the mental corn.

Romeo Dallaire and Alex Neve: Canada failed Omar Khadr. The Globe and Mail

Sean Kilpatrick says Indigenous youths keep taking their own lives, and we keep looking away. The Globe and Mail

Lauren Dake reports on the mass eviction of hundreds of Yakama people: the quiet homelessness crisis. The Guardian

Jamie Catto says real is the new sexy. Elephant Journal

Dan Stelter lists 26 things that people don’t know you do because of anxiety. Anxiety Support Network

Tim Hollo: Elon Musk’s big battery brings reality crashing into a post-truth world. The Guardian

David Wallace-Wells runs the gamut of apocalyptic prognostication: the uninhabitable Earth. New York Magazine

Eqbal Dauqan may be the most unstoppable scientist in the world. Michaeleen Ducleff for NPR.

Science writers share the books that inspired them. The Guardian

Marcelo Gleiser: is the universe conscious? NPR

Phil Plait shares Juno’s photos of the Great Red Spot. SyFyWire

Jacob Dubé: ravens are so smart, one hack this researcher’s experiment. Motherboard

I riden så. Myrkur.

 

More Nordic folk music on nyckelharpa from Myrkur Ǿskemorder.

 

On that lovely note—ha!—I will bid you farewell until the weekend.

Be well until then.

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 9-15, 2017

And here we go with another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Sophie Masson expounds on the joys of writing in an unfamiliar setting. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft says you need to earn the backstory by raising a question. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi teaches subterfuge in dialogue. Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen shares … a story of balls. Writers in the Storm

Chuck Wendig: so, you’re having a bad writing day. Terribleminds

Roz Morris stops by Writers Helping Writers to improve your suspense in stories with … the big tease.

Angela Ackerman looks back: why we must invest if we want a writing career. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series: creating the characters. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb explores the creative benefits of being bored.

Terri Frank joins the DIY MFA team: five ways to use the library to nurture your reading life.

Gabriela Pereira stops by Jerry Jenkins’ blog to teach us how to write dazzling dialogue.

Then, Gabriela interviews Ann Kidd Taylor for DIY MFA radio.

Gary Zenker returns to DIY MFA: how to get the most out of a critique.

Elise Holland offers five poetic tools to enhance your prose. DIY MFA

Jane Friedman explains how to pitch agents at a writers’ conference.

Chris Winkle lists seven ways to bring characters together. Mythcreants

Nancy Kress looks at the science in science fiction: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tor.com

Richard G. Lowe Jr.: how better world building will keep you out of trouble. AutoCrit

Brandon Taylor: who cares what white people think? Literary Hub

Emily Van Duyne wonders why we’re so reluctant to take Sylvia Plath at her word? Literary Hub

Jane Austen comments on love and happiness. Oxford University Press.

 

David Barnett: how traditional British folklore is benefiting from modern culture. The Independent

Emma Watson interviews Margaret Atwood about The Handmaid’s Tale. Entertainment Weekly

Nancy Kress shares seven things she’s learned so far … Writer’s Digest

Karen Grigsby Bates: how Octavia Butler wrote herself into the story. NPR

Charles Pulliam-Moore reports that after four years in negotiation, HBO and George R.R. Martin are producing Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death as a series! i09

Marc Snetiker gives us a first look at A Wrinkle in Time. Entertainment Weekly

Charles Pulliam-Moore: the reason publishers rejected A Wrinkle in Time is the same reason Ava DuVernay is making the movie. i09

And Cheryl Eddy shares the A Wrinkle in Time trailer! i09

It’s been an exciting week for series and movies. So looking forward.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty!

Until then, be well.

tipsday2016

Series discoveries: Highlights

Last week I said I’d do a series discoveries post, and here, as promised, it is 🙂

I watch entirely too much television. It’s true. But I enjoy it. I also get a lot of writerly goodness out of watching television series because I never just watch passively. I discuss what I watch with Phil, try to predict what might happen, plot-wise, and think about the story structure of the episodes and the seasons or series overall.

If I tried to say even a few words about all the shows I’ve watched since I last posted a series discoveries … I’d be writing a book (!) I’d rather save all those words for my novels.

Here are some of the year’s highlights.

Stranger Things

Of course this would be on my list. Isn’t it on everyone’s?

A lovely cast of young geeks and social misfits, Dungeons & Dragons, a mysterious series of disappearances, enough 80’s nostalgia to make me feel warm and fuzzy, Winona Ryder in her first solid role in … like forever, Mathew Modine as the villain, the awesome Eleven, and The Upside Down.

Assholes saw the error of their ways. Friendship triumphed over fear. The crazy lady was proven right (and not crazy).

And the storytelling was top notch. ST was a master class in foreshadowing and revelation. It wasn’t backstory heavy. The pacing was just right.

Travelers

Of the three new time travel series, I enjoyed this Showcase/Netflix collaboration the most. Both Timeless and Time After Time got tangled up in paradox (in my opinion). And not in a good way.

