Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 7-13, 2021

We’re half-way through March and heading for the vernal equinox. Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland continues her archetypal character arcs series with part five: the king arc. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy shows you five places to find your novel’s theme. Then, Janice lists four steps for choosing what details to describe in a scene. Later in the week, Angela Ackerman recommends you do this one thing to write unforgettable characters. Fiction University

Princess Weekes: Lovecraft Country … was just not that good. Melina Pendulum

Lisa Cron returns: still crazy after all these years. Then, Jim Dempsey lists five reasons you need a professional editor. Juliet Marillier celebrates wild women. The Cailleach and Baba Yaga, two of my personal favourites! Later in the week, Kathryn Craft explains how authenticity builds a satisfying author career. Then, David Corbett looks at two approaches to dramatizing character change: Emma vs. Hamlet. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin explains how to convey emotion in your writing. Shaelin Writes

Jane Friedman considers which is better for authors, blogging, or an email newsletter. Then, Lisa Cooper Ellison shares three traps that subvert our ability to receive feedback. Jane Friedman

C.S. Lakin explains how to face down writer fear. Live, Write, Thrive

The ice queen trope, explained. The Take

Kris Maze offers five dialogue quick tips for page-turning fiction. Later in the week, Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes list ten common bedroom object to use as weapons. In a pinch. Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold discusses setting as character. Later in the week, David Duhr wonders, do you focus on the doing or the having? Writing process vs. product. Writers Helping Writers

In defense of basic. What does it meme? The Take

Laura Highcove wonders, why does it feel like you can’t write after a writer’s conference? Then, Manuela Williams explains how to nurture your reader community. Later in the week, Elly Griffiths advises you to follow the feet. Then, Angyne Smith shares five things that saved her novel from oblivion. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci shares her structuring method.

Lucy V. Hay offers a comprehensive guide of ALL. THE. STORY. STRUCTURES. Informative and somewhat overwhelming. Bang 2 Write

Chris Winkle explains why you should watch out for hindrance characters. Then, Oren Ashkenazi points out five problems with focusing on internal conflicts. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb extols the art of embracing the suck: commitment matters.

Julian Lucas shows how Octavia Butler reimagines sex and survival. The New Yorker

Stephanie Burt: we live in the world of WandaVision. The New Yorker

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found resources to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 27, 2020-Jan 2, 2021

Here comes the first tipsday of the new year. Time to indulge in some informal writerly learnings.

Laura Highcove: how your writer’s intuition knows what advice works best for you. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Alexandra Monir about the dystopian superhero story. Then, Kim Lozano shares five musts for writing a compelling story beginning. DIY MFA

Princess Weekes: Wonder Woman 1984 was a bitter disappointment. Melina Pendulum

Janice Hardy offers a five-minute fix to jumpstart your scene. Fiction University

Shaelin Bishop offers her advice on how to finish your novel in 2021. Reedsy

Tasha Seegmiller delves into a writer’s authentic self. Then, Fae Rowan offers three words to help you thrive in 2021. Writers in the Storm

The Himbo trope, explained. The Take

The likeable sociopath trope, explained. The Take

Kelsey Allagood: what Gandhi taught me about telling stories that mean something. Later in the week, Jeanne Kisacky shares strategies for restarting a cold project. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin Bishop shares what she learned about writing in 2020. Shaelin Writes

Bunny lists five Arab and Muslim stereotypes to avoid. Mythcreants

All Stories Matter: The Need for Afro-Futurism | Ramatoulie Bobb | TEDxRoyalCentralSchool

Nina Munteanu is embracing the paradox of creative destruction.

Foz Meadows writes a response to Meghan Cox Grudon and the Wall Street Journal. About the classics and teaching them in a modern context. shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

The Backlisted podcast considers the influence of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising with Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, co-authors of The Lost Words and The Lost Spells.

Livia Gershon reveals sci-fi pen pals James Tiptree Jr. and Joanna Russ. JSTOR Daily

The Merril Collection, AKA the Spaced-Out Library, is 50! Toronto Public Libraries

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 9-15, 2020

Welcome to another week of informal writerly learnings.

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

Dr. Tam has stated that we should prepare for a second wave of infection in the fall and that we’ll probably be living with covid until 2022 (at least). And young people have been out partying without health precautions in the hundreds in BC.

Children and youth have been getting sick more often, and now they’ve confirmed that young people are more likely to be asymptomatic carriers. Provincially, there has been additional money given to school boards to improve HVAC systems and hire more teachers, but, you know, too little, too late. How do they expect all this work to be accomplished in two and a half weeks (and less, for some school boards)?

There are times that being right makes you sad.

I hope the following shores you up.

K.M. Weiland demonstrates four ways to write sequel scenes that grip readers. Helping Writers Become Authors

Laura Highcove helps you develop your awareness. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood discusses diversity in kidlit: better isn’t enough. Later in the week, Sara Farmer interviews Silvia Moreno-Garcia. DIY MFA

The deeper meaning of time travel stories, explained. The Take

Randy Susan Meyers says that if you’re terrified about writing your novel, that’s excellent! Then, Barbara Linn Probst wants you to begin at the beginning … or maybe not. Kathryn Craft introduces us to hook and inciting incident, the power couple of “must read now!” David Corbett explores identity, authenticity, relationships, and our characters. Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes considers what makes good queer representation in 2020. Melina Pendulum

Bi-sexuality stories on screen. The Take

Laurence MacNaughton lists six crucial character relationships. Then, Janice Hardy explains why you shouldn’t edit as you go (for the companion post, why you should, click through). Fiction University

September C. Fawkes shares six tricks to layer on stakes. Later in the week, Chrys Fey answers the question: what is writer’s burnout? Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford offers some tips for non-linear narratives.

