Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 28-Feb 3, 2018

Looking for your informal writerly learnings? Why, they’re right here 🙂

K.M. Weiland shows you four ways to become a better reader. Helping Writers Become Authors

Bryn Greenwood: sometimes it’s just business. Writer Unboxed

Steven James goes from 2000 to 300—why you’re writing too much. I might argue the headline. It’s not that we’re writing too much, but that we’ve lost sight of the reason we’re writing in the first place. The seductive “ding” of gamification has hit writers square in the forehead. Writer Unboxed

Tracy Hahn-Burkett explains what to do when your creativity hits the wall. Writer Unboxed

Catherine McKenzie asks, can I jump on the bandwagon? More importantly, if you can, should you? Writer Unboxed

Cathy Yardley wants you to think about what really matters to your audience. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt: foreshadowing vs. callbacks. Writer Unboxed

Angela Quarles is evaluating sexual tension on the sentence level. Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen shares five writing lessons from Groundhog Day. Writers in the Storm

A.K. Perry helps you write an exciting first chapter. DIY MFA

Angela Ackerman explains the role of emotional wounds within character arc. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy wonders, is your novel all premise and no plot? Fiction University

Kristen Lamb says that goofing off is good for you. Then, she helps you build great stories to endure the ages.

Chris Winkle is creating a compelling romance. Mythcreants

Mary Robinette Kowal’s Ask a Puppet, episode 3.

 

Diana Gabaldon demonstrates how she crafts a sentence.

 

Jerry Jenkins compiles a list of 41 tips experts wish they’d known as beginners.

Neil Gaiman presents the lifetime achievement award to Ursula K. Le Guin at the National Book Awards.

Julie Beck: why we forget most of the books we read. The Atlantic

Alberto Manguel elucidates on the art of unpacking a library. The Paris Review

Annika Burgess introduces us to a new literary map exhibit: charting the geography of classic literature. Atlas Obscura

Alexander Zawacki looks at how a library handles a rare and deadly book of wallpaper samples. Atlas Obscura

20 historical words we might want to revive.

 

Hope you found something that tickled.

See you Thursday for some thoughtiness 🙂

Be well until then.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 30-May 6, 2017

Pleased as punch to present your informal writerly learnings for the week … and a little too fond of alliteration 😀

K.M. Weiland continues her most common writing mistakes series with part 59: overly complex plots. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate helps you write in an authentic historical voice.

Jess Lourey guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: pantser or plotter—deciding which can save your writing life.

Then, Anne Carley guest posts: going public by design. Are you clear on your writer persona?

Orly Konig Lopez: how to handle accolades. Writers in the Storm

Fae Rowan shares eight easy ways your characters can show love. Writers in the Storm

Julie Glover teaches you to embrace your authentic writing voice. Writers in the Storm

Greer Mcallister says, yes, your novel has a message. Writer Unboxed

Sonja Yoerg rattles the cup for blurbs. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass writes of spells, palls, and poisoned apples (and what they mean to your characters). Writer Unboxed

Anna Elliot: bad writing habits and how to break them. Writer Unboxed

Writing coach Michael Hauge returns to Writers Helping Writers: if you want to grow as a writer, transform your critique group.

Janice Hardy shows you six ways to identify a contrived plot. Fiction University

Following up on her post about experimenting with minimalism, Bess Cozby offers three tips for trying it out yourself. DIY MFA

G. Myrthil shares eight reasons adults read young adult novels. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Katherine Neville for DIY MFA radio.

A rant about men who write women as sexual objects. Hilarious. And sad, because it’s true 😦 But alas! The creature grows degenerate.

Sarah Gailey: American history is a work of fiction. Tor.com

Helena Kelly exposes the many ways in which we are wrong about Jane Austen. Literary Hub

Sarah Lyall is home alone with the ghost of Emily Dickenson. The New York Times

General Leia Organa is the hero we need now. Anne Theriault for The Establishment.

