Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 19-25, 2020

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

The biggest covid concern of the moment is school reopening. I really think that they need to stay virtual and that employers and the government need to collaborate to support parents who need to stay home for their school-aged children. The economy is still in bad shape and will continue to be for some time. There are signs of recovery, though. Getting kids back to school and risking them and their teachers and everyone they might come into contact with is not the answer.

Yes, virtual learning is hard. Yes, all learners will not excel in a virtual environment. Yes, it requires more of students and parents. And yes, I do not have kids, nor am I an elementary or high school teacher, but some of my best friends are teachers and I’m listening to their concerns. As the old saw goes, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Covid is not going away tomorrow.

On that cheerful note, please fortify yourself for another week of #pandemiclife with these informal writerly learnings.

Jan O’Hara shares a plotstorming technique. Then, Barbara O’Neal explains how to write during a pandemic even if it feels like you can’t. Later in the week, Heather Webb says, writers, pay yourself first. Keith Cronin has a great writing craft recommendation: the guy who wrote Fight Club just kicked my ass. Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes offers an introduction to Afrofuturism. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland offers four questions that will help you avoid plot holes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenna Moreci offers her top tips for self-editing.

Angela Ackerman suggests a secret weapon for characterization: the character’s job. Then, Ellen Buikema is creating memorable animal characters. Writers in the Storm

Chrys Fey explains how to create a free book trailer using Adobe Spark. Fiction University

Ginnye Lynn Cubel shares five tips for a mindful writing practice. DIY MFA

Bunny lists seven reasons storytellers should consume bad stories. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines six sexist themes from the early Wheel of Time books. Mythcreants

Paul Graham explains how to do what you love. Very though-provoking essay.

The Irish language and beauty. Dónall Ó Héalaí | TEDxBerkeley

Joi-Marie Mckenzie lists the 50 most influential books by Black authors in the past 50 years. Essence

Cinema’s racist history. The Take

Amy Sackville: I am not reading. I am not writing. This is not normal. The Guardian

Nathan J. Robinson parses the issue of J.K. Rowling and the limits of imagination. Again, this article discusses TERF-dom. Please avoid if you are triggered by that material, but it is a very considered and thoughtful take. Current Affairs

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 28-July 4, 2020

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

Because the only restaurant service other than take out currently allowed in our city is on a patio, local restaurants have been erecting patios all over the place, even getting exemptions from the municipal by-laws to create patio spaces on sidewalks. The complication, of course, is that people with disabilities, of which there are many living in the downtown core where most of these patios are popping up, are now having to use the street and risk what traffic there is, to move from place to place.

Yes, our economy needs to recover, but not at cost to the disadvantaged members of our community.

We have to commit to using the disruption of covid-19 to recover in a sustainable and respectful way. This is our chance to change our society for the better.

Thanks for your attention. Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week.

The Take takes on the white savior trope.

Natalie Hart is gaining wisdom and whimsy from the natural world. Donald Maass: we are unsafe. Then, Bryn Greenwood is on the way to Jerusalem (not quite what you think). Barbara Linn Probst clarifies that it’s not write what you know, but write from what you know: cooking life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland examines the three stages of a writer’s life and how your age affects your writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenn Walton wants you to write outside your comfort zone. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood wonders, is this a YA thing? On pay rates, racism, and toxicity in publishing. DIY MFA

Elizabeth Hartl shares some tips for overcoming imposter syndrome. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci returns with ten more tips for evoking emotion in your writing.

Jami Gold provides five ways to climb the learning curve.

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the terrible writing of Eragon’s sequel. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that killed the wrong character. Mythcreants

Writing the morally ambiguous character. Shaelin Writes

Anthony R. Cardno interviews Nisi Shawl for Pride Month.

20 Canadian books for kids and teens to read for National Indigenous History Month. CBC Books

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 14-20, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until all Black and Indigenous lives matter. I don’t have a huge platform, but I’ll make use of it as I can to keep this message front and centre for my readers. I’m still listening. I’m still learning. And I’m still trying to do better.

