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!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 28-March 6, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Time to indulge in some informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland continues her archetypal character arcs series with part four: the queen arc. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sharon Oard Warner advises you to find the ending before you return to the beginning. Jane Friedman

Yuvi Zalkow encourages you to expose your mess. Sarah Penner considers women’s empowerment in fiction from a bookseller’s perspective. Later in the week, Liza Nash Taylor declares, there will be worms. Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup considers boob armor: four things you need to know.

James Scott Bell wants you to turn envy into energy. Later in the week, Becca Puglisi shares eleven techniques for transforming clichéd phrasings. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer lists eight essential edits for your novel. Later in the week, Emily R. King wants you to find your voice. Then, Ann McCallum Staats shares five hands-on research techniques for spot-on writing. DIY MFA

Shaelin looks at Deus Ex Machina: what it is, why it happens, and how to fix it. Reedsy

Janice Hardy points out six places infodumps like to hide in your novel. Fiction University

Then, Shaelin explains how to write a cliff-hanger that keeps readers turning pages. Reedsy

Janice Hardy asks, does you novel have a problem? (It should.) Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle: Space Sweepers shows us what excellent messaging is. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five common story fragmentations and how to consolidate them. Mythcreants

Emily Zarka examines the Taotie: the mystery of Chinese mythology’s famous glutton. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Nina Munteanu: the semicolon is dead; long live the semicolon.

Harry Potter isn’t a good guy. The Take

Cassandra Drudi encourages you to listen to Waubgeshig Rice and Jennifer David’s new podcast, Storykeepers, an audio book club on Indigenous literature. Quill & Quire

Kyle Muzyka interviews Richard Van Camp on storytelling and its power to combat loneliness. CBC’s Unreserved

John Dickerson interviews Colson Whitehead, the only fiction writer to win Pulitzer Prizes for consecutive works. 60 Minutes

Guy Kawasaki interviews Luvvie Ajayi Jones for the Remarkable People Podcast.

Gabriel Weisz Carrington explains how his mother, Leonora Carrington, used tarot to reach self-enlightenment. Literary Hub

Thank you for visiting, 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, Dec 20-26, 2020

It’s the last tipsday of 2020! Quick, get your informal writerly learnings while they last!

Janice Hardy suggests you try this fun exercise to shake up your muse. Fiction University

How to write descriptively – Nalo Hopkinson. TED-ed

Ellen Buikema explains how she moved from pantser to plantser. Then, Kris Maze shares productivity hacks from bestselling writers. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin Bishop makes a craft video on writing experimental fiction: the unity of form and concept. Shaelin Writes

Kristen Lamb considers amazing grace: what do we do when we’re our own worst critic?

Princess Weekes: is Dune the most important scifi series ever? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Jeanette the Writer reviews the words that shaped 2020. Jo Wnorowski shares five ways journaling improves your life.  DIY MFA

The Becky trope, explained. The Take

And, the sexy vampire trope, explained. The Take

Chris Winkle lists five ways to build your storytelling muscles. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Interview with a Vampire shows the strengths and weaknesses of adaptation. Mythcreants

Emily Zarka considers the Pontianak, the vengeful, violent, vampiric ghost of southeast Asia. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Waubgeshig Rice: Indigenous identity and the responsibility of telling stories. Open Book

Thanks for visiting and 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, Oct 11-17, 2020

Another week, another collection of informal writerly goodness.

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

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance when you can’t. Wash your hands. Get your flu shot as soon as you can.

K. Tempest Bradford: World Fantasy, the convention that keeps on failing. The lack of diversity on panels and lack of a properly enforced anti-harassment policy have been ongoing for the better part of a decade and organizers are reluctant to admit there are problems, let alone take action on them.

