Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 12-18, 2019

And here is your latest curation of informal writerly learnings.

Sophie Masson talks big publishers, small publishers, and contract negotiations. Jim Dempsey wants you to tune out your self-doubt. Julie Carrick Dalton praises the power of writerly kindness. Porter Anderson considers the place of place in our writing. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares five ways writers (try to) fake their way to good storytelling. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Navé and Alegra Huston stop by Jane Friedman’s blog: how to plan a book reading that delights your audience.

September C. Fawkes offers story structure in a flash. Then, Sacha Black wants you to nip and tuck your saggy middle with conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer covers the stages of editing grief. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Sam Sykes about the emotional weight of storytelling. DIY MFA

Jami Gold wonders, are you a pantser, a plotter, or something in between? Click through to the original tweet by Cheyenne A. Lepka—it’s AWESOME! Warmed this old gamer’s heart 🙂

Jenny Hansen shares Brené Brown’s top ten tips for success. Laura Drake follows up on Jenny’s column with this: dare to be vulnerable in your writing life. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle wants you to understand exploitative plots. Mythcreants

Guy Gavriel Kay offers some writing advice: don’t take writing advice. Literary Hub

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to help you with your latest creative project.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

tipsday2016

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 21-27, 2017

Another week of informal writerly learnings? Get set to open your goodie bag 🙂

K.M. Weiland debunks five misconceptions about writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate posits that great comedy is meaningful, and shares four tips to help you make it so.

Kathryn Craft reviews the decade in publishing. Writers in the Storm

Kimberly Brock says, you’re writers, not waiters. Writers in the Storm

Jane Friedman advises on how much you should personalize a query letter.

Elizabeth Huergo pays tribute to C.D. Wright: songs and their landscapes. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb teaches a survey course in time management: writing through our busy lives. Writer Unboxed

Dan Blank says, if you want to be successful, surround yourself with success. Writer Unboxed

Jamie Raintree: let your writing process be your own (and how to discover it).

Bonnie Randall gets into character minutiae and seemingly irrelevant details. Fiction University

Stacy B. Woodson shares her fantastic experience at Malice Domestic 2017. DIY MFA

Jami Gold challenges us to deal with character stereotypes.

Kristen Lamb reveals how shame is at the heart of good fiction.

Will Hindmarch explains how to give great notes a writer can use. Magic Circles

Nina Munteanu gives you the tools you need to make a believable world.

Writer and geologist Alex Acks examines Arakkis, Tatooine, and the science of desert planets. Worldbuilding advice from Tor.com.

Jo Walton looks at genre fiction’s obsession with Belisarius, with a lovely recommendation for Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sarantium novels. Tor.com

Darlene Naponse is a Reveal – Indigenous art award Laureate.

Emily Temple curates some pearls of wisdom—on writing and life—from Jamaica Kincaid in honour of her 68th birthday. Literary Hub

These are old human themes: Margaret Atwood on the enduring power of The Handmaid’s Tale. CBC

James Whitbrook watches the new Game of Thrones trailer. i09

I hope you’re having a lovely week.

Be well until next I blog 🙂

tipsday2016

Wordsmith Studio Homecoming 2015: What are you reading?

For the best effect, please read the headline of this post with an incredulous tone 😉

WSS Homecoming 2015

1) What are you reading?

Just like I work on multiple project in my writing, I read multiple books, both ebooks and print, cause I kind of have this problem. I can’t stop buying books of any variety (!)

So here’s my current reading list:

  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Although I’m sure it suffers in translation, I’m enjoying this novel immensely.
  • InFusion by Scott Overton. I’m beta reading this SF novel for an author friend. I’ll save my specific feedback for him, but, just so you know, I think it’s great 🙂
  • The Art of Work by Jeff Goins. On finding your calling. It’s kind of serendipitous that I found out about this book back in January.
  • Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. I picked this up last year after seeing Patricia at Ad Astra. I figured I should get off my butt and read it . . .
  • Pain, Porn, and Complicity by Kathleen McConnell. An academic work on SF&F movies and television series. It’s been a while since I dipped my toes in that particular non-fiction pool.
  • Lock In by John Scalzi. I’m listening to this on Audible. Narrated by the inimitable Wil Wheaton.

