Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 7-13, 2018

Here we are with another week’s worth of informal writerly learnings!

K.M. Weiland shares the five secrets of good storytelling (that writers forget all the time). Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy points out four reasons readers stopped caring about your story. Later in the week, Janice returns with, do your characters have the right flaws? Fiction University

Colleen M. Story shares the one technique you need to nail your writing goals. Writers in the Storm

Orly Konig: confessions of a workshop flunkie. Writers in the Storm

Julie Glover responds to Fae Rowan’s voracious reader post of last week. Slow: meandering reader ahead. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci shares her recommendations for writing resolutions.

 

Sacha Black offers some advice on owning your writing career in 2018. Writers Helping Writers

Lisa Hall-Wilson stops by Writers Helping Writers to help us write characters with PTSD.

Sara Letourneau explores the theme of legacy in Station Eleven. DIY MFA

My latest column at DIY MFA was also up last week 🙂 Speculating your future: five steps to FIT goals.

Dawn Field lists five questions you don’t want your readers to ask. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Joan Dempsey for DIY MFA radio.

Then, Gabriela stops by Writer’s Digest to bust three myths that hinder creativity.

Juliet Marillier: a new year for writers. Writer Unboxed

Julie Carrick Dalton shares what she learned about writing a dual timeline novel. Writer Unboxed

Jami Gold explains how to tap into strong emotion through memory.

Kristen Lamb says, the publishing cold war is ending.

Autocrit lists five idioms with unexpected origins.

Porter Anderson explores Teos and Finland’s endless forest.

Janice Bradbeer tells the tale of science fiction author Judith Merril and the very real story of Toronto’s spaced-out library. The Toronto Star

Mehera Bonner takes us inside The Handmaid’s Tale’s sophomore season. Marie Claire

Be well until Thursday!

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Muse-inks: A week in this writer’s life

The beginning of 2018 is proving to be a challenge.

At my day job, were heading into a busy quarter. Training and monitoring and an in-person team learning event.

The medical procedure I’ve been waiting for since last March has finally been scheduled for the week after next.

Torvi continues to improve, but she’s still a (32 pound!) puppy and Phil and I and my mom, who watches Torvi weekdays while we work, have had our hands full. We’re still getting used to the continual disruptions life with a puppy requires.

Since I’m twelve years older than I was the last time I did this, I find I’m exhausted. It’s worth it, but I wish I could catch up on my sleep. Maybe when Torvi’s older.

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For now, as she closes in on four months, the shepherd in her is coming out, personality-wise as well as physically. Her head, shoulders, legs and paws are still super-soft. I just want to cuddle her ALL the time. When she’s not biting me *sigh*

Four out of five people in my critique group are in the process of moving and so the start of that new adventure will be delayed.

And that’s about it for the week.

Bed’s calling.

Until Tuesday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories 🙂

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 31, 2017 – Jan 6, 2018

Here’s some stuff that might just get the mental corn popping 🙂

More on the continuing Phoenix debacle: public servants have until January 31st to deal with 2017 overpayments. Matthew Kupfer for the CBC.

John Leland says, if you want to be happy, think like an old person. The New York Times

How society destroys your creativity.

 

Brenda Knowles: the biggest wound of relationships and how to avoid it. Space2Live

Eric Andrew-Gee says, your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial, and unhappy, but why can’t you put it down? The Globe and Mail

Danny Vinik reports on the real future of work. Politico

Astronomy calendar for 2018:

 

Kemp Reweti – Maori harpist.

 

And that was your edutainment for the week.

Be well until the weekend!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 31, 2017 – Jan 6, 2018

Your informal writerly learnings of the week may be found below 🙂

K.M. Weiland: four life-changing New Year’s lessons for writers. Helping Writers Become Authors

Julie Glover wonders, what word will guide your writing life in 2018? Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen offers some essential writing advice as you begin the new year. Writers in the Storm

Tamar Sloan offers three powerful techniques to harness reader curiosity. Writers Helping Writers

Greer Macallister explains how to use the feedback you don’t get. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass gets legendary. Writer Unboxed

Anna Elliott offers some comfort about those stories that won’t let you go. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt: happy new goals! Writer Unboxed

Terri Frank lists the five g’s of getting libraries to buy your book. DIY MFA

K.T. Lynn: five ways to conquer deadline anxiety. DIY MFA

Kristen Lamb presents the success paradox: programmed to fail or fly?

