Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 6-12, 2019

Are you looking for your informal writerly learnings? Why, here they are!

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares nine tips for creating successful antagonists in any genre. Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy wonders, is structure strangling your writing? Later in the week, she offers an easy tip for tightening you novel’s plot. Fiction University

Jim Dempsey: the different types of editing explained (and how to determine which one you need!). Writer Unboxed

Juliet Marillier: is fudging history ever ok? Writer Unboxed

David Corbett examines truth in fiction: writing what you don’t believe. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie muses on the mathematical equations of perfection in nature. Writer Unboxed

Sacha Black says, if you want your readers to fall in love with your hero, you have to create the perfect hero lens. Later in the week, C.S. Lakin stops by to share some all-important considerations when crafting a scene. Writers Helping Writers

Abigail K. Perry looks at the midpoint in her latest column of signpost scenes: the mirror moment. DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson takes a deep dive into poetry. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews David Corbett: a masterclass on character. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle delves into six common wordcraft mistakes in manuscripts. Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at six reasons the Fire Nation is such a good villain. Mythcreants

Creative Principles takes a quick tour of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types with examples from life and screen.

 

Charlie Jane Anders: Play to your strengths? Hell, no. Why you should play to your weaknesses as an author. Tor.com

And that was tipsday for this week.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well, my writerly friends 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 30, 2018 – Jan 5, 2019

It’s time to get your weekly dose of informal writerly earnings!

My latest column for DIY MFA came out on New Years Day! Why every writer needs a room of their own (even if it’s not a room).

Emily Wenstrom invites you to join the conversation on the digital platform of your choice. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews David Morrell about crafting the Victorian novel for DIY MFA radio.

Chuck Wendig says, in 2019, you must persist, persist, persist! Terribleminds

Jenna Moreci compares the pros and cons of first person and third person narration.

 

Donald Maass: the inner/outer balance. Writer Unboxed

This year, Therese Walsh encourages you to pursue your contentment and your chaos. Writer Unboxed

Sophie Masson shares some book contract “red lines” from a recent presentation she gave on publishing contracts. Writer Unboxed

Annie Neugebauer: forest for the trees. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt says, follow your mountain. Writer Unboxed

Katrin Schumann says, your number one secret weapon is writing communities. Jane Friedman

Barbara Poelle answers another funny you should ask question for Writer’s Digest: why did my literary agent stop submitting my manuscript?

Bunny provides a field guide to six infectious YA clichés. Love the first image and caption. We see Bella (of Twilight), and the caption reads, what do you mean, I fit all six? LOL! Mythcreants

Jill Schlesinger: small bookstores are booming after nearly being wiped out. CBS

And so, this edition of tipsday comes to a close.

Be well until Thursday, when you can come back for a little thoughty 🙂

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The next chapter: December 2018 update and year-end review

Let’s just get right into it with what happened in December.

My goals had been to continue drafting Tamisashki at the rate of about 500 words a day, to complete and submit my next DIY MFA column, to resume blogging, and complete a couple of critiques for my group.

Then, life intervened.

I slipped on the ice and fell on my right knee while walking Torvi. It was my third fall on that knee since August and the repeated trauma finally caught up with me. The first night, though I didn’t feel much pain, the knee swelled up so much that I couldn’t bend the joint or bear weight on it. When I looked at it, jest because it was feeling weird, it looked like the alien from Alien was trying to break out of my kneecap.

So, the next day I spent at the clinic, getting x-rays, icing and elevating, and plying the injury with anti-inflammatories.

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Though Phil “officially” retired Nov 30th, he returned to work to install a new piece of software. They haven’t managed to hire his replacement yet and he knew it was coming, but it was only supposed to be for Dec 11th and 12th. It turned out that he was working right through to Dec 28th. And, when he came home from work on the 20th, he had an abscess in one of his teeth.

Two appointments with his dentist on the 21st and the 31st fixed him up, but when the dentist’s insurance specialist submitted his claim, they were informed that his coverage had ceased. Though Phil retired, he’s on a salary continuance with access to his benefits right through to March 31st of 2019. So, he had to sort that out, too.

Turns out that was just a computer glitch (ironically). The insurance company had, in fact, processed the claims, but the system was erroneously sending out notifications, both through its online interface and by email/snail mail, that the claims had been refused.

Phil now has written confirmation that the claims have been processed and paid.

Between all that, I didn’t get as much as I’d hoped done. While I submitted and edited my column on time and completed my critiques, I only 67% of my writing goal on Tamisashki. Still, 10,346 words is nothing to sneeze at.

