Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 25-Oct 1, 2022

Welcome to October! Energize yourself for the rest of the week with some informal writerly learnings.

Tiffany Yates Martin explains why plots fail. Then, Amanda Miller shares five ways to use community marketing for your book. Jane Friedman

Jenny Hansen suggests a strength-based approach to writing. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson explains why rhetorical questions help you go deeper with emotions. Eldred Bird is writing through life’s storms. Writers in the Storm

C.S. Lakin helps you show the world through your character’s senses. Live, Write, Thrive

Angela Ackerman says, if you want lifelike characters, create a character bible. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Sauron wasn’t always evil. What happened? The Philosophy of Tolkien. Hello, Future Me

Vaughn Roycroft talks turning points. Then, Kelsey Allagood shares decision trees, angry bees, and other writer brain hacks. Julia Whelan: I’ve heard such mixed things. Jeanne Kisacky wonders who are you reading now? Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi explains how to reveal a character’s inner conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford encourages you to close off your protagonist’s easy off-ramps.

Richelle Lyn is designing a logo from scratch. Then, Melanie Bell offers five things to think about when writing a coming-of-age story. Barbara Rubin shares how she found balance between capturing joy, sorrow, humor, and rage in her writing. DIY MFA

Tiffany Yates Martin answers the question, how much should you plot your stories? Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle says storytellers must stop dehumanizing prisoners. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five overshadowed characters in popular stories. Mythcreants

How H.P. Lovecraft wrote the unimaginable. Tale Foundry

Nalo Hopkinson has won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction

Sean Wetselaar says Judy I. Lin’s recipe for success is fantasy and a cup of tea. The Walrus

Adrian Daub writes about losing oneself in the geography of fantasy worlds: here at the end of all things. Longreads

Guy Kawasaki interviews Min Kym about her book Gone: A Girl, a Violin, and a Life Unstrung. The Remarkable People Podcast

Jessica Winter explains how E. Nesbit used her grief, her politics, and her imagination to create a new kind of children’s book. The New Yorker

Check out Publishers Weekly’s annual publishing in Canada report. Interesting reading.

Thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope you took away something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Aug 7-13, 2022

Welcome to another week filled with informal writerly learnings. Enjoy them on your porch or deck with some iced tea or lemonade as you soak in the summer!

Richelle Lyn is acquiring a virtual mentor. Then, Jeanette the Writer is applying the scientific method to writing and editing. Lori Walker interviews Sarah Adlakha about time travel and alternate timelines in historical fiction. Later in the week, Dominique Richardson explores the ins and outs of writing a young adult novel. Finally, Helen Scheuerer shares five tips for writing a successful series. DIY MFA

A procrastinator’s guide to finishing things. Struthless

Sarah Callender enumerates the perks and perils of pursuing approval. Jim Dempsey: writers have a lot too think about. Kathleen McCleary: to tell the truth. Kathryn Craft wants you to fill your writing life. David Corbett wonders what your character is hiding: the power of secrets. Later in the week, Yuvi Zalkow shares the fuzzy secrets to writing a decent novel. Writer Unboxed

Is Siren Head the ultimate modern monster? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Melinda Van Lone considers fantastic fantasy and scintillating science fiction covers. Then, Sarah (Sally) Hamer wonders how many scenes does it take to tell your story? Ellen Buikema offers some important font considerations for writers. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland wonders how perfect does your structural timing need to be? Helping Writers Become Authors

Why villains love contracts. Tale Foundry

C.S. Lakin shares four steps to create perfect plot twists. Live, Write, Thrive

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how suspense and tension work together to increase story impact. Then, Sangeeta Mehta interviews agents Allison Hunter and Jennifer Weltz about how books are adapted for the screen. Jane Friedman

How mountains inspire mythology. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Marissa Graff shares three tricks to reel in your readers with flashbacks. Then, September C. Fawkes explains why a strong plot requires a significant goal. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin is having fun with query letters (no, seriously). Fox Print Editorial

Nine things to do before starting a novel. Shaelin Writes

Chris Winkle says your story needs tension, not violence. Oren Ashkenazi: Strange New Worlds reveals the danger of a theme-breaking plot. Mythcreants

The content genre: object of desire and values in story. Story Grid

Tim Hickson fixes Legend of Korra season three. Hello, Future Me

Emily Zarevich uncovers the hoax that inspired Mary Shelley. JSTOR Daily

Ada Palmer: the plotter vs. pantser divide has been exaggerated. Tor.com

Shashi Tharoor says the attack on Salman Rushdie is also an attack on freedom of expression. The Quint

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress, whatever stage it’s at.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 15-21, 2022

The penultimate tipsday of May, marked by the serenade of spring peepers and red-wing blackbirds; the scents of crab apple blossoms and lilacs and poplar sap; and thunderstorms that spark and roll overhead. Refill your well with some informal writerly learnings.

