Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 26-Aug 1, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. This is not a political statement. It’s a fundamental truth.

22 new confirmed cases of covid-19 have occurred in Sudbury over the last week or so, most of them in people under 30. Just because we’ve entered phase 3 of reopening doesn’t mean we’re back to normal. Wear your masks people. Maintain physical distance.

And now, onto the informal writerly learnings!

The Take traces the development of the interracial relationship onscreen.

K.M. Weiland shares seven misconceptions about being a writer. Helping Writers Become Authors

Bonnie Randall explains how to weave setting into a deep point of view. Later in the week, Bethany Henry shares seven ways to deal with burnout. Fiction University

Sacha Black: what “read more to improve your writing” really means. Writers Helping Writers

Abigail K. Perry offers another Story Grid scene analysis: Something Borrowed. Later in the week, Indiana Lee shares five ways to protect your privacy while promoting your writing online. DIY MFA

Shaelin offers some tips about working with critique partners. Reedsy

Then, she helps you deal with rejection. Key takeaway: NEVER give up. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford shares his thoughts on how to spice up relationships in novels.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell reveals the most important reader question. Then, Kris Maze lists five steps to better writer self-care. Writers in the Storm

Jael R. Bakari visits Jami Gold’s blog to discuss writing process: developing a coherent story.

Aiki Flinthart is creating unique voices for multiple point of view characters—and how to show their emotions. Lisa Hall-Wilson

The universal beauty of LGBT+ love stories. Like Stories of Old

Kim Bullock wants you to use uncertainty to enhance your story. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle helps you create a magical atmosphere with this description makeover. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers five cool storylines that went nowhere.  Mythcreants

John Foxwell explains why many writers say they can hear the voices of their characters. The Conversation

Matt Blake lists the greatest literary groups in history. Penguin

Thanks for visiting. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress (whatever state it’s in).

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

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 19-25, 2020

And here we are, at the end of July. You’ve survived another month of #pandemiclife. I hope you’ve found some way to come to terms with our ever-evolving new normal.

It’s time to reward yourself and get your mental corn popping!

Robert Evans: what you need to know about the Battle of Portland. Bellingcat

Uncomfortable conversations with a Black man. White parents raising Black and bi-racial kids. Just do yourself a favour: watch all six episodes and then subscribe. Emmanuel Acho

Channon Hodge and Tawanda Scott Sambou: these Black female soldiers brought order to chaos and struck a blow against inequality. CNN

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responds to Rep Ted Yoho (in defense of women, everywhere). Systemic misogyny enables systemic racism.


Kaleigh Rogers explains how to make indoor air safer. FiveThirtyEight

A Dublin doctor effectively (and simply) debunks the idea that a face mask (or several) lowers oxygen levels or negatively affects the ability to breathe. Eyewitness News

Zoria Gorvett: the people with hidden immunity to covid-19. BBC

Maggie Koerth says, every decision is a risk and every risk is a decision. FiveThirtyEight

Carly Silver: before vaccines, variolation was seriously trendy. It’s okay. I had to look it up, too 😉 JSTOR Daily


Eugene S. Robinson wonders, what do killer robots dream of? Ozy

Mars in 4K. Elder Fox Documentaries

Sean Fleming: this is now the world’s greatest threat—and it’s not coronavirus. The World Economic Forum

Matt Simon considers the terrible consequences of Australia’s uber-bushfires. Wired

Christina Larson reveals that the mating call of the Ecuadorian hummingbird is ultrasonic. AP News

Andy Boyce and Andrew Dreelin: ecologists dig prairie dogs, and why you should, too. The Smithsonian Magazine

Thanks for visiting. I hope you took away something to inspire your next creative project.

This weekend, I’ll be tackling my next chapter update for July. I may not get it out on time, though, because I have an exam due on Sunday (more on that in the update).