David Emery shares the real deal on Peter S. Beagle’s ongoing legal battle. Snopes

Gail Harding reports that Diana Gabaldon may include PEI in a future Outlander novel. CBC

Because Twin Peaks is coming back:

 

Dan Auty takes a look at the new Twin Peaks trailer. Gamespot

Emily Asher-Perrin reviews episode 2 of Doctor Who: “Thin Ice” is the best Doctor Who episode in years. Tor.com

Vince Mancini praises Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2. UPROXX

The Dark Tower trailer 🙂

 

Then, Katharine Trendacosta unpacks all the secrets in the trailer for i09.

Aaaaand—The Defenders trailer. Netflix

 

Wowsers! I hope something in this mix gave you the tools you needed to take your craft to the next level, or at least the next version. Writer 1.1, anyone? I have to admit, some days it feels like writer 0.1 for me 😛

Be well until thoughty Thursday arrives to pop your mental corn (A.K.A. inspire you) 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 28-July 4, 2015

Another bumper crop of Writerly Goodness. I guess you can tell where my head is these days, eh?

Will a newly consolidated Penguin Random House weaken or save Canadian publishing? The Globe and Mail.

Chapters Indigo to carry more lifestyle products. Is this a good thing for our national bookseller? The Province.

Russell Smith writes about how to publish a book in Canada. The Globe and Mail.

Apple loses its appeal and ebook decision is confirmed. Publishers Weekly.

K.M. Weiland shares three ways you can make writing your novel easier.

Level up your fiction with dramatic irony. Katie’s Wedneday post (what, no vlog? Nope, but the post is just as good).

Nina Munteanu writes on the topic of exposition.

How Veronica Sicoe brainstorms her story ideas into working concepts.

What are three signs that your novel has too many characters and what can you do about it? Roz Morris helps you Nail Your Novel.

Donald Maass contributed this piece on openings to Writer Unboxed. Intrigue vs. engagement? As usual, Don argues for a healthy balance of both 🙂

I may have posted this before, but it’s good advice, so here you go: How to know when to stop editing and move on. The Write Practice.

Chris Winkle posts about the differences between writing a short story and writing a novel. Mythcreants.

Steven Pressfield discusses the writer’s skill.

Ruth Harris writes about the care and feeding of your muse on Anne R. Allen’s blog.

Enough is a wretched concept. Delilah S. Dawson.

Are perfectly micromanaged worlds utopian or dystopian? Veronica Sicoe considers the question on her blog.

An interview with Douglas Smith. Fantasy Fiction Focus.

Charlie Gilkey interviews Ali Luke on The Creative Giant podcast.

Which books didn’t change your life? The Guardian.

What Zack Handlen learned from rereading The Stand. i09.

50 years on, how Dune changed the world. The Guardian.

Reading Canada with SFF legends, eh? Beauty in Ruins.

The Wizard of Oz and Age of Ultron mash up you didn’t know you needed. i09.

Advantageous is an insanely good movie that everyone should watch. Katherine Trendacosta for i09.

Check out theses fifteen TV series that reinvented science fiction in the past decade. i09.

Diana Gabaldon shared this two part interview from a few years back on Writer Unboxed. Good stuff 🙂 Here’s part 1 and part 2.

A first look at Outlander season two: Jamie and Claire in Paris. Entertainment Weekly.

Hang in there until Thoughty Thursday, peeps. I’ll be back with more curation for you then.

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 12-18, 2015

How K.M. Weiland uses Scrivener to outline her novels.

Katie’s Wednesday vlog discusses how to help your readers love an unlikable character.

Roz Morris shares some common errors indie authors make in their self-published work.

Therese Walsh posts about finding the time to write (part 3 of her multitasking series) on Writer Unboxed.

Suzanne Alyssa posts on Sarah Selecky’s blog on the subject of the vulnerability of submission.

A two part post from Delilah S. Dawson on self-promotion: Please shut up, and Wait, keep talking.

Delilah S. Dawson guest posts on Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds with 25 blood-spattered tips for writing violence.

Are these filter words weakening your fiction? Write it Sideways.

Jamie Raintree asks, are artists still allowed to be neurotic? Thinking through our fingers.

Diana Gabaldon interviews Susanna Kearsley at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore.

Anne Lamott: “Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared.” Salon.

Tim Parks on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition: Writing in the Margins.

