Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 7-13, 2019

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

Michele Adelman reports on how Ford cuts have unleashed a crisis of conservation. Now Toronto

Physics Girl visits the first gravitational wave detector—LIGO. Stellar

SciShow Space looks at how a tank of water could change physics forever (AKA looking for evidence of a GUT).

Robin McKie: everyone’s going back to the moon. But why? The Guardian

Anne Collins Goodyear: long before Armstrong and Aldrin, artists were stoking dreams of space travel. The Conversation

The secret language of trees – Camille Defrenne and Suzanne Simard. Ted.ed

Erin Biba says, in the real world, Simba’s mom would run the pride. National Geographic

Sara Barnes: photographer spends years taking poignant portraits of animals on the brink of extinction. Beautiful. My Modern Met

And that was thoughty Thursday. I hope you found something to spark your next great work 🙂

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 7-13, 2019

Looking for some informal writerly learnings? Here they are!

Jim Dempsey offers some fiction therapy: achieve your writing goals. Juliet Marillier explains why editing matters. Then, David Corbett shares the content of his Thrillerfest workshop about characters in search of a moral compass. Writer Unboxed

Sacha Black explains why every novel needs a sprinkling of fear. Writers Helping Writers

How to write with multiple POVs. Reedsy

Julie Cantrell wonders, should authors break free from their brands? Then, Julie Glover shares seven tips for finding a great critique partner. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten romance tropes.

Rebecca Fish Ewen explains how to draw nothing. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle lists five information technology blunders and how to fix them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines five popular tropes writers struggle with. Mythcreants

Show, don’t tell, the Reedsy way.

Nathan Bransford explains why Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island works. This novel was one of two I focused on for my independent study in grade 12 English class. I have a fondness, and a bias 😉

I’m putting this in tipsday, because reasons. The Lost Words Blessing – The Lost Words.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found something useful.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 30-July 6, 2019

It’s time to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Sabrina Imbler covers the forgotten trans history of the wild west for Atlas Obscura.

Nicole Cliffe interviews Alanis Morissette on being pregnant at 45, childbirth, post-partum depression, and #metoo. You might be surprised, but I like Alanis Morissette. I’ve been a fan since she was on “You can’t do that on television.” I’ve only really liked her music since Jagged Little Pill, but, ya know, I was never into the pop princesses. And Alanis wasn’t either. She didn’t want to follow that path. I’m glad she didn’t. Self

SciShow Psych explores whether you can learn emotional intelligence.

Kris Newby recounts one family’s journey to a diagnosis of Lyme disease. It felt like the flu. It took ten doctors, a year, and $60,000 to find out the truth. Vox

It’s okay to be smart looks at what it takes to create a world-sized telescope to see a black hole.

This is just something cool: ceramic skulls for your fire pit or fireplace. Can You Actually

Michael Greshko reports that these capuchin monkeys are 3,000 years into their own “stone age.” National Geographic

The White Wolf Pack shares a sweet video of raven courtship. Have I ever told you that corvids rock my world?

Haley Weiss: dogs’ eyes have changed since humans befriended them. It might be argued that dogs domesticated us 😉 The Atlantic

Thanks for stopping by.

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 30-July 6, 2019

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Jeanette the Writer: forewords, introductions, and prologues … oh, my! Then, Tammy Lough wants to help you create your series bible. DIY MFA

K.M. Weiland wants you to take your writing to the next level: whole-life art. Helping Writers Become Authors

Yi Shun Lai: better your writing by being a beginner—every day. Later in the week, Justin Attis warns against some common pitfalls of trying to make your story “unique.” Jane Friedman

Sophie Masson relates the pleasures and pitfalls of writing a multi-POV narrative. Donald Maass is back to the one-word titles: legendary. Bryn Greenwood explains what a ghost heart has to do with writing fiction. “The difference between the memoir I’ll never write and the novels I can’t stop writing is all about processing personal experience into fiction.” Jo Eberhardt: one story, many paths. Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan is digging deep into the psychology of a layered story. Writers Helping Writers

Fae Rowan writes about lost love and using your young adult voice. Later in the week, Janice Hardy stops by to explain how to write an opening scene that hooks readers. Writers in the Storm

David Safford explains how to apply helpful writing feedback (and how to know what you can ignore). The Write Practice

Chris Winkle shows you how to avoid melodrama in your writing. Then, Oren Ashkenazi writes about water travel before engines. Mythcreants

Cory Doctorow: I shouldn’t have to publish this in the New York Times. The New York Times

Open Culture reveals how Jane Austen edited her manuscripts with straight pins.

