Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 29-Oct 5, 2019

A nice, compact batch of informal writerly learnings, this week.

Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes list ten character traits of an espionage hero. Later in the week, Janice Hardy stops by and explains what happens when your plot hides behind the details. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland poses five questions to help you choose a protagonist who represents your story’s theme. Helping Writers Become Authors

Nancy Johnson asks, is your book done yet? Donald Maass explores the making of a hero or heroine. Bryn Greenwood talks about what happens after your dreams come true. Cathy Yardley: dare to deliver. Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan dig into writerly procrastination, why it happens, and how to break free of it. Then, Angela Ackerman wonders, how do you know if your protagonist is strong enough? Writers Helping Writers

How to write a strong protagonist. Reedsy

Leanne Sowul explains how to find your writing purpose. And here’s my latest Speculations column: five ways to rock NaNoWriMo. DIY MFA

Robert Lee Brewer sorts out the distinctions between imminent, immanent, and eminent. Writer’s Digest

Chris Winkle: six rape tropes and how to replace them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines siege warfare before gunpowder. Mythcreants

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to help you wrestle your work in progress into shape.

Be well until Thursday!

Tipsday2019

The next chapter: September 2019 update

Ah, October. My favourite month, mostly ‘cause my birthday 🙂 Yes. I’m a child.

The month in writing

We’re just going to get right to it.

SeptProgress

I made the decision to post only two book reviews this month (though one was of two novellas), and so I was a bit short of my blogging goal. 5,071 words of my 5,600-word goal, or 91%.

I got my latest Speculations written and submitted early because I headed down to Toronto for a day-job learning event. I wrote 1,327 words of my 1,000-word goal, or 133%.

I wrote all of 50 new words on short story number two and revised 41 words on short story number one. Even with a meagre 500-word goal for each, that was 10% and 8% respectively.

I went through the poetry collection again. This one, I decided to track by the number of poems revised. 51 of 51, or 100%. I have one more pass to make before the collection is ready for submission. I hope to get that done this month.

I got my second rejection on my poetry. Will send out more submissions.

In non-tracking projects, the read-through of Ascension continues. I’m almost finished with book three and will move onto book for this month.

I’m also 31 handwritten pages into revision notes for the SF novel that didn’t know what it was. It’s shaping up and I should be ready for my stint as a NaNo rebel next month.

I’ve also critiqued another project for my online critique group and have moved on to another.

One thing I’ve learned in the past few months is that you can still be a working writer, even if you’re not producing a lot of words. Not all writing is writing. Sometimes it’s reading, critiquing, planning, and thinking. You have to make space for all of it.

Filling the well

No writerly events in September, but I did get together with a couple of writer friends for and evening of Thai food and chat. It was just what I needed to refresh and refocus.

No pictures. Sorry.

Here are a few of my random photos from the last month instead 🙂

What I’m watching and reading

This month, Phil and I watched Carnival Row. We enjoyed the gritty, alternate world, the murder mystery wrapped up in a tragic origin story, and cheesy prophecy trope. It was nice how most of the story elements were connected to the main plot and so, as events unfolded, the characters developed and changed accordingly.

The final season of Killjoys came to an end in September as well. I didn’t appreciate all the creative choices that were made in this final season. Several of them felt forced, or worse, contrived. The series has always been more fun than philosophical, though, and things ended well.

I finished watching the first season of The Order. It really didn’t know what it wanted to be. Magical university? Werewolf story? Magical revenge tale? Things were tied together loosely, and the ending was disappointing. The titular order erases the memories of the werewolves and steals all their artefacts and research library. Really, I was left wondering why I should care.

Finally, The OA. The first season kind of ruined me with the second to last episode. When the box of incriminating books was found and everyone basically abandoned Prairie, deciding that she must be crazy/delusional, it completely undermined everything that happened in the final episode. Having broken my credibility, the series could not restore it. I basically went through the motions to finish watching, because I prefer to have a complete picture.

