Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 25-31, 2022

Welcome to 2023, y’all! The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always a little quiet. I still managed to curate some informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

Jeanette the Writer answers the question: when should I start editing? Then, Lori Walker interviews Amy Christine Parker about maximizing your first chapter with great opening lines and characterization. Stephanie Dethlefs shares five things Pixar teaches about cause and effect. DIY MFA

Eldred Bird wonders what separates a good writer from a great writer. Writers in the Storm

Why fantasy isn’t just for kids. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin helps you figure out if an editor is worth the money. Then, Susan DeFreitas poses three questions to ask yourself before you draft (or revise) a novel. Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin discusses rejecting “bests” and resolutions. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle: what is a throughline in writing? Mythcreants

50 words you’ll want to start using. The List Show | Mental Floss

Katrya Bolger engages with textual healing: the novel world of bibliotherapy. The Walrus

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 16-22, 2022

This is the final tipsday of October (!) Will you NaNoWriMo this year? I am. It will probably be another NaNo rebel combo, though I will be focusing on Alice in Thunderland. It might actually be a novella, though I’m not certain, yet.

In any case, it’s time to get your fill of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Richelle Lyn is teaming up with other solopreneurs. Then, Jeanette the Writer explains what an editor actually does. Stephanie Dethlefs helps you get to know your ideal reader. Later in the week, Ashley Christiano offers five meditations to help you find your writing confidence. DIY MFA

Jan O’Hara discusses journaling and the writer (episode: man versus table saw). Then, Barbara Linn Probst is grappling with the awkward question of “women’s” fiction. Sophie Masson considers food in fiction. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy lists five ways dialogue can annoy your readers. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland reveals the nine negative character arcs in the enneagram. Helping Writers Become Authors

This fairy tale is an actual nightmare. Tale Foundry

Becca Puglisi lists the ingredients for a successful story climax. Margie Lawson says, here be monsters: writers beware! Lynette M. Burrows shares seven ways to increase your creativity through workspace design. Writers in the Storm

Jessica Conoley is writing through the impossible. Then, Hattie Fletcher explains how to avoid taking edits too personally. C.S. Lakin helps you use weather to convey mood in fiction. Jane Friedman

On her own site, Susanne shares tips on how to bring setting to life in your fiction. Live, Write Thrive

Marissa Graff suggests five micro-edits to hook readers on your first page. Then, Julie Artz shares her top three world-building pitfalls and how to avoid them. Writers Helping Writers

The Rings of Power has a narrative momentum problem. Like Stories of Old

Nathan Bransford wonders, can you see what is and isn’t on the page?

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how to speak as well as you write (part 2). Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb reveals why we love, hate, and need horror.

Chris Winkle explains why you should consider present tense. Mythcreants

Roz Morris interviews Jessica Bell on making good decisions about cover design. Nail Your Novel

Louise Harnby answers this question: can I place a dialogue tag before the character’s speech?

How to prevent creative burnout as a writer. Reedsy

Hannah McGregor shares how her Harry Potter podcast made her a better scholar. The Walrus

Jeff Beer explains why Marvel’s She-Hulk finale is the best branded content of the year. Fast Company

Michelle Cyca interviews Ann-Marie MacDonald on exile, imagination, and her new gothic ghost story. The Walrus

John Garth explains how J.R.R. Tolkien came to write the stories that were the source material for The Rings of Power. The Smithsonian Magazine

David Routt: HBO’s House of the Dragon was inspired by a real medieval dynastic struggle over a female ruler. The Conversation

Thanks you for spending some time with me, and I hope you took away something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well.

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

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

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

A procrastinator’s guide to finishing things. Struthless

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

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

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

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

Why villains love contracts. Tale Foundry

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

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

How mountains inspire mythology. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

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

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

Nine things to do before starting a novel. Shaelin Writes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 29-June 4, 2022

It’s tipsday! You know what that means. It’s time to get your fill of informal writerly learnings 🙂

LA Bourgeois: victory celebration required. Jeanette the Writer explains the difference between writing and editing. Then, Lori Walker interviews Rebecca Scherm about writing the near future: climate change and big tech. Carol Van Den Hende lists three benefits to speaking at industry conferences. Later in the week, Angela Yeh shares five ways to develop a creative ritual you’ll want to keep. DIY MFA

