Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 28-Aug 3, 2019

And here we are in August! It’s time to change direction and indulge in some informal writerly learnings.

Kathryn Craft: where a writer’s story begins. Laurie Schnebly Campbell asks, where, when, why? Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland helps you learn five types of character arc at a glance: the two heroic arcs, part 1 of 2. Helping Writers Become Authors

William R. Leibowitz delves into the challenges of believability in writing science fiction. C. S. Lakin

Allison Winn Scotch is writing in the chaos. Meanwhile, Cathy Yardly is addressing anxiety. Writer Unboxed

How to use and eliminate passive voice. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford explains what it costs to self-publish a book.

Sara Letourneau is identifying themes in poetry. Jeanette the Writer extolls the power of punctuation.  DIY MFA

Jami Gold: do we know what we’re capable of?

Peter Gelfan explains how to craft engaging dialogue exchanges. Writers Helping Writers

How to write a fight scene. Reedsy

Angela Ackerman is depicting characters held back by fear. Then, Oren Ashkenazi teaches authorial endorsement 101. Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer explains the difference between a lot and allot (and that alot is NOT a word!). Writer’s Digest

Cecelia Watson recounts the birth of the semi-colon. The Paris Review

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something helpful.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday2019

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 26-Sept 1, 2018

Ah, September. Did you have to come so soon? Now we say our fond farewells to summer and get back to work and school. Shore yourself up with some informal writerly learnings.

Shannon Baker and Jess Lourey want you to write what you fear: why, how, and a lifesaving bonus tip. Writer Unboxed

Julia Munroe Martin: confessions of a weary writer. Speaks to me in many ways. I, too, will never give up. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt explores writing, politics, and the fuzzy grey line between. In the end, all writing is political. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to use the enneagram to write better characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

Piper Bayard says, hacking isn’t just for thrillers anymore. Writers in the Storm

Laurie Schnebly Campbell: plot, character, and … what? Writers in the Storm

Roz Morris takes us on a virtual tour of her writing space. The rescued desk—where do you write? Nail Your Novel

Chuck Wendig explains why writing a series (especially as a new author) is really goddamned hard. Terribleminds

Sara Letourneau shares three ways of revising (or avoiding) preachy themes. DIY MFA

Damon Suede stops by Fiction University to talk about comp lit: claiming your place on the shelf.

Lizzie Shane drops by Jami Gold’s blog: how important is talent?

Chris Winkle wants you to account for character identification. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi: five ways gods and the afterlife change a fantasy setting. Mythcreants

And that was tipsday for this week. Come back on Thursday for your weekly done of thoughty.

Be well until then!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 22-28, 2018

Give yourself the treat of informal writerly learnings on this last day of July 🙂

Jane Friedman excerpts from Diana Kimpton’s Plots and Plotting on her blog: how to skillfully use subplots in your novel.

K.M. Weiland shares four steps to turn an idea into a story that rocks. Helping Writers Become Authors

Anne Greenwood Brown explains how to write emotional scenes when you’d really rather not. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb encourages you to build a world, hook a reader. Writer Unboxed

Joanna Penn interviews Samantha Keel about writing effective injuries for your characters. The Creative Penn

Kathryn Craft: our capacity for brilliance. Writers in the Storm

Rachael Stephen: how to punch perfectionism in its dumb face.

 

Leanne Sowul is writing for life. DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson explores voice across genre: by any other name. DIY MFA

Laura Stradiotto interviews Gail Anderson-Dargatz: overcoming the fear of writing. I attended her workshop on Saturday—stellar! The Sudbury Star

Jeff Vandermeer shares his views on the art and science of structuring a novel. Electric Lit

Anne Quito: the graceful restoration of a 200-year-old serif typeface reveals the problem with digital fonts. Quartzy

Hope you found something to move your craft forward.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends.

tipsday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 4-10, 2018

Thought Thursday is here, and you know what that means … tomorrow is Friday! Happy Friday eve!

This is why Uma Thurman is angry. Maureen Dowd for The New York Times.

Gemma Hartley says that the equal distribution of emotional labour is the key to gender equality. Harper’s Bazaar

Author Roni Loren writes a personal post about hormones, stress, and sneaky depression.

Ed Yong studied his own articles to improve the gender balance of his reporting. The Atlantic

John Pavlovitz: no, you’re not tired of being politically correct.

The Economist is thinking about natives in an era of nativism.