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 19-25, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

The biggest covid concern of the moment is school reopening. I really think that they need to stay virtual and that employers and the government need to collaborate to support parents who need to stay home for their school-aged children. The economy is still in bad shape and will continue to be for some time. There are signs of recovery, though. Getting kids back to school and risking them and their teachers and everyone they might come into contact with is not the answer.

Yes, virtual learning is hard. Yes, all learners will not excel in a virtual environment. Yes, it requires more of students and parents. And yes, I do not have kids, nor am I an elementary or high school teacher, but some of my best friends are teachers and I’m listening to their concerns. As the old saw goes, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Covid is not going away tomorrow.

On that cheerful note, please fortify yourself for another week of #pandemiclife with these informal writerly learnings.

Jan O’Hara shares a plotstorming technique. Then, Barbara O’Neal explains how to write during a pandemic even if it feels like you can’t. Later in the week, Heather Webb says, writers, pay yourself first. Keith Cronin has a great writing craft recommendation: the guy who wrote Fight Club just kicked my ass. Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes offers an introduction to Afrofuturism. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland offers four questions that will help you avoid plot holes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenna Moreci offers her top tips for self-editing.

Angela Ackerman suggests a secret weapon for characterization: the character’s job. Then, Ellen Buikema is creating memorable animal characters. Writers in the Storm

Chrys Fey explains how to create a free book trailer using Adobe Spark. Fiction University

Ginnye Lynn Cubel shares five tips for a mindful writing practice. DIY MFA

Bunny lists seven reasons storytellers should consume bad stories. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines six sexist themes from the early Wheel of Time books. Mythcreants

Paul Graham explains how to do what you love. Very though-provoking essay.

The Irish language and beauty. Dónall Ó Héalaí | TEDxBerkeley

Joi-Marie Mckenzie lists the 50 most influential books by Black authors in the past 50 years. Essence

Cinema’s racist history. The Take

Amy Sackville: I am not reading. I am not writing. This is not normal. The Guardian

Nathan J. Robinson parses the issue of J.K. Rowling and the limits of imagination. Again, this article discusses TERF-dom. Please avoid if you are triggered by that material, but it is a very considered and thoughtful take. Current Affairs

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 12-18, 2020

Happy Friday eve! Without further delay, it’s time to get your mental corn popping 🙂

An example of how white supremacy privileges things over humans. Black Lives Matter Toronto holds a press conference after three protestors are arrested for “defacing” statues. Don’t even look at the comments on this one if you’re not prepared to be triggered. CTV

Mary Hynes interviews Ijeoma Oluo on Tapestry. CBC

Ashawnta Jackson explains what the first Black-owned bookstore had to do with the underground railroad. JSTOR Daily

Sarah Gilbert: civil rights activist and politician, John Lewis—a life in pictures. The Guardian

Sonia Saraiya interviews Viola Davis: my entire life has been a protest. Vanity Fair

Paul McGuinness reveals the power of protest songs. uDiscover Music


Amy Greer, Nisha Thampi and Ashleigh Tuite: we can get children back to school full time, if we put the right strategy in place. The problem is, no one can agree on what that strategy is … The Globe and Mail

North Bay OPP charge Florida couple with failing to self-isolate. CBC

What happened when we all stopped, narrated by Jane Goodall. TED.Ed


Adam Mann: the universe’s clock might have bigger ticks than we imagine. Scientific American

Mary Robinette Kowal does a dramatic reading of her “peeing in space” Twitter thread for Uncanny Magazine. It is hilarious.

David Szondy: 75 years ago, the Trinity atomic bomb test changed the world forever. New Atlas

Mark Wilson says knock codes were supposed to be more secure than passwords or PINs, but they’re surprisingly easy to hack. Fast Company

Catie Keck shares everything we know about the 2020 Twitter hack (so far). Gizmodo

Nathanael Johnson: the population bomb didn’t detonate, but it turns out there’s a new problem. Grist

Feargus O’Sullivan goes behind the accidentally resilient design of Athens apartments. CityLab

Sophia Smith Galer reveals the accidental invention of the Illuminati conspiracy. BBC

SciShow busts the “alpha dog” theory.

