Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz June 1-7, 2014

Here’s the loot from the last week.

Ellen’s 12 rules for novelists from the Girlfriends Book Club.

How to make the most of your writing time from Aliventures.

The right way to layer desire in your story from MJ Bush of Writingeekery.

Vaughn Roycroft wrote a wonderful post on death and the writer for Writer Unboxed.

Roz Morris answers the question, “How do you keep motivated when your books aren’t selling well?

K.M. Weiland takes a break from character arcs and returns to her most common mistakes series with this post and podcast about describing character movements.

TED talk on how Sting got his groove back. It’s all about storytelling.


Further insight from Carly Watters on why your query and/or sample pages aren’t generating interest.

A Rewording Life. A worthy, and wordy, project from Sheryl Gordon, in honour of her mother, and all those who have lost their words to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Famous authors and their favourite writing tools, a fun infographic from Bookbaby.

Clarkesworld Magazine interviews Chuck Wendig.

And for more Wendig-ishness, here’s the SFsignal podcast with Chuck and Gail Carriger.

Interesting news: Oryx and Crake series in development.

It’s all Writerly Goodness 🙂




One of the comments I received on my monthly writing update, The Next Chapter, has prompted me to write this post.

The comment was:

I’m learning a lesson from this, have seen it happen to many others, how the blogging/social media/screen time eats up the creative writing time. Writing must come first, thanks for this warning.

I’m glad when anyone takes anything useful away from my blog and so in one sense, this is great.


That’s not what I intended in writing the post. At all.

I had to go back and check. Was I inadvertently whiny? I strive for a factual reporting. Things are always open to interpretation, but I don’t think I was complaining about anything.

It’s true, every one of my 7503 “new” words I counted last month was written on this blog, but that wasn’t all the writing I did.

I edited a short story for publication, which ended up reducing the number of words in the story, so I couldn’t properly count those. I went through Initiate of Stone and made notes for my next revision, fairly extensive notes, as they involved the elimination of a character from the story. I have flags, and notes in different colours of ink in the ms, and pages of handwritten notes, which I inserted into the binder after.

I did a reverse structural analysis of IoS as well, also by hand, and I had to go through about three attempts before I actually had something that both satisfied me and made sense.

Though I wasn’t successful, I attempted to write a piece of creative non-fiction. This was done by hand, and I’ve decided not to count those words, because, frankly, it’s a pain to keep track of anything I don’t write on a computer.

So it was a productive month, it just wasn’t productive in the usual way.

Plus, I wrote about A Rewording Life, a wonderful project I have been privileged to become involved in, and my opportunity to review an ARC for K.M. Weiland. I forgot to mention my continuing involvement in @M2the5th’s monthly Twitter chats with Roz Morris focusing on her Nail Your Novel books.

When I’m not at my day job, I’m writing, or thinking about writing, or learning about writing. It’s the way I roll.

Since I began these monthly updates, the preponderance of words has always been on the blog.

And I don’t begrudge a single one.

Back in February, I attended WANAcon, and one of the sessions that has stayed with me was Kristen Lamb’s Blogging for Authors. In that session, she said that blogging teaches discipline. It teaches the writer to produce quality content on a schedule. It teaches you to ship.

I don’t begrudge the time I spend on social media either.

I read articles by fabulous writers every day and share and curate what I think are the best of the best. I’m not telling people about the last meal I ate, or playing endless games. I use SoMe with purpose, and I’m happy to say I have developed some legitimate relationships with some truly talented authors.

My SoMe activity is as much about my development as a writer as attending conferences and workshops, reading writing craft books, and, yes, writing.

I’m addicted to learning and SoMe is just one manifestation of that.

I don’t want this post to sound defensive, but sometimes, I assume things when I blog (and you know what happens then). I just want to be clear, and completely factual about why I do what I do.

Nor am I saying that everyone has to do what I’ve chosen to do. SoMe is not for everyone. Blogging is not for everyone. We all find our own ways to get the words on the page. It’s just been something I’ve taken to. And it works. For me.

My commenter took my post as a warning, and maybe that’s what she needed. While I’m happy my post spoke to her, I’m also a little sad that the rest of my message was not received.

The rest of my message?

