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

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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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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 14-20, 2018

Another lovely week filled with informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland explores why writers cherish language. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy stops by Writers in the Storm: plot backward to move forward with your novel.

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers five tips on writing a trauma backstory. Writers in the Storm

Roz Morris explains how to outline your novel without killing the fun of writing it. Nail Your Novel

Lisa Cron tells you how to nail your first three pages. Writers Helping Writers

Barbara Poelle answers another funny you should ask question: how fast-paced should a thriller be? Writer’s Digest

Janice Hardy tells you what you need to know about internalization. Fiction University

Rachael Stephen: how to write when you don’t want to. #preptober

 

Sara Letourneau helps you let go of perfectionism the DIY MFA way. DIY MFA

Dan Koboldt stops by Jane Friedman’s blog to explain how to research your writing to ensure technical accuracy. Also, check out Dan’s new book: Putting the Science in Fiction. I’m a fan 🙂

Kathleen McCleary: it takes a village. Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson wonders, but how much are you reading? Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle presents six wordcraft questions writers fight over. Then, Oren Ashkenazi points out seven common problems with speculative fiction technology. Mythcreants

Cold Crash Pictures debunks the four most annoying scientific inaccuracies in film.

 

Jenna Moreci lists her worst sci-fi tropes ever.

 

And Cold Crash Pictures tackles four more sexist tropes.

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something helpful in this curation.

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 7-13, 2018

I’m back with another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

DiAnn Mills helps you find your character’s blind spot. Writer Unboxed

Jeanne Kisacky explores the link between non-verbal communication and backstory. Writer Unboxed

Sarah Callender: knowing when you’ve peaked. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie considers the tiny former planet. What we can learn about persistence from Pluto. Writer Unboxed

Jenny Hansen contemplates the eternal question: to NaNo, or not to NaNo … ? Writers in the Storm

Orly Konig share how squirrel-brain helped her writing. Writers in the Storm

Sacha Black explains how to redeem your villain with killer twists. Writers Helping Writers

Deborah Dixon explains why representation in literature is important and how to handle it. Writers Helping Writers

Pamela Taylor examines the six key elements of historical narrative. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jennie Nash for DIY MFA radio: empower yourself and your writing.

Jenn Walton shares five benefits of tough feedback. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy stops by Jami Gold’s blog to show you how to use focused brainstorming to develop your plot.

Literary agent Britt Siess shares five steps to nailing your query letter. Writer’s Digest

Chuck Wendig writes a post for world mental health day: when writer’s block is actually depression.  Later in the week, he recounts his firing from Marvel. It’s a travesty, a triumph of trolls. Chuck’s astute irreverence has inspired me and saved my writerly sanity more times than I can count. Terribleminds

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes stories in which six characters are siloed into separate stories. Mythcreants

And that was Tipsday.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well!

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

Let’s start off October right with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland returns from hiatus with three tips for improving show, don’t tell. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan Spann explains when zero is greater than one. Writer Unboxed

Bryn Greenwood: how long is a piece of string? Ruminations on quitting the day job and what it takes to make a writing life. Writer Unboxed

Barbara O’Neal writes about the pause between. Sometimes, you have to take a break between projects. Listen to your body. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb offers some tips on writing the authentic modern woman (especially if you’re a man). Writer Unboxed

Julie Carrick Dalton uses a metaphor to describe the editing process: putting words on trial. Writer Unboxed

Jane Friedman shares three principles of finding time to write. Then, Grant Faulkner joins Jane to help you overcome creativity wounds.

Elisabeth Kauffman answers another question in her ask the editor column: conflicting critique advice. DIY MFA

Barbara Poelle answers another “Funny you should ask” question: what is new adult fiction? Writer’s Digest

Chuck Wendig tries his hand at another writing analogy: a writing career is basically a really weird RPG. Terribleminds

Laura Drake explains why learning writing takes so long. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle shows you how to break storytelling rules. Mythcreants

Jami Gold: how to save a broken story.

Cold Crash Pictures takes a look at the five most annoyingly sexist tropes in movies. Works for fiction, too.

 

That was Tipsday for this week.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well!