And that was tipsday. I hope you found something you need to help with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

The next chapter: June 2019 update

Happy July, everyone! The summer weather has finally arrived in my area of the world. I hope you’re enjoying the season, whatever it is where you live.

And now, it’s time for my next chapter update for June 2019.

The month in writing

My “big” project continues to be my reread, restructuring, and preparation for revision of my Ascension series. As with many of my plans or goals, what I hoped to accomplish at the beginning of the year is changing.

To be specific, I had hoped that by the end of June, I’d have read through all five novels and be ready to start revising book one. Here, in July, I’m still reading through book one … As a result, I’ve decided that I’m just going to focus on laying the groundwork for future revisions. I’m going to continue reading through the series through to the end of September. For now.

While I’ve reviewed the various documents that will make up my series bible, I haven’t yet done the work of pulling everything together. This is part of the work I have to do to get ready for revising. I’m not sure if I’ll have this done before I have to shift gears into NaNo prep.

One of the challenges that I’ve been facing is that, since April, as I’ve noted in past updates, the day job has kicked into high gear. I finish most days exhausted and unable to nab even a little time during breaks of lunch to devote to my WIP. In the early months of this year, there was some downtime that I was able to capitalize on.

Also, I’ve been critiquing, which takes up time in the evening that I might otherwise use to work on my series. Accordingly, I’ve adjusted my goal, but what I’ll accomplish by the end of September is a bit up in the air. Sometimes we have to do what we can and live within the uncertainty.

Still it’s important work and I’m doing it, regardless of the pace 🙂

I blogged 4,073 words of my 2,600-word goal, or 157%.

Toward the end of the month, I got back to my short fiction. While I didn’t reach my 1,000-word goal, I wrote 693 words, or 69%. While this is, strictly speaking, revision of my January short story, most or the work is new. I’ve added scenes and switched things up. In the end, I think the story will be closer to 5,000 words than the 2,500 I’d planned on. It’ll be a better story, but I have a feeling that this draft won’t be the end of my work on the piece.

Revision-wise, I got Reality Bomb ready for critique and it is now posted. I had hoped to get the draft up to 80,000 words, but I’m still 1,175 words short of that. Still, 99% is good. It’s not a huge gap and it gives me room to work with. I’m nervous because there’s a lot of material in the novel that I’m not sure works. We’ll see what my critique group thinks.

JuneProgress

And that’s all the writing and revision I accomplished this past month.

Filling the well

On June 20th, A couple of poet friends, Kim Fahner and Tom Leduc, held a reading at One Sky they called On the Cusp of the Solstice. After their sets, the evening became an open mic and we got to hear five other local poets share their work. It was a great evening and a lovely, artistic venue.

What I’m watching and reading

I watched the final season of A series of Unfortunate Events. It was okay. I know it adhered fairly closely to the books (which I haven’t read) and I understand the choice not to give the Beaudelaires a happy ending, but it felt unsatisfactory because most of that denouement happened off-screen and the story was given to Lemony and Beatrice the second. In a way, the story was always Lemony’s, but he never did anything to propel the narrative, so it felt like a cheat.

I also finished the most recent season of Homeland released to Netflix. I think they’re a season behind what’s on the network, but I prefer to watch some shows when I want to rather than when the network wants me to. It was dark, as every season of Homeland has been to date. The twist at the end was interesting and promises a climactic next season. We’ll see.

I finally reached the end of season one of Man in the High Castle. I know I’m behind in this one, but I watch multiple series at the same time on both Netflix and Amazon Prime (like, between six and ten at any given time) and I only watch them on the weekends or days off and that means slow progress. I enjoy where the series is going and the characters. It’s interesting to see what they’re doing with another of Dick’s shorter works.

Phil and I devoured Good Omens. We loved it. I know a good deal has been made of focusing the story on Azirophale and Crowley because they are secondary characters. Like Lemony Snicket, above, they don’t really do anything to progress the plot or save the world. They just mess up and luck into every win. Still, I loved seeing David Tennant on screen again and Crowley’s friendship with Azirophale is a beautiful thing.

We also enjoyed Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. I LOLed quite a bit. The movie didn’t take itself seriously and mocked its own tropes. I see why a lot of people consider it one of the best Marvel property movies (even though it was a Sony movie), better even than Endgame. I think comparing the two isn’t something that can be done. They’re both their own beasts.

Valerian remains in limbo, and Phil and I, on the strength of our liking of the original, checked out Reboot: The Guardian Code. One episode and I was, no. So no.

Reading-wise, I finished American Gods, which I liked much more than the Amazon Prime series. Events and gods have been juggled in the series so much that it’s almost unrecognizable. I recommend the book, though I did enjoy the series on its own merits.

