Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 28-July 4, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Because the only restaurant service other than take out currently allowed in our city is on a patio, local restaurants have been erecting patios all over the place, even getting exemptions from the municipal by-laws to create patio spaces on sidewalks. The complication, of course, is that people with disabilities, of which there are many living in the downtown core where most of these patios are popping up, are now having to use the street and risk what traffic there is, to move from place to place.

Yes, our economy needs to recover, but not at cost to the disadvantaged members of our community.

We have to commit to using the disruption of covid-19 to recover in a sustainable and respectful way. This is our chance to change our society for the better.

Thanks for your attention. Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week.

The Take takes on the white savior trope.

Natalie Hart is gaining wisdom and whimsy from the natural world. Donald Maass: we are unsafe. Then, Bryn Greenwood is on the way to Jerusalem (not quite what you think). Barbara Linn Probst clarifies that it’s not write what you know, but write from what you know: cooking life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland examines the three stages of a writer’s life and how your age affects your writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenn Walton wants you to write outside your comfort zone. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood wonders, is this a YA thing? On pay rates, racism, and toxicity in publishing. DIY MFA

Elizabeth Hartl shares some tips for overcoming imposter syndrome. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci returns with ten more tips for evoking emotion in your writing.

Jami Gold provides five ways to climb the learning curve.

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the terrible writing of Eragon’s sequel. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that killed the wrong character. Mythcreants

Writing the morally ambiguous character. Shaelin Writes

Anthony R. Cardno interviews Nisi Shawl for Pride Month.

20 Canadian books for kids and teens to read for National Indigenous History Month. CBC Books

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 21-27, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I’ll keep saying it until it’s true.

Pandemic life continues. A number of states have decided to roll back reopening. The Spanish flu pandemic lasted three years. Mind you, they didn’t have the world-wide medical resources to throw at the virus that we do. Still, I fear covid-19 will turn out to be a virus akin to the common cold and that a true vaccine will not be possible. What I hope is that immunologists will be able to account for mutations in covid-19 like they do with the annual flu vaccination and that we will have an ongoing method of control.

One way or another, this virus will change the way we live. I only hope that we take advantage of this opportunity to make the post-covid world a better one.

Cree Myles issues a challenge: if you want to unlearn racism, read Black science fiction authors. The Mary Sue

Tasha Seegmiller wants to have a candid conversation about publication. Then, Kris Maze wonders, is it YA, or not YA? Later in the week, Ellen Buikema explains how to develop a memorable character. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland is using all four cognitive functions as a writer. Helping Writers Become Authors

Manuela Williams shares the four elements of a compelling book blurb. DIY MFA

Bonnie Randall explains why you can’t concentrate right now. Fiction University

Nathan Bransford: a year of living uncomfortably.

Mathina Calliope: you win this round, comma. Jane Friedman

Shaelin questions whether these writing rules are really unbreakable. Reedsy

Jami Gold helps you fix choppy writing. Then, she wants you to make your chapters count.

Martha Alderson considers the emotional roller coaster all writers experience. Writers Helping Writers

John J. Kelley explains how to write characters with trauma. Then, Yuvi Zalkow is accepting the multi-creative lifestyle. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle helps you send a message with your story (without getting preachy). Then, Oren Ashkenazi discusses five characters with weak motivations and how to fix them. Mythcreants

Princess Weekes considers the influence of the Byronic hero. PBS Storied

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you’ve come away with something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 7-13, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Trans non-binary folks are non-binary folks.

These pandemic times are increasingly complex ones. Protests against anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism continue even as the world begins to “reopen.” Black and Indigenous people continue to suffer from and die because of police violence but, as has been pointed out, police violence is only the symptom. Institutionalized racism is the virus that must be eradicated.

Here in Canada, the RCMP has recently done an about face, first denying their endemic racism, and then admitting it and committing to do better. In the meantime, Indigenous and Black lives continue to be threatened.

People across the publishing industry—across all media, in fact—have been fired for their racism. Various governments are seriously considering defunding their police. Monuments to white supremacy are falling.

And TERFs who expose their prejudices are being publicly and thoroughly schooled.

