Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Jan 16-22, 2022

It’s the last tipsday of January 2022. Get your informal writerly learnings to see you through the week.

Disha Walia is debunking myths about speculative fiction. Then, Ambre Dawn Leffler suggests you bring coziness to winter writing with hygge. Pamela Taylor shows you where to start with historical fiction. Then, Barb Geiger says, no really. Show. Don’t tell. DIY MFA

The pretty girl trope. The Take

Katey Schultz is getting off the hamster wheel. Then, Jan O’Hara shares what her pup taught her about writing. Dave King reveals how to learn to write. Then, Barbara Linn Probst is finding the path to authenticity. Porter Anderson explores the inevitable näiveté of the past. Writer Unboxed

10 tips for writing strong dialogue. Reedsy

Harrison Demchick explains the roles of causality and plot structure in literary fiction. Then, Jane shows you how to plan and host worthwhile online events. Jane Friedman

Ellen Brock explains how to write the status quo in your novel.

Lisa Hall-Wilson reveals how to use physical pain to show a character’s past trauma. Then, Michelle Barker shows you how self-editing can take your novel to the next stage. Writers Helping Writers

Is there any hope for the Netflix adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender? Hello, Future Me

Angela Ackerman says that if you want your characters to stand out, give them a skill. Then, Lynette M. Burrows shares the things she wishes she knew before she published (part 1). Jenny Hansen shares two aha-moments that boosted her writing confidence. Writers in the Storm

Erica Brozovsky asks, is swearing good for your brain? Otherwords | PBS Storied

Chris Winkle helps you outline a short story in seven steps. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Sanderson bungled culture in Way of Kings. Mythcreants

Dune: why do people even like this book? Tale Foundry

Kristen Lamb examines the relation between branding and attention: busy brains in a busy world.

Angie Hodapp discusses kishōtenketsu and non-western story structures. Pub Rants

The gaslit Disney Princess. The Take

Nina Munteanu: when we burn books

Natalie Zutter says that there are no heroes or villains in Station Eleven, just fans. Tor.com

Reeves Wiedeman delves into the mystery of the spine collector. Vulture

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

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

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Jan 9-15, 2022

Happy Friday eve! Gear up for a weekend of creativity by getting your mental corn popping 🙂

Annabelle Timsit reports that Maya Angelou to become the first Black woman on a US quarter. The Washington Post

Leah Asmelash announces that a new Barbie honors journalist Ida B. Wells. CNN

Enzo Dimatteo reports that Ontario’s school reopening announcement turns into a gong show. Now Toronto

Moira Donovan reveals how two-eyed seeing mixes Indigenous knowledge with Western science in Nova Scotia. CBC

Kate Harding: have we forgotten how to read critically? Dame

Harley Rustad explains why tourists experience “India syndrome.” The Guardian

China’s forgotten warrior queen – Fu Hao. Xiran Jay Zhao

Bianca Marschke-Kunz tells the tale of the scholar and the king: Alcuin and Charlemagne. Medievalists.net

Can Moon colonies get oxygen from … the Moon? SciShow Space

Nadia Drake feels relief as NASA’s most powerful space telescope finishes risky unfolding. National Geographic

Jess Romeo shares the real science of the multiverse. JSTOR Daily

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you took away 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!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Jan 9-15, 2022

You’ve made it through Monday! Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings. They’re good for your writerly soul 🙂

Sophie Masson offers her first impressions on book covers. Then, Jim Dempsey considers a fusion of fiction with fact. Juliet Marillier is finding hope in the power of storytelling. Kathryn Craft: determining relevant conflict, or … the curious case of the constipated elephant. Then, David Corbett ponders distraction, focus, silence. Writer Unboxed

Teenage girl makes chaotic life choices. Jill Bearup

Allison K. Williams explains how to get your writing done when New Year’s resolutions don’t work (and they usually don’t). Then, Kayla Kauffman warns, don’t let your characters fall into the daily routine trap. Sharon Oard Warner reveals what can happen when you resolve to write a little every day. Jane Friedman

External conflict vs. internal conflict. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland reflects on the six gifts she gave herself in 2021. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman explains whether you’re languishing or flourishing how to recapture your writing mojo. Kathleen Baldwin: who are your readers and why does it matter? Then, Julie Glover wonders what you need to write regularly. Writers in the Storm

The Fates: Greek mythology’s most powerful deities. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Joanna Penn interviews William Kenower: a writer’s guide to the end of self-doubt. The Creative Penn

Sue Coletta explains how to kill your darlings: writers, get a knife. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains how to avoid overcorrecting after receiving feedback.