Chris Winkle creates seven recipes for heroes winning desperate fights. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi lists five behaviours fiction needs to stop demonizing. Mythcreants

Haley Mlotek is searching for the self-loathing woman author. Hazlitt

Tim Lott: why should we subsidise writers who have lost the plot? The Guardian

Stephen Marche co-authored a science fiction story with an algorithm and the CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed him about it. Also featuring Sandra Kasturi of ChiZine publications and Daniel H. Wilson, author of Robopocalypse.

Mark Abadi shares 27 maps that show how English speakers differ across America. Business Insider

I sincerely hope you found something of use or entertainment in this curation.

Be well until Thursday!

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The next chapter: December 2017 update and year in review

Well, hello there, writerly folk!

It’s time for December update and 2017 wrap up post.

December was a decent month. I was still on my self-funded leave until December 13thand initially, I thought I’d be able to write a bit more because Torvi had been with us a few weeks. I thought we’d start to see some improvement in her behaviour and I might be able to manage a thousand words a day.

As I mentioned last week, that lasted all of a day before I realized I wouldn’t be able to manage it. So, I amended my goal to 500 words a day and mostly kept to it. There were just some days when I was too tired, especially after I returned to work.

I wrote 41k words in November and hit the 50k goal just in time for Christmas 🙂 I’m currently closing in on 60k and figure I’ll be drafting Playing with Fire through March this year. In all, I wrote 14,567 words in December on PwF (94% of my 15k goal) and another 5,361 words on this blog, or 88% of my 6,600-word goal.

That’s a total of 19,928 words for the month. Not too shabby considering pup and work and the holidays (which were lovely and quiet—hope yours were too).

No revision happened in December.

DecemberProgress

Overall, 2017 was a strange year. I set my usual ambitious goals at the start of the year and adjusted them as circumstances demanded. Circumstances being my protracted burnout fuelled by depression and anxiety.

Writing-wise, I did fairly well, exceeding some of my goals and falling short of one other.

I finished drafting Wavedancer by the end of February, achieving 106% of my goal for the novel, and the rest of the work on the Ascension series was revision. I made it through all three novels before I left on my grand adventure at the end of July.

I wrote 127% of my short fiction goal, but that story, once again, turned out to be a novel-length idea that will have to be developed in the future. I just can’t seem to think small these days.

On the blog, I wrote 103% of my goal and when it came to PwF, my NaNoWriMo (and after) project for the year, I wrote only 85% of my goal.

I hit 97% of my overall writing goal for the year.

The above-mentioned revisions for the three books in the Ascension series came in at 95% of goal, the revisions for Reality Bomb came in at 85% of goal, and my revisions of short fiction (I did make a few submissions last year) reached 92% of my goal.

My overall revisions met 93% of my goal.

I’m pleased. I had wanted to go through my other novels as well, but, honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to manage.

AnnualProgress2017

This year, I aim to finish drafting PwF. As I’d mentioned in my NaNo recap, I didn’t have a full outline to work with this time around and so, even if we hadn’t adopted Torvi, I don’t think the writing would have gone very smoothly. I finished the main plotline around Fer and Dair and their mission to the dwergen deepholds, but I hadn’t more than a sketchy idea of what any of the other characters would be doing this time around. So, I’m pretty much pantsing those parts of the story.

I’d given some thought to stopping the drafting and finishing the outline, but I decided against it. While it can be a bit frustrating to dive into a piece without a clear idea of where you’re going, there’s something liberating about discovery writing that I don’t want to abandon. Even when I do have an outline, my brain tends to take the story in new (and often better) directions in any case.

After the draft of PwF is finished, I’ll be diving into the next rounds of revision on the whole series. With each novel I write, bits and pieces of the earlier ones have to be adjusted. I develop ideas, settings, and it all has to become one seamless story. The whole thing gets better every time.

As the result of some connections I made during the Writing Excuses cruise, I’m now part of a critique group made up on people from all over the world. Freaky, but in a good way. I’m going to be submitting Reality Bomb to them for review. It’s still rough, but before I get into the hard work of revision on that one, I want feedback on the essentials. Structure, characters, arc, and all that.

I’m not so invested in the story yet that I couldn’t tear it down and start over, if that’s what’s required.

By the time I’m finished with my revisions of the Ascension series as it stands, I should have my critiques and I’ll turn my attention to RB. If things go well, I may have something I can start to query with by the end of the year.