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

Looking for some informal writerly learnings? Don’t worry. I’ve found them:

Vaughn Roycroft is writing through uncertainty (with a writerly life jacket). Writer Unboxed

Dave King: wait, what? The power of ambiguity. Writer Unboxed

Annie Neugebauer explains how to process and filter feedback. Writer Unboxed

Julie Duffy: self-doubt is not good. Writer Unboxed

Laura Drake proposes a writer’s resolution anyone can keep. Writers in the Storm

From Beyoncé to the X-files: allusion power on the page. Margie Lawson guest posts on Writers in the Storm.

Angela Ackerman visits Writers in the Storm. What’s stronger than your character’s worst fear? Their unmet need …

A.K. Perry explores another of James Scott Bell’s signpost scenes: doorway of no return #1. DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson shares some practical magic: voice in character creation. DIY MFA

Jenn Walton presents five conversations you should have with your protagonist. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig says that a writing career is a series of cliff-mitigation exercises. Terribleminds

Faith Okamoto shares five tips for characters who go against the flow. Then, Oren Ashkenazi presents six sources of conflict for your world. Mythcreants

Jami Gold wants you to proactively avoid issues with a brainstorming check.

Jenna Moreci lists the top ten she looks for in a book (for personal reading enjoyment).

 

Erik Kwakkel tells the tale of two medieval selfies: me, myself, and I. Medieval Books

The Captain Marvel trailer (looks awesome!)

 

And that was tipsday. Come back on Thursday for your weeky dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well!

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

Another awesome week of informal writerly learnings.

Rochelle Deans covers for K.M. Weiland while she’s on hiatus: three tips for writing a story that’s better than its flaws. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenny Hansen wonders, have you lost touch with your inner avid reader? Writers in the Storm

Julie Glover suggests four easy edits to make your story flow better. Writers in the Storm

David Corbett is gearing up for getting out: the conference experience. Writer Unboxed

Jami Gold drops by Writers Helping Writers to apply lessons from TV to chapter hooks: and … action!

Over on her own blog, Jami wonders, what do you want to write that you haven’t yet?

Kristen Lamb discusses time as a literary device: flashbacks vs. non-linear structure.

Laurence MacNaughton offers five tips for writing group success. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb helps you decipher the log line: can you pitch your entire story in one sentence?

Ellen Brock offers a two-part series on writing a query letter. Here’s part one:

 

And part two:

 

Here’s my latest DIY MFA column: world building with the celestial objects of our Solar System.

On episode 217 of DIY MFA Radio, Gabriela Pereira interviews Yang Huang: write dangerously. Later in the week, Gabriela presents the opposite is possible theory of character development. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig says, you gotta trust in the process. Terribleminds

Jim C. Hines explains what to do when you’re called out on something problematic

Chris Winkle explains why English needs singular they. Then, Oren Ashkenazi discusses six pieces of misunderstood storytelling advice. Mythcreants

So looking forward to Outlander season 4.

 

Be well until Thursday, when you can visit again to pick up some thoughty 😉

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

It’s been a tasty week for informal writerly learnings 🙂

Donna Galanti explains how to build suspense: meet your readers in the middle and they will come. Writers in the Storm

It’s been a while, but Fae Rowan is back with part three of her series on five conflict-making choices your characters can make. Writers in the Storm

Anna Elliott: heartbeats. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie is letting go of the negative dark cycle. Writer Unboxed

Greer Macallister offers 25 truths about the work of writing. Writer Unboxed

Therese Walsh: that time Jane Friedman’s advice saved my novel. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass has some suggestions in case you’re feeling stuck. Stories don’t get stuck; only writers do. Writer Unboxed

Related: Kristen Lamb wonders if your story is stuck and offers five reasons your novel is breaking down.

And another perspective: sometimes it’s okay to quit the thing you’re writing. Sometimes you have to quit writing a thing. As long as you don’t quit writing all the things. Chuck Wendig @Terribleminds.

Rachael Stephen: Solve any writing problem (with brainstorming!)

 

Then, she argues that you have to define your theme before you write (and dares you to fight her):

 

If you have sloppy writing habits, K.M. Weiland shares four strategies to deal with it. Helping Writers Become Authors

Merilyn Simonds drops by Jane Friedman’s blog: how long should it take to write a book?

James Scott Bell takes his turn in the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: where’s your edge?

Leanne Sowul shares seven lessons learned from tracking her time. DIY MFA

Sera Fiana recommends five self-care tips to improve your writing process. DIY MFA

Jami Gold: what does it mean to write layered characters? Later in the week, she reflects on how goals, needs, and false beliefs create character conflict.