Meanwhile, reopening continues, to more or less success, given the area/province/state. They’re discovering people who’d apparently recovered from covid getting sick again two months on. Worldwide, the number of cases continue to increase. This thing is a beast.

Let’s get to the informal writerly learnings.

Vaughn Roycroft: regarding privilege, empathy, and voice. Writer Unboxed

A Black booktuber shares her experience. Click through to her other videos and to the resources in the notes. Silence is complicity. Listen. Do the work. Don’t stop. Bookish Realm

And if you’re a booktube fan, legitimately commit to diversify your viewing and support some of these lovely people. Google is a thing you can use. Besides, like one video and YouTube will generally cue up three similar vids for you to check out.

Nic Stone: don’t just read about racism—read about Black people living. Cosmopolitan

Black Lives Matter. How can I help? Jenna Moreci

John Peragine helps you harness the power of pronouns (part 1). Then, Lori Freeland says, write your story forward. Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Kris Spisak about self-editing your novel. The Creative Penn

K.B. Owen visits Elizabeth Spann Craig’s blog: writing real-life historical characters.

Sangeeta Mehta interviews Stefanie Sanchez von Borstel and Leslie Zampetti about writing, pitching, and promoting in the age of coronavirus. Jane Friedman

Lucy V. Hays explains how to avoid a half-baked idea. Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb explains how you can use the Johari window to understand and harness the character blind spot.

Nathan Bransford: the climax should resolve your character’s desires.

Shaelin explains line editing (with examples). Reedsy

Rochelle Melander helps you revise your book for word choice. Fiction University

The Take considers the tomboy trope.

Chris Winkle gets facetious: if stories treated straight couples like they treated queer couples. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers five over-burdened stories and how to fix them. Mythcreants

Thanks for the visit. I hope you found 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, June 7-13, 2020

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

Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Trans non-binary folks are non-binary folks.

These pandemic times are increasingly complex ones. Protests against anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism continue even as the world begins to “reopen.” Black and Indigenous people continue to suffer from and die because of police violence but, as has been pointed out, police violence is only the symptom. Institutionalized racism is the virus that must be eradicated.

Here in Canada, the RCMP has recently done an about face, first denying their endemic racism, and then admitting it and committing to do better. In the meantime, Indigenous and Black lives continue to be threatened.

People across the publishing industry—across all media, in fact—have been fired for their racism. Various governments are seriously considering defunding their police. Monuments to white supremacy are falling.

And TERFs who expose their prejudices are being publicly and thoroughly schooled.

The world is still in chaos. But with the continued protests, change is coming. I continue to hope and to support efforts to achieve reform and justice. I continue to listen and learn, because there’s so much I don’t know, and I want to do better.

Onto the informal writerly learnings!

Why poetry is so important/powerful/relevant right now. “Hollow” – Bristol’s City Poet, Vanessa Kisuule.

Jenny Hansen lists the eight Cs of character development. Writers in the Storm

Nya Wilcox busts six writing excuses and explains how she wrote—and published—a novel at the age of eleven. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman recommends questions to ask your publisher before you sign the contract.

Laura Highcove offers an introduction to writer’s intuition. DIY MFA

The Take explains the superhero genre.

Jami Gold helps you make the right impression with character introductions. Writers Helping Writers

On her own blog, Jami shares four further tips for making the right impression for your characters.

Jenna Moreci offers her first ten tips for evoking emotion through your writing.

Jim Dempsey is writing and hiking. Kathryn Craft shares six ways to add a dash of foreign language. Then, Laurie R. King helps you keep your series fresh. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy reveals the hidden danger backstory poses for writers (and it’s not what you think). Fiction University

Nathan Bransford: listen to your characters, but don’t let them run away with your story.

Hard worldbuilding vs. soft worldbuilding. And yes, Tim does discuss Harry Potter as an example of soft worldbuilding, so be warned if J.K.’s recent TERF-dom is offensive or triggering for you. Hello, Future Me

Chris Winkle is judging what backstory to keep and what to let go. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists what does and doesn’t make a signature weapon cool. Mythcreants

And that is tipsday for this week. Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe. Be willing to listen, learn, and do better.