Why the Madonna-whore complex still reigns. The Take

Manuela Williams shares her must-read books on the craft of poetry. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Leslie Vedder about world building and character friendships in a YA fairy tale retelling. Jeanette the Writer explains how to balance fiction writing with writing for pay. Then, Soleah K. Sadge shares five ways a five-pillar foundation can help build your author brand. DIY MFA

The pandemic onscreen is … The Take

Chris Winkle explains how to keep your favourite character from ruining your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists five ways Arcane could have been better. Mythcreants

Thanks for visiting. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Jan 2-8, 2022

It’s time to get your mental corn popping in time for the weekend.

Jelani Cobb: justice for Ahmaud Arbery. The New Yorker

Vanessa Romo, Becky Sullivan, and Joe Hernandez report on the conviction of the officer responsible for Daunte Wright’s death. (Dec. 23, 2021) NPR

Brett Forester and Fraser Needham report that Canada and First Nations report details of $40 billion draft deals to settle child welfare claims. It’s the biggest settlement in Canadian history. This is what the Feds were doing when they appealed to the HRC last year. You’d think they’d just come out and say they were aiming to provide a bigger payout, no? APTN News

Ryan Patrick Jones: Ontario’s new pandemic strategy risks “out of control” transmission, epidemiologists warn. CBC

Sharon Guynup: can covid-19 change your personality? Here’s what the brain research shows. National Geographic

Gavin Francis says, “We need to respect the process of healing.” A GP comments on the overlooked process of recovery. The Guardian

Joe Palca: a Texas team comes up with a covid-19 vaccine that could be a global game-changer. NPR

Jodi McIsaac relates her fumbling attempt to reconnect with the child she gave away. The Globe and Mail

Your brain once had a superpower. Could you get it back? SciShow

Cal Newport says that it’s time to embrace slow productivity. We need fewer things to work on, starting now. The New Yorker

S. Mitra Kalita lists three New Year’s resolutions for employers right now. Charter Works

Lauren Grush reports that NASA successfully deploys complex sunshield on James Webb Space Telescope. The Verge

Sidney Perkowitz introduces eight women astronomers you should know. JSTOR Daily

Jonathan O’Callaghan: graphene loophole could provide “clean and limitless” energy in the future. ILFS

We’re drowning in plastic pollution. Can we actually fix it? Be Smart

Nicola Davis reports that dogs may be able to tell difference between speech patterns. The Guardian

Carol Mithers: the veterinarian brings his healing presence to pets of the unhoused. The Smithsonian Magazine

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!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Jan 2-8, 2022

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

LA Bourgeois explains why you should stop using the word “should.” Then, Jeanette the Writer wonders how much you should pay an editor? DIY MFA

Ellen Brock provides her writing guide for intuitive plotters. This one feels spot on for me 🙂

Greer Macallister expounds on your novel’s two beginnings. Only begin. Therese Walsh: recovery from (something that tastes an awful lot like) shame. Donald Maass: gods, monsters, and murderbots. Julie Duffy lists the five Fs you should give while writing. Beth Havey: the power of place. Writer Unboxed

Bad writing habits to drop in 2022. Reedsy

Karen DeBonis says that in medias res is a very good place to start your novel. Then, Joseph Lallo offers some advice about worldbuilding for sci-fi authors: terraforming. Lori Brown is embracing the mystery of deep POV. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth Spann Craig talks about making mini-plans and mini-goals for the year.

Princess Weekes discusses the women of Jane Austen. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Jane Friedman says that BookTok is a safe haven for young, female readers. Jane Friedman

Colleen M. Story shares four strategies to help writers focus in a world of distractions. Writers Helping Writers

Sympathy for the #pickmegirl The Take

Chris Winkle explains how writing instructors forgo the most vital fiction lesson. Oren Ashkenazi: Way of Kings shows us the damage meta-mysteries can do. Mythcreants

Guy Kawasaki interviews Julia Cameron, queen of change, creative inspiration, and prolific writer. The Remarkable People Podcast

Is Trinity the “real” one? The Take

Jami Attenberg: rejection gave me a fresh start, a new year. “Writing is holy, as my friend Patricia Lockwood says. It is true that it is hard to make it as a writer, or any kind of artist, for that matter. But if you love to write, you should write forever.” The Guardian

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Dec 26, 2021-Jan 1, 2022

We’re a bit short on the thoughty this week. What there is, is interesting, though. Get your mental corn popping. At least a little.

