Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 8-14, 2016

All kinds of writerly goodness for you this week!

K.M. Weiland has made no secret of her disappointment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. In classic Kate fashion, she gleans writerly goodness from the experience. Planning your story: what George Lucas can teach you (not) to do. Helping writers become authors.

Later in the week, she offered eight tips for writing child characters.

Jessi Rita Hoffman explains how to write a thrilling action scene for Writer Unboxed.

Sophie Masson shares the building blocks of great young adult fiction. Writer Unboxed.

Lisa Cron advises: don’t accidentally give your characters a time out. Writer Unboxed.

Margaret Dilloway explores overcoming impostor syndrome for Writer Unboxed.

Christine Frazier shows you why your hero should eavesdrop and make a bad assumption (in four steps). The Better Novel Project.

Janice Hardy looks at writing a character with a gender not your own. Fiction University.

Dan Koboldt offers some tips for creating fundamentalist religions in fantasy.

Chris Winkle offers strategies for defeating the contrivance boogeyman. Mythcreants.

Jami Gold wonders if your plot obstacles are too easy, too difficult, or just right?

Jennie Nash studies great opening lines. The Book Designer.

Chuck Wendig advises us to defy reality and become artists. Terribleminds.

Jami Gold explores how to reach your potential through writing feedback.

Angela Ackerman offers six rules that will keep your critique partnerships golden. Writers helping writers.

Gabriela Pereira interviews Charlaine Harris for the DIYMFA podcast.

Annie Neugebauer says, don’t hate the query—master it! Writer Unboxed.

Janet Reid shares a checklist of things you need to be thinking about between offer and acceptance.

Susan Spann offered some advice on royalty clauses in publishing deals and how authors get paid. Writers in the Storm.

Karina Sumner-Smith guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: is a quick release schedule right for you and your books?

My friend, Kim, is back on the road. This time, she spends an afternoon with Margaret Atwood.

Micah Solomon offers three books that will help you to radically improve your writing. BookBaby

Cory Doctorow shares his vision of how publishers, libraries, and writers could work together. BoingBoing.

Delilah S. Dawson wrote this beautiful post on writing and grieving: someday this pain will be useful to you.

Natalie Zutter shares Nnedi Okorafor and N.K. Jemesin in conversation: masquerade, initiation, and science fiction and fantasy. Tor.com

Bustle wants you to diversify your reading list with these 23 LGBTQ books with a person of colour as a protagonist.

What Bustle says your to-be-read list says about your personality.

Ferris Jabr revisits the lost gardens of Emily Dickinson. The New York Times.

Kathryn Hughes looks at the dystopian world of Beatrix Potter. The Guardian.

Shakespeare and death:

 

Women swept the Nebulas! i09.

Jo Walton reviews Ada Palmer’s Too Like the Lightning for Tor.com.

A Ken Liu short story will be made into a movie. i09.

John Marcotte reports that Marvel is committing to a Black Widow movie (at some unknown point in the future). Heroic Girls.

And, speaking of Marvel, the next X-Men movie is due out May 27th: X-Men Apocalypse.

Here’s the teaser:

 

And the official trailer:

 

Buzzfeed shared what was a sneak peek of Outlander’s next episode (I saw it Sunday) but I thought I’d post it anyway. “Ovaries explode!” – funnee.

See you Thursday for some thoughty stuff 🙂

Tipsday

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Ad Astra 2015 day 2: Paying your grocery bill: Grants and writing grant applications

Panellists: Amanda Sun, Karina Sumner-Smith, Sandra Kasturi, Chadwick Ginther, Bob Boyczuk

SK: I apply for Toronto Arts Council (TAC), Ontario Arts Council (OAC), and Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) grants for ChiZine and as a writer. OAC runs the Writers’ Reserve. There’s also the Works in Progress (WIP) grant. There are three deadlines a year. If you’re successful, you can’t reapply for two years.

KSS: The first time I applied for a grant, I did everything wrong. Reframe your application in literary or academic terms. I went from applying for a WIP grant so I could write my science fiction novel, to applying for funding to support the creation of post-apocalyptic literature.

SK: The jury changes every round. Keep applying, even with the same application. If you’re turned down in one round, you may be successful the next depending on who’s on the jury.

CG: CCA is the most open to experimental projects, I find. The OAC is the most conservative.

SK: The Writer’s Reserve runs from September to January every year. You send your manuscript to select publishers and one form to the OAC. Publishers get a set amount. ChiZine gets $13,000. That means we can publish about nine books.