I should have time to devote to getting one more project prepared for the next round of critiques, likely Marushka, before I turn my attention to the final book in the Ascension series, Tamashki, for NaNoWriMo 2018. I’ll spend October working on the outline, which I sincerely hope I’ll get finished this time, and charge into drafting come November first.

And, as in past years, I’ll continue to draft until the story’s done.

While I have made some goals for short fiction, I really don’t know whether or not I’ll have the time or energy to devote to it.

2018WritingAndRevisionGoals

As a result of the big travel expenses of the last couple of years, I’m staying close to home in 2018. I’ll probably attend the Canadian Writers’ Summit in June, and Ad Astra in July.

I’m continuing with my column for DIY MFA as well and will continue to post here when each is released.

And I’m continuing to create the newsletter for the Sudbury Writers’ Guild, though I’m thinking that after this year, I might try to hand the reins over to someone else. It’s not a great burden, but it is time I could be spending on my own writing. I’m continuing to draw in and refocus my energy.

Those are my writerly goals for the year, and I think they’re reasonable. I still may have to adjust them as time passes, though. I see goals as living things. They’re affected by events and other priorities in my life.  I’ll let you know how it all goes in my next chapter updates throughout the year.

Until next I blog, my friends, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

The Next Chapter

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 24-30, 2017

Here’s hoping this first instalment of Thoughty Thursday for 2018 gets your mental corn popping.

Erin Bunch suggests eight anti-resolutions that will make 2018 a happier year. Well + Good

It wasn’t all bad, says K.G Orphanides of Wired. Here’s a list of 17 things that made the world a better place in 2017.

Katherine Ellen Foley reviews where the major scientific discoveries from five years ago are now. Quartz

Michael Baumann: who gets to own outer space? The Ringer

Nicholas Casey profiles a Peruvian man who is the last speaker of his language. Heartbreaking. The New York Times

Nadra Kareem Nittle: what you should know about Kwanzaa and why it’s celebrated. Thought Co.

Harriet A. Washington thinks Hugh Jackman’s role as P.T. Barnum erased the showman’s violent racism. NBC

Olivia Goldhill: 30 years after the introduction of Prozac, we’re still buying the lie that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. Quartz

Serena Daniari offers an immersive look into the transgender experience: walking while trans. Mic

Why we should celebrate the winter woodland, not just the Christmas tree. Robert Penn for The Guardian.

Wendy Berliner: why there’s no such thing as a gifted child. The Guardian

SciShow: why do we get colds when it’s cold?

 

Be well until the weekend, folks!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 24-30, 2017

And now … your first batch of informal writerly learnings for the New Year!

Kathryn Craft advises you to ask for what you need. Writers in the Storm

Laura Drake makes notes to her unpublished self. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth Randolph guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: good storytelling is about going primal.

A.K. Perry shares five essential elements of strong dialogue. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira explains why you should review your writing year. DIY MFA

Amy Pennza shares five ways to find a writer’s group online. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci follows up last week’s video on world building don’t with this one on world building basics.

 

Oren Ashkenazi looks at five stories hurt by unlikable protagonists. Mythcreants

T.R. Ragan offers five tips for writing stories with multiple points of view and still keeping the reader in suspense. Writer’s Digest

Chuck Wendig shares his writing resolution for 2018: write with intention. Terribleminds

Alexandra Alter: in an era of online outrage, do sensitivity readers result in better books, or censorship? I’d argue the former, but what do I know? As Alter states in the article, expert readers have a long tradition in publishing. The New York Times

Be well until Thursday!

tipsday2016

Bidding farewell to 2017

Greetings, all!

K. Tempest Bradford shared something that Catherynne Valente wrote:

“If this were a trilogy, 2016 would be the explosively dramatic establishment of conflict. 2017 would be the lowest point, when all seems lost. And 2018 would be the redemption, the triumph snatched from defeat at the last moment, the victory over darkness. Here’s to 2018.”

As a writer of science fiction and fantasy, this struck me as true. Not real, but true.

Not only has the political situation been depressing (Trump and Brexit), but also continued terror attacks, refugees in the millions, mass shootings, sexual assault and harassment revelations, floods, fire, hurricanes, and cyclones … it really feels as if the world is falling apart on all levels.

Even I, as a Canadian, shielded from much of the douche-baggery rampant in the world, have felt the weight of depression more this year that in the several preceding. I’m still struggling with burnout, but I know that I’m in good company. Many of the authors, mostly American, that I follow online have expressed similar sentiments, though for different, and many more dire, reasons.

