Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 24-30, 2017

And now … your first batch of informal writerly learnings for the New Year!

Kathryn Craft advises you to ask for what you need. Writers in the Storm

Laura Drake makes notes to her unpublished self. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth Randolph guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: good storytelling is about going primal.

A.K. Perry shares five essential elements of strong dialogue. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira explains why you should review your writing year. DIY MFA

Amy Pennza shares five ways to find a writer’s group online. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci follows up last week’s video on world building don’t with this one on world building basics.

 

Oren Ashkenazi looks at five stories hurt by unlikable protagonists. Mythcreants

T.R. Ragan offers five tips for writing stories with multiple points of view and still keeping the reader in suspense. Writer’s Digest

Chuck Wendig shares his writing resolution for 2018: write with intention. Terribleminds

Alexandra Alter: in an era of online outrage, do sensitivity readers result in better books, or censorship? I’d argue the former, but what do I know? As Alter states in the article, expert readers have a long tradition in publishing. The New York Times

Be well until Thursday!

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Bidding farewell to 2017

Greetings, all!

K. Tempest Bradford shared something that Catherynne Valente wrote:

“If this were a trilogy, 2016 would be the explosively dramatic establishment of conflict. 2017 would be the lowest point, when all seems lost. And 2018 would be the redemption, the triumph snatched from defeat at the last moment, the victory over darkness. Here’s to 2018.”

As a writer of science fiction and fantasy, this struck me as true. Not real, but true.

Not only has the political situation been depressing (Trump and Brexit), but also continued terror attacks, refugees in the millions, mass shootings, sexual assault and harassment revelations, floods, fire, hurricanes, and cyclones … it really feels as if the world is falling apart on all levels.

Even I, as a Canadian, shielded from much of the douche-baggery rampant in the world, have felt the weight of depression more this year that in the several preceding. I’m still struggling with burnout, but I know that I’m in good company. Many of the authors, mostly American, that I follow online have expressed similar sentiments, though for different, and many more dire, reasons.

John Scalzi has had to slow the pace of his writing to deal. Kameron Hurley has had the medical rug pulled out from under her and is seeking to move to Canada, or at least to some place she doesn’t need to shell out thousands a month for the medication she needs to save her life.

Though Chuck Wendig initially expressed similar sentiments at the beginning of the year, he is also considering a move to another state, where state medical benefits can shore up the deficits in the national plan.

But even in 2017, some good things happened. Another thing I saw this morning was former president Obama’s tweets about some of those events.

Communities struck by tragedy have rallied to support their members. Whistle blowers have spoken out and inspired other victims to do the same. There is hope, even in the midst of the dark tea time of the soul. There can be no shadow without the light.

Trump hasn’t been half as successful as he says, and although he managed to dismantle the accessible healthcare act and protection for dreamers, his continual public displays of ignorance, misogyny, and other-phobia, combined with the scandals that continue to dog his heels give me hope for the future.

Then again, I (and so many other people) never thought he’d get into office in the first place.

Brexit proceeds, as it must, changing the political and trade landscape of Europe.

Global warming continues to mess with weather patterns creating monster storms, floods, and conditions ideal for wildfires.

Even here, in north eastern (more like central) Ontario we’ve felt the effects. In the last couple of years, we’ve had green Christmases. This year, it looked like the same thing was going to happen. We had a lovely, warm fall, but then the snow arrived on its usual schedule. And then we got hammered by cold temperatures we usually don’t see until January or February. New Year’s celebrations across Canada have been cancelled or moved indoors because it’s too cold to ask people to stand outside for very long.

Even Torvi, who I’m convinced has husky in her, who loves to stay outside much longer than her humans can bear to, is doing the cold paw dance and willingly comes inside once her business is done.

But the winter solstice is past and it’s getting lighter a little earlier each day. I have hope that this, too, shall pass.

I have hope that mid-term elections in the States will shift the balance of power in senate and congress.

I have hope that as more people speak out against injustice, the rest of the world will finally listen.

I have hope that we can turn the tide in our dependence of fossil fuels and invest more in renewable energy before it’s too late.

The point is, I have hope. I hope for a lot of things, but I have hope.

In the summer, when I embarked on the Writing Excuses Cruise, I wanted to make a breakthrough of some kind. I’ve been feeling for a couple of year that I’ve been on the cusp of something. I know. I’m a slow learner, I guess. I got my breakthrough, but not in the way I expected.