Sherwood Smith offers some thoughts on Heyer and Austin.

Astrophe: The feeling of being stuck on Earth. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

The history behind Orphan Black. The New Yorker.

For the Outlander fans: Interview with Sam Heughan.

The real romance behind Outlander. The New York Times.

Sesame Street’s Game of Chairs:

And that’s your Writerly Goodness for the week.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

My literary mothers and what they taught me

This post was inspired by a challenge that another friend participated in. That challenge was to write, in a short post, the influence of a single literary mother.

While I found the concept compelling, I also found it restrictive. I have many literary mothers. The gears have been working on this one for a few weeks now and this is the result.


Siobhhan Riddell

I was in grade three and I had just started to write. My first piece was a little essay about my new puppy.

Siobhan was in grade five. She was an artist and she illustrated a dragon slayer fairy tale.

The grade five class’s projects were presented to the grade three class. Siobhan’s drawings found their place in my imagination.Always Sail West

I submitted my first short story to CBC’s “Pencil Box” that year.

The next year, I wrote the Christmas play for my grade four class.

What was I reading at the time?

I was reading comics: Star Wars (for Princess Leia), Dazzler (Marvel), Huntress (DC). I was trying to find compelling female heroes. The writers and artists were men, however.

I also started reading C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, and I, again, was seeking women authors with whose stories I could connect. I tried Zilpha Keatley Snyder (The Headless Cupid, The Witches of Worm), Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (The Witch Saga), Joan Lowry Nixon (The Kidnapping of Christina Lattimore), and Lois Duncan (Summer of Fear, Stranger with My Face, and, of course, I Know What You Did Last Summer). While Naylor came close to becoming a literary mother, her work didn’t stay with me.

At the time, across the street from my house, were a convenience store (comics) and a branch of the public library. They were an almost daily stop in my routine.

Critical criteria of a literary mother: Her influence has to stay with me. I have to have continued to read or re-read her books, or remember the impact she had on my life in a concrete way.

Madeleine L’Engle and Susan Cooper

It was Madeleine L’Engle’s (then) Time Trilogy that I first connected with. Something inside me said, “This is what I want to write.” She’s technically science fantasy, but it was the first science anything that I’d read to that point.

Susan Cooper came into my life a little later, but again, through the public library. I read her The Dark is Rising series and loved her take on Arthurian legend. This spoke to the fantasy side of my writing persona.

I bought both series when I had enough money to do so. I still have both.

What else was I reading? Elfquest by Wendy and Richard Pini. A friend was, and still is, very much a fan. The same friend introduced me to Robin McKinley (The Hero and the Crown, The Blue Sword). Both of these were strong influences, though not quite in the literary matriarchy.

There were a lot of other novels I was reading, most thanks to the above-mentioned friend, whose dad had a fabulous classic SFF collection and often encouraged her to offer her patronage to The World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto when she visited him 😀

Her dad even set us up with our first D&D books, after which, we spent entirely too much money on the game, but spent years in geeky bliss roleplaying.

R.A. MacAvoy, Susanna Kearsley, Ursula K. Le Guin, and O.R. Melling

When I went to university (Guelph, the first time), I met, through my roommate, her sister, Sue Reynolds, who wrote Strandia. This book was influential on me because it was one of the first ones that didn’t involve a romance in the happily ever after of its protagonist. There were romantic aspects to the plot, but the protagonist chose wholeness for herself rather than her beloved’s proposal in the end.

Also through my roommate, I was introduced to Welwyn Wilton Katz. I read just about everything Katz wrote for a few years and she was well on the way to becoming a literary mother, but I didn’t stick with her, or rather, her books didn’t stick with me as much.

I was drafting the story that would evolve into Initiate of Stone during those years. I started keeping a journal, and aside from my course reading, I was heavily influenced by Guy Gavriel Kay. Mary Brown was also a discovery during this period. I loved her ugly duckling retellings.

I left Guelph after two unremarkable years and got a job at the Coles store in Yorkdale mall. Part of me was in heaven and buying up books like mad with my staff discount. The other part of me was unhappy because, in all other respects, the job was an epic fail on my part.

