Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 3-9, 2017

Here’s your informal writerly learnings for the week 🙂

Autocrit offers five quick editing wins for December. NaNoWriMo Tumblr

Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary gives an agent’s take on NaNoWriMo.

Lance Schaubert writes a defence of spoilers. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass objects to the willing suspension of disbelief. Writer Unboxed

Lynne Griffin stops by Writer Unboxed. Dying to know, afraid to find out: building tension in fiction.

Allie Larkin is refilling the well. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie: the big ole scary monster at the window. Writer Unboxed

Sara Letourneau looks at identity as a theme in YA. DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson teaches you how to use small forms as steps to a novel. DIY MFA

Jonathan Vars: five tips for building tension into your scenes. DIY MFA

James Scott Bell visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: ten ways to goose the muse.

Julie Glover wonders, what motivates you to finish? Writers in the Storm

Kristen Lamb says all wounds matter: writing better stories.

Jefferson Smith guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: how can we improve our readers’ experience? Story immersion.

Author Amal El-Mohtar was detained for hours in customs because she was travelling to the States … even though she’s a Canadian citizen. CBC

Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nobel lecture: my twentieth century evening and other small breakthroughs.

Steph Farnsworth: science fiction, speculative fiction, and the problem of imagination erasing race (featuring Nisi Shawl). Stand Up

Here is part one of Adam Fitzgerald’s interview with Samuel Delaney: don’t romanticize science fiction. Literary Hub

Kari Maaren writes through grief: unfinished. Tor.com

Stephanie Marchie describes what happened when she enlisted an algorithm to help her write the perfect piece of science fiction. Wired

Jess Zimmerman: when bad men define good art. Electric Lit

How we eclipse women’s literary brilliance with scandal. Sarah Seltzer for Jezebel.

Sarah Gailey: fear of the female voice. Tor.com

I hope this writerly goodness will sustain you through the week!

Be well until Thoughty Thursday.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 1-2, 2017

Just a short curation this week to get me back in the swing of things after NaNoWriMo!

So here’s a little informal writerly learning for you 🙂

Nina Munteanu explains when and why to write a synopsis.

Colleen M. Story guest posts on Writers in the Storm: why writers need those “never again” moments.

Jim Dempsey joins Writer Unboxed as its newest contributor: three ways to discover your character’s true motivation.

Jo Eberhardt wonders, when is authentic too authentic? Writer Unboxed

Reza Hassanirad offers five eye care tips for writers. DIY MFA

Kristen Lamb explains why pain and wounds are vital for fiction.

Jenna Victoria guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: how to write despite … whatever.

Jenna Moreci busts ten writer myths.

 

Oren Ashkenazi looks at six stories that covered up major plot holes. Mythcreants

James Davis Nicoll: did we all write a book about space elevators? Why coincidences happen in science fiction. Tor.com

Judith Tarr gets mythological: how Loki birthed the eight-legged Sleipnir. Tor.com

And that was your writerly goodness for the week.

Be well until Thoughty Thursday makes its return 🙂

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The next chapter: October and NaNoWriMo update plus pupdate

Hello all you lovely writerly people!

Coming out of the semi-conscious haze that is NaNoWriMo and I owe you all a two-month writerly update.

So let’s get right to it.

October

I went through Reality Bomb one more time. I ended up adding three chapters over the course of my revisions this year. This last pass was to check on continuity and to see if I couldn’t smooth over some of the more jarring transitions.

It still isn’t pretty. I haven’t added in touches to bring the setting to life yet in the event that I have to cut or change things. But … I think I’m ready to expose it to the critique group next year. Yay me.

Unfortunately, because of this last pass and a very busy month at work (I had to prep and deliver training), I wasn’t able to complete my outline for NaNoWriMo. I didn’t get to review the structure of Apprentice of Wind, either.

OctoberProgress

Of my 5,000 word revision goal, I completed 4,012 words, or 80%.