I’m doing well, and, yes, I’m writing. Writing is a lifestyle for me. It’s a spiritual practice. It’s a kind of therapy. Everything I do, even my day job, funnels into my writing. The word count is only the tip of the iceberg. That’s why I write a post to go with it, to share all the writerly goodness of the past month.

Thank you to all of my readers and commenters. YOU. ARE. ALL. FABULOUS!

Be well.

The next chapter: May 2014 update

This is going to be a short update.

May's Word Count

All of the new words I produced this month were from blogging (7503), even though I didn’t blog for a whole week because of chaos. It was good chaos, but nonetheless.

I worked on revisions for the short story I submitted to Bastion Science Fiction Magazine, “The Broken Places,” at the beginning of the month, but that was actually trimming and, just for sanity’s sake, I’m not counting negative words.

By the way, the story is now in the June issue, available online here: Bastion Science Fiction Magazine. You can also get a single issue through Amazon, a subscription through Weightless Books, or just donate to a cool publication.

*Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.* Bastion is also a great place to submit if you’re into that speculative fiction stuff 🙂

Needless to say, there is much happy dancing on Marttila Drive.

The biggest part of the non-blogging writing work I did was on Initiate of Stone. I executed my plan of going through and eliminating the one character, giving all her important bits and pieces to other characters, and making notes for the revisions. I also went through my novel in reverse order, using Victoria Mixon’s holographic structure.

This is a technique she recommends in her Art and Craft of Story, and after Roz Morris posted that she’s had to draft her scenes out of order for her latest WIP, Ever Rest, even working backwards, I had to give it a try.

It’s a very interesting technique, and allows you to make sure that plot events and foreshadowing are in their proper places. It’s great for consistency too. I caught a few things that I hadn’t taken into account writing forward.

In other news, my adjustable desk is working out great. If you haven’t been following, the arrival of the desk and the necessity of reorganizing my office to suit it was one of the reasons for my blogging vacation. I can stand for an hour and a bit before I have to sit down for a rest. I’m training myself up.

I’ve also purchase a summer membership for the yoga studio I’ve joined, and I’m hoping that the desk and the yoga will help me stave off future back issues.

Totally unrelated to writing, Phil and I had to purchase a new clothes washer this past week. Our’s was pooched. While at the store, Phil decided he also wanted an upright freezer. He was getting tired of losing stuff at the bottom of the chest freezer we had.

So that’s a chunk of change down the drain.

I tried to write a couple of non-speculative pieces this month, and my interest just wasn’t there. I had ideas, certainly, but the one contest required me to write from a prompt, which I’m not overly keen on. I couldn’t find one that really helped me get anywhere. The other would have been a non-fiction piece, or perhaps creative non-fiction, but again, the idea just couldn’t sustain me.

Sad but true. I guess I’m way beyond the SF/F pale. There are worse places to be. Trust me 🙂

Two opportunities came my way this month that I have to share.

The first kind of blew me away. K.M. Weiland emailed me and asked me to read and review her new book, The Writers Digest Annotated Jane Eyre. Of course I said yes! I love Jane Eyre and have read the book a couple of times. Plus, I’m really attracted to the way Katie analyzes a piece of fiction. It didn’t hurt that she said she respected my opinion (head inflating, unattractively).

So far, it’s great, and I’m learning a lot about how to read as a writer.

It’ll be out July 19th. Watch for it.

The second opportunity came in another email, this one from someone I’d recently started following on Twitter. A Rewording Life, is Sheryl Gordon’s project in honour of her mother, and all those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.

She’s recruiting logophiles and creative, wordy people of all stripes to contribute a sentence to her book. I did, and my word was psychopomp 🙂 A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Alzheimer’s research. Check out her site. Follow her on Twitter @ARewordingLife.

And here I thought this was going to be a short post 😛 I am a wordy girl!

This month, I’m moving on to work on my other two completed (more or less) drafts as I did with IoS this month. The Canadian Authors Association’s CanWrite! Conference will be June 18-22, 2014. I hope to bring back lots of Writerly Goodness from that event.

I’m going to try to get back into the fiction writing swing of things. Most of my ideas these days are trending novel length, though. Maybe I’ll just finish the draft of Gerod and the Lions before starting another new project. That sounds like a plan.

How are your projects going, my writerly friends?

The Next Chapter