Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 17-23, 2021

I’ve gathered lots of informal writerly learnings, this week. Stock up and enjoy!

Janice Hardy provides a lifeline for when writing is no longer fun. Then, Rochelle Melander wants you to dump old myths and discover a new solution to procrastination. Later in the week, Janice is back with five steps to your next novel idea. Fiction University

Jill Bearup investigates the feasibility of fighting in a corset.

Jan O’Hara shares some writing self-care for when the world is afire. Then, Dave King wants you to focus! Therese Walsh describes Jan 20, 2021 as a semi-colon moment. Liz Michalski helps you root down and rise up. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin helps you structure a novel with Freytag’s Pyramid. Reedsy

And then, she covers the Fichtean Curve. Reedsy

Angela Ackerman: authors aren’t your competition. Then, Barbara Linn Probst considers ways of seeing, ways of writing. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weila presents the three character arcs of the Karpman Drama Triangle. Helping Writers Become Authors

On her own channel, Shaelin Bishop offers 15 tips for writing better short stories. Shaelin Writes

Allison K. Williams explains how to restart your unfinished book. Jane Friedman

Elizabeth Spann Craig is returning to writing after a break.

Savitri and Satyavan: The legend of the princess who outwitted Death – Iseult Gillespie TED-Ed

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares seven ways deep POV creates emotional connections with readers. Writers Helping Writers

Jenn Walton helps your boost your creativity. Anita Ramirez suggests five ways to keep writing through a crisis. DIY MFA

The southern woman trope, explained. The Take

And … gaslighting: what does it meme? The Take

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five useless powers in popular stories. Mythcreants

David Silverberg: at Bakka-Phoenix, the beloved science fiction and fantasy bookstore, you can let your geek flag fly. The Toronto Star

Matt Galloway interviews Nalo Hopkinson on the ‘joyful’ responsibility of being a leading Black voice in sci-fi writing. CBC’s The Current

Jeffrey Brown and Anne Azzi Davenport: poet tapped for inauguration to spread message of unity. PBS News Hour

And … Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem.

Thanks for spending some time with me. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 3-9, 2021

Welcome to tipsday, your chance to top up on informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy shares an easy fix for tighter point of view. Hint: nix those filter words! Fiction University

Greer Macallister offers the gift of critique. How to by way of how not to … Sarah Penner encourages you to rethink resolutions and habits as writers in 2021. Donald Maass: the real vs. the unreal. Nancy Johnson compiles this list of published authors sharing wisdom from their debut journeys. David Corbett: what now, storyteller? Writer Unboxed

The female assassin trope, explained. The Take

K.M. Weiland shares seven lessons learned in 2020. Helping Writers Become Authors

Karen DeBonis shares her writing goal for 2021: let go to love more (AKA, how I stopped worrying and learned to love editing). Janice Hardy offers a different approach to writing success this year (i.e. how dumping self-imposed deadlines can increase productivity). Julie Glover: how much of our real life shows up in our fiction? Writers in the Storm

Emily Zarka introduces us to the Kasogonagá: Sky Deity and Absolute Cutie. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Nathan Bransford explains how to set meaningful goals.

Colleen M. Story explains why writers should take more risks this year. Writers Helping Writers

Victoria R. Girmonde: worldview and the MG/YA genre. Story Grid

The wicked stepmother trope, explained. The Take

Sara Farmer interviews Elizabeth Little. Then, Gabriela Pereira wonders, where do we go from here? DIY MFA

Joe Bunting offers definitions and examples of the six shapes of stores. The Write Practice

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five popular stories with conflicts that are too difficult. Mythcreants

Ron Friedman: rotating spacecraft and artificial gravity. Sci and Sci-fi

Clair Armitstead provides the 31-day literary diet for January 2021. Sure, we’re half-way through the month already, but who says you have to finish it all in January? Be a rebel. Start now and continue your literary snacking into February! The Guardian

Jesse Wente is reframing Indigenous stories in joy. CBC’s Ideas

Why should you read Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”? – Yen Pham TED-Ed

Kritika Agrawal shares seven fascinating facts about Octavia Butler. Mental Floss

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 27, 2020-Jan 2, 2021

Here comes the first tipsday of the new year. Time to indulge in some informal writerly learnings.

Laura Highcove: how your writer’s intuition knows what advice works best for you. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Alexandra Monir about the dystopian superhero story. Then, Kim Lozano shares five musts for writing a compelling story beginning. DIY MFA

Princess Weekes: Wonder Woman 1984 was a bitter disappointment. Melina Pendulum

Janice Hardy offers a five-minute fix to jumpstart your scene. Fiction University

Shaelin Bishop offers her advice on how to finish your novel in 2021. Reedsy

Tasha Seegmiller delves into a writer’s authentic self. Then, Fae Rowan offers three words to help you thrive in 2021. Writers in the Storm

The Himbo trope, explained. The Take

The likeable sociopath trope, explained. The Take

Kelsey Allagood: what Gandhi taught me about telling stories that mean something. Later in the week, Jeanne Kisacky shares strategies for restarting a cold project. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin Bishop shares what she learned about writing in 2020. Shaelin Writes

Bunny lists five Arab and Muslim stereotypes to avoid. Mythcreants

All Stories Matter: The Need for Afro-Futurism | Ramatoulie Bobb | TEDxRoyalCentralSchool

Nina Munteanu is embracing the paradox of creative destruction.

Foz Meadows writes a response to Meghan Cox Grudon and the Wall Street Journal. About the classics and teaching them in a modern context. shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

The Backlisted podcast considers the influence of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising with Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, co-authors of The Lost Words and The Lost Spells.

Livia Gershon reveals sci-fi pen pals James Tiptree Jr. and Joanna Russ. JSTOR Daily

The Merril Collection, AKA the Spaced-Out Library, is 50! Toronto Public Libraries

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 20-26, 2020

It’s the last tipsday of 2020! Quick, get your informal writerly learnings while they last!

Janice Hardy suggests you try this fun exercise to shake up your muse. Fiction University

How to write descriptively – Nalo Hopkinson. TED-ed

Ellen Buikema explains how she moved from pantser to plantser. Then, Kris Maze shares productivity hacks from bestselling writers. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin Bishop makes a craft video on writing experimental fiction: the unity of form and concept. Shaelin Writes

Kristen Lamb considers amazing grace: what do we do when we’re our own worst critic?

Princess Weekes: is Dune the most important scifi series ever? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Jeanette the Writer reviews the words that shaped 2020. Jo Wnorowski shares five ways journaling improves your life.  DIY MFA

The Becky trope, explained. The Take

And, the sexy vampire trope, explained. The Take

Chris Winkle lists five ways to build your storytelling muscles. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Interview with a Vampire shows the strengths and weaknesses of adaptation. Mythcreants

Emily Zarka considers the Pontianak, the vengeful, violent, vampiric ghost of southeast Asia. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Waubgeshig Rice: Indigenous identity and the responsibility of telling stories. Open Book

Thanks for visiting and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 13-19, 2020

Ah! The penultimate tipsday of the year! Time to get your informal writerly learnings 🙂

John J. Kelley helps you stage the scene. Yuvi Zalkow is embracing the I-don’t-know-ness. Porter Anderson hopes you work wonders in 2021. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy shares three steps to crafting a stronger first draft. Fiction University

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten tips for writing fantasy.

Lori Freeland lists five things every writer needs to thrive. Then, Barbara Linn Probst considers scene coherence from the reader’s perspective. Writers in the Storm

My name is Inigo Montoya: Princess Bride fight analysis. Jill Bearup

Lucy V. Hay shares ten steps to revise your NaNo novel. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains what to expect when you work with a freelance editor.

The strong female character trope, explained. The Take

Abigail K. Perry demonstrates the importance of internal and external value shifts in characters. Later in the week, Amy Ayers offers five ways to talk about writing with nonwriters. DIY MFA

The funny fat girl trope, explained. The Take

Ken Brosky explains how to effectively manage multiple narrators in your novel. Then, Louise Tondeur asks, is your writer’s block really writer’s indecision? Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle does a narration makeover to create tension. Oren Ashkenazi: what The Black Company teaches us about dark stories. Mythcreants

Emily Zarka considers the Nuckelavee, Scotland’s skinless, evil monstrosity. Monstrum |PBS Storied

Mildred Europa Taylor: Cynthia Erivo to star in and produce film about enslaved Yoruba girl who became a gift to the queen of England. Face 2 Face Africa

Stephanie Cram: Darcie Little Badger’s YA debut Elatsoe landed on Time’s list of the best fantasy novels of all time. CBC’s “Unreserved”

A Poem for All The ‘Old Hags’ // Sarah MacGillivray

Tom Grater reports that Charlie Mackesy, author of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, teams up with Bad Robot to produce animated short. Deadline

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

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 6-12, 2020

Welcome to another week. You’ve made it past Monday! Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy points out an easy way to create conflict in your novel. Then, she offers five ways to fix a stalled scene. Fiction University

Shaelin explains how to unstick your draft. Reedsy

Greer Macallister explains what’s new and what’s not about book launches now. Jim Dempsey tackles diversity in publishing. Then, Barbara Linn Probst says, you never know the difference your book could make … Kathryn Craft says, the art of the chapter break is retention and seduction. David Corbett: Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, and me.  Writer Unboxed

I wrote every day, and this is what I learned. Shaelin Writes

Jami Gold considers whether to avoid or embrace story tropes. Writers Helping Writers

On her own blog, Jami follows up and offers some additional examples: how to make the most of tropes.

The annoying millennial trope, explained. The Take

The sick girl trope, explained. The Take

E.J. Wenstom encourages you to make some author platform New Year’s resolutions. DIY MFA

Colleen M. Story explains how to inspire hope for a new year of writing. Later in the week, Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes answer seven questions for an espionage pro. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten tips for writing your first draft.

Chris Winkle shows you how to choose scenes for your story. Mythcreants

What is a butt tuba and why are there so many of them in medieval illumination? Michelle Brown TED-Ed

Nduta Waweru recounts the rise and fall of Alexandre Dumas, the Black author who ruled European literature in the 1800s. Face 2 Face Africa

Thanks for visiting. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 1-5, 2020

Welcome to the first post-NaNo tipsday of 2020! Because I don’t watch YouTube during November, I have a lot of videos to catch up on. Expect a fair number of videos in the next two or three weeks 🙂

Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Wear your masks, maintain physical distance, wash your hands, and get your flu shot as soon as they’re available. I say this last because our local pharmacies ran out of flu vaccine almost as soon as they were stocked. We’re hoping to make our appointments, soonish, now that we’ve heard they have more in.

Leanne Sowul dubs 2020 the year of reflection. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Veena Rao: the unexpected female protagonist. Later in the week, Anita Ramirez lists five reasons you’re never too old to launch a writing career. DIY MFA

Princess Weekes explains why the cynical superhero isn’t that interesting (with philosophy). Melina Pendulum

Donald Mass: the beat goes on. Kathryn Magendie talks royalties: what this writer made, once upon one time. Then, Julianna Baggott nurturing the automatic writer. Writer Unboxed

John Peragine shares seven more plot structures for pantsers. Later in the week, James Preston helps you get past the black page. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin explains how to write a character arc. Reedsy

James Scott Bell wonders, do you have a sense of where you are? Writers Helping Writers

Allison K. Williams helps you move from first draft to second draft to publishable book. Jane Friedman

The spicy Latina trope, explained. The Take

Chris Winkle explains how and why you should consolidate your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the climaxes of Marvel’s phase three (part 2). Mythcreants

Princess Weekes tackles the question, are graphic novels … novels? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Nina Munteanu revisits Darwin’s Paradox: compassion and evolution.

Andrew Liptak: SFWA names Nalo Hopkinson the 37th Damon Knight Grand Master. Tor.com

The Torontonian roots of Doctor Who. The Toronto Dreams Project Historical Ephemera Blog

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Join me at DIY MFA for my latest Speculations

This time, on Speculations, I’m sharing five of my favourite Indigenous SFF authors.

It’s time to decolonize your reading, y’all!

While you’re there, check out some of the great resources Gabriela has, the other awesome columnists, and the Writer Igniter SFF Summit–it’s free!

Until next time, bl and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 25-31, 2020

Welcome to the first—and last—tipsday of November! Load up on informal writerly learnings and I’ll see you in December. ‘Cause NaNoWriMo.

Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance. Get your flu shot. We are firmly in the second wave and the situation is getting steadily worse. We all have to pull together to survive and protect each other until a vaccine is available.

Kim Bullock explains why writers need rooms of their own. Later in the week, Barbara O’Neal distinguishes between using memory vs. backstory. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland: the midpoint as the swivel of your novel’s linked structure. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy shares six steps to creating a great character. Fiction University

Susan DeFreitas says, don’t hold out for publishing to make you feel seen. Pursue this goal instead. Jane Friedman

The Karen trope, explained. The Take

And then, the witch trope, explained. The Take

Tasha Seegmiller: how do your characters love? Later in the week, Eldred Bird offers some tips for upping your “what if” game. Then, Laurie Schnebly Campbell explains why we love (and resent) alpha males. Writers in the Storm

Gilbert Bassey offers four ways to fix a boring story. Writers Helping Writers

Helen J. Darling wants you to reconnect with your values if you’re feeling stuck. Then, Pamela Taylor helps you create authentic details in historical medicine. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Laura Jamison about writing the ensemble cast. Then Sara Farmer interviews Linda Olson. DIY MFA

Shaelin reviews structuring your novel with Dan Harman’s plot embryo. Reedsy

And then, she looks at the traditional three act structure. Reedsy

Jami Gold gives some thought to world building on an epic scale.

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the mixed climaxes of Marvel’s phase three, part 1. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb explains why some stories fall apart and fail to hook readers (spoilers: it’s story structure).

Summer H. Paulus offers some insight into the origins of Halloween and its traditions. Fantasy Faction

Tricia Ennis reveals the strange, difficult history of queer coding. SyFy

Aja Romano explains how voice actors are fighting to change an industry that renders them invisible. Vox

Disney’s new content warnings on classic animation featuring racist characters. BBC

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

The next chapter: October 2020 update

October has ended. NaNoWriMo has begun. This year has been temporally bizarre. Covid time moves both slower and faster than normal time. Months have passed at a snail’s pace, and then I blink and the next month is gone.

Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. Marcellis Stinnette and Jonathan Price were killed by police in October. The RCMP has refused to protect Mi’kmaw fishers and their rights.

I’m so afraid for what will happen, not just in the US, but also to countries and economies all over the world if Trump gets in for a second term. Not a little of my anxiety these days is due to this election.

Pandemic Life

Worldwide, we’re in the second wave. Numbers of infections are exceeding those seen in the spring in many countries are increasing restrictions. While I understand that people are tired, if we don’t recommit to reasonable restrictions like wearing masks in public, maintaining physical distance, washing your hands, and getting your flu shot, governments will have no choice but to implement lockdowns again.

It’s not about inconveniencing you. It’s not about violating your civil liberties. It’s about protecting other people. It’s about preventing the spread of disease.

Do your part.

The month in writing

Having finally finished my rewrite of Reality Bomb in September, I’d hoped to map things out and revise by the end of October. Once again, my ambitions exceeded my capabilities.

I didn’t finish mapping the story until October 20th. When I got to work on revisions, it wasn’t too bad. With eleven days left on the month, I set the goal of revising 30,000 words. I managed 24,714 words, or 82%. I’ve not just been cutting words, I’ve been rewriting whole sections again, so this is not bad. This is also the first month I’ve posted substantial revision numbers all year.