Leigh Cheak has some Post-It note tips for plotters and pantsers. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson answers eight questions about deep point of view. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle lists five common problems with metaphors. Then Oren Ashkenazi considers six consequences of poorly thought-out magic systems. Mythcreants

Roger Kruez: what irony is not. The MIT Press Reader

Robert J. Sawyer: we’re all living in a science fiction novel now. The Toronto Star

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you take 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, July 9-15, 2017

It’s time again to pop the mental corn.

Romeo Dallaire and Alex Neve: Canada failed Omar Khadr. The Globe and Mail

Sean Kilpatrick says Indigenous youths keep taking their own lives, and we keep looking away. The Globe and Mail

Lauren Dake reports on the mass eviction of hundreds of Yakama people: the quiet homelessness crisis. The Guardian

Jamie Catto says real is the new sexy. Elephant Journal

Dan Stelter lists 26 things that people don’t know you do because of anxiety. Anxiety Support Network

Tim Hollo: Elon Musk’s big battery brings reality crashing into a post-truth world. The Guardian

David Wallace-Wells runs the gamut of apocalyptic prognostication: the uninhabitable Earth. New York Magazine

Eqbal Dauqan may be the most unstoppable scientist in the world. Michaeleen Ducleff for NPR.

Science writers share the books that inspired them. The Guardian

Marcelo Gleiser: is the universe conscious? NPR

Phil Plait shares Juno’s photos of the Great Red Spot. SyFyWire

Jacob Dubé: ravens are so smart, one hack this researcher’s experiment. Motherboard

I riden så. Myrkur.

 

More Nordic folk music on nyckelharpa from Myrkur Ǿskemorder.

 

On that lovely note—ha!—I will bid you farewell until the weekend.

Be well until then.

thoughtythursday2016

Why you should enrol in Writing the Other

Disclaimer: I’m a total newb at trying to express my thoughts and feelings on diversity and cultural appropriation. If I inadvertently write anything offensive or harmful, I invite you to let me know. But I have to start somewhere, try and fail, or I might never improve. Thank you, in advance, for your time, attention, and kind intervention (if required).

I’m not rolling up content as I have in other posts of this nature.

Out of the gate, I’ll recommend Writing the Other (WtO) to any writer concerned about writing inclusive fiction with respect and dignity accorded to characters unlike the authorial self. If you’re not concerned with these vital aspects of craft, then stop reading this post now. There’s nothing for you here.

K. Tempest Bradford and Nisi Shawl deliver an amazing and thought provoking course, the point of which is not to police creativity, but to ask authors to examine their fears, context, and assumptions, and to do their best to write inclusively. WtO will give you the tools to write characters of other ROAARS (race, sexual orientation, age, ability, religion, and sex) characteristics with integrity, and the resources to deepen your knowledge and understanding.

The point is that writing well is hard work, and writing well and respectfully of otherness takes effort and practice, like any other aspect of the craft. You have to be open, willing to learn, willing to practice, and willing to think critically about the creative choices you make in your fiction.

Those of us who come from a background of privilege (white, male, heterosexual, able-bodied, etc.) and those of use who align fairly closely with the unmarked state, still want to write inclusively. If we do so without due consideration, education, or research, we run the risk of harming the people from the same communities as the characters we write from sheer ignorance.

This can take the form of tokenism. Only have one character who is a person of colour? Why not include two, or even three, so readers can see that these characters are, first and foremost, people? Explore the experience of these characters in a fully-fleshed and respectful way. Give them voices. Compare and contrast them. Give them as much attention and thought to them as you give your main character. They may not have as big a role to play in your story, but they deserve to be real.

If your one gay character just happens to be the antagonist, you may inadvertently send the message that you think all gay people are like the antagonist. If your one trans character is the sidekick who gets killed, they become disposable, and that is another negative message you may unintentionally send.

If you have a disabled character who is “cured” by technology or magic, you effectively erase the character’s identity and struggle. If the character has to be able-bodied for the story you’re telling, then tell the story with an able-bodied character. Think about why you want to write a disabled character. If it’s to honour their struggle, then honour it. If you just think it’s cool, that may be true, but your choices may bear more thought.

Recently, in Canada, there was the “appropriation prize” debacle. [I’ve been curating articles and posts on the issues, in Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday, for the past few weeks. Peruse, if you’re so inclined.]

Last year, there was the Lionel Shriver controversy. [And yeah, I curated that one, too.]

Cultural appropriation happens when you take a story that belongs to a culture other than your own without permission and consultation (both are required) and write about it in a way that dishonours the originating culture.

This can happen in any of the arts.

The word diversity has been thrown about in publishing and writing so much in recent years that the word has almost lost its meaning. I’ve heard of speakers who have retreated from panels on literary diversity because they are often attacked or their statements taken out of context for the sake of theatrics or sensationalism.

Diversity, to me, means that people of colour, of other sexual orientations, of differing ability, age, religion, or sex, should write their own stories. And they should be welcomed into the publishing world. We need more editors, agents, and other publishing professionals who are from different backgrounds, too.

This doesn’t mean that no one should write a character that doesn’t share their background. If they do, though, they should be prepared to take the time and do the research to represent that character authentically.

For myself, I’ve decided that I won’t write a protagonist that is significantly different from me. That’s my personal choice, though. I won’t prohibit anyone else from doing that. And there are some writers who have written the other brilliantly, so I won’t say that it can’t be done. I choose not to.

But I want to write inclusively about a world that’s like the one I see every day. To do that, I have to educate myself. And WtO was a first step on that path.

As always, be well, be kind, and stay strong.

Muse-inks