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, May 31-June 6, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I’m listening, I’m learning, and I’m trying to do better.

2020 has been an apocalyptic year between covid-19, George Floyd’s murder, and the resulting fed up protests. Last week I was mired in despair, complicit in my silence, and deeply aware—and ashamed—of my white privilege.

I’ve read Black authors, Indigenous authors, and authors of other cultural backgrounds. I’ve taken a few Writing the Other courses. I’ve long thought that Canada’s greatest shame was our treatment of Indigenous peoples, but I hadn’t realized the hateful legacy of Canada’s treatment of Black people. I’m deeply grateful to the Black writers who’ve published insightful articles in the Canadian media during the last week (I’ll share some of them on Thursday and in ensuing weeks).

I have hope, though, because all four officers involved in George Floyd’s murder have been charged, even though it took some time to happen. I have hope because of all the protests, not only across the US, but also across Canada and all over the world, in which white and black protestors have stood, or knelt, side by side, demanding change.

I understand it is only a beginning and that we cannot ease the pressure on our elected officials until true and lasting change occurs. But I have hope.

Now, onto the informal writerly learnings.

Therese Walsh: the ourstory of now (BLM). Don Maass: the quest in the quest (BLM). Jael McHenry is getting comfortable with failure. Writer Unboxed

David Chariandy in conversation with Lawrence Hill.

K.M. Weiland shares 11 exercises to enhance your visual storytelling skills. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jami Gold explains the point of foreshadowing. Later in the week, she suggests how to format unusual dialogue.

Jeanette the Writer: even MS Word says two spaces after a period is an error. Gabriela Pereira: this needs to be said (BLM). DIY MFA

Janice Hardy explains why you should tighten your novel’s narrative focus. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb says, unforgettable characters are fashioned from damaged pieces.

Michelle Barker warns of the dangers of anecdotal writing. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci discusses the worst friendship tropes in fiction (starting at 3:22).

Mira Singer analyzes three genre-defining books with underutilized tropes. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines six characters with poorly handled arcs. Mythcreants

Chi Luu: the linguistic case for shit hitting the fan. JSTOR

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you were able to find something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe. Whatever your lane (education, support, donate, protest) become part of the solution. And vote with your conscience. We need to put pressure on our politicians to make change stick.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 3-9, 2020

Even as various provincial governments consider “opening up,” we are becoming aware of reports from China and South Korea that their attempts to do the same are resulting in another spike in infections and deaths. While I think that, with testing and tracking and sufficient PPE, a certain degree of business resumption can occur, I’m worried that the testing, tracking, and PPE are not in place as yet.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, this week was another rich one for informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Sara Letourneau explains how your protagonist’s motivations influence your story’s themes. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Helen J. Darling for an inside look at self-publishing. Pamela Gay shares five ways to write about something difficult. DIY MFA

Sonja Yoerg encourages you to give your story the time of day. Donald Maass: the meaning of meaning. Julie Carrick Dalton considers the earned plot twist. Jennie Nash: the secret to more efficient revision is pattern recognition. Writer Unboxed

How to develop a novel, part 3: plot & world. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford shows you how to weave exposition naturally into your story. Later in the week, he suggests giving your protagonist a mini-quest before the plot takes off.

Aziraphale and Crowley share a message with the world.

Tiffany Yates Martin wants you to give your characters agency. Then, Susan DeFreitas serves up the next part of her developing a writing practice series: captivating. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains how to improve your story with action beats. Later in the week, she wonders, do your characters take on lives of their own?

The Take explains the woman-child trope.

Joanna Penn shares her self-editing process. The Creative Penn

Meg LaTorre explains how to juggle writing and parenting. Writers Helping Writers

Fae Rowan show you how small decisions can make big story impact. Julie Glover: in defense of editing as you go. Writers in the Storm

Juliette Dunn profiles five characters coded as autistic. Mythcreants

What English does that no other languages do. NativLang

Eileen Hunt Botting introduces us to Mary Shelley’s journals of sorrow. The Times Literary Supplement

I’ve been trying to avoid a lot of overt covid-19 material, but Kim Stanley Robinson’s article is too amazing not to share. Coronavirus is rewriting our imaginations. The New Yorker

And this: Sabrina Orah Mark. Fuck the Bread. The Bread is over. On making your own fairy tale, embarking on your own epic tasks, and finding meaning. Beautiful and wrenching and ultimately hopeful. The Paris Review

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ve taken away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 29-April 4, 2020

As we all adjust to the new normal, some things offer continuity. Here are you informal writerly learnings for the week.

