Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Jan 22-28, 2023

It’s the last tipsday (and last day) of January. Get your fill of informal writerly learnings for the week 🙂

Mary McDonough: when doody calls (AKA a telltale sign of writerly procrastination, and what it may reveal). Then, Jamie Beck considers the controversy around trigger warnings in literature: to warn, or not to warn. Emilie-Noelle Provost explains how to handle malicious online comments about your work: taming the haters. Next, Heather Webb says that self-soothing is really all about micro-tension. Liz Michalski tells a tale as old as time. Writer Unboxed

How brands ruin slang. Otherwords | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland suggests six problems to troubleshoot when your story isn’t working. Helping Writers Become Authors

Deborah Zenha-Adams introduces us to the ancient science that can help you get your story written. Live, Write, Thrive

Elizabeth Spann Craig shares some advice about handling edits and critiques.

The dark side of happy endings. Tale Foundry

F.E. Choe wants you to be brief; be specific; be gorgeous. Then, LA Bourgeois shares five more creativity exercises for writers. Lori Walker interviews Jumata Emill about exploring social justice topics in a YA thriller. Next, Anna M. Holmes says that research is the key to immersive world building. Monica Cox shares five tips for making the most of your first read through. DIY MFA

Tiffany Yates Martin has some advice for college students on how to pursue a career in editing. Then, Julie Vick offers advice about promoting your book as an introvert in the age of TikTok. Jane Friedman

Shaelin shares her 6-arc story structure (character-driven and pantser-friendly) with template. Shaelin Writes

Christina Delay helps you build suspense with secrets. Then, Becca Puglisi discusses originalizing your story idea. Writers Helping Writers

Maria Connor shares five tips for managing your author business during times of crisis. Ellen Buikema: writing science fiction, part 1. Writers in the Storm

On writing antiheroes. Hello, Future Me

Tiffany Yates Martin has some advice about the Dunning-Kruger Effect or dealing with author despair syndrome. Fox Print Editorial

Joanna Penn interviews Oliver Altair about the importance of confident creative direction, voice, and taste in generative AI art. The Creative Penn

Chris Winkle explains why we stigmatize enjoyment. Then, Oren Ashkenazi ranks the climaxes of Marvel’s phase four, from worst to best. Mythcreants

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you took away something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 1-3, 2022

A short week of informal writerly learnings to get back on track with curation. Enjoy!

Angela Ackerman explains how to write antagonists readers can’t help but like. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin learns how Vaughn Roycroft revises by redefining success. Fox Print Editorial

Why “female entertainment” still gets written off. The Take

Grace Bialecki explains the power and necessity of sitting with your critiques. Then, Adele Annesi presents an argument for setting aside arc in story development. Jane Friedman

Liza Nash Taylor makes some notes to self on making room to move ahead. Henriette Lazaridis wants to linger, tinker, savor: taking the time to get it right. Writer Unboxed

We might never speak to aliens. Here’s why. Hello, Future Me

James R. Preston offers five tips to manage the book galley journey. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle shows you six places to trim slow prose. Then, Oren Ashkenazi shares what Legends and Lattes teaches us about light stories. Mythcreants

Three act structure: writing a strong first act. Reedsy

Three act structure: writing an engaging middle. Reedsy

A.H. Plotts presents show, don’t tell: your novel as a movie script. DIY MFA

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year 2022 is … gaslighting.

And that was tipsday. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress, whatever stage they’re at.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 2-8, 2022

Fall is in the (very chilly) air! Hope all my Canadian friends had marvelous Thanksgiving weekends, but now, it’s back to the grind. Hello, Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday. It’s time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland explains (very briefly) how to pull off a plot twist. Helping Writers Become Authors

Karen DeBonis recommends you celebrate every writing milestone. Lisa Norman: welcome to the future, part 2. Stefan Emunds shares three principles to make your story experience as real-to-life as possible. Writers in the Storm

Tikbálang, the Filipino nightmare shapeshifter. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Elizabeth Spann Craig shares five tips to make your life easier as a writer.

