Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 4-10, 2021

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Lauren J. Sharkey shares some advice about investments and returns. Then, Adam Burgess wonders if there’s a genre best suited to LGBTQ+ stories (and why it’s historical fiction). Gabriela Pereira interviews Emily R. King about fantasy inspired by Greek mythology. Later in the week, Aaron Poochigian shares a day in the life of a full-time poet. Then, Indiana Lee suggests five alternative tips to boost creativity for writers. DIY MFA

Jill Bearup tested corsets vs. knives (for science!)

Sophie Masson considers physical journeys in fiction. Then, Sarah Penner shares a pre-launch playbook for debut authors. Donald Maass wants you to think about pacing: faster than the speed of thought. Kathryn Craft presents the three Ws of scene orientation. Later in the week, David Corbett provides some advice on writing our country. Writer Unboxed

Kadija Mbowe analyzes Cuties.

K.M. Weiland explains how to use archetypal character arcs in your stories in part 22 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin explains how to write historical fiction. Reedsy

And she follows it up with historical fiction tropes. Reedsy

Karen DeBonis wants you to find your writing rhythm. Then, Janice Hardy lists five steps to creating a unique character voice. Later in the week, Jenny Hansen (inspired by DeBonis) offers confessions of a devoted scene writer. Writers in the Storm

Why film and TV erased asexuality. The Take

Laurence MacNaughton explains how to stay motivated and keep writing. Fiction University

Becca Puglisi helps you change your reader’s perspective. Writers Helping Writers

Rachel Michelberg says, post-book launch depression is a thing. Jane Friedman

How film and Tv misrepresent neurodiversity. The Take

Kristen Lamb: the difference between magnificent and maddening is the burning desire.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch offers part eight of her fear-based decision-making series: fear and the future.

Nathan Bransford: don’t step on your surprises.

Chris Winkle shares five simple ways to make your prose easier to read. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists six signs of a weak throughline. Mythcreants

Monique Gray Smith curated this list of 45 books that share stories and truths by Indigenous authors who identify as women and/or two spirit. CBC Books

Jane an Koeverden: Cherie Dimaline publishing sequel to The Marrow Thieves in fall 2021. CBC Books

Estefania Velez compiles this list of 15 books to celebrate disability pride. The New York Public Library

Guy Kawasaki interviews Haben Girma, lawyer, activist, and advocate for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. The Remarkable People podcast

Ellen Gutoskey lists the fascinating etymologies of 70 common words. Mental Floss

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Join me at DIY MFA for my latest Speculations

This edition of Speculations came out on June 29th. I did not have the spoons at the time to post it in a timely manner.

Still, better late than never 🙂

This time around, Speculations focuses on the works of a handful of AAPI authors of science fiction and fantasy.

While you’re there, please check out the other great columnists and Gabriela’s fabulous resources.

Until tipsday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 27-July 3, 2021

Welcome to another week of informal writerly learnings 🙂 Enjoy!

Erika Liodice explains how to create an authentic setting from a place you’ve never been. Matthew Norman advises, when in doubt, look about. Then, Deanna Cabinian offers some tips from a pregnant lady on deflecting unsolicited writing advice. Nancy Johnson shares three tips for mastering conflict in your novel. Later in the week, Julie Carrick Dalton is crafting climate futures we can survive. Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes looks at WandaVision and the feminine madness. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland completes her review of the flat archetypal arc with the mentor in part 21 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Colleen M. Story lists three reasons writing is a healthy form of escape. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Writing compelling character relationships. Shaelin Writes

James Scott Bell says, act like a professional. Colleen M. Story explains how to tell the difference between procrastination and a true writing crisis. Writers Helping Writers

Princess Weekes loves Octavia E. Butler, the grand dame of science fiction. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Tasha Seegmiller is exploring a character’s past wound. Then, Julie Glover shares five more quick dialog tips. Writers in the Storm

Emily Zarka looks at the macabre origins of the grim reaper. Monstrum | PBS Storied

My latest speculations: ten AAPI science fiction and fantasy authors to read right now. Later in the week, Lauren Eckhardt shared five ways to catch your golden butterfly. DIY MFA

Why slow adulting is a good thing. The Take

Kristine Kathryn Rusch presents part seven of her fear-based decision-making series: fear and all writers.

Rachelle Shaw lists ten alternative types of short fiction. Fiction University

Jane Friedman breaks down where her money comes from.