I wasn’t going to watch the second season, but I wanted to see how they could possibly move forward. And, honestly, it wasn’t horrible. The second season suffered from some of the same issues as the first, however. I watched it with a sceptic’s eye, distrusting everything the creators asked me to take on faith. Again, things were building to a climax and then, Pairie/Nina and Hap end up jumping to a universe in which they are Brit Marling and Jason Isaacs on a movie set. Oh, yeah. Though Michelle’s soul was retrieved by detective Karim, there was no real resolution for those left behind in the first universe, or for Homer, who finally remembered who he was but was trapped in the second.

I’m glad there won’t be a season three. At least, that’s the word on the interwebz at the moment.

Reading wise, I finished Mary Robinette Kowal’s Ghost Talkers, in which a corps of mediums help the allies in an alternate WWII. Loved. Kowal has indicated that she would like to revisit the world, but her Lady Astronaut books are demanding her time and creative energy at the moment.

I also finished Matthew Hughes’ What the Wind Brings, which he unabashedly calls his magnum opus. This was historical fiction, and I reviewed it last month.

Sarah Gailey’s A Taste of Marrow was next, and I enjoyed this second novella in her alternate America inspired by a strange-but-true plan to import hippos. This was my second posted book review last month and I looked at both novellas, which have been combined in one volume as American Hippo.

After I finished watching the last season of The Handmaid’s Tale, I finally read the book that inspired the series. I enjoyed the book more than some of Atwood’s others, I have to say, though it does share some of the aspects that I found problematic. June is another unreliable narrator, but why wouldn’t she be? The June of the book is never dependably identified by that name, though there is some speculation in the symposium appended to the end of the novel. She lives in fear, far more fear than Elizabeth Moss portrays in the series. She’s far less empowered. June is, essentially, a slave. It makes for an oddly distanced read.

Finally, I read Sean Carroll’s Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime, which I enjoyed though much of the content was over my head. Frankly, it blew my mind a bit. I read this one for research. It ties into the SF novel I want to revise.

Again, selected reviews will be forthcoming.

And that was September in this writer’s life.

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

The Next Chapter

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 22-28, 2019

Welcome to October, when everything is pumpkin spice! And thus, I must inflict upon you the guinea pigs:

Now that you’ve survived that, please enjoy some informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy helps you figure out which opening works best in a novel. Then, she hopes you don’t let your plot hijack your story. Fiction University

Susan Spann wants you to throw your writing from the train. Heather Webb offers some do’s and don’ts of writing query letters. Writer Unboxed

Lori Freeland lists the up and down sides of critique groups. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland says, if you’re struggling to be creative, this might be why. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews Jen Louden about trusting your creativity and choosing yourself. The Creative Penn

Sara Letourneau differentiates between topic and theme. Richelle Lyn offers five steps to creating your writing wind up (setting the stage for a productive writing session). DIY MFA

Nathan Bransford wants you to let the reader diagnose your characters.

Kris Kennedy returns to Jami Gold’s blog with the fifth and final part of the avoid infodumping by making backstory essential series.

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten science fiction tropes.

Gavin Hurley looks at effective repetition in writing as demonstrated by A Song of Ice and Fire. Writer’s Digest

Thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope you took away something for your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 15-21, 2019

Here we are, officially in the fall. Take the time to enjoy the turning leaves and the delicious smells of the season. And, of course, spoil yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Vaughn Roycroft is using theme to leverage revision. Julie Carrick Dalton hopes no one will notice. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland critiques another brave writer to demonstrate ten ways to write excellent dialogue. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan de Freitas points out three things you won’t learn from an MFA program. Jane Friedman

Joanna Penn interviews James Scott Bell about writing unforgettable endings. Then, Harrison Demchick offers you four ideas to help authors revise a first draft. The Creative Penn

Chris Winkle returns with the fourth aspect of goal-oriented storytelling: satisfaction. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci offers her top ten tips on character arcs.

Nathan Bransford offers six ways to build intimacy between characters. Later in the week, he asks, are you creating a mystery, or are you just being vague?