Greer Macallister: knowing your no. Donald Maass returns with more novels that shouldn’t work but do, and why. Then, Sarah Callender is stealing style, structure, and subject from other writers: imitation and emulation. Susan DeFreitas: I’ll feel what she’s feeling.  Yuvi Zalkow is rewriting the bookstore event. Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup gets creative: the fantasy heroine vs. the writer.

Joe Ponepinto is writing small for a bigger impact. Then, Allison K. Williams says motivation doesn’t finish books. Allison also starts her “Ask an Editor” series answering this question: when should writers stand their ground rather than defer to an editor? Jane Friedman

Tim Hickson fixes the final season of Legend of Korra. Hello, Future Me

E.J. Wenstrom helps you overcome the book promotion scaries. Then, Sara Farmer presents her favourite Jane Austen mysteries. Lori Walker interviews Carol Van Den Hende about finding inspiration and writing purpose-driven fiction. Then, Mason Engel reveals the secret to maintaining the motivation—and discipline—to write: writeforce. Rita Zoey Chin shares five tips for writing dynamic characters. DIY MFA

How to brainstorm effectively. Reedsy

Janice Hardy explains why “the worst that can happen” is terrible writing advice. Fiction University

Becca Puglisi says themes and symbols go together like peas and carrots. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin discovers how Emi Nietfeld revises: writing and real life. Fox Print Editorial

How to structure a short story. Shaelin Writes

Chris Winkle explains when to kill a hero—or not. Then, Oren Ashkenazi hosts another three-way ANTS death match between Three Parts Dead, House of Blood and Earth, and A Master of Djinn. Mythcreants

Emily Zarevich wonders if Mary Wollstonecraft’s Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark was the original Eat, Pray, Love. JSTOR Daily

Justyna Pawlak and Simon Johnson announce that the scrutiniser of self, France’s Annie Ernaux, beats long path to Nobel literature prize. Reuters

And that was tipsday. Thanks for spending some time with me, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress, whatever stage they’re at.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends.

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 25-Oct 1, 2022

Welcome to October! Energize yourself for the rest of the week with some informal writerly learnings.

Tiffany Yates Martin explains why plots fail. Then, Amanda Miller shares five ways to use community marketing for your book. Jane Friedman

Jenny Hansen suggests a strength-based approach to writing. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson explains why rhetorical questions help you go deeper with emotions. Eldred Bird is writing through life’s storms. Writers in the Storm

C.S. Lakin helps you show the world through your character’s senses. Live, Write, Thrive

Angela Ackerman says, if you want lifelike characters, create a character bible. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Sauron wasn’t always evil. What happened? The Philosophy of Tolkien. Hello, Future Me

Vaughn Roycroft talks turning points. Then, Kelsey Allagood shares decision trees, angry bees, and other writer brain hacks. Julia Whelan: I’ve heard such mixed things. Jeanne Kisacky wonders who are you reading now? Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi explains how to reveal a character’s inner conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford encourages you to close off your protagonist’s easy off-ramps.

Richelle Lyn is designing a logo from scratch. Then, Melanie Bell offers five things to think about when writing a coming-of-age story. Barbara Rubin shares how she found balance between capturing joy, sorrow, humor, and rage in her writing. DIY MFA

Tiffany Yates Martin answers the question, how much should you plot your stories? Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle says storytellers must stop dehumanizing prisoners. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five overshadowed characters in popular stories. Mythcreants

How H.P. Lovecraft wrote the unimaginable. Tale Foundry

Nalo Hopkinson has won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction

Sean Wetselaar says Judy I. Lin’s recipe for success is fantasy and a cup of tea. The Walrus

Adrian Daub writes about losing oneself in the geography of fantasy worlds: here at the end of all things. Longreads

Guy Kawasaki interviews Min Kym about her book Gone: A Girl, a Violin, and a Life Unstrung. The Remarkable People Podcast

Jessica Winter explains how E. Nesbit used her grief, her politics, and her imagination to create a new kind of children’s book. The New Yorker

Check out Publishers Weekly’s annual publishing in Canada report. Interesting reading.

Thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope you took away something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Aug 28-Sept 3, 2022

Well, hello, Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday! Launch yourself into this short week with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland shares seven tips for adding complexity to your story. Helping Writers Become Authors

Eldred Bird explains what blogging has taught him about writing. Then, James Preston warns of three common traps that can hurt your story (and how to avoid them). Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth Spann Craig helps you finish writing-related tasks quickly.

The secret to a well-paced plot (and it’s ridiculously easy). Shaelin Writes

Janice Hardy explains how writing a novel is like gardening. Fiction University

Alexander Lewis helps you grow your writing business by stepping away from your computer. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford: what is the “narrative voice”?

How to find time to write. Reedsy

Abigail K. Perry analyses the first chapter of Red, White, and Royal Blue. Then, Angela Yeh interviews Leslie Wheeler about how to take poetry personally. Mason Engel explains how to beat your writer’s burnout: a seven-step guide to tuning up your creative engine. Later in the week, Jennifer Craven shares five tips for writing multi-POV stories. DIY MFA

Yasmin Angoe relates the trials and tribulations of writing the second novel. Then, Kasey LeBlanc considers ebb and flow: a season for writing … and forgiveness. Liza Nash Taylor says, writer, edit thyself! Writer Unboxed

When the monster is hiding in plain sight. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how Elisa Lorello revises: rediscovering joy. Fox Print Editorial

Jordan Kantey lists seven ways to ensure you reach your writing goals. Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle wonders, can framing devices be better than terrible? Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Simmons scattered his world: building Hyperion. Mythcreants

Plot armour is good (sometimes). Hello, Future Me

Tavi Gevinson waxes on not being afraid to change up your process. The Creative Independent

Leanne Ogasawara is reassessing the workshop in light of culture shock. The Millions

Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I hope you took away something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Aug 7-13, 2022

Welcome to another week filled with informal writerly learnings. Enjoy them on your porch or deck with some iced tea or lemonade as you soak in the summer!

Richelle Lyn is acquiring a virtual mentor. Then, Jeanette the Writer is applying the scientific method to writing and editing. Lori Walker interviews Sarah Adlakha about time travel and alternate timelines in historical fiction. Later in the week, Dominique Richardson explores the ins and outs of writing a young adult novel. Finally, Helen Scheuerer shares five tips for writing a successful series. DIY MFA

A procrastinator’s guide to finishing things. Struthless

Sarah Callender enumerates the perks and perils of pursuing approval. Jim Dempsey: writers have a lot too think about. Kathleen McCleary: to tell the truth. Kathryn Craft wants you to fill your writing life. David Corbett wonders what your character is hiding: the power of secrets. Later in the week, Yuvi Zalkow shares the fuzzy secrets to writing a decent novel. Writer Unboxed

Is Siren Head the ultimate modern monster? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Melinda Van Lone considers fantastic fantasy and scintillating science fiction covers. Then, Sarah (Sally) Hamer wonders how many scenes does it take to tell your story? Ellen Buikema offers some important font considerations for writers. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland wonders how perfect does your structural timing need to be? Helping Writers Become Authors

Why villains love contracts. Tale Foundry

C.S. Lakin shares four steps to create perfect plot twists. Live, Write, Thrive

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how suspense and tension work together to increase story impact. Then, Sangeeta Mehta interviews agents Allison Hunter and Jennifer Weltz about how books are adapted for the screen. Jane Friedman

How mountains inspire mythology. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Marissa Graff shares three tricks to reel in your readers with flashbacks. Then, September C. Fawkes explains why a strong plot requires a significant goal. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin is having fun with query letters (no, seriously). Fox Print Editorial

Nine things to do before starting a novel. Shaelin Writes

Chris Winkle says your story needs tension, not violence. Oren Ashkenazi: Strange New Worlds reveals the danger of a theme-breaking plot. Mythcreants

The content genre: object of desire and values in story. Story Grid

Tim Hickson fixes Legend of Korra season three. Hello, Future Me

Emily Zarevich uncovers the hoax that inspired Mary Shelley. JSTOR Daily

Ada Palmer: the plotter vs. pantser divide has been exaggerated. Tor.com

Shashi Tharoor says the attack on Salman Rushdie is also an attack on freedom of expression. The Quint

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress, whatever stage it’s at.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, July 24-30, 2022