KSS: The Writer’s Reserve has funds set aside for residents of Ontario outside of the GTA.

SK: The Speculative Literature Foundation offers two grants per year.

A: Actually they’re up to four now. Check them out.

BB: For the TAC, they ask for five copies of the manuscript and your name is not supposed to be on them anywhere. The judges actually sneak a peek.

SK: Guidelines may be hazy.

Q: What can you tell us about reporting?

SK: It varies between grants and organizations.

CG: There are also literary awards. The CCA runs the Governor General’s Awards. Generally you have to have a publisher to put your book forward for awards.

AS: Register for Access Copyright and the Public Lending Right programs as well.

Mel’s notes: Municipal arts councils will vary in the amount of support they can offer. TAC has money because it’s a big city (may go without saying, but . . . ). The Sudbury Arts Council has to be more selective in the projects it supports and has more limited funding. Provincial arts councils also vary widely. I’ve heard great things about the Edmonton Arts Council and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Other arts organizations, like the Canadian Authors Association, offer literary awards. Check out the individual sites for further details. Finally, the CCA is currently restructuring its funding programs. Check them out.

Next week: Self-publishing 🙂

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 19-25, 2014

There is so much Writerly Goodness this week, I don’t know what to do with myself!

Martha Conway says, Forget heroes: Why heroines are important. Writer Unboxed.

Dave King on the wonders of Whedon. Everything I need to know about plot, I learned from Buffy. Writer Unboxed.

Dan Blank says it’s more about giving than receiving. Writer Unboxed.

Karina Sumner-Smith guests on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. Finding rhythm and voice for a beginning that sings.

How many characters do you need? Jami Gold answers reader questions.

Piper Bayard guests on Jenny Hanson’s blog, Cowbell. Little Darlings Anonymous. I need to be a member 😉

Piper stopped by Kristen’s Lamb’s blog, too, to talk about backstory.

Story concept and story premise. Do you know the difference? K.M. Weiland cites Larry Brooks in this post and podcast combo.

Veronica Sicoe finds a strategy for NaNoWriMo.

Blurb’s Coffee & Quill interview with NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty. There were some audio issues at the start, but there was also a lot of good information about NaNo and what you can do to prepare.

Moar podcasts from Roz Morris and Peter Snell for Surrey Hills Radio. So you want to be a writer? Check them all out!

Mary Robinette Kowal shares her outlines for Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass. I love it when the professionals give us a little peek at how it’s done 🙂

The comma story by Terisa Folaron. Ted.ed.

 

The Oxford comma debate. Ted.ed.

 

Helen Sword says, beware of nominalizations (zombie nouns). Ted.ed.

 

Marlee Neel states the case against good and bad. Ted.ed.

 

Sarah F. Hawkins, lawyer, posts about the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism.

Roz Morris asks, Have we forgotten what science fiction should be?

Project Hieroglyph’s push for positive science fiction. Eoghan.com.

The Wall Street Journal has a book club and Margaret Atwood just chose Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea as the next read.

Tasneem Raja of Mother Jones interviews William Gibson.

The Sword & Laser interview with Delilah S. Dawson. Teh awesome.

 

An interview with Mary Stewart. Off the Page.

 

Jane Austen on men who refuse to hear no. The Atlantic.

J.K. Rowling pens a new Harry Potter story, just in time for Hallowe’en. Buzzfeed.

Sarah Michelle Gellar on how playing a strong female character spoiled her. Perth Now.

Matt Herron returns to the Write Practice to show how to create a setting sketch using Scrivener.

See you on Thoughty Thursday 🙂

Tipsday

Ad Astra day 2: Unleashing your creativity

Panel: Karina Sumner-Smith; Alyx Harvey; Judith Hayman; Leslie Hudson; Sally Headford

SH: If you walk into a grade one class and ask, “who can sing?” everybody raises their hands. Ask, “who can dance?” and the same thing happens. By the time they get to grade six, children have learned the standards and expectations. Only a few of them raise their hands then.

JH: Take risks. Make mistakes. No one will know the difference.

SH: How do the writers on the panel deal with those standards and expectations?

KSS: I have groups of people who read my work at various stages. There are readers for the roughdrafts, then later, beta readers. You have to have a terrifying level of trust in your readers. Seek out your “perfect” reader.

LH: If someone says, “you suck,” it can shut you down. How do you deal with that?

KSS: Chocolate and wine.

LH: We are our own worst critics. The worst are the notes I leave for myself.

Q: As a visual artist, I have to be able to evaluate a piece on its own terms. I benefit most from honest, constructive, criticism. What do you prefer?

KSS: Sometimes I need people to be honest. When I’m feeling vulnerable, I need comfort and tea.

SH: When you get to a low point, what do you do?

LH: Walk the dogs.

KSS: Five-minute dance party.

SH: I need oxygen.

JH: I need repetitive tasks. I’m on the autistic spectrum.

LH: Napping is awesome. You fall asleep and an idea comes to you in your dreams.

KSS: I find creativity breeds creativity.

LH: I’ve gotten into mandalas in a big way. I like needlepoint. Or reasearch.

JH: We’re all a little bit insane. When we enter flow, it’s a sacred space.

SH: I think of it as an alternate reality where creativity exists.

JH: I enter into my creative space with visualization.

LH: You have to protect your creative time.

JH: My day job is easier. It’s structured. At home, it’s different, more challenging.

AH: A day job takes a big chunk out of your day.

Q: Do any of you find you have to make yourself create?

LH: Absolutely. Sometimes you have to tell yourself to sit down and write, honey.

AH: Yes. Do the work.

LH: Sometimes pressure is good. Deadlines motivate.

Q: Do you find having a creative community or space helps?

JH: February Album Writing Month. FAWM. I participate every year.

KSS: NaNoWriMo.

Q: When do you sleep?

SH: It’s incredibly important.

KSS: In your day job, deadlines dictate what you do. I’ve read a health study in which people who get one hour less sleep per night over a seven day period were found to perform worse than people who were drunk. Health studies are fun.

SH: The current work environment is terrible. Multitasking is a myth.

KSS: One in one hundred people can actually multitask. Odd are, it’s not you.

AH: Where do you get your inspiration from?

JH: Everywhere.

KSS: Compost. One day my blender broke and I thought, what if society was built around items that worked on magic instead of electricity, and they all started breaking?

AH: I love my I-pad. If I see something, I snap it.

SH: Too many things can get in the way. If you don’t have a way to capture your ideas, you’ll lose them.

KSS: You can use prompts, or themes.

LH: You train yourself to notice things.

JH: Folklore is the basis for my current song-a-week project.

Q: Is creativity about finding ways to work around our disabilities?

SH: Creativity is part of human culture. It’s part of our history.

JH: Creativity is a process, not a product.

AH: Enjoy the process!

LH: People think that if you’re an artist you have to be miserable. Or that there’s a link between creativity and mental illness. Schizophrenia. Bi-polar.

JH: When I’m feeling manic, creativity is a saving grace.

Q: How do you deal with falling short of your vision?

AH: Let it come out the way it wants. If you force it, your won’t be a s successful.

KSS: If you don’t like it, you can always do it over. Accept it if it’s part of your process.

And that was it.

I have to note, in case you find some of these sessions ending abruptly, that many of them ran to the last second and only broke up when the next group entered the room. Thank you’s and closing remarks were often lost in the shuffle.

More coming tomorrow.

Off to watch Orphan Black now. Clone club!

Ad Astra Day 2: The writing life

Panel: Julie Czerneda; Suzanne Church; Stephanie Bedwell Grimes; Karina Sumner-Smith; Ada Hoffman

JC: We’re starting out with our typical days. For me, that’s get up, exercise, write until breakfast, eat, write until lunch, eat, write until supper, take the evening off, sleep, repeat.

SC: Because of where I am in the publishing process, it’s social media and promotion until after dinner.

SBG: Things change depending on where you are in the process. I used to write in the evening. Now, I write in the mornings.

KSS: I had a day job. Then, we moved into a cottage. Now, I have a lot of time. I can work around other tasks. I’m trying different things to see what works. I write at least one hour per day. I’m a night person, but writing in the mornings works. My internal editor hasn’t woken up yet.

AH: I’m in grad school and I live alone. For 8 hours, I’m at my ‘day job’ and then I go home and write. I’m trying different things, too.

JC: Eventually, we all find that ‘sweet spot.’ I have a friend who is a New York Times Bestselling Author (NYTBSA) who used to have a day job. She didn’t adjuster her schedule when she stopped working, she just filled up the hours of her former day job with writing and burned out. I once wrote for 16 hours straight and I ended up in the hospital. Lesson learned. You have to take care of yourself.