The means of time travel in Travelers was the transference of consciousness of the members of a future team of specialists into people in the past at the moments of their deaths. It’s a little hand-wavy, but it’s a clever way of trying to circumvent paradox.

Like many of the more enjoyable time travel tales, it doesn’t attempt to explain how the transfer of consciousness works. It’s not the story. It’s simply the vehicle for the story.

In the future, the world is in terrible shape. Teams of specialists, known as travelers, volunteer to have their consciousnesses transferred into people of the past in order to complete a series of missions in an attempt to avoid the catastrophic future. There are many teams, but no one knows any other travelers outside their team. They can’t. That’s half of the attraction of the show. The audience learns about the story world as the characters do.

Everything is organized by The Director and nobody knows who that is, either.

I found it fascinating because the travelers had to infiltrate the lives of the people they take over. These “normal” lives were the main complication for each of the travelers.

It was very well done.

The Crown

This was another well done series. It looks at the life of the young Elizabeth from before her marriage to Phillip and the death of her father through the first year of her reign as Queen Elizabeth II.

The acting was fabulous—John Lithgow as Winston Churchill was a-MA-zing! And Matt Smith isn’t half bad either 😉

Though I know the events of Elizabeth’s life have been dramatized for the series, it felt true. The characters were all human, all flawed, and all struggling.

It was a great character study.

Vikings

SPOILER ALERT!

Ragnar died. I have no idea where things are headed next season.

I still love the show. And Lagertha.

That is all 🙂

The Last Kingdom

This adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories continues to be compelling, despite a short second season.

It’s set a generation after Vikings when Alfred is king of Wessex (he’s a child in Vikings). Uhtred, the main character, was captured by the Vikings as a child and his uncle usurped his father’s lands. While it shares several of the same themes as Vikings, it’s a very different take on the historical era and its political intrigues.

It’s all about Uhtred’s survival and eventual rise. His ultimate goal is to retake Bebbanburg castle in Northumbia from his uncle.

I, Zombie

When Shomi closed up shop last year, Phil and I were disappointed. It was the only place we could watch I, Zombie.

Admittedly, the show struggled a bit this year with several characters switching sides, and then switching back, turning into zombies, getting cured, and then becoming zombies again. It was all very make-up-your-minds-already!

It retained its light feeling and comic book inspiration. It was still clever, but now that the zombie cat is out of the bag, I’m not sure about the future of the series.

13 Reasons Why

I am loving this series based on Jay Asher’s book. I think suicide is an important, if uncomfortable, topic to address, and I think the series has done it brilliantly.

The tapes are an effective (and analog) MacGuffin, and I wanted to hear the next one (or not) as much as Clay.

It’s a revealing look at the hell that is high school.

I honestly don’t know if I’d have survived high school if social media had been such a powerful force back then.

Sense8

Phil and I LURVED season 1 and were distressed when there was talk of not renewing the Straczinski-Wachowski series. We rejoiced when the Christmas special promised season 2 in May.

If anything, season 2 was even better than the first.

And then Netflix cancelled it.

It’s a beautiful show about difference and bonding, and how we can all bring the best out in one another, if we choose to. And, yes, psychics.

Like the time travel in Travelers, the sensorium (the bonded group of psychics) is merely the vehicle for a wonderful and uplifting story.

I really hope Netflix reconsiders.

Game of Thrones

GoT redeemed itself last season with some of the best episodes I’ve seen in years.

I can’t wait for tomorrow night’s season premiere.

Outlander

I’ve been a fan of Gabaldon’s novels for ages and what Stars has done with the series is excellent. I know a novel has to be reconceived for television. It’s a different medium and requires different writing. Unlike GoT, which has been hit or miss over the life of the series, the Outlander cast and crew have consistently made all the right decisions.

As I said to a friend after I saw the first season, it’s like Gabaldon had the chance to rewrite the novel given her current level of craft and experience. The series has been that true to the spirit of the books.

I’m eagerly awaiting the next season.

And that’s all I’m going to write for tonight.

Next week will be my last weekend post before I’m off on my grand adventure 🙂

Series Discoveries

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 2-8, 2017

It’s a small but mixed bag of thoughty, this week.

So a couple of months ago, Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids came to Sudbury. It’s absolutely hilarious.

The Decolonial Atlas covers the Great Lakes from the Ojibwe perspective.

No one is stopping Tomson Highway from having a happy Canada Day. Brent Bambury’s Day 6 on CBC.

Nature’s fireworks. It’s okay to be smart

 

Kathryn Nave looks inside the startup that wants to mine asteroids and transform space travel forever. Wired

Zaria Gorvett: the massive volcano scientists can’t find (after 700 years). BBC

Sarah Kessler says we’ve been worrying about the end of work for 500 years. Quartz

Brigit Katz reports on the Chicago library seeking help transcribing magical manuscripts. Smithsonian Magazine

Brian Resnick explains the weird power of the placebo effect. Vox

Awareness Act lists 15 habits of people with concealed depression.

Shayla Love: how do you treat a dog with OCD? BBC

Popping the mental corn, it’s what thoughty Thursday’s all about 🙂

Be well until the weekend!