Maryn McKenna: covid will become endemic. The world must decide what that means. Wired

Nishita Jha: welcome to the jungle. On the Smithsonian’s #metoo moment. Buzzfeed

The real reason we’re all so busy (and what to do about it). Dorie Clark | TEDxBoston

The European Space Agency is opening a 50-year-old Christmas present from the moon. Phys.org

Louise Lerner: to find the very highest energy ghost particles in the universe, a new detector will soar over Antarctica. SciTech Daily

The most anticipated space missions of 2022. SciShow Space

Ayesha Rascoe: it’s not science fiction. Scientists have really made robots that reproduce. NPR

Becky Ferreira reports that cavers reach the bottom of an ancient “well of hell” for the first time. Vice

Andrew Curry reveals the immense mystery older than Stonehenge. BBC

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away 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!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 26, 2021-Jan 1, 2022

It’s the first tipsday of 2022! Posts generally decline over the holiday weeks, so it’s a bit of a slow start. Still, get your fill of informal writerly learnings, such as they are. We should be back on track next week.

Stephanie BwaBwa helps you set up your authorial calendar for success. Then, Olivia Fisher says, it’s time to be finished with your novel. Gabriela Pereira interviews Charlie Jane Anders about crafting a dynamic short story. Then, Disha Walia shares six psychologically-proven tricks to end procrastination. Finally, Heather Campbell shares five tips to build a consistent writing practice. DIY MFA

The best movies of 2021. Like Stories of Old

Kris Maze helps you build your author platform with these five social media trends for 2022. Then, all the regular contributors share their one word to guide their writing journeys in 2022. Writers in the Storm

Why Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. McDreamy isn’t dreamy. The Take

Kristen Lamb offers a simple formula for the life you want.

Chuck Wendig offers his writer’s resolution for 2022: the necessary act of selfishly seeking joy. Terribleminds

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five unnecessary world additions in popular stories. Mythcreants

A Tomorrow. Shane Koyczan

Jane Friedman provides this handy list of new publishers and agents in 2021. The Hot Sheet

Katy Waldman: what Lois Lowry remembers. The New Yorker

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.

The next chapter: December 2021 update and year-end review

And, just like that (and, no; never watched SatC; won’t watch AJLT), the second year of the pandemic ends.

2021 was an … interesting year. I’ll get to that in a bit.

Before we get to my December update, my monthly PSAs:

All lives cannot matter until BIPOC lives matter. We need to keep striving to be good allies and keep the critical issues front and centre.

Wash your hands, maintain physical distance, mask in public, get vaccinated (if you haven’t), and get your booster. Delta and omicron won’t be the only variants to emerge. And let’s be clear. The variants are there. They always have been. It’s just that, as we get better at suppressing the ones we know about, the ones we don’t have a chance to surge. Some may be less virulent, or not virulent at all. Some may be less transmissible or not transmissible at all. Some may not even infect humans. But it’s the ones that are more virulent, more transmissible, and infect humans that we have to watch for. This ain’t over yet.

The month in writing

Following the marathon that is NaNoWriMo, I wanted to take a break from revision. I only intended to rest until December 5th, but work got hectic again, and I ended up revising as I could, which meant not much at all.

Originally, I thought I could, based on my performance in November, revise about 20,000 words of Reality Bomb. Unfortunately, I had to amend that goal mid-month and reduced it first to 10,000 words, then 5,000 words, and ultimately 1,000 words. Of that 1,000-word goal, I revised 853 words, or 85%.

Admittedly, I decided to read through the draft to the point where I left off in NaNo, which was about the midpoint of the novel. So that 853 words represents a bunch of cutting and adding that I chose not to get too granular on.

My only writing goal for the month was the blog and of my 3,500-word goal, I wrote 5,422 words, or 155%.

The writing year in review

I started out 2021 by trying something different. I’d finished the last rewrite of RB by the close of 2020 and decided to focus on short fiction and poetry for the first three months of the year.

