Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, April 10-16, 2022

Welcome to tipsday, your opportunity to stock up on informal writerly learnings.

Ann Marie Nieves: book PR & marketing questions answered, part VII. Jim Dempsey wants you to exploit your hero’s flaws. Then, Kathleen McCleary is getting over it. Kathryn Crafts says foreshadowing is a revision skill to love. Later in the week, Desmond Hall drops some more writerly wisdom on us. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin shares seven ways to level up your writing process. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland shares 14 tips for dealing with the passage of time in a story. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman introduces us to the magic of World Anvil. Then, Monica Corwin suggests eight ways to stay open to story. Jenny Hansen: the extraordinary blessings of asking for help. Writers in the Storm

Have humans always feared sharks? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Jane explains why so many blogs and newsletters aren’t worth the writer’s effort. Then, Lisa Cooper Ellison explains how to gracefully leave your writing group. Jane Friedman

Sue Coletta: what is rhythmic writing? Emily Young shares six tips for writing compelling action scenes. Writers Helping Writers

Crafting as a magic system. Tale Foundry

Abigail K. Perry poses seven questions to ask about your first chapter. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Claire Stanford about character development in literary fiction. Angela Yeh wants you to embrace your inner poet-activist! Then, Lewis Jorstad suggests five secondary character arcs to strengthen your cast. Later in the week, Linda Dahl explains how to inject humor to relive narrative tension. DIY MFA

The Heather trope and why we’re so obsessed with her. The Take

Story beats: the key to line-by-line writing. Morality genre: altruism stories of redemption, punishment, and testing. Performance genre: stories about sports, music, business, and art. Four Core Framework: the foundational elements of storytelling. Story Grid

How to write realistic male characters. Jenna Moreci

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how writers Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke survive. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle says the best characters eat their spinach—and their candy. Illustrated by Bunny. Then, Oren Ashkenazi critiques five inexplicable planets from Star Trek. Mythcreants

The three planes of story and creating causal connections. A very personal literary theory. Shaelin Writes

Kristen Lamb warns that bloated writing makes readers sick.

Nina Munteanu shares example steps for keeping a nature journal.

Anne Delaney examines chronemics and the nonverbal language of time. JSTOR Daily

Thank you for spending some time with me. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 27-Oct 3, 2020

Ah, October. My favourite month of the year 🙂 And this year, it’s even more special. Halloween/Samhain, which is my birthday, is also a blue/wolf moon. I’ll be howling, that’s for sure.

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

President Trump, in a karmic turn of events, got the rona. He was rushed to his private medical suite the next day, given top notch medical treatment, and expects to be released within the next day or so. Of course, he’ll still be in quarantine for a week and a half. Meanwhile, the rest of America, most of whom can’t afford such medical treatment, continue to be infected and die. Almost fifty thousand on September 3rd. Almost seven and a half million to date, and close to two hundred and ten thousand deaths.

Provincially, there have been between six and eight hundred new cases of covid-19 a day for the last week. In Quebec, the daily infection rates have topped a thousand. There have been four new cases in Sudbury since my last tipsday.

Accordingly, restrictions have been increased. Masks are mandatory. Social circles/bubble are gone, though those who live alone can interact with one other household for social and mental health purposes. Phil and I will, thankfully, continue to interact with my mom. Thanksgiving plans will have to be delayed/cancelled.

Please. Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance. Wash your hands. Stay home to the degree possible. You’re not doing this for yourself. You’re doing this for someone you love. Please.

It’s been a week. Now, it’s time to feed your creative side with some informal writerly learnings.

Ellen Buikema: writing humor to heal mind and body. Then, Dr. Miffie Seideman helps you include believable sensory details for unfamiliar experiences. Writers in the Storm

Sarah Z. Sleeper tackles profanity in literature: what the bleep did I write? Then, Sharon Bially shares a hack to get to the heart of your story and stay there. Later in the week, Cathy Yardley harkens back to Monty Python: and now, for something completely different. Writer Unboxed

Meg LaTorre lists the kinds of writing advice you shouldn’t follow. iWriterly

K.M. Weiland explains the link between your story’s hook and its resolution. Helping Writers Become Authors

E.J. Wenstrom shows you how to strengthen your platform during the pandemic. Then, L.B. Gschwandtner shares some myths and truths about writing. DIY MFA

Trans stories, explained. The Take

The independent woman trope, explained. The Take

Colleen M. Story explains how to use your excuses to get more writing done. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold takes a broader view of storytelling conflict.

Shaelin offers ten world building tips. Reedsy

Chris Winkle considers turning points the secret to satisfying conflicts. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists the villains of each Buffy season, from worst to best. Mythcreants

Sara Bareilles – Brave. Why is this in tipsday? “Say what you want to say / let the words fall out … I want to see you be brave.” Every day. Facing the page (or planning, or daydreaming). It’s what every writer does.