Hannah Devlin reports on the DNA analysis of Cheddar Man and the revelation that the first modern Britons had dark to black skin. The Guardian

Cleve R. Wootson: Maya civilisation was vaster than thought, as thousands of newly discovered structures reveal. The Washington Post

Phil Plait shares Mike Olbinski’s time-lapse storm video, Breathe. SyFy

Whistler Deep Sky II – David McColm Photography

 

Ashley Hamer: yes, a donut-shaped planet is technically possible. Curiosity

Tariq Malik reports on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket’s historic maiden voyage. Space

Andrea Morris introduces us to the woman teaching artificial intelligence about human values. Forbes

Rafi Letzter examines how an ancient virus may be responsible for human consciousness. Live Science

World War II spitfire pilot Mary Ellis from the Isle of Wight turns 100. BBC

Dangerous Minds profiles the Victorian woman who drew pictures of ghosts.

The astonishing science of what trees feel and how they communicate. Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. Maria Popova, Brain Pickings.

Hooria Jazaieri points out three things we still don’t know about meditation (and how to read studies critically). Mindful

Steven Parton explores the science of happiness and why complaining is literally killing you. Curious Apes

Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi: people with depression are more likely to say certain words. Quartz

Truth Potato tells it like it is. Bored Panda

Piper, a short film by Disney Pixar.

 

I hope something in this mix got your mental corn popping.

Be well until the weekend.

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The Canadian Writers’ Summit 2016: Achieving your dream: the shadow side

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

Panellists: Suzanne Alyssa Andrew, Carrie Snyder, Maria Meindl, Heidi Reimer, Sarah Henstra (Moderator)

theshadowside

SH: Everyone talks about the struggle that precedes publication, but what about what happens afterward?

[Panellists introduced.]

What’s been your experience with the shadow side?

HR: I’ve been thinking about this because I achieved my creative goals and felt things nobody I knew had ever mentioned. I finished my novel and I felt depressed rather than elated. My spouse is an actor and he’s experienced in the art of letting go. In his world, it’s a recognized thing that all actors experience. It’s not in mine. When I won the Chatelaine contest, I was elated, and then terrified. I looked up their distribution and readership on line. That amount of exposure made me feel vulnerable. I physically recoiled. Something intensely private was about to become public. I talked to friends about my distress.

MM: I feel like I’ve confronted the connection between success and darkness in my life. My grandmother was Mona Gould. By the time I was a child in the 60’s, her poem, “This was My Brother at Dieppe” was everywhere. When her success faded, she turned to alcohol and became bitter. What I learned from that experience is that success is harmful. It can destroy you. When she died, I received boxes of her materials. It took me five years to sort through it. She started promoting her work at the age of eleven. Her poem was sponsored by an arms manufacturer, but she was a pacifist. She didn’t feel she could object. Now I understand that it’s not success that’s destructive, but the lack of a forum and the means to use it.

CS: I always wanted to be a writer. As I was driving in from Waterloo, I tried to figure out what that seven-year-old girl’s impulse was. I focused everything on becoming an author. I published by first book at the age of twenty-nine. It was written when I was twenty-six. It was another eight years before I published my second novel. In 2012, The Juliet Stories came out and was nominated for a Governor General’s Award. It was a huge moment for me. I embraced the high and I rode it. I wasn’t prepared for not winning, though. I mean, I knew I wasn’t going to but knowing it and experiencing it are two different things. They informed us ahead of the public announcement and I sat with the secret for a week. I felt ashamed. I was afraid of disappointing my kids and everyone else who’d been so supportive of me and my book. I didn’t know how to cope with it. I am so grateful for my blog because I was able to get my experience out there. I almost changed careers. I had my acceptance to McMaster’s midwifery program in one hand and the offer for The Girl Runner in the other. I thought I’d made a mistake in pursuing my dream. Now I’m making a living as a writer. It’s wonderful and it’s amazingly difficult at the same time. It’s hard to be here and to be vulnerable in front of you.

SAA: Everything you’ve all said resonates. I’ve just published my first novel and I, too, have always wanted to be a writer. I went on a book tour and it was the first time my family had heard me read my work. I play bass in a band. It’s a group, a community. We share. In literary circles, I find there’s a lack of transparency, especially about publishing in Canada. I think the reality’s worse than any of us realize. There’s a lot of pressure to market your own book. I invested in promotion. I’m a freelance writer. I don’t regret making that investment. At the time I figured, I’ll worry about it later. Well, it’s later and I’m feeling the financial impact. I have second book paralysis, knowing how hard it was promoting my first. Musicians are open and honest about the challenges. They offer each other advice and strategies. Authors in Canada don’t talk about these issues. We’re worried about seeming ungrateful. It’s very isolating. We need to be more vocal as a community.

