Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 10-16, 2020

Here we are on Friday eve. You’ve almost made it through the week!

It’s time to reward yourself and get your mental corn popping.

Ashlyn Davis: this year’s Cannes and Sundance film festivals will stream online for free. Here’s how you can watch them. Secret LA

Jessica Tomberlin wonders, what is chronobiology? JSTOR Daily

Rachel Hahn wants you to meet Moms 4 Housing. Vogue

Andy Greenburg introduces you to Marcus Hutchins, the hacker who saved the internet. Wired

Dr. Emily Zarka looks into the urban legend of the slender man, a monster created on the internet. Monstrum

Katherine J. Wu explains how old math reveals new secrets about the monkeyflower. National Geographic

Over 500 beautiful manuscripts from the Islamic world now digitized and free for download. Open Culture

SciShow Space looks at how the alignments of the planets affect Earth.

L’Oreal Thompson Payton expounds on the art of saying “no.” Shondaland

Allison Miller: Joan of Arc, for fascists and feminists. JSTOR Daily

Sharon Blackie: the ancient practice of marrying the land. UpLift

29 things only people who collect pebbles will understand. And click through to hear the essay: cornerstones. BBC Radio 3

Lauren L. Hill reveals the founding mothers of professional surfing. gestalten

Maria Popova shares stunning 19th-century illustrations from the world’s first encyclopedia of the Great Barrier Reef. Brain Pickings

SciShow introduces us to the jellybot.

Ben Taub goes thirty-six thousand feet under the sea. The explorers who set one of the last meaningful records on earth. The New Yorker

Molly Glick: the Great Lakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and we’re not sure what will happen next. Popular Science

True facts about the batfish. Ze Frank

Morgan Olsen shares the Shedd Aquarium’s birthday party for Yaku, their oldest sea otter, replete with seafood cake. Otterly adorable! Time Out

If you’ve been seeing crows everywhere, this is what it means. The Minds Journal

Sara Barnes introduces us to the closest living relative to the dodo, the Nicobar pigeon. Beautiful! My Modern Met

Thank you for visiting and I hope you found something to inspire your next creative project.

Until next tipsday, stay safe and be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories 🙂

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 10-16, 2020

Welcome to week nine of #pandemiclife.

Here in Ontario, the Premiere has authorized some businesses to reopen. Street-facing retail stores that can deliver curb-side service. Veterinarians, groomers, and pet boarding businesses. Essential-adjacent health support services. My mother-in-law will be able to get her housekeeper back—physically distanced, of course. And golf courses. And cottage country (which really doesn’t want to be open, from what I’ve been hearing).

Will we have another spike? Will we have to dial back? I’m maintaining the status quo. Kind of. I’ll be delivering virtual training over the next couple weeks. It’s going to be interesting. And … I’ve already been asked to deliver the next session, which is pretty much back to back, because there aren’t enough trainers who are comfortable with the platform, or even virtual training, to spread out the burden.

There are apparently five such courses to be delivered between now and September. I hesitate to be on the hook for all of them. But this may be my work life, moving forward.

I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, please enjoy some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland uses a brave critique volunteer’s work to discuss seven possible hooks for your opening chapter. Helping Writers Become Authors

K.B. Jensen explains how to throw a virtual book launch using Facebook Live. Then, Chantel Hamilton provides a comprehensive guide to finding, hiring, and working with an editor. Jane Friedman

Shaelin Bishop continues her series on developing a novel with part 4: form, style, and voice. Reedsy

Joanna Penn interviews Larry Brooks about how to develop strong fiction ideas. The Creative Penn

Leanne Sowul touts the power of paying attention. Later in the week, Sarah Fraser lists five signs you’re ready to work with an editor. DIY MFA

Jim Dempsey helps you decide, your words, or your editor’s? Juliet Marillier: consolation or challenge? Kathryn Craft shares eight ways to unblock your scene’s potential. Writer Unboxed

September C. Fawkes explains how plotlines add dimension. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold wonders whether breaking the rules is easy or hard.

Jenna Moreci says imposter syndrome sucks, but you don’t.

Nathan Bransford tells you everything authors need to know about dialogue tags.

Aliza Mann explains how to get back on track when all your planning fails. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb wants you to create a story-worthy problem that will captivate an audience.

