Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 28-June 3, 2017

It’s time for some informal writerly learnings.

The Story Masters workshop James Scott Bell refers to? Yeah. I was there 🙂 Where’s your edge? Writer Unboxed

Cara Black says villains are the architects of your story. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt shares her experience weaving sub-plots into her story. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland explains how to find your story’s big moments before you outline. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elisabeth Kauffman shares her #1 tip for introverts attending a writing conference. DIY MFA

Laura Highcove: when your why is bigger than your fear. DIY MFA

Christina Delay explains why it’s important to control your survival instinct when it comes to your fiction. Writers in the Storm

Tasha Seegmiller guest posts on Writers in the Storm: enhancing your story through micro and macro setting description.

Writing coach April Bradley says theme is the marrow of your story. Writers Helping Writers

Suzanne Purvis visits Fiction University: how to write a sizzling, scintillating synopsis.

Jami Gold: strong characters come from strong writing.

Kristen Lamb says, when running your race—be content but stay hungry.

Dear writers: a book needs time to cook. Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds.

If you want to write a book, don’t listen to Stephen Hunter. Foz Meadows, Shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows.

And here, for your perusal, is the Stephen Hunter article in question: if you want to write a book, write every day, or quit now. Daily Beast

Creative alchemy: experience transformed by imagination with Ursula K. Le Guin and Kristin Kwan on Terri Windling’s Myth & Moor. And here’s more Ursula: the writer as wizard.

Sangeeta Mehta interviews agents Eric Smith and Saba Sulaiman about diversity on Jane Friedman’s blog.

Oren Ashkenazi lists five plausible scenarios for planetary evacuation. Mythcreants

Mary Robinette Kowal shares the highlights of her visit to the SpaceX CRS-11 Cargo Launch NASA social.

The Sunburst Award Longlist has been announced. Think Canadian Nebulas and you’ll be just fine 😉

Laura Miller examines what happens when literary novelists experiment with science fiction. Found this on Twitter with the tweet, when literary authors write science fiction, yet disavow it. Yeah, right? Slate

Charlie Jane Anders confesses: growing up, Wonder Woman was the hero I really wanted to be. Tor.com

And Megan Garber calls Wonder Woman the heroine of the post-truth age. The Atlantic

This is just fun. Why Wonder Woman’s sword can cut through anything. Because science w/ Kyle Hill.

 

Bryn Elise Sandberg reports the sad news that Sense8 has been cancelled. I gotta go over there and cry, now. The Hollywood Reporter

I hope you found something that you needed.

Come back on Thursday to get a little thoughty in your week.

Be well until then.

tipsday2016

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 8-14, 2017

I even have a video in the informal writerly learnings mix this week. W00t!

K.M. Weiland offers her top ten ways to rivet readers with plot reveals. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week Dave Chesson guest posts on Kate’s blog with Boba Fett’s guide to writing cool characters.

Jordan Rosenfeld guest posts on Writer Unboxed: perception and how to identify POV leaps.

Bess Cozby offers five tips for mastering multiple points of view. DIYMFA

Oren Ashkenazi explains how to craft a character-driven story. Mythcreants

Becca Puglisi guest posts on Writers in the Storm: crafting a powerful set up.

Sophie Masson helps you craft the perfect back cover blurb. Writer Unboxed

David Corbett explores the topic of reading while writing. Writer Unboxed

Roz Morris joins the awesome line up of writing coaches on Writers Helping Writers: read more fiction.

Jami Gold explains how writing goals are really about finding out what works for you. Later in the week, she offers some insight into how to make your story meaningful.

Janice Hardy shares some outlining tips. Fiction University

Chuck Wendig tell you how to finish revising, you filthy animal. Terribleminds

Should you submit your work to agents or editors? Jane Friedman

New contributor Kathryn Magendie writes about giving up and giving in. Writer Unboxed

Susan Spann educates us on negotiating options in publishing deals. Writer in the Storm

Gabriela Pereira and Manjula Martin talk money on DIYMFA radio.

Joanna Penn and CJ Lyons talk about the dream of quitting the day job to write full time. The Creative Penn

Indigenous readers recommend books. 49th Shelf

Danielle Dutton lists her top ten books about wild women. The Guardian

Terri Windling: old stories made new. Myth & Moor

John Yorke: all stories are the same. The Atlantic

Liz Bourke reviews Certain Dark Things and Sparrow Falling. Tor.com

Man Booker prize winner, Marlon James, is writing an epic fantasy trilogy drawn from African mythology. Natalie Zutter for Tor.com.