Disha Walia wants you to find your motivation for writing speculative fiction. Then, E.J. Wenstrom explains what to do about author platforming when you’re burned out. Sara Farmer lists more of her auto-buy mystery authors. Later in the week, Brittany Capozzi lists five answers we get from writing letters to ourselves. DIY MFA

The psychology of Zuko. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland recommends six ways to find your best ideas before you start writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sandy Vaile shares four essential elements you need to create a workable novel. Then, Holly Lasky asks you to guess who’s in the driver’s seat of your creativity? Lynette M. Burroughs explains how the forces of antagonism frame your story. Writers in the Storm

Darn it, you made me care. Jill Bearup

Susan Defreitas wonders, why write when the world is on fire? Jane Friedman

C.S. Lakin: outlining your novel for success. Live, Write, Thrive

Seven character development exercises. Reedsy

Elizabeth Spann Craig: stress and writing.

Dave King is getting to know evil. Then, Barbara Linn Probst gives us three writing exercises for three different points in the writing process. Kristina Stevens wonders how you adapt real life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

How sun mythologies are universal (featuring PBS Space Time). Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Christina Delay explains what to do when you feel like a hack. Then, Marissa Graff shares four ways your protagonist is sabotaging you (and how to fight back). Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: breaks, permission, and writing.

Olaseni Ajibade explores mental health in fiction: the monster you feed. Dan Koboldt

This story will save your imagination. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin: high praise, big promises … and crickets. Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb says weakness is blood in the water for narcissist sharks.

How the tech villain became the most hated character. The Take

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the summary writing of Illuminae. Then, Oren Ashkenazi critiques the second half of Pixar’s rules of storytelling. Mythcreants

Angie hodapp explains what to do when your entire manuscript turns out to be a prologue. Pub Rants

Guy Gavriel Kay wonders what we lose—and gain—as book tours move online? Literary Hub

Thank you for spending some time with me, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress, whatever stage it’s at.

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 22-28, 2021

And here it is, the last day of August (!) How did that happen? Get your informal writerly learnings now, before summer disappears!

Susan DeFreitas lists the three strengths and three challenges of starting your novel with theme. Then, Carol J. Michel explains how to market your book without social media. Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin shares the one tool that transforms your writing. Then, Tasha Seegmiller composes a letter to a writer: keep learning. Laurie Schnebly Campbell is tremendous, terrible, triumphant. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth S. Craig is regaining confidence.

C.S. Lakin lists seven sensory elements that writers ignore. Live, Write, Thrive

To kill … To Kill a Mockingbird? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

C.S. Lakin explains how to nail the purpose of your novel’s scenes. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson shows you how to use trauma strategically to create an emotional arc. Writers Helping Writers

David Corbett: the people we think we know (and the characters they inspire). Then, Diana Giovinazzo helps you utilize video games in your writing. Heather Webb says, if you want to be a career author, you have to avoid pitfalls (and a few trips, too). Then, Natalie Hart touts the gift of hunger. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares the main reason your story’s premise is important. Helping Writers Become Authors

Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo: a love letter to the natural world. The Take

Savannah Cordova provides an honest appraisal of Amazon exclusivity for first-time authors. Then, Marina Barakatt considers the merits of The Wicked + the Divine. Leora Krygier considers multigenerational trauma in memoir. DIY MFA

Ann Harth offers a layered method for creating consistent characters. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb considers writer’s block: is it laziness, or a critical part of being a long-time author?

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that neglect tension. Mythcreants

Why super heroine movies don’t empower us all. The Take

K.W. Colyard explains why authors can’t get enough of this little-known fairy tale. Bustle

Vida Cruz declares, we are the mountain: a look at the inactive protagonist. Fantasy Magazine

Clive Thompson explains how data science pinpointed the creepiest word in Macbeth. OneZero

Steve Edwards is misunderstanding Thoreau: reading neurodiversity in literature and in life. Literary Hub

Sebastian Leck reports that a unique literary festival focuses solely on Haudenosaunee storytelling and publishing. CBC

Peter Knegt: the first piece of queer Mauritian literature ever published is by Montreal’s Kama La Mackerel. CBC

Thanks for taking the time to visit. 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 1-7, 2021