The dangerous woman. How we package female sexuality. The Take

Chris Winkle points out what you need to know when planning character arcs. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes six twists that hurt the story. Mythcreants

Nate Berg: stunning new museum brings Hans Christian Andersen’s stories to life. Fast Company

Hank you for taking the time to stop by, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

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

Your weekly batch of informal writerly learnings has arrived. Get them while they’re hot!

Jan O’Hara shares a display hack for your story’s outline. Dave King: the non-writing part of writing. Then, Barbara Linn Probst wonders, why was my protagonist so prickly? Juliana Baggott explains when to reject rejection. Yuvi Zalkow wants you to make something terrible (and make it again). Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy says infighting is a lousy way to create conflict in your novel. Then, Bonnie Randall deconstructs Deadly Illusions to explain what not to do with your manuscript. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland explores the queen’s shadow archetypes in part 11 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin Bishop shares her top 12 writing tips. Shaelin Writes

Becca Puglisi shares tips for landing a guest posting gig. Then Barbara Linn Probst shares ten different writing tricks to make your point. Later in the week, Laurie Schnebly Campbell explains when, why and how to show emotion. Writers in the Storm

Jane Friedman explains how the pandemic is affecting book publishing. Jane Friedman

Princess Weekes wonders, what’s in a (pen) name? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Adam W. Burgess touts the magic of queer fiction. Gabriela Pereira interviews C.L. Clark about character, conflict, and world building in fantasy. Janelle Hardy wants you to shift creative resistance using your body. Then, LA Bougeois shares five creativity exercises to fire up your writing muse. DIY MFA

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers four tips for writing your characters PTSD and trauma memories. Writers Helping Writers

The actress trope. The Take

Chris Winkle offers five tips for using an arbitrary magic system. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five novels with bizarre tangents. Mythcreants

Zoraida Córdova explains what it’s like writing Gamora in ‘Women of Marvel’ #1. Marvel

Camonghne Felix interviews Barry Jenkins about bringing The Underground Railroad to TV. Vanity Fair

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, Dec 13-19, 2020

Ah! The penultimate tipsday of the year! Time to get your informal writerly learnings 🙂

John J. Kelley helps you stage the scene. Yuvi Zalkow is embracing the I-don’t-know-ness. Porter Anderson hopes you work wonders in 2021. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy shares three steps to crafting a stronger first draft. Fiction University

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten tips for writing fantasy.

Lori Freeland lists five things every writer needs to thrive. Then, Barbara Linn Probst considers scene coherence from the reader’s perspective. Writers in the Storm

My name is Inigo Montoya: Princess Bride fight analysis. Jill Bearup

Lucy V. Hay shares ten steps to revise your NaNo novel. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains what to expect when you work with a freelance editor.

The strong female character trope, explained. The Take

Abigail K. Perry demonstrates the importance of internal and external value shifts in characters. Later in the week, Amy Ayers offers five ways to talk about writing with nonwriters. DIY MFA

The funny fat girl trope, explained. The Take

Ken Brosky explains how to effectively manage multiple narrators in your novel. Then, Louise Tondeur asks, is your writer’s block really writer’s indecision? Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle does a narration makeover to create tension. Oren Ashkenazi: what The Black Company teaches us about dark stories. Mythcreants

Emily Zarka considers the Nuckelavee, Scotland’s skinless, evil monstrosity. Monstrum |PBS Storied

Mildred Europa Taylor: Cynthia Erivo to star in and produce film about enslaved Yoruba girl who became a gift to the queen of England. Face 2 Face Africa

Stephanie Cram: Darcie Little Badger’s YA debut Elatsoe landed on Time’s list of the best fantasy novels of all time. CBC’s “Unreserved”

A Poem for All The ‘Old Hags’ // Sarah MacGillivray

Tom Grater reports that Charlie Mackesy, author of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, teams up with Bad Robot to produce animated short. Deadline

Thanks for dropping by, 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, Oct 11-17, 2020

Another week, another collection of informal writerly goodness.

Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance when you can’t. Wash your hands. Get your flu shot as soon as you can.

K. Tempest Bradford: World Fantasy, the convention that keeps on failing. The lack of diversity on panels and lack of a properly enforced anti-harassment policy have been ongoing for the better part of a decade and organizers are reluctant to admit there are problems, let alone take action on them.

