Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, July 24-30, 2022

Welcome to August! The dog days are here, and so is this week’s batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Kim Bullock offers some productivity lessons from a simpler time: praise, criticism, and self-reflection. Then, Elizabeth Huergo shares readings for writers: on writing (and revising) well. Kelsey Allagood is diagnosing writer’s block: symptoms, remedies, and prevention. Then, Julia Whelan hosts a deathmatch between first and second novels. Porter Anderson: just artificial, not intelligence. Writer Unboxed

The surprising origins of vampires (w/ Dr. Emily Zarka of Monstum). PBS Origins

K.M. Weiland explains how to structure a novel with multiple main characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

What is a masterwork? Definition and examples in books and film. Story Grid

Are bilinguals smarter? Otherwords | PBS Storied

Michelle Barker tackles the dreaded synopsis. Then, Dr. Natalie Dale shares three medical mistakes to avoid in your story. Writers Helping Writers

Kris Maze suggests you research your novel on a rambling road trip. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson explains why first person POV is NOT deep POV. Shirley Jump wants you to use impossible choices to empower your conflict. Writers in the Storm

How the “manipulative victim” trope hurts female presenting people everywhere. The Take

Nathan Bransford says, don’t build your scenes around the information you think you need to impart.

E.J. Wenstrom shares lessons learned from joining a new social media network. Then, Sara Farmer lists her favourite mystery games. Later in the week, Erin La Rosa shares five ways to market your book as a debut author. DIY MFA

On world building death. Hello, Future Me

Wendy Sparrow explains how to make your editing process more efficient. Jami Gold

Sharon Oard Warner shows you how to move between scenes with summary and spacers. Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin says failure IS an option. Fox Print Editorial

Seven ways to outline your novel. Reedsy

Chris Winkle says a character goal isn’t a story, but it’s close. Then, Oren Ashkenazi (tongue firmly in cheek) lists six more ways to make your writing cinematic. Mythcreants

Livia Gershon: who made that word, and why? JSTOR Daily

Brian Attebery lists his top ten 21st-century fantasy novels. The Guardian

Thanks for spending some time with me! I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 15-21, 2022

The penultimate tipsday of May, marked by the serenade of spring peepers and red-wing blackbirds; the scents of crab apple blossoms and lilacs and poplar sap; and thunderstorms that spark and roll overhead. Refill your well with some informal writerly learnings.

Disha Walia wants you to find your motivation for writing speculative fiction. Then, E.J. Wenstrom explains what to do about author platforming when you’re burned out. Sara Farmer lists more of her auto-buy mystery authors. Later in the week, Brittany Capozzi lists five answers we get from writing letters to ourselves. DIY MFA

The psychology of Zuko. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland recommends six ways to find your best ideas before you start writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sandy Vaile shares four essential elements you need to create a workable novel. Then, Holly Lasky asks you to guess who’s in the driver’s seat of your creativity? Lynette M. Burroughs explains how the forces of antagonism frame your story. Writers in the Storm

Darn it, you made me care. Jill Bearup

Susan Defreitas wonders, why write when the world is on fire? Jane Friedman

C.S. Lakin: outlining your novel for success. Live, Write, Thrive

Seven character development exercises. Reedsy

Elizabeth Spann Craig: stress and writing.

Dave King is getting to know evil. Then, Barbara Linn Probst gives us three writing exercises for three different points in the writing process. Kristina Stevens wonders how you adapt real life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

How sun mythologies are universal (featuring PBS Space Time). Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Christina Delay explains what to do when you feel like a hack. Then, Marissa Graff shares four ways your protagonist is sabotaging you (and how to fight back). Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: breaks, permission, and writing.

Olaseni Ajibade explores mental health in fiction: the monster you feed. Dan Koboldt

This story will save your imagination. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin: high praise, big promises … and crickets. Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb says weakness is blood in the water for narcissist sharks.

