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!

 

Advertisements

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 🙂

tipsday2016

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!

tipsday2016

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 24-30, 2017

I proudly present your informal writerly learnings for the week.

I think this is my favourite post of K.M. Weiland’s this year: six lifestyle changes you can make to protect your creativity. Later in the week, Kate shares four ways to amplify your characters’ subtext. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sara Letourneau assembles this list of 12 questions you can use to determine the themes of your writing life. DIY MFA

Stacy Woodson lists the pros and cons of joining a writing organization. DIY MFA

Tamara Linden stops by DIY MFA for #5onFri: five sticky grammar mistakes and how to avoid them.

Sarah Moore guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: when you shouldn’t hire and pay for a professional editor.

Susan Spann warns about the hidden dangers in short-form publishing deals. Writer Unboxed

Barbara O’Neal explains how to plant the magic beans of story. Writer Unboxed

Diana Raab tells you how to create a sacred space for your writing. Writer Unboxed

Erika Liodice explains how to find the right developmental editor for your book. Writer Unboxed

Nathan Bransford: how writers can beat imposter syndrome.

Kathryn Craft helps you finish your novel one stroke at a time. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci explains how to write a solid chapter.

 

C.S. Lakin guest posts over at Writers Helping Writers: the ten key scenes you need to frame up your novel.

Rachael Stephen reviews the tragic plot embryo as part of her Preptober series. With silly shenanigans at the end.

 

Kristen Lamb explains why guilt is a lie and how boundaries benefit everyone.

David Peterson (the linguist who created languages for Game of Thrones and Defiance): how to create a fantasy language. Unbound Worlds

I hope you found something of value in this mix. Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty 🙂

Until then, my friends, be well.

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 17-23, 2017

I present your informal writerly learnings for the week:

K.M. Weiland offers five tips for organizing sub-plots. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Amber Massey guest posts on Kate’s blog: five tips for creating believable fictional languages.

Susan Wolfe wonders, if you write a book that nobody reads, are you still a writer? Writer Unboxed

Annie Neugebauer offers a pragmatist’s guide to easing the ugh (AKA learning to wait well). Writer Unboxed

Lydia Kang helps you prepare your research to-do list. Writer Unboxed

Jennie Nash visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: fast draft writing for NaNoWriMo—and every other month.

Later in the week, Kristen Lamb stops by to talk about flashbacks.

Gabriela Pereira stops by Writer’s Digest to explain how to build your email list.

Terri Frank lists six writing books librarians recommend. DIY MFA

Catherine Schaff-Stump (one of the lovely writerly types I met through the Writing Excuses Retreat) shares her favourite bit of The Vessel of Ra on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog.

Sarah Laskow finds 30 lost English words that deserve a comeback. Atlas Obscura

Angela Chen is the last Chinese-American woman writer who hadn’t read Maxine Hong Kingston. Electric Lit

Deji Bryce Olukotun imagines the future of Nigeria through science fiction. Literary Hub

Eliza Anyangwe counts Nnedi Okorafor’s “so many different kinds of strange” and how she’s changing the face of science fiction. The Guardian

Mark Medley reports: three first-time authors (including one genre writer) make Giller Prize longlist. The Globe and Mail

Oh, yum! James Whitbrook gives us our first look at David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Good Omens. i09

Be well until Thursday, my friends.

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 10-16 2017

And now … it’s time for your informal writerly learnings for the week.

Jane Friedman answers the question, what’s more important, author websites, or social media? Then she follows up with this post: social media for authors is the toughest topic to advise on.

Jami Gold visits Writers Helping Writers: translating story beats into any genre.

Abigail K. Perry: three major roles of minor characters. DIY MFA

Audrey Kalman shares five tips for processing a negative critique. DIY MFA

Slipping this in here because its (kind of) related. Jenna Moreci with part two of her beta reader process:

 

Brenda Joyce Patterson offers tips and techniques for training your writer’s brain. DIY MFA

Kermeron Hurley talks about creativity and the fear of losing the magic.

Laura Drake explains how to survive a confidence crisis. Writers in the Storm

Sierra Godfrey and Kasey Corbit share three steps for using the tarot for your writing. Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy guest posts on The Write Practice: why your story conflict isn’t working (and how to fix it).

Kathryn Craft: say a little less; mean a little more. Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson shares some news you can use (and some you shouldn’t). Writer Unboxed

Kim Alexander helps you put the fan back in fantasy—and get past ye same olde same olde. Kristen Lamb’s blog

Chris Winkle offers some insight into creating an eclectic magic system. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi lists six common problems with long series (and how to fix them). Mythcreants

Anjali Enjeti explains why she’s still trying to get a book deal after ten years. Both heartbreaking and hopeful. The Atlantic

Kim Fahner pays tribute to Gwendolyn MacEwen on Many Gendered Mothers.

The CBC invites you to discover the best in Canadian Indigenous writing.

How to rescue a wet book (!)

 

Mandalit del Barco interviews Marie Lu for NPR.

Jo Walton: Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Day Before the Revolution” as a moment in a life. Tor.com

Robert Minto wonders, what happens when a science fiction genius starts blogging? New Republic

Abiola Oke interviews Nnedi Okorafor for Okay Africa.

I hope you found something you needed in this curation.

Come back for Thoughty Thursday 🙂

Until then, be well, my friends.

tipsday2016

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

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the first full week of September (!)