Princess Weekes breaks down true womanhood and black girlhood in media. Melina Pendulum

Jeanette the Writer: yes, there are different types of English. Later in the week, Jeremy Hance explains how he decided to write a memoir about his hilarious mental illness. Then, Ambre Leffler offers five ways to be kind to your eyes. DIY MFA

K.M. Weiland explores the link between the first and second pinch points. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin shares five fantasy tropes to avoid, be careful with, or embrace. Reedsy

Lori Freeland details the five key elements to layering your scene. Later in the week, Jenny Hansen lists the five fears that spook most writers. Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy explains the difference between a first page that hooks and a novel that hooks. Fiction University

Jim Dempsey wants you to ground your characters with all five senses. Then, Barbara Linn Probst wonders, what is your story about, anyway? Word, phrase, sentence, equation. Later in the week, Anne Greenwood Brown explains how to communicate without words. Writer Unboxed

Alli Sinclair is asking the right questions with character interviews. Writers Helping Writers

Nancy Stohlman extols the benefits of writing flash fiction. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the exposition of Crescent City. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists six signs your story is about the wrong character. Mythcreants

The setting of a story: what is it and how to write it. Reedsy

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

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

The next chapter: September 2020 update

I blink, and it’s October.

Black and Indigenous lives matter

The good fight goes on despite losses. There was no justice for Breonna Taylor. Joyce Echaquan died after enduring racist abuse from the people who were supposed to be helping her. Two of the staff were fired, but it looks like there won’t be justice for Joyce Echaquan either.

On the positive side, Annamie Paul is the first Black leader of a Canadian political party. I’m watching with interest.

We have to keep educating ourselves (those of us who benefit from white privilege), listening, reading, promoting Black and Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs, and bringing issues affecting Black and Indigenous people to the fore. We need to do better.

Pandemic life

Ten months into this hellacious year and seven months into the pandemic. We’re firmly into the second wave in many areas of the province and country. Pre-reopening restrictions have been institutes again. We all have to do our part to protect each other.

Wear your masks, maintain physical distance, wash your hands, don’t go out unless you need to, and get your flu shots as soon as they’re available.

I’m just boggled that Trump decided to break quarantine to give his supporters a “gift.” What gift is that? The rona? I shake my head and wait to see what happens next.

Work wise, while front line workers have returned to the office (with appropriate protections), the rest of us are teleworking for the foreseeable. So, nothing new there. I’ve adapted to my new work laptop and the shelf Phil made for me to elevate my monitors over my laptop also provides additional storage space.

With respect to the assessment process I was involved in for the new job at work … the manager wanted to proceed with next steps in the informal process. If I was interested. To which I responded with a resounding “YES!” The potential start date has been pushed to November to accommodate any approvals that might need to be obtained. And then I was called for the interview in the formal process. Still nervous about it, but they did proceed to contact my references from there.

And now … we wait. Again. Did I mention these things tend to take a fair amount of time?

The month in writing

Please excuse the block caps, but I think some shouting is in order. THE NEVERENDING DRAFT FINALLY ENDED! Yes, I finished this iteration of Reality Bomb. It was basically 120k and I have to cut around 30k, but I’m optimistic. I’m currently mapping in anticipation of revising later this month.

So, 5,234 words, or 105% of my 5k-word goal.

I finished the short story I started last month and promptly submitted it. It was rejected and so will be added to my pile of revise and resubmit stories, but I feel that it was an accomplishment, nonetheless. Then, I started on another story, not expecting to finish it, let alone submit it, but I did both! I probably won’t hear from that submission process for a while yet. I’m just happy to have done it.

I also submitted a previously published story for consideration in a Canadian reprint special issue of a popular SFF magazine. I’ll definitely let you know if anything comes of that 🙂

2,489 word of short fiction in the month, or 124% of my 2k-word goal.

I blogged 6,815 words of my 3,750-word goal, or a whopping 182%. Whop.

Overall, I wrote 14,538 words. I’d aimed for 10,750 and surpassed my goals on all counts. 135% of my monthly writing goal ain’t bad.

In the poetry arena, “Fire and Ice,” one of the five poems accepted for publication in Polar Borealis was also selected for Stellar Evolutions, an anthology featuring the best of the first 15 issues of PB. The pieces for the anthology were selected by Rhea E. Rose of RainWood Press. Pre-orders start October 15th, and the anthology is officially out on October 31st—my birthday!

Isn’t the cover beautiful?

It’s nice to get some external validation again.

Filling the well

Over Labour Day long weekend, our small family gathered at my sister-in-law’s for what’s probably our last outdoor family gathering of the year (it’s too cold for the moms, now). Chicken wings on the barbeque and fresh-cut fries. The sandhill cranes (AKA dinos) were EVERYWHERE.