Foz Meadows muses on Westworld: (de)humanizing the other. shattersnipe

Heather Wolfe, the “Sherlock of the library” cracked the case of Shakespeare’s identity. Robert McCrum for The Guardian.

A Writer’s Life. Two men have words.

 

Leah Schnelbach looks back at Princess Mononoke after 20 years. Tor.com

I hope you found something to enrich your skill set.

Come on back on Thursday for some inspiration 🙂

Be well until then.

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 23-29, 2016

The informal writerly learnings are here!

Your #NaNoWriMo round up for the week:

Danielle Daniel discusses her memoir, The Dependent, with the ladies of The Social.

Sudbury’s Poet Laureate, Kim Fahner, writes in defense of school libraries. The Republic of Poetry

K.M. Weiland: how to properly motivate your bad guy. Helping Writers Become Authors

Roz Morris shares some thoughts on book marketing. Nail Your Novel

Robin Lovett explains why deadlines are not your worst enemy. DIYMFA

James Scott Bell: writer, this is your job. Kill Zone

Barbara O’Neal explores writing with the knowledge of time. Writer Unboxed

Dan Blank: dealing with a slump. Writer Unboxed

Karen Woodward writes in defense of constraints.

Janice Hardy guest posts on Writers in the Storm: how filtering point of view affects show, don’t tell.

Marcy Kennedy blogs about conflict.

Veronica Sicoe continues her storyworld design series with transportation technologies.

Chris Saylor returns to Marcy Kennedy’s blog with his monthly editorial clarification post: “I could care less.”

Jamie Raintree shares her path to publication (part two!).

Janet Reid addresses the issue of young writers. “Publishing will break your heart. Writing will fill your heart.” Truer words . . .

Joanna Penn interviews Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith on The Creative Penn podcast.

Tamerra Griffen unpacks a situation of academic racism on Buzzfeed: a professor circles the word “hence” on Tiffany Martinez’s paper and notes “This is not your word.” Bonus: here is Tiffany’s response to the incident (linked in the Buzzfeed article).

Foz Meadows explores the relationship between romance and queerness, and the difference between genre and device. Shattersnipe

Meg Elison: if women wrote about men the way men write about women. McSweeney’s

Katherine Langrish explores death in classic fantasy. Seven Miles of Steel Thistles

Sadness. 2016 has taken so many great creators from us. Sheri S. Tepper, 1929-2016.

Award news:

The Governor General’s Award winners announced.

The OAC presents its indigenous arts protocols:

 

Joseph Boyden speaks out for the #WeMatterCampaign

 

Baihley Grandison shares a lovely infographic with untranslatable words from other languages. Writer’s Digest

Rajeev Balasubramanyam states that the Nobel committee got it wrong: Ngugi wa Thiong’o is the writer the world needs now. The Washington Post

Christopher Marlowe will be credited as Shakespeare’s co-author in New Oxford editions of the Henry VI plays. Dalya Alberge for The Guardian.

Connie Verzak considers Tobias Menzies to be the Snape of Outlander. The Daily Record

And that concludes my first and last Tipsday for the month of November.

The next Tipsday will be coming your way on December 6th, after the furor of #NaNoWriMo has subsided.

Be well until then, my writerly friends.

Honour your creative path.

Virtual hugs to the awesomesauce that is you!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 11-17, 2016

Tipsday is chock full of informal writerly learnings!

K.M. Weiland digs into subtext and gives practical examples for how you can identify and apply subtext in your stories. Helping writers become authors

Later in the week, Kate shares more lessons from the MCU: how to choose the right antagonist for your story.

Roz Morris offers an exercise to show how you can shape your tone in your novel. Nail your novel

Vaughn Roycroft discusses the importance of storytelling in turbulent times. Writer Unboxed

Sara Letourneau helps you find the “why” behind your story. DIYMFA

David Corbett helps you fill linguistic holes with some super fun words. Writer Unboxed

Carly Watters shares four ways to write better dialogue.

Jami Gold: when is backstory necessary? Later in the week, Jamie returns with tips on balancing your story elements.