Welcome to August! The dog days are here, and so is this week’s batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Kim Bullock offers some productivity lessons from a simpler time: praise, criticism, and self-reflection. Then, Elizabeth Huergo shares readings for writers: on writing (and revising) well. Kelsey Allagood is diagnosing writer’s block: symptoms, remedies, and prevention. Then, Julia Whelan hosts a deathmatch between first and second novels. Porter Anderson: just artificial, not intelligence. Writer Unboxed

The surprising origins of vampires (w/ Dr. Emily Zarka of Monstum). PBS Origins

K.M. Weiland explains how to structure a novel with multiple main characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

What is a masterwork? Definition and examples in books and film. Story Grid

Are bilinguals smarter? Otherwords | PBS Storied

Michelle Barker tackles the dreaded synopsis. Then, Dr. Natalie Dale shares three medical mistakes to avoid in your story. Writers Helping Writers

Kris Maze suggests you research your novel on a rambling road trip. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson explains why first person POV is NOT deep POV. Shirley Jump wants you to use impossible choices to empower your conflict. Writers in the Storm

How the “manipulative victim” trope hurts female presenting people everywhere. The Take

Nathan Bransford says, don’t build your scenes around the information you think you need to impart.

E.J. Wenstrom shares lessons learned from joining a new social media network. Then, Sara Farmer lists her favourite mystery games. Later in the week, Erin La Rosa shares five ways to market your book as a debut author. DIY MFA

On world building death. Hello, Future Me

Wendy Sparrow explains how to make your editing process more efficient. Jami Gold

Sharon Oard Warner shows you how to move between scenes with summary and spacers. Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin says failure IS an option. Fox Print Editorial

Seven ways to outline your novel. Reedsy

Chris Winkle says a character goal isn’t a story, but it’s close. Then, Oren Ashkenazi (tongue firmly in cheek) lists six more ways to make your writing cinematic. Mythcreants

Livia Gershon: who made that word, and why? JSTOR Daily

Brian Attebery lists his top ten 21st-century fantasy novels. The Guardian

Thanks for spending some time with me! I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, June 26-July 2, 2022

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings. And so it goes …

Vaughn Roycroft is living an artist’s life with lessons from Kate Bush. Then, Erika Liodice is finding inspiration in unexpected places. Tessa Barbosa shares some easy tricks for crafting memorable characters. Then, Sarah Callender is writing (and living) in the midst of fear. Barbara O’Neal considers the practice. Writer Unboxed

Tim fixes Legend of Korra season 2. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland offers eight ways to avoid cardboard characters and plot contrivances. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan DeFreitas explains how (and how not) to write queer characters: a primer. Then, Tiffany Yates Martin reveals how to improve your storytelling by studying other people’s. Jane Friedman

That … could have gone better? (Analysis of Luke vs. Vader in Empire Strikes Back.) Jill Bearup

Kris Maze says re-gear your writing career—take risks to revitalize. Then, Jenny Hansen shares Kurt Vonnegut’s ten tips for successful writing. L.A. Mitchell is opening the top-secret client vault on ghostwriting (and how you can find your first). Writers in the Storm

Teresa Conner shares three design secrets for captivating book adds. Hyacinthe M. Miller helps you avoid writing stereotypes of people of color. Writers Helping Writers

Death by misadventure—Passing and the nature of identity. Princess Weekes

LA Bourgeois is battling the guilt monster. Then, F.E. Choe offers a few, humble thoughts on voice. Michael Bourne lists five ways to turn your setting into a fully realized character. DIY MFA

Tiffany Yates Martin points out the main writing skill you may be neglecting. Fox Print Editorial

Moiya McTier—Trickster gods and the mortals who love them. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Chuck Wendig says sometimes writing is finding a place to put all your rage, sorrow, and even joy. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle explains how to write a first-person retelling. Then, Oren Ashkenazi reveals the myth of conflict-free story structures. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb: writing to formula vs. formulaic writing.