This worked out well for me. I wrote, revised, and submitted several short stories and poems, earned several rejections, and then had three poems and a short story accepted for future publication in February.

In March, I entered the SciArt Poetry competition and won the community category. I read my poem on Science North’s YouTube channel at the end of March, and the poem would be published later in the year in Sulphur X, Laurentian University’s literary journal.

I also started to revise RB in March based on my returned critiques.

In April, I had another story accepted for future publication, and the last of my poems accepted in 2020 was published.

Revision was not going well, though.

I was somewhat stymied by the critiques I received back in January and February. I couldn’t figure out how to use the feedback to revise my novel. I had thought a couple of months would be long enough for me to figure out a game plan, but, because I had already started on my journey to autism diagnosis, I was thinking about other things.

I had intended to rewrite/revise between 500 and 1,000 words a day on weekdays and a chapter each day on weekends, and thus be finished my next draft sometime in the summer. At that point, I had hoped to move onto Marushka and prepare that draft, on which I’d also received feedback, for next round revisions in November.

I wrote a new opening chapter and revised from there, dividing chapters into smaller chunks. I was still writing in close third (or trying for it). I revised 28,202 words up to about the middle of July, when I hit the point where my protagonist enters another of the many worlds and is trapped inside her other self.

The challenges of having two people in the same physical body and trying to make then both distinct and identifiable in terms of formatting (italics for one, ? for the other?) made it clear that I had to rewrite the draft in first person. Past or present, though? I opted for present despite my failure to nail the POV on an earlier draft. There would still be some difficulties making the story dynamic enough for first person present (my protagonist is disembodied for three quarters of the novel and thus, largely “in her head”), but I decided that it would be the best fit and returned to the beginning.

From the middle of July through to the end of November, I revised 62,996 words, but some of that was reworking my novel map (chapter and scene breakdown), which I counted only in November. I got to the midpoint … and then decided, as I mentioned above, to take a break.

Since, I’ve been rereading the revised draft to date, making a few more additions and deletions, and thinking of a better way to weave in some of the minor characters throughout the novel so they don’t feel like wasted opportunities.

I’ve even been using tarot to help free my intuitive writer. It’s working out surprisingly well.

About the same time I made my fateful POV decision in July, I realized that if I wanted to work on any other big project this year, it would not be Marushka. But, as it turned out, I haven’t had the spoons to finish my work on RB, let alone start on a new novel …

In November, I made the decision to leave DIY MFA as a regular columnist. I’m trying to conserve my energy for what matters most.

I’m going to have to review my other commitments as well.

I haven’t been active in my critique group since summer. I need to reconnect, but I’m struggling.

Onto the statistics!

In terms of word count, I wrote:

  • 10 poems,
  • 4,146 words of short fiction,
  • 58,061 words on Writerly Goodness,
  • 5,623 words on my Speculations column, and
  • 360 words on a side project.

That’s 68,190 words and 10 poems.

I revised:

  • 92,048 words on RB (some several times), and
  • 12,023 words of short fiction.

That’s 104,071 words revised.

Some of these goals I didn’t assign numbers to at the beginning of the year. I didn’t know how much I would write or revise on some projects and so just left them blank in terms of goals. The poetry and short fiction (writing and revision) were in this category and so any work done on those projects was bonus.

If you want to zoom in on the relative percentages of the writing and revision goals I did set out for myself, you’re welcome to do so 🙂

There was also the work on my Ascension series masterdoc (like that term so much better than bible) that I didn’t track in terms of word count. Throughout the year, I wrote out and revised the worldbuiding for my world (cosmology, history, peoples, languages, etc.) and character sketches, and I restructured the first book of the series in outline. I’ve had to work out the calendar of events for the last bit of book one. I had a lot of questions marks on my timeline. I’m working it out.

Eventually, I’ll expand the outlines/maps for each book in the series with scenes and sequels as I rewrite.

Looking forward

I’m going to try to finish my rewrite of RB this year. I’m not setting any hard and fast goals, but I’m hoping to do that by the end of June.

I might decide to work with a book coach or editor at that time. So, I’ll probably spend some time in the spring making initial enquiries.

Then, I’ll probably do with the summer what I did with January to March of last year and focus on short fiction and poetry as a break from novelling. I’ll also use that time to revisit my next novel project (partly written as a very long short story) and prepare to begin drafting in the fall.