It is time, once again, to stock up on informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy says, don’t let these plotting errors knock your novel off track. Then, Jodi Turchin touts the benefits of a DIY personal writers retreat. Bethany Henry provides a guide for writing strong female characters. Then, Aly Brown lists three mixed-up writing goofs you might be making. Fiction University

Jill Bearup analyzes Harley Quinn’s bonkers elevator fight scene. One Villainous Scene

Greer Macallister shares three tips for a great cover reveal. Then, Allie Larkin says, don’t finish your book. Donald Maass: the walking stick. Later in the week, Rheea Mukherjee wonders, how absurd can our characters be? Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes presents Demona is alone. One Villainous Scene. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland explains how the antagonist functions in different kinds of character arcs. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elizabeth Spann Craig provides us with a release checklist.

How to write literary fiction. Reedsy

Literary fiction tropes. Reedsy

You may think Jeanette the Writer is being facetious when she explains how to edit an email, but for those important emails (queries, client relations, etc.) do you really want to take the chance of making a critical mistake? Then, Tammy Lough says, historical romance is too hot to handle! Becca Spence Dobias shares five ways audiobooks improve your voice as an author. DIY MFA

Narrative worldbuilding. Shaelin Writes

Stefan Emunds explains the importance of curiosity and tension to storytelling. Then, C.S. Lakin reveals the secret ingredient of a commercially successful novel. Mathina Calliope wonders, should I hire a coach or a therapist? Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford: don’t over-explain “default” objects and gestures. Then Lindsay Syhakhom explains how to rediscover your passion for writing.  

Don’t know much about Beowulf? Princess Weekes is here to help. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Sacha Black points out three mistakes to avoid with your side characters. Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb presents the good, the bad, and the just please stop of description.

John Peragine says, it’s time for a second edition. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle answers the question: do characters need to be likable? Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines five useless characters and how to fix them. Mythcreants

Jami Gold explains the benefits of making your characters take two steps back.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

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

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, Sept 13-19, 2020

It’s another tipsday, your opportunity to catch up on some informal writerly goodness.

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

And in the midst of the pandemic and ongoing demonstration, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dies. Such a blow for equality and justice. I hope her last wish can be honoured and her absence on SCOTUS won’t be filled until after the US election.

We’re seeing a bump in infection rates and we’re being told to brace for a second wave. This was something epidemiologists predicted could happen, way back in March. People tend to forget this. Despite what a certain president says, we will not have a vaccine that’s widely available before next year.

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance when possible. Get your flu shots when they become available. Take care and stay safe.

Onto the curation:

K.M. Weiland: the crucial link between your story’s inciting incident and its climactic moment. Helping Writers Become Authors

C.S. Lakin explains how your premise determines your characters. Live, Write, Thrive

Shaelin has a chat about writing selfishly. Shaelin Writes

Eldred Bird says that a great story is like music to the eyes. Then, Barbara Linn Probst explains why your book matters. Later in the week, Jenny Hansen explains why storytellers are the most powerful people in the world. Writers in the Storm

Lucia Tang promotes the art of the constructive critique. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Meg LaTorre lists 17 things she hates to see in romance. iWriterly

Dave King helps you manage your cast. Then, Barbara Linn Probst shares road, neighbourhood, sky: a three-layer approach to writing a novel. Writer Unboxed

Lucy V. Hay shares awesome writing tips from six famous writers. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten tips for writing fight scenes.

Lauren J. Sharkey talks dollars and sense. And, my latest Speculations: how the NASA-SpaceX collaboration can inspire your writing. Sara Farmer interviews Adam Smyer. Later in the week, Lynne Golodner shares five tips for narrowing your focus. DIY MFA

Susan DeFreitas shares three common issues with early drafts. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle lists seven ways jokes can sabotage your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi sheds light on how Le Guin laid a shaky foundation for Earthsea. Mythcreants

Waubgeshig Rice launches his new column at Open Book: stories of the North.

Thanks for the visit. I hope you found something that will support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 26-May 2, 2020

We’re staying the course here. I will likely be working from home for the foreseeable. I could also see our local and regional management making the case that we can and should continue to work from home on a permanent basis.

My current position has been largely virtual since I moved into it eleven years ago. There’s still an element of the surreal to the situation (where does the job end, how do I transition into home/creative life?) but now that we’re closing in on two months of pandemic life and  six weeks (for me) of working from home, I’m finding my way to a workable routine.

Here’s hoping that whatever your circumstances are, that you’re finding your feet, so to speak. Everyone’s dealing with “stuff.” Take a break and peruse some of these informal writerly learnings.