How the tech villain became the most hated character. The Take

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the summary writing of Illuminae. Then, Oren Ashkenazi critiques the second half of Pixar’s rules of storytelling. Mythcreants

Angie hodapp explains what to do when your entire manuscript turns out to be a prologue. Pub Rants

Guy Gavriel Kay wonders what we lose—and gain—as book tours move online? Literary Hub

Thank you for spending some time with me, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress, whatever stage it’s at.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 19-25, 2021

Ack! It’s the last tipsday of 2021! Where did the year go?

E.J. Wenstrom suggests three author platform resolutions for 2022. Then, Sara Farmer shares her favorite children’s mysteries (so far). J.L. Torres offers a masterclass in short fiction, voice, and opening lines. Then, Carol Van Den Hende considers five 2021 book cover trends. DIY MFA

Tim Hickson shares the seven stories that changed his life. Hello, Future Me

Lisa Norman lists nine keys to being media ready. Then, Ellen Buikema explains how to use sound to make your writing memorable. Writers in the Storm

Tom Scott walked into a bar … and then I threw him out a window. Jill Bearup

Vaughn Roycroft: joy to the (writerly) world! Then, Kelsey Allagood says, keep making art, even if the world is ending. Kasey LeBlanc explains how not to miss the forest for the trees: appreciating the long and winding writing road (and its many detours, pitfalls, and stumbles). Then, Erika Liodice shares the 3-2-1 rule for protecting your work in progress. Natalie Hart recommends you give the gift of a good book gush. Writer Unboxed

Dynamic vs. static characters, and why you need both. Reedsy

Susan DeFreitas wonders, what makes a story feel like a story? Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the vague writing of The Remnant Chronicles. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five movies that audiences loved but critics hated. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig offers his thoughts on The Matrix: Resurrections, or the conversations art has with itself. Terribleminds

Santa’s cruel fairy tale cousin, the demon of frost. Tale Foundry

Nina Munteanu explains why you should keep a journal.

Hua Hsu considers the revolutionary writing of bell hooks. The New Yorker

Emma Cline unpacks Joan Didion’s specific vision. The New Yorker

Toniann Fernandez: Jeremy O. Harris and Samuel Delaney in conversation. The Paris Review

Beginnings at the End of Love: Rebecca West’s Extraordinary Love Letter to H.G. Wells in the Wake of Heartbreak. The Marginalian

Julia Métraux wonders if Trinity’s the real hero of The Matrix. JSTOR Daily

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 3-9, 2021

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers! It’s time to indulge in some informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland presents the archetypal antagonists of the crone arc: death blight and tempter. Helping Writers Become Authors

Greer Macallister seeks success without self-promotion. Then Jeanne Kisacky is walking the line between insanity and perseverance. Donald Maass reveals the secret of passive protagonists: seeking vs. suffering. Nancy Johnson: the blessed curse of the second book. Then, David Corbett discusses the character in secret search of midnight. Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup made armor. In a cave shed. From a box of scraps.

Karen DeBonis helps you navigate a story identity crisis. Then, Eldred Bird wonders, what (the heck) is a MacGuffin? Jenny Hansen: writing and the law of loss aversion. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin helps you edit your short story. Reedsy

Angela Ackerman says, if you want powerful conflict, you can’t forget the stakes. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Then, over on Jami Gold’s blog, Angela explains how to write conflict without “bad guys.”

Bethany Henry is making magic systems that work and wow. Fiction University

Why fat phobia is still a problem onscreen. The Take

E.J. Wenstrom presents book promotion graphics for newbies. Then, Sara Farmer looks at some modern girl detectives. Maan Gabriel shares hacks to combat writer’s block and develop discipline. Then, Jane Elizabeth Hughes offers five tips for writing a historical mystery. DIY MFA

Seth Harwood says, your writing matters; a coach can help. Jane Friedman

The Bond Girl, her secret, and her future. The Take

Chris Winkle explains how to keep mysteries from looking like mistakes. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that break their worlds’ themes. Mythcreants