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.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 24-30, 2020

Welcome to June! However you’ve been weathering the pandemic, I hope you’re keeping safe and well. It’s time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

But first, my brief weekly update.

#Pandemiclife continues, and I’ve heard some confirmation that my employer will keep up to 90% of staff working from home. So, I’m here for the long haul, as expected. I’m also just coming off two weeks of virtual training and entering into two more. In recent years, training of any kind has exhausted me. Virtual training brings its own complications. Still, I seem to be doing a decent job. The feedback has been positive, in any case.

The added distress of violence against people of colour here in Canada and in the US is depressing. It’s reprehensible and I keep hoping—naively—that we’ve grown past such hateful conflicts. My faith in the human race is crumbling.

Here are some good words from some good people (we can take some comfort in that):

Abigail K. Perry demonstrates a Story Grid scene analysis of Giver of Stars. Then, Brenda Joyce Patterson promotes writing small in viral times. Later in the week, Sacha Black shares five ways to improve your description. DIY MFA

Sacha Black drops by Writers Helping Writers, too: three ways to differentiate your characters.

Shaelin explains how to discovery write your novel. Reedsy

Laurie Schnebly Campbell considers the pros and cons of writing a series. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson offers three exercises to help you dive deeper into character emotions. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland devotes this week’s post and podcast to an editing Q&A. Helping Writers Become Authors

How to stay motivated as a writer. Reedsy

September C. Fawkes stops by Elizabeth Spann Craig’s blog: how to write subtext.

Jessi Rita Hoffman discusses the problem of self-conscious writing: do you torture your metaphors? Jane Friedman

Janice Hardy shares a handy checklist to strengthen the narrative drive in your scenes. Then, Swati Teerdhala explains when to tell rather than show. It’s such a delicate balance! Fiction University

Robin LaFevers wants you to break through writer’s block. Writer Unboxed

Jenna Moreci helps you set the scene.

Jami Gold: what do readers want from a story’s POV? Then, she explains that word choice is about more that picking the right word.

Chris Winkle shares six character archetypes for love interests. Oren Ashkenazi facetiously lists seven reasons it’s definitely okay to ignore storytelling rules. Mythcreants

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

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

Tipsday2019

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, 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 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, March 1-7, 2020

Welcome to the second week of March, the week that starts out with daylight savings time and International Women’s Day, proceeds through the full moon, and ends with Friday the 13th!

You’re going to need some informal writerly learnings to see you through.

Greer Macallister says, instead of promotion, try participation. Nancy Johnson: you had me at the title. Donald Maass: it can’t happen here. Bryn Greenwood can’t decide whether it’s a sophomore slump or derailment. Steven James: they just won’t understand. File in writers is weird. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland: creativity vs. the ego, or, the value of unpublishable stories. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Scott Bell: synopsis writing made easy. Writers Helping Writers

Susanne Cokal lists four reasons to spend time with “bad” books. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford: you gotta tell the story. No matter what.

Shaelin offers eleven tips for new writers. I think these work for everyone. If nothing else, they’re good reminders. Reedsy

Jenn Walton explains how to deepen characters by assessing their fears. Sara Farmer introduces us to Jo March’s twisted sisters: the thrillers of Louisa May Alcott. Gabriela Pereira interviews Claire Waller about writing an unlikable but sympathetic protagonist. DIY MFA

Eldred Bird is colouring with words. Writers in the Storm

Kassandra Lamb explains the importance of backstory, or, how the brain connects the present with the past. Then, Janice Hardy shares three reasons your perfectly good scene is boring your readers.  Later in the week, Janice offers tips for showing character motivation. Fiction University

Jenna Moreci discusses the breaking point.

Chris Winkle explains how to describe female characters without degrading them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi recommends five questions to diagnose an overpowered hero. Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer extols the virtues of the Oxford, or serial, comma. Writer’s Digest

Sad news for the already small Canadian publishing scene. Bryan Eneas reports on the bankruptcy of Coteau books, closing their doors after 45 years. CBC

Thank you for visiting and I hope you came away with some fabulous resources to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends 🙂

Tipsday2019