Meilan Solly spotlights the women who shaped the last 100 years of American literature. The Smithsonian Magazine

Roger Kreuz explains how covid-19 is changing the English language. Fast Company

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 13-19, 2020

It’s another tipsday, your opportunity to catch up on some informal writerly goodness.

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

And in the midst of the pandemic and ongoing demonstration, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg dies. Such a blow for equality and justice. I hope her last wish can be honoured and her absence on SCOTUS won’t be filled until after the US election.

We’re seeing a bump in infection rates and we’re being told to brace for a second wave. This was something epidemiologists predicted could happen, way back in March. People tend to forget this. Despite what a certain president says, we will not have a vaccine that’s widely available before next year.

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance when possible. Get your flu shots when they become available. Take care and stay safe.

Onto the curation:

K.M. Weiland: the crucial link between your story’s inciting incident and its climactic moment. Helping Writers Become Authors

C.S. Lakin explains how your premise determines your characters. Live, Write, Thrive

Shaelin has a chat about writing selfishly. Shaelin Writes

Eldred Bird says that a great story is like music to the eyes. Then, Barbara Linn Probst explains why your book matters. Later in the week, Jenny Hansen explains why storytellers are the most powerful people in the world. Writers in the Storm

Lucia Tang promotes the art of the constructive critique. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Meg LaTorre lists 17 things she hates to see in romance. iWriterly

Dave King helps you manage your cast. Then, Barbara Linn Probst shares road, neighbourhood, sky: a three-layer approach to writing a novel. Writer Unboxed

Lucy V. Hay shares awesome writing tips from six famous writers. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten tips for writing fight scenes.

Lauren J. Sharkey talks dollars and sense. And, my latest Speculations: how the NASA-SpaceX collaboration can inspire your writing. Sara Farmer interviews Adam Smyer. Later in the week, Lynne Golodner shares five tips for narrowing your focus. DIY MFA

Susan DeFreitas shares three common issues with early drafts. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle lists seven ways jokes can sabotage your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi sheds light on how Le Guin laid a shaky foundation for Earthsea. Mythcreants

Waubgeshig Rice launches his new column at Open Book: stories of the North.

Thanks for the visit. I hope you found something that will support your current work in progress.

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

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Nov 27-Dec 3, 2016

Just a little thoughty for you, this week. Keep in mind that I was finishing off NaNoWriMo for half the week 😉

Some helpful advice on fact-checking:

 

Alex Borgella explores several theories on what makes us laugh (and why we should care). Fast Company

Joe Pitawanakwat extols the benefits of cedar bough tea on the Creators Garden blog.

Jonathan Rosen reports on how Africa has found power off the grid. MIT Technology Review

Baback A. Tafreshi lists ten of the best ancient sites for stargazing. National Geographic

Phil Plait invites us to take a swing at the stars. Slate

Jenny Woodman takes a look at the women “computers” who revolutionized astronomy (and paved the way for women in the sciences). The Atlantic

Aw, kawaii! This rescued baby wombat bonds with his caretaker. Alexandra E. Petri for National Geographic.

I hope that popped your mental corn . . . a few kernels, at least.

See you on Saturday for some WorldCon reportage.

<waves>

thoughtythursday2016

Series discoveries: Anime

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while. I’ve basically become an anime junkie.

The backstory part

A number of years ago, I can’t actually remember exactly how many, I’m that old, now (not), I used to stay up late on the weekends, Friday and Saturday nights. Not terribly late, but 1 or 2 in the morning.

As Mr. Science used to say, sleep is the enemy (he’s since reassessed that particular opinion, stopped drinking coffee in the evenings, naps on weekends, and is generally more pleasant for it).

It was my way of trying to make the most of my weekends, but I’d sleep in the following mornings, so I really didn’t gain any time. I’ve since just decided to use the time that I have more efficiently 😉

But one of the things I used to do at the end of those late nights was to watch YTV. At the time, they were playing Inu Yasha, and though it was cheesy in spots, I thought it was great storytelling.

After that series ran its course, they played Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, and then Death Note. I loved Fullmetal and Bleach even more than Inu Yasha, but Death Note not as much.

Even earlier, I’d watched anime movies like Vampire Hunter D, 3 X 3 Eyes, Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Akira, and others. A friend of mine owned (and still does) the local comic store, and would order the videos, video discs, and finally DVDs, and brought them gaming nights, parties, and so forth.

So anime was nothing new. Loving it was, though.