SH: Can any of you comment further on shame and vulnerability?

CS: You’re novel is something you’ve worked on for years. It will be judged. There will be reviews. I’m a private person. I work through things in writing. It doesn’t feel right to be so exposed. To create anything of value, you have to go there, though. I was terrified of being changed by success. I can deal with rejection, but I have no experience in dealing with success.

SAA: It’s about being a creative person in the public sphere. You can get so involved in the persona you adopt for the media that you can start to feel schizophrenic. We don’t express our real feelings on social media. Everyone else seems more successful, happier. You compare yourself to others and find yourself wanting. There’s another reality to the one presented on Facebook.

HR: When I was published for the first time (I wrote an essay about the experience) I suffered anxiety and panic attacks. If it’s not discussed openely, everyone thinks it’s only them. I have a novel on submission. I received a rejection and felt relief. I know what to do with rejection. A ‘yes’ involves a whole other world. I was happy to stay in my identity as a rejected writer. You have to redefine yourself in light of success.

SH: Is this a question of gender? We’re all women on this panel.

MM: There’s a line between the inner and outer worlds of the author. There’s a free-floating shame still attached to being a woman and a woman writer in particular. Hélène Cixous once asked, “write? With what right?” We’ve internalized this social message. It’s about taking charge of the narrative. Take hold of the narrative. Be heard. It’s a gendered issue.

CS: Are there any men authors in the audience?

Aud: Yes. When the questions was asked, all the women were nodding and the men were shaking their heads. We don’t talk about the shadow side.

MM: The word authorship, etymologically, it means leadership, mastery. As a woman, I didn’t feel welcomed into that world.

SH: Many authors speak of their novels as their ‘book babies.’ There’s a stigma to post-partum depression. You’re not allowed to feel down after having a human baby. Have you found anything that helps?

SAA: Being someone who had this dream, I had high expectations. Being in a band dialled those expectations back. Check your expectations. Talk about it with other authors. What does success mean to you?

CS: Create a safe, private space in which to create. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t create while you’re doing publicity. It’s not what I thought the job was. I have to remember why I write. I have to turn off all of my expectations. I’m still a writer, even if I never get published again. I wanted to make a living as a writer. I have. But there are worse things than not making a living as a writer.

HR: I did a releasing ritual. I needed to get all of that stuff out. Society says you should be happy. I felt loss. I had to write it out. I had to acknowledge the feelings and affirm what I wanted.

SH: How do you not miss the moment because you’re rushing on to the next fifty things you have to do? You have to celebrate your successes. Ania Szado says you also have to honour your losses.

MM: When my book came out, my Rabbi did a blessing over the book. It was a wonderful thing, on the Sabbath, so, no selling, no pressure. We were just honouring a life event.

SH: Do you want to say something about your definition of success?

MM: The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much others define success for us. We also internalize those definitions and move the bar.

CS: My ‘word of the year’ was success. It terrified me. To everyone else, it looks like success. To me, it doesn’t feel like success. It has a lot to do with what we expect.

SAA: Amy Winehouse’s definition of success was to sing. That’s it. When she got big, she imploded.

Q: What issues turn you on to writing?

CS: I write because I have something to say. Later, the issues grow out of what I’ve written.

SAA: Despite all the challenges of writing, we all have something to say. The joy of writing is in expressing something, of speaking to your readers.

Q: How do you relate to your readers and how is that relationship affected by the shadow side?

MM: I used to be more involved in small press publication. A man bought my book for a dollar and then returned later to tell me that he was moved. It was a wonderful feeling.

SAA: I started out on fire about online marketing. Eventually, I felt like I was speaking into the void. It wasn’t until I went on tour that I felt it was real. I could talk to people. Writers are rarefied outside Toronto.

CS: I was at a writers’ festival in BC and a woman gave me an envelope. In her letter she asked me how I had known her so intimately? She felt like I had written for her, to her. It was humbling.

SH: When I launched Mad Miss Mimic last year, a girl bought the book, sat down, and didn’t stop reading all night. My favourite thing is when parents send me pictures of their kids reading the books. It’s old school. One reader can change your world.

Q: What kind of support do you look for?

SAA: I get the best support from other writers. I have a wonderful agent, Samantha Haywood, and she held my hand through the process.