Fight me! Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland: understanding the normal world of a story’s first act. Helping Writers Become Authors

Tom Bentley: this pretty much (book) covers it. Kasey LeBlanc provides some tools to help you on your querying journey. Donald Maass: your microcosm, our world. Grace Wynter interviews Mel Todd about going from fanfiction to $150K. Then, Liza Nash Taylor triple-dog dares you to make a pass: revising your draft. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin reacts to writing advice from Twitter. Reedsy

Eldred Bird says that if you’re going mobile, you need a mobile media kit. Then, Janice Hardy shares ten ways to un-stick your novel. James Preston wonders who’s in charge of your story? Writers in the Storm

Becca Puglisi wonders, is compassion fatigue is relevant to your characters? Then, Lucy V. Hay helps you avoid writing stereotyped female characters. Writers Helping Writers

Mapinguari: fearsome beast and protector of the rainforest.  Monstrum | PBS Storied

The horror genre: stories of life and damnation against uncanny, supernatural, and ambiguous monsters. The thriller genre is a blend of action, crime, and horror stories. Story Grid

Kristen Lamb suggests writing fast and furious to outrun Spock brain.

Nathan Bransford explains how to utilize exposition and context in a novel.

Closeted bullies are all over our screens. How real is this trope? The Take

Barbara Linn Probst tells you what to remember, do, avoid, and expect when getting book endorsements (blurbs). Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle explains how to create moral dilemmas that are actually moral. The, Oren Ashkenazi points out the difference between relatable and mediocre heroes. Mythcreants

Ten kids’ books by Canadian Asian authors to read in honour of Asian Heritage Month. CBC Books

David A. Robertson curates this list of 48 books by Indigenous writers to read about and understand residential schools. CBC Books

Emily Pullen recommends new LGBTQ fiction for Pride 2022. The New York Public Library

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

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, March 27-April 2, 2022

Welcome to April! Celebrate the season with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Melissa Haas rounds out March with some leisure learning suggestions. Then, Kris Hill is writing dynamic combat scenes with Dungeons & Dragons. Gabriela Pereira interviews Rob Hart about setting as character in speculative fiction. Angela Yeh: world building without losing your mind (or the reader). Jeanette the Writer wants you to keep these five things in mind during the editing process. DIY MFA

The missing key to understanding Christopher Nolan. Like Stories of Old

K.M. Weiland shares six ways to create spectacular set-piece scenes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft: the autumn writer. Yasmin Angoe shares eight lessons learned as a debut author—so far. Then, Jeanne Kisacky offers a writer’s review of Aeon Timeline software. Sarah McCoy provides your guide to water when the inspiration well runs dry. Leslie Budewitz considers discomfort, intention, and creativity (again, click through to the podcast—it’s worth your time). Writer Unboxed

14 revision tips. How to edit your book. Shaelin Writes

Angela Ackerman points out setting description mistakes that weaken stories. Then, Becca Puglisi shows you how to use vocal cues to reveal hidden emotion. Writers Helping Writers

Kris Maze shares seven foolproof tricks to outsmart writing procrastination. Margie Lawson: beware of the Great Oz effect! Writers in the Storm

Nathan Bransford explains how to show a character reacting to a dramatic moment.

Sacha Black interview Mark Leslie Lefebvre and Helen Glynn-Jones about writing and marketing an anthology. The Rebel Author Podcast

Lindsay Ellis explains why magical realism is a global phenomenon. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Tiffany Yates Martin: character, conflict, and that infamous Oscar slap. Fox Print Editorial

The story crisis triggers change in the protagonist. The story climax reveals the character of the protagonist. Story Grid

Chris Winkle: originality is dead! Long live novelty! Mythcreants

Jenna Moreci shares her 10 best tips for action scenes.

100 things you might not know about Beverly Cleary. CBC Books

Eleanor Wachtel interviews Sarah Polley: from child star to award-winning filmmaker. CBC’s “Writers and Company”

Thank you 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: Informal writerly learnings, March 20-26, 2022

It’s the last tipsday of March! Three months of 2022 passed, and … what do I have to show for it? Actually, I have a fair amount. I just have to remind myself that just because my head has been in #revisionhell for the past three months doesn’t mean that I haven’t accomplished anything else (!)

In any case, it’s time to stock up on informal writerly learnings for the last time in March.