Jimmy Thomson says, one solution to the world’s climate woes is Canada’s natural landscapes. The Narwhal

Alexandra Witze: how humans are altering the tides of the oceans. BBC

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 12-18, 2020

Black Lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I believe this more than ever. I’m not going to stop putting this important message out there until it’s true.

Regardless of whether your area of the world has never closed, is reopening, or is still under some degree of lockdown, please, for the love of all you hold dear, wear a mask.

As for schools, I sincerely believe the safest way forward is to keep all classes virtual. I know this isn’t a popular stance, but we know how quickly a common cold, or the flu proliferates in a classroom. And this is covid. We still don’t know the long-term effects of this virus.

I also know that virtual learning presents its own challenges. This will require a sea change for parents, teachers, schoolboards, employers, and governments and I think leaving these important discussions to this late date was naïve on the part of many. Ignoring the issue is not going to make it go away.

Having said that, Sudbury hasn’t had any new cases reported since about June 22 or so. We’ve only had 67 conformed cases and two deaths. It might be more reasonable to consider modified, in-person classes here, but I’d like to wait on the possible impact of phase three of reopening before we go there. Those numbers have yet to be publicized.

Now, onto the informal writerly learnings!

Kris Maze shares seven unstoppable YA plot ideas to make your novel fabulous. Barbara Linn Probst is editing for theme: search and employ. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth A. Harvey explores a writer’s sense of place: where I ought to be. Jim Dempsey is writing and napping. Sophie Masson shares what she’s learned about presenting online workshops. Then, Juliet Marillier tells a tale about finding resilience: a dog story. Writer Unboxed

Gender and Jurassic Park. Cold Crash Pictures

Janice Hardy explains some story rulez: the two things every novel needs to do. Later in the week, Angela Ackerman stopps by: how emotional wounds can steer a character’s job choice. Fiction University

The female friendship revolution. The Take

Peter von Stackelberg shares an intuitive four-step process for creating vibrant scene structure. Helping Writers Become Authors

Andrew Noakes offers six principles for writing historical fiction. Jane Friedman

Lindsay Ellis looks at Tolkien’s constructed languages. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Leanne Sowul wants you to commit to self-education about racism and anti-racism. And here’s my latest Speculations: ten Black science fiction and fantasy authors to read now. Then, Gabriela interviews Django Wexler: using fantasy to “literalize” the metaphor. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle explains why storytellers fail at grimdark and how to fix it. Then Bunny and Oren Ashkenazi team up: five reasons your story shouldn’t deny that it’s a story. Mythcreants

Deborah Ahenkora is slaying the dragons of hate with words. CBC Books

Aya de Léon: crime fiction is complicit in police violence, but it’s not too late to change. Electric Literature

Jeana Jorgensen describes what happens when fairyland is not for you: on escapism, fantasy, and survival. The Wrangler

Paula Findlen explores Petrarch’s plague: love, death, and friendship in a time of pandemic. The Public Domain Review

Thanks for visiting, and I hope that you found something to support your current work in progress (whatever stage it’s in).

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

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 5-11, 2020

It’s time to get your mental corn popping (and celebrate the coming weekend)!

Guy Kawasaki interviews Jamia Wilson for his Remarkable People podcast.