I exceeded my 5,800 word writing goal for this blog with 6,771 words, or 117%.

I did draft a #5onFri column for DIY MFA.

Also, for those of you who wonder about my lovely spreadsheet (and where you can get your hands on it), Jamie Raintree has now produced the 2018 Writing and Revision Tracker (squee!). I’ve already nabbed mine 🙂

November

I entered November with some trepidation this year. Not only was I ill-prepared (see above) but Phil and I also welcomed a little furry bundle into our lives (see below). I knew it was going to be a challenge to “win” this year and I decided just to do what I could.

NovemberProgress

Having said that, I did write 41,077 words over the course of NaNoWriMo, or 82% of the goal 50k. Not a win, but pretty damn close.

I only had one post scheduled for the month and wrote 201 words of my 200 word goal, or 101%.

I also drafted my regular DIY MFA column, which I shared with you yesterday.

Bonus pupdate

In anticipation of our new puppy, I had requested a leave with income averaging, but my employer changed the rules and I had to begin my leave at the start of a new pay period. Because of the aforementioned training, I could start my leave until November 2nd.

On the 3rd, the rescue operator called to let us know that Torvi would be ready to come home on November 10th. Cue the frantic pup prep. I had to clean and pup-proof the main level of the house. The basement is unfinished, and basically Phil’s dumping ground for all manner of (potentially deadly) things. We just have to keep Torvi out of the space until Phil gets motivated enough to clean up.

I had shopping to do for food, toys, dog bed, and all the other puppy accoutrements. So I didn’t have a lot of time to write in that first week.

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Isn’t she adorbs?

We brought Torvi home, freshly vaccinated and dewormed. The first night, Phil slept on the couch to keep watch on the pup. After exactly one night of that, we brought her into the bedroom with us. I got up whenever she did to get her out.

That was my main challenge for the remainder of the month: sleep deprivation. Even now that she’s sleeping through most of the night, our sleep is disturbed. I still wake up whenever she stirs and even if she’s just changing positions, it can take me a while to relax enough to get back to sleep.

We’re in the wilful pup, chew the planet stage. Though I’ve been diligent in substituting her toys for my hands/clothes/feet and praising her when she chews on them instead of me, she’s resistant to making the connection.

There’s a reason for this. We got Torvi at 6 weeks. Our other pups didn’t come home with use until they were 8 weeks old. She’s smart, and promises to be a big dog (she’s already 19 pounds at 9 weeks), but right now, it’s all puppy ID. She wants what she wants and she wants it NOW.

But I head back to work of December 14th, so we’re hoping that the next week and a half will prove fruitful for puppy training and that she won’t terrorize my mom, who will be watching her for us when we go to work.

She’s already made a lot of progress for such a young pup. She’s learning how to sit (aced), lie down (ok), and shake a paw (wha?). I’m taking her on short morning walks and trying to get her to “stay with mommy” and “keep left.”

She’s mostly good about doing her toileting outside, but sometimes it’s play-play-play-pee! There’s no way to catch her in time.

This is the way of new pup parenthood. I can’t wait until we can start socializing her with other dogs. She’s super sweet with people and has only peed in excitement a couple of times.

Speaking of which, it’s about time I take her out.

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

The Next Chapter

My latest column for DIY MFA

Good afternoon writerly folk!

I’m hot off the NaNoWriMo crazy train and back to kick the blog into high gear again.

Tomorrow, I’ll be providing you with a detailed breakdown of October and November’s writing progress with my next chapter update (flailing Kermit arms–aaaaaahhhhhhh!).

In the meantime, join me over at DIY MFA for my latest column: five nursery rhyme origins to spark your next story!

nurseryrhymes

Until tomorrow, be well my friends.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 22-28, 2017

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week.

Janice Hardy continues her 31 day online writing workshop for preptober. Day 22: the inciting event. Day 23: the first act problem. Day 24: the act two choice. Day 25: the midpoint reversal. Day 26: the act two disaster. Day 27: the three act plan. Day 28: the climax. Day 29: the wrap up. You’ll have to read the rest yourself on Fiction University.