One of my discoveries during this time was R.A. MacAvoy. I started with her Damiano series, progressed with her Black Dragon series, and fell in love with her quirky Lens of the World series. I read several of her standalone novels as well. She was the first author who reflected my ancestry in her characters (Sara the Fenwoman), and the first who wasn’t afraid to introduce cultural diversity in her characters.

I keep going back to Lens of the World periodically, because that series was also written in first person, present, point of view (POV). It was a challenging POV to use, and it’s still a learning tool for me. I haven’t felt brave enough to tackle anything so ambitious myself.

I also discovered O.R. Melling about this time, but I’ll come back to her in a little bit.

After a couple of years of living in and around Toronto, two other potential careers, a couple of failed relationships, and the realization that I needed to finish my degree if I was going to be able to progress as a writer, I returned to Sudbury to finish my BA at Laurentian University.

Susanna KearsleyIt was during this time that my SFF/D&D buddy, after helping me to connect with Mr. Science and both of us marrying our partners, moved away with her husband. She emailed me and said that Susanna Kearsley, author of Marianna, and recent winner of the Catherine Cookson Award, was giving a workshop for the local writer’s group.

Of course, I hopped down for a visit with my friend and took in the workshop. I read Marianna, Splendour Falls, and The Shadowy Horses.

A couple of years ago, I reconnected with her at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC). Her influence on me has been to introduce me to a different genre. When I first met her, it was grouped under gothic, but Susanna’s stories are more paranormal in nature and while romance does feature, it’s not the main focus of her novels.

I took a creative writing course with Dr. John Riddell (Shiobhan’s father) and started to get my stories published.

I also took a course in science fiction and was introduced to Ursula K. Le Guin. The Dispossessed blew me away not only because it was SF written by a woman, but also because of its story structure. I’ve since read the Earthsea series, The Left Hand of Darkness, collections of her short fiction, other shorter novels (Rocannon’s World), some of her YA novels (The Beginning Place), and one of her books on writing craft (The Wave in the Mind).

I keep on picking up her work and reading it. The diversity of her work and the longevity of her career have been what inspire me most about Le Guin.

Finally, toward the end on my degree, I was working on my undergraduate thesis on the YA and MG novels of Welwyn Wilton Katz, Michael Bedard, and O.R. Melling.

I had discovered Melling when I was working at Coles, and kept picking up her books. Mostly, they dealt with magical time travel and Celtic legend. In the series that she had just started (at that time), Celtic legend blended with Native Canadian.

It was the first time I’d seen someone so effortlessly intertwining mythologies in this way. It made me think thoughts. It still does.

Sheri S. Tepper and Diana Gabaldon

I started reading Sheri S. Tepper during my Laurentian years as well. I now have most of her books, even some of the mysteries written under her pen names.

What fascinates me about Tepper’s work is the complexity of her plots and the strength of her protagonists. I never cease to be surprised or amazed at some point in her novels.

Her SF would be characterized as “soft” because of the sociological focus, but I still look to her body of work as an exemplar of what can be done within the genre.

She also writes from feminist and social justice perspectives. Tepper just rocks.Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon came a little later yet. I started reading her Outlander series after Voyager was published. I’m a little over the moon that her books have finally made it to the small screen.

I’ve now read all of her Outlander books and several of the off-series, but related, Lord John Grey books.

One thing I picked up from her was playing with POV. In a novel with several POV characters, I’ve used the same technique that she does, and I use first person, past, for my protagonist and close third person for everyone else.

It was Gabaldon’s genre mashing goodness that hooked me and the quality of her storytelling that has kept me. I was able to attend some of her sessions at SiWC and she is a lovely person as well as a great writer.


I’ve read and met many other women authors, several of them Canadian, and while I’ve enjoyed reading and learned from each of them, no one else has quite made it into the literary matriarchy yet.

I read a lot of male authors as well, but that’s not what I’m writing about here, now, is it 😉

The women I’ve listed in the section headings are the ones I consider to be my literary mothers. These are the women through whom I trace my development as a reader and as an author.

Who are your literary mothers?

Muse-inks

Why is shifting point of view (POV) problematic?