Q: What strategy do you use to deal with criticism?

CS: I bounce back really quickly now. I’m as polite as possible in person. Privately, I allow myself 24 hours of bleakness, and then I get over it.

SAA: A lot of critique says more about the critic than the writer.

Q: Do you get requests for information from aspiring writers?

CS: Yes. I have advice on my blog. I’ll respond to individual requests for advice from friends.

HR: Take me out for lunch and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.

Q: How do you deal with family stuff?

HR: I write what I write and when it goes out into the world, I panic. The Chatelaine article reveals some personal information about my relationship with my dad. I had to tell him when I heard that it would be published. I was worried, but it was good. It’s best to deal with it directly.

And that was time.

Next week, I’m going to post another book review.  It’s a five-star so you can look forward to that 🙂

Be well until next I post, my friends.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 19-25, 2015

Thoughty Thursday is back with a thick, frosty shake of inspiration-y, research-y bits. Just watch you don’t get a brain freeze 😉

Ten words every girl should learn. Alternet.

Surprise, surprise . . . Men who harass women online are, quite literally, losers. The Washington Post.

Matt McGorry provides a Twitter lecture on why responding to #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter is pure dip-shittery. Buzzfeed. Peeps have tried this before with #YesAllWomen/#NotAllMen etc. What’s the best way to promote social injustice? Waste energy denying you’re part of the problem/trying to distract from the real solution. #MethinksTheyProtestTooMuch

No, it’s not your opinion. You’re just wrong. The Houston Press.

Danielle Seewalker invites us to meet the generation of incredible Native American women fighting to preserve their culture. Marie Claire.

If your dream is calling to you, are you willing to answer? Anna Lovind guest posts on Carri-Anne Moss’s Annapurna Living.

Anna, on her own blog, writing about how to address fear in your creative life.

i09’s True Crime beat presents the mystery of Agatha Christie’s disappearance. In response, a friend posted this article from The Guardian (from 2006, no less), which reveals the cause. Either way, Doctor Who got it wrong (OMG!).

NASA shares their “blue marble” gallery via National Geographic.

A brief history of everything with Neil deGrasse Tyson. IFLS.

NASA’s Kepler mission discovers a bigger, older Earth-like planet. Please note: the images you may have seen in media are artists’ concepts. There’s no way Kepler could see that kind of detail 🙂

The science of stress: Our emotions affect our susceptibility to burnout and disease. BrainPickings.

This teen developed a test that can diagnose Alzheimer’s before symptoms are exhibited. IFLS.

I’m not sure why, but i09 ranks the five best and worst demons by which to be possessed.

Weird, but marvelous: a wearable hummingbird feeder. Incredible Things.

Here’s a feel-good puppy story for you. Just because. Good.

See you Saturday for the Ad Astra 2015 wrap post and the next chapter update.

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 1-7, 2015

Last Sunday, February 1st, was St. Brigid’s day. Here are nine facts about the day you may not have known. The Independent.

The full moon may have been last Tuesday, but you could still perform these nine rituals to unlock its energy. I think they’d work any time, myself. It might help to combat the Mercury in retrograde crap we’ve been dealing with lately. Or it just might make you feel more confident. MindBodyGreen.

Shawn Achor on happiness. UpWorthy.

What you learn in your 40s. The New York Times.

Deja Vu. It’s okay to be smart.

 

How extreme fear shapes the mind. BBC.

What Stephen Fry would say to God. Hearting this man so hard right now.

 

This pisses me off: How Veterans’ Affairs treats our injured veterans. The Huffington Post.

How being a gifted child can lead to dark consequences. The Calgary Herald.

Though this appeared in Writer Unboxed, it’s something that everyone could benefit from. Why we need to learn how to monotask again, by Therese Walsh.

Seth Godin was a guest on Krista Tippett’s On Being podcast: The art of noticing, then creating.

A fascinating look into the world of the male Geisha. The Daily Beast.

What the Andromeda Galaxy would look like if it was bright enough to see with the naked eye. IFLS.

Feel like getting crafty? Here are 33 ways to use spray paint to revitalize old stuff. Buzzfeed.

Why we should stop docking dogs’ tails. We should also stop cropping their ears and declawing cats. All are mutilations, IMO. i09.

And that’s all the thoughty you get until next Thursday!

Tomorrow’s not only Friday (happy dance day), but it’s also Friday the 13th! And then it’s Valentines. Eventful days ahead!

See you on the weekend 🙂

Thoughty Thursday