Lindsay Syhakhom: writing and the art of surrender. Nathan Bransford

Allison Flood celebrates Abdulrazak Gurnah’s 2021 Nobel Prize in literature win. The Guardian

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 15-21, 2021

You’ve made it through Monday! Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Vaughn Roycroft is living with unpublished characters. Then, Barbara O’Neal is finding the particular. Barbara Linn Probst considers writing: is it an art, identity, or profession? Why not all three? Later in the week, Porter Anderson gets provocative about flights of self-censorship. Then, Kelsey Allagood explains how creation myths affect character motivation. Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes explains how true crime reveals the corruption and failures of the legal system. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland explains why you should always identify your characters, pronto. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane (herself) says, the value of book distribution is often misunderstood by authors. Then, Tiffany Yates Martin shares the secret to a tight, propulsive plot: the want, the action, the shift. Sangeeta Mehta interviews agents Michelle Brower and Jennifer Chen Tran about whether you should publish with a small press. Jane Friedman

Related: E.J. Wenstrom shares what she’s learned in six years of small press publishing. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Story structures: In medias res. Reedsy

Melinda VanLone offers some advice for branding a series. Then, Lisa Norman lists seven things every author website needs. Miffie Seideman offers some helpful advice on writing about drugs: Fentanyl 101. Writers in the Storm

Andrea Turrentine shares two key factors in successfully outlining stories. Live, Write, Thrive

Rayne Hall lists 11 reasons you should submit your short stories to anthologies. Then, Janice Hardy wonders, why ask why? Because your readers will. Bonnie Randall considers the risks and rewards of uncommon narrative structures. Fiction University

Nathan Bransford advises what to cut when your book is too long. Nathan Bransford

Seven-point story structure. Reedsy

Ambre Dawn Lefler wants you to be a conference guru. Then, Susan Francis Morris explains how writing helped her live life after trauma. Later in the week, LA Bourgeois offers five ways to trick yourself into writing. DIY MFA

E.J. Wenstrom explains why we need ADHD representation in fiction. Terribleminds

Christina Delay is breaking free. Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle: what do writers need to describe? Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five characters with the wrong skill set. Mythcreants

Why it’s time to write out the nag. The Take

Angie Hodapp introduces us to the trinity of premise, plot, and prose. What happens when one is missing? Then, Kristin Nelson shares 14 reasons why agenting is harder now than it was 20 years ago. Pub Rants

Nina Munteanu: to boldly go where no human has gone before ….

Rebecca Thomas explores Mi’kmaw language in poetry collection: I Place you into the Fire. CBC’s The Next Chapter

Vicky Qiao reports that Ojibway journalist and author Tanya Talaga to write three new nonfiction books. The first will be published in 2023. CBC

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 8-14, 2021

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Ann Marie Nieves answers your book PR and marketing questions (part 4). Then, Jim Dempsey wants you to enhance your fantasies with a dose of reality. Kathryn Craft hopes you aim for the “extra” in ordinary. Then, Kathleen McCleary says, sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug. Gwen Hernandez helps you create a series bible in Scrivener. Later in the week, Dee Willson connects the dots between research, sex, and related remedies. Writer Unboxed

Tim Hickson is killing characters. Hello, Future Me

Lori Freeland is talking location, location, location! Bring your book to life, part 2. Then, Jenny Hansen says, it’s okay to fall down. Eldred Bird contemplates coming out of hibernation. Writers in the Storm

The messy meaning of zombie stories. Like Stories of Old

Janice Hardy says, if you want a tighter point of view, ditch the filter words in your novel. Then, E.J. Wenstrom is creating creatures for speculative worlds. Ann Harth offers a nine-step plotting path to a stronger novel. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland shares three things to know about the ending of a story. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lindsay Ellis shares nine things she wished she knew before publishing her first novel.