For the second time in as many weeks, a writer friend has suggested a post to me. This time, it was about POV. In a short story I recently critiqued, the POV (third person, past tense) shifted from a mother to her daughter. I recommended either sticking with one POV, or marking the change with more than just textual cues.

My writer friend indicated that she had a film background and asked if the omniscient POV wouldn’t allow her to shift her focus between characters in a scene.

What follows is my response.

A wee caveat: this is based on my own craft learning to date. I’m happy to lay the burden of expertise at the feet of others 🙂


 

First, you should check out CS Lakin’s blog: LiveWriteThrive

You may have to go fairly far back in her archives, but she did a series on writing based on film techniques last year. She turned this into a book, Shoot your novel, which you can find on Amazon.

This might appeal to your filmic aesthetic.

Now, having said that, film techniques aren’t the same as POV in writing. Parallels can be drawn, but really, they’re two different things.

POV in writing is about who’s telling the story. Whomever the story belongs to is generally the POV you use.

Why is a shifting POV problematic?
I’ll let you do a little research on this yourself. So many people have written about it. It’s called “head hopping.”

Here’s a starter from our friend Google: https://www.google.com/search?q=head+hopping&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

My recommendations? The Write Practice, Marcy Kennedy (she’s Canadian), the Editor’s Blog (Head-Hopping Gives Readers Whiplash), and The Write Editor (The Difference Between Omniscient POV and Head Hopping). Jami Gold and WriterUnboxed are awesome too.

Go ahead. Check them out. I’ll wait while you scan a few of the articles 🙂

In a visual medium, the POV is omniscient, or at most limited third simulated by a voice over. You can’t really “show” the inner thoughts and feelings of a character on screen. So in film, the POV is the camera’s and by extension, the director, producer, and/or editor may have a hand in influencing the final product.

There is such a thing as an omniscient POV in writing, and it used to be used, but it’s not really popular anymore. Further, it’s hard to do well.

In cinematic terms, omniscient translates to the page as a wide shot, interspersed with close ups on various characters, but it’s all external observation. Visually, you have the zoom or cut to give you a clue as to which character or characters are the focus of the scene.

In writing, you have to do something that simulates the zoom to cue the reader that the focus of the scene is now changing. Otherwise, you could end up confusing your reader (who’s talking now? why do I have to hear from this character? why is this important to the scene/story?).

Readers have changed over the last century. This is primarily due to movies and television (where a complete story is told in 30 minutes, an hour, or two hours), video games (complete action smorgasbord), and the internet (e.g. Twitter: describe your day in 140 characters anyone?). Flash fiction and micro fiction now have journals devoted to them. Books have been written in Tweets.

Readers like shorter forms of fiction because they can read a complete story in a limited period of time (think CommuterLit.com).

If the story isn’t short, then the author must continually hook the reader and keep them interested in the story. Part of this is engaging the reader in the story (what’s at stake?) and the character (why should I care?).

Omniscient POV requires readers to pay attention and do a little more work than they might otherwise be inclined to do. It’s not personal. You don’t stick with any one character long enough for the reader to become invested in that character and you’re observing like a camera, never delving into a character’s thoughts or feelings.

A limited third POV focuses intimately on one character: She ran to his side and thought, Is he dead? Oh, please, no.

Some writers, for example George R. R. Martin in Game of Thrones, shift between characters in the limited third POV, but you will find, generally, that an entire chapter will be from one character’s POV.

If an author changes POV characters in the middle of a chapter, the POV will change when the scene changes (therefore one POV per scene) and there will often be a visual cue such as an extra line between the paragraphs, or a symbol like # or * set off in the middle of its own line. Barbara Kyle, Canadian author of historical thrillers set in the Tudor era, uses this latter technique.

A lot of young adult fiction uses first person POV (I, me, my) because it sinks the reader immediately into the thoughts and feelings of the character. This can either cement the relationship (he’s just like me!) or alienate the reader (why won’t he stop whining?). Most first person narratives stick with one character through the entire story.

Then you have the experimental authors who will mix third and first person POVs. Deborah Harkness does this in A Discovery of Witches. Diana Gabaldon did it first, however, in her Outlander series. The protagonist is written in first person and all other POV characters are written in third.