Ellen Brock shows you how to plot your novel fast.

 

Fay Onyx examines five common harmful representations of disability. Mythcreants

And that was Tipsday.

Come back for your weekly dose of Thoughty on Thursday!

Until then, be well, my writerly friends.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 26-Sept 1, 2018

Ah, September. Did you have to come so soon? Now we say our fond farewells to summer and get back to work and school. Shore yourself up with some informal writerly learnings.

Shannon Baker and Jess Lourey want you to write what you fear: why, how, and a lifesaving bonus tip. Writer Unboxed

Julia Munroe Martin: confessions of a weary writer. Speaks to me in many ways. I, too, will never give up. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt explores writing, politics, and the fuzzy grey line between. In the end, all writing is political. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to use the enneagram to write better characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

Piper Bayard says, hacking isn’t just for thrillers anymore. Writers in the Storm

Laurie Schnebly Campbell: plot, character, and … what? Writers in the Storm

Roz Morris takes us on a virtual tour of her writing space. The rescued desk—where do you write? Nail Your Novel

Chuck Wendig explains why writing a series (especially as a new author) is really goddamned hard. Terribleminds

Sara Letourneau shares three ways of revising (or avoiding) preachy themes. DIY MFA

Damon Suede stops by Fiction University to talk about comp lit: claiming your place on the shelf.

Lizzie Shane drops by Jami Gold’s blog: how important is talent?

Chris Winkle wants you to account for character identification. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi: five ways gods and the afterlife change a fantasy setting. Mythcreants

And that was tipsday for this week. Come back on Thursday for your weekly done of thoughty.

Be well until then!

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The next chapter: August 2018 update

Greetings, my writerly peeps!

I won’t say it again. I will not. If you’ve read the last few next chapter updates, you know what I’m resisting writing.

It’s still true, but I think that by this time, it goes without saying.

On to the writing progress report.

AugProgress

Once more, I fell short of my modest 5k writing goal on my current work in progress, Playing with Fire. I did write 3,828 words, or 77% of my goal, but I had some competing priorities that made it both necessary and the best I could do given the circumstances.

One of those priorities was a quick run-through of Marushka, as I broke the monolithic manuscript into chapters for posting online. I’ve just finished this task and will be writing up some further notes for me new critique group. In the process I bumped the word count for the draft up by about a thousand words. Draft 2.5 (‘cause this wasn’t really a true revision in any sense of the word) is now just shy of 78k words and I’m sure I’ll be able to take it into the 80-90k range once I have my critique notes.

So, technically, I revised 65,196 words of my 60k-word goal, or 100%

I also sacrificed some personal reading time to do an initial reading of the draft of another writer in the group. As one does in a critique group 🙂 Critiques were initially due by the end of August, but an extension has been granted. I have the time to so a second reading (at least) and put together some juicy notes.

August saw the recurrence of the due date for my DIY MFA column, which should be out on the 11th. It’s another big one, 1,632 words worth, and 163% of my goal.

Finally, I published 3,235 words on this blog in August, or 116% of my 2,800-word goal.

Overall, it’s been a good month with more hits than misses.

In September, I’ve set myself what I hope to be my final 5,000-word goal on PwF. I shouldn’t need that many words to finish off the draft (yes, I’m that close—so close I can taste it, as my mom would say) but I’ve given myself the “space” in case I need it.

Then, I’m going to organize my novel notes into a true series “bible” and begin outlining the final book in the Ascension series, Tamisashki, for NaNoWriMo 2018.

I’ll get to work on my critique and possibly take on another.

My next DIY MFA due date isn’t until October and so, because this won’t be a writing-heavy month, I’ve decided to take on a couple of learning opportunities, just for shits and giggles.

The first of these is the NaNoWriMo/Wesleyan prep course, offered through Coursera. The cost is nominal, and I get to see what Wesleyan offers.

The second is that I’m formally participating in Rachael Stephen’s Prep-tober this year (are we seeing the theme here?).

Writing is and always has been my happy place and that’s where I’m “spending” my creative energies.

Other aspects of my life are still in strange limbo-land, but there is hope/an ending in sight.

In other news, here are some Torvi pictures:

And my attempts at sunrise/sunset/moon pictures:

I’m no professional and all I’ve used here was the camera in my cell phone, but I thought I captured some lovely moments.

And that’s it for this month’s next chapter update.

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

The Next Chapter