Phillip Morris asks, as monuments fall, how does the world deal with its racist past? National Geographic

Bryan Bender, Daniel Lippman, and Sarah Cammarata interview the descendants of Confederate generals who say they’d be happy to see their names go. Politico

Emilia Petrarea reports on solidarity at sea. Surfing protest for Black Lives Matter. The Cut

Carly Silver exposes the racist history behind the Victorian tea “infomercial.” JSTOR Daily


Ian Sample warns of serious brain disorders in people with mild coronavirus symptoms. The Guardian

R.M. Vaughan: how do we get back to work when the trauma of covid-19 persists? “Nobody cares about your neuroses as long as you’re productive. Never mind that 24/7 productivity is what got us here in the first place. You don’t have time to grieve whomever you lost – get back to work. And keep fronting positivity, fronting wellness, fronting that you’re fine, because that’s now part of your job.” The Globe and Mail

Sweden literally gained nothing from staying open during covid-19. The Week


Sarah Caplan explains how America’s hottest city will survive climate change. The Washington Post

SciShow considers the weird world of the Hang Sơn Đoòng caves.

Kellie Doherty suggests some house spirits to keep you company during #pandemiclife. Fantasy Faction

Giovanna Dell’Orto: migrant teens need school, but around the world they face pressure not to go. National Geographic

Matt Reynolds explains how to hack your brain into remembering almost anything. Wired

Physics Girl conducts some fun home science experiments.

Catie Leary show us how the golden ratio manifests in nature. TreeHugger

Dance United Yorkshire – open your eyes.

The Pentatonix – when the party’s over.

Thanks for visiting. 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.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 5-11, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

We may be reopening, but for the love of all that’s holy, please wear a mask when you go out in public/to a business/outside your social bubble. Maintain social distancing, even if you think it’s stupid/ridiculous. Parents, pester your schoolboards, provincial, and federal politicians for a proper plan for the return to school. All we need is to have a class, or—heaven forefend—an entire school, of children and their teachers infected with covid-19.

We still don’t know the long-term effects of this damn virus, though serious neurological and cardio-pulmonary involvements have already been seen, even in asymptomatic patients. People who have had covid once, have been infected again, months later, and a few have even been symptomatic for months.

Despite the need to recover economically, we need to protect our communities while doing so. It’s a tricky balance to strike and we have to do this right.

On that cheery thought, please enjoy these informal writerly learnings 😀

Concepción de León, Alexandra Alter, Elizabeth A. Harris and Joumana Khatib interview Black publishing professionals: a conflicted cultural force. The New York Times

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how to weave in backstory without stalling your story. Then Nancy Johnson interviews Laura Rossi about publishing in a pandemic from a book publicist’s perspective. Melanie Conklin wonders, what about book two? Kathryn Craft is helping you identify and craft your inciting incident. Finally, David Corbett gets into more of his covid dreams and the lessons he’s learning from them: a visitor and a sin. Writer Unboxed

12 tips for new short story writers. Shaelin Writes

K.M. Weiland: how to get things done as a writer, or how this INTJ leverages her te. Helping Writers Become Authors

Orly Konig lists three reasons you should quit writing. Fiction University

Nathan Bransford says, even minor characters have needs and desires.

Sara Letourneau explains how to create discussion questions using your book’s themes. DIY MFA

The Take considers the controversial history of the hero cop trope.

John Peragine touts the importance of the triple edit. Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold suggests you get organized, for the sake of your creativity and your career.

Shonna Slayton recommends you improve your fiction by studying the Brothers Grimm. Writers Helping Writers

Nam Kiwanuka interviews Amanda Leduc about ableism and disability in fairy tales. TVO

Chris Winkle lists seven common reasons protagonists are unlikable. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Frank Herbert sabotaged his own ideas. Mythcreants

Jen Sookfong Lee: what Anne of Green Gables taught me about grief. The Walrus

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you’ve taken away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 28-July 4, 2020

Welcome to thoughty Thursday! You know what that means, tomorrow is Friday. You’ve almost made it through another week. It’s time to get your mental corn popping!