2) What was your favorite read in the last year (or month, or…)?

My favourite reading of recent recall is A Turn of Light by Julie Czerneda. I rated it five stars, though I haven’t written a proper review. Yet. This is the kind of fantasy novel I love to read. It’s also the kind I write and there were a lot of similarities between Czerneda’s Jenn Nalynn and Ferrathainn Devlin, the protagonist from my WIP. I was enthralled to the end 🙂

3) Do you have a favorite genre?

Yes and no. I favour fantasy novels of any age range, but I also read science fiction, historical fiction, the classics, mysteries, and romance novels (though I must say I haven’t read many of those recently). I try to alternate fiction and non-fiction reading, as well. Again, most on my non-fiction reads tend to be writing craft books, but I also read as a form of research for my various works in progress, and sometimes, stuff that I’m just interested in. I learn something from everything I read, even if I don’t particularly enjoy the book. In other words, I read as a writer.

4) Bend one step further: are there alternative forms of writing or art that you have found inspiring or even dabbled in?

In my “searching” phase of university (the undeclared years) I majored in music and art at different times. Performance anxiety put the brakes on my music career, though I still love to sing. I was summarily drummed out of art class when my professor called me nothing more than an “illustrator.” From time to time, I still sketch, but I’ve honestly never been very good. I’ve sunk all my creativity into my writing for a number of years now. In 2000, I did the crazy, being in between jobs, and auditioned for a Theatre Cambrian production of Hair (Y2K). I sang and danced in that, for what it’s worth 😉

6) Back to your main inspiration: Do you have “mentor” titles for the writing you are working on?

I’ll reframe this in terms of “comps,” or comparative works. As I mentioned above, I learn something from every book I read, so I don’t have any “mentor” titles, per se, though I would identify several novels/authors whose work I aspire to.

  • The above-mentioned Julie Czerneda and her A Turn of Light. I’ve committed to read more by Julie.
  • Juliet Marillier’s Celtic legend inspired Seven Waters series.
  • Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels. Though he writes in a created world, it is based on painstaking historical research. I’m not that dedicated, but I love the stories he writes. He’s actually made me cry in the reading.
  • Sherri S. Tepper. Just anything she writes. I love her ideas. Or should I say lurve?

6) If you didn’t already do this for #4, what music inspires your writing?

Okay, now you’re going crazy. Or you will if I offer up all 963 songs on my iPod (!) Suffice it to say that any music I like is generally something I’ll add to my playlist. I have music from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and the new millennium. I like some pop, a lot of alternative, celtic, and world music. I also have more eclectic selections on CD: The Rites of Spring, Satie’s gymnopedies, The Symphonie Fantastique, Carmina Burana, Gregorian chant, a number of Sequentia recordings (including the Eddas), gamelan music, Tibetan singing bells, shakuhachi flute music . . .

My favourite artists (I’ll pick up just about anything they release):

  • Imogen Heap
  • Tori Amos
  • Sarah Slean
  • Florence + the Machine

7) Have you ever thought of this: what book is your main character reading?

Interesting question. I’ll even answer it.

  • Ferathainn Devlin: Sadly, all of Fer’s reading would be studying for her forthcoming initiation, so all of it would be history, scholarly works on magic, or non-fiction works on herbs and simples, astronomy, and the like.
  • Charlene Kalveras: School textbooks, and, because of what’s happened to her father, true crime.
  • Gerod: Owing to his impoverished upbringing in an environment of medieval feudalism, Gerod doesn’t know how to read. He learns, though.
  • Marushka: She hasn’t had any formal schooling, hopping around the world in a magical hut, so she’s had to teach herself everything. She steals books from libraries and reads omnivorously.

8) Do you have a favorite book, article or magazine for writing advice?