How the strong black woman trope has evolved. The Take

Barbara Linn Probst lists three motivations to write: artistry, identity, and legacy. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle says, no. “Art” does not entitle you to spread harmful messages. Then, Oren Ashkenazi gets facetious with seven musts for dominating a fantasy battle. Mythcreants

Richard Marpole goes for a walk among the trees: a look at forests in myth and media. Fantasy Faction

Esther Jones: science fiction builds resilience in young readers. Phys.org

Simon Winchester: has “run” run amok? It has 645 meanings … so far. NPR

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ve taken away something to support your current work in progress (or planning/development of same).

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

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 3-9, 2020

It’s thoughty Thursday, and you know what that means. Tomorrow is Friday! You’ve made it through another week. Now it’s time to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Mary Katherine Keown reports on the little library that’s converted to a free seed distribution point for Sudbury residents. The Sudbury Star

Alex Morrs: how rebel botanists are using graffiti to name forgotten plants. The Guardian

Matthew Taub recounts the life and fiery death of the world’s largest treehouse. Atlas Obscura

Sarah Regan offers a beginner’s guide to reading palms. In case you’ve run out of yeast. Mind Body Green

SciShow Psych explores how physicists are helping neuroscientists understand the brain better.

Erika Hayasaki goes undercover with Marisol Nichols in a child predator sting. Marie Claire

Chi Luu: the linguistics of “cooties” and other weird things kids say. JSTOR Daily

Madison Feller: the youngest person to travel to every country has created your future bucket list. Elle

Murcury is so hot, it’s making ice. SciShow Space

Umair Irfan reports on the arrival of the giant Asian hornet, AKA the murder hornet, and its target is honey bees. Vox

For some perspective, Yvette Brend: “Murder Hornet” risk overblown according to BC’s top bee expert. CBC

Mattie Cook shares all the cuteness: the Miami Zoo’s meerkat pups. Totally the Bomb

Canadian photographer, Dennis Fast, captures polar bears enjoying a summertime field of flowers. The Mind Circle

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you found something to inspire your next creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 3-9, 2020

Even as various provincial governments consider “opening up,” we are becoming aware of reports from China and South Korea that their attempts to do the same are resulting in another spike in infections and deaths. While I think that, with testing and tracking and sufficient PPE, a certain degree of business resumption can occur, I’m worried that the testing, tracking, and PPE are not in place as yet.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, this week was another rich one for informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Sara Letourneau explains how your protagonist’s motivations influence your story’s themes. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Helen J. Darling for an inside look at self-publishing. Pamela Gay shares five ways to write about something difficult. DIY MFA

Sonja Yoerg encourages you to give your story the time of day. Donald Maass: the meaning of meaning. Julie Carrick Dalton considers the earned plot twist. Jennie Nash: the secret to more efficient revision is pattern recognition. Writer Unboxed

How to develop a novel, part 3: plot & world. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford shows you how to weave exposition naturally into your story. Later in the week, he suggests giving your protagonist a mini-quest before the plot takes off.

Aziraphale and Crowley share a message with the world.

Tiffany Yates Martin wants you to give your characters agency. Then, Susan DeFreitas serves up the next part of her developing a writing practice series: captivating. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains how to improve your story with action beats. Later in the week, she wonders, do your characters take on lives of their own?

The Take explains the woman-child trope.

Joanna Penn shares her self-editing process. The Creative Penn

Meg LaTorre explains how to juggle writing and parenting. Writers Helping Writers

Fae Rowan show you how small decisions can make big story impact. Julie Glover: in defense of editing as you go. Writers in the Storm

Juliette Dunn profiles five characters coded as autistic. Mythcreants

What English does that no other languages do. NativLang

Eileen Hunt Botting introduces us to Mary Shelley’s journals of sorrow. The Times Literary Supplement

I’ve been trying to avoid a lot of overt covid-19 material, but Kim Stanley Robinson’s article is too amazing not to share. Coronavirus is rewriting our imaginations. The New Yorker

And this: Sabrina Orah Mark. Fuck the Bread. The Bread is over. On making your own fairy tale, embarking on your own epic tasks, and finding meaning. Beautiful and wrenching and ultimately hopeful. The Paris Review