It took Emma Newman to ask me to look deeper for the source of my prolonged burnout. I immediately felt resistance to the suggestion, which told me it was exactly what I needed to do. I cracked the shell on the cruise, but it’s taken me some time to muck about in the goo within to come to terms.

When I first exposed my tender underbelly to a group of writers, I thought I finally had my past trauma under my thumb. I mistakenly thought that my inner editor, informed by a series of threshold guardian experiences, was the thing I had to conquer.

Yes and no.

I had to overcome the inner editor to believe that my work was good enough to submit. It wasn’t long after that, that I started to get second readings, short list placements, contest wins, and finally, a couple of paid publications. So it was work I had to do.

Then I stalled.

Those threshold guardian experiences instilled in me an instinctive, but wrong-headed, mistrust of editors, critique partners, and generally anyone else in whose hands I might put my words. Though I’ve worked with a few editors, took their advice, and worked to improve my stories, I think part of me has been trying to sabotage my own efforts. The resistance has always been there, the distrust.

So that’s my big goal for 2018. I have a critique group, and I’m going to work it. I’m going to open myself up and see if I can’t make one of my novels into something that agents and editors will like.

So … there it is, out in the world. My big, scary goal for 2018.

Be vulnerable. Get out of my own way.

And hope that everything will turn out for the best in the end.

Have a triumphant 2018, everyone!

Until the New Year, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 3-9, 2017

It’s time, once again, to get your mental corn popping.

Yes, it’s another short post. I’ve been recognizing the trend recently.

Gillian Flynn: … I don’t feel triumphant. I feel humiliated and angry. Time

Chuck Wendig sounds off (in his inimitable fashion) on issues of consent and basic human decency. Dear mens: your greasy demon hands are in time out. Terribleminds

Jaela Bernstein reports on the massive, ice-age cavern found beneath Montreal. CBC

Anthony Wood lists ten of the world’s most creative cities to live, work, and play in. Creative Boom

Vsauce from last year . . . Mind Field: Isolation.

 

Brian Resnick: what would it take to kill all the tardigrades (the toughest organism on Earth)? Vox

Dom Galeon reports that artificial life just moved a step closer to reality. NBC

George Dvorsky shares a surreal (and beautiful) picture of Jupiter’s clouds. Gizmodo

Be well until the weekend.

Virtual hugs all around.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 20-26, 2017

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week, my peeps 🙂

Vaughn Roycroft delves into the trouble with action. Writer Unboxed

Sarah McCoy: friends, countrymen, take up your words! Writer Unboxed

Elissa Field dissects The Martian on Writer Unboxed.

If you catch yourself asking these questions about your book … just don’t. There are better questions to ask. K.M. Weiland, Helping Writers Become Authors.

Later in the week, Janice Hardy guest posts on Kate’s blog: how to create meaningful obstacles via conflict.

Jennifer Probst stops by Jane Friedman’s blog: writing secondary characters that pop—and sell more books.

Janice Hardy guest posts on Marcy Kennedy’s blog: the difference between conflict and tension.

Chuck Wendig has a simple solution for when your story hits the wall. Terribleminds

Terri Frank goes beyond John Grisham in her guide to legal fiction. DIY MFA

Audrey Kalman shares five tips to keep your writing fresh. DIY MFA

James Preston shares his novel launch experience. Writers in the Storm

Laura Drake knows self-belief is hard—how to do it anyway. Writers in the Storm

Wordstock 2017 organizers reveal literary line up. The Sudbury Star

Kayleigh Donaldson explores the mystery of how this book was bought onto the NYT bestseller list. Pajiba

English translations of obscure medieval texts go online. Allison Meier for Hyperallergic.

Nina Munteanu: resonating with the universe.

Buffy’s legacy does not belong to Joss Whedon. Karen Walsh, Geek Mom.

Sarah Bond: what Game of Thrones gets right and wrong about eunuchs and masculinity. Forbes

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 9-15, 2017

And here we go with another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Sophie Masson expounds on the joys of writing in an unfamiliar setting. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft says you need to earn the backstory by raising a question. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi teaches subterfuge in dialogue. Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen shares … a story of balls. Writers in the Storm

Chuck Wendig: so, you’re having a bad writing day. Terribleminds

Roz Morris stops by Writers Helping Writers to improve your suspense in stories with … the big tease.

Angela Ackerman looks back: why we must invest if we want a writing career. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series: creating the characters. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb explores the creative benefits of being bored.

Terri Frank joins the DIY MFA team: five ways to use the library to nurture your reading life.