The world is still in chaos. But with the continued protests, change is coming. I continue to hope and to support efforts to achieve reform and justice. I continue to listen and learn, because there’s so much I don’t know, and I want to do better.

Onto the informal writerly learnings!

Why poetry is so important/powerful/relevant right now. “Hollow” – Bristol’s City Poet, Vanessa Kisuule.

Jenny Hansen lists the eight Cs of character development. Writers in the Storm

Nya Wilcox busts six writing excuses and explains how she wrote—and published—a novel at the age of eleven. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman recommends questions to ask your publisher before you sign the contract.

Laura Highcove offers an introduction to writer’s intuition. DIY MFA

The Take explains the superhero genre.

Jami Gold helps you make the right impression with character introductions. Writers Helping Writers

On her own blog, Jami shares four further tips for making the right impression for your characters.

Jenna Moreci offers her first ten tips for evoking emotion through your writing.

Jim Dempsey is writing and hiking. Kathryn Craft shares six ways to add a dash of foreign language. Then, Laurie R. King helps you keep your series fresh. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy reveals the hidden danger backstory poses for writers (and it’s not what you think). Fiction University

Nathan Bransford: listen to your characters, but don’t let them run away with your story.

Hard worldbuilding vs. soft worldbuilding. And yes, Tim does discuss Harry Potter as an example of soft worldbuilding, so be warned if J.K.’s recent TERF-dom is offensive or triggering for you. Hello, Future Me

Chris Winkle is judging what backstory to keep and what to let go. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists what does and doesn’t make a signature weapon cool. Mythcreants

And that is tipsday for this week. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe. Be willing to listen, learn, and do better.

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.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 24-30, 2020

Welcome to June! However you’ve been weathering the pandemic, I hope you’re keeping safe and well. It’s time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

But first, my brief weekly update.

#Pandemiclife continues, and I’ve heard some confirmation that my employer will keep up to 90% of staff working from home. So, I’m here for the long haul, as expected. I’m also just coming off two weeks of virtual training and entering into two more. In recent years, training of any kind has exhausted me. Virtual training brings its own complications. Still, I seem to be doing a decent job. The feedback has been positive, in any case.

The added distress of violence against people of colour here in Canada and in the US is depressing. It’s reprehensible and I keep hoping—naively—that we’ve grown past such hateful conflicts. My faith in the human race is crumbling.

Here are some good words from some good people (we can take some comfort in that):

Abigail K. Perry demonstrates a Story Grid scene analysis of Giver of Stars. Then, Brenda Joyce Patterson promotes writing small in viral times. Later in the week, Sacha Black shares five ways to improve your description. DIY MFA

Sacha Black drops by Writers Helping Writers, too: three ways to differentiate your characters.

Shaelin explains how to discovery write your novel. Reedsy

Laurie Schnebly Campbell considers the pros and cons of writing a series. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson offers three exercises to help you dive deeper into character emotions. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland devotes this week’s post and podcast to an editing Q&A. Helping Writers Become Authors

How to stay motivated as a writer. Reedsy

September C. Fawkes stops by Elizabeth Spann Craig’s blog: how to write subtext.

Jessi Rita Hoffman discusses the problem of self-conscious writing: do you torture your metaphors? Jane Friedman

Janice Hardy shares a handy checklist to strengthen the narrative drive in your scenes. Then, Swati Teerdhala explains when to tell rather than show. It’s such a delicate balance! Fiction University

Robin LaFevers wants you to break through writer’s block. Writer Unboxed

Jenna Moreci helps you set the scene.

Jami Gold: what do readers want from a story’s POV? Then, she explains that word choice is about more that picking the right word.

Chris Winkle shares six character archetypes for love interests. Oren Ashkenazi facetiously lists seven reasons it’s definitely okay to ignore storytelling rules. Mythcreants

Thanks 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, May 17-23, 2020

Another week of #pandemiclife, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Before we get to those, though, here is my weekly update:

Though Ontario’s efforts at “reopening” have been cautious, numbers of confirmed cases have increased. Some of this is to be expected, but testing has not kept up. The federal government is trying to get the tech companies on board to have 1 tracing app across platforms (Android and Apple). While Phil and I did take my mom and Torvi out for an afternoon of physically distanced fun at his sister’s (she’s worked hard on her back yard this year, increasing the size of her patio to accommodate a gazebo, making a proper fire pit, and various planter boxes) we were careful to stay two metres apart.