For NaNoWriMo this year, I’m doing the rebel thing again and I’m hoping to revise the remaining 60,000 (and a bit) words. I’ve already cut over 2,000 words from the over 120,000-word draft. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to tighten everything up and end up with a 90,000-word story that I can present to my critique group. I’m sure there will be further revisions, but this is my short-term goal.

Thanks in part to these long monthly updates, I once again outstripped my blogging goal by 174%. I wrote 6,532 words of my 3,750-word goal.

I also drafted most of my next Speculation column for DIY MFA. I managed to write 840 word of my 1,000-word goal, or 84%.

Overall, I wrote 155% of my writing goal of 4,750 words.

Also, my poem “Visiting Endymion” was published in Polar Borealis 16.

Filling the well

My family did get together for a low-key Thanksgiving at my Mom’s. Even though there were just five of us, we had more than enough food to send everyone home with leftovers.

For my birthday, Phil ordered sushi, I had wine, and we watched a seasonally appropriate movie (more on that, below). I’m a level 51 human now. I still behave like I’m a kid 😛

Virtual event-wise, I started the month with the launch of Ariel Gordon’s Tree Talk on the 1st. On the second, I attended a Carl Brandon Society lecture by Desi authors called Our Literary Mothers.

On the 6th, I attended a talk with Waubgeshig Rice and Eden Robinson in anticipation of the CBC series Trickster, based on Robinson’s books. It’s awesome. You need to watch it. CBC Gem.

I signed up for a series of webinars from Free Expressions. So far, I’ve attended a couple of Donald Maass lectures/workshops, and a Lisa Cron presentation on story and the brain.

I also registered for Surry International Writers’ Conference (SiWC) online, which combined their usual weekend offering with the Writing Excuses virtual retreat. I have to admit that I hit peak zoom saturation on Saturday night, but the recorded sessions will be available for a month for registered attendees. I’ll catch up.

Almost full/blue/hunter’s moon

What I’ve been watching and reading

In the viewing category, the month started off on a lowish note.

We finished Wizards: Tales of Arcadia. It wasn’t as good as Three Below, but it was okay and a better interpretation of Arthurian legend than Cursed.

Season two of The New Legends of Monkey was fun, but dumb. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

We watched The Boys, season two, and it was awesome and bloody and surprising, but Lucy traumatized me.

Lovecraft Country blew my freaking mind. I’ve seen some less than stellar reviews, but Phil and I loved it.

Utopia was good as well. I enjoyed it more than Phil, but I think what got him was the lack of resolution. Every plot line ended on a cliffhanger. I’m more comfortable with this than Phil is.

We also watched two movies. The Old Guard was good, but fairly standard and somewhat predictable. Zombieland Double Tap was as delightful a romp as the first one.

Reading-wise, I finished Jade City by Fonda Lee. I’ve been diversifying my reading and quite enjoyed the Asian-based fantasy world. The characters were fabulous.

Then, I backfilled a gap with Sabriel by Garth Nix. I quite liked the world of the Abhorsen.

I consumed Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir’s follow up to Gideon the Ninth. I went in prepared for the second person narrative, the apparent retconning of many of the events of the first book, and the lack of Gideon’s exquisitely kiss-my-ass voice. There is a point to it. Trust me. The second novel is as much a mystery as the first and part of the delight is trying to figure out what the hell is going on. The pay off is worth it, though the ending still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Loved.

I also read K.M. Weiland’s Writing Your Story’s Theme. You may have noticed my book review 🙂 Yes, I’m A K.M. fangirl, but her analysis is on the mark and she has a way of making theme accessible to the reader without too much brain twisting.

I finished off the month with Alice Munro’s Runaway. There are only two standalone stories in this collection and the rest are linked in two groups. The title tale is chilling.

And that was the month in this writer’s life.

Just a reminder, I won’t be doing curation for most of the month of November. There is just one each of tipsday and thoughty Thursday, and then I’ll be devoting most of my time to RB revisions/NaNo. Of course, I hope to provide you with a weekly update on my revision progress.

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