Again, I have several 🙂

  • Writing the 21st Century Novel, Donald Maass. Currently on loan to a member of my critique group. Actually all of Maass’s books have helped me immensely.
  • Any of K.M. Weiland’s writing craft books.
  • Any of Roz Morris’s Nail Your Novel series.
  • And the books that have helped me find my way to the writing life: Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones; Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write; Heather Sellers’ Page After Page and Chapter After Chapter; Stephen King’s On Writing; Terry Brooks’s Sometimes the Magic Works; Jane Yolen’s Take Joy; and Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Wave in the Mind.

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Alrightie, then!

I’ll have a wee Sundog snippet tomorrow about miscellaneous stuff, ‘cause sometimes you need miscellaneous stuff, you know?

Muse-inks

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Nov 2-8, 2014

First, it’s Remembrance Day.

Remember our armed forces and veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made for us.

Thank you, from the everywhere of my heart.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/remembrance-day-draws-huge-crowds-as-national-war-memorial-rededicated-1.2831009


 

K.M. Weiland discusses random story elements in her most common writing mistakes series.

Her weekly vlog focuses on scene breaks and including the right number in your story.

Katrina Kittle writes about how to facilitate your writing practice. Writer Unboxed.

How to invigorate your endings. Mythcreants.

Women heroes in pop culture, by Nina Munteanu.

DIYMFA’s master class with Jane Yolen.

Changing the way your world moves, by Brandon Kier on Mythcreants.

Patrick Rothfuss responds to the Ivory Tower.

 

How Hugh Howey Writes. Copyblogger.

Guy Gavriel Kay reflects on his apprenticeship. The Guardian.

Margaret Atwood on ageing, generational inequality, and what she’s working on now. The New Statesman.

Kurt Vonnegut on the shapes of stories:

 

Camilla Gibb on making a living as a writer. The Globe and Mail.

Molly Crabapple’s 15 rules for creative success in the internet age. Boing Boing.

More Molly at XOXO:

 

Why we should all be reading more poetry. Arts.Mic

See you on Thoughty Thursday!

Tipsday

The Next Chapter: Overwhelmed or underwhelmed?

You may have noticed that I have been a little quiet here on Writerly Goodness lately.  What’s the deal? you ask. Fair question.

One piece of the puzzle is that I am a little overwhelmed right now.  I’ve taken on a submission challenge that I probably won’t meet, and several courses, that while excellent, have also eaten up a good chunk of my creative time.

I’m trying to prepare two short stories for submission at the end of the week, and one of them has yet to be finished.  I know.  I’m stressed. 😦

I’m also working through the next revision of my work in progress and this coming week, I’m on the road for work again.  I rarely finish the things I need to get done while I’m travelling.

The other piece is that I haven’t been taking advantage of all the interesting creative things coming my way.  I haven’t been motivated.  The time issue may be part of it, but I suspect that the overwhelm and stress has left me a bit down in the last bit.

This is about to change.  I’m going to make contact with a few people this weekend to see if I can arrange for some interviews, and in a couple of weeks, my creative event schedule is getting underway, starting with Sudbury Wordstock, June 7 and 8, 2013.

Then I’m off to the Canadian Authors Association CanWrite! Conference in Orillia, June

English: Waterfront of Orillia, Ontario, Canada

English: Waterfront of Orillia, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

12-16.  I’d like to catch a Chi Series reading on the 12th as well, because one of my all-time favourite writers, Guy Gavriel Kay, will be reading that night.  I just don’t know if I can do both in such a short turn-around.

Other writerly goodness on deck: an interview with Barbara Kyle (which I’m very pleased about), and possibly something of a departure that I don’t want to spill the beans about in case it doesn’t pan out.  I’ll also be blogging my experience in Margie Lawson’s course, and, on the learning mutt side of things, my first training for trainers experience (where I’m headed this week).

When I get my outdoor office set up, I’ll probably show that off too, with the new view sans birches.

Later in the summer, I’m hoping to head to When Worlds Collide in Calgary (might be

Chinook arch over the city of Calgary, Alberta...

Chinook arch over the city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

hooking up with an editor/writer friend for this and meeting a couple of other writerly friends on site), and in the fall, I’ll be taking off to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference where a whole pile of authors, agents, and editors I follow will be.