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ve taken away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 26-May 2, 2020

We’re heading toward the end of another week. Get ready for the weekend by getting your mental corn popping. Or just entertain yourself. There’s never any pressure with thoughty Thursday 🙂

May first was Beltane. Claire Schofield explains when the Gaelic May Day festival is, blessings, rituals, and pagan origins. The Scotsman

Rosie Flanagan considers the impossible architecture of dreams. gestalten

How science is trying to understand consciousness. SciShow

Cynthia Gorney reveals the funky science of yeast, the gassy microbe behind your bread. National Geographic

Laura Regensdorf interviews Jessica Meir about returning home to a completely different planet. Vanity Fair

Carol Off interviews David George Haskell, who says trees have their own songs. CBC, “As It Happens”

Dave Deibert reports on the first bison calf born on Wanuskewin land since 1876. Saskatoon StarPhoenix

I’m just a wee bit sceptical about this one, but TimeOut claims that animals are reclaiming cities now that humans are staying inside more.

Karen McVeigh: silence is golden for whales as lockdown reduces ocean noise. The Guardian

True facts about killer surfing snails. Ze Frank

Lydia Schrandt lists ten wild animal cams that will take you on safari. USA Today 10 Best

Michael Waters explains why your pet is acting like a weirdo now that you’re working from home. Vox

Kermit – The Rainbow Connection. The Muppets

Thanks for stopping by and a hope that you’ve taken away something to inspire your next creative project, even if it’s in the percolation stage. Percolation is important.

Until next Tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

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

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 19-25, 2020

I hope you’re bearing up in these surreal times. Try not to feel pressured to learn a new language or finish that novel or whatever weighs on your creative conscience. Interest will return when it will, the words will sing their siren song again. It just may take some time. Be kind to yourself. We’re all struggling.

While you adjust to our changing circumstances, don’t forget to feed your brain with some interesting stuff. Get your mental corn popping with thought Thursday 🙂

50 things we’ve learned in the 50 years since the first Earth Day. The Smithsonian Magazine

And, while Earth Day was last week, there’s no reason for you not to extend the celebration. Kaitlin Thomas lists 20 ground-breaking nature documentaries you should watch. TV Guide

It’s also the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s okay to be smart celebrates with a fly-through of some of the best images. And a lovely poem by Dr. Katie Mack!

Kristine Wen shows you how to cook and bake with lavender without making your food taste like grandma’s soap. Chow Hound

Kier Holmes explains how to use coffee grounds in your garden. Gardenista

Olivia Kelly is watching Dublin bloom: city thrives under new “wilding” policy. The Irish Times

Jelisa Castrodale reports on the 1,000-year-old mill that’s resumed production due to lack of flour. Food & Wine

Sarah Wells: tech eroded sleep quality in the 1800s. Can tech restore it now? About biphasic sleep, the advent of electricity, and sleep trackers. Inverse

Katie Falkingham reveals the strict and secret world of bicycle racing in Japan. BBC

Amanda Capritto says, this is the best time of day to exercise (backed by science). Spoiler: it’s any time you can bloody well fit it in 🙂 Cnet

Will Bardenwerper: army ranger school is a laboratory of human endurance. Outside Online

Riley Black explains why bats are one of evolution’s greatest puzzles. The Smithsonian Magazine

Zoe Denenberg wonders why dogs walk in circles before they lie down. Southern Living

Thanks for visiting. I hope you took away something to inspire your next creative project (even if it stays in percolation mode for a while).

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 19-25, 2020

Sunday (April 26th) marked one month since I started working from home and a little over six weeks since covid-19 was declared a pandemic and physical distancing measures were put in place. In that time, several of the small businesses and independent workers whose services I used have shut down operations. This past week, one of those small businesses made the decision to close permanently.

I understand the decision and wish the two wonderful businesswomen all the best, but it makes me sad that they were forced to the extremity. Unfortunately, none of the measures the government offered for small businesses were appropriate for them. I worry that more small businesses will follow suit.

This has been a trying time for everyone for a variety of reasons. Take care of yourselves and take some time to enjoy these informal writerly learnings.

Jan O’Hara: turning points (or, how not to kill your partner during covid-19 lockdown). Dave King discusses the practice novel (also called the shelf novel or trunk novel—scarier words were never writ). Anne Greenwood Brown reveals the science behind the meet-cute. Heather Webb explains how to find and hone your author voice. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi offers nine ways to originalize your story. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin starts a new series about developing a novel. Part one: concept and idea. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland lists four ways writing improves your relationship with yourself. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn talks to Gail Carriger about building a unique author brand. The Creative Penn

Susan DeFreitas continues her series on developing a writing practice with part four: easy. Jane Friedman

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains what emotional context is and why your story needs it. Later in the week, Angela Ackerman shows you how to describe a location you’ve never visited. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold helps you use scene and sequel better.

Chris Winkle lists five common dialogue problems and how to fix them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi digs into the world building of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire. Mythcreants

How the manic pixie dream girl has evolved. The Take

And the crazy woman.

Maria Popova introduces us to The Lost Words: an illustrated dictionary of poetic spells reclaiming the language of nature. Brain Pickings

Kate Yoder considers the words this unprecedented time of change have brought into our lexicon. Grist

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

Until next time, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends.

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 12-18, 2020

Again, I’ve assembled a variety of resources. Some will help you understand what may be happening to you as you physically distance; some will offer some virtual experiences to help fill the extra hours (if you have them); some are the usual interesting articles and posts that will get your mental corn popping.

Brit Dawson explains why we’re all having bizarrely vivid dreams in pandemic lockdown. Dazed

Tanner Saunders compiles a list of 100+ fun things to do at home right now. Then, Evie Carrick shares 13 virtual train rides from around the world. Travel+Leisure

The Toronto Zoo offers online animal streams and educational resources. Durham Radio News

And … watch the Stratford Festival’s YouTube channel for Shakespeare!

Alex Beggs helps you get into making your own pasta. In case you’re tired of baking or have baked yourself into a sugar coma/larger size. Bon Appetit

Monstrum: The Jinn

Ralph Jones interviews Arthur Brand, the world’s greatest art detective. BBC

Matthew Wills: who were the ladies of Llangollen? JSTOR Daily

Emma Taggart: NYC parks are using a designer’s tree font to plant secret messages with trees. My Modern Met

Why the heck are we ticklish? It’s Okay to be Smart

The Mind Circle shares 18 photos that prove the capybara can befriend anyone. ‘Cause we can all use a little calming capy.

Adorbs pictures of dogs (and cockatoos and cats) before and after being called a good boy. Sad and Useless

SciShow explains the delightful mutation that defines Siamese cat appearance.

Thanks for the visit. I hope you take away something to support you in this time of physical distancing, to inspire your next creative project, or to entertain you.

Until next tipsday, stay safe and be well, be kind, and stay strong (even if you don’t think you can). The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 12-18, 2020

I hope everyone is staying safe and keeping well. Here’s your weekly dose of informal writerly learnings to help fill some of your time (I know you’re all doing what you can to keep yourselves occupied).

Helen J. Darling says that if you’re finding it hard to write, try keeping a pandemic journal. Sara Farmer considers fiction from Daphne du Maurier to Megan Abbott: the gothic horror of womanhood. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Jeff Garvin about dismantling the stigma of mental illness. DIY MFA

Lori Freeland helps you understand point of view: P-O-What? Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland explains how to get some writing done: discipline vs. enthusiasm. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jim Dempsey offers a simple guide to symbolism in stories. Kathleen McCleary wants you to fuel your writing with feeling. Barbara Linn Probst shares five ways to light the spark of a novel. Writer Unboxed

Sacha Black wants you to breathe life into your prose with the sense of touch. Writers Helping Writers

Specificity and concrete language. Shaelin Writes

Susan DeFreitas shares part three of her developing a writing practice series: important.  Then, Mathina Calliope reveals the easy-to-fix tense problem that might be tripping up your readers. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains the difference between passive and active voice: was and not was. Later in the week, she wonders if pandemic anxiety is forcing everyone to count their spoons.

Chris Winkle breaks down act 3 of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at six magic systems that need stricter limits. Mythcreants

Writing fight scenes. Hello, Future Me

Chuck Wendig writes about being broken in half but wanting to be whole. Terribleminds

Steve Toase confronts the default: portraying homelessness in fantasy and science fiction. Tor.com

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you take away something that will support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday2019