Marie lists 24 novels that started off as NaNoWriMo projects. Goodreads


K.M. Weiland: four ways to prevent story structure from becoming formulaic. Helping Writers Become Authors

Angela Ackerman visits Jane Friedman’s blog: using dysfunctional behaviour to reveal characters’ wounds. Then Jordan Rosenfeld takes a turn: four ways to start a scene.

Terri Frank invites you to go beyond Westworld and reinvent the western. DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson helps you write through fear and anxiety. DIY MFA

Kathryn Craft offers five tips to help you survive a career quake. Writers in the Storm

Jamie Raintree guest posts on Writers in the Storm: waking up early to write. Then, Jamie pops over to Writer’s Digest: building self-care habits so you can write your best work.

Barbara O’Neal helps you vanquish the killer critic. Writer Unboxed

Bran L. Ayres guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: want to write with diversity but not sure how? Later in the week, Jami wonders, how do you persevere?

Mark O’Neill stops by The Creative Penn: writing while under the influence of depression.

Joe Fassler talked to 150 writers and collected the best advice they had. Literary Hub

Jess Zafarris and Cris Freese share six lessons writers can learn from Netflix’s Stranger Things. Are you binging? You’re binging, aren’t you? Writer’s Digest

This will be the last Tipsday until December—!

Be well through the time change and whatever challenges November presents you.

You are awesome just as you are.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 15-21, 2017

Your weekly dose of informal writerly learnings is here!

First, get your fill of preptober:

Janice Hardy continues her 31 day online novel workshop with day 15: discovering your internal conflicts. Day 16: finding your stakes. Day 17: turning your idea into a summary line. Day 18: turning the summary line into a summary blurb. Day 19: creating the most basic of outlines. Day 20: developing your plot. Day 21: the opening scene.

Gabriela Pereira guest posts on the NaNoWriMo blog: outline your story like a subway map.

Later in the week, Gabriela interviews NaNoWriMo’s Grant Faulkner for DIY MFA radio.

As part of her preptober series, Rachael Stephen shares three efficient techniques for fleshing out characters.

 

Jenny Hansen plots up a storm (for NaNoWriMo) with Writers in the Storm.

Elizabeth S. Craig offers some suggestions on how to be a #NaNoWriMo rebel.


And now …

K.M. Weiland follows up on a recent post: the only good reason to write. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jan O’Hara shares lessons learned from Ruby Dixon: how to write sex scenes that readers can’t and won’t skip. Writer Unboxed

Julianna Baggott: the writerly skills test. Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson considers the book doula. I love how Porter presents the evidence and lets the reader decide what they think about the topic. Writer Unboxed

A.K. Perry ponders the eternal question: to outline or not to outline? DIY MFA

And here’s my most recent DIY MFA column—the science in your science fiction: artificial intelligence.

Jami Gold helps you decide what you should show and what you should tell. Then, she helps you find balance between showing and telling.

Tamar Sloan stops by the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: what’s the real purpose of writing?

Is there such a thing as a good MacGuffin? Robert Wood, Standout books.

Adrienne Liang interviews Patrick Rothfuss for Omnivoracious: what brings him joy?

And that was your writerly goodness for the week.

Be well until Thursday!

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Catching up on my DIY MFA columns

Hi all you writerly people!

Over the summer, I fell behind in sharing my DIY MFA columns. I know, I said I was going to post to let you know when they were out … but life happened and sharing the posts was the last thing on my mind.

Now I’ve come home and life is more or less in order again, I thought I’d catch everyone up.

First, my latest Speculations column, the science in your science fiction: artificial intelligence. This was just published yesterday (October 17).

AIColumn

D’aw, isn’t this lil guy cute?

Earlier in the summer, though, I did a two part post on the hero’s journey. Part one: strengthen your writing by studying the hero’s journey. This was posted July 25, two days before I left for my European adventure.

herosjourney1

Part two: a deep dive into the hero’s journey. This one was due within days of my return and was posted September 7.

herosjourney2

I hope you enjoy.

And while you’re there, check out the other awesome columnists and all of Gabriela’s great resources. If you like what you see, join the DIY MFA community 🙂

See you tomorrow!

 

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 8-14, 2017

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week 🙂

First, your preptober fix of NaNo:

Janice Hardy continues her 31 day NaNoWriMo prepcourse on Fiction University. Day eight: developing the character arcs. Day nine: choosing your point of view. Day ten: choosing your POV characters. Day eleven: finding your theme. Day twelve: choosing your setting. Day thirteen: determining your goals. Day Fourteen: discovering your external conflicts.

Arthur Klepkuchov shares his first (and last?) winning NaNoWriMo. Writer Unboxed

Rachael Stephen: creating a powerful character backstory.

 

Grant Faulkner on Writer’s Digest: how one month of NaNoWriMo can lead to a lifetime of better writing.


K.M. Weiland: four reasons you’re confused about scene structure.  Later in the week, Kate explains why we need more thematically pertinent female protagonists. Helping Writers Become Authors

Roz Morris helps you figure out what should go into your story’s ending. Writers Helping Writers

Sacha Black helps you improve your sentences: getting jiggy with the nitty gritty. Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman guest posts on Writers in the Storm: does your villain have well-developed motivations?

Emily Wenstrom answers the question: should writers be on LinkedIn? DIY MFA

Bess Cozby shows you how to build rest and retreats into your writing routine. DIY MFA

Sarah Callender shares her experience with a bun in the oven: the gestation period of a novel. Writer Unboxed

Writing what you (never hope to) know: empathy, perception, projection. Kathryn Magendie on Writer Unboxed.

Orly Konig Lopez explains why every writer needs writer’s events. Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold: genre is worldbuilding. And, later in the week, Jami asks, how do you define success?

Alex Acks is perplexed by the river systems of Middle Earth. Tor.com

Alison Flood reports on Vita Sackville-West’s miniature book, said to have inspired Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. The Guardian

Sophie Elmhirst celebrates Philip Pullman’s return to his fantasy world. The New York Times Magazine

Nell Irvin Painter: Toni Morrison’s radical vision of otherness. New Republic

Alexandra Alter profiles Nnedi Okorafor for The New York Times.

Laura Bradley: the strange history of “nolite te bastardes carborundorum.Vanity Fair

Be well until Thursday, my writerly friends 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 1-7, 2017

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week!

This is October now … and so you know what those of us who do the crazy of NaNoWriMo are doing. Yup. NaNo prep (not to be confused with those other preppers). For the month of October, therefore, I will be posting lots of tasty NaNo prep materials, which can be pretty useful even if you don’t participate 🙂

K.M. Weiland assembles her complete guide to preparing for a successful NaNoWriMo. Helping Writers Become Authors

To help y’all prepare for NaNoWriMo, Janice Hardy’s running a 31 day novel workshop. Here’s the first instalment: brainstorming your idea. Day two: develop your hook. Day three: what’s driving your plot?  Day four: creating your characters. Day five: developing your protagonist. Day six: creating the novel’s conflict. Day seven: developing your antagonist.

Laura Highcove lists the pros and cons of NaNoWriMo. DIY MFA

Rachael Stephen continues preptober with how to be an early bird.


Laura Drake helps you find your perfect critique partner. Writers in the Storm

Kristen Lamb has a little tongue-in-cheek advice for you. Fun is for losers! If you aren’t miserable, you’re doing it wrong! Later in the week Kristen returns with 50 shades of butt-in-gear—the ultimate slacker’s guide to writing success.

Bryn Greenwood: haters gonna hate (but you don’t have to). Writer Unboxed

Writerly wisdom from Donald Maass: the world is inside out. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt encourages us to write like a girl. Writer Unboxed

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jodi Kendall for DIY MFA radio.