For my literary selection, I read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. I know it was probably the author’s intention, but I was alternately depressed and enraged throughout the novel. I still have unsettled feelings about it, and I think it will take some time to come to an understanding.

I read Sarah Negovetich’s Rite of Rejection, her YA dystopian. The story has similarities to books like The Handmaid’s Tale, in that society has doubled down on traditional gender roles and anyone considered divergent is identified through their activities (arrested) or by “the machine” which identifies those with undesirable traits. In both cases, undesirables are sent to camps so that they will never be able to spread dissent or reproduce. It’s another stark book, but I’ll probably read the rest of the series.

Finally, I listened to both volumes of The Outlandish Companion on Audible. It was a great refresh of the series, the Lord John books, and the interstitial shorts along with a lot of fascinating insights into Gabaldon’s process, research, and tasty tidbits about the series. It was a nice palate cleanser 🙂

And that was this month in the writerly life.

Until the next time I blog, 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, June 23-29, 2019

Happy Independence Day to my friends south of the border! Take some time to feed your brain and get your mental corn popping!

IndependenceDay

Robin Hammond presents Stonewall at 50: stories of resistance and resilience. National Geographic

Mia Jensen interviews Cathy Mulroy about her career as a woman miner and her upcoming memoir. The Sudbury Star

Ahem. Yeah, I shared one of the cited articles (the BBC one) a couple of weeks ago. Here is the awesome debunking of that study on how technology influences the human skeleton and all the reportage it received. I am duly reminded that correlation is not causation. Thank you, SciShow. Seriously.

Simon Makin: better memory through electrical brain ripples. Scientific American

SciShow Psych discovers that alcohol may enhance your creativity in some respects, but not others.

Joyce Cohen: for those with hearing impairments, restaurant noise isn’t just an irritation. It’s discrimination. The Washington Post

Brene Brown talks to Oprah Winfrey about the six types of people who don’t deserve to hold space for you.

Jill Paider lists 20 sublime retreats you need to visit for creative inspiration. Dwell

Bryan Bender: a new moon race is on. Is China already ahead? Politico

SciShow answers the question, what makes soft things soft?

Dr. Suzanne Hoffmann and Professor Manfred Gahr have discovered that the brains of birds synchronize when they sing together. How did the do it? With transmitters weighing 1 gram that recorded the brain waves of the birds. Max Planck Gesellschaft

Katarzyna Nowak reveals the daunting task of wildlife crimefighters in the Alaska-Yukon wilderness. National Geographic

John Nova Lomax reports on the flight of the Texas fireflies. Texas Monthly

And that was thoughty Thursday.

This weekend, I’ll be assembling my next chapter update for June 2019. Until then, be well!

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 23-29, 2019

Welcome July! We’ve finally hit summer up here in northeastern Ontario. And it was just Canada Day (yesterday)! It’s time to celebrate with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

CanadaDay

Nathan Bransford explains how to handle multiple protagonists in a query letter. Later in the week, he shares a list of character strengths and weaknesses.

Julie Duffy says, creation is messy—and that’s okay. Barbara O’Neal is writing the next book. John J. Kelley lauds stories that liberate. Writer Unboxed

Abigail K. Perry examines James Scott Bell’s signpost scene #12: mounting forces. Brenda Joyce Patterson takes a deep dive into historical poetry. DIY MFA

Lisa Hall-Wilson wants you to make your setting real with strategic description. Tasha Seegmiller explains how to survive a writing crisis. Laura drake talks ideation: where do ideas come from? Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci lists ten reasons you’re not “making it” as a writer.

Again, Alexa Donne riffs on a similar theme: five reasons fiction writers quit.

K.M. Weiland shares four ways to write gripping internal narrative with the help of a brave critique volunteer. Helping Writers Become Authors

What does “plot reveals character” mean? Jami Gold has the answer.

Orly Konig proposes mind mapping as a pantser’s path to plotting. Fiction University

Oren Ashkenazi looks at six stories that focus too much on side characters. Mythcreants

Molly Templeton: YA Twitter can be toxic, but it can also point out real problems. Buzzfeed

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you found something you need to help move your current creative project forward.

Until Thursday, be well, my friends!

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 16-22, 2019

Here we are with some inspirational, research-y goodness to get your mental corn popping!

Lindsay Holiday reviews the lives and reigns of the gay kings and queen of England.