Gabriela Pereira stops by Jerry Jenkins’ blog to teach us how to write dazzling dialogue.

Then, Gabriela interviews Ann Kidd Taylor for DIY MFA radio.

Gary Zenker returns to DIY MFA: how to get the most out of a critique.

Elise Holland offers five poetic tools to enhance your prose. DIY MFA

Jane Friedman explains how to pitch agents at a writers’ conference.

Chris Winkle lists seven ways to bring characters together. Mythcreants

Nancy Kress looks at the science in science fiction: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tor.com

Richard G. Lowe Jr.: how better world building will keep you out of trouble. AutoCrit

Brandon Taylor: who cares what white people think? Literary Hub

Emily Van Duyne wonders why we’re so reluctant to take Sylvia Plath at her word? Literary Hub

Jane Austen comments on love and happiness. Oxford University Press.

 

David Barnett: how traditional British folklore is benefiting from modern culture. The Independent

Emma Watson interviews Margaret Atwood about The Handmaid’s Tale. Entertainment Weekly

Nancy Kress shares seven things she’s learned so far … Writer’s Digest

Karen Grigsby Bates: how Octavia Butler wrote herself into the story. NPR

Charles Pulliam-Moore reports that after four years in negotiation, HBO and George R.R. Martin are producing Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death as a series! i09

Marc Snetiker gives us a first look at A Wrinkle in Time. Entertainment Weekly

Charles Pulliam-Moore: the reason publishers rejected A Wrinkle in Time is the same reason Ava DuVernay is making the movie. i09

And Cheryl Eddy shares the A Wrinkle in Time trailer! i09

It’s been an exciting week for series and movies. So looking forward.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty!

Until then, be well.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 18-24, 2017

The informal writerly goodness was plentiful this week 🙂

Jane Friedman: when you’re successful, lots of people ask for your help. You have to decide who deserves it. Then Claire McKinney visits Jane’s blog to explain the difference between a press release and a pitch (and why you need both). Later in the week, Jane tackles permissions and fair use.

K.M. Weiland helps you make the most of the five stages of the writing process. Later in the week, Kate returns to offer four reasons you should outline your setting. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft is heartened by Wonder Woman—making the case for sincere storytelling. Writer Unboxed

Dave King: two coins in the hundred. Writer Unboxed

Dank blank shares four ways to beat frustration in your writing career. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb says failure is a four letter word (in writing). It’s also a necessary part of the journey. Writer Unboxed

Chuck Wendig offers his signature advice on writing scenes: Aaaannd, scene! Later in the week, Laura Lam visits Terribleminds: I am on so many government watchlists.

Leanne Sowul offers four rules for eliminating distractions and cultivating deep work. DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson joins the DIYMFA team: opening doors through poetry and short fiction.

Gabriela Pereira interviews Lisa Preziosi about writing a modern day fairy tale for DIY MFA radio.

Janice Hardy shares her brainstorming process in her birth of a book series. Fiction University

Jennie Nash drops by the coaches corner on Writers Helping Writers: how to boost your self-editing superpowers.

Angela Ackerman shares ten ways to show character emotion. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold muses on the writer’s heroic journey.

Cait Reynolds takes over Kristen Lamb’s blog and offers you some advice on research for historical fiction. Plus, she’s hilarious!

Jenny Hansen shares five things the family road trip taught her about editing. Writers in the Storm

Oren Ashkenazi lists six ways rapid communication changes a fantasy setting. Mythcreants

Brian Dillon analyzes Virginia Woolf’s wonderful, beautiful, almost failed sentence. Literary Hub

Andrew O’Hagen wonders if social media will kill the novel. The Guardian

The second Game of Thrones trailer has been released!

 

I hope you’ve found something to feed your muse in this lot, or at least something to tame your inner editor 😉

 

Be well until Thursday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 4-10, 2017

It’s another week chock full of informal writerly learnings!

K.M. Weiland wonders, are you a writer, or a storyteller? Helping Writers Become Authors

Julia Fierro guest posts on Writer Unboxed. The three tiers of point of view technique: observation, interpretation, and imagination.

Gwendolyn Womack also stops by Writer Unboxed to write about intuition and writing: what happens next?

Kathryn Craft: early hints of backstory. How to work backstory into your story from the first line. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie explores mind to muscle focus (self-awareness) for writers. Writer Unboxed

Sara Letourneau shares part ten of her developing themes in your stories series: the act II crisis. DIY MFA

G. Myrthil teaches SCBWI conference 101. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira shares her experience at this year’s Book Expo for DIY MFA radio.

Dawn Field shares five ways to improve your verbal imagery. DIY MFA

K. Tempest Bradford writes about WisCon and who is allowed to feel welcome (hint: it’s everyone).

Janice Hardy helps us shift between drafting and editing. Fiction University

Later in the week, Janice wonders, how many settings does your novel need? Fiction University

James Scott Bell explains how to let your characters live and breathe. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold explores Wonder Woman as the essence of a strong female character. [For moar Wondy, see below!]

Sonja Yoerg guest posts on Writer’s Digest: how to treat mentally ill characters in your novels.

Fae Rowan lists eleven writers’ survival tools. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle examines the four critical elements that make stories popular. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb shows us how to remain calm when it all goes pear-shaped.

Tanya Huff shares her experience writing a series: what goes around, shoots back. Unbound Worlds

Jenna Moreci shares her self-editing process:

 

Elise Holland visits Jane Friedman’s blog to offer advice on the perfect cover letter.

Nathan Bransford offers a brief but comprehensive guide on how to research literary agents. Later in the week Rachel Stout visits Nathan’s blog to talk about personalizing your query.

Joanna Penn interviews Orna Ross on the Creative Penn podcast.

Kameron Hurley posts about carrying the weight of the world.

Kate Laity explores Finnish folklore: Louhi, the witch of the north. Folklore Thursday

Nathan Gelgud: how George Orwell’s 1984 almost didn’t get published. Signature

Mary Hines interviews Margaret Atwood on how religion influences utopias and dystopias. CBC’s Tapestry.

Wonder Woman takes over Tipsday:

Charles Pulliam-Moore shares the epic Black Panther teaser trailer. i09

And with that, I shall leave you until Thoughty Thursday!

Be well until then, my friends.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 28-June 3, 2017

It’s time for some informal writerly learnings.

The Story Masters workshop James Scott Bell refers to? Yeah. I was there 🙂 Where’s your edge? Writer Unboxed

Cara Black says villains are the architects of your story. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt shares her experience weaving sub-plots into her story. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland explains how to find your story’s big moments before you outline. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elisabeth Kauffman shares her #1 tip for introverts attending a writing conference. DIY MFA

Laura Highcove: when your why is bigger than your fear. DIY MFA

Christina Delay explains why it’s important to control your survival instinct when it comes to your fiction. Writers in the Storm

Tasha Seegmiller guest posts on Writers in the Storm: enhancing your story through micro and macro setting description.

Writing coach April Bradley says theme is the marrow of your story. Writers Helping Writers

Suzanne Purvis visits Fiction University: how to write a sizzling, scintillating synopsis.

Jami Gold: strong characters come from strong writing.

Kristen Lamb says, when running your race—be content but stay hungry.

Dear writers: a book needs time to cook. Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds.

If you want to write a book, don’t listen to Stephen Hunter. Foz Meadows, Shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows.

And here, for your perusal, is the Stephen Hunter article in question: if you want to write a book, write every day, or quit now. Daily Beast

Creative alchemy: experience transformed by imagination with Ursula K. Le Guin and Kristin Kwan on Terri Windling’s Myth & Moor. And here’s more Ursula: the writer as wizard.

Sangeeta Mehta interviews agents Eric Smith and Saba Sulaiman about diversity on Jane Friedman’s blog.

Oren Ashkenazi lists five plausible scenarios for planetary evacuation. Mythcreants

Mary Robinette Kowal shares the highlights of her visit to the SpaceX CRS-11 Cargo Launch NASA social.

The Sunburst Award Longlist has been announced. Think Canadian Nebulas and you’ll be just fine 😉

Laura Miller examines what happens when literary novelists experiment with science fiction. Found this on Twitter with the tweet, when literary authors write science fiction, yet disavow it. Yeah, right? Slate

Charlie Jane Anders confesses: growing up, Wonder Woman was the hero I really wanted to be. Tor.com

And Megan Garber calls Wonder Woman the heroine of the post-truth age. The Atlantic

This is just fun. Why Wonder Woman’s sword can cut through anything. Because science w/ Kyle Hill.

 

Bryn Elise Sandberg reports the sad news that Sense8 has been cancelled. I gotta go over there and cry, now. The Hollywood Reporter

I hope you found something that you needed.

Come back on Thursday to get a little thoughty in your week.

Be well until then.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 14-20, 2017

Another tasty batch of informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

K.M. Weiland gracefully admits that she was wrong: eventually, writing does get easier. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate explains how to take advantage of your four most important characters.