Later in the month, I went out with Torvi a couple of times for walks in the fields.

In September, I attended Jane Friedman’s workshop on Researching Agents and Publishers like a Pro, a Word on the Street event with Michael Christie (Greenwood), Kerri Sakamoto (Floating City), and Doreen Vanderstoop (Watershed), the Writing Excuses Retreat fall reunion, How to Astronaut with Mary Robinette Kowal and Terry Virts, a NaNoWriMo session on How to Unlock the Key to Your Novel (adaptation to screen) with Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give), Nancy Springer (Enola Holmes), and Roshani Chokshi (Aru Shah), a world building tutorial with Mary Robinette Kowal, and a presentation on The Inner Workings of Spacesuit Design with Adam Savage, Cady Coleman, and (again) Mary Robinette Kowal.

Whew! That was a lot of virtual events.

I also attended several meetings for the Canadian Authors Association and the AGM for CIRA as well as several learning events at work (virtual facilitation, Orange Shirt Day, anti-racism, and mental health). What can I say? I’m a learning mutt.

What I’m watching and reading

Because many series stopped filming and/or production because of covid-19, there hasn’t been a lot on cable these days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m kind of grateful. I get more writing done of an evening if I don’t have regular series to watch. I’m actually catching up on my streaming viewing, but I haven’t finished any more series/seasons that way, either.

I watched the first six episodes of Wynona Earp. It’s the usual wacky shenanigans, but we didn’t get much of anywhere before covid intervened. Apparently, the rest of the season should start coming out in January. I’ll reserve full judgement until then.

Phil and I endured Cursed. It’s okay to envision a new interpretation of traditional myths and legends, but you have to have some kind of cohesive story going in. This was just stuff happening, just to have stuff happen. Pirates and Vikings and fairies, oh my? In what timescape do these all coexist with Arthurian legend (the fairies, okay, but the rest)? It’s fiction. I get it. But it all felt contrived, like, oh yeah, now we have the Inquisition (nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition)!

By all means, let Nimue be the one true queen, but she should act like one (some of the time, please?). She can have (indeed should have) conflicting goals and desires, but she’s running away with Arthur one minute and then making deals with Uther to save her people the next? Everyone was changing allegiances, left, right, and centre, again, apparently for no reason.

In short, nothing came together for us. We’ve watched and enjoyed shows that have done truly bizarre things with Arthurian legend, but they worked because there was a cohesive story to wrap all the crazy in. Someone let their idea monkey out of its cage and the poor dear just started flinging poop everywhere.

The rest of my viewing was long form, that is movies.

I watched Birds of Prey (and the fantabulous emancipation of one Harley Quinn) and it was fabulous. I think it’s the best DCEU film I’ve seen yet. It was all style and fun and it had a legit story. Margot Robbie was *chef’s kiss.* Nice to see strong women coming together to kick some ass and save each other.

Then, I saw Knives Out. Hilarious and clever, though I did wonder how Benoit Blanc, master detective, missed the distinct scent of vomit when he got into the car. You know the scene I’m talking about. This movie isn’t a whodunnit, but a who-woulda-dunnit-if-the-intended-victim-hadn’t-dunnit-first … and committed murder, extortion, and arson to cover their tracks. It’s about true friendship and kindness and a suspect who vomits every time she lies. A feelgood movie. Yeah, that’s what I’m going with.

Finally, Phil and I watched Enola Holmes. Another feelgood movie. It’s a plot wrapped in a mystery. Millie Bobbie Brown was perfect and got to use her own accent (sort of). Henry Cavill and Helena Bonham Carter were lovely. There were a few key differences from the book as I understand it, but I think I’m going to pick it up. I’ve always enjoyed Nancy Springer’s novels 🙂

In terms of reading, I have four offerings, two short story collections and two novels.

The first collection was Lynn Coady’s Hell Going. This collection won the Giller in 2013. I enjoyed the stories, but they all seemed to revolve around absences, and how people only end up hurting themselves by not communicating.

Daniel José Older’s Salsa Nocturna is a collection of stories featuring the characters from the first two novels in his Bone Street Rumba series. Humans who can see the dead, half-dead ghost hunters, witches who trap the souls of their victims in dolls, mammoth ghosts (not big ghosts, but the ghosts of woolly mammoths), and regular folks who get caught up in the world of the NY Council of the Dead.

Then, I read Justina Ireland’s Deathless Divide, the sequel to Dread Nation. As dark as the first novel was, DD is darker. You have to read them both to get the full effect, and I’m not going to spoil it.  The metaphoric nature of the story is killer (pun intended).

