Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 30-July 6, 2019

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Jeanette the Writer: forewords, introductions, and prologues … oh, my! Then, Tammy Lough wants to help you create your series bible. DIY MFA

K.M. Weiland wants you to take your writing to the next level: whole-life art. Helping Writers Become Authors

Yi Shun Lai: better your writing by being a beginner—every day. Later in the week, Justin Attis warns against some common pitfalls of trying to make your story “unique.” Jane Friedman

Sophie Masson relates the pleasures and pitfalls of writing a multi-POV narrative. Donald Maass is back to the one-word titles: legendary. Bryn Greenwood explains what a ghost heart has to do with writing fiction. “The difference between the memoir I’ll never write and the novels I can’t stop writing is all about processing personal experience into fiction.” Jo Eberhardt: one story, many paths. Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan is digging deep into the psychology of a layered story. Writers Helping Writers

Fae Rowan writes about lost love and using your young adult voice. Later in the week, Janice Hardy stops by to explain how to write an opening scene that hooks readers. Writers in the Storm

David Safford explains how to apply helpful writing feedback (and how to know what you can ignore). The Write Practice

Chris Winkle shows you how to avoid melodrama in your writing. Then, Oren Ashkenazi writes about water travel before engines. Mythcreants

Cory Doctorow: I shouldn’t have to publish this in the New York Times. The New York Times

Open Culture reveals how Jane Austen edited her manuscripts with straight pins.

And that was tipsday. I hope you found something you need to help with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 23-29, 2017

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

K.M. Weiland shares three ways to make your fiction more visual. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate returns with how to write (and not write) expository dialog(ue).

Colleen Oakley guest posts on Writer Unboxed: how to make your readers believe the unbelievable (or, the importance of facts in fiction).

Barbara O’Neal explores the complex power of mapping the world of your novel (with neuroscience!). Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb explains why changing up your writing process from book to book works. Writer Unboxed

Allie Larkin says fighting writing stage fright is about more than picturing your readers in their underwear. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft: to sleep, perchance to dream. Writers in the Storm

Jamie Raintree asks, are you writing out of fear, or love? Writers in the Storm

Sara Letourneau: seven steps to honouring your reality. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira recommends some must-read books for your writing library. DIY MFA

Kolina Cicero reviews Scratch for DIY MFA.

Angela Ackerman shares some of her fantastic finds for writers. Writers Helping Writers

Julie Glover guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: four common copy editing issues to watch for.

Bonnie Randall guest posts on Fiction University: what writing rules do you always get wrong?

Elizabeth Sims guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: four methods for developing any idea into a great story.

Jenna Moreci helps you choose your next story.

 

Margaret Atwood shares seven tips for writers. Writer’s Digest

Roz Morris pleads with reviewers: can we open up a dialogue about self-published books? Nail Your Novel

Chris Winkle helps you depict internal conflicts. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi examines five stories that are afraid of their own premises. Mythcreants

Aaron Miles returns with part two of sieges and siegecraft: defenders. Fantasy Faction

Kate Elliott: the status quo does not need world building. Tor.com

Eight words that changed the way we think. Kelley Grovier for the BBC.

Marie Mutsuki muses on the nature of fairytales and storytelling from east to west. [yes, it’s from last year, but it’s awesome] Literary Hub

Alexandra Alter reviews William Gibson’s Agency. The New York Times

Jeff Vandermeer and Cory Doctorow discuss the future of science fiction and the world. Electric Lit

Twelve women authors share how Margaret Atwood made them feminists. Elle

Another oldie but goodie from 2015. Emily Asher-Perrin thinks Real Genius is the geek solidarity film that nerd culture deserves. Tor.com

Germaine Lussier takes a look at the trailer for Kingsman: the Golden Circle. i09

And this is how we improve our craft 🙂

Hope something here gave you what you need to get to the next level.

Be well until thoughty Thursday comes along to pop your mental corn!

tipsday2016

WorldCon 2016: Is cyberpunk still a thing?

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that requires clarification or correction, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will fix things post-hasty.

Panellists: Cory Doctorow (moderator), Matt Jacobson, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, James Patrick Kelly, Pat Cadigan

thecoolestparkinggarageevar

Joined in progress . . .

PNH: Cyberpunk is a course correction.

MJ: I think of cyberpunk in terms of the Max Headroom tagline: fifteen minutes into the future.

CD: The first generation/layer was written by people who were not computer professionals. The second focused on current technology and near future extrapolation. The third layer is an aesthetic.

PC: The first generation of cyberpunk writers was the first to grow up with mass media (television, radio, etc.). The Vietnam War was the first to be televised. They wrote about the influence of media and extrapolated what the influence of mass media might be in the future.

CD: In the 1980’s, money had a huge influence on the political process.

PNH: An aesthetic is a number of people who have similar intuitions about the world. It’s deliberately referencial.

JPK: Bruce Stirling tried to “end” cyberpunk, but the readers weren’t listening.

MJ: A thing would be whatever catches people’s attention.

PC: Cordwainer Smith and Alfred Bester were influences on cyberpunk.

PNH: Science fiction is one big conversation.

MJ: Cyberpunk has been taken over by tech noir. Shows like Mr. Robot and Person of Interest.

JPK: Cyberpunk emerged pre-Apple. For most users, a computer is indistinguishable from magic.

CD: The whole point of Mr. Robot is to strongly distinguish technology from magic.

MJ: Pokemon Go demonstrates just how easy it is to know where anyone is, anywhere in the world.

CD: Actually, your device uses the statistics from the game to triangulate your location and reports the information to Nintendo. That’s a lot more scary.

PC: In the early days of the internet, there were the BBS’s, the bulletin board services. Genie—the conversation never ends. Now mass media is to ambient, we’ve stopped seeing it. Information (and misinformation) is ubiquitous.

PNH: Science fiction has been doing the virtual presence thing since 1929 with the fanzines.

MJ: Cyberpunk intersects with maker culture. High tech is repurposed.

CD: The liminal moment was a queer programmer, Jennings. Cyberpunk concerns itself with the frontier of self and interrelatedness.

And that was time.

Next week: science fiction as epic.

And, of course, in the meantime, I’ll be curating Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday for you.

Be well. Stay safe. Love unconditionally.

That is all.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 19-25, 2016

I have no idea where all this came from. It was a bountiful week for Writerly Goodness.

Julie Glover guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: four steps to break grammar rules with style.

Anne Janzer guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: how to create an internal mindset conducive to writing.

Barbara O’Neal conducts an experiment in fostering creative flow. Writer Unboxed.

When you don’t want to write: Heather Webb on Writer Unboxed.

Joanna Penn discusses how to banish writer’s block with K.M. Weiland. The creative Penn.

How to plot a book: start with the antagonist. K.M. Weiland’s Helping writers become authors. Later in the week: how (not) to write satisfying action scenes. More lessons from the Marvel Universe movies.

Jami Gold wonders why “unlikable” can be a deal breaker for readers.

MJ Bush offers her keen insight into writing the perfect flaw. Writingeekery.

Dave King explores the work of a master for Writer Unboxed: Jaime Lannister and sympathetic monsters.

Kayla Dean explains how to use story archetypes to subvert expectations. DIYMFA.

DIYMFA radio, episode 100: Unleash your storytelling superpower with Gabriela Pereira.

C.S. Lakin takes a look at the first turning point in your novel. Live, write, thrive.

Chris Winkle offers three painless ways to patch plot holes. Mythcreants.

Jamie Raintree delves into the process of overcoming the emotional obstacles to a writing career. Writers in the Storm.

Five good ideas science fiction teaches us to fear. Oren Ashkenazi for Mythcreants.

Katherine Langrish shares some thoughts on writing meaningful fantasy. Tor.com

Women at WorldCon

 

Dan Blank: celebrate the arts where you live. Writer Unboxed.

Janet Reid lists the reasons she rejected 25 queries so you can avoid them. She later confesses: so I didn’t get it right the first time . . .

Sarah Negovetich: it’s not you, it’s really not.

Jonny Gellar’s Ted Talk: What makes a bestseller?

 

This is a weird story from the MFA world. Steven Galloway, chair of UBC’s creative writing program, was fired after an investigation, but under mysterious circumstances. Nobody’s willing to say exactly why. I think anyone reading the articles can infer, but . . . I’ll let y’all judge for yourselves.

Susan Spann explores the legal side of writing for anthologies. Writer Unboxed.

The Active Voice shares the story of Pauline Creeden, who lost her Amazon publishing account through no fault of her own.

Sadness. Lois Duncan died on June 15th at the age of 82. I loved her books. Publishers Weekly.

Jim C. Hines writes about racism and the backlash against black Hermione.

Cory Doctorow revisits Writing the Other, intensely practical advice for representing other cultures in fiction. BoingBoing

The Witch explores America’s essential fear of female power. Dianca Potts for Lenny.

Brainpickings presents Virginia Woolf’s thoughts on the connection between loneliness and creativity.

She-Ra and the fight against the token girl. Maria Teresa Hart for The Atlantic.

Publishers Weekly: Fall 2016 adult announcements in SF, fantasy, and horror.