Anna Silman: every girl I knew was on it. Why some women are questioning hormonal birth control. I stopped birth control in my mid twenties because it was messing with my mental health. My spouse could see it clearly. The few times I’ve had to use it since, usually for some form of menstrual intervention, I’ve turned into a basket case. So support women listening to their own bodies and minds. The Cut

Olga Khazan explores a breakthrough in the mystery of why women get so many autoimmune diseases. The point was made by a commenter, however, that many of these autoimmune diseases develop before puberty. Can they explain that? The Atlantic

Anna Bianca Roach: her death made headlines. We should learn from her life, instead. The Washington Post

Karen Russell writes a letter of recommendation about superstitions. The New York Times Magazine

Open Culture reveals that Leonardo da Vinci’s huge notebook collections, the Forster Codex, are now digitized in high resolution so you can explore them online.

Ryan F. Mandelbaum reports on a Norwegian town that wants to abolish time. Gizmodo

Meilan Solly reports that a perfectly preserved, 32,000-year-old wolf head was found in Siberian permafrost, and what wildlife biologists are learning from it. The Smithsonian Magazine

Nathan Rott: going “zero carbon” is all the rage but will it stop climate change? NPR

Michael Greshko wonders, what is the summer solstice? National Geographic

Maria Popova reveals the mesmerizing microscopy of trees—they look like lovely crochet patterns! BrainPickings

Chris R. Morgan says, the best streaming service is the National Film Board of Canada 🙂 The Outline

SciShow looks at the origin of butts 🙂

Kaitlyn Schwalje reports that we finally have the answer to how many squirrels there are in NYC’s Central Park. But who was asking the question? National Geographic

Joe paints butterfly wings with CRISPR. It’s okay to be smart

And that was thoughty Thursday.

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 16-22, 2019

A nice, plump bunch of juicy informal writerly learnings. Yes. I have fresh strawberries on the brain. I drool watching them ripen in the garden!

Anthea Lawson Sharp (who writes romance as Anthea Lawson and Fantasy as Anthea Sharp) talks about the craft of short fiction. Later in the week, Margie Lawson writes about the power of silence on the page. Writers in the Storm

Vaughn Roycroft shares a father’s legacy. Sonja Yoerg: writing characters with personality using Myers-Briggs. Erika Liodice asks, are you a student? Resounding YES here 🙂 Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland makes the final instalment in her Dos and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel series: five ways to earn your audience’s loyalty. Helping Writers Become Authors

Julia Roberts says, writer’s block is a gift (and explains why). Then, H.R. D’Costa shares five ways to ensure readers don’t abandon your book. Jane Friedman

Lisa Lowe Stauffer stops by Fiction University. Jamie Fraser eats an apple: using objects to inject character and world building into dialogue. Later in the week, Janice Hardy explains what setup in a novel actually means and then follows that up with four steps to establish the beginning of your novel.

Chris Winkle makes the next instalment in her goal-oriented storytelling series: tension. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci offers her definitions of active and passive characters and her tips for writing active characters.

Interestingly, Alexa Donne also expounds on character agency and growth. A theme?

Nathan Bransford explains how to work with a literary agent on edits.

Emily Wenstrom advises what to do when your social media growth stagnates. Here’s my latest speculations column: what psychology and neuroscience contribute to your stories. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle extracts some lessons from the writing of The Name of the Wind. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers building democracy in your fantasy world. Mythcreants

Tale Foundry introduces us to eight of Sir Terry Pratchett’s clever(est) characters.

Roz Morris shares the “under-arrest” test for ensuring a satisfying ending. Nail Your Novel

CD Covington thinks the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is good fiction but bad science. Because language. Tor.com

Lynn Neary and Patrick Jarenwattananon celebrate Joy Harjo’s appointment as the first Native American US poet laureate. NPR

That should be enough to see you through until Thursday when I have a tidy batch of thoughty for you 🙂

Until then, be well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 9-15, 2019

A good mix of inspirational, research-y, and learning stuff this week.

Patti Neighmond: can you reshape your brain’s response to pain? NPR

Zaria Gorvett explores how modern life is transforming the human skeleton. BBC

Mike MacEacheran looks at what unicorns mean to Scottish identity. BBC

Johny Pitts’ Afropean captures the experience of black women in Europe. Refinery29

Phoebe Wood debunks eight myths about bisexuals/pansexuals (and their representation) in honour of Pride Month.

Cara Anna reports that Botswana decriminalized gay sex in a landmark case. “More than two dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws criminalizing gay sex, often holdovers from colonial times.” AP

ASAP Science wants to find out what would happen if we burned all our garbage.

Andrew Freedman writes a special report on our plastic planet. Axios

Rachel Love Nuwer considers the planet’s other imperiled elephants. In his book, Giants of the Monsoon Forest, Jacob Shell explores the ancient, mutually beneficial alliance between Asian elephants and their human neighbors. UnDark

Because tardigrades. Thomas Boothby, TED-Ed.

I hope something here got your mental corn popping.

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

ThoughtyThursday2019