Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Jan 30-Feb 5, 2022

Was it a monumental Monday for you? Well, now it’s time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Anita Ramirez concludes her writerly journey with a couple of revelations. Then, Angela Yeh is finding nourishment and joy in daily life through the spirit of haiku. Eliza Jane Brazier explains how to write better by not writing. Then, Heather Campbell shares five sneaky ways perfectionism sabotages your writing. DIY MFA

The existential dystopias of Arcane and Squid Game. Hello, Future Me

Tessa Barbosa presents an introvert’s guide to a public online presence. Donald Maass: back story versus the past. Keith Cronin gets an unexpected gift from covid. Then, Rheea Mukherjee is writing with depression. Writer Unboxed

Rape revenge and Promising Young Woman: realism vs. catharsis. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland explains what conflict in fiction really is and why it’s important to plot. Helping Writers Become Authors

What is white room syndrome? Reedsy

Shannon A. Thompson: yes, writers need to hear the hard truths, but warnings can go too far. Then, Eric Newton discusses making difficult decisions about the work left behind when a writer dies. Joe Ponepinto explains how to use telling details to connect description to character. Jane Friedman

Why are cats mythology’s most popular creatures? Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Diana Clark wonders how much research is enough. Then, Eldred Bird is building a better villain. Ellen Buikema continues her explorations of sensual writing: using the power of taste in your writing. Writers in the Storm

Why the disabled villain trope is so offensive. The Take

September C. Fawkes shares six cheats to “tell” well (when it’s warranted). Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle lists nine personality clashes for character conflicts. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains why tossing in calamity won’t make your story exciting. Mythcreants

How writers revise: the relentless resilience of Ruta Sepetys. Fox Print Editorial

Point of view: definition and examples for the narrative path. Story Grid

How Disney commodifies culture – Southeast Asians roast Raya and the Last Dragon, part 1. Long, but well worth your while. Xiran Jay Zhao

And part 2:

Part three … yet to come.

Nina Munteanu touts the benefits of expressive writing: the journal writer.

Susan DeFreitas shares the lessons learned during her year of reading every Ursula K. Le Guin novel. Literary Hub

Weike Wang: notes on work. “There’s a masochistic pride to overworking. How heavy a workload can I truly handle? How many plates can I keep in the air?” The New Yorker

Ena Alvarado: animal teachers and Marie de France. JSTOR Daily

Thanks for hanging out with me. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 26, 2021-Jan 1, 2022

It’s the first tipsday of 2022! Posts generally decline over the holiday weeks, so it’s a bit of a slow start. Still, get your fill of informal writerly learnings, such as they are. We should be back on track next week.

Stephanie BwaBwa helps you set up your authorial calendar for success. Then, Olivia Fisher says, it’s time to be finished with your novel. Gabriela Pereira interviews Charlie Jane Anders about crafting a dynamic short story. Then, Disha Walia shares six psychologically-proven tricks to end procrastination. Finally, Heather Campbell shares five tips to build a consistent writing practice. DIY MFA

The best movies of 2021. Like Stories of Old

Kris Maze helps you build your author platform with these five social media trends for 2022. Then, all the regular contributors share their one word to guide their writing journeys in 2022. Writers in the Storm

Why Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. McDreamy isn’t dreamy. The Take

Kristen Lamb offers a simple formula for the life you want.

Chuck Wendig offers his writer’s resolution for 2022: the necessary act of selfishly seeking joy. Terribleminds

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five unnecessary world additions in popular stories. Mythcreants

A Tomorrow. Shane Koyczan

Jane Friedman provides this handy list of new publishers and agents in 2021. The Hot Sheet

Katy Waldman: what Lois Lowry remembers. The New Yorker

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 5-11, 2021

Now I’m back to full-week curation, tipsday is back to its regular size 🙂 Enjoy!