K.M. Weiland continues her most common writing mistakes with part 62: head-hopping POV. Helping Writers Become Authors

Colleen M. Story explains how your time personality influences your writing productivity. Writers in the Storm

Susan Spann explains the law (and ethics) of conference blogging. Writers in the Storm

James Scott Bell stops by the Writers Helping Writers coaches’ corner: using the novel journal to make writing breakthroughs.

Vaughn Roycroft is fortified by gratitude. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass muses on what makes a journey. Writer Unboxed

Here’s the second part of my exploration of The Hero’s Journey on DIY MFA.

Crash Course Mythology – The Hero’s Journey and the Monomyth. They do a really good job of illustrating how some of the stages of The Hero’s Journey are optional, or can be shifted 🙂

 

Leanne Sowul: it’s back to school time at DIY MFA—what do you want to learn?

Kristen Lamb explains why suffering is essential for great fiction.

Jeff Lyons returns to Jami Gold’s blog to bust the rest of the top ten writing myths.

Rachel Chaney is Dan Koboldt’s equine expert for this article: matching horses to use, climate, and characters in fiction.

And then, Judith Tarr contributed in praise of the hard-working fantasy horse to the Tor.com blog. What do these ladies have against Friesians, anyway?

Rebecca Solnit: if I were a man. The Guardian

Isabella Biedenharn: Libba Bray has some thoughts on this all-female Lord of the Flies remake. Entertainment Weekly

What growing up in the sulphur city taught me about beauty. Christine Schrum on the Latitude 46 blog.

Cat Rambo announces that games writers will be eligible for an award in the 2018 Nebulas. Geekwire podcast.

Tor.com presents Ursula K. Le Guin’s introduction to the Library of America’s The Hainish Novels & Stories, volume one.

OMG. Droughtlander’s almost over! Actually, the first ep will have aired by the time I post this. Still. OUTLANDER!

 

Ever think Gandalf was a dick? Well, so does Emily Asher-Perrin: five things Gandalf should have admitted instead of being a jerk. (ROFL-hilarious) Tor.com

So I went to WorldCon in August, eh? This happened. The Tea & Jeopardy live podcast taping with George R.R. (Really Really) Martin!

 

Enjoy, and be well until Thoughty Thursday!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 27-Sept 2, 2017

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week 🙂

Kathryn Craft offers four tips for translating critique-speak 🙂 Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy visits Writers in the Storm: six ways your setting can create conflict.

Julia Monroe Martin shares seven things she learned from wrecking her novel. Writer Unboxed

Tracy Hahn-Burkett gives a primer in outlining for pantsers. Writer Unboxed

James Scott Bell offers some tips on how to weave backstory into frontstory. Writer Unboxed

Steven James talks about telling the truth in fiction. Writer Unboxed

Natalia Sylvester explains how white writers can be better allies to writers of colour. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt compares authentic female characters to Hollywood’s passion for gender-swaps. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shows us seven ways to write thematically-pertinent antagonists. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate explains why doubt is the key to flat character arcs.

Janice Hardy stops by Writers Helping Writers: why characters need choices in fiction.

Sara Letourneau continues her series on developing themes in your stories with part 12: the setting. DIY MFA

Ghenet Myrthil: five lessons I learned writing my first middle grade novel. DIY MFA

Tamara Linden presents five myths to plunder for ideas and inspiration. DIY MFA

Jeff Lyons guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: don’t believe these writing myths, part 1.

What psychology says about the first page of your novel. Tamar Sloan for The Write Life.

Chris Winkle: when dark and gritty is just exploitation. Mythcreants

More Wordstock 2017 news from The Sudbury Star.

Peter Robb interviews Kate Heartfield for Artsfile.

Gear Bear says that in the genre’s new “golden age,” science fiction has won the war. Geekwire podcast.

Tolkien’s plant passion moves botanist to write Flora of Middle-Earth. David Fuchs for NPR.

Ursula K. Le Guin: on power, oppression, and freedom. Vox Populi

Robin Kirk explores epic fantasy and breaking the rules of infrastructure in the interest of speed. Tor.com

I hope you gleaned some writerly goodness from this curation.

Be well until Thursday, my friends!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 20-26, 2017

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week, my peeps 🙂

Vaughn Roycroft delves into the trouble with action. Writer Unboxed

Sarah McCoy: friends, countrymen, take up your words! Writer Unboxed

Elissa Field dissects The Martian on Writer Unboxed.

If you catch yourself asking these questions about your book … just don’t. There are better questions to ask. K.M. Weiland, Helping Writers Become Authors.

Later in the week, Janice Hardy guest posts on Kate’s blog: how to create meaningful obstacles via conflict.

Jennifer Probst stops by Jane Friedman’s blog: writing secondary characters that pop—and sell more books.

Janice Hardy guest posts on Marcy Kennedy’s blog: the difference between conflict and tension.

Chuck Wendig has a simple solution for when your story hits the wall. Terribleminds

Terri Frank goes beyond John Grisham in her guide to legal fiction. DIY MFA

Audrey Kalman shares five tips to keep your writing fresh. DIY MFA

James Preston shares his novel launch experience. Writers in the Storm

Laura Drake knows self-belief is hard—how to do it anyway. Writers in the Storm

Wordstock 2017 organizers reveal literary line up. The Sudbury Star

Kayleigh Donaldson explores the mystery of how this book was bought onto the NYT bestseller list. Pajiba

English translations of obscure medieval texts go online. Allison Meier for Hyperallergic.

Nina Munteanu: resonating with the universe.

Buffy’s legacy does not belong to Joss Whedon. Karen Walsh, Geek Mom.

Sarah Bond: what Game of Thrones gets right and wrong about eunuchs and masculinity. Forbes

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

tipsday2016