C.S. Lakin visits Writers Helping Writers: what’s the dark night moment all about?

Ari Ashkenazi: five ways David Weber built the Honorverse into an immersive world. Mythcreants

Even John Scalzi is having a challenging writing year. Whatever

Elizabeth Bear wonders, where are all the women? Tor.com

Terri Pous shares 17 bits of word nerd trivia. Buzzfeed

And that be it until Thursday, my writerly friends.

Be well until then!

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The next chapter: Thanksgiving and September 2017 update

Before I get into the personal stuff, I want to shout out to all those affected by hurricanes Harvey/Irma/Maria, and now Nate. I support various relief funds and hope that money reaches those in need. I know that the Canadian government has pledged $160k for relief in the Caribbean. We stand ready to assist.

I also want to decry the Las Vegas mass shooting and, though I have no impact on American policy as a Canadian, I voice my opinion that improved gun control is your best action to prevent such tragedy in the future. While I am realistic enough to know that it’s unlikely to happen any time soon, I hope that reason will prevail.

And now—to the update.

September was a calm and reasoned month, writing and revision wise. I set myself the task of getting through the revision of Reality Bomb. I had to add a character and a chapter, change the setting, change the climax a bit, and parse for continuity. So it wasn’t so much about polishing prose as it was about structure and flow.

SeptemberProgress

Like this? Jamie Raintree has launched the 2018 writing and revision tracker. It’s worth every penny!

I’m happy to say I met that goal as of September 30, revising 53,594 words, or 107%, of my 50K word goal.

Writing wise, thanks in part to my WXR/European adventure blog posts, I wrote 8,134 words of my 6,600 word goal, or 123%.

I also wrote my next column for DIY MFA and proposed a #5onFri column for them.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to NaNoWriMo prep in September. I’ll have to cram that into October.

Aside from NaNo prep (which I have now started), I’ll be writing my DIY MFA columns, continuing the blogging, and doing another run through of RB. I’ve already added another chapter, but my word count on the draft continues to be shy of my 80K goal. I’m at about 75K, so not that far off, but, as I mentioned in my last next chapter update, I’ll be submitting RB for critique next year, and I want to make sure the draft’s at least passable.

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. I’ve already feasted with the fam (hence the Sunday post), but I wanted to spend some time expressing my thanks for the various good things in my life.

I had at one time considered a daily gratitude post, but that’s just not me. I’ve also realized it’s not necessary. Every post I share is shared out of gratitude for what I’ve learned. Every picture I post, likewise, is a show of gratitude—for my garden, home, Phil and all the things he does around here to make our place even more “ours.”

I take pictures of family and friends, writing events, pets, and so forth, because I want to share with everyone just how awesome it is to have these people and things in my life.

So, if I share it, it’s because I’m thankful for it in some way and I’m duly thankful for everyone and everything I have in my life.

Some people and things that I’m extra thankful for:

  • Phil, always and forever.
  • Mom, ‘cause she still takes care of me after all these years.
  • Barb, Steph, and Ger, ‘cause it’s nice (as an only child) to have more family.
  • Kim, my wordly soul sista.
  • Margaret, my oldest (like, we’ve known each other since we were seven), dearest, BFF.
  • The awesome novel critique group I hooked up with at WXR. No pressure, but I hope we can all help bring each other to the next level.
  • My job, because, while I no longer enjoy many aspects of it, it enables me to do amazing things like my European adventure. Also, I have the benefit of periodic self-funded leaves, which, I’m pleased to say, I’m taking advantage of again this year. Six weeks, this time, just in time for NaNoWriMo.
  • Our soon-to-be puppy! Yes, once my leave was approved, I started the hunt … and this is the little dear we found thanks to Furever Furbaby Rescue. We’re going to visit her next weekend and should be officially adopting her sometime after November 14.

There are other things, but I’m still in the process of working those out.

Life is good.

Until next I blog, dear friends (for whom I’m also very grateful), be kind, be well, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

The Next Chapter