Disha Walia wants you to appreciate speculative storytelling elements with these book recommendations. Then, Jeanette the Writer suggests when to stop editing: enough is enough. Gabriela Pereira interviews Brian Leung: writing about difficult subjects with a distinct first-person voice. Later in the week, Jessie Kwak explains how to recapture joy in your writing. Finally, Alexis M. Collazo shares five daily practices to stay happy, healthy, and writing. DIY MFA

Damn, you’re ugly: a Witcher armour review. Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland poses three questions to make sure you’re not missing out on important scenes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman introduces you to the invisible reader you don’t want to ignore. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four ways to write the lived experience of trauma. Ellen Buikema is using the sixth sense in writing. Writers in the Storm

Do progressive reboots actually work? Melina Pendulum

Matthew Norman shares what the Beatles taught him about the difficulty of art: a hard day’s work. Then, Erika Liodice lists ten ways to find inspiration in Key West: sunshine and the creative mind. Kelsey Allagood asks, are you an accidental info-dumper? Then, Julia Whelan explains how to write a book without writing a book: what burnout taught her about process. John J. Kelley is rediscovering wonder and wisdom at Planet Word Museum. Writer Unboxed

Know your writing tropes. Reedsy

Tiffany Yates Martin is weaving flashbacks seamlessly into story. Then, Susan DeFreitas shares the secret of successful openings. Jane Friedman

Joanna Penn interviews Nikesh Shukla about Your Story Matters. The Creative Penn

The screwed-up history of English spelling. Otherwords | PBS Storied

Nathan Bransford: writing in times like these (and do click through to Morten Høi Jensen’s Gawker article—it’s excellent).

Inciting incident: how to start a story. Story Grid

A whole dynasty of Bi emperors. Xiran Jay Zhao

Tiffany Yates Martin: what do you do when the worst happens? Again, I recommend clicking through to listen to the podcast Tiffany discusses. Then she tackles the question: how do you write enduring stories? Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb says that SEO is the key to working smarter, not harder.

Becca Puglisi shares nine tension-building elements for character dialogue. Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the empty writing of The Alchemyst. Then, Oren Ashkenazi stages a high fantasy battle royale. Who will win: Name of the Wind, The Fifth Season, or Way of Kings? Mythcreants

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: Informal writerly learnings, Jan 9-15, 2022

You’ve made it through Monday! Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings. They’re good for your writerly soul 🙂

Sophie Masson offers her first impressions on book covers. Then, Jim Dempsey considers a fusion of fiction with fact. Juliet Marillier is finding hope in the power of storytelling. Kathryn Craft: determining relevant conflict, or … the curious case of the constipated elephant. Then, David Corbett ponders distraction, focus, silence. Writer Unboxed

Teenage girl makes chaotic life choices. Jill Bearup

Allison K. Williams explains how to get your writing done when New Year’s resolutions don’t work (and they usually don’t). Then, Kayla Kauffman warns, don’t let your characters fall into the daily routine trap. Sharon Oard Warner reveals what can happen when you resolve to write a little every day. Jane Friedman

External conflict vs. internal conflict. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland reflects on the six gifts she gave herself in 2021. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman explains whether you’re languishing or flourishing how to recapture your writing mojo. Kathleen Baldwin: who are your readers and why does it matter? Then, Julie Glover wonders what you need to write regularly. Writers in the Storm

The Fates: Greek mythology’s most powerful deities. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Joanna Penn interviews William Kenower: a writer’s guide to the end of self-doubt. The Creative Penn

Sue Coletta explains how to kill your darlings: writers, get a knife. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains how to avoid overcorrecting after receiving feedback.

Why the Madonna-whore complex still reigns. The Take

Manuela Williams shares her must-read books on the craft of poetry. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Leslie Vedder about world building and character friendships in a YA fairy tale retelling. Jeanette the Writer explains how to balance fiction writing with writing for pay. Then, Soleah K. Sadge shares five ways a five-pillar foundation can help build your author brand. DIY MFA

The pandemic onscreen is … The Take

Chris Winkle explains how to keep your favourite character from ruining your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists five ways Arcane could have been better. Mythcreants

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

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

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

LA Bourgeois explains why you should stop using the word “should.” Then, Jeanette the Writer wonders how much you should pay an editor? DIY MFA

Ellen Brock provides her writing guide for intuitive plotters. This one feels spot on for me 🙂

