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, May 3-9, 2020

Even as various provincial governments consider “opening up,” we are becoming aware of reports from China and South Korea that their attempts to do the same are resulting in another spike in infections and deaths. While I think that, with testing and tracking and sufficient PPE, a certain degree of business resumption can occur, I’m worried that the testing, tracking, and PPE are not in place as yet.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, this week was another rich one for informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Sara Letourneau explains how your protagonist’s motivations influence your story’s themes. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Helen J. Darling for an inside look at self-publishing. Pamela Gay shares five ways to write about something difficult. DIY MFA

Sonja Yoerg encourages you to give your story the time of day. Donald Maass: the meaning of meaning. Julie Carrick Dalton considers the earned plot twist. Jennie Nash: the secret to more efficient revision is pattern recognition. Writer Unboxed

How to develop a novel, part 3: plot & world. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford shows you how to weave exposition naturally into your story. Later in the week, he suggests giving your protagonist a mini-quest before the plot takes off.

Aziraphale and Crowley share a message with the world.

Tiffany Yates Martin wants you to give your characters agency. Then, Susan DeFreitas serves up the next part of her developing a writing practice series: captivating. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains how to improve your story with action beats. Later in the week, she wonders, do your characters take on lives of their own?

The Take explains the woman-child trope.

Joanna Penn shares her self-editing process. The Creative Penn

Meg LaTorre explains how to juggle writing and parenting. Writers Helping Writers

Fae Rowan show you how small decisions can make big story impact. Julie Glover: in defense of editing as you go. Writers in the Storm

Juliette Dunn profiles five characters coded as autistic. Mythcreants

What English does that no other languages do. NativLang

Eileen Hunt Botting introduces us to Mary Shelley’s journals of sorrow. The Times Literary Supplement

I’ve been trying to avoid a lot of overt covid-19 material, but Kim Stanley Robinson’s article is too amazing not to share. Coronavirus is rewriting our imaginations. The New Yorker

And this: Sabrina Orah Mark. Fuck the Bread. The Bread is over. On making your own fairy tale, embarking on your own epic tasks, and finding meaning. Beautiful and wrenching and ultimately hopeful. The Paris Review

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ve taken away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, 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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 5-11, 2020

Another week of physical distancing has come and gone. Another week of working from home or unemployment, and increasing numbers of confirmed illness, hospitalisation, and deaths from covid-19. There is also hope that, in some areas, at least, that we’re reaching a peak, beginning to flatten or plank the curve.

Treatments are being investigated while a vaccine is in development, but this new normal may pertain until a vaccine is available. I hope that you’re finding a way to navigate the enforced isolation.

My own humble contribution is this curation of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy.

K.M. Weiland lists seven ways writing saves us when life is hard. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan DeFreitas returns to Jane Friedman’s blog with part two of her developing a writing practice series: community. Then, Susann Cokal suggests that instead of setting a goal, try a writing dare.

Shaelin Bishop explains show, don’t tell, so you can actually understand it. Shaelin Writes

Over on Reedsy, Shaelin lists the pros and cons of past and present tense so you can choose the best one for your story.

Tamar Sloan shares what you need to know to keep the words flowing in difficult times. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette (the Writer) Smith considers whether you can trust editing software. And here’s my latest column: five books on the tarot for writers. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci shares her favourite man tropes 🙂

Jami Gold wants you to escape generic storytelling by asking why. Then she helps us understand the past perfect tense.

Janice Hardy helps you identify whether it’s a loss of momentum or writer’s block. Fiction University

Chris Winkle tackles Act II of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains what Tolkien did right—and wrong—when he built Middle Earth. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb shares the truth about introverts and why isolation is hard on us, too.

Thank you for visiting, and I hop that you’ve found something here to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 22-28, 2020

I hope you’re all keeping safe and well.

I’m now working from home and only leaving to walk the dog. Phil continues to be our designated shopper. We’re all remaining as isolated as possible given the circumstances.

While you’re at home, you might have the time to catch up on your informal writerly learnings.

Julianna Baggott is creating in the time of quarantine. Liz Michalski: sea glass. Heather Webb says, the beauty is in the words. John J Kelley: for the love of Moira—the arc of a memorable character. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland touts the power of hopeful stories in a stressful time. Helping Writers Become Authors

E.J. Wenstrom explains how authors can build a true community of fans. Later in the week, Savannah Cordova lists five signs your story’s structure needs work. DIY MFA

Shaelin shares six ways to improve your craft. Reedsy

Barbara Linn Probst visit’s Jane Friedman’s blog to explain the when, why, and how of peer critique and professional editing.

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains how to write compelling emotional triggers. Ellen Buikema explores white space on the page. Writers in the Storm

The Take takes on the weird girl trope.

Chris Winkle helps you make the most of your narrative premise. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains why zombies aren’t a good pandemic parallel. Mythcreants

Meg LaTorre shares ten fantasy tropes she loves. iWriterly

Jami Gold explains how point of view affects dialogue.

Nina Munteanu: dreams and perceptions and “the other.”

Robert Lee Brewer clarifies fable vs. parable vs. allegory. Writer’s Digest

Adrienne Westenfeld recommends the best books for distancing yourself from reality right now. Esquire

Open Culture introduces us to the world’s first author: the Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna.

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

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 8-14, 2020

As the covid-19 crisis continues to escalate, keep calm and stock up on informal writerly learnings from the comfort of your home.

Sophie Masson advises us about creating and presenting writing workshops. Jim Dempsey: writing when you’re not writing. Juliet Marillier wants you to tell a tale for our times. Kathryn Craft says, let your protagonist’s light shine. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland uses critique to demonstrate six tips for introducing characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenna Moreci shares her favourite paranormal tropes.

Laurence MacNaughton shares a six-point story checklist for powerful scenes. Then, Janice Hardy offers a three-step plan for returning to a partially finished manuscript. Fiction University

Jami Gold helps you find the right pace for your story. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: everything writers need to know about book series.

Sara Letourneau offers some writing exercises for exploring the theme of man and the natural world. Later in the week, Dave Chesson shares five tips for levelling up your craft. DIY MFA

Some great tips for creating a consistent writing habit. Reedsy

Becca Puglisi shares eights ways to hook readers at the ends of chapters. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five plot twists that are too obvious. He tackles some well-known, bestselling, award-nominated, or award-winning novels and, while I can see and might even agree with the assessments, I’ll note that it did not have a negative impact on my enjoyment of the novels (well, with one exception, but I won’t get into that here). I think many readers enjoy these books regardless of, or despite, these faulty plot twists and that writing something similar won’t necessarily hurt your chances of publication. You can always strive to do better, and I think that’s the point of the article. Still, take it in context (and don’t panic). Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer explains how to daringly and correctly use semicolons. Writer’s Digest

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you took away something to help with your current work in progress.

Now more than ever, be well, my writerly friends.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 23-29, 2020

March first was lamb-like. I’m hoping for a gentle month. How about you?

Now, it’s time to get your fill of informal writerly learnings.

Tiffany Yates Martin lists ten specific ways to encourage your reader to like your protagonist. Kris Maze shares five steps to becoming a superstar self-editor. Writers in the Storm

Julia Munroe Martin is not above spying … again. Barbara Linn Probst is taking it scene by scene: the “middle level” of writing. Heather Webb tackles the social media meltdown and burnout. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares the professional resources she uses for all aspects of writing and publishing processes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Do you need to outline your book? Reedsy

Then, Shaelin recommends how to develop your best writing process. Reedsy

Joanna Penn interviews Barbara Poelle about finding and pitching a literary agent. The Creative Penn

Sarah Chauncey lists five flashback mistakes. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford: don’t release the tension.

Manuela Williams shares five tips for writing an author bio that stands out. DIY MFA

Jami Gold explains how to get advice from an editor. Later in the week, she wonders, do our stories have deeper meanings?

Chris Winkle lists the four essentials of an effective character arc. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how to use failure in your story. Mythcreants

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something tasty that will support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 16-22, 2020

Here we are in the final week of February. Winter is crawling to its end, the light returns, and so does the hope of spring. Celebrate with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Tasha Seegmiller: writer, you are separate from your craft. Barbara Linn Probst considers likeable and relatable: why (and how) do they matter? Writers in the Storm

Vaughn Roycroft has a new take on readership. Dave King: the web of writing. Kathleen McCleary has answers to questions about writing. Porter Anderson analyzes the Authors Guild’s 2020 Report. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland has some thoughts on how to be critical of stories in a way that makes a difference. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews Aiki Flinthart about writing fight scenes with female characters. The Creative Penn

Christina Delay wants you to fall in love with your second act. Angela Ackerman explains how to build powerful character relationships. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy considers whether to stop and revise or keep writing the first draft. Fiction University

Brenda Joyce Patterson takes a deep dive into libretti. DIY MFA

Nathan Bransford helps you clear out the clutter around your verbs.

How to write character voices. Reedsy

Oren Ashkenazi explains why “but men are objectified, too” doesn’t hold up. Then, Oren lists ten ways to keep the authorities out of your plot. Mythcreants

Jami Gold wonders, what do you do with disappointment?

Robert Lee Brewer explains the difference between metaphor and personification. Writer’s Digest

Kate Knibbs says, the hottest new genre is doomer lit (formerly known as cli-fi). Wired

Charlie Jane Anders believes that to write about the future is to represent the past. Tor.com

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

Until next time, be well!

Tipsday2019