Phil made a couple of yard games, a set of lawn dice for outdoor Yahtzee and a Finnish game called mölkky. I’ll let you look the latter up on the interwebz 🙂 We played a couple games and had an enjoyable afternoon.

Onto the curation!

K.M. Weiland strikes a balance between creativity and distraction: 13 tips for writers in the age of the internet. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy is clarifying ambiguous pronouns. Then, Orly Konig wants you to organize the chaos using these five revision tips for pantsers. Fiction University

Gabe lists the four questions every pitch must answer. Bookish Pixie

Marjorie Simmins offers an excerpt of her Q&A with Lawrence Hill: memoir beyond the self. Then, Susan DeFreitas returns with part seven of her developing a writing practice series: engrained. Jane Friedman

Shaelin finishes her series on developing a novel: creating a writing plan. Reedsy

E.J. Wenstrom lists ten ways to connect with readers while physically distancing. And here’s my latest column: mythic storytelling with the tarot, part three. In which I create an outline for a fantasy story using the tarot. Jason Jones shares five tips to get your book on local media. DIY MFA

Dave King goes into the woods. Barbara Linn Probst is learning from Pinoccio how to create a character who’s fully alive. Writer Unboxed

Christina Delay thinks you might as well jump—into the third act. Writers Helping Writers

Ellen Buikema takes a look at body language in writing. Writers in the Storm

The Take looks at the girl next door.

Jami Gold explores the spectrum of third person point of view. Then, she helps you develop a powerful point of view.

Chris Winkle explains how to plot a series. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers the world building of The Expanse. Mythcreants

Kelly Grovier: the women who created a new language. BBC

Deborah Dundas: Amazon hurt them. The lockdown hurt them. Now there’s a painful loss in court. Canada’s book biz — authors, publishers, retailers — is hunting for a new business model. The Toronto Star

Thank you for visiting. I hope you’ve found something to support you with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 10-16, 2020

Welcome to week nine of #pandemiclife.

Here in Ontario, the Premiere has authorized some businesses to reopen. Street-facing retail stores that can deliver curb-side service. Veterinarians, groomers, and pet boarding businesses. Essential-adjacent health support services. My mother-in-law will be able to get her housekeeper back—physically distanced, of course. And golf courses. And cottage country (which really doesn’t want to be open, from what I’ve been hearing).

Will we have another spike? Will we have to dial back? I’m maintaining the status quo. Kind of. I’ll be delivering virtual training over the next couple weeks. It’s going to be interesting. And … I’ve already been asked to deliver the next session, which is pretty much back to back, because there aren’t enough trainers who are comfortable with the platform, or even virtual training, to spread out the burden.

There are apparently five such courses to be delivered between now and September. I hesitate to be on the hook for all of them. But this may be my work life, moving forward.

I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, please enjoy some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland uses a brave critique volunteer’s work to discuss seven possible hooks for your opening chapter. Helping Writers Become Authors

K.B. Jensen explains how to throw a virtual book launch using Facebook Live. Then, Chantel Hamilton provides a comprehensive guide to finding, hiring, and working with an editor. Jane Friedman

Shaelin Bishop continues her series on developing a novel with part 4: form, style, and voice. Reedsy

Joanna Penn interviews Larry Brooks about how to develop strong fiction ideas. The Creative Penn

Leanne Sowul touts the power of paying attention. Later in the week, Sarah Fraser lists five signs you’re ready to work with an editor. DIY MFA

Jim Dempsey helps you decide, your words, or your editor’s? Juliet Marillier: consolation or challenge? Kathryn Craft shares eight ways to unblock your scene’s potential. Writer Unboxed

September C. Fawkes explains how plotlines add dimension. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold wonders whether breaking the rules is easy or hard.

Jenna Moreci says imposter syndrome sucks, but you don’t.

Nathan Bransford tells you everything authors need to know about dialogue tags.

Aliza Mann explains how to get back on track when all your planning fails. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb wants you to create a story-worthy problem that will captivate an audience.