Hardly anyone can write well in the second person POV (you look in the closet and find a boy huddling in the corner). It has been done, but it requires a deft hand and mind. If any form is going to use second person POV, it’s likely a short, flash, or micro fiction story.

This gets even more complicated when you add tenses to your POV. Past and present are the usual choices. I can’t think of a novel written in the future tense in any POV. Again shorter forms may take the pressure of future tense but it feels awkward to read no matter what.

For short fiction, I’d recommend figuring out whose story you’re telling and sticking with that character throughout. If you lose the reader, they’ll put your story down.

If that reader is an editor or a contest judge, your chances of publication may be shot.

I’m just saying 🙂


 

Was this post helpful to anyone else? Please let me know in the comments. Also, as I mentioned last week, if you have any burning writing questions, I’ll be happy to do my best to answer them. Or refer you to the experts who answer them better than I ever could 😀

And that’s a wrap for this weekend!

Muse-inks

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 28-Oct 4, 2014

I think this week was taken over by Roz Morris and Diana Gabaldon 🙂

Novels aren’t movie scripts: how to write great dialogue in prose, by Roz Morris.

Roz has been busy with Peter Snell of Barton’s Bookshop recording Masterclass radio shows for Surrey Hills Community Radio. Now they’ve made them available as podcasts, too. You’ll miss out on the musical selections, but Roz is always careful to offer the artist and song title so you can have a listen on your own.

Plus, Roz offers excellent advice for NaNoWriMo prep on Writers & Artists.

Ruth Harris has fourteen (writer’s) block busters for you on Anne R. Allen’s blog.

What if your character has no arc? K.M. Weiland discusses the differences between a flat arc and no character arc and whether or not it’s possible, let alone permissible, to write a novel about a character without an arc.

Agent Sarah Negovetich’s Hey, Sarah! In which she discusses how she works with self published authors.

 

Last week, I featured Chris Winkle’s post on Mythcreants about the heroine’s journey. Having read Maureen Murdock (both The Heroine’s Journey and The Hero’s Daughter), I was naturally interested. Now Chris has supplemented that with this post about villains who follow the heroine’s journey. Effective examples of how the heroine’s journey can be used in your novel.

Banned books week was two weeks ago, but I found this Huffington Post article interesting in retrospect: banned books by the numbers.

Maureen Ryan wrote this thoughtful article for The Huffington Post about Outlander’s wedding episode and what it means for the female viewer. Is television’s sexual revolution finally coming of age? I get to watch this tonight because the Canadian affiliate started the series two weeks late (probably by agreement). #ohcruelfate

Visit Scotland has an exclusive three part interview with Diana Gabaldon about her inspiration for the Outlander series of books and its resulting television series on Starz.

i09’s Charlie Jane Anders offers this list of ten characters that totally wasted their immortality.

Hop you enjoy these offerings, my writerly friends.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 24-30, 2014

Anita Sarkeesian is trying to change the way women are depicted in popular media. The trollish reaction to her efforts has driven her out of her home. Shameful. Maybe #NotAllMen but #YesAllWomen. Polygon.

The Huffington Post shares nine things that only depressed people can understand.

I’m pretty sure this is what sent my dad into the hospital. Psychotic depression: under recognized, under treated, and dangerous. Psychiatry Today.

Julian Treasure discusses five ways you can listen better in this TED talk.

Slate Science looks at the similarities between dogs and their humans. It’s all in the eyes.

Imagine what they can build with this kind of scaffold. Maybe a new spine? Skull? Hip? IFLS.

Ten persistent cancer myths debunked courtesy of IFLS.

A mammoth find in Texas, courtesy of CNN. I couldn’t resist. I had to have a little pun.

Meghalaya may be the wettest place in the world, but it’s also one of the most beautiful. In Focus – The Atlantic.

About Imogen Heap’s Entanglement:

Entanglement was originally written “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” but the song was rejected by the film makers who thought it was too raunchy for their teenage audience.

Undeterred, Imogen recorded the song for Sparks and filmed what is her most intimate video to date. #sparksfacts

Here’s what Imogen’s boyfriend, director Michael Lebor had to say about it:

“Andy Carne, the art director for the Sparks box set shot some beautiful stills for the front of the Entanglement single and so Imogen and I discussed shooting something that tied in with that.