K.M. Weiland presents eight challenges (and solutions) to writing at home. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin also offers her advice on how to balance writing and a remote job. Reedsy

Joanna Penn interviews Mark Leslie Lefebvre about getting your book into libraries and bookstores. The Creative Penn

Janice Hardy lists the pros and cons of studying writing craft. Later in the week, she poses five questions that will make your scenes stronger. Fiction University

Gabriela Pereira exposes an internet abomination. How the Internet Archive’s Open Library hurts readers, writers, and the whole publishing industry. Then, Abigail K. Perry wants you to use the Story Grid scene analysis template to read with purpose. DIY MFA

Matthew Norman shares confessions of a former anti-outliner. Donald Maass: the upside of anxiety. Cathy Yardley explains how to strike a balance between productivity and chaos. Writer Unboxed

Susan DeFreitas shows you how to develop a writing practice, part one: stepladders. Then, Lisa Cooper Ellison is writing from the bottom rung. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold considers whether to italicize character internalization. Then, she considers tenses: what is literary past tense?

Tim Hickson explores (and he really does) writing mental illness in video games. Hello, Future Me

Chris Winkle breaks down act one of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It’s a fun web movie. Ideal for these times. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five contrived legal conflicts in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Jonathan Bailey recounts the bizarre history of the copyright symbol. Plagiarism Today

Thank you for visiting. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 15-21, 2020

I hope you’re all staying safe and well in these troubling times. If you’re self-isolating or quarantining, you’ve probably already had a chance to see all the informal writerly learnings I share. If you haven’t, please see this as a helpful resource to spend you time productively if you’re having trouble concentrating for long stretches of time.

I am still working, but I work in employment that has been considered a critical service and, unfortunately, our virtual network is at capacity. Still, several of my colleagues are off because of the school and day care closures and I maintain social distancing to the degree possible. I bring lunch from home and eat at my desk. I have not travelled. When I don’t work, I only leave the house to walk the dog. My spouse is our designated shopper and is also taking care of shopping for our Moms. We’re all being as safe as we can.

Vaughn Roycroft: it’s the end of the world as we know it (and writing feels fine). Dave King says, do it again, do it again! Some practical advice about writing series. Barbara Linn Probst: 36 debut authors tell it like it is. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland tackles five questions about how to manage multiple points of view in your stories. Helping Writers Become Authors

Then, she suggests five inspirational reads (if you’re self-isolating or quarantining).

And … six happy movies or series. This video came first, actually. Katie starts off by explaining her covid-19 inspired idea for a video series.

Emily E.J. Wenstrom: writing unlikable characters readers will root for. Jane Friedman

Lucy V. Hays explains why all writers need a structural toolbox. Writers Helping Writers

Shaelin discusses how to plan a series. Reedsy

And … the trilogy, specifically. Reedsy

Leanne Sowul helps you write through depression. Pamela Taylor wants you to create authentic details about food. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews E.J. Wenstrom about bringing a fantasy series to a close. Rosie O’Neill shares five ways to rekindle inspiration for your current writing project. DIY MFA

Then, E.J. Wenstrom visited Fiction University to explain how she tricked her pantser brain into plotting.

Oren Ashkenazi provides six tips for avoiding repetitive conflict. Mythcreants

She never wrote more than a page a day, but now, Eden Robinson has a Canada Reads finalist book. CBC

Stay safe and be well. Take care.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 1-7, 2020

Welcome to the second week of March, the week that starts out with daylight savings time and International Women’s Day, proceeds through the full moon, and ends with Friday the 13th!

You’re going to need some informal writerly learnings to see you through.

Greer Macallister says, instead of promotion, try participation. Nancy Johnson: you had me at the title. Donald Maass: it can’t happen here. Bryn Greenwood can’t decide whether it’s a sophomore slump or derailment. Steven James: they just won’t understand. File in writers is weird. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland: creativity vs. the ego, or, the value of unpublishable stories. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Scott Bell: synopsis writing made easy. Writers Helping Writers

Susanne Cokal lists four reasons to spend time with “bad” books. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford: you gotta tell the story. No matter what.

Shaelin offers eleven tips for new writers. I think these work for everyone. If nothing else, they’re good reminders. Reedsy

Jenn Walton explains how to deepen characters by assessing their fears. Sara Farmer introduces us to Jo March’s twisted sisters: the thrillers of Louisa May Alcott. Gabriela Pereira interviews Claire Waller about writing an unlikable but sympathetic protagonist. DIY MFA

Eldred Bird is colouring with words. Writers in the Storm

Kassandra Lamb explains the importance of backstory, or, how the brain connects the present with the past. Then, Janice Hardy shares three reasons your perfectly good scene is boring your readers.  Later in the week, Janice offers tips for showing character motivation. Fiction University

Jenna Moreci discusses the breaking point.