Also, toward the end of the month, and year, I decided to devote some time to planning out my 2019 writing year. More on that in a bit.

It took me a while to get back on track with curation after my NaNoWriMo break. So, I ended up being a bit short on my writing goal for the blog at 1,994 of 2,600 words, or 77%.

My DIY MFA Column came in at 1,047 words of my 1,000-word goal, or 105%.

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One thing I discovered, during my convalescence from my fall, was that standing really does improve my productivity. When I sit, whether at work or at home, when I write, I tend to lose track of my posture when I sit. I get so focused, regardless of what I do, that I tend to hunch over or slouch. My back, neck, and shoulders hurt more. It affects my breathing and I tend to feel more fatigued.

I’m happy to say that, with my doctor’s approval, I’m back to standing. I’ll let you know whether I notice any improvement. This is an anecdotal, personal experiment, of sorts, but it is supporting my preference for standing while working.

The holidays were quiet and understated. We did not exchange gifts. My sister-in-law hosted Christmas dinner at her place. Phil and I took Torvi out early in the day so that we could hit a local dog park with Buster.

We had a fabulous meal and played a few games of Sequence before returning home, with containers full of leftovers, around ten in the evening.

I took a picture of lovely sun dogs on the last weekend of December.

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And that was that.

2018 was a hard year. I had to work through my burnout and get to the bottom of it, which took me a lot longer than I expected. I thought, with my experiences in 2017, I’d have been able to work through the worst of it by the end of that year. Because Phil’s health problems and then his work problems were a big part of the reasons why I was burned out in the first place, I wasn’t able to dig my way out until he was able to dig himself out.

Accordingly, my plans for 2018 were all shot to hell. I didn’t finish drafting Playing with Fire until September. That was my year.

On PwF, I wrote 55,867 words of my 55,000-word goal, or 102%.

For Tamisashki, I wrote 47,174 words, or 72% of my 65,500-word goal.

I wrote about nine columns for DIY MFA, or 12,744 words of my 9,000-word goal (142%). Yeah. I tend to write long. Gotta work on that.

On the blog, I wrote 43,823 words of my 42,000-word goal, or 104%.

And I compiled six newsletters for the Sudbury Writers’ Guild until I resigned from those duties, writing 31,008 words of my 24,000-word goal, or 129%.

Finally, I “revised” Marushka for the critique group, managing 77,021 words of my 80,000-word goal, or 96%.

Interestingly, I managed 98% on my writing goal and 96% on my revision goal for the year.

 

 

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Not bad at all.

In 2019, I’m going to be continuing to draft Tamisashki. I figure that will take me to the end of April. Then I’m going to take two months to read the whole series, remap all the novels, and organize my series bible. With this final novel, though I’m not yet half way through it, I’ve had a number of ideas that reshape the world. I’m glad I decided to finish the series before getting into heavy revisions. The whole will be more cohesive and the story much improved as a result.

While I read and sort things out with the series, I’m going to prepare a draft of Reality Bomb for the critique group to work on.

After the reading and remapping, I’m going to get into those heavy revisions on the Ascension series. I hope to make it through the first three novels by September before I have to begin work on my outline for my 2019 NaNo project in October.

I’ve decided to begin finishing off the rest of the series I’ve started. I’m going back to Mageblood, my YA urban fantasy. It’s definitely going to be a duology.

That will fill up my November and December for 2019.

In addition to blogging and continuing my columns for DIY MFA, I’m trying two experiments this year.

First, I’m going to write an original short story every month and submit them to paying markets. I have ideas for four of them brainstormed and I’m working on one as we speak. So far, so good.

What do I hope to gain through this experiment? The knowledge that I can write short fiction and improve sufficiently to get some more of my work out there in the world.

The second experiment is one that I’ve talked about for a number of years, but never committed to. I’m going to work on a poetry collection and two collections of short fiction (one speculative and one non-speculative), all of which I’m going to self-publish in ebook format only. For now. If they generate enough interest, I might make them publish-on-demand (PoD) in the future.

The idea behind this is that I want to have something representative of my body of work to date. Also, even if they’re only ebooks, having some short form collections available will be valuable from a marketing perspective. The more work one has out in the world, the more one’s name is circulated.

Between the new short fiction I produce, and the collections of past work, I see this as another step forward in my platform building. Finally, having my stories edited and published will also give me material with which to start a newsletter. That probably won’t get set up until 2020 but starting the groundwork now will make that project easier in the future.