Roz Morris says, if you want to become a writer, social media is a long-term investment for your career. Nail Your Novel

Vaughn Roycroft wonders if you’re destined to write. Writer Unboxed

Dave King wants you to go beyond the first five pages. Writer Unboxed

Annie Neugebauer says, you’re amazing and you can do this! Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson rounds up some provocative writerly news for Writer Unboxed.

Lisa Cron visits Writers in the Storm to explain how your character’s origin scene is where your story really begins.

Sara Letourneau visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: using real-world locations to ground your story’s setting.

Following up on Sara’s post, Becca Puglisi helps you decide if a writing residency is right for you. Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman makes another entry for the character motivation thesaurus: discovering one’s true self. Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb talks writing process: it ain’t no unicorn hug.

Emily Wenstrom touts the value of an Amazon follow. DIY MFA

Robin Lovett introduces us to the subgenres and varieties of romance. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jenni Walsh and Bess Cozby on the author/editor relationship. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig offers a hot, steaming sack of business advice for writers. Hey, blame Victoria (V.E.) Schwab. Terribleminds

Jami Gold tells us what to do when readers don’t believe our stories.

Lesley L. Smith tells you how to put the science in your science fiction. Fiction University

Wendy Laine visits Jami Gold’s blog to discuss diversity and the importance of “Own Voices.”

I told you there’d be more coming on cultural appropriation:

On the good news end of things: crowdfunding campaign raises thousands for Indigenous writers’ award. Marsha Lederman for The Globe and Mail.

Zora Oneill lists eleven words that make more sense when you know their Arabic roots. Mental Floss

Alex Preston explains how print books have trumped ebooks. The Guardian

From dark to dark: yes, women have always written space opera. Judith Tarr for Tor.com.

Sarah Mangiola interviews Grand Master Jane Yolen: write the damn book. The Portalist

Lili Loufbourow: Jessica Jones is a shattering exploration of rape, addiction, and control (originally published in November 2015, but still a fabulous analysis). The Guardian

Charlie Jane Anders analyzes Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2: the most popular movie in America is all about toxic fatherhood. Tor.com

And that’s it until next Tipsday, but be sure to come back for your dose of mental corn-popping inspiration on Thoughty Thursday!

Be well until then, my friends.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 19-25, 2017

Another bumper crop of informal writerly learnings for you!

K.M. Weiland shares nine tips that will help you create opening and closing lines that readers will love to quote. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate helps you determine when it’s a good idea to use a made-up setting.

Shanna Swendson guest posts on Fiction University: is your plot complex, or chaotic?

Vaughn Roycroft is embracing perseverance. Writer Unboxed

Maya Rock helps you prepare for the emotional roller coaster of revision. Writer Unboxed

Dave King takes a look at Stephen King, a master of suspense and suspension of disbelief. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb tackles writing through the soggy, infuriating, anxiety-inducing middle. Writer Unboxed

Dan Blank encourages us to use the magic wand of generosity. Writer Unboxed

Jeff Lyons guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: how to make every story idea the best it can be.

Constance Renfrow lists five story openings to avoid. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Dan Blank on DIY MFA radio.

Kolina Cicero shares five tips for reading like a writer. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci: show vs. tell.

 

Chuck Wendig has some considerations for you, if you want to be a professional writer. Terribleminds

Kameron Hurley guest posts on Writer’s Digest: how to build fantastic worlds.

Amber Mitchell offers six tips for fantasy worldbuilding. Writer’s Digest

Jennie Nash visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: how to rescue a book in danger of dying.

Jody Hedlund suggests three ways to add depth to your novel.

Kristen Lamb helps you evaluate whether or not you have a story (or just 85,000 words). Later in the week she  wonders, do some people lack the talent to be authors?

Jenny Hansen shares some helpful hacks to build a strong brand. Writers in the Storm

As a follow up to Jenny’s post, Jami Gold offers some tips for keeping our sanity while building a brand.

Alice Sudlow offers a lesson on phrasal verbs. The Write Practice

Merriam-Webster explores the history of thon, the proposed and forgotten gender-neutral pronoun.

Grace O’Connell interviews Robert J. Sawyer for Open Book.

Wyl Menmuir shares data from the app that helped him write his Booker long-listed debut. The Guardian

Natalie Zutter shares the full length trailer for Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Tor.com

Hope this gave you something you needed to keep creating.

Be well until Thursday!

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