Indie presses are starting bookstores. Jon Sealy for Literary Hub.

Chemistry explains why old books smell so good. Robin Burkes for Tech Times.

The short film, The Birch, may be creepy, but I think it’s rather heart rending warming 🙂 Rebekah McKendry for BlumHouse.com

James Whitbrook shares Geroge R.R. Martin and Stephen King in conversation: how the fuck to you write so fast? i09. Watch the whole talk. It’s awesome.

Who’s afraid of female Ghostbusters? Dave Itzkoff interviews the cast for The New York Times.

Michael Livingston gets medieval on Game of Thrones’ ‘battle of the bastards.’ Tor.com

Entertainment Weekly shares a sneak peek of the actors who will play Roger and Brianna on Outlander.

Exhausted? I am.

Until Thursday *waves*

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 8-14, 2016

All kinds of writerly goodness for you this week!

K.M. Weiland has made no secret of her disappointment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. In classic Kate fashion, she gleans writerly goodness from the experience. Planning your story: what George Lucas can teach you (not) to do. Helping writers become authors.

Later in the week, she offered eight tips for writing child characters.

Jessi Rita Hoffman explains how to write a thrilling action scene for Writer Unboxed.

Sophie Masson shares the building blocks of great young adult fiction. Writer Unboxed.

Lisa Cron advises: don’t accidentally give your characters a time out. Writer Unboxed.

Margaret Dilloway explores overcoming impostor syndrome for Writer Unboxed.

Christine Frazier shows you why your hero should eavesdrop and make a bad assumption (in four steps). The Better Novel Project.

Janice Hardy looks at writing a character with a gender not your own. Fiction University.

Dan Koboldt offers some tips for creating fundamentalist religions in fantasy.

Chris Winkle offers strategies for defeating the contrivance boogeyman. Mythcreants.

Jami Gold wonders if your plot obstacles are too easy, too difficult, or just right?

Jennie Nash studies great opening lines. The Book Designer.

Chuck Wendig advises us to defy reality and become artists. Terribleminds.

Jami Gold explores how to reach your potential through writing feedback.

Angela Ackerman offers six rules that will keep your critique partnerships golden. Writers helping writers.

Gabriela Pereira interviews Charlaine Harris for the DIYMFA podcast.

Annie Neugebauer says, don’t hate the query—master it! Writer Unboxed.

Janet Reid shares a checklist of things you need to be thinking about between offer and acceptance.

Susan Spann offered some advice on royalty clauses in publishing deals and how authors get paid. Writers in the Storm.

Karina Sumner-Smith guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: is a quick release schedule right for you and your books?

My friend, Kim, is back on the road. This time, she spends an afternoon with Margaret Atwood.

Micah Solomon offers three books that will help you to radically improve your writing. BookBaby

Cory Doctorow shares his vision of how publishers, libraries, and writers could work together. BoingBoing.

Delilah S. Dawson wrote this beautiful post on writing and grieving: someday this pain will be useful to you.

Natalie Zutter shares Nnedi Okorafor and N.K. Jemesin in conversation: masquerade, initiation, and science fiction and fantasy. Tor.com

Bustle wants you to diversify your reading list with these 23 LGBTQ books with a person of colour as a protagonist.

What Bustle says your to-be-read list says about your personality.

Ferris Jabr revisits the lost gardens of Emily Dickinson. The New York Times.

Kathryn Hughes looks at the dystopian world of Beatrix Potter. The Guardian.

Shakespeare and death:

 

Women swept the Nebulas! i09.

Jo Walton reviews Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning for Tor.com.

A Ken Liu short story will be made into a movie. i09.

John Marcotte reports that Marvel is committing to a Black Widow movie (at some unknown point in the future). Heroic Girls.

And, speaking of Marvel, the next X-Men movie is due out May 27th: X-Men Apocalypse.

Here’s the teaser:

 

And the official trailer:

 

Buzzfeed shared what was a sneak peek of Outlander’s next episode (I saw it Sunday) but I thought I’d post it anyway. “Ovaries explode!” – funnee.

See you Thursday for some thoughty stuff 🙂

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 22-28, 2015

Posts on the Clean Reader controversy (a recap of the posts I shared last Saturday):

 

Your book’s inciting incident may not be what you think it is. Nice nod to The Princess Bride, K.M. Weiland 🙂

Here’s her vlog on 1st person POV vs. 3rd person POV and how to decide which will be best for your book.

Janice Hardy’s month-long online revision workshop isn’t over yet! Day 22: Sharpen the hooks and tighten the pacing.

Veronica Sicoe shared these pointers on writing a goddamned novel synopsis.