SC: I’m a little obsessive-compulsive (OCD). I need a schedule to start my day. The only exception is Hockey. Everything stops for hockey.

SBG: I had a day job. Actually two at one point. You have to keep the well full.

JC: We renovate.

SC: I make time for cultural stuff. Galleries, theatre.

SBG: I’m guilt-driven.

AH: I like reading books by other authors, listening to music. I find poetry begets poetry.

JC: Even 15 minutes of something else is enough of a break: dishes, plants, whatever.

KSS: I like to put on some loud and stupid song and have a five minute dance break. (Mel’s note: Grey’s Anatomy!)

JC: I have dancing songs built into my play list.

SC: I have several play lists: one for NaNoWriMo, one for editing, one for those ‘dark and stormy’ days.

Q: Several of you are working on multiple projects. How do you stay organized?

AH: I work on one thing at a time. I’ll focus on short stories and novels for a while, and then take a poetry break.

KSS: I’m working on a sequel, so a lot of the world building and character development are done. If I work on a stand-alone, it requires that I keep my current project in my head all the time. It takes me a week to pull myself out of one project and get into another. If I have to work on multiple projects at once, I find setting up separate writing times works.

SBG: I tried working in the mornings on one project and in the evenings on another. Sometimes when I’m working on one book, another sells and I have to stop working on the first to address the editing. I usually stop everything else to work on an emergent issue, like edit notes.

SC: Once again, the OCD rears its head. I use spreadsheets. I have one for chapters, another for characters, a third for settings, and so forth.

KSS: No offence, but you’re crazy.

SC: I have a degree in mathematics. Analysis appeals to me.

JC: For the first ten years, I wrote while I was the editor of a science magazine. Currently, I might have as many as seven novels in various stages at once. An outline is indispensable. Your editor will wait as long as you’re up front with your delays. My first book took 17 years to get from inception to publication. My second took nine months.

Q: Where do you get your ideas?

SC: Smart phones. Take a picture, or write a note on the go.

JC: Take a nap.

Q: How do you prioritize your work?

JC: Length. A longer project takes more time and so might have to take priority.

SC: I work by deadline. I write one page every morning. I call it my 100 words.

JC: Neil Gaiman wrote Coraline that way.

Q: How much writing stops when you get a deal? How much time do you have to devote to promotion?

JC: It’s a myth that you have to promote your book, unless you self-publish. The way I look at it, if I don’t write, I don’t eat. I spend one morning on promotion per week.

SC: The first time out, it’s a learning curve. You have to learn what you can do and what you can’t.

KSS: Some people are not suited to promotion. Promotion can take over your life. Do the research. The number one thing is that you have a good book.

JC: Talk to your readers. That’s the most important thing, but it can be consuming. I don’t blog because it takes too much away from my writing.

Q: How do you balance relationships and writing?

JC: Writing isn’t selfish, but it’s hard for others to relate to. Communicate what you’re doing to your partner.

SC: My second spouse relates, but my first didn’t get it. I’d have to leave the house and go to Starbucks to write. My current spouse is very supportive. I travel with him on his commute into the city. While he works, I go to Starbucks to write. On the way home every day, I read to him what I’ve written. When I was working on a horrific SF book, I warned him that it would be dark. After the read, he turned to me and asked, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

JC: Before I was a professional writer, my writing was secret. My husband found my stories and read them. He bought me a typewriter, then a desk. If I was happy, then he was happy.

KSS: Share the joy. Let them know how a good writing day makes you feel, what the payoff is.

JC: And if they don’t get it, don’t make them feel guilty. They can also feel like you’re putting your writing first. You have to if you’re serious, but a solution could be to put them first. Go on a date, ask about their day, be present. Then, go write.

Q: How do you write when you’re exhausted?

SBG: Just do it. Give yourself permission to suck.

AH: I find writing gives me energy.

KSS: There are two kinds of tired: resistance and true exhaustion. Resistance is what most people call writer’s block. In that case just give yourself space, but stay on task. The words will come. If you’re truly exhausted, the only solution is sleep.

JC: Set up something fun to work on for the next day, a fight scene, or a sex scene. Write hot. Have a good breakfast and get to it.

Q: How do you stay motivated?

SC: Read. Aversion therapy. Set yourself a really nasty task as an alternative.

JC: Then you end up doing everything else.

AH: Treats. I’m not above bribery.

SBG: Will write for cookies.