Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 11-17, 2018

Just a little informal writerly learning this week.

K.M. Weiland helps you spot and avoid self-indulgent writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Writing partners Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes explain how to write the good fight. Writers in the Storm

Angel Ackerman says, if you want to push your protagonist over the edge, use emotional amplifiers. Writers in the Storm

Anna Elliott shares three tips to hook your readers’ emotions. Writer Unboxed

David Corbett is yearning to be evil. Writer Unboxed

Juliet Marillier answers the question, what is fantasy, exactly? Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan stops by DIY MFA to share five ways to build your success team.

Jami Gold: if you want to deepen your story, you gotta theme it like you mean it! Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb breaks down the real odds of author success.

Eli Landes stops by Jane Friedman’s blog: there are only two types of stories—and why that matters.

Chris Winkle explains when to narrate a villain’s point of view. Mythcreants

Kelly Robson: The future we imagine is the future we get.

And that was Tipsday.

Be well until thoughty Thursday!



Join me over at DIY MFA for my latest column

This time, I’m plumbing the depths of fairy tales with an exploration of Baba Yaga.


And while you’re visiting, check out all of Gabriela’s awesome writing resources and the other great contributors to DIY MFA.

See y’all in a bit with Tipsday!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 4-10, 2018

Your informal writerly learnings for the week, gentle reader 🙂

Marisa de los Santos is writing through the rough parts. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass expounds on high drama and heroism. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft: proving your protagonist has what it takes. Writer Unboxed

Jeanne Kisacky discusses the ups and downs of the supporters in a writer’s life: a well-deserved expression of gratitude. Writer Unboxed

The island of misfit characters. Where intriguing characters go when they’re … not quite right. Kathryn Magendie on Writer Unboxed.

James Scott Bell: garlic breath for writers (AKA bad first pages). Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman explains how to raise the stakes by making is personal. Writers Helping Writers

A.K. Perry begins a new series on signpost scenes with the disturbance. DIY MFA

Elisabeth Kauffman answers a question about character motive in her new series, ask the editor. DIY MFA

Sierra Delarosa lists five grammar mistakes writers should avoid. DIY MFA

Peter Selgin guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: how your story’s opening foreshadows (intentionally or not) what’s to come.

L.L. Barkat, who bid farewell to blogging years ago on Jane Friedman’s blog, returns to explain why blogging may no longer be such a bad thing anymore.

Chuck Wendig responds to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s tweet defining art and entertainment. Terribleminds

Kristen Lamb: how story forges, defines, and refines character.

Julie Glover asks, are you sick and tired of editing your novel? Writers in the Storm

Oren Ashkenazi explains why the term “Mary Sue” should be retired. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu says, write about what you know.

Sudbury Writers’ Guild member and vice-president Vera Constantineau is interviewed on Morning North about her new fiction collection, Daisy Chained. CBC

Nnedi Okorafor: science fiction that imagines a future Africa. TED Talks

Leah Schnelbach wonders, how could I forget the liberating weirdness of Madeleine L’Engle?

Katy Waldman rereads A Wrinkle in Time after a childhood spent enthralled by Madeleine L’Engle. The New Yorker

Alison Flood reports that Shakespeare may have annotated his own source for Hamlet. The Guardian

Be well until Thursday, my friends!


Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 25-March 3, 2018

Gentle readers, here are your informal writerly learnings for the week:

K.M. Weiland says, don’t write scenes—write images! Helping Writers Become Authors

Christina Delay: the attraction of passion. Writers in the Storm

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares five quick ways to shift description and setting into deep POV. Writers in the Storm

Julia Munroe Martin is getting in touch with the inner magician. Writer Unboxed

Magic cloaks, lucky charms and other writerly superstitions. Sarah McCoy explores writers’ rituals on Writer Unboxed.

Barbara O’Neal wants you to imagine your ideal reader. Writer Unboxed

Sophie Masson examines some of the great last lines of fiction. Writer Unboxed

Kristen Lamb explains how writing a story from the end results in a mind-blowing read.

Janice Hardy warns, over-explaining will kill your novel. Fiction University

Emily Wenstrom tells you how and why to clean your email subscriber list. DIY MFA

Bess Cozby rises to new challenges the DIY MFA way. DIY MFA

Rebecca Monterusso returns to DIY MFA: five reasons it’s time to call an editor.

Chuck Wendig shares three truths about writing and how the writing gets done. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle reveals the one big thing most manuscripts lack. Mythcreants

Jami Gold fills in more blanks in her writing craft master lists: theme development.

Angela Ackerman shares three ways setting can steer your story’s plot. Writers Helping Writers

Mary Robinette Kowal: ask a puppet, episode 4.


Ruth Harris lists eight common mistakes readers hate—and how to fix them. Anne R. Allen’s blog

Nina Munteanu: how art reveals truth in science.

Shoshana Kessock compares the feminism of Black Panther to the feminism of Wonder Woman.

Be well until Thursday!


Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 18-24, 2018

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week:

Elissa Field dissects Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. Writer Unboxed

Vaughn Roycroft explores the power of writing with the intent of giving your readers the feels: on writing and crying. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb: they put your book down, but don’t take it personally. Writer Unboxed

Sara Letourneau stops by the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: mapping your story’s setting.

Angela Ackerman says, if you want memorable characters, you should focus on the little things. Writers Helping Writers

Dan Koboldt visits Writer’s Digest: essential tips for crafting a three-book series.

Leanne Sowul asks, do your commitments reflect your priorities? DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson wants you to build rigor into your writing process. DIY MFA

Danielle Boccelli directs you to five unlikely places to find inspiration. DIY MFA

Margie Lawson helps you get emotion right on the page. Writers in the Storm

Peter Selgin guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog. How to make the best of routine events in your fiction.

Jami Gold fills in the blanks of our writing knowledge.

Chris Winkle explains why you should avoid bigoted heroes who learn better. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi lists six stories with contrived conflict (and tips on how to avoid the same mistakes). Mythcreants

Jenna Moreci: how to write while working full time/going to school/being a mother


Emily Temple presents the opinions of 31 authors on the topic of writing what you know. Literary Hub

Jenna Moreci: diversity in fiction.


Lila Shapiro shares the story of how author Keira Drake revised her YA novel after it was criticized for its racism. Was she successful? We’ll have to wait until the revised version is released in March … The Vulture

Sarah Churchwell says, it’s time for women to rewrite the story. The Guardian

David M. Perry: how will publishing deal with Lemony Snicket amid #metoo? Pacific Standard

Just because I still miss her (and probably will for the rest of my life): Ursula K. Le Guin on ageing and what beauty really means. Brain Pickings

Angela Watercutter: how Ava DuVernay became a creator of worlds. Wired

Maeve lists 21 beautiful Irish words that everyone needs in their lives. Buzzfeed

And that was Tipsday.

Be well until Thursday, when you can return for your weekly dose of thoughty 🙂


Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 11-17, 2018

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week:

K.M. Weiland: cohesion and resonance! Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews Becca Puglisi on writing with emotion and depth of character. The Creative Penn

Daeus Lamb: theme made simple. Writers Helping Writers

September C. Fawkes says the key to writing introspection well is to show “just enough.” Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb: conflict is the elixir of the muse, creating timeless stories readers can’t put down.

Sara Letourneau: a case study on love as a literary theme. DIY MFA

Join me over at DIY MFA for my latest Speculations column. The science in your science fiction: conventional space travel.

Rebecca Monterusso lists the five essentials of every scene. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle: using poetic devices. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi shares six tips to make your fantasy setting more immersive. Mythcreants

Jami Gold compiles her master list of line editing skills and her master list of copy editing skills.

Porter Anderson: diversity in international publishing is not so diverse. Writer Unboxed

Michael Harris: I have forgotten how to read. The Globe and Mail

I saw the headline and thought, sweet Jesus, kid lit too? The only way we’ll overcome systemic sexual harassment is to expose it and talk about it. Like human beings. Sexual harassment in the children’s book industry. Anne Ursu for Medium.

Jim C. Hines, ally and sensible human being, writes about #metoo, denial, and backlash.

Related: James Dashner dropped by his literary agent. The New York Times

And then, Penguin Random House drops him, too. Publishers Weekly

Maria Popova remembers Ursula K. Le Guin, not as a product of, but a creator of, her time. Brain Pickings

I hope you found something to help you get to the next level.

Be well until Thursday!


Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 4-10, 2018

Here, once again, are your informal writerly learnings!

Jessi Rita Hoffman stops by Jane Friedman’s blog to help you prune hedge words and inflation words from your writing.

K.M. Weiland offers four tips for writing to your right audience. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jael McHenry: on commitments, participation, and the writing community. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass shows you what happens when worlds collide. Writer Unboxed

Nancy Johnson joins the Writer Unboxed team: the question your novel answers.

Gabriela Pereira takes her turn in the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner. Writing by design, part two: pattern and repetition.

Back on DIY MFA radio, Gabriela interviews Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi: understanding the emotional wound.

Kristen Lamb: great stories are addictive by design.

Janice Hardy offers seven tips for creating believable fantasy and science fiction worlds. Fiction University

Fae Rowan shares a simple tip to help get rid of saggy middles. [But … will it work on ma belleh—lol?] Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold looks at the editing process and what every writer needs to know to improve.

Backtracking a bit to give you episode 1 of Ask a Puppet (Mary Robinette Kowal). Seriously hilarious.


Mary Robinette Kowal shares her writing process in honor of her birthday.

Roz Morris shares three paradoxes of a slow writing process. Nail Your Novel

Chuck Wendig: yes, you can hiss without sibilance. Terribleminds

Breaking their usual pattern of constructive critique, Oren Ashkenazi reviews five novels with strong throughlines for Mythcreants.

Shane Koyczan – Resolution


Jessica Stillman: why you should surround yourself with more books than you’ll ever have time to read. Inc.