Jane Friedman wonders, should MFA programs teach the business of writing? Then, E.J. Wenstrom explains what to know while you write dual point of view. Jane returns to show you how to harness community to build book sales and platform. Jane Friedman

Stefan Emunds examines eight elements that get readers invested in your story. Live, Write, Thrive

Shaelin Bishop explains why she’s a discovery writer. Shaelin Writes

Manuela Williams offers something for your poet’s toolbox: generate ideas and inspiration. Then, Kris Hill promotes worldbuilding using tabletop games. Tori Bovalino: genre-bending and The Devil Makes Three. Later in the week, Sarah R. Clayville shares five bad habits to quit like a champ. DIY MFA

Fire cat or fire cart? The history of Japan’s Kasha. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Marissa Graff says, don’t let excess baggage bring down your character’s plane. Then Angela Ackerman poses problems and solutions for describing a character’s emotions. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains how to come up with good comp titles for your book. Then, Christine Pride walks you through how an editor at a publisher acquires a book. Nathan Bransford

The “asexual” Asian man. The Take

Kellie Doherty introduces us to some of the mythological creatures of Alaska. Fantasy Faction

Chris Winkle: Project Hail Mary shows when flashbacks work, and when they don’t. Mythcreants

Joanna Penn offers a primer on the metaverse for authors and publishing: web 3.0, AR, VR, and the spatial web. The Creative Penn

Souvankham Thammavongsa shares her feelings about winning the Scotiabank Giller Prize. CBC’s The Next Chapter

What to call that weird thing your pet does. Merriam Webster

Megan McCluskey reveals how extortion scams and review bombing trolls turned Goodreads into many authors’ worst nightmare. Time

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 18-24, 2021

It’s the last tipsday of July? Where the hell has the time gone? And so fast? Ah well, console yourselves with some informal writerly learnings.

Jan O’Hara shares what an unnatural book marketer learned while Marie Kondo-ing her house. Then, Dave King exposes the dangers of editing. Barbara Linn Probst explains what to do when you take a break from your work in progress. Heather Webb says, when the going gets tough, the though get going (in publishing). Late in the week, John J. Kelley offers some tips for when characters meet: close encounters of he initial kind. Writer Unboxed

What is Toph’s character arc? Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland: why everyone should write (even if you think you stink). Helping Writers Become Authors

Angela Ackerman promotes writing character descriptions that hook readers. Then, Sudha Balagopal encourages you to flavor your fiction with foreign expressions. Later in the week, Ellen Buikema encourages you to think about why you’ve chosen the road to writing. Writers in the Storm

Copyediting vs. proofreading. Reedsy

Bonnie Randall helps you access deep point of view via description (and a writing exercise). Fiction University

Nathan Brandford wants you to try to separate process from product (outcomes).

Is your book ready for an editor? Reedsy

E.J. Wenstrom shows you how to plan an online book launch. Then, Sara Farmer considers classic girl detectives. Gabriela Pereira interviews Brandie June about character dynamics in a fairy tale retelling. Later in the week, Kim Catanzarite shares five copyediting mistakes you’re probably making (and how to eradicate them). DIY MFA

El SilbĂłn: The Deadly Whistler of the South American Grasslands. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Angie Hodapp shares four ways to create inter-character conflict. Pub Rants

Becca Puglisi helps you figure out whether fight, flight, or freeze is your character’s default response. Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle explains how to make large conflicts exciting. Mythcreants

Chimera: mythology’s magical multi-species monster. Tale Foundry

Kathleen Newman-Bremang: it isn’t just Gossip Girl—TV has a major colorism problem. Refinery 29

35 Canadian books to check out this summer. CBC Books

Phil Pirello introduces us to the version of Aliens we never saw. SyFy

Kim Stanley Robinson considers the novel solutions of utopian fiction. The Nation

Davide Tristan: one megahit later, we check in with the creator of Enola Holmes. ABC27

Vicky Qaio reports that Canadian authors C.L. Polk and Silvia Moreno-Garcia among World Fantasy Award finalists. CBC books

Neda Ulaby: when your book publishes in a pandemic. NPR

And that was tipsday. Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 2-8, 2021

