Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Aug 14-20, 2022

Week four of August is here along with your weekly batch of informal writerly learnings! Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland explains how to write emotional scenes (without making them cringey). Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman reveals how to painlessly generate dozens of blog ideas. Then, Sandy Vaile digs into research: how far will fiction authors go for facts? Laurie Schnebly Campbell wonders how much does genre matter? Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Becca Puglisi about writing conflict. The Creative Penn

How to write a plot summary and a synopsis. Reedsy

Roz Morris considers using real people in historical fiction—how much can you invent? Nail Your Novel

Barbara Linn Probst wonders what does “award-winning author” mean—and does it matter? Then, Marcie Geffner discusses aphantasia and writing fiction with no “mind’s eye.” Writer Unboxed

AJ Harper helps you get in front of your readers’ doubts and objections. Jane Friedman

Good characters are overrated. Tale Foundry

Christina Delay: small focus. Big creativity. Becca Puglisi wants you to use your character’s career to support your story’s theme. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford says don’t outsource your agent search.

Kris Hill considers fairy tales and once upon a time. Manuela Williams: what is the poetry of witness? Then, Daria White proposes an alternative to traditional time management for writers.  Abigail Cutter suggests five ways to get inside your historical characters’ heads. DIY MFA

This fight changed everything … Jill Bearup

Angela Ackerman: does conflict really belong on every page? Jami Gold

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how to write a query letter (without losing your mind). Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb examines the priority parallax: what’s truly important?

Chris Winkle lists ten reasons your characters might stop communicating. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with well-written families. Mythcreants

How to write your first novel. Reedsy

Chris Martin discusses poetry, autism, and the joy of working with neurodiverse writers. Literary Hub

Peter Kafka: the newsletter boom is over. What’s next? Vox

S.L. Huang investigates the ghost of workshops past: how communism, conservatism, and the Cold War still mold our paths to SFF writing. Outstanding essay! Tor.com

Thank you for spending some time with me. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well!

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: Informal writerly learnings, Feb 13-19, 2022

It’s the last tipsday of February! Fuel up on informal writerly learnings for the week.

Roz Morris explains how to write a novel with multiple points of view—seven voices. Nail Your Novel

Raya’s queerbaiting of Southeast Asians – the importance of cultural context to queerness (part 3 of SEA critique of Raya and the Last Dragon). Xiran Jay Zhao

Ann Marie Nieves: PR and marketing questions answered, part VI. Dave King recommends cutting your way to freedom. Then, Barbara Linn Probst shares something that might not actually be true. Porter Anderson: ego, “litflation,” and honor(s). Tom Pope is creating without hope and fear. Writer Unboxed

How do we read? It’s Magic (almost)! Be Smart

K.M. Weiland explains how archetypes and story structure are connected. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews C. Ruth Taylor about self-publishing in Jamaica and the Caribbean and the importance of diverse voices. The Creative Penn

On worldbuilding: fallen civilizations. Hello, Future Me

Alexander J. Lewis shares his experience going a year without social media as a freelance writer. Peter Desberg and Jeffrey Davis explain how to pitch like a Hollywood pro. Jane Friedman

Christina Delay takes the measure of a character. Then, Fred Koehler takes you from concept to query in ten months. Writers Helping Writers

Well, THIS seems familiar … Jill Bearup

Nathan Bransford explains how to crystalize the stakes.