Finally, I read Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler. Well, I listened to it. Audible offered Giller prize winning novels for free back in the spring and I got a bunch. I didn’t expect to like this novel, but I did. The twist in the final pages is perfect. The narrator … I’m not as impressed with. He persisted in pronouncing yarmulke (yah-muhl-kah) as yarmuckel—that’s not even how it’s written—gah! I would think a professional voice actor would care enough to look up these things before he began narration … but I’ll leave it there.

Barney is the ultimate unreliable narrator. He’s starting to forget things and eventually dies from complications related to Alzheimer’s. So, basically, the reader can’t trust a word he’s written. He’s writing his memoir, such as it is, in response to former friend turned rival, Terry MacIvor’s fictional expose.

The problem is that Barney readily admits his faults and he does terrible things, but he’s adamant on one point: he did not kill his best friend as everyone thinks he did.

And that was the month in this writer’s life.

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 12-18, 2020

Black Lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I believe this more than ever. I’m not going to stop putting this important message out there until it’s true.

Regardless of whether your area of the world has never closed, is reopening, or is still under some degree of lockdown, please, for the love of all you hold dear, wear a mask.

As for schools, I sincerely believe the safest way forward is to keep all classes virtual. I know this isn’t a popular stance, but we know how quickly a common cold, or the flu proliferates in a classroom. And this is covid. We still don’t know the long-term effects of this virus.

I also know that virtual learning presents its own challenges. This will require a sea change for parents, teachers, schoolboards, employers, and governments and I think leaving these important discussions to this late date was naïve on the part of many. Ignoring the issue is not going to make it go away.

Having said that, Sudbury hasn’t had any new cases reported since about June 22 or so. We’ve only had 67 conformed cases and two deaths. It might be more reasonable to consider modified, in-person classes here, but I’d like to wait on the possible impact of phase three of reopening before we go there. Those numbers have yet to be publicized.

Now, onto the informal writerly learnings!

Kris Maze shares seven unstoppable YA plot ideas to make your novel fabulous. Barbara Linn Probst is editing for theme: search and employ. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth A. Harvey explores a writer’s sense of place: where I ought to be. Jim Dempsey is writing and napping. Sophie Masson shares what she’s learned about presenting online workshops. Then, Juliet Marillier tells a tale about finding resilience: a dog story. Writer Unboxed

Gender and Jurassic Park. Cold Crash Pictures

Janice Hardy explains some story rulez: the two things every novel needs to do. Later in the week, Angela Ackerman stopps by: how emotional wounds can steer a character’s job choice. Fiction University

The female friendship revolution. The Take

Peter von Stackelberg shares an intuitive four-step process for creating vibrant scene structure. Helping Writers Become Authors

Andrew Noakes offers six principles for writing historical fiction. Jane Friedman

Lindsay Ellis looks at Tolkien’s constructed languages. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Leanne Sowul wants you to commit to self-education about racism and anti-racism. And here’s my latest Speculations: ten Black science fiction and fantasy authors to read now. Then, Gabriela interviews Django Wexler: using fantasy to “literalize” the metaphor. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle explains why storytellers fail at grimdark and how to fix it. Then Bunny and Oren Ashkenazi team up: five reasons your story shouldn’t deny that it’s a story. Mythcreants

Deborah Ahenkora is slaying the dragons of hate with words. CBC Books

Aya de Léon: crime fiction is complicit in police violence, but it’s not too late to change. Electric Literature

Jeana Jorgensen describes what happens when fairyland is not for you: on escapism, fantasy, and survival. The Wrangler

Paula Findlen explores Petrarch’s plague: love, death, and friendship in a time of pandemic. The Public Domain Review

Thanks for visiting, and I hope that you found something to support your current work in progress (whatever stage it’s in).

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

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 12-18, 2020

I hope everyone is staying safe and keeping well. Here’s your weekly dose of informal writerly learnings to help fill some of your time (I know you’re all doing what you can to keep yourselves occupied).