Although this might all seem very ambitious, I am, at least at the moment, feeling capable of doing it. I may well have to adjust my goals as the year progresses, but I’ve never had a problem doing that in the past.

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A week into 2019, and things are going well.

I’ll keep you updated.

Until next I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong, my friends. The world needs your stories.

The Next Chapter

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 23-29, 2018

Happy New Year! Hope everyone has had some time to make peace with 2018 and is looking forward to 2019.

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The holiday week is always a little scant with respect to content. Still, here’s a small, but tasty batch of informal writerly learnings to start 2019 right 🙂

Julie Glover: is the new WordPress format stressing you out? It hasn’t hit up here yet, but I anticipate some angst when it does. Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Mark Leslie Lefebvre about long-term publishing success. Later in the week, Joanna and Orna Ross help you position yourself for writing and publishing success in 2019. The Creative Penn

Leanne Sowul says, forget resolutions; reflection is the key. On Boxing Day, Gabriela Pereira interviewed me, Brenda Joyce Patterson, and Stacy Woodson for a special DIY MFA radio team episode! DIY MFA

Katrina Bird guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: three story planning books to consider.

Eris Young: seven things writers get wrong about language. Mythcreants

Cold Crash Pictures critiques five more scientific inaccuracies in film.

 

And that was the first Tipsday of the year! Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 16-22, 2018

Happy holidays (whatever you celebrate, or don’t)! It’s time to open your present of informal writerly learnings!

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Tiffany Yates Martin says, NaNoWriMo was the easy part and shows you how to see your story across the finish line. Writers in the Storm

Vaughn Roycroft considers the gifts of the writing life. Writer Unboxed

Kathleen McCleary explains how to navigate families in fiction. Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson offers a provocation: “The New Year’s Eve of time.” Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle drops by Writers Helping Writers to discuss attachment, the first element of goal-oriented storytelling.

Over on Mythcreants, Rachel Meyer shares the five essentials of an opening scene. Later in the week, Oren Ashkenazi considers eight terrain features for fantasy kingdoms to fight over.

Janice Hardy takes a first look a first draft: how to revise your manuscript. Then, she shares a goal-checking trick for plotting your novel. Fiction University

Sara Letourneau explores why the theme of family is important. DIY MFA

Becca Puglisi stops by Writers in the Storm to share nine tension-building elements for character dialogue.

Kitty the Retro-Writer visits Jami Gold’s blog: if you have a complex story, use a crime wall.

And that was Tipsday.

Enjoy your seasonal celebrations with family and friends.

Until next time, be well, my friends.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 9-15, 2018

Looking for your informal writerly learnings? Here they are:

Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes stop by Writers in the Storm: Know your firearms! Magazine or clip? A frequent error of less experienced contemporary authors, and a repeated question asked of the experts. Get the low-down from Bayard & Holmes.

Susan Spann shares some holiday copyright tips. Writer Unboxed

Sarah Callender explores how fiction challenges us to ask the tough questions. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft wants you to welcome the darkest hour. Writer Unboxed

Robin LaFevers goes on an unexpected journey: creativity’s ebb and flow. “It is not unlike religion in that by engaging in it, we are forced to interact with the world on a deeper, more intimate level than we might otherwise choose to.” Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares her ten-step checklist to writing an above average novel. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenna Moreci offers her top ten tips for pacing.

 

Jess Zafaris lists Writer’s Digest’s top ten sites with literary agents and resources. ‘Tis the season!

Chris Winkle answers a writerly question: when is it appropriate to dispel the mystery? Later in the week, she profiles five surprisingly successful characters and why they work. Mythcreants

Jami Gold visits Writers Helping Writers: we don’t need no stinkin’ rules.

Roz Morris has some strategies to keep in touch with your book when your writing routine is disrupted. Nail Your Novel

Beyond Crazy Rich Asians: a look at humorous fiction. Terri Frank on DIY MFA.

Gabriela Pereira interview Orson Scott Card for DIY MFA radio.

K.T. Lynn shares five reasons to love all writing feedback. DIY MFA

Caroline Donahue: how the tarot cards point the way to your story. The Creative Penn

And that was Tipsday for the second week of December.

Come back on Thursday for a dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 2-8, 2018

My first post-NaNo Tipsday! Have you been missing your informal writerly learnings? Here they are!

K.M. Weiland offers her ten rules of writing large casts of characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

Donna Galanti stops by Writers in the Storm: letting go in writing and in life.

Jael McHenry: writing, the gift of time, and O’Henry. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass offers some 21st century craft advice: catastrophe theory and characters. Writer Unboxed

The power of fiction to change beliefs: Julie Carrick Dalton interviews Omar El Akkad. Writer Unboxed

James Scott Bell stops by Writers Helping Writers to share some tips on beginnings and backstory.

Angela Ackerman guest posts on Mythcreants: taking character relationships to the next level.

Pamela Taylor considers research as real life. DIY MFA

Chris Eboch posts on Fiction University: editing after #NaNoWriMo is the way to make your #writing shine.

Janice Hardy shares five ways to write stronger opening scenes. Fiction University

Colleen M. Story drops by Writers in the Storm to show you how to restore your love of writing.

Agent Barbara Poelle answers another funny you should ask question: how do you support your more successful writer friend when you’re feeling jealous? Writer’s Digest

Brian Curian shares three simple things you can do to find your writing voice. The Writing Cooperative

And that was Tipsday.

Unfortunately, my brain could not brain following NaNo (not unusual) so there will be no Thoughty Thursday this week. I hope to accumulate enough inspirational, research-y, creative stuff for next week.

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

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The next chapter: November 2018 update and #NaNoWriMo 2018 wrap up

Ah, friends. So glad you stopped by 🙂

Yesterday was the last day of NaNoWriMo 2018 and I finished with 36,828 words. It’s basically what I predicted. In one way, it’s a comfort that I know myself so well. In another, it’s disappointing that I can no longer push myself beyond what I know to be my limits.

Well, I could, but here I am on December first, exhausted, as it is. Mind you November also gave me the gift of a time shift courtesy of Daylight Savings and that tends to upset my sleep for a week or two afterward. Losing an hour is worse than gaining one. So, there’s that.

Let’s break down the final week of NaNo, shall we?

Sunday last week, I wrote 1,194 words.

Monday, I managed 1,039.

Tuesday, 1,047.

Wednesday, despite having what ended up being a two-hour recording session (I’ll let you know when the result is available online and you can hear what a total nerd I am in comparison to the composed and brilliant people I get to work with), I wrote 1,069 words 🙂

Thursday was another rough day and I only managed 705 words.

And on Friday, I wrote 1,525 words.

NovemberProgress

What that means is that I’m past the first plot point in Tamisashki and heading for the midpoint.

What’s ahead?

I’m going to continue drafting at the much more reasonable pace of 500 words a day. I may write more, particularly on a weekend or day off, but 500/day is my goal pace and if I end up taking a day off here and there, I can definitely afford it 🙂 I’ll probably be drafting into March or April, depending on how things go.

I also have a couple of critiques due, which I’m going to work on in the next week, a DIY MFA team meeting on the 5th, my next column for DIY MFA will be due on the 11th, and I think that will keep me busy for the month.

I’m also going to start my annual planning cycle, set my goals for 2019, and be on the lookout for Jamie Raintree’s 2019 writing and revision planner 😀

Finally, I’m going to shift back into a more normal routine. Curation will pick up again not this coming, but the next week.

In other news, yesterday was also Phil’s last day at his day job. He has to go back to fulfill a couple of key obligations, but he’s now officially retired. Technically, he’s on vacation into the New Year and has some severance that will carry him through until March 31st of 2019. It’s a nice little cushion and will give him the time he needs to decompress and decide what’s next for him.

Torvi is showing every sign of becoming a sweet dog. She still gets inordinately excited when meeting other dogs and people, but she’s calming down. She also still has the irritating habit of getting bity when she has a want and can’t think of another way to express it. And she hasn’t distinguished between good and bad attention yet, but I think she’s beginning to.

Health-wise, I’m quite content, not having had a legitimate period since May. I don’t know whether it’s the ablation, or menopause setting in proper, but it’s wonderful. I’ve settled in at a thirty-pound weight loss since this time last year. I’m almost back to my wedding weight, which is a good place for me to be. While I could stand to lose a little more, I can definitely live with my current size, shape, and general sense of wellbeing.

I’m going to see my doctor this week to check on my blood pressure (I’ve seen signs of elevation, recently—what’s stressful for Phil is also stressful for me; also the uncertainty of not knowing how we’re going to survive after March 31st on half our income—so, yeah), a few new aches and pains, and a particularly irritating keratinaceous growth (AKA, horn) that may need to be removed.

And that’s about it for this month’s update.

Next month will see my end of year wrap-up and I’ll share my 2019 goals.

Until Tipsday fires up again on Dec 11th, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

The Next Chapter

The next chapter: October 2018 and #NaNoWriMo week 1 update

Sooo…. I didn’t have the time on Wednesday to prepare this post and schedule it. And then NaNoWriMo started. And then Wordstock Sudbury started.

Accordingly, this will be a very brief update and combined with m week 1 NaNoWriMo check in.

My main project for October was to complete the outline for Tamisashki and I’m happy to say that work was completed Wednesday night.

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Because the outline is written in a notebook, I didn’t count the words. Further, I did a more rambling, draft version for each plot line, so it’s over double the word count of the final product. I’m better prepared to finish NaNo this year, though, and better prepared to finish the draft in the months following.

OctProgress

I wrote 4,528 words on this blog, which is 162% of my 2,800-word goal, and I submitted my DIY MFA column on time at 1,079 words (it’s coming out Tuesday), or 108% of my 1,000-word goal.

While there were no writing-related events in October, Phil and I did attend the 50th birthday celebration for our friend, Mark Kuntsi.

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Timing is everything with NaNo and for the past three years, the Wordstock Sudbury Literary festival has been on the first weekend in November. I do support the event and I make the time to attend, but that means sacrificing NaNo time.

I also signed up for Mary Robinette Kowal’s No-prep NaNoWriMo workshop, which was on Monday night. Though I’ve outlined, I figured having additional tools at my disposal (because I always, ALWAYS diverge from the outline) would be good. I also dig Mary’s strategies. Though I’ve heard many of them before, the reinforcement is always useful.

After the workshop, she stayed online for a group writing session which I didn’t participate in. I’d managed to write 1,758 words already that day and felt good about that progress.

On Friday, I attended Sarah Selecky’s book club about her new novel, Radiant, Shimmering, Light. I’ve been subscribed to her newsletter for years and found the concept—the commodification of self-care and how it affects two women, cousins, who navigate the social media minefield—and bought the book (of course).

Then, I attended a session on telling a good story with Waubgeshik Rice and Lee Maracle, two indigenous writers, moderated by Will Morin.

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I wrote 1,290 words on Friday.

On Saturday, I attended Alternate Realities, a session with Brit Griffin and Elan Mastai, both authors of speculative fiction. the discussion was moderated by CBC‘s Morning North’s host, Marcus Schwabe.

I then personned the Sudbury Writers’ Guild table until 5 pm, helped Dave Wickenden pack up, and went to supper with my dear friend, Kim Fahner, who gifted me with this lovely, lovely, handmade journal.

I managed only 690 words yesterday.

Here’s my book haul…

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Today, I’m off to the launch of Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli’s La Brigantessa, an historical novel set in the aftermath of Italy’s 1861 Unification.

Will update you next week about the launch and my NaNo progress for the week. I’m back to the day job for most of it.

Until then, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

The Next Chapter

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 21-27, 2018

This will be the last Tipsday before #NaNoWriMo! Once again, where did the time go?!

Just to be clear, for the month of November, I will be desperately attempting to write 50,000 words of a new novel project. There will be no curation. I have, however, decided to do quick check in posts, once a week, so the blog will not be totally inactive. More on that in this weekend’s next chapter update.

In the meantime, enjoy some informal writerly learnings!

Harrison Demchick stops by Helping Writers Become Authors: four things writers can learn from making a movie.

Kim Bullock wonders, is resurrecting a shelved manuscript a good idea or a waste of time? Writer Unboxed

Barbara O’Neal wants you to identify your core story and values. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft shares some thoughts on originality in fiction. Writers in the Storm

Amy Shojai shares seven steps to publishing success from an accidental writer. Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Sherrilyn Kenyon: tips for long-term author success. The Creative Penn

Jami Gold helps you take your readers on a journey with storytelling.

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten fantasy tropes.

 

Aliette de Bodard stops by Terribleminds to discuss cannibalizing a draft (or, the art of rewriting).

Gabriela Pereira interviews Melanie Moyer for DIY MFA radio: the imaginary friend as narrator.

Manuela Williams offers five tips for writing a helpful critique. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle shares six ways you can bluff killing your protagonist. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb: why you (actually) don’t suck and what to do when the abyss stares back.

Sarah Laskow explains how writers map their imaginary worlds. Atlas Obscura

RL Goldberg plots our steps toward creating a trans literary canon. The Paris Review

The new Outlander season 4 trailer—eeeeee!

 

And that was Tipsday. I know, I’ll be in withdrawal, too, but I’ll have enough NaNo to distract me 🙂

Don’t miss out on the final thoughty Thursday until December. I’m going out (just on a break) with a bang!

Until then, be well, my writerly friends.

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