Colice Sanders wants you to answer the call for diversity. Then, Disha Walia lists the seven deadly sins of speculative fiction (and how to fix them). Lori Walker: going from preparing to write to actually writing. Alexis M. Collazo shares five reasons to start a morning writing routine. DIY MFA

Dealing with writer burnout. Reedsy

Lynette M. Burroughs: things I wish I knew before I published (pat 2). Writers in the Storm

Angie Hodapp is zeroing in on comps (part 1). Then, Kristin Nelson wants you to dance with the right partner at the publishing prom. Pub Rants

Possibly controversial. Rules vs. Craft. Shaelin Writes

Oren Ashkenazi: how useful are Jonathan Franzen’s ten rules for novelists? Mythcreants

Cory Doctorow reveals that a bug in early creative commons licences has enables a new breed of superpredator. Medium

Promises as a magic system. Tale Foundry

Anne Delaney discusses words on the way in: a retrospective. JSTOR Daily

Ellen Gutoskey shares 11 things you should know about Audre Lorde. Mental Floss

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 12-18, 2021

You’ve made it through Monday. Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Richelle Lyn is discovering the art of book coaching. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Sacha Black about crafting your side characters. Amanda Polick reveals three ways the holidays can revive your book. Then Kerry Chaput delves into HERstory, the woman’s side of history. Melanie Moyer recommends five sci-fi books about humans creating artificial intelligence. DIY MFA

Princess Weekes explains why we keep retelling Persephone’s story. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland examines the two halves of the climactic moment. Helping Writers Become Authors

Christina Delay wants you to use awe to spark creativity. Then, Lucy V. Hay explains how to write a compelling antihero. Writers Helping Writers

What are foil characters? Reedsy

Jenny Hansen shares the dreams and confessions of a disorganized writer. Then, Lynette M. Burrows offers 35 tips to a healthier writer you in 2022. Lori Freeland returns with to comma, or not to comma (part 2). Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Lisa Cron about Story or Die. The Creative Penn

Elizabeth S. Craig: common mistakes that pull readers out of stories.

Emily Zarka reveals the origins of Krampus, the yuletide monster. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Jim Dempsey sees the future in stories. Then, Barbara Linn Probst takes a closer look at trusting the reader. Porter Anderson gets provocative about chaos, coherence, and the dream of a narrative. Writer Unboxed

Kimberly Fernando provides seven steps for tackling a revise and resubmit (R&R). Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle presents six archetypes for sidekicks. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Martha Wells fell into some toxic tropes: building the Raksura.  Mythcreants

The good girl trope—why women can’t win. The Take

Angie Hodapp discusses reactive goals vs. proactive goals. Pub Rants

Nina Munteanu: the Witch’s Hat and other fungi tales.

Rebecca Nicholson interviews Carrie-Anne Moss: “There was a scene in the first Matrix with me in stilettos. I could barely stand straight.” The Guardian

Inverse interviews Shohreh Aghdashloo about Chrisjen Avasarala and the final season of The Expanse.

Minyvonne Burke and Michelle Garcia: acclaimed author and activist bell hooks dies at 69. NBC News

Cassie Da Costa hails the second coming of Octavia E. Butler. Vanity Fair

Vincent Schilling announces that Reservation Dogs [loved it!] nominated for a Golden Globe. Indian Country Today

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

Happy solstice and cool yule, to those (like me) who celebrate!

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 15-21, 2021

You’ve made it through Monday! Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Vaughn Roycroft is living with unpublished characters. Then, Barbara O’Neal is finding the particular. Barbara Linn Probst considers writing: is it an art, identity, or profession? Why not all three? Later in the week, Porter Anderson gets provocative about flights of self-censorship. Then, Kelsey Allagood explains how creation myths affect character motivation. Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes explains how true crime reveals the corruption and failures of the legal system. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland explains why you should always identify your characters, pronto. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane (herself) says, the value of book distribution is often misunderstood by authors. Then, Tiffany Yates Martin shares the secret to a tight, propulsive plot: the want, the action, the shift. Sangeeta Mehta interviews agents Michelle Brower and Jennifer Chen Tran about whether you should publish with a small press. Jane Friedman

Related: E.J. Wenstrom shares what she’s learned in six years of small press publishing. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Story structures: In medias res. Reedsy

Melinda VanLone offers some advice for branding a series. Then, Lisa Norman lists seven things every author website needs. Miffie Seideman offers some helpful advice on writing about drugs: Fentanyl 101. Writers in the Storm