Helen J. Darling says that if you’re finding it hard to write, try keeping a pandemic journal. Sara Farmer considers fiction from Daphne du Maurier to Megan Abbott: the gothic horror of womanhood. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Jeff Garvin about dismantling the stigma of mental illness. DIY MFA

Lori Freeland helps you understand point of view: P-O-What? Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland explains how to get some writing done: discipline vs. enthusiasm. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jim Dempsey offers a simple guide to symbolism in stories. Kathleen McCleary wants you to fuel your writing with feeling. Barbara Linn Probst shares five ways to light the spark of a novel. Writer Unboxed

Sacha Black wants you to breathe life into your prose with the sense of touch. Writers Helping Writers

Specificity and concrete language. Shaelin Writes

Susan DeFreitas shares part three of her developing a writing practice series: important.  Then, Mathina Calliope reveals the easy-to-fix tense problem that might be tripping up your readers. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains the difference between passive and active voice: was and not was. Later in the week, she wonders if pandemic anxiety is forcing everyone to count their spoons.

Chris Winkle breaks down act 3 of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at six magic systems that need stricter limits. Mythcreants

Writing fight scenes. Hello, Future Me

Chuck Wendig writes about being broken in half but wanting to be whole. Terribleminds

Steve Toase confronts the default: portraying homelessness in fantasy and science fiction. Tor.com

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you take away something that will support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, stay safe and well, my writerly friends.

Tipsday2019

Ad Astra 2016, day 1: The influence of Shakespeare on science fiction and fantasy

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that needs correction or clarification, please let me know: melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I fix things post-hasty.

Panellists: Kate Heartfield, Arlene F. Marks, Kate Story

ShakespearePanel

AFM: Shakespeare’s plays were, in his time, entertainment and education. They’re lessons in history, then and now. They also were some of the earliest examples of genre. Hamlet is, in part, a ghost story. MacBeth can be seen as urban legend. A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream is fantasy.

KS: Shakespeare needed to make a living. That’s why he wrote. He was a great enabler of public discourse.

KH: You don’t have to go far to find gender queer characters in Shakespeare.

AFM: The Hogarth Shakespeare series from Penguin Random House is asking well-known authors, like Margaret Atwood, to re-imagine his plays. That’s the brilliance of Shakespeare. You can put any one of his plays into any era or milleu.

KH: A lot of adaptations of his work are coming out because it’s the 400th anniversary of his death.

KS: My father was a scholar in Newfoundland. We had a cultural renaissance in the 60’s and 70’s and we started to make some connections. Maybe we have something to offer to the tradition. I think the spirit of Shakespeare’s time was close to Newfoundland’s now. Shakespeare has always been there and has always been an influence. Shakespeare’s women were far more realistic than the women characters of many modern playwrights.

[Kate then performed the monologue from her story in Carbide Tipped Pens, edited by Ben Bova and Eric Choi. It was a variation of Romeo and Juliet, set in space. She’s currently working on the stage play. I just sat back and enjoyed 🙂 ]

Ian McKellan said in an interview, “Where in the modern world would it be so wrong for two people to fall in love?” It resulted in a 70’s production of Romeo and Juliet set in Belfast.

AFM: In Shakespearean times, it was forbidden for women to go in stage. All women’s roles were played by men, or, more often, boys. The audience was very demanding. If they didn’t like a play, or the actors, they brought rotten vegetables to throw.

KS: He was asking the audience to be clever, to know it’s a man playing a women, pretending to be a man. It engaged the audience, drew them in.

AFM: It’s the fiction of the people. The only publisher that approaches this today is Harlequin, who would hold regular “reader appreciation” luncheons to meet their most popular authors. In Shakespeare’s day, there would be nobles and prostitutes in the same audience. It was whoever had the money to pay.

KS: It was nuts for the theatre. A sixth of the population of London would attend the performances.

KH: The culture of fandom/fanfic has a lot in common with the culture of Shakespeare. There’s nothing more Shakespearean than fanfic. Most of Shakespeare’s plays were drawn from earlier works. He borrowed liberally from Ovid.

Q: Shakespeare’s plays address universal themes. The more popular ones get done. Some might say overdone, but the historical plays are ignored.

KS: My theatre did a gender-swapped Taming of the Shrew.

KH: The film industry has done a better job. My Own Private Idaho, The Hollow Ground series, Looking for Richard.

AFM: A Thousand Acres was the story of King Lear. Shakespeare was brilliant of using every member of the company. There were often comic actors. Characters like Falstaff were written for them. If there were acrobats, he’d give them something to do. They had to be very practical in terms of costuming for these reasons.

KH: Titus Andronicus and Troilus and Cressida were essentially horror. Shakespeare was a great worldbuilder. He was consistent in terms of how fairies, spirits, and witches behaved. His idea of Titania was dark, but comic. Fairies had an alien sense of good and evil.

AFM: He built on the motivations of all his characters.

And that was time.

Next week: The do’s and don’ts of writing erotica (oh, my!).