It’s another full week of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

E.J. Wenstrom explains the relationship between engagement rate and your author platform. Then, Sara Farmer says there’s an Eyre for every era, from cozy to cold-blooded. Later in the week, Leslie A. Rasmussen goes from television writing to novel writing. Then, Melissa Haas suggests five items for cats and the authors who live with them. DIY MFA

Obi-Wan vs. Stabby Crab fight analysis. Jill Bearup

Janice Hardy shares five reasons you’re struggling with your revisions (and how to fix them). Timely! Then, Jenna Harte offers some easy tips to incorporate backstory in your novel. José Pablo Iriarte explains how to punch readers in the feels (a case study). Fiction University

Shaelin shows you how to assess your manuscript. Reedsy

Greer Macallister: the responsibility of world building. Then, Sarah Penner shares 100 content ideas for every stage of your writing career. Donald Maass: it’s inevitable. Desmond Hall has a new edition of Desmond’s Drops for May. Writer Unboxed

Erica Brozovsky: can computers really talk? Otherwords | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland examines the crone’s shadow archetypes in part 13 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elizabeth Spann Craig explains what it means to show up as an author.

The age of fanfiction. The Take

September C. Fawkes helps you balance your cast of characters. Then, Angela Ackerman shows you how to set yourself up for success before you write a single word. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy shares five ways to keep your protagonist proactive. Later in the week, John Peragine discusses Vella in part 2 of his serializing storytelling series. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci hosts Iona Wayland to discuss writing mental illness.

Desiree Villena shares five tips for crafting an irresistible first line. Flogging the Quill

Kristen Lamb says that characters are the emotional touchstone readers crave.

John B. Thompson shares an excerpt from Book Wars: the new Holy Grail for traditional publishers is direct-to-reader relationships. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle: your plot s fractal. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five baffling tech explanations in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 14-20, 2021

You’ve made it through Monday. Time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy explains why rescuing your protagonist might be a terrible idea. Yeah, I have this problem. Then, she lists four mistakes that doom your first page. Confession: first pages KILL me. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Later in the week, Bonnie Randall provides a cheat sheet that will help you write rich characterization. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland covers the maiden’s arc in her archetypal character arcs series, part 2. Helping Writers Become Authors

Princess Weekes: Bridgerton and the problem of pastel progressivism. Melina Pendulum

Vaughn Roycroft explains why we need tragic stories, now more than ever. Dave King is keeping it real. Later in the week, Kelsey Allagood offers the confessions of a conflict-avoidant writer. Then, Porter Anderson makes the case for kindness. Writer Unboxed

Why a bad series finale can ruin the whole show. SciShow Psych

Lori Freeland delves into backstory and how you can dodge the infodump. I’m trying to find the right balance here. Then, Barbara Linn Probst shares four of the best writing exercises EVER. Later in the week, Margie Lawson returns: hugs you’ve got to love! Writers in the Storm

The romance addict trope, explained. Love isn’t all you need. The Take

Kristina Adams explains how building your self-awareness makes you a better writer. Another issue I’m struggling with. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Christina Delay helps you identify your reader. Then, Gilbert Bassey shows you how to master the happy-sad ending. Writers Helping Writers

Princess Diana, according to The Crown. The Take

E.J. Wenstrom shares the secret formula to author newsletter joy. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Ellie Cypher about language as world building in YA fantasy. Then, Sara Farmer interviews Kellye Garrett. DIY MFA

Fay Onyx helps you to rid your monsters of ableism. Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at five antagonists who never stood a chance. Mythcreants

Bulletproof Monk: the worst flirty fight scene ever? Jill Bearup

Lisa Hall-Wilson asks, what’s your character’s emotional Kryptonite?

Chuck Wendig offers some gentle writing advice. Terribleminds

Alison Flood reports that after a year inside, novelists are struggling to write. Some have been struggling all along. Others haven’t. Still others have noticed a distinct lack in the quality of the work they manage to produce. The Guardian

As ever, thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!