E CE Miller shares 21 love letters by authors to inspire you on Valentine’s Day. Bustle

Ryu Spaeth: an education through Earthsea. New Republic

Michael Blanding reports on how plagiarism software unveiled a new source for eleven of Shakespeare’s plays. And no, before the histrionics start, Shakespeare did not plagiarize. The New York Times

Jill Lepore explores the strange and twisted life of Frankenstein. Amazing. Truly. The New Yorker

Krista D. Ball revisits Joanna Russ’s “How to Suppress Women’s Writing” after 35 years. Thought-provoking and anger-inducing. Reddit r/fantasy

Jamil Smith writes about the revolutionary power of Black Panther. Time

I hope your week got off to a great start. Be well until Thursday 🙂


Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 28-Feb 3, 2018

Looking for your informal writerly learnings? Why, they’re right here 🙂

K.M. Weiland shows you four ways to become a better reader. Helping Writers Become Authors

Bryn Greenwood: sometimes it’s just business. Writer Unboxed

Steven James goes from 2000 to 300—why you’re writing too much. I might argue the headline. It’s not that we’re writing too much, but that we’ve lost sight of the reason we’re writing in the first place. The seductive “ding” of gamification has hit writers square in the forehead. Writer Unboxed

Tracy Hahn-Burkett explains what to do when your creativity hits the wall. Writer Unboxed

Catherine McKenzie asks, can I jump on the bandwagon? More importantly, if you can, should you? Writer Unboxed

Cathy Yardley wants you to think about what really matters to your audience. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt: foreshadowing vs. callbacks. Writer Unboxed

Angela Quarles is evaluating sexual tension on the sentence level. Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen shares five writing lessons from Groundhog Day. Writers in the Storm

A.K. Perry helps you write an exciting first chapter. DIY MFA

Angela Ackerman explains the role of emotional wounds within character arc. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy wonders, is your novel all premise and no plot? Fiction University

Kristen Lamb says that goofing off is good for you. Then, she helps you build great stories to endure the ages.

Chris Winkle is creating a compelling romance. Mythcreants

Mary Robinette Kowal’s Ask a Puppet, episode 3.


Diana Gabaldon demonstrates how she crafts a sentence.


Jerry Jenkins compiles a list of 41 tips experts wish they’d known as beginners.

Neil Gaiman presents the lifetime achievement award to Ursula K. Le Guin at the National Book Awards.

Julie Beck: why we forget most of the books we read. The Atlantic

Alberto Manguel elucidates on the art of unpacking a library. The Paris Review

Annika Burgess introduces us to a new literary map exhibit: charting the geography of classic literature. Atlas Obscura

Alexander Zawacki looks at how a library handles a rare and deadly book of wallpaper samples. Atlas Obscura

20 historical words we might want to revive.


Hope you found something that tickled.

See you Thursday for some thoughtiness 🙂

Be well until then.


The next chapter: January 2018 update

January was a good writing month. Considering my somewhat hectic schedule at the day job, my procedure, and everything else (AKA life), I did well.

I continued to draft Playing with Fire, the fourth book in my Ascension series. I didn’t quite do as much as I’d hoped, but mostly, it was due to Torvi. She still needs supervision/training/attention and Phil’s had his workload doubled at his day job, so all he wants to do when he gets home is sleep or hide.

It all depends on when Torvi decides to settle down. Often, I’m not free to write until after supper. Sometimes, the crazies last longer. She is getting better, but mostly, it’s a matter of patience and persistence. On both our parts.


Reaching 73% of my drafting goal for PwF (10,992 word of 15,000) is respectable.

I blogged 87% of my 5,800-word goal (5,054), which I don’t mind.

I wrote and submitted two DIY MFA articles in January and blew away that goal, writing 3,027 words of my 1,000-word goal, or 303%.

And I’m now tracking my newsletter writing for the Sudbury Writers’ Guild. January’s newsletter came in at 4,100 words of my 4,000-word goal, or 103%.

I missed some goals and owned others. It’s always a bit of give and take.

In February, I intend to continue drafting PwF, I have another DIY MFA article due, another newsletter, more blogging, and … I’ve become aware of a couple of short story opportunities that I want to submit to.

In other news

I seem to have had my first period since the ablation. I hadn’t stopped sloughing since the procedure itself, and it just got a little worse. As far as most of my periods go, it’s been a breeze, but since it ‘s happened so soon after the procedure, I don’t anticipate that I’ll be one of the lucky ones who experience complete cessation of menses. I wasn’t counting on it, so I’m good.

As mentioned above, Torvi’s coming along. Things are about what you’d expect for a four-month-old dog, but the problems are exaggerated by her size. It’s more difficult to calm her when she gets excited. It’s more of a challenge to tire her out when she gets playful. But it is what it is.

We’re looking forward to the day she becomes the good girl we know is in there 🙂


Are we going to Grandma’s yet?

And she’s so beautiful. Golden undercoat, burnt tips. When she cuddles, she’s awesome. You may notice that most of the pictures I take of her are when she’s lying down. That’s the only time she’s not moving (!)

That’s it for January.

I’ll see you on Tipsday.

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

The Next Chapter