Greer Macallister expounds on your novel’s two beginnings. Only begin. Therese Walsh: recovery from (something that tastes an awful lot like) shame. Donald Maass: gods, monsters, and murderbots. Julie Duffy lists the five Fs you should give while writing. Beth Havey: the power of place. Writer Unboxed

Bad writing habits to drop in 2022. Reedsy

Karen DeBonis says that in medias res is a very good place to start your novel. Then, Joseph Lallo offers some advice about worldbuilding for sci-fi authors: terraforming. Lori Brown is embracing the mystery of deep POV. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth Spann Craig talks about making mini-plans and mini-goals for the year.

Princess Weekes discusses the women of Jane Austen. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Jane Friedman says that BookTok is a safe haven for young, female readers. Jane Friedman

Colleen M. Story shares four strategies to help writers focus in a world of distractions. Writers Helping Writers

Sympathy for the #pickmegirl The Take

Chris Winkle explains how writing instructors forgo the most vital fiction lesson. Oren Ashkenazi: Way of Kings shows us the damage meta-mysteries can do. Mythcreants

Guy Kawasaki interviews Julia Cameron, queen of change, creative inspiration, and prolific writer. The Remarkable People Podcast

Is Trinity the “real” one? The Take

Jami Attenberg: rejection gave me a fresh start, a new year. “Writing is holy, as my friend Patricia Lockwood says. It is true that it is hard to make it as a writer, or any kind of artist, for that matter. But if you love to write, you should write forever.” The Guardian

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 17-23, 2021

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂 Enjoy!

Jan O’Hara receives a wake-up call. Then, Dave King is writing in both directions. Barbara Linn Probst reviews the three aspects of revision: reworking, refining, and revisioning. Later in the week, Desmond Hall drops some more bite-sized writerly learnings on us. Writer Unboxed

Angela Ackerman explains how to make your characters’ choices more difficult. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jill bearup wants to talk to you about your enemies to lovers fixation (see Jenna Moreci, below, for a little writerly how-to).

Jessica Conoley shows you how to use your analyzer switch to increase productivity. Then, Stephanie Bourbon shows you how to fly by the seat of your pants—and win NaNoWriMo. Lizbeth Meredith asks: does the idea of promoting your book make you queasy? Jane Friedman

Emily Zarka recounts the killer origins of the werewolf. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Becca Puglisi reveals how internal conflict fits into the character arc. Live, Write, Thrive

Then, Becca shifts blogs to further discuss failure, conflict, and character arc. Then, Lisa Norman covers publishing dilemmas, distribution, and disruption. Ellen Buikema touts the benefits of writing SMART goals. Writers in the Storm

Jessica Thompson is subverting expectations in satisfying ways. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Louise Harnby answers the question: what is narrative distance?

The “mean girl” trio – three types of bad female leaders. The Take

Nathan explains how to raise the stakes in a novel. Then, Lindsay Syhakhom declares that writing in the library is wonderful. Nathan Bransford

Jeanette the Writer helps you figure out where to put the comma. Tammy Lough: romantic gestures create heat waves. Gabriela Pereira interviews Stephanie Bwa Bwa about world building and the YA fantasy serial. Then, Jessica Vitalis is tackling heavy subjects with middle grade readers. Angela Yeh shares five fun ways to get your butt in the chair (and keep it there). DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci offers her top ten tips for writing enemies to lovers.

J.D. Edwin shares six helpful ways any writer can overcome burnout. The Write Practice

Piper Bayard explains that outside of Hollywood movies, not everything can be “silenced.” Kristen Lamb

Bonnie Randall offers a few foundations of fear in fiction. Fiction University

Chris Winkle explains the problem with multiple viewpoints. Then, Oren Ashkenazi tests how useful Elmore Leonard’s ten rules of writing are. Mythcreants

Shaelin critiques Leonard’s rules, too. It’s interesting to note the differences … Reedsy

Sudbury’s YES Theatre hopes to build new outdoor venue. I remember when this space was open for movie nights and poetry readings and all kinds of artistic events. CBC

A process for the transfer of energy and feeling: George Saunders on the key to great storytelling. Brain Pickings

Kinship: Ursula K. Le Guin’s love poem to trees, the interleaving of life and death, and the eternal flame of being. The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings)

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and 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, 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!