Jamie Raintree uses time blocking to organize her day and shares worksheets to help you do the same!

Neil Gaiman’s advice to writers from the Nerdist podcast:

 

John Ajvide Lindqvist on writing process:

 

My friend, Kim Fahner, contemplates her development as a writer.

Young readers prefer printed books. BoingBoing.

AussieWriter shares this infographic on writerly insults. Fun 🙂

Buzzfeed proposes 28 words that the English language should adopt.

MTV reports that the Game of Thrones series will “spoil” the Song of Ice and Fire books.

Entertainment Weekly posts this Outlander featurette in anticipation of next weekend’s return.

Outlander TV News from the UK premiere:

 

It was a writerly week!

See you on Thoughty Thursday!

Tipsday

Clean Reader, censorship, and political correctness

The big news of the week has been Clean Reader, which, despite the rumours, is still an app. Essentially, it’s an ereader that disguises what the creators of the app see as profanity.

There have been two camps among writers. One would rather their work not be read at all rather than have it read in an altered form, particularly when the alterations were made without the author’s consent. If the reader doesn’t like what the author writes, they have the right not to purchase or read it.

The other writerly camp concede that once the work is out in the world readers can and often do what they wish with it and as long as the author’s work is still being read and they are still being compensated for it, they’re okay with it (despite how repugnant they might find the practice of altering the work without consulting the author).

Here are some of the posts that have made it across my social media streams this week. (They’ll all appear again in my Tipsday post, BTW.)

As I mentioned on Facebook, on which I shared most of these, I’ll let you read through and decide what you think about Clean Reader for yourselves.

I will, however, share with you, why Clean Reader disturbs me.

It is censorship. No bones about it.

But censorship happens all the time in all of the arts, you say. This is true.

Profanity in television and movies is *bleeped* or dubbed when these shows are televised on network television during hours when impressionable young people might be watching.

There is a rating system for movies and while cinema employees may not strictly enforce it, they do have the right to turn away patrons if they are deemed too young to watch the movie.

Trigger warnings are plastered on music in various formats and there are usually “clean” versions of songs released for radio play.

Books are routinely banned because they are considered profane.

It was just a matter of time before categories for books (adult fiction, YA, children’s, etc.) became insufficient for some readers, or their parents.

I assume that Clean Reader is using the same conventions that allow the bleeping or dubbing of profanity in movies and music to justify the alteration of the ebooks they provide their readers.

It’s a choice and it’s a validated approach as much as I might disagree with it.

You might get the idea that I’m one of those writers in the first camp (above). You’d be right. If people don’t like what I write, they don’t have to read it. Not that every other word I write is a swear word, but I do write about sex, and body parts are also words that the creators of Clean Reader are not comfortable with.

It also smacks of political correctness (to me). It’s like some thought experiment. If we change the words, we protect those who might be harmed by them. If we change the words, we’ll prevent our children from becoming violent or otherwise behaving in a way we find unacceptable.

Big Brother, anyone? Maybe that’s overstating the issue, but I’ve always thought that common courtesy and thoughtfulness were more effective than political correctness.

Why does this concern me? Political correctness is another form of censorship. It all comes from the same, admittedly well-meaning, place, but truthfully, it doesn’t help anyone.

Those of you who have young children will know what happens when they learn their first swear word. Even if it’s something merely socially unacceptable like poopy-head or fart-face (kids often return from daycare or kindergarten with words like these) is it ever effective to forbid them from saying it?

If you’ve tried that strategy, you may have had a wee tyke running through your house shouting poopy-head at the top of her or his lungs. They do that.

More often, parents will have (sometimes repeated) discussions with their children to let them know that their words may make other people feel uncomfortable or hurt and that these words are not ones we should say without thinking about them and about the consequences of saying hurtful words to others.

Parents teach their children respect and courtesy. They teach their children to think before they speak. They teach their children about context and about human failings (you might hear Mommy or Daddy say a bad word when we’re really upset, but sometimes even we forget we shouldn’t say these things).

These early lessons can be the groundwork for more important issues that need to be discussed as children grow older. From bullying to bigotry, sexism to sexuality, words that some people find offensive are essential to these discussions.

We need to use our words, all of them, to provide our children with the tools that will help them mature into courteous and respectful people. We need to use sexually explicit terms to discuss the facts of life as well as alternative sexualities and the respect we all should have for them.

We can’t pretend vulgarity doesn’t exist. We can’t ignore bullying, discrimination, misogyny, or homophobia, and hope they’ll go away just because we don’t use “those words” anymore.

We need to teach people to be wise about their use of words.

I think that’s why Clean Reader disturbs me so much. It’s a dumbing down of language. Censorship of this kind is for people who think reading profanity will corrupt them. Censorship is for people who can’t or don’t want to trust their own judgement.

We can’t engage in meaningful discussion without words, and yes, that includes the bad ones.

It’s only my opinion, but I think my life would be diminished by the disappearance of profanity. If I’d never discovered the Shakespearean Insult Generator (and this is only one of many such sites) or Rogers Profanisaurus (they have an app now too), I would have laughed a lot less and my vocabulary would be significantly limited. Mind you, my sense of humour is distinctly scatological 🙂

I wouldn’t want to read, or write, in a world without profanity.

There are some books I’ve read and enjoyed very much that would not be affected at all by the censoring of profanity, but I couldn’t imagine enjoying Diana Gabaldon’s books (for example) half as much without it, nor would I appreciate someone editing out all the profanity in them.

If someone feels, however, that they want this service and that they can’t read books without it, I support their right to choose Clean Reader. I also pity them for feeling that Clean Reader was the only choice they could make.

Nerdmaste, my writerly peeps.

Muse-inks

Caturday Quickies: Other Writerly Goodness to share

In other writerly news

A couple of weeks ago, Mark Leslie contacted me about my submission to his Spooky Sudbury project which will be published through Dundurn Press later this year.  He’s going to include the piece I submitted 🙂

Last week, Sopphey Vance, editor of Enhance Magazine, advised that she was interested in one of my poems.

These were both submissions I had made last fall, while participating in Khara House’s October Submit-O-Rama challenge.  It’s wonderful to know that my efforts are bearing fruit.

On a slight downer, my submission to the League of Canadian Poets’ National Poetry Month Blog has not been accepted.  This is my fault.  I delayed in sending my poem in and they had too many submissions to post everything.  It’s a ‘live and learn’ moment.

Certified and certifiable

I found out the Monday following my return from Chatham, that I passed my certification (yippee!).  I am now a certified trainer through my employer.  This could open up several opportunities for me in coming months.

Also on the work front, my acting position as training coordinator has been extended through to August 31, 2013.  Given the chaos that is my portfolio right now, I’m not so certain that this was a wise move on the part of the powers that be (PTB), but I was happy to accept.

Monday, I’m heading down to Toronto again for a course in writing briefing notes.  This one I’m not facilitating.  Professional development rocks 😉

Platform impasse

WordPress

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

I’ve reached the anniversary date of my blog this month and with that have come some challenges that I hope very soon to turn into opportunities.

I have now passed my WordPress follower goal of 100.  I’m currently at 111 and am faced with the challenge of setting up a quarterly newsletter.  I’ve been dragging my heels on this, though, because …

I’m seriously considering migrating to WordPress.org from WordPress.com.  I can’t very well set up a newsletter on my current site and then leave it.

I’ve been reading up on the process of migration/blog set up through WPBeginner and Michael Hyatt.  I’m pretty certain I can make the leap, but I want to parse my posts first.  I need to ensure that my pictures are either my own, or provided courtesy of a commons license.  I want to edit some of my posts too, so that I can make sure that my best foot is put forward.  I know that few if any people will peruse the archives, but I want to be ready of they do.  This is going to take some time.

With the move, I’m also considering a change in theme/appearance.  This also deserves some careful consideration.

Do you have any suggestions for a new theme?  Any and all welcome in the comments below.

Alas, Google Reader, I knew him well

Only days after the announcement that Google Reader would be decommissioned in July, the option disappeared from my more + tab.  Not interested in spending the time trying to find a buried link, I decided to try Feedly.

Feedly Logo and iPhone App Design

Feedly Logo and iPhone App Design (Photo credit: imjustcreative)

So far, so good.  I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.

What I’m working on now

So … I’ve been mentioning for ever that I’m going to submit some more poetry.  I’m now thinking Sulphur will be one of those.  Maybe they’ll like the poem that the League passed on 😉

I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of Initiate of Stone, but since the beginning requires significant rewriting, this has not been easy.  The progress is painfully slow.

I’m having better luck with the short stories and hope to have them completed/revised in advance of their respective dues dates.

Just as a reminder: Writers of the Future closes April 1 and In Places Between April 4.

Recently, I became aware of the Rannu Fund prize.  Bonus: Cory Doctorow is one of the tie-breaking judges.

Conferences

Was looking at the CanWrite! conference this year and it looks quite good.  So good, I’ve just registered 🙂

My other goal is to attend the Surrey International Writers Conference.  Registration isn’t open yet, but I’ll keep watching.  Also, their annual writing contest opens April 1.

So there’s lots of Writerly Goodness going on.

What’s happening in your writerly life?

Caturday Quickies