Dionne Brand considers narrative, reckoning, and the calculus of living and dying. The Toronto Star

James Hopkin: court rules in favour of Robinson Huron Treaty beneficiaries. Soo Today

Mahdere Yared talks about the long-term effects of racism. TEDxPineCrestSchool

Claire Lampen: cops in riot gear stormed the violin vigil for Elijah McClain. The Cut

Priya Satia explains what’s really Orwellian about our global Black Lives Matter moment. Slate

Chi Luu highlights the sorry state of apologies. JSTOR Daily

Denise Oliver Velez connects the dots between Mount Rushmore, the KKK, and sanitized American history. Because a certain person held a rally there and tried to call BLM a racist attack on … I can’t even finish that sentence. From 2015. NONE OF THIS IS NEW. Daily KOS


SciShow Space news: black hole mergers and a possible gas giant core

Nadia Drake: mysterious cosmic object consumed by black hole baffles astronomers. National Geographic

Dr. Emily Zarka studies the bunyip. Monstrum

Thanks for visiting, and I hop that you found something to inspire your next creative project.

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 28-July 4, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Because the only restaurant service other than take out currently allowed in our city is on a patio, local restaurants have been erecting patios all over the place, even getting exemptions from the municipal by-laws to create patio spaces on sidewalks. The complication, of course, is that people with disabilities, of which there are many living in the downtown core where most of these patios are popping up, are now having to use the street and risk what traffic there is, to move from place to place.

Yes, our economy needs to recover, but not at cost to the disadvantaged members of our community.

We have to commit to using the disruption of covid-19 to recover in a sustainable and respectful way. This is our chance to change our society for the better.

Thanks for your attention. Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week.

The Take takes on the white savior trope.

Natalie Hart is gaining wisdom and whimsy from the natural world. Donald Maass: we are unsafe. Then, Bryn Greenwood is on the way to Jerusalem (not quite what you think). Barbara Linn Probst clarifies that it’s not write what you know, but write from what you know: cooking life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland examines the three stages of a writer’s life and how your age affects your writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenn Walton wants you to write outside your comfort zone. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood wonders, is this a YA thing? On pay rates, racism, and toxicity in publishing. DIY MFA

Elizabeth Hartl shares some tips for overcoming imposter syndrome. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci returns with ten more tips for evoking emotion in your writing.

Jami Gold provides five ways to climb the learning curve.

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the terrible writing of Eragon’s sequel. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that killed the wrong character. Mythcreants

Writing the morally ambiguous character. Shaelin Writes

Anthony R. Cardno interviews Nisi Shawl for Pride Month.

20 Canadian books for kids and teens to read for National Indigenous History Month. CBC Books

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 21-27, 2020

Welcome to Thursday! You know what that means; it’s time to get your mental corn popping.

Tanya Talaga: there have always been two Canadas. In this reckoning on racism, both must stand together for Indigenous people now. The Globe and Mail

Cammy D shares his experience as a Black youth in Canada.

Hop Hopkins: racism is killing the planet. Sierra Club

Brene Brown talks to Ibram X. Kendi about how to be an antiracist.

Catherine Halley compiles a syllabus on institutionalized racism. JSTOR Daily

Greta Heggeness announces that you can now virtually visit the nation’s civil rights landmarks. PureWow

Brenna Ehrlich recounts the windy history of Penny Lane: the Beatles, the slave trade, and a now-resolved controversy. Rolling Stone

The Chicks—March March

The JSTOR Daily editors list 15 Black women who should be (more) famous.


Evan Ratliff: we can protect the economy from pandemics. Why didn’t we? Wired

Jessica Stewart: NASA releases stunning, high-res photos of Jupiter’s swirling atmosphere. My Modern Met

SciShow Space news: our galaxy could be full of exoplanets with oceans and Pluto’s surprising history.

Stacey Leasca: the lost continent of Zealandia disappeared millions of years ago, but these new maps show it in stunning detail. Travel + Leisure

True facts about the (very super clever) macaque. Ze Frank

Thanks for the visit. I hope you found something to inspire your next creative project.

I’ll be putting my next chapter update for June up this weekend. Until then, be well and stay safe!

ThoughtyThursday2019