Margie Lawson offers her rule #17: finessing backstory. Writers in the storm

David H. Safford guest posts on Writers Helping Writers with advice on hunting down story holes using a novel journal.

Janice Hardy continues her blog tour on Marcy Kennedy’s blog. Create an editorial map to make revisions easier. This is, incidentally, part of my process 🙂

Karen Woodward explores short story structure.

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jerry Jenkins on DIYMFA radio.

Christine Frazier compares Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Better Novel Project

Janet Reid shares six reasons she said “no,” recently.

Frances Caballo guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog. A social media strategy that works: CARE about your readers.

Tim Grahl shares his perspective on the effectiveness of Facebook as a marketing tool for authors.

Authors offer their best writing tips. The Guardian

The Baltimore Sun shares John E. McIntyre’s “trigger warning” from his editing class at Loyola University, Maryland.

Moira Donegan covers the Emily Books Symposium session: what is women’s writing? The Awl

Kerry Gold’s L’affaire Galloway explores the UBC incident in its context and subtext (because there’s so much that hasn’t been stated). The Walrus

Janet Reid shares her thoughts on the difference between racism and using potentially offensive language in context in response to one college’s unequivocal idea of cultural sensitivity.

Mary Robinette Kowal offers a textile metaphor for cultural appropriation.

Jim C. Hines unpacks Lionel Shriver’s speech on cultural appropriation.

And here’s Foz Meadows’ response to Lionel Shriver.

Related (because it occured at the same literary festival): a journalist quotes a writer without permission. Liz Spayd for The New York Times.

Award news! Sunburst Award winners announced!

Literary Hub interviews the Biblioasis Bookstore in Windsor.

Wordstock, Sudbury’s literary festival. Nov 3-5, 2016. CBC

Canadian literati are coming to Sudbury for Wordstock. South Side Story

Last week marked the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth. Here are a couple of the articles that were posted in tribute.

Shane Koyczan: 152 (audio only)

 

Wasn’t sure where to put this mixed bit of news. Sad to have lost him, but end-of-life issues are never simple and I honour his right to make this decision. Author W.P. Kinsella ended his life last week under Canada’s new assisted dying legislation. The Guardian

Take a look at Salvador Dali’s paintings of Alice in Wonderland. The Earth Child

Seanan McGuire digs into Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin. Tor.com

Joel Minty offers advice to first-time readers of Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon. Tor.com

Alex Brown reviews the fall 2016 television SFF line up for Tor.com.

Germaine Lussier reports that Disney’s new production of A Wrinkle in Time has its lead. i09

The Curiosity is a fairy tale film about selkies 😀 Germaine Lussier for i09.

Connie Verzak offers some fodder for Droughtlander sufferers. The Daily Record

Hope you enjoyed, my creative friends.

See you on Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Tipsday

The next chapter: August 2016 update

Let me tell you a story 🙂

Dark season

Over the last couple of years, August has been a bad month for me, emotionally speaking.

I’ve been down. Living with depression, if you do it consciously, means that you can see the signs and take action, or not, whatever is most appropriate for your mental health at the time. Trying to barge through rarely works. For me, anyway.

Last year, I was away from home, delivering training, for two and a half weeks in August. I thought London was a lovely city, and I did enjoy myself to the extent I could—I even went shopping (!) and if you know me, you know I hate shopping of any kind with a passion—but it was too far away for me to go home on the weekends, and I had discovered earlier in the year how much more difficult it was for me to write or blog while travelling. So except for curation, I gave over.

Writing on the road isn’t undoable, and I have put on my big girl panties and done it since (I started NaNoWriMo while travelling last year), but, at the time, I was at a low ebb, and sometimes you have to be kind to yourself.

This year, I went to Kansas City for WorldCon and stayed an extra day or so to visit with a friend who’d moved down there several years ago. More on WorldCon in a bit. The bottom line is that health issues and my introvert nature (exacerbated by my emotional low) conspired to rob the trip of some of its joy.

Remembering what had happened last year, I had even planned for the dog-day doldrums. I figured I’d have the first run-through of all my drafted novels done by August (and I did) and that I would need a little break (and I did).

My plan to turn to other projects, though, didn’t work out as well as I’d thought. I worked on some short fiction, made a few submissions (a rejection from one of which was returned within a week), but I never touched the poetry collection or the non-speculative short fiction collection. I just didn’t have the heart.