Greer Macallister offers a gift guide for the writer in your life. Then, new contributor Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai considers climbing many mountains. Kathleen McCleary: stories will save you. Then, Kathryn Craft reveals the hidden—but crucial—mad skill. David Corbett: for the sheer joy of it. Desmond Hall drops some writing wisdom: respect for your craft, captain happen, and excavating perspective. Writer Unboxed

Ellen Brock provides her advice for the methodological pantser. In case you need a reminder, Ellen presented her four types of writers about a year ago …

Penny Sansevieri lists ten keys to successful publishing. Then, Colleen M. Story wants you to channel your inner James Bond to boost writing success. Piper Bayard gives you ten steps to get from NaNoWriMo to publication. Writers in the Storm

Jill Bearup says, size does matter …

K.M. Weiland reveals the two halves of the third plot point. (Links to the entire series at the bottom of the post.) Helping Writers Become Authors

Heather Campbell explains how to overcome perfectionism and achieve your writing goals. Then, Tiffany Yates Martin advises when—and whether—to hire a developmental editor. Then, Barbara Linn Probst considers a book launch: baby, art, or product? Jane herself makes a bold statement: yes, social media can sell books, but not if publishers sit on their hands. Jane Friedman

How to self-edit your manuscript. Reedsy

Chuck Wendig delves into the latest publishing controversy: does social media sell books? A vital inquisition! Terribleminds

And Dan Blank offers his reasoned perspective: does social media sell books? We Grow Media

Angela Ackerman explains how symbolism adds depth to a story. Lisa Poisso: when are you ready for professional editing? Writers Helping Writers

The Dragon Lady trope. Regaining her power. The Take

Lauren J. Sharkey is finding the joy of writing. Then, Adam W. Burgess says that if you want to write your best, find your writing community. Angela Yeh shares five ways to change the world with your creativity. DIY MFA

Roz Morris explains how to cope with a hefty report from a developmental editor. Nail Your Novel

Chris Winkle tells you how to keep readers happy with your novel series. Then, Oren Ashkenazi wonders which show is the most engaging, Voltron, The Dragon Prince, or She-ra? Mythcreants

Xiran Jay Zhao does a Chinese cultural breakdown of Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Kristen Lamb explains how to harness the true power of dialogue: talk is cheap.

Sophie Gilbert reveals what the sexual violence of Game of Thrones begot. The Atlantic

Blair Braverman: I moved to a remote cabin to write, and I hate it. Outside

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 19-25, 2021

September’s almost over (!) Not keen on how time warps these days. In any case, another week has passed and here’s another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂 Enjoy!

Lauren J. Sharkey is fighting imposter syndrome: faker. Then, Adam W. Burgess explains why LGBTQ+ fiction writers need to read LGBTQ+ history. Tammy Pasterick is writing about the immigrant experience. Then, Heather Campbell lists five things she wished she knew about writing a novel. DIY MFA

Shaelin shows you how to conceptualize a short story. Reedsy

Vaughn Roycroft: a writer’s senses working overtime. Then, Dave King is world building through architecture. Alma Katsu: what to expect when your novel is reissued. Then, Heather Webb gives us the 411 on writing retreats. Liz Michalski: space and shadows. Then, Desmond Hall drops some more writing wisdom on us. Bite-sized writerly learnings #FTW! Writer Unboxed

On her own channel, Shaelin shares everything you need to know about writing workshops. Shaelin Writes

K.M. Weiland presents the archetypal antagonists for the queen arc. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman lists five reasons tech can’t replace editors. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson offers her best pro tip for writing deep POV. Ellen Buikema shares five things kids taught her about writing. Writers in the Storm

Erica Brozovsky shares 60 euphemisms for death. Otherwords | PBS Storied

How much do I need to describe my character’s appearance? Lucy V. Hay has answers. Then, Becca Puglisi says, if you need compelling conflict, choose a variety. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Watson explains how to format your manuscript for a designer or publisher. Then, Allison K. Williams explains what it takes to be a freelance editor. Jane Friedman

Why do people think Huck Finn is racist? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Kristine Kathryn Rusch: comparison is the thief of joy.

Lindsay Syhakhom explains how to protect your manuscript from computer meltdowns and hackers. Nathan Bransford

Love, according to Studio Ghibli. The Take

Chris Winkle shows you how to create an elemental magic system. Oren Ashkenazi: how useful are Neil Gaiman’s eight rules of writing? Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb tackles brave new writing and learning to think outside the book.