Princess Weekes breaks down true womanhood and black girlhood in media. Melina Pendulum

Jeanette the Writer: yes, there are different types of English. Later in the week, Jeremy Hance explains how he decided to write a memoir about his hilarious mental illness. Then, Ambre Leffler offers five ways to be kind to your eyes. DIY MFA

K.M. Weiland explores the link between the first and second pinch points. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin shares five fantasy tropes to avoid, be careful with, or embrace. Reedsy

Lori Freeland details the five key elements to layering your scene. Later in the week, Jenny Hansen lists the five fears that spook most writers. Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy explains the difference between a first page that hooks and a novel that hooks. Fiction University

Jim Dempsey wants you to ground your characters with all five senses. Then, Barbara Linn Probst wonders, what is your story about, anyway? Word, phrase, sentence, equation. Later in the week, Anne Greenwood Brown explains how to communicate without words. Writer Unboxed

Alli Sinclair is asking the right questions with character interviews. Writers Helping Writers

Nancy Stohlman extols the benefits of writing flash fiction. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the exposition of Crescent City. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists six signs your story is about the wrong character. Mythcreants

The setting of a story: what is it and how to write it. Reedsy

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: 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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 31-June 6, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I’m listening, I’m learning, and I’m trying to do better.

2020 has been an apocalyptic year between covid-19, George Floyd’s murder, and the resulting fed up protests. Last week I was mired in despair, complicit in my silence, and deeply aware—and ashamed—of my white privilege.

I’ve read Black authors, Indigenous authors, and authors of other cultural backgrounds. I’ve taken a few Writing the Other courses. I’ve long thought that Canada’s greatest shame was our treatment of Indigenous peoples, but I hadn’t realized the hateful legacy of Canada’s treatment of Black people. I’m deeply grateful to the Black writers who’ve published insightful articles in the Canadian media during the last week (I’ll share some of them on Thursday and in ensuing weeks).

I have hope, though, because all four officers involved in George Floyd’s murder have been charged, even though it took some time to happen. I have hope because of all the protests, not only across the US, but also across Canada and all over the world, in which white and black protestors have stood, or knelt, side by side, demanding change.

I understand it is only a beginning and that we cannot ease the pressure on our elected officials until true and lasting change occurs. But I have hope.

Now, onto the informal writerly learnings.

Therese Walsh: the ourstory of now (BLM). Don Maass: the quest in the quest (BLM). Jael McHenry is getting comfortable with failure. Writer Unboxed

David Chariandy in conversation with Lawrence Hill.

K.M. Weiland shares 11 exercises to enhance your visual storytelling skills. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jami Gold explains the point of foreshadowing. Later in the week, she suggests how to format unusual dialogue.

Jeanette the Writer: even MS Word says two spaces after a period is an error. Gabriela Pereira: this needs to be said (BLM). DIY MFA

Janice Hardy explains why you should tighten your novel’s narrative focus. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb says, unforgettable characters are fashioned from damaged pieces.

Michelle Barker warns of the dangers of anecdotal writing. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci discusses the worst friendship tropes in fiction (starting at 3:22).

Mira Singer analyzes three genre-defining books with underutilized tropes. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines six characters with poorly handled arcs. Mythcreants

Chi Luu: the linguistic case for shit hitting the fan. JSTOR

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you were able to find something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe. Whatever your lane (education, support, donate, protest) become part of the solution. And vote with your conscience. We need to put pressure on our politicians to make change stick.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 9-15, 2020

It’s that time of the week again, time for informal writerly learnings!

Melinda VanLone offers a quick guide to image copyright issues. On Valentine’s Day, Julie Glover helps you love your writer self. Writers in the Storm

Rheea Mukherjee is writing in a time of global trauma. Jim Dempsey wants to help you create conflict in your characters. Kathryn Craft lists seven ways to overcome story implausibility. David Corbett: if not love … Writer Unboxed

Something just for fun 🙂 Shaelin shares five false writer stereotypes. Reedsy

And then, she shares five true writer stereotypes. Reedsy

Christina Kaye guest posts on Helping Writers Become Authors: four research tips for writing legal fiction.

Laurence MacMaughton offers three rules for raising story stakes. Fiction University

September C. Fawkes explains how premise plays into theme. Brandon Cornett helps you figure out when situational writing works better than plotting. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer answers this knotty question: will an editor steal my ideas? Bess McAllister explains how to make your own writer luck. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews K.S. Villoso about world building in epic fantasy. Anna Thu Nguyenova shares five tips for writing great short stories. DIY MFA

How to write heartbreak. Jenna Moreci

Nathan Bransford suggests you start with the problems before leaping to the solutions in editing.

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the purple prose of The Witcher. Mythcreants

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you’re taking away something that will help you progress in your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019