Andrea Turrentine shares two key factors in successfully outlining stories. Live, Write, Thrive

Rayne Hall lists 11 reasons you should submit your short stories to anthologies. Then, Janice Hardy wonders, why ask why? Because your readers will. Bonnie Randall considers the risks and rewards of uncommon narrative structures. Fiction University

Nathan Bransford advises what to cut when your book is too long. Nathan Bransford

Seven-point story structure. Reedsy

Ambre Dawn Lefler wants you to be a conference guru. Then, Susan Francis Morris explains how writing helped her live life after trauma. Later in the week, LA Bourgeois offers five ways to trick yourself into writing. DIY MFA

E.J. Wenstrom explains why we need ADHD representation in fiction. Terribleminds

Christina Delay is breaking free. Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle: what do writers need to describe? Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five characters with the wrong skill set. Mythcreants

Why it’s time to write out the nag. The Take

Angie Hodapp introduces us to the trinity of premise, plot, and prose. What happens when one is missing? Then, Kristin Nelson shares 14 reasons why agenting is harder now than it was 20 years ago. Pub Rants

Nina Munteanu: to boldly go where no human has gone before ….

Rebecca Thomas explores Mi’kmaw language in poetry collection: I Place you into the Fire. CBC’s The Next Chapter

Vicky Qiao reports that Ojibway journalist and author Tanya Talaga to write three new nonfiction books. The first will be published in 2023. CBC

Thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope you took away 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, May 16-22, 2021

You’ve just survived a Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday after a long weekend. Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Vaughn Roycroft shows you how story tropes can be our friends. Dave King writes to whom it may concern. Then, Barbara Linn Probst says, there’s writing—and then there’s writing about writing. Later in the week, Anne Brown wonders, why am I like this? Writer Unboxed

Can you swordfight in a wedding dress? (Things writers want to know.) Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland introduces us to the six flat archetypes in part 15 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

What makes up a character’s identity? Breaking up aspects of self. Mary Robinette Kowal

Kris Maze outlines the value (and the struggle) of writer meditations. Then, Barbara Linn Probst wonders how your book ends—with destination or discovery? Writers in the Storm

Shaelin covers line editing. Reedsy

Janice Hardy explains how scene titles make it easier to writer your novel. Then, Rayne Hall tells you how to keep your short story short. Bonnie Randall shows you less cliché ways the body responds to emotional states. Fiction University

Basilisk of cockatrice? The mysterious king of serpents. Dr. Emily Zarka. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Christina Delay takes the anonymous road. Writers Helping Writers

Jessica Conoley: your final responsibility to your story is creative stewardship. Then, Jane herself delivers some tough love: how much do authors earn? Here’s the answer no one likes. Jane Friedman

Jeanette the Writers is writing for readers with dyslexia. Later in the week, Crystal Swain-Bates shares five tips to finish writing your book in 2021. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci interviews Sacha Black about creating a podcast.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch continues her series on fear-based decision-making with part 2: fear vs. growth.

Chris Winkle does a narration makeover: giving action more immediacy. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes six stories with weak romantic attraction. Mythcreants

And that was tipsday. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 14-20, 2021

You’ve made it through Monday. Time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy explains why rescuing your protagonist might be a terrible idea. Yeah, I have this problem. Then, she lists four mistakes that doom your first page. Confession: first pages KILL me. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Later in the week, Bonnie Randall provides a cheat sheet that will help you write rich characterization. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland covers the maiden’s arc in her archetypal character arcs series, part 2. Helping Writers Become Authors

Princess Weekes: Bridgerton and the problem of pastel progressivism. Melina Pendulum

Vaughn Roycroft explains why we need tragic stories, now more than ever. Dave King is keeping it real. Later in the week, Kelsey Allagood offers the confessions of a conflict-avoidant writer. Then, Porter Anderson makes the case for kindness. Writer Unboxed