I have most of my drafted novels included in my 2022 writing and revision tracker, but I’m not committing to them in any way. They’re just there to remind me that I have a lot of things I can work on, if I so choose.

Filling the well

In December, I didn’t attend any literary events live online. I did sign up for a Tiffany Yates-Martin webinar through Jane Friedman, but I watched the replay, ‘cause work.

My small family (me and Phil, his sister and spouse, our moms) got together to celebrate my mom-in-law’s 80th birthday and then again on Boxing Day for Christmas (it was supposed to be Christmas Day, but freezing rain changed our plans).

And aside from therapy, a support group meeting, massage, and a couple of days of leave, that was it for filling the well in December.

For the first year in … forever, I put up the Christmas tree.

The personal year in review

I started 2021 at a low point, feeling like an imposter at both work and creative pursuits. I was also feeling stuck physically, having slowly yo-yo’ed between 170 and 200 pounds since my early 20s.

It being a pandemic and all, I decided that, instead of going it alone, as was my habit, I’d ask for help.

For mental health support, I reached out to my employer’s EAP. For physical health support, I turned to Noom. By May 10th, I’d been diagnosed as autistic, a timeline that I’ve since come to understand is amazingly quick. By the end of July, I cancelled my Noom account, having surpassed my goal of 170 pounds and achieved 150. I continued to lose weight through August, finally settling at 140 pounds, which I’ve since maintained (even during the holidays!).

It’s the lightest I’ve been in my adult life and I’m feeling physically healthy.

In November, I finally connected with a therapist through the Redpath Centre, which specializes in support for autistics. When I met with her for the first time, my therapist referred me to a support group.

I’m currently working toward getting a workplace accommodation, having experienced autistic burnout as the result of a very stressful acting position and project. I struggled again in December because of a similar situation and I’m trying to find a way to manage my stress levels on an ongoing basis, so I don’t need to take additional time off to recover my head.

It’s been a transformative year with regard to my physical and mental health, and I’m ready to shift my focus back to creative pursuits.

What I’m watching and reading

In December, I watched three movies and finished watching three series. That seems nice and symmetrical, to me 😉

First, I watched Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I loved it. Yes, it wasn’t really Shang Chi’s story, and there were a few things that stretched credibility, but I really appreciated the homage to Jackie Chan’s movies (many of which I’ve watched over the years) and fighting style. They even had choreographers from Jackie Chan’s team working on the movie. Wong and Morris rock.

Then, I caught John Wick 3: Parabellum. It filled in the series for me. What can I say? Over the top violence is something I enjoy? In the right circumstances, I guess. Didn’t appreciate the uncharacteristic twist that was JW’s dark moment, but the movie made up for it in the end.

Phil and I watched The Suicide Squad on New Years Eve. So much better than the first movie. Harley Quinn is the best character in the DCEU.

I finished watching the final season of Dear White People. Not sure if I liked the framing device (telling the season from the perspective of the characters in the future) or the whole season being focused on the musical review in their last year as Winchester. It was okay. They tied up all the critical stories in the end.

Watched the latest Dr. Who series, said to be Jodie Whittaker’s last. It was a bit confusing at first, but after a couple of episodes, everything came together. I also was the New Year’s special, thinking that it might offer up a clue to the next regeneration. It didn’t. I can’t not love Jodie Who. I’ll be sad to see her leave.

Finally, Phil and I watched the first season of The Wheel of Time. Neither of us have read the books. I really liked it. More than Phil did, I think. He was put off by all the comparisons to Game of Thrones. WoT is its own thing. I appreciated it as such.

Reading-wise, I only finished reading three books in December.

I read Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I (yes, the book that was the basis for the first season of the Bridgerton series). I’ve read romance in the past, but my preference runs to Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, whose books would probably be classified as “bodice rippers.” The book does treat Daphne’s technical rape of Simon more tactfully, but the story itself was less compelling.

Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson have written several novellas in the Skyward Flight series to bridge the gap between books two and three of the series. I read the first of those, Sunreach, which focuses on the secondary character of FM, the rescue of Minister Kuna, and how the rest of the flight back at Detritus deals with the discovery that Spensa’s pet Doomslug, a Taynix, is a cytonic creature capable of powering a hyperdrive. I really liked it and am now on the second novella, Redawn.