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 2-8, 2017

It’s time for your dose on informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland continues her most common writing mistakes series with part 60: flat plots. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate continues her series on the do’s and don’ts of storytelling according to Marvel with a look at Guardian of the Galaxy, volume 2: how to ace the first act in your sequel.

As a follow up to her last post on critiquing, Jane Friedman helps you recognize patterns in the way you respond to criticism.

Then, Gary Zenker guest posts on DIY MFA: a new approach to critique.

Larry Brooks stops by Writer Unboxed to discuss the big lie about writing compelling fiction.

As a follow up to Larry’s post, Anna Elliott asks, what’s your truth? Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass explores characters light and dark. Writer Unboxed

Parul Macdonald uncovers the world of a literary scout and international rights. Writer Unboxed

Abigail K. Perry joins the DIY MFA team: how to make you character descriptions do double duty.

Stacey B. Woodson shares five writing lessons from thriller master David Morrell. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Sarah Dessen for DIY MFA radio.

Marielle Orff shares five ways to get to know your characters better. DIY MFA

Emily Wenstrom offers some email marketing tips. The Write Life

Jami Gold gives us one simple trick to avoid the opening page infodump.

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series with testing the idea. Fiction University

Then, Janice visits Writers in the Storm: what do you want your readers to wonder about?

Chris Winkle covers five more dualities that can replace good and evil. Mythcreants

Bryan Hutchinson explains how to become a prolific writer while holding down a day job. Positive Writer

Sophie Playle: where is your budget for book editing best spent? Liminal Pages

Sarah Fox shares seven things editors wish authors knew. Well Storied

Jeremy Szal shares his tips for writing a successful query letter. Fantasy Faction

Caroline Leavitt: when the writing mentor becomes the mentee. The Millions

Anne Lamott: 12 truths I learned about life and writing. TED Talks

Jarred MGuiness says writing is the only magic he still believes in. TEDxEaling

 

Folklore Thursday takes a look at how iron became the enemy of the fairy folk.

Shane Koyczan: the weather.

 

And that is how we Tipsday.

See you on Thursday for some mental corn popping thoughty.

Be well until then!

tipsday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 25-July 1, 2017

I found some articles that might get your mental corn popping 🙂

Clayton Drake: about that arena … A thoughtful article about potential development in Sudbury. Medium

Regan Burden: looking white but being Indigenous. CBC

Amy Larocca explains how wellness became an epidemic. The Cut

Stephen Buranyi wonders, is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? The Guardian

Ian Johnston says the human brain is hardwired for rural tranquility. The Independent

Deep Patel lists five brain training techniques to cultivate your creative genius. Entrepreneur

Psychics who hear voices might be able to help schizophrenics. The main difference seems to be the first reactions of others to the confessed phenomenon … Joseph Frankel for The Atlantic.

Michael Slepian reveals how secrets are bad for your health—even after you tell them. Quartz

Rebecca Hersher: coping with the other ills of Alzheimer’s. NPR

Amanda MacMillan discovers how exercise can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s. Time

Ed Yong: what if (almost) every gene affects (almost) everything? The Atlantic

Megan Molteni: you can get your whole genome sequenced, but should you? Wired

Erin Carson explains how a “cutting edge” Confederate death trap inspired the modern submarine. CNet

Sarah Slean – every rhythm is the beat.

 

Laurent Ballesta reports on the deepest dive ever under Antarctica and the discovery of an amazing world. National Geographic

Tomorrow’s Friday, folks, so have a good one.

And be well until next I blog.

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 25-July 1, 2017

Happy Independence Day to all my friends in the US!

Here’s a new crop of informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

K.M. Weiland helps you calculate your novel’s length before writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Then, Kate hops over to Writers Helping Writers to share her three step plan for outlining a novel.

Back on her own site, Kate asks six questions to help you choose the right POV. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman unpacks the advice to follow your passion: what does that even mean?

Kathryn Craft: four times inaction can help your writing life. Writers in the Storm

Jamie Raintree extols the virtues of camp nano on Writers in the Storm.

Jami Gold explores chronic problems: writing and burnout.

Janice Hardy continues to share her process: clarifying the idea. Fiction University

Elizabeth Foster visits Writers Helping Writers to discuss overcoming negativity bias.

Susan Spann explains the truth behind popular copyright myths. Writer Unboxed

Gabriela Pereira interviews Karen Dionne for DIY MFA radio.

Emmie Mears visits Terribleminds to share what writing the Alaya Storme series taught her about mental illness: you have comrades in this trench.

Jenna Moreci: how to write antagonists and villains.

 

Eleanor Wachtel interviews Arundhati Roy about love, war, and the fragility of happiness. CBC

John Pfordresher explores the possibility that Jane Eyre was written as a secret love letter. Literary Hub

Denise Frohman – Accents.

 

Fran Wilde convenes an engineering in science fiction and fantasy round table. Tor.com

And that’s it until Thursday.

Be well until then.

tipsday2016