John Scalzi has had to slow the pace of his writing to deal. Kameron Hurley has had the medical rug pulled out from under her and is seeking to move to Canada, or at least to some place she doesn’t need to shell out thousands a month for the medication she needs to save her life.

Though Chuck Wendig initially expressed similar sentiments at the beginning of the year, he is also considering a move to another state, where state medical benefits can shore up the deficits in the national plan.

But even in 2017, some good things happened. Another thing I saw this morning was former president Obama’s tweets about some of those events.

Communities struck by tragedy have rallied to support their members. Whistle blowers have spoken out and inspired other victims to do the same. There is hope, even in the midst of the dark tea time of the soul. There can be no shadow without the light.

Trump hasn’t been half as successful as he says, and although he managed to dismantle the accessible healthcare act and protection for dreamers, his continual public displays of ignorance, misogyny, and other-phobia, combined with the scandals that continue to dog his heels give me hope for the future.

Then again, I (and so many other people) never thought he’d get into office in the first place.

Brexit proceeds, as it must, changing the political and trade landscape of Europe.

Global warming continues to mess with weather patterns creating monster storms, floods, and conditions ideal for wildfires.

Even here, in north eastern (more like central) Ontario we’ve felt the effects. In the last couple of years, we’ve had green Christmases. This year, it looked like the same thing was going to happen. We had a lovely, warm fall, but then the snow arrived on its usual schedule. And then we got hammered by cold temperatures we usually don’t see until January or February. New Year’s celebrations across Canada have been cancelled or moved indoors because it’s too cold to ask people to stand outside for very long.

Even Torvi, who I’m convinced has husky in her, who loves to stay outside much longer than her humans can bear to, is doing the cold paw dance and willingly comes inside once her business is done.

But the winter solstice is past and it’s getting lighter a little earlier each day. I have hope that this, too, shall pass.

I have hope that mid-term elections in the States will shift the balance of power in senate and congress.

I have hope that as more people speak out against injustice, the rest of the world will finally listen.

I have hope that we can turn the tide in our dependence of fossil fuels and invest more in renewable energy before it’s too late.

The point is, I have hope. I hope for a lot of things, but I have hope.

In the summer, when I embarked on the Writing Excuses Cruise, I wanted to make a breakthrough of some kind. I’ve been feeling for a couple of year that I’ve been on the cusp of something. I know. I’m a slow learner, I guess. I got my breakthrough, but not in the way I expected.

It took Emma Newman to ask me to look deeper for the source of my prolonged burnout. I immediately felt resistance to the suggestion, which told me it was exactly what I needed to do. I cracked the shell on the cruise, but it’s taken me some time to muck about in the goo within to come to terms.

When I first exposed my tender underbelly to a group of writers, I thought I finally had my past trauma under my thumb. I mistakenly thought that my inner editor, informed by a series of threshold guardian experiences, was the thing I had to conquer.

Yes and no.

I had to overcome the inner editor to believe that my work was good enough to submit. It wasn’t long after that, that I started to get second readings, short list placements, contest wins, and finally, a couple of paid publications. So it was work I had to do.

Then I stalled.

Those threshold guardian experiences instilled in me an instinctive, but wrong-headed, mistrust of editors, critique partners, and generally anyone else in whose hands I might put my words. Though I’ve worked with a few editors, took their advice, and worked to improve my stories, I think part of me has been trying to sabotage my own efforts. The resistance has always been there, the distrust.

So that’s my big goal for 2018. I have a critique group, and I’m going to work it. I’m going to open myself up and see if I can’t make one of my novels into something that agents and editors will like.

So … there it is, out in the world. My big, scary goal for 2018.

Be vulnerable. Get out of my own way.

And hope that everything will turn out for the best in the end.

Have a triumphant 2018, everyone!

Until the New Year, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 17-23, 2017

It’s another tiny thoughty Thursday to finish off the year.

Steve LeVine compiles a list of the biggest AI stories of 2017. Axios

Patrick Caughill: SpaceX is leading the rise of an entirely new industry. Futurism

They escaped child marriage and now they’re speaking out. Kyle Almond for CNN.

Bill Donohue is seeking the lost art of growing old with intention. Outside

Anna Lovind: how to make darkness magical. Because we all need more magic in our lives.

Natasha Frost reviews the year in animal accomplishments. Atlas Obscura

Hope that was enough to get some mental corn popping.

Be well until the weekend!

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