New toys, new obsessions

Last year, Mr. Science purchased a Roku stick. For those of you who don’t know, a Roku stick will allow you to access all sorts of free and by-subscription content. You can access BBC World News, Canada Film Board shorts, and other nifty stuff for free. You can set up Netflix on the Roku.

You can also set up anime channels like CrunchyRoll and Funimation. Now these require a subscription fee, but it’s quite reasonable.

We wanted to watch something together. I chose Bleach, largely because the run on YTV had stopped in the middle of the second season. We started from the beginning and burned through the entire series somewhere in June or July.

We kind of went into withdrawal and Phil resorted to a Shonen Jump subscription and buying the continuing manga. I’ve read up to date on the manga as well, but it’s not the same as the anime. There’s something about the form that draws me in more so than the manga.

From there, Phil’s watched Attack on Titan, Death Note, and he’s currently addicted to Gintama. There are a few others that he enjoys as well.

We tried Claymore, Souleater, and Spice and Wolf, and didn’t enjoy them. Claymore and Spice and Wolf didn’t hook us in the first couple of eps, and Souleater was aimed at a younger audience. Though we gave it several eps, it just didn’t appeal.

I wanted to watch the newer version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Phil joined in part way through and we both found that we enjoyed Brotherhood more than the original.

We wanted to continue watching other series together, though. So we selected Fairy Tail, which we burned through and are now waiting for the weekly instalments (getting our fix tonight). Next, it was the short-lived enjoyment of Blue Exorcist, which was only one season, and then Log Horizon, which again, we are now watching weekly after having watched all the existing eps.

We’re now watching Akame ga Kill in between waiting for new eps of Fairy Tail and Log Horizon. It’s quite graphic in its violence and main characters get themselves killed all the time.

I don’t want to get all spoilery on you and there are so many anime reviews out there on the web that I’ll let you look into all of these series yourself and you can decide if you want to partake. What I will do is let you know what I’ve learned from watching anime.

The takeaways

  1. The power of friendship trumps everything else.

Though we’re not opposed to dark storylines (the protagonist of Death Note is a right bastard who perpetrates all kinds of evil), Phil and I find we don’t enjoy them as much as the ones like Bleach, in which Ichigo Kurosaki continually learns and grows because he wants to protect the people he loves.

Not that Bleach doesn’t have its dark moments (the revelation about Unohana in the manga blew us away), but Ichigo always manages to make the noble choice. Everyone likes him without things getting too saccharine because he’s a flawed and relatable character.

Other series, like Fairy Tail and Log Horizon focus on the power of friendship in a more obvious fashion. The only thing that bothers me a bit about those two series is that the power of friendship often takes precedence over all other considerations.

Mind you, most of the series we watch are intended for tween and teen boys, and so romantic overtures are often set aside (despite the ample breast size of most of the female characters), even when they (the overtures and the ample breasts) are boldly thrust at the protagonist, as they are in Akame ga Kill.

  1. Story arcs predominate.

They could be as short as two or three episodes, or as long as two seasons, but the writers of anime have their plot shit wired tight. There’s always a payoff and it’s satisfying even if there are aspects of the story arc that I don’t enjoy.

Redemption is a big theme. Heroes become villains, and villains become heroes. Sometimes you’re not sure which is which.

  1. Humour abounds.

There’s always a ridiculous argument or reaction to something. Erza, in Fairy Tail, for example, though she’s an awesome wizard and warrior, is socially inept and often obsesses over silly ideas to extremes that her friends find embarrassing. Even so, they support Erza in her obsession not only because they’re her friends, but also because they all have a healthy respect for her power.

Though I don’t watch it, Gintama is constantly parodying other anime (the protagonist reads Shonen Jump and wants his own Bankai – Bleach), and goes to great extremes with scatological humour. If a weapon can find its way into someone’s ass, it does, people are hit so hard their balls fly off, and shit flinging monkeys often foment chaos.

It’s a bit much for me, but Phil laughs himself silly.

  1. It’s good to be surprised.

Just when you think that the story can’t go anywhere else, it does, and it goes to a completely unexpected place.

The concept behind Bleach is that an otherwise normal boy who can see the spirits of the departed has to assume the powers of a soul reaper. In order to save his friends, he is constantly breaking the rules, achieves greater and greater power, and then, because his enemies are so much more powerful than he is, new dimensions and risks open to him in his quest.

In Fairy Tail, the celestial wizard Lucy, though not very powerful on her own, is the key to a greater adventure that everyone in her guild becomes involved in.

It’s all about the creativity in the storytelling.

For better or worse, I’m addicted to anime now, and happily so. I enjoy it more than most of the television I watch.

I watch it like I watch anything, as a writer looking for lessons that I can take to the page.

Next week: Ima write about my literary mothers 🙂

Be well until then!

Series Discoveries