Tasha Seegmiller offers five tips for having hard conversations. Ellen Buikema teaches you how to love your hateful antagonist. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland lists 15 productive tasks you can do when you don’t feel like writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

How to master fight scenes (a follow up from the other fight scene video I shared—as Tim will tell you, please watch that one first). Hello, Future Me

Justin Attas explains the puzzle piece plotting method: using what you know to build what you don’t. Susan DeFreitas is helping you develop your writing practice, part five: neurohacks. Later in the week, C.S. Lakin touts the three Ms of character setup. Jane Friedman

Developing a book, part 2: the characters. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford tells you everything you need to know about inciting incidents.

Related: Jami Gold explains the difference between the inciting incident and the first plot point.

Jenn Walton shares three ways to preserve your creativity. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle lists five reasons tension is missing from your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers six ridiculous cultures in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu uses a walk in the forest to discover hidden character archetypes.

Alison Flood: study shows most authors hear their characters speak. Do you? The Guardian

Keziah Weir says poetry is having its moment. Vanity Fair

Thank you for visiting. I hope you found something to assist you with your current work in progress, even if you’re not actively writing.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 11-17, 2019

It’s time to dig into another week’s worth of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Elizabeth A. Harvey is remembering Toni Morrison. Then, Nancy Johnson shows us how Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye offers a masterclass in craft. Porter Anderson: murders she didn’t write, a provocation on writers in the context of real world gun violence. Rheea Mukherjee: negotiating social privilege as a writer. Jim Dempsey wants you to explore the wonders of your character’s world view. Sarah Callender forgets to remember that writing is an act of faith. Writer Unboxed

Jenna Moreci helps you get back into the writing habit after a break.

C.S. Lakin visits Helping Writers Become Authors: how to evoke reader emotions with “surprisingness.” Then, she heads over to Larry Brook’s Storyfix to explain how to effectively “tell” emotions in fiction.

Emily Wenstrom offers three tips for creating your author newsletter before you’re published. And here’s my latest column: find storytelling inspiration with the women of the Kalevala. Constance Emmett shares five tips for surviving rejection. DIY MFA

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four ways to go deeper with point of view. Then, Laura Drake starts with character first. Writers in the Storm

Michelle Barker wants you to remember that the wand chooses the wizard. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy explains why you want nitpicky critiquers. Fiction University

Robert Lee Brewer explains the difference between slight of hand and sleight of hand. Writer’s Digest

Some reassuring advice from Chris Winkle: why you shouldn’t worry about someone stealing your manuscript. Then, Oren Ashkenazi offers advice on choosing naval tactics for your pre-gunpowder world. Mythcreants

Sam Bleicher offers some unusual writing tips on dealing with facts in science fiction. The Creative Penn

Ferris Jabr: the story of storytelling. Harper’s

Thanks for visiting. Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 4-10, 2019

You’ve worked hard this week (so far). Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Jael McHenry: it’s always in the last place you look. Donald Maass considers persuasion.  Then, Kathryn Craft wants you to give your reader an experience. David Corbett has a conversation with Zoe Quinton about developmental editing. And Kathryn Magendie writes about becoming a rogue planet (when you lose your publisher). Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares part two of her five character arcs at a glance series: the three negative arcs. Helping Writers Become Authors

Abigail K. Perry looks at characters in terms of grit, wit, and it. Slush Pile Survivor

C.S. Lakin explains when telling, not showing, emotion is the right choice. Writers Helping Writers

Leanne Sowul: what writing can do for you. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci lists her top ten worst dystopian tropes.

Sangeeta Mehta interviews Sarah LaPolla and Kim Lionetti for Jane Friedman’s blog.

Chuck Wendig: on writing from a place of fear vs from a place of love. Terribleminds

Reedsy offers a guide to fantasy subgenres.

Chris Winkle: filling in your story’s middle. Then, Oren Ashkenazi relates six common forms of bad writing advice. Mythceants

Jami Gold: when writing advice goes wrong.

Robert Lee Brewer looks at the difference between it’s and its. I know, seems basic. Doesn’t mean I don’t make the mistake from time to time. Reinforcement is always good. Writer’s Digest

Richard Lea and Sian Cain pay tribute to Toni Morrison, who died August 6, at the age of 88. The Guardian

Dwight Garner honours Morrison as a writer of many gifts who bent language to her will. The New York Times

There were so many more tributes, this humble curation would have been huge. I just chose a couple.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something of value.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday2019