Jason Asenap: Reservation Dogs is just the beginning of an Indigenous storytelling explosion. Esquire

Monisha Rajesh: pointing out racism in books is not an attack—it’s a call for industry reform. The Guardian

Thank you for visiting, 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, March 14-20, 2021

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris’, do you know where your informal writerly learnings is? Sorry. Old rhyme from childhood (if you substitute birdies for informal writerly learnings). I prolly should have left it there, eh?

Karen Abbott-Trimuel asks, are you happy? Vaughn Roycroft is waking from a dream. Then, Dave King shares another episode of the reality show. Stacey Allagood offers six writing lessons from an actual backyard gardener. Writer Unboxed

Does your book need a prologue? Reedsy

Janice Hardy shares four ways a strong point of view strengthens a novel. Later in the week, Bonnie Randall considers the intersection between cathartic writing and cathartic reading. Fiction University

What is a denouement and how do you write one? Reedsy

K.M. Weiland continues her archetypal character arcs series with part six: the crone arc. Helping Writers Become Authors

Self-care for writers. These are truly excellent. Shaelin Writes

Monya Baker offers six tips for writing in deep third person point of view. Then, Nancy Stohlman considers jealousy in the age of quarantine: the green-eyed monster. Jane Friedman

For St. Patrick’s Day, Emily Zarka looks at the leprechaun: from gold-loving cobbler to cultural icon Monstrum | PBS Storied

Julie Glover explains what happens when illness interrupts your writing. Writers in the Storm

Lucy V. Hay points out three things worth thinking about before you start your novel. Writers Helping Writers

WandaVision’s sitcom universe. The Take

Nathan Bransford recounts a year of covid.

Ambre Dawn Leffler recommends you sync your creative process with birdsong. Heather Campbell lists five ways writing a novel is like running a marathon. Then, Alexander Weinstein introduces us to 4th person perspective: the we without an I. DIY MFA

The origins of the e-girl. The Take

Chuck Wendig tackles the craft question, should writers write every day? Terribleminds

Chris Winkle helps you understand conflict and tension. Then, Oren Ashkenazi is (facetiously) taking the politics out of six popular stories. Mythcreants

El Jones’ poem, “Glass Hands,” is everything I want to say about the pandemic. CBC’s “The Current”

Sierra Garcia: how early sci-fi authors imagined climate change. JSTOR Daily

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!

The next chapter: June 2017 update

Hey all!

It’s been a weird, but busy, month. No wonder I’ve been struggling with burnout (at a most inconvenient time).

There was Graphic-Con on June 10th, the Sudbury Writers’ Guild picnic on the 13th, a DIYMFA meeting on the 14th, the Poetry Walk on the 17th, CanWrite! On the 24th and 25th, and on the 29th, The FOLD presented Publishing in Canada at the Sudbury Public Library. And that’s not even counting the non-writerly stuff.

That included a union election, Public Service Week celebrations, and a pre-Canada Day 150 pot luck.

Needless to say, I’m bushed (!)

First: the fun stuff

I eschewed my post last weekend because I was down in Toronto volunteering for and participating in CanWrite! 2017. I drove down on Friday, after work.

On Saturday, I attended J.M. Frey’s Culture Building Workshop (insightful and thought-provoking), the Publishers Panel, Richard Scrimger’s structure workshop (don’t solve for angle A), and the CAA Literary Awards Gala, all at the lovely Humber College Lakeshore Campus.

JMFreyPubPanel

RichardScrimgerAlissaYork

My bonus: I won a door prize of shortlisted works, including Alissa York’s The Naturalist, which won the fiction prize and, since she was also the key note speaker, I got her to sign 🙂

DoorPrize

Alissa’s key note was inspirational.

On Sunday, it was the AGM where some important professional organization stuff was decided, and then I was on the road home.

Last Thursday, I attended Publishing in Canada, hosted by The FOLD and Jael Richardson, with a panel of publishing experts who included Christie Harkin of Clockwise Press, Heather Campbell of Sudbury’s own Latitude 46, and Jennifer Knoch of ECW Press.