Jenn Walton shares three ways to find inspiration at a writing conference (or any work event). DIY MFA

Jenny Hansen wants you to find and share your story’s theme. Writers in the Storm

Chuck Wendig explains how to be a professional author and not die screaming and starving in a lightless abyss. Terribleminds

Jami Gold helps you figure out how to build your story with chapters, scenes, or both. Then, Kris Kennedy returns with part four of her avoid infodumping by making backstory essential series.

Bunny discusses choosing a follow-up strategy for a popular story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi shares five ways to handle parents without killing them. Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer advises writers regarding spacing between sentences. Writer’s Digest

Daniel Ross Goodman shows us the haunting magic of Maurice Sendak. National Review

Thank you for visiting. I hope you found something you need to move your work in progress forward.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 8-14, 2019

I present this week’s batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Daryl Rothman visits Helping Writers Become Authors: how to write stories that matter with writing’s secret formula.

Jim Dempsey wants you to give useful criticism. Kathryn Craft studies showing through exposition. Juliet Marillier considers publicity and the introvert. David Corbett is turning a terrible truth into compelling fiction. Kathryn Magendie is living the dreamy dreamland. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin explains how to write a scene. Reedsy

Jami Gold considers what’s stopping our characters: avoiding change. Writers Helping Writers

Kris Kennedy returns to Jami Gold’s blog for part three of her avoid infodumping by making backstory essential series.

Nathan Bransford lists seven reasons your characters feel flat. Then, Nathan lays out your options in hybrid publishing.

Manuela Williams explains how to use Pinterest to create an author brand board. DIY MFA

Fae Rowan shares ten more f-words for writers and their characters. Writers in the Storm

Sophia Jeppson explains how to make time travel logical. Oren Ashkenazi considers five ridiculous organizations from popular series. Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer explains the difference between prophesy and prophecy. Then, he tackles the difference between allude and elude. Writer’s Digest

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you found the information you need to move forward with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well, my friends!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 1-7, 2019

This week’s batch of informal writerly learnings is a bit more select than usual, but it’s all good stuff 🙂

Greer Macallister is defending (or not) historical fiction. Annie Neugebauer has some advice for writers who are in it. Donald Maass: the anti-arc. Therese Walsh wants you to move beyond two-dimensional character building and capture the real. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland dives deep into creating your character’s inner conflict: want vs. need. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Scott Bell asks, how realistic do your action scenes need to be? Then, Angelica Hartgers recommends using backward design to plan your story. Writers Helping Writers

Helen Darling gives you the lowdown on ISBNs. Rebecca Fish Ewen expounds on the impact of lost words (and decries their loss). DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci explains how to end your story.

Chris Winkle shares six ways to add novelty to your story. Mythcreants

Kris Kennedy’s back on Jami Gold’s blog with part two of her avoid infodumping by making backstory essential series.

Jillian Boehme offers some survival tips for writers who would rather hide. Fiction University

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

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 25-31, 2019

Ah. Here we are in September. Back to … all the things. Ease back into your routine with some informal writerly learnings.

Lainey Cameron advises you use a three-tier backup plan. Then Tiffany Yates Martin helps you to reclaim the creative spark in troubled times. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland explains how to use a truth chart to figure out your character’s arc. Helping Writers Become Authors

Julia Munroe Martin wonders, what makes you love your main character? Molly Best Tinsley explains how hearing voice(s) led to order in a previously chaotic manuscript. Barbara O’Neal explains what happens when the book takes over everything. Writer Unboxed

Pathologist Jane Bennett Munro wants to help you explain forensics to readers. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Jeanette the Writer reveals the secret importance of readability. Tess Enterline explains why it’s okay (and sometimes necessary) to step away from our writing.  Constance Emmett shares five tips for writing complex, flesh and blood, LGBTQ+ characters. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy doesn’t want you to create cardboard conflicts. Fiction University

Jami Gold explains how sequels make scenes stronger. Then, Kris Kennedy stops by to explain how to avoid info dumping by making backstory essential.