Having put off the migration to WordPress.org and a self-hosted site, I’ve turned my attention to adding video or podcast elements to my blog.  Not sure how soon that might happen.  I have to put my techie hat on for that.  And the site revamp is still lurking.  Once again, I just need the time to spend a day or two and dedicate myself to the changes.

There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening, I’ve just yet to get excited about it 😉  It’s kind of creeping up on me, though.  I just wish I had more time off to get everything done (!)

So I’m not really underwhelmed, I’m just under-invested at the moment.

Summer will be here before I know it!

One Sundog Snippet yet to come this week.  See y’all soon!

How it all started

Maid’s Hall: University of Guelph

So there I was, away at university for the second year, and still no idea what I wanted to do.

I’d started September of 1987 as a fine arts major, but after being dismissed as “an illustrator,” I flirted briefly with psychology before changing to music in January 1988.  In the fall of 1988, I had a rather disastrous classical guitar audition for the practical music program involving performance anxiety and was seriously considering English as my major.

I wrote music and book reviews for The Ontarian, the University of Guelph student newspaper, and helped them with layout.  This was the old fashioned layout with waxed prints of the columns that had to be precisely trimmed and placed on the board.  It was work that suited my wall-flower personality.

My roommate, Sandra Reynolds, though floundering similarly, always had more direction than I did and was a steadying influence on me.  Her sister is Susan Lynn Reynolds, who published Strandia in 1992.  She had drawn maps for Guy Gavriel Kay’s first novels.  He continues to be one of my favourite authors.  Sue’s ex, Michael Hale, had just published The Other Child.  Sandy was working on her own story ideas and with all of this creativity bouncing off the walls of our little dorm room I caught the bug to do more than record my dreams.

I’d started keeping a journal the year before, not only to capture my dreams, but also to capture insights I had in my classes.  It was a wonderful time for me intellectually.  Everything seemed to interrelate in the most interesting ways: my English literature survey course, Introduction to Psychology, Anthropology, Biology, the History of the Language and Old English courses.  Chinese Philosophy kind of blew my mind.  Sadly, little of it translated to academic success.  I was rather mediocre.

With all of these thoughts ping-ponging off one another in my head though, ideas started to occur to me, including the idea that would eventually become Ascension: Initiate of Stone.  I started writing notes.

Sandy invited me out to Mike’s place.  It was winter, snowy, and I ditched the car on the way.  A tree was mere inches away from the passenger side of the car and Sandy (!)  We were able to get a tow out of the ditch and made it to Mike’s, though late.  We still managed a lovely evening of creative chat, I got a tour of Mike’s graphics studio, and we made pie.  We all decided that since the crust was the best part, we’d make a crust pie.  It was fantastic.  Through Sandy and Mike, I learned some great techniques for character development.

I’ll share one:

Early in the character development stage, while you’re still getting to know them yourself, get together with some friends/fellow writers and have them ask you random questions about your characters.  Rapid fire.  You’re not to think about the answers, just come up with them and make notes as you go.  The idea is to access the inner writer who already has a handle on your characters and let that voice answer the questions.  The questions could be anything: what colour are his eyes?  What’s her middle name?  What happened when he was three?  What was her grandmother like?  Did he ever experiment sexually?  No question is forbidden.  It’s organic and very effective.  Nothing is written in stone, either.

If, in the course of your writing, some of those answers no longer hold true, or other answers that seem more appropriate present themselves, then the character changes.  Even to be thinking of these questions and answers through the writing process is helpful for your character development and therefore for the work.

Try it.  You may be amazed.

Sandy was taking Children’s Literature with the incredible Jean Little and Jean was bringing a friend into class to talk about her work.  That friend was Welwyn Wilton Katz.  Though she waggled a finger at me for my lack of research, I did get a chance to talk to her and was inspired by the lecture.  Subsequently, I started reading her novels, and became a fan.

By this time, I had one spiral notebook full and another started.  I had an old portable typewriter that I typed my essays on and started to type bits and pieces out in between essays.  I had no confidence however, and declined to show my stories to anyone.

My lack of direction in school eventually reached a crisis point and I decided to take some time off.

How did you get started on your magnum opus?  What or who inspired you?