The picture on the cover looked like a loving embrace, perhaps after a steamy moment and so I wanted to work back from that. The end frame in the video is as close as I could get to the angle and lighting of the still that Andy took.

Imogen has lovely, big floor to ceiling 10ft windows in the house and so I wanted to shoot just using the natural light that flooded in. I had recently been testing a camera (Sony FS700) that had excellent quality slow motion and because we didn’t have a huge amount of time, I thought this would be a great way of shooting a simple video in an emotional and beautiful way. Imogen has great bone structure, great skin and a model like figure so I knew that if we got the right light, the rest would fall into place.

It’s essentially a love story but I wanted it to be unclear as to whether it was imagined or not. The video starts with Imogen on her own and perhaps she is remembering a moment with her lover or waiting for him to arrive, either way, it’s ambiguous as to who this person is, if he is really there or if this happened in the past.

I wanted to build a narrative around the scene but because of time constraints and Imogen’s desire to keep it simple, we stayed within the confines of her bedroom and shot it in a few hours. It is difficult to sustain such a simple music video for five minutes, but that was the length of the song so we had to make it work.

It was a very intimate shoot and I didn’t want anyone else in the room, so it’s just me and Imogen. This of course created a challenge when I was needed for the scene. I used a tripod for those moments but an extra difficulty was that the camera only recorded 10 seconds of ‘super slow motion’ at a time. This meant that after every take I would have to jump up and run across the room to press ‘end record’ on the camera, not wearing very much…

One of my favourite moments in the video is when Imogen looks at the camera and she looks truly in love. It’s something that can’t be captured on a busy set, so it was a magical moment for me.”

And here’s the video (can you tell how much I love Imie?):

 

Open Culture on Patti Smith’s cover of Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit.”

Kate Bush’s Before the Dawn live blog from The Guardian.

Baby talks to dog. Too cute for words.

 

And now for something completely different, watch this kid’s reaction to the ALS bucket challenge. Jezebel.

Back-to-school fun with “Baby’s got class.”

 

Entertainment Weekly compiles their list of 55 movies your kids need to see before they turn 13. Do you agree?

The CBC’s Terry O’Reilly interviews George Takei about his new documentary. Listen to the podcast.

Diana Gabaldon gets a cameo in the series based on her books. Entertainment Weekly. See? All you have to do is write a mega million bestselling series of books . . .

BuzzFeed Geeky’s definitive ranking of “Firefly” episodes.

The San Diego ComiCon Game of Thrones panel.

 

What did you think of “Deep Breath,” the first episode of the new Doctor Who series? Well, here’s what Kyle Anderson of the Nerdist thought.

And last, but not least, a little back-to-school Whovian fun with Catherine Tate and David Tenant.

 

Hope you enjoyed this cornucopia of . . . stuff.

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 3-9, 2014

It appears to be I Fucking Love Science! (IFLS) week again.

This surfing seal is a cutie. Guess what? IFLS.

Remains of extinct giant penguin discovered. My question: how do they know its head looked like that? IFLS.

The headline could have used a little editorial assistance. 60 years after his death, Alan Turing’s morphogens help solve the mystery of how our digits developed. Yup. Moar IFLS.

Second super moon of the summer showed up on August 10. IFLS.

Theoretically, this means of interstellar propulsion could work. Thinking spacey thoughts yet? IFLS.

The Smithsonian answers the question, what happens to your body in space without a space suit?

 

Literary link here: Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander connection with newly discovered neolithic ruins in Scotland. National Geographic.

“Backroads” Bill Steer explores northern Ontario’s dolmen stones. CBC.

We had not one, but two earthquakes in Sudbury on August 5th. One was a 3.8 (!) They’re not frequent, but they’re freaky 🙂

This Shai Reshef guy has a really good idea: accessible, affordable education. TED.

LEGO for science geeks girls! Sure wish I had this kind of stuff when I was a kid. Barbie and her friends had to make do (I dressed them up in “costumes” and made them popsicle stick “swords”—maybe the LEGO ladies wouldn’t have attracted me, after all).

