Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 14-20, 2017

Another tasty batch of informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

K.M. Weiland gracefully admits that she was wrong: eventually, writing does get easier. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate explains how to take advantage of your four most important characters.

Roz Morris says, if you want to become a writer, social media is a long-term investment for your career. Nail Your Novel

Vaughn Roycroft wonders if you’re destined to write. Writer Unboxed

Dave King wants you to go beyond the first five pages. Writer Unboxed

Annie Neugebauer says, you’re amazing and you can do this! Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson rounds up some provocative writerly news for Writer Unboxed.

Lisa Cron visits Writers in the Storm to explain how your character’s origin scene is where your story really begins.

Sara Letourneau visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: using real-world locations to ground your story’s setting.

Following up on Sara’s post, Becca Puglisi helps you decide if a writing residency is right for you. Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman makes another entry for the character motivation thesaurus: discovering one’s true self. Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb talks writing process: it ain’t no unicorn hug.

Emily Wenstrom touts the value of an Amazon follow. DIY MFA

Robin Lovett introduces us to the subgenres and varieties of romance. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jenni Walsh and Bess Cozby on the author/editor relationship. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig offers a hot, steaming sack of business advice for writers. Hey, blame Victoria (V.E.) Schwab. Terribleminds

Jami Gold tells us what to do when readers don’t believe our stories.

Lesley L. Smith tells you how to put the science in your science fiction. Fiction University

Wendy Laine visits Jami Gold’s blog to discuss diversity and the importance of “Own Voices.”

I told you there’d be more coming on cultural appropriation:

On the good news end of things: crowdfunding campaign raises thousands for Indigenous writers’ award. Marsha Lederman for The Globe and Mail.

Zora Oneill lists eleven words that make more sense when you know their Arabic roots. Mental Floss

Alex Preston explains how print books have trumped ebooks. The Guardian

From