Why a bad series finale can ruin the whole show. SciShow Psych

Lori Freeland delves into backstory and how you can dodge the infodump. I’m trying to find the right balance here. Then, Barbara Linn Probst shares four of the best writing exercises EVER. Later in the week, Margie Lawson returns: hugs you’ve got to love! Writers in the Storm

The romance addict trope, explained. Love isn’t all you need. The Take

Kristina Adams explains how building your self-awareness makes you a better writer. Another issue I’m struggling with. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Christina Delay helps you identify your reader. Then, Gilbert Bassey shows you how to master the happy-sad ending. Writers Helping Writers

Princess Diana, according to The Crown. The Take

E.J. Wenstrom shares the secret formula to author newsletter joy. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Ellie Cypher about language as world building in YA fantasy. Then, Sara Farmer interviews Kellye Garrett. DIY MFA

Fay Onyx helps you to rid your monsters of ableism. Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at five antagonists who never stood a chance. Mythcreants

Bulletproof Monk: the worst flirty fight scene ever? Jill Bearup

Lisa Hall-Wilson asks, what’s your character’s emotional Kryptonite?

Chuck Wendig offers some gentle writing advice. Terribleminds

Alison Flood reports that after a year inside, novelists are struggling to write. Some have been struggling all along. Others haven’t. Still others have noticed a distinct lack in the quality of the work they manage to produce. The Guardian

As ever, thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope you took away 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, Jan 24-30, 2021

Welcome to February! Winter is progressing, the light is returning, and we’re beginning to see signs that the lockdown is once again flattening the curve. Yes, there have been problems with the vaccines, but we will see a resolution, sooner rather than later.

You’ve been so good, wearing your mask, maintaining physical distance, washing your hands. Keep it up! This is the way we beat covid-19. Reward yourself for all your good work with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Barbara Linn Probst takes a closer look at writer time and reader time. Elizabeth Huergo offers some readings for writers: John le Carré and George Orwell. KL Burd: the soul of art. Later in the week, Heather Webb is writing through the pain. Then, Julie Carrick Dalton says, I choose joy, dammit! Kristin Owens says, you asked for it: when it’s time for critique. Writer Unboxed

Why are we so obsessed with characters being redeemed? Melina Pendulum

Janice Hardy wants you to stop being nice to your characters. Fiction University

Tiffany Yates Martin helps you understand third-person point of view: omniscient, limited, and deep. Then, Susan DeFreitas explains the one thing your novel absolutely must do. Jane Friedman

Shaelin shares 8 simple ways to make your writing better | Reedsy

Then, she explains how to write a closer (or more distant!) point of view | Reedsy

K.M. Weiland: story theory and the quest for meaning. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four ways to write deeper with personification. Kris Maze advises that if your writing’s in a slump, get into the flow! Writers in the Storm

Why The Hunger Games’ Katniss represents all teen girls. The Take

The bombshell trope, explained. The Take

Christina Delay is creating from the familiar. Writers Helping Writers

Gabriela Pereira interviews Julie Carrick Dalton about multiple timelines, climate fiction, and a childhood code of honor. Then, Sara Farmer interviews Sherry Thomas. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle recommends nine jerkass traits that aren’t toxic or abusive. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five emotional arcs that fell flat. Mythcreants

Vigilantes, retribution, and the pursuit of meaningful justice | Like Stories of Old

John Tattrie introduces us to the extraordinary inner world of Charles R. Saunders, father of Black “sword and soul.” CBC

Michael Martin interviewed Cicely Tyson about her new book, Just as I am, prior to her death. NPR

Thanks for stopping by, and 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 16-22, 2020

Welcome to another week of informal writerly learnings!

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. This is a fundamental truth.

The EI ERB and CERB have been extended for the third time and three new transitional benefits are being created to support Canadians in this crisis. It’s resulted in chaos at work, but chaos has been the rule since March 15th.

Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay within your bubbles and avoid crowded events. Take care and stay safe. You don’t know who you could be putting at risk with careless behaviour.