PubInCanada

It was a very well-attended event (the library staff raided storage to find enough chairs and still people were standing about) and they even fed us pizza 🙂

The balance experiment

Despite all the events in June, I started the month off trying to revise not one, but two works in progress, finish one short story, revise (rewrite, really) another, keep up with blogging, and compose my next column for DIY MFA.

I don’t even try to do that much in a month without tonnes of writerly events to attend.

I have no earthly idea what I was thinking.

You’ll see the gap in my writing and revision. It was about a week. And still, I figured, at the end of it, I could just resume the juggling. Head, meet desk.

As you can see, my efforts were partly successful, but by the end of the month, I gave my head a shake.

The month in word count

While I didn’t hit most of my goals, I made a decent showing, all things considered.

I finished the most recent run-through of Apprentice of Wind in the first three days of the month and moved on to Wavedancer. Even with the break and sporadic revision thereafter, I exceeded my revision goal on the project for the month.

Although I had a much better beginning for Reality Bomb in mind, I couldn’t seem to execute. This only confirms for me that I can’t work on multiple projects in the same phase of the process at the same time. I can’t switch my focus quickly enough.

Even halving my revision goal for RB, I didn’t come close.

I did better with the short fiction, but didn’t complete the story. It’s a good thing that the deadline was extended to July 15 (!).

I didn’t revise a word on the other story I was hoping to work on.

Blogging was fine. I exceeded my writing goal even though I missed out on a weekend.

JuneProgress

Here’s how the numbers worked out:

  • Ascension series: 62,394 words of my 60,000 revision goal, or 104%.
  • RB: 1,889 words of my adjusted 45,000 revision goal, or 4% (yes, you may laugh—I am, honestly).
  • Short fiction: 770 words written of my 2,500 word goal, or 31%. I took out the revision goal from the month.
  • Blog: 6,187 words written of my 5,800 word goal, or 107%.
  • Total words revised: 64, 283
  • Total words written: 6,957

Yeah, I’m a dope.

Moving forward

I’m going to focus on the revision of Wavedancer and get that done before moving onto RB again.

I’m going to finish my new story before turning my attention to revising the other one.

My hope is that simplifying things will keep me from going crazy. Crazy Mel is no fun.

I have nothing planned, event wise, this month—doh! I do have one: a special meeting of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild on the 6th, but that’s it—until I depart for the Writing Excuses Cruise on July 27th.

I’m all about finding my happy place again.

I even submitted another poem for the Rainy Day Poetry Project. My friend, Kim, the Poet Laureate for Sudbury, has obtained the necessary permissions to put poems in invisible, but water-proof paint, on Sudbury’s sidewalks. They’ll only be visible when it rains. My submission isn’t a poem so much as something someone walking along in the rain might appreciate seeing.

In non-writerly news

After losing all its flowers, my fuchsia phalaenopsis (say that five times fast—oh, it’s not that difficult—blushes) orchid has bloomed again, and the one that started growing a stem at work (another phalaenopsis, white, though, I think) is setting blooms!

LatestOrchidMoreToCome

Phil and I have been enjoying our strawberry harvest this past month and are looking forward to raspberries shortly. The tomatoes, lettuce, and beans have been planted and are growing well, but are puny compared to my mom’s.

Phil built her a series of three raised beds and her tomatoes and cucumbers are going wild!

I hope that tomorrow the weather is clear. It’s been rainy/stormy lately and I’m looking forward to finally getting the rest of the weeding and some transplanting done.

And that’s it for the next chapter until September (combined July and August update). Since I hope to be somewhere on the Baltic Sea the first of next month, I will be taking another blogging holiday. Though Thoughty Thursday should still post on the 27th, that will be the last blog post until I return from Helsinki on August 13th.

I wouldn’t depend on seeing anything until the weekend following, and that will probably be devoted to the cruise.

Until the 27th, however, I’ll continue my regular blogging.

So until Tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong, my friends (but don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to re-evaluate if you’re feeling stressed).

Love y’as all!

The Next Chapter