I journalled, trying to work out what my plan for the rest of the year would look like and trying to find my way back to what is, for me, normal. I also participated in a Nelson Literary Agency workshop on first pages with Angie Hodapp.

Though the initial review of my first five pages wasn’t horrible, I wanted to try something completely different for the revision, see if the advice of the readers would work. It was a spectacular failure, but I learned a lot from the experience.

You really do have to fail to learn, even if it’s painful 🙂

I’m now delving back into Initiate of Stone, working long hand in a notebook. Sometimes you just have to write it out. I find that writing long hand helps give me the time to examine the words and sentences, and get a fresh perspective.

I can now also disclose that I did not succeed with my application to #PitchWars. Reality Bomb was the project I chose for that experience. I didn’t expect to get in this first year of applying, but one pair of mentors, Michael Mammay and Dan Koboldt, was very supportive. They asked for additional materials, a synopsis and first 50 pages.

Our email exchanges in that first week or so were productive and illuminating for me. I now have some great ideas to return to that manuscript with. So, ultimately, #PitchWars was a win.

This brings me to another realization of why this year has been a difficult one for me.

Last year was the year of almost. I got on several long and short lists in contests, had my work set aside for second readings for anthologies, and while it didn’t result in any publications, the nature of the responses was reassuring. I also had a couple of stories accepted into the Sudbury Writers’ Guild anthology, which should be coming out this fall.

This year, with the exception of #PitchWars, has been the year of no. Form rejections all around, whether from querying or from short fiction submissions. Though I have, to some extent, found a way to turn rejection into a positive, when so many pile up, it becomes disheartening.

You begin to question your worth and skill as a writer, to doubt the kind things that have been said about your work (because there are so few of them, relatively speaking, that they must be the flukes, you reason). You begin to look for those opportunities to confirm your negative bias, blow small faux pas into huge incidents. Reasonable lapses in communication become the occasion for self-blame and recrimination.

Fortunately, since my return from Kansas City, I’ve been coming across the most wonderful articles and posts that have given me the encouragement I’ve needed, some of which you’ll see in this week’s curation. Between that, and the long hand work I’ve been doing on IoS, I’m making my way back to the page.

WorldCon

I’d left with the best of intentions and wanted to practice Gabriela Pereira’s method of networking with a number of authors I’d only ever seen online. In the moment, though, I was so nervous, I basically blathered.

I did get to meet and have a couple of nice, brief chats with Mary Robinette Kowal, met Cat Cambo and Foz Meadows at their Literary Beer sessions (informal chats), but otherwise, I just did my usual and took notes in panel discussions.

I was within three feet of George R.R. Martin, but as he was just coming out of the second of two autographing sessions in which fans lined up for the better part of an hour to see him, I just couldn’t bring myself to be that fan. Instead, I smiled, nodded, and moved on without harassing the poor man.

I had gone to the Tor Party with the intention of meeting John Scalzi, but several people seemed to be running interference and by the time I was able to politely make my excuses, Mr. Scalzi was monopolized by other Tor authors and friends. After that, he turned his attention to his beautiful wife and, again, I could not bring myself to interrupt just to say “hi, and thank you for writing wonderful books.”

Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, or an introvert, or both, but I just couldn’t.

I’m also a total newb and have no clue with regard to what’s appropriate and what’s not in which context.

The Hugo Awards Ceremonies were wonderful, though, and the sad puppies were soundly trounced.

N.K. Jemesin won best novel for The Fifth Season, Nnedi Okorafor won best novella for Binti, Hao Jingfang and Ken Liu (translator) won best novelette for Folding Beijing, and Neil Gaiman (who wasn’t there in person) had a special message for the sad puppies when he won best graphic story for The Sandman: Overture.

Really, you can just go to the Hugo Awards site and check out all the winners. Diversity was the word of the evening.

It was a great event, but at the end, I felt like I needed a vacation to get over my vacation 🙂

I returned home with a whopping case of imposter’s syndrome, though. I’d met and seen and learned from all of these authors, many of whom I read and respect. Who am I, with my two publications in what the Science Fiction Writers Association (SFWA) considers “token” markets, to think that I can get a traditional deal in a market that’s more competitive than ever?

When I confided my doubts to Phil, his response was that print publishing was on its way to extinction and why would I want that, anyway? So not what I needed to hear, but I forgave him instantly. Though he is very supportive of me and my creative calling, he, like most non-writers, will never understand what it’s like to be in my neurotic wee skull.

But, as I said, I’m surfacing now. I have no further conventions I’ve committed to (having used up my budget for such things) and the only challenge I’ve set for myself is to get through another revision of IoS and Apprentice of Wind before I tackle the third novel in the series for NaNoWriMo.

I still want to get back to the poetry collection and the non-speculative short fiction collection, but neither is a big priority for me at the moment.

I’m taking my time with the short fiction. Some of my stories are actually the seeds of novels. I have to set those aside in their own project folders for the future, and then get on with revising and submitting what I have. Who knows? I may even surprise myself and write some more new stories. It has been known to happen.

In the meantime, I’ve applied for my winter leave at work and am crossing my fingers.

Persistent payroll issues may affect my application for another leave with income averaging. Until things are sorted out, the powers that be may recommend against such special considerations. I may have to defer again until next year.

It won’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened, but Phil and I are ready to look for another furry dependent. I need the five weeks for acclimatization and training. We’d rather it be sooner than later, but we’ll be patient if we must.

Having a new puppy in the spring would probably be more convenient (she says, mentally willing leave approval).

And then there are the renovations to consider, but that’s another post. Probably several 😉

The month in writing

August was sparse as far as writing goes. Aside from the blog, from which I took a vacation for WorldCon, the only writing I did was to finish off the one short story I was working on.

AugustProgress

6,451 words on the blog and 901 words on the short story. 7,362 altogether. That’s literally all she wrote.

I didn’t revise a thing. Fortunately, because I met or exceeded my revision goals in every other month so far this year, I’m not that far behind.

I didn’t count the minor revisions I did to the stories I submitted, or any of the journalling or long hand writing I did.

Besides, I wasn’t anticipating (until part way through the year) that I’d return to IoS, so I don’t have a column for that on my spreadsheet. I could make one. I have the skill, but I don’t want to take the time to do it now. Yes. I know. Lazy Mellie.

I’m getting my mojo back. The writing’s the thing.

Science fiction is the literature of ideas. It is the great “what if?” that leads us into the future. Fantasy is the literature of (im)possibility. It longingly wonders “If only . . .” and whispers in our dreams. I write both and I think I’m pretty damned lucky.

And that’s it until next month.

I hope you’re all experiencing great creative breakthroughs and are satisfied with what you’ve done. In the end, that’s all that matters.

Be well!

The Next Chapter

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 14-20, 2016

Pub news, literary deaths, and videos, oh, my!

The big issue of the week: The Huffington Post is proud that it doesn’t pay its writers.

Related: How do writers get paid in a world addicted to free? Kristen Lamb.

Two literary losses this week.

K.M. Weiland shares five important ways storytelling differs between novels and movies. Later in the week, she posted about hacking readers brains by using all five senses in your description. Finally, she explains why cool for cool’s sake character traits are not, in fact, cool.

Roz Morris wonders whether you’ve left an important scene out of your story.

C.S. Lakin shows us the benefits of breaking down scene structure into three parts. Later, she looks at scenes as segments and capsules of time.

Densie Webb explores writing as compulsion on Writer Unboxed.

Andrea Phillips guests on Terribleminds: Throw everything at the wall. On the messiness of modern careers.

Christine Frazier analyzes fight scenes on The Better Novel Project.

Christian Cameron shares his thoughts on faith, piety, and writing about religion.

Foz Meadows: we can’t just adapt science fiction and fantasy novels—we have to transform them. Tor.com

Dan Blank started his own YouTube channel (and, yup, Ima share all of them):

 

 

 

 

 

 

Porter Anderson reviews the progress of Shelfie and Bitlit at three years.

Catherine Ryan Howard updates us on the progress of her two novel deal.

Jim C. Hines: My mental illness is not your inspirational Post-it note.

Haruki Murakami writes about how he became a running novelist. The New Yorker.

Phylogenetic analysis suggests that fairy tales are much older than we thought. Phys.org

The good people of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast interview Beth Revis.

 

I really like Shane Koyczan’s poetry. Here are several samples for your listening enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

Valentine laments the lack of original book titles. The Guardian.

Mental Floss lists 15 things you may not know about Beatrix Potter.

Altas Obscura shares 15 real-world locations of science fiction dystopias.

Buzzfeed lists 27 products for book lovers.

And that was Tipsday.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday