Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 3-9, 2021

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers! It’s time to indulge in some informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland presents the archetypal antagonists of the crone arc: death blight and tempter. Helping Writers Become Authors

Greer Macallister seeks success without self-promotion. Then Jeanne Kisacky is walking the line between insanity and perseverance. Donald Maass reveals the secret of passive protagonists: seeking vs. suffering. Nancy Johnson: the blessed curse of the second book. Then, David Corbett discusses the character in secret search of midnight. Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup made armor. In a cave shed. From a box of scraps.

Karen DeBonis helps you navigate a story identity crisis. Then, Eldred Bird wonders, what (the heck) is a MacGuffin? Jenny Hansen: writing and the law of loss aversion. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin helps you edit your short story. Reedsy

Angela Ackerman says, if you want powerful conflict, you can’t forget the stakes. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Then, over on Jami Gold’s blog, Angela explains how to write conflict without “bad guys.”

Bethany Henry is making magic systems that work and wow. Fiction University

Why fat phobia is still a problem onscreen. The Take

E.J. Wenstrom presents book promotion graphics for newbies. Then, Sara Farmer looks at some modern girl detectives. Maan Gabriel shares hacks to combat writer’s block and develop discipline. Then, Jane Elizabeth Hughes offers five tips for writing a historical mystery. DIY MFA

Seth Harwood says, your writing matters; a coach can help. Jane Friedman

The Bond Girl, her secret, and her future. The Take

Chris Winkle explains how to keep mysteries from looking like mistakes. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that break their worlds’ themes. Mythcreants

Lindsay Syhakhom: writing and the art of surrender. Nathan Bransford

Allison Flood celebrates Abdulrazak Gurnah’s 2021 Nobel Prize in literature win. The Guardian

Thanks for stopping by. 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, Sept 12-18, 2021

It’s tipsday! That means you’ve made it through Monday 🙂 Celebrate with some informal writerly learnings.

Sophie Masson is cooking up great book buzz. Then, Jim Dempsey explains how to tap into your characters’ emotions. Barbara Linn Probst wants you to go beyond description with story-relevant aspects of setting. Then, Matthew Norman shares the best writing advice he’s ever gotten. Kelsey Allagood says, active protagonists are tools of the patriarchy. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland looks at the archetypal antagonists for the hero arc: the dragon and the sick king. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shang Chi: I can see clearly now … Jill Bearup

Jennie Nash asks, why write this book? Then, Anna David explains why and how she got her rights back from HarperCollins. Jane Friedman

Eldred Bird: everything has a story. Then, Piper Bayard explains how to bug a room (writing spies). Jenny Hansen: what if my [insert person] reads this? Writers in the Storm

John Kerr lists five story structures to use in your writing. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Kellie Doherty introduces us to some autumn deities. Fantasy Faction

How do we criticize our own? (Also, stop calling Lizzo a mammy.) Melina Pendulum

Jami Gold: if your story’s not behaving, try going deeper into structure. Then, Christina Kaye lists the three things you should consider before choosing your fiction genre. Writers Helping Writers

Olivia Fisher recounts her long road to becoming a freelance editor, part 1. And here’s my latest Speculations: one author’s journey on the autism spectrum. Sonia Hartl explains the importance of friendships in YA. Then, Kanh Ha shares five tips on writing fiction. DIY MFA

The Oedipus Complex: Film and TV’s Freudian obsession. The Take

Kristen Lamb considers types of plot twists and why they’re amazing for stories.

Christine Pride explains how a book goes from acquisitions to books store shelves. Nathan Bransford

Chris Winkle explains why you shouldn’t write a masterpiece. Then, Oren Ashkenazi scores WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki on engagement. Mythcreants

Susanna Clarke: I’d really ceased to think of myself as a writer. The Guardian

5X15 presents Neil Gaiman and Susanna Clarke.

Beth Cato: shared pain. Nature

James Whitbrook: Marvel’s Eternals star, Lauren Ridloff, wants movie theatres to be more accessible for everyone. Gizmodo

Thanks for taking the time to stop 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, Aug 1-7, 2021

It is time, once again, to stock up on informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy says, don’t let these plotting errors knock your novel off track. Then, Jodi Turchin touts the benefits of a DIY personal writers retreat. Bethany Henry provides a guide for writing strong female characters. Then, Aly Brown lists three mixed-up writing goofs you might be making. Fiction University

Jill Bearup analyzes Harley Quinn’s bonkers elevator fight scene. One Villainous Scene

Greer Macallister shares three tips for a great cover reveal. Then, Allie Larkin says, don’t finish your book. Donald Maass: the walking stick. Later in the week, Rheea Mukherjee wonders, how absurd can our characters be? Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes presents Demona is alone. One Villainous Scene. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland explains how the antagonist functions in different kinds of character arcs. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elizabeth Spann Craig provides us with a release checklist.

How to write literary fiction. Reedsy

Literary fiction tropes. Reedsy

You may think Jeanette the Writer is being facetious when she explains how to edit an email, but for those important emails (queries, client relations, etc.) do you really want to take the chance of making a critical mistake? Then, Tammy Lough says, historical romance is too hot to handle! Becca Spence Dobias shares five ways audiobooks improve your voice as an author. DIY MFA

Narrative worldbuilding. Shaelin Writes

Stefan Emunds explains the importance of curiosity and tension to storytelling. Then, C.S. Lakin reveals the secret ingredient of a commercially successful novel. Mathina Calliope wonders, should I hire a coach or a therapist? Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford: don’t over-explain “default” objects and gestures. Then Lindsay Syhakhom explains how to rediscover your passion for writing.  

Don’t know much about Beowulf? Princess Weekes is here to help. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Sacha Black points out three mistakes to avoid with your side characters. Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb presents the good, the bad, and the just please stop of description.

John Peragine says, it’s time for a second edition. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle answers the question: do characters need to be likable? Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines five useless characters and how to fix them. Mythcreants

Jami Gold explains the benefits of making your characters take two steps back.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 6-12, 2021

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂 Get ‘em while they’re hot (and not too old)!

Greer Macallister wonders, can writers still be readers? Then, Jim Dempsey provides a guide to style. Kathleen McCleary says, prove it! Kathryn Craft shows you how to heighten tension with a watcher. David Corbett: on killing 22,000 darlings, part 2. Identifying the dead. Writer Unboxed

This is your brain on language. SciShow Psych

K.M. Weiland covers the flat archetype of the parent in part 18 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan DeFreitas shares six key strategies for emotionally affecting fiction. Then, J. Michael Straczynsky explains why you can’t sell an idea. Ashleigh Renard is selling books on TikTok, no dancing (or crying) required. Jane Friedman

The lotus blossom stereotype. The Take

Jami Gold helps you avoid “talking heads” and other clichés. Then, Jessica Conoley helps you build your triangle of support with part 2: mentorship. Writers Helping Writers

Colleen M. Story lists five signs you have “writer’s DNA.”  Piper Bayard presents seven character lessons from a real-life heroine. Writers in the Storm

Yes, Virginia, the female gaze exists. The Take

Marina Barakatt examines the value of Lumberjanes. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Tasha Suri about crafting conflict in epic fantasy. Later in the week, Elizabeth Sumner Wafler explains how she built her side biz as an editor. Then Rebecca D’Harlingue lists five questions to ask before you write a dual timeline novel. DIY MFA

Kristine Kathryn Rusch continues her fear-based decision-making series with traditional writers.

Chris Winkle explains why we have to let go of meta mysteries. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with weak stakes. Mythcreants

I tried Harley Quinn’s elevator flip (as one does). Jill Bearup

Sudbury’s Scott Overton writes about an alien artefact found in a northern Ontario lake. CBC

Mike Fleming Jr. reports that N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy lands at Sony TriStar in 7-figure deal; author to adapt. Deadline

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and 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, Dec 6-12, 2020

Welcome to another week. You’ve made it past Monday! Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy points out an easy way to create conflict in your novel. Then, she offers five ways to fix a stalled scene. Fiction University

Shaelin explains how to unstick your draft. Reedsy

Greer Macallister explains what’s new and what’s not about book launches now. Jim Dempsey tackles diversity in publishing. Then, Barbara Linn Probst says, you never know the difference your book could make … Kathryn Craft says, the art of the chapter break is retention and seduction. David Corbett: Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, and me.  Writer Unboxed

I wrote every day, and this is what I learned. Shaelin Writes

Jami Gold considers whether to avoid or embrace story tropes. Writers Helping Writers

On her own blog, Jami follows up and offers some additional examples: how to make the most of tropes.

The annoying millennial trope, explained. The Take

The sick girl trope, explained. The Take

E.J. Wenstom encourages you to make some author platform New Year’s resolutions. DIY MFA

Colleen M. Story explains how to inspire hope for a new year of writing. Later in the week, Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes answer seven questions for an espionage pro. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten tips for writing your first draft.

Chris Winkle shows you how to choose scenes for your story. Mythcreants

What is a butt tuba and why are there so many of them in medieval illumination? Michelle Brown TED-Ed

Nduta Waweru recounts the rise and fall of Alexandre Dumas, the Black author who ruled European literature in the 1800s. Face 2 Face Africa

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

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 25-31, 2020

Welcome to the first—and last—tipsday of November! Load up on informal writerly learnings and I’ll see you in December. ‘Cause NaNoWriMo.

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

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance. Get your flu shot. We are firmly in the second wave and the situation is getting steadily worse. We all have to pull together to survive and protect each other until a vaccine is available.

Kim Bullock explains why writers need rooms of their own. Later in the week, Barbara O’Neal distinguishes between using memory vs. backstory. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland: the midpoint as the swivel of your novel’s linked structure. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy shares six steps to creating a great character. Fiction University

Susan DeFreitas says, don’t hold out for publishing to make you feel seen. Pursue this goal instead. Jane Friedman

The Karen trope, explained. The Take

And then, the witch trope, explained. The Take

Tasha Seegmiller: how do your characters love? Later in the week, Eldred Bird offers some tips for upping your “what if” game. Then, Laurie Schnebly Campbell explains why we love (and resent) alpha males. Writers in the Storm

Gilbert Bassey offers four ways to fix a boring story. Writers Helping Writers

Helen J. Darling wants you to reconnect with your values if you’re feeling stuck. Then, Pamela Taylor helps you create authentic details in historical medicine. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Laura Jamison about writing the ensemble cast. Then Sara Farmer interviews Linda Olson. DIY MFA

Shaelin reviews structuring your novel with Dan Harman’s plot embryo. Reedsy

And then, she looks at the traditional three act structure. Reedsy

Jami Gold gives some thought to world building on an epic scale.

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the mixed climaxes of Marvel’s phase three, part 1. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb explains why some stories fall apart and fail to hook readers (spoilers: it’s story structure).

Summer H. Paulus offers some insight into the origins of Halloween and its traditions. Fantasy Faction

Tricia Ennis reveals the strange, difficult history of queer coding. SyFy

Aja Romano explains how voice actors are fighting to change an industry that renders them invisible. Vox

Disney’s new content warnings on classic animation featuring racist characters. BBC

Thank you for visiting, and 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 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 6-12, 2020

Welcome to tipsday, my humble curation of informal writerly goodness.

Before we get to the resources, Black and Indigenous (and all other racialized or marginalized) lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

We’re officially six months into #pandemic life and here in the northeast, we’re waiting for the other show to fall following the return to school last week. We’re already experiencing a bump in infection numbers, likely due to covid exhaustion and the relaxation of safety measures over the Labour Day long weekend.

Wear your masks, maintain physical distance, and wash your hands. We don’t have a vaccine yet.

Now let’s move on to supporting your creative endeavours.

Jael McHenry: is writing work? The answer is not as simple as you’d think. Jim Dempsey wants you to edit at your own pace. Then, Juliet Marillier offers some advice on writing a many-stranded story. Kathryn Craft shares a quiz actually helpful for writers. Later in the week, David Corbett discusses love, hope, and the dystopian darkness. Writer Unboxed

The “bury your gays” trope, explained. The Take

K.M. Weiland shares the 15 steps she uses to self-publish. Helping Writers Become Authors

Yen Cabag is creating believable characters. Elizabeth Spann Craig

The Disney princess trope, explained. The Take

Laurence MacNaughton shares the three-minute scene fix. Fiction University

Jami Gold wants you to explore your options for story conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Inigo vs. Westley: perfectly subversive. Why is this in tipsday? It’s all about storytelling through fight scenes! Jill Bearup

Angela Yeh believes that poetry can change the world. Later in the week, Sara Farmer interviews Ausma Zehanat Khan. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig muses on plot and character (and giving writing advice at the end of the world). Terribleminds

Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes: fiction faves of the espionage pros. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle explains how our stories abandon morality for gray-colored lenses. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the terrible movie climaxes from Marvel’s phase one. Mythcreants

Shaelin Bishop shares six misconceptions she had about writing. Shaelin Writes

Nina Munteanu considers cymatics and how frequency changes the very nature of matter and energy.

Anne Ray takes us on a journey from La Jetée to Twelve Monkeys to covid-19. JSTOR Daily

This first episode of the new season was awesome! Desmond Cole, Saleema Nawaz, and John Elizabeth Stintzi. Shelagh Rogers, The Next Chapter, CBC.

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 30-Sept 5, 2020

Starting a short week with a Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday is tough. Fortify yourselves with some informal writerly learnings.

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

#pandemiclife is entering its sixth month and there’s no end in sight even though everyone has covid brain and is exhausted by the restraint and safety restrictions.

Today marked the return to schools for most children in Ontario. I wish them well, but I still worry. We’ve been told to expect a bump in infections, like it’s acceptable to sacrifice children’s and teachers’ and their families’ health.

Please wear your masks, respect social distancing, wash your hands, and stay safe.

Nancy Johnson explains what it’s like writing while Black in times like these. Kristan Hoffman hopes you’ll try these ideas to stay active in your writing life. Donald Maass wonders what—and how much—belongs in your novel? Erika Liodice explains how to give an out-of-print book new life through self-publishing. Liza Nash Taylor says she’s late to the party: on being a debut novelist at 60. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares seven considerations for your antagonist’s motivations (which will save you so much trouble). Helping Writers Become Authors

Orly Konig: suspenders for pantsers. Fiction University

James Scott Bell describes hanging upside down and other creative moves. Writers Helping Writers

The feminist trope explained. The Take

Jenn Walton: sweet writing is made of dreams. Then, Brenda Joyce Patterson explains how to establish a literary mentorship. Later in the week, Neha Mediratta wonders, are you giving yourself a chance? Then, A.R. Taylor offers five tips for creating your villain. DIY MFA

What is a motif? How is it different from theme and symbol? And how can you use motif in your writing? Reedsy

Joe Ponepinto advises that if you want to avoid rejection, take the writer out of the story. Jane Friedman

Angie Hodapp says, your protagonist must fail. Pub Rants

Jami Gold considers the black moment: understanding our options.

Shaelin explains how to raise your story’s stakes. Reedsy

Chris Winkle lists nine options for high stakes conflict without violence. Oren Ashkenazi: The Umbrella Academy shows us why it’s important to plan your powers. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb explains how story forges and refines character.

Rahil Sheikh introduces us to Kuli Kohli: “They wanted to drown me a birth—now, I’m a poet.” BBC

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

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 2-8, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. These aren’t just words. They’re fundamental truths.

I just have to sigh and shake my head. Every “plan” for returning to school is so sketchy … I can’t even. And collectively, the US has just broken five million—FIVE MILLION—cases. The president is finally trying to behave like he cares. Sometimes. But it’s so clear he’s just gesturing emphatically because the election is coming up.

I won’t waste more words we’re all living in/though this nightmare. We know the score.

Let’s proceed to the informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to help writers during the pandemic (plus giveaways to get you started). Helping Writers Become Authors

Science fiction that imagines a future Africa – Nnedi Okorafor. TED

Jeanette the Writer shares tips for editing our bias: how to refer to race in literature. Later in the week, Becca Puglisi helps you choose the right job for your character. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci lists ten toxic attitude you need to drop as a writer.

Elizabeth Huergo considers Goya’s “The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters.” Donald Maass discusses suspense. Later in the week, Cathy Yardley considers writing with mental illness. Writer Unboxed

Jodi Turchin explains how to drive through the muddy middle of your novel. Fiction University

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers tips on how to research mental health and trauma for your characters. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford says, there’s no excuse for not knowing where your book fits in the market.

Chris Winkle counts down 12 signs a storyteller is building romantic and sexual chemistry. Then, Oren Ashkenazi compares the climaxes of all nine Star Wars movies. Mythcreants

Angela Ackerman stops by Jami Gold’s blog to explore love, work, and office romance.

Princess Weekes and Lindsay Ellis consider what War and Peace has to offer. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Cynthia Barounis is choosing love over eugenics. JSTOR Daily

Karen Fricker and Carly Maga clarify Jesse Wente’s goal as new chair of the Canada Council for the Arts: to do less harm. The Toronto Star

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

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

Tipsday2019