Feed your brain. It’ll give you ideas for teh stories 🙂

Thoughty Thursday

Review of Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics by K.M. Weiland

I read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre for the first time when I was in high school. At the time, though I enjoyed it, I wasn’t yet reading with the critical mind of an author. I wasn’t reading for craft.

The second time I encountered Jane Eyre, I was in university and, having read it before, it was one of the books I set aside from my massive stack of reading. I managed well enough in the course and placed the book on my shelf.

Years later, I read the book a second time. Though I was a writer, and published, it was as a poet, and again, I read for enjoyment rather than for craft.

Now, I read for craft and I find I mentally dissect books as I read them. I don’t mind knowing the ending, and in fact, I often flip forward in a book. Rather than spoil the reading experience, knowing the climax allows me to see more clearly where the author has foreshadowed events.

I can see the structure of a novel like a glowing thread. Here is the hook, the inciting incident, the first major plot point. Reading for craft is more enjoyable for me than reading for pleasure.

It’s like daily writing practice. Once you start down the path, it’s hard to stop, and, after a while, you no longer want to.

K.M. Weiland and her blog, Helping writers become authors, have been instrumental in my development as a reading writer.

You could say I’m a groupie, if there is such a thing. It’s a bit more than being a fan. I share nearly all of Katie’s posts. I want all my writer friends to benefit from her insight and technique.

So, of course, when Katie emailed me and asked if I would mind reading and reviewing her upcoming book, Jane Eyre, annotated with an eye to technique I instantly agreed.

Onto the review . . .


 

What Amazon says:

AnnJaneEyreCover

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will…”

One of the most sweeping and enduring novels in English literature, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has become a beloved classic and a must-read for fans of period romance. Filled with memorable characters, witty dialogue, emotional scenes, social commentary, and intriguing twists, Brontë’s novel, written in 1847, still has much to teach writers about crafting exceptional stories.

As part of the Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics series, this edition of Jane Eyre features hundreds of insightful annotations from writing instructor and author K.M. Weiland. Explore the craft and technique of Jane Eyre through the lens of a writer, and learn why and how Brontë made the choices she did while writing her iconic novel. The techniques learned from the annotations and accompanying study guide will aid in the crafting of your own celebrated works of fiction.

My thoughts:

I’ve read Jane Eyre a couple of times, once in high school and once in university, but I’ve never read it as a writer.

Weiland’s annotations were an eye-opener.

Initially, I considered a couple of what I saw as lapses on Weiland’s part to be creative or editorial decisions, and there is an element of that present. What I was amazed to discover is that Weiland’s annotative decisions are artful, or perhaps I should say crafty, in a way I never expected.

Very quickly, her annotations have the effect of tuning the reading writer’s eye to Brontë’s creativity and craft. The reader begins to pick out additional examples of the same techniques as they occur, and may even, as I did, page back through the book to see where Brontë employed the same technique in the past and to what effect.

Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics is not only a writing craft book, but an instructional manual on how to read critically, as a writer.

Under Weiland’s ever-gentle guidance, the reading writer learns that analyzing a text for craft does not have to be a negative experience nor even an academic one.

Those of us who suffered through textual dissection in university will be grateful to Weiland for showing us, in the best authorial sense, that analysis can be fun, and even exciting, as our minds race back to our own works-in-progress to apply lessons learned.

On that subject, the worksheets in the back are, in my opinion, worth the price of the book. Covering setting, character development, structure, indeed, every aspect of writing a novel, Weiland asks questions, assigns tasks, and refers back to Brontë’s work if we need a little help figuring out how to apply the technique in our writing.

This is a top-notch writing craft book and a spectacular start to a new series for Writer’s Digest. Diana Gabaldon’s introduction doesn’t hurt either 😉

My highest recommendation.

My rating:

Five out of five stars.

About the Author:

KMWeilandLooking-Back

K.M. Weiland is the internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as the western A Man Called Outlaw, the medieval epic Behold the Dawn, and the fantasy Dreamlander. When she’s not making things up, she’s busy mentoring other authors through her award-winning blog HelpingWritersBecomeAuthors.com.