K.M. Weiland shares five exercises for honing your story instincts. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft explains why he prefers novels with prologues. Dave King is discussing fiction in the time of plague. Then, Sarah Penner shares the results of a working-from-home survey: navigating changes to our work environments. Later in the week, Porter Anderson discusses emergent voices. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin Bishop shares some of her favourite writing techniques. Shaelin Writes

Tasha Seegmiller: every novel needs a village. Then, Barbara Linn Probst advises us to read like a writer and write like a reader. Later in the week, John Peragine explains the vital importance of your writing community. Writers in the Storm

The muse trope, explained. The Take

Rochelle Melander suggests some tools for revision. Fiction University

Christina Delay uses the lyrics of “Yesterday” to look back at the first act. Writers Helping Writers

Helen J. Darling helps you build your author newsletter list. Then, Pamela Taylor helps you figure out whether you’re writing historical fiction, or something else. Later in the week, Chere Hughes describes the key features of a no-fear critique. DIY MFA

Susan DeFreitas explains what your first 50 pages reveal. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford wants you to be very careful with dreams and hallucinations in novels.

Chris Winkle explains why story structures like the Hero’s Journey don’t work. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with anticlimactic endings. Mythcreants

What English can’t do. NativLang

Alexandra Alter: “We’ve already survived an apocalypse”: Indigenous authors are changing science fiction. The New York Times

Thanks for visiting and I hope you’re taking away something that will support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 17-23, 2020

Another week of #pandemiclife, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Before we get to those, though, here is my weekly update:

Though Ontario’s efforts at “reopening” have been cautious, numbers of confirmed cases have increased. Some of this is to be expected, but testing has not kept up. The federal government is trying to get the tech companies on board to have 1 tracing app across platforms (Android and Apple). While Phil and I did take my mom and Torvi out for an afternoon of physically distanced fun at his sister’s (she’s worked hard on her back yard this year, increasing the size of her patio to accommodate a gazebo, making a proper fire pit, and various planter boxes) we were careful to stay two metres apart.

Phil made a couple of yard games, a set of lawn dice for outdoor Yahtzee and a Finnish game called mölkky. I’ll let you look the latter up on the interwebz 🙂 We played a couple games and had an enjoyable afternoon.

Onto the curation!

K.M. Weiland strikes a balance between creativity and distraction: 13 tips for writers in the age of the internet. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy is clarifying ambiguous pronouns. Then, Orly Konig wants you to organize the chaos using these five revision tips for pantsers. Fiction University

Gabe lists the four questions every pitch must answer. Bookish Pixie

Marjorie Simmins offers an excerpt of her Q&A with Lawrence Hill: memoir beyond the self. Then, Susan DeFreitas returns with part seven of her developing a writing practice series: engrained. Jane Friedman

Shaelin finishes her series on developing a novel: creating a writing plan. Reedsy

E.J. Wenstrom lists ten ways to connect with readers while physically distancing. And here’s my latest column: mythic storytelling with the tarot, part three. In which I create an outline for a fantasy story using the tarot. Jason Jones shares five tips to get your book on local media. DIY MFA

Dave King goes into the woods. Barbara Linn Probst is learning from Pinoccio how to create a character who’s fully alive. Writer Unboxed

Christina Delay thinks you might as well jump—into the third act. Writers Helping Writers

Ellen Buikema takes a look at body language in writing. Writers in the Storm

The Take looks at the girl next door.

Jami Gold explores the spectrum of third person point of view. Then, she helps you develop a powerful point of view.

Chris Winkle explains how to plot a series. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers the world building of The Expanse. Mythcreants

Kelly Grovier: the women who created a new language. BBC

Deborah Dundas: Amazon hurt them. The lockdown hurt them. Now there’s a painful loss in court. Canada’s book biz — authors, publishers, retailers — is hunting for a new business model. The Toronto Star

Thank you for visiting. I hope you’ve found something to support you with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019