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

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, June 12-18, 2022

Welcome to tipsday, you’re opportunity to get your fill of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland helps you understand the underworld of a story’s third act. Helping Writers Become Authors

Ann Marie Nieves: book promotion and marketing questions answered, part VIII. Lisa Janice Cohen recommends a writer’s buddy system. Then, Barbara Linn Probst is walking back to “what do I really want?” AKA the miracle question. Julie Carrick Dalton is seeking the existential, the intimate, and the urgent: essays that model masterful storytelling. Writer Unboxed

Tim Hickson says show don’t tell (is a lie). Hello, Future Me

Ellen Buikema wants you to write a compelling first line. Then, Lynette M. Burrows helps you create compelling scenes with the motivation-reaction unit (MRU). Lori Freeland: to comma or not to comma (part 4). Writers in the Storm

Jodé Millman issues a call to arms against banning books. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Jill Bearup explains how to fight in Versace.

Becca Puglisi helps you avoid writing stereotypes of religious figures. Jami Gold: “They’re all gonna die!” Wait. Why does that matter? Writers Helping Writers

Over on her own blog, Jami follows up with this post: what gives our stories meaning?

Nathan Bransford explains how to write a synopsis for your novel.

Shaelin explains how to submit to literary magazines. Reedsy

Ambre Dawn Leffler suggests three small steps to get your writing back on track. Then, Marina Barakatt introduces us to the comic Shutter. Linda Murphy Marshall offers five words of encouragement for writers. Then, Mary Adkins explains how to use the enneagram to create fictional characters. DIY MFA

Kristen Lamb considers neurodivergence: being different in life and fiction.

Emily Zarka and Josef Lorenzo uncover UFOs and alien abductions. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Tiffany Yates Martin wonders, are you paying attention to your progress? Fox Print Editorial

Jane provides a step-by-step walk-through of Amazon Ads for beginning authors. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle explains how to make your character selfless. Then, Oren Ashkenazi pits Andy Weir against himself in a three-way competition: The Martian vs. Artemis vs. Project Hail Mary. Mythcreants

Shaelin suggests questions to ask while you’re revising. Shaelin Writes

Thanks for stopping by, 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, May 15-21, 2022

The penultimate tipsday of May, marked by the serenade of spring peepers and red-wing blackbirds; the scents of crab apple blossoms and lilacs and poplar sap; and thunderstorms that spark and roll overhead. Refill your well with some informal writerly learnings.

Disha Walia wants you to find your motivation for writing speculative fiction. Then, E.J. Wenstrom explains what to do about author platforming when you’re burned out. Sara Farmer lists more of her auto-buy mystery authors. Later in the week, Brittany Capozzi lists five answers we get from writing letters to ourselves. DIY MFA

The psychology of Zuko. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland recommends six ways to find your best ideas before you start writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sandy Vaile shares four essential elements you need to create a workable novel. Then, Holly Lasky asks you to guess who’s in the driver’s seat of your creativity? Lynette M. Burroughs explains how the forces of antagonism frame your story. Writers in the Storm

Darn it, you made me care. Jill Bearup

Susan Defreitas wonders, why write when the world is on fire? Jane Friedman

C.S. Lakin: outlining your novel for success. Live, Write, Thrive

Seven character development exercises. Reedsy

Elizabeth Spann Craig: stress and writing.

Dave King is getting to know evil. Then, Barbara Linn Probst gives us three writing exercises for three different points in the writing process. Kristina Stevens wonders how you adapt real life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

How sun mythologies are universal (featuring PBS Space Time). Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Christina Delay explains what to do when you feel like a hack. Then, Marissa Graff shares four ways your protagonist is sabotaging you (and how to fight back). Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: breaks, permission, and writing.

Olaseni Ajibade explores mental health in fiction: the monster you feed. Dan Koboldt

This story will save your imagination. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin: high praise, big promises … and crickets. Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb says weakness is blood in the water for narcissist sharks.

How the tech villain became the most hated character. The Take

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the summary writing of Illuminae. Then, Oren Ashkenazi critiques the second half of Pixar’s rules of storytelling. Mythcreants

Angie hodapp explains what to do when your entire manuscript turns out to be a prologue. Pub Rants

Guy Gavriel Kay wonders what we lose—and gain—as book tours move online? Literary Hub

Thank you for spending some time with me, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress, whatever stage it’s at.

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