How the strong black woman trope has evolved. The Take

Barbara Linn Probst lists three motivations to write: artistry, identity, and legacy. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle says, no. “Art” does not entitle you to spread harmful messages. Then, Oren Ashkenazi gets facetious with seven musts for dominating a fantasy battle. Mythcreants

Richard Marpole goes for a walk among the trees: a look at forests in myth and media. Fantasy Faction

Esther Jones: science fiction builds resilience in young readers. Phys.org

Simon Winchester: has “run” run amok? It has 645 meanings … so far. NPR

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ve taken away something to support your current work in progress (or planning/development of same).

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

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 26-May 2, 2020

We’re staying the course here. I will likely be working from home for the foreseeable. I could also see our local and regional management making the case that we can and should continue to work from home on a permanent basis.

My current position has been largely virtual since I moved into it eleven years ago. There’s still an element of the surreal to the situation (where does the job end, how do I transition into home/creative life?) but now that we’re closing in on two months of pandemic life and  six weeks (for me) of working from home, I’m finding my way to a workable routine.

Here’s hoping that whatever your circumstances are, that you’re finding your feet, so to speak. Everyone’s dealing with “stuff.” Take a break and peruse some of these informal writerly learnings.

Tasha Seegmiller offers five tips for having hard conversations. Ellen Buikema teaches you how to love your hateful antagonist. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland lists 15 productive tasks you can do when you don’t feel like writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

How to master fight scenes (a follow up from the other fight scene video I shared—as Tim will tell you, please watch that one first). Hello, Future Me

Justin Attas explains the puzzle piece plotting method: using what you know to build what you don’t. Susan DeFreitas is helping you develop your writing practice, part five: neurohacks. Later in the week, C.S. Lakin touts the three Ms of character setup. Jane Friedman

Developing a book, part 2: the characters. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford tells you everything you need to know about inciting incidents.

Related: Jami Gold explains the difference between the inciting incident and the first plot point.

Jenn Walton shares three ways to preserve your creativity. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle lists five reasons tension is missing from your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers six ridiculous cultures in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu uses a walk in the forest to discover hidden character archetypes.

Alison Flood: study shows most authors hear their characters speak. Do you? The Guardian

Keziah Weir says poetry is having its moment. Vanity Fair

Thank you for visiting. I hope you found something to assist you with your current work in progress, even if you’re not actively writing.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

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

Sunday (April 26th) marked one month since I started working from home and a little over six weeks since covid-19 was declared a pandemic and physical distancing measures were put in place. In that time, several of the small businesses and independent workers whose services I used have shut down operations. This past week, one of those small businesses made the decision to close permanently.

I understand the decision and wish the two wonderful businesswomen all the best, but it makes me sad that they were forced to the extremity. Unfortunately, none of the measures the government offered for small businesses were appropriate for them. I worry that more small businesses will follow suit.

This has been a trying time for everyone for a variety of reasons. Take care of yourselves and take some time to enjoy these informal writerly learnings.

Jan O’Hara: turning points (or, how not to kill your partner during covid-19 lockdown). Dave King discusses the practice novel (also called the shelf novel or trunk novel—scarier words were never writ). Anne Greenwood Brown reveals the science behind the meet-cute. Heather Webb explains how to find and hone your author voice. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi offers nine ways to originalize your story. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin starts a new series about developing a novel. Part one: concept and idea. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland lists four ways writing improves your relationship with yourself. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn talks to Gail Carriger about building a unique author brand. The Creative Penn

Susan DeFreitas continues her series on developing a writing practice with part four: easy. Jane Friedman

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains what emotional context is and why your story needs it. Later in the week, Angela Ackerman shows you how to describe a location you’ve never visited. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold helps you use scene and sequel better.

Chris Winkle lists five common dialogue problems and how to fix them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi digs into the world building of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire. Mythcreants

How the manic pixie dream girl has evolved. The Take

And the crazy woman.

Maria Popova introduces us to The Lost Words: an illustrated dictionary of poetic spells reclaiming the language of nature. Brain Pickings

Kate Yoder considers the words this unprecedented time of change have brought into our lexicon. Grist

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

Until next time, 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