I finished off the year with Sarah Hollowell’s A Dark and Starless Forest. It’s a dark book, and thus was a little challenging to get through. It focuses on a remote house in which abandoned child “alchemists” live under the dubious protection of Frank. It’s clear the young alchemists, including Derry, the protagonist, live in fear of Frank, and it soon becomes clear why. But as Derry’s sisters disappear, one by one, she has to find a way to solve the mystery without arousing Frank’s wrath. Despite its darkness, I really liked the book.

Because of general busy-ness and distraction, I only read 55 books of my 65-book goal in 2021.

I’ve reduced this year’s goal to 60 and hope to attain it, but that will depend, in part, on work.

And that was the month (and year!) in this writer’s life.

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

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Dec 19-25, 2021

It’s New Year’s Eve eve! Get your mental corn popping for the last time in 2021.

Joshua Adams: Martin Luther King Jr. did not dream about banning critical race theory. Color Lines

Alexander Quon: Ottawa announces $700K in funding to support Cowessess First Nation’s efforts at former residential school site. CBC

Aliyah Chavez: solstice is a time to reflect and replenish. While solstice was last Tuesday, I think the whole holiday season shares this theme. Indian Country Today

Britt Julious wonders, who are Christmas movies for? On diversity and gender equity in romantic holiday movies. Harper’s Bazaar

Do CIS boys just wanna have fun, too? Gender policing. Khadija Mbowe

Kim Fahner shares her experience with breakthrough covid on Morning North. And here’s the print version. She’s not brave and strong because she shared her story. She shared her story because she’s brave and strong. CBC

Monica Kidd reveals that the fear of losing freedom common thread behind vaccine hesitancy, according to cross-cultural survey. Healthy Debate

Krissy Holmes and Ramraajh Sharvendiran cover barriers to physician recruitment and employment in Newfoundland. CBC

Why do we dream? It’s okay to be smart

Guy Kawasaki interviews Catherine Price: author, speaker, and creator. The Remarkable People podcast

Christin Bohnke: the disappearance of Japan’s third gender. JSTOR Daily

Diana talks to Katie Mack about our expanding universe. Physics Girl

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the James Webb Space Telescope. Star Talk

Watch the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (Christmas Day!). NASA Space Flight

Thanks for visiting. I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

I should be posting my December update and 2021 year in review post on the weekend.

Until then be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 19-25, 2021

Ack! It’s the last tipsday of 2021! Where did the year go?

E.J. Wenstrom suggests three author platform resolutions for 2022. Then, Sara Farmer shares her favorite children’s mysteries (so far). J.L. Torres offers a masterclass in short fiction, voice, and opening lines. Then, Carol Van Den Hende considers five 2021 book cover trends. DIY MFA

Tim Hickson shares the seven stories that changed his life. Hello, Future Me

Lisa Norman lists nine keys to being media ready. Then, Ellen Buikema explains how to use sound to make your writing memorable. Writers in the Storm

Tom Scott walked into a bar … and then I threw him out a window. Jill Bearup

Vaughn Roycroft: joy to the (writerly) world! Then, Kelsey Allagood says, keep making art, even if the world is ending. Kasey LeBlanc explains how not to miss the forest for the trees: appreciating the long and winding writing road (and its many detours, pitfalls, and stumbles). Then, Erika Liodice shares the 3-2-1 rule for protecting your work in progress. Natalie Hart recommends you give the gift of a good book gush. Writer Unboxed

Dynamic vs. static characters, and why you need both. Reedsy

Susan DeFreitas wonders, what makes a story feel like a story? Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the vague writing of The Remnant Chronicles. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five movies that audiences loved but critics hated. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig offers his thoughts on The Matrix: Resurrections, or the conversations art has with itself. Terribleminds

Santa’s cruel fairy tale cousin, the demon of frost. Tale Foundry

Nina Munteanu explains why you should keep a journal.

Hua Hsu considers the revolutionary writing of bell hooks. The New Yorker

Emma Cline unpacks Joan Didion’s specific vision. The New Yorker

Toniann Fernandez: Jeremy O. Harris and Samuel Delaney in conversation. The Paris Review

Beginnings at the End of Love: Rebecca West’s Extraordinary Love Letter to H.G. Wells in the Wake of Heartbreak. The Marginalian

Julia Métraux wonders if Trinity’s the real hero of The Matrix. JSTOR Daily

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!