Chris Winkle: how to turn your fanfic into your original fiction. Then, Oren Ashkenazi answers the question, how do cannon affect your naval combat? Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer considers OK vs. Okay vs. O.K. Writer’s Digest

N.K. Jemisin, Jasmine Guillory, and Lauren Wilkinson: publishing’s still owned by white men. The Washington Post

Nick Venable talks to the creators of The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance about the challenges of making a puppet series on Netflix. Saw the first episode—love! CinemaBlend

And that was tipsday. I hope you found something to help you progress with your work in progress.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty goodness 🙂

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 18-24, 2019

Ack! We’re in the last week of August! The weather’s still holding though. I, for one, am going to extend summer for as long as I can.

Whether you’re heading back to school or work, take some time to enjoy these informal writerly learnings 🙂

Vaughn Roycroft talks story endings: happy or sad or something else? Kathleen McCleary considers the values of good fiction. Writer Unboxed

Christina Delay extolls the power of the writing tribe. Then, Jenny Hansen covers the writer hierarchy of needs. Margie Lawson wants you to strive for excellence by using what you learn. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland: how to tell if your story has too much plot, not enough character. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews Cat Rose about being a creative introvert. The Creative Penn

Roz Morris offers seven swift storytelling hacks for backstory, description, dialogue, exposition, point of view, and plot. Nail Your Novel

Victoria Mixon takes a different approach to character motivation. Then, September C. Fawkes shares four keys to a powerful denouement. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci compares static and dynamic characters.

Abigail K. Perry delves into James Scott Bell’s eleventh signpost scene: lights out. Brenda Joyce Patterson takes a deep dive into playwriting. Then Bethany Henry offers five tips for creating engaging characters. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy explains how to write a scene (and what qualifies as a scene). Fiction University

Jami Gold hopes you take a leap of faith in fiction and in life.

Oren Ashkenazi analyses seven stories with contrived character conflict. Mythcreants

William R. Leibowitz details his research for his latest novel: using facts as the base of science fiction. Writer’s Digest

Laurie Penny says, we can be heroes: how nerds are reinventing pop culture. A story about stories, fanfic, structure, the hero’s journey, and awesome. Wired

Thanks for visiting. I’ll be back on Thursday with some thoughty links for you.

Until then, be well.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 11-17, 2019

It’s time to dig into another week’s worth of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Elizabeth A. Harvey is remembering Toni Morrison. Then, Nancy Johnson shows us how Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye offers a masterclass in craft. Porter Anderson: murders she didn’t write, a provocation on writers in the context of real world gun violence. Rheea Mukherjee: negotiating social privilege as a writer. Jim Dempsey wants you to explore the wonders of your character’s world view. Sarah Callender forgets to remember that writing is an act of faith. Writer Unboxed

Jenna Moreci helps you get back into the writing habit after a break.

C.S. Lakin visits Helping Writers Become Authors: how to evoke reader emotions with “surprisingness.” Then, she heads over to Larry Brook’s Storyfix to explain how to effectively “tell” emotions in fiction.

Emily Wenstrom offers three tips for creating your author newsletter before you’re published. And here’s my latest column: find storytelling inspiration with the women of the Kalevala. Constance Emmett shares five tips for surviving rejection. DIY MFA

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four ways to go deeper with point of view. Then, Laura Drake starts with character first. Writers in the Storm

Michelle Barker wants you to remember that the wand chooses the wizard. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy explains why you want nitpicky critiquers. Fiction University

Robert Lee Brewer explains the difference between slight of hand and sleight of hand. Writer’s Digest

Some reassuring advice from Chris Winkle: why you shouldn’t worry about someone stealing your manuscript. Then, Oren Ashkenazi offers advice on choosing naval tactics for your pre-gunpowder world. Mythcreants

Sam Bleicher offers some unusual writing tips on dealing with facts in science fiction. The Creative Penn

Ferris Jabr: the story of storytelling. Harper’s

Thanks for visiting. Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well!

Tipsday2019