Chris Winkle explains how to describe female characters without degrading them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi recommends five questions to diagnose an overpowered hero. Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer extols the virtues of the Oxford, or serial, comma. Writer’s Digest

Sad news for the already small Canadian publishing scene. Bryan Eneas reports on the bankruptcy of Coteau books, closing their doors after 45 years. CBC

Thank you for visiting and I hope you came away with some fabulous resources to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends 🙂

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 9-15, 2020

It’s that time of the week again, time for informal writerly learnings!

Melinda VanLone offers a quick guide to image copyright issues. On Valentine’s Day, Julie Glover helps you love your writer self. Writers in the Storm

Rheea Mukherjee is writing in a time of global trauma. Jim Dempsey wants to help you create conflict in your characters. Kathryn Craft lists seven ways to overcome story implausibility. David Corbett: if not love … Writer Unboxed

Something just for fun 🙂 Shaelin shares five false writer stereotypes. Reedsy

And then, she shares five true writer stereotypes. Reedsy

Christina Kaye guest posts on Helping Writers Become Authors: four research tips for writing legal fiction.

Laurence MacMaughton offers three rules for raising story stakes. Fiction University

September C. Fawkes explains how premise plays into theme. Brandon Cornett helps you figure out when situational writing works better than plotting. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer answers this knotty question: will an editor steal my ideas? Bess McAllister explains how to make your own writer luck. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews K.S. Villoso about world building in epic fantasy. Anna Thu Nguyenova shares five tips for writing great short stories. DIY MFA

How to write heartbreak. Jenna Moreci

Nathan Bransford suggests you start with the problems before leaping to the solutions in editing.

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the purple prose of The Witcher. Mythcreants

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you’re taking away something that will help you progress in your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 19-25, 2020

Welcome to tipsday, your source for informal writerly learnings.

Angela Ackerman wonders, does your character’s behaviour make sense? Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson supplies one quick fix for telling in deep point of view. Writers in the Storm

Jan O’Hara explains what cows and writing competence have in common. Dave King had a solution to absent friends. Heather Webb is navigating an evolving writing process: writing on a boat, with a goat. Keith Cronin: on getting it and showing up. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland examines the two different types of lie your character believes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Tim Hickson on writing first person. Hello, Future Me

Christina Kaye explains how to write a killer villain. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford shares nine ways to spice up your characters. Later in the week, he wonders, what does it mean to be your “real self” online?

Leanne Sowul wants you to use the power of habit to achieve your goals. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood wonders, should you use pop culture references in MG and YA fiction? Gabriela Pereira interviews Constance Sayers: stitching together multiple timelines. DIY MFA

Agents Sara Megibow wants you to make a list of personal influencers. Fiction University

Jami Gold considers how to make your protagonist more proactive.

How to introduce your characters, part 1. Reedsy

And part 2:

Chris Winkle examines six effective animal companions (including droids and baby Yoda). Then, Oren Ashkenazi critiques eight instances of sexism in The Witcher. Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer clarifies when to use canceled and when to use cancelled. Writer’s Digest

And that was tipsday. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you took away something you need for your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends 🙂

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 20-26, 2019

Counting down to Hallowe’en, NaNoWriMo, and Wordstock Sudbury! Be prepared with this excellent selection of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Jan O’Hara helps you avoid a writing cat-astrophe. Sarah McCoy: confession of a lapsed reader. Heather Webb is writing boldly, without fear. Writer Unboxed

Meg LaTorre catalogues filter words you should remove from your manuscript. iWriterly

Becca Puglisi shows you how to use secondary characters to sway the reader. Eldred Bird explains how to create a multi-use logline. Then, Margie Lawson shows you how to make hugs carry power. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland offers a writer’s guide to understanding people. Helping Writers Become Authors

Bonnie Randall: scaredy-pants! Four breeches—er, breaches—that elicit fear in your characters. Then, Janice Hardy shares two tips that make plotting your novel way easier. Fiction University

Jeanette the Writer shares six things editors want writers to know. Gabriela Pereira interviews Nicole Valentine about pacing, world building, and time travel. Savannah Cordova shares five tips for writing nail-biting suspense. Then, Rayne Lacko offers five ways to write what you want to understand. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig wants you to find the balance of self-care and tough love. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle: Carnival Row shows us the damage a reveal can do. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five slow story openings and explains how to avoid them. Mythcreants

Jenna Moreci shares ten tips for creating magic systems.

Christina Bacchilega: how mermaid stories illustrate complex truths about being human. Literary Hub

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you found something useful for the busy writing months ahead.

Until next time, be well!

Tipsday2019