Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Feb 19-25, 2023

We’re almost at the end of February. Prepare to welcome March with some informal writerly learnings!

Rachel Teferet offers a social media survival guide for writers. Then, JJ Graham helps you find a writing community as an introvert. Grace Bialecki: location, location, location. Next, Neil Chase lists his top five types of villains in literature. DIY MFA

Why apocalypse stories feel different now. Like Stories of Old

Porter Anderson’s hearing a lot of cyber rattling: when the bot chats. Then, Dave King writes the epilogue on prologues. Thomas Richards explains how to bring your characters to life by writing in three dimensions. Next, Heather Webb suggests some body and mind fitness for writers. Victoria Strauss points out some clauses to watch for: when your publishing contract raises a red flag. Writer Unboxed

Is R a vowel? Otherwords | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland offers more genre writing tips: how to write historical fiction. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman says creating a powerful author website will get the results you want. Then, Kris Maze poses this puzzle: retiring to write, or writing to retire (part 1). Ellen Buikema offers some more tips on writing science fiction (part 2). Writers in the Storm

The politics of loving the bad guy. Princess Weekes

Hank Quense explains book marketing in plain English. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Michelle Barker is getting back into the writing flow. Then, Marissa Graff lists four reasons your action-based scene is failing (and how to avoid it). Writers Helping Writers

Jane explains how authors can build relationships with independent bookstores. Jane Friedman

How to edit a novel. Reedsy

Jami Gold helps you figure out what point of view is best for you.

Tiffany Yates Martin wonders, are you “just”-ifying your writing? Fox Print Editorial

Dan Koboldt considers luck vs. talent vs. perseverance in publishing.

Chris Winkle helps you choose scenes to cover the right information. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes Star Trek’s seven worst antagonistic species. Mythcreants

Lavelle Porter presents an ode to Samuel Delaney. JSTOR Daily

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 11-17, 2022

Happy Hanukkah (ongoing), and happy solstice (tomorrow) for those who celebrate! Here’s my gift to you: informal writerly learnings. Yeah, I share them every week, and you know what, every week they’re gifts 🙂 Enjoy!

Ann Marie Nieves answers your book PR and marketing questions about what to do on a budget. Then, Kathleen McCleary is facing down fear. Jim Dempsey explains how to make the most of your writing goals. Then, Barbara Linn Probst takes a closer look at how writers use beta readers: who, when, why—and does it help? Writer Unboxed

Can all monsters be traced back to Tiamat? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Lori Freeland offers five tips to boost your professional writing cred. Then, Colleen M. Story explains how to decide what you really want from your writing career. Stefan Emunds helps you tap readers’ subconscious to engage them in your story. Writers in the Storm

Why death magic is evil. Tale Foundry

Beth Kephart presents a quiet manifesto: blurb matters. Then, Allison K. Williams shows you how writing your synopsis can fix your book. Eva Langston shares what she learned from 90 queries. Then, Sangeeta Mehta interviews Susan Chang and Julie Scheina about what you need to know before hiring a developmental editor. Jane Friedman

When the world becomes small. A philosophical turn. Ze Frank

Lucy V. Hay reveals how to use real life to inspire your fiction. Then, Jami Gold explains how and when to use foreshadowing. Writers Helping Writers

On her own site, Jami follows up by explaining the difference between foreshadowing and spoilers

Nathan Bransford shows you how to write a character who’s adrift.

E.J. Wenstrom shares four lessons learned over a decade of author platforming. Then, Sara Farmer shares her favorite mystery shows. Kaira Rouda shows you how to use a setting you know to set your characters free. Later in the week, Monica Cox shares five tips to get unstuck from the murky middle of your manuscript. DIY MFA

The hidden meaning in the humanity of others. Like Stories of Old

Adeena Mignogna exposes common misconceptions about satellite orbits. Science in Science Fiction | Dan Koboldt

Tiffany Yates Martin is showing up for the good stuff. Fox Print Editorial

Angie Hodapp shares seven tips for writing powerful endings. Pub Rants

What to do (and not do) with your NaNoWriMo novel. Reedsy

Chris Winkle unpacks five tropes that require low realism. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains why the Save the Cat! novel beat sheet won’t help you. Mythcreants

Angela Misri: Vivek Shraya proves kids’ books can help us explore messy truths. The Walrus

Thank you so much for visiting. It’s like your gift to me! And I appreciate it. I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 4-10, 2022

Welcome to the first full tipsday, post-NaNo 🙂 It’s time to stock up on informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

LA Bourgeois is dealing with ambiguity. Then, Richelle Lyn recommends planning early for New Year’s success. Lori Walker interviews Deeba Zargarpur about blending family trauma with the supernatural. Then Melanie Bell explains how to write a novel with alternating timelines. DIY MFA

The childless woman trope needs a serious update. The Take

Greer Macallister: on endings and non-endings. Tiffany Yates Martin shares more words you’re probably using wrong. Then, Donald Maass considers the eighth element. David Corbett shares some writing lessons from Jess Walter. Then, Kathryn Craft lists seven ways public readings can help your writing. Writer Unboxed

What kind of fencing club is this, Wednesday? Jill Bearup

Penny C. Sansevieri helps you create bonus content to double your reader engagement. Then, Janice Hardy shares three easy tips to help you revise your novel. Piper Bayard exposes honeypots and the honey trap (writing spies series). Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland shares 15 tips to create the perfect writing space. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Poisso exposes three action-reaction misfires that flatten your writing. Writers Helping Writers

How music brings mortals closer to gods. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Nathan Bransford: finding the courage to leap.

Becky Robinson explains how to bridge the gap between online and offline activities. Then, Ariel Curry helps you build your writing self-efficacy. Tiffany Yates Martin answers this question: what if you’re new to writing and don’t know how to fix things? Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin wonders, what is your Wendy? Fox Print Editorial

Three act structure: writing a showstopping ending. Reedsy

Steven Fritz reveals radiation hazards in space and how to mitigate them. Science in Science Fiction | Dan Koboldt

Chris Winkle lists five common character arc blunders. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains why Save the Cat! can’t write a novel. Mythcreants

Julianna Kim: a new author tweeted about a low book signing turnout and famous authors commiserated. NPR

Oxford selects its word of the year 2022: goblin mode.

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darn it, you made me care. Jill Bearup

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

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

Seven character development exercises. Reedsy

Elizabeth Spann Craig: stress and writing.

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

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

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

Nathan Bransford: breaks, permission, and writing.

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

This story will save your imagination. Tale Foundry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 8-14, 2022

Ah, Tuesday. My favourite day of the week, when I get to share my favourite informal writerly learnings of the week with you 🙂 Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland explains the role of the antagonist in story structure (part 2 of 2). Helping Writers Become Authors

Sophie Masson: the hardworking magic of book design. Then, Jim Dempsey considers the creativity of emotions. Juliet Marillier wants a helping hand: supporting your fellow writers. Then, Kathryn Craft gives you six hall passes for grammar un-school. David Corbett is writing wrongs: the color of my low-down, dirty vote. Yuvi Zalkow: gatekeepers and creativity. Writer Unboxed

Does this make my hammer look big? Jill Bearup

Melinda VanLone continues her book cover 101: mystery/thriller. Then, Kathleen Baldwin shares five secret ingredients for writing a killer teen novel. Later in the week, William F. Wu wonders if you’re a plotter, pantser, or … roadster? Writers in the Storm

A quick tip for outliners. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Heather Davis explains the difference between plot and story and why you need both. Anne Carley: your journal as time machine. Jane Friedman

Reading like a writer. Reedsy

Roz Morris: writers, can you feel it? How to use gut feeling to guide your writing. Nail Your Novel

Richelle Lyn shares her insights on when to formalize your business entity. Then, Amanda Polick lists 25 tips for pitching, writing, and being published in magazines. Catherine Drake explains how setting can serve as a catalyst for story. Later in the week, EC Hanes shares five ways to tell enough without telling all. DIY MFA

Ember Randall: self-defense vs. martial arts. Then, Sarah J. Sover is making magic systems stronger with science. Dan Koboldt

How Beauty and the Beast’s Belle launched the bookworm princess hero. The Take

Angela Ackerman says, if you want readers to connect with your character, include this. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin: prioritizing your life. Fox Print Editorial

The crime genre: justice and injustice; stories of mystery and intrigue. The structure genre: arch-plot, anti-plot, and mini-plot. Story Grid

Chris Winkle wants you to use your story’s premise to create novelty. Then, Oren Ashkenazi wonders how useful Pixar’s rules of storytelling are (part 1). Mythcreants

Gaslighting: narcissists and tampering with reality. Kristen Lamb

11 tips to take your short stories to the next level. Shaelin Writes

Bill Sanders: welcome to Greater Sudbury, where art comes to die. The Sudbury Star

Sudbury Theatre Centre not transparent with new direction, say critics. CBC

James Whitbrook announces that Ncuti Gatwa is Doctor Who’s new Doctor. Gizmodo

Thanks for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you found something to support you current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Thoughty Thursday: Popping your mental corn, Feb 20-26, 2022

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

Liz Baker: jury finds Amhaud Arbery’s three killers guilty of federal hate crimes. NPR

David K. Li reports on the sentencing of the officer who killed Daunte Wright. NBC News

Where are the missing Black towns? Every How Did We Get Here, part 3. The Amber Ruffin Show

Sophie Hurwitz: LGBTQ+ Ghanaian refugee faces “cruel” deportation after asylum claim denied in Canada. Xtra*

Olivia B. Waxman and Arpita Aneja reveal the legacy of the Reconstruction Era’s Black political leaders. Time

Cathy Free: she found her father’s segregated schoolhouse decaying in the Virginia woods. Now it’s on its way to being saved. The Washington Post

Vladimir Isachenkov, Yuras Karmenau, Aamer Madhani, and Eric Tucker report that Biden and Putin signal bigger confrontation ahead over Ukraine. CTV News

Alexandru Micu: the Dunning-Kruger Effect, or why the ignorant think they’re experts. ZME Scince

Clark Quinn critiques an article on microlearning: good and bad advice all in one! Learnlets

Maya Wei-Haas: Mars rover takes big steps in its most important mission. National Geographic

Stunning, 360-degree view of Mars from Perseverance Rover.

Rebecca Shedd sheds (sorry, not sorry) light on 15th Century clothing for writers. Then, Shannon Ferretti says it’s like learning to ride a horse. Dan Koboldt

Dominique Potvin considers altruism in birds: magpies outwit scientists by removing each other’s tracking devices. Corvids rule! The Conversation

Florence + the Machine – King

Thanks for spending time with me. I hope you took away something to inspire a future creative project.

This weekend, I should be posting my next chapter update for February.

Until then, be well and stay safe; be kind and stay strong. The world needs your stories (now, more than ever)!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 21-27, 2021

It’s almost the end of March (!) and time to get your informal writerly learnings on 🙂

Erika Liodice shares some lessons found in a lost year. Heather Webb: your writing process says you’re a failure. Later in the week, John J. Kelley shows you what happens when everything changes—capturing profound character moments. Then, Desmond Hall shares his Desmond’s Drops for March. Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup analyzes the Max vs. Furiosa fight from Mad Max: Fury Road.

K.M. Weiland continues her archetypal character arcs series with part seven: the mage arc. Helping Writers Become Authors

In search of absolute beauty. Like Stories of Old

Janice Hardy points out two words that lead to a stronger novel. Then, she explains how to show (and not tell) without raising your word count. OMG, do I ever need this! Fiction University

Shaelin helps you deal with creative slumps, writer’s block, and low motivation. Favourite quote: “That’s the bitch of capitalism, baby!” Shaelin Writes

Lisa Cooper Ellison wants you to beware of chapter-by-chapter critiques. Then, Susan DeFreitas lists three pitfalls when writing from your own life. Later in the week, Sharon Oard Warner helps you find your way to the end. Jane Friedman

Dr. Erica Brozovsky explores the unexpected origins of the word monster (w/ Dr. Zarka). Otherwords | PBS Storied

Elizabeth Spann Craig helps you handle perfectionism. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

Becca Puglisi asks, what is your character’s emotional shielding and why does it matter? Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains how to write clear physical description.

Savannah Cordova busts some of the biggest myths in the publishing industry. Then, Marina Barakatt recounts how the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl takes over comics: not just dudes in tights. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Simon Stephenson about voice, emotion, and metastory in a “mistopia.” Then, Stephanie Kane wants you to look at the bigger story. Gracie Bialecki shares five ways to have a healthy relationship of your writing group. DIY MFA

The serial killer trope, explained. The Take

Lisa Hall-Wilson shows you two ways to help readers connect emotionally with your characters. Later in the week, Ellen Buikema lists ten ideas for inspiring your writing with music. Writers in the Storm

Cordia Pearson: horses as change agents in fantasy. Dan Koboldt

Chris Winkle explains how to pace your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi shares six principles for becoming a better worldbuilder. Mythcreants

David Shield: this Saskatchewan college is home to some of the rarest books in the world. CBC

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Book review of Putting the Science in Fiction

Another overdue review.

What Amazon says:

Science and technology have starring roles in a wide range of genres–science fiction, fantasy, thriller, mystery, and more. Unfortunately, many depictions of technical subjects in literature, film, and television are pure fiction. A basic understanding of biology, physics, engineering, and medicine will help you create more realistic stories that satisfy discerning readers.

This book brings together scientists, physicians, engineers, and other experts to help you:

  • Understand the basic principles of science, technology, and medicine that are frequently featured in fiction.
  • Avoid common pitfalls and misconceptions to ensure technical accuracy.
  • Write realistic and compelling scientific elements that will captivate readers.
  • Brainstorm and develop new science- and technology-based story ideas.

Whether writing about mutant monsters, rogue viruses, giant spaceships, or even murders and espionage, Putting the Science in Fiction will have something to help every writer craft better fiction.

Putting the Science in Fiction collects articles from “Science in Sci-fi, Fact in Fantasy,” Dan Koboldt’s popular blog series for authors and fans of speculative fiction (http://dankoboldt.com/science-in-scifi/). Each article discusses an element of sci-fi or fantasy with an expert in that field. Scientists, engineers, medical professionals, and others share their insights in order to debunk the myths, correct the misconceptions, and offer advice on getting the details right.

PuttingTheScienceInFiction

My thoughts:

I subscribe to Dan Koboldt’s newsletter and refer to his site as a resource for research. When I learned that he was putting some of the essays from his site into a book, I had to buy it. Now I have a great reference on my shelf which is a starting point for research.

The book is divided into sections that cover biomedical topics, including death, genetics (Koboldt’s specialization), neuroscience, wildlife biology, artificial intelligence and other computer-based technology, Earth and the planets of our solar system, astronomy and space flight, and, finally, the future of space travel and exoplanets.

Chuck Wendig writes the foreword, on the advice to write what you know and what it really means (do your research). In his signature playful tone, Wendig clarifies the advice and demonstrates how he’s applied it in his own writing life, finishing by calling Putting the Science in Fiction a great launching pad for essential research.

The contributors themselves write with humour—find out why, as a woman working in a lab, you should never wear thong underwear—and draw on their personal expertise for an enjoyable read. In the chapters addressing space travel, they reveal their geek roots, honouring the books, television shows, and movies that inspired them while at the same time pointing out the technical misconceptions such media promote.

Putting the Science in Fiction is a great reference for any writer’s shelf.

My rating:

Four stars out of five.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 14-20, 2018

Another lovely week filled with informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland explores why writers cherish language. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy stops by Writers in the Storm: plot backward to move forward with your novel.

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers five tips on writing a trauma backstory. Writers in the Storm

Roz Morris explains how to outline your novel without killing the fun of writing it. Nail Your Novel

Lisa Cron tells you how to nail your first three pages. Writers Helping Writers

Barbara Poelle answers another funny you should ask question: how fast-paced should a thriller be? Writer’s Digest

Janice Hardy tells you what you need to know about internalization. Fiction University

Rachael Stephen: how to write when you don’t want to. #preptober

 

Sara Letourneau helps you let go of perfectionism the DIY MFA way. DIY MFA

Dan Koboldt stops by Jane Friedman’s blog to explain how to research your writing to ensure technical accuracy. Also, check out Dan’s new book: Putting the Science in Fiction. I’m a fan 🙂

Kathleen McCleary: it takes a village. Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson wonders, but how much are you reading? Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle presents six wordcraft questions writers fight over. Then, Oren Ashkenazi points out seven common problems with speculative fiction technology. Mythcreants

Cold Crash Pictures debunks the four most annoying scientific inaccuracies in film.

 

Jenna Moreci lists her worst sci-fi tropes ever.

 

And Cold Crash Pictures tackles four more sexist tropes.

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something helpful in this curation.

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 22-28, 2018

Happy Beltane, y’all. It’s May Day!

Never worry, never fear, Underdog your informal writerly learnings are here!

K.M. Weiland continues her ultimate first chapter checklist series with part three: introducing the story. Helping Writers Become Authors

Kathryn Craft wonders if you’re emotionally ready for a developmental edit? Writers in the Storm

Catherine McKenzie: theft by finding. Writer Unboxed

Barbara O’Neal posts about the importance of a private writing habit. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb is considering good advice, bad advice, and figuring out how to write through the “shoulds.” Writer Unboxed

Erika Liodice helps you find your way back to writing. Writer Unboxed

Dan Koboldt explains how you can level up as a writer with peer critique. Writer’s Digest

Sara Letourneau: how themes are presented in short fiction. DIY MFA

In my latest column for DIY MFA, I delve into the possibilities for future space travel.

Joanna Penn discusses comparisonitis, or “everyone else is better than me” syndrome. The Creative Penn

Nathan Bransford tells you everything you need to know about novel word counts. Later in the week, he explains why writers should perfect their first thirty pages.

Cyndy Etler drops by Jane Friedman’s blog to explain how to become a bestseller through money, luck, or work (mostly work).

Chris Winkle helps you distinguish between structured and unstructured advice. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb offers some perspective on self-editing your dialogue and characters.

Chris Yogerst explores how Stan Lee became the man behind Marvel. Los Angeles Review of Books

Sarah Laskow invites you to go medieval by attaching a book to your belt. Atlas Obscura

Be well until Thoughty Thursday!

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