Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 1-5, 2020

Welcome to the first post-NaNo tipsday of 2020! Because I don’t watch YouTube during November, I have a lot of videos to catch up on. Expect a fair number of videos in the next two or three weeks 🙂

Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Wear your masks, maintain physical distance, wash your hands, and get your flu shot as soon as they’re available. I say this last because our local pharmacies ran out of flu vaccine almost as soon as they were stocked. We’re hoping to make our appointments, soonish, now that we’ve heard they have more in.

Leanne Sowul dubs 2020 the year of reflection. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Veena Rao: the unexpected female protagonist. Later in the week, Anita Ramirez lists five reasons you’re never too old to launch a writing career. DIY MFA

Princess Weekes explains why the cynical superhero isn’t that interesting (with philosophy). Melina Pendulum

Donald Mass: the beat goes on. Kathryn Magendie talks royalties: what this writer made, once upon one time. Then, Julianna Baggott nurturing the automatic writer. Writer Unboxed

John Peragine shares seven more plot structures for pantsers. Later in the week, James Preston helps you get past the black page. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin explains how to write a character arc. Reedsy

James Scott Bell wonders, do you have a sense of where you are? Writers Helping Writers

Allison K. Williams helps you move from first draft to second draft to publishable book. Jane Friedman

The spicy Latina trope, explained. The Take

Chris Winkle explains how and why you should consolidate your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the climaxes of Marvel’s phase three (part 2). Mythcreants

Princess Weekes tackles the question, are graphic novels … novels? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Nina Munteanu revisits Darwin’s Paradox: compassion and evolution.

Andrew Liptak: SFWA names Nalo Hopkinson the 37th Damon Knight Grand Master. Tor.com

The Torontonian roots of Doctor Who. The Toronto Dreams Project Historical Ephemera Blog

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Ad Astra 2015 day 1: Arrival and Julie Czerneda workshop

The Ad Astra 2015 reportage starts now!

This year, I managed to find the Sheraton without too much difficulty (yay me). I can be Google Maps challenged at the most inconvenient times, especially when GM wants to send me on the 407 (I am toll route averse) or tells me to pull a u-turn when I don’t see the need for it 😛

Still, I just—just—got checked in to my room in time to run back down and into the workshop.

Julie Czerneda’s workshop was entitled It only hurts when I write: Destroying your story gremlins.

After a brief round of introductions, we got to work. Julie asked us to work in pairs and assigned us a series of writing tasks. The focus on the workshop was to solve the gremlins that many writers experience. The main gremlin was the blank page, or not knowing what to write/how to come up with story ideas.*

  1. Using a grid, storyboard a plot with a beginning, middle, and end (plot emphasis).
  2. Using a grid and a character card prompt, storyboard a plot with a beginning, middle, and an end (character emphasis).

After each exercise, each group shared the results of their efforts.

There was a brief break and then we reconvened for the second half of the workshop.

In the second half, Julie handed out a story worksheet to each pair. We were to fill out the worksheet with the following information: Story idea, Protagonist, Setting, Type of story, Format of story, Readership for this story, and what Feeling we wanted the reader to respond with.

Once the worksheet was completed, Julie handed out cards that added completely random items to the story. My partner and I received these three: What this story needs is a cat; Add an hilarious death; and Rewrite as a comedy.

Considering that I’d elected to fill out the worksheet using my main WIP, Initiate of Stone, a darkish epic fantasy, the cards actually threw three rather large wrenches into the gears.

The point of these wrenches was to concretely prove that we can change our stories, sometimes to good effect, on a dime and at the request of someone else. It teaches you to relinquish control, release from attachment, and may serve you well if/when an editor wants you to make changes your story.

It was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. I learned that I had, to a degree, achieved a certain amount of detachment from IoS. It’s a novel, not one of my vital organs.

Though I think if anyone actually asked me to rewrite IoS as a comedy, I would refuse. Categorically, even.

Overall, it was an enjoyable workshop.

Julie Czerneda

*I walked into the workshop thinking that we were going to be working with our actual story gremlins, as in the problems we are experiencing with our WIPs. It took me a few minutes to get over my disappointment that I was not going to get help with the opening of IoS. I was motivated, as ever, to learn, though, and so I did 🙂

There you have it.

Next week: Deconstructing tropes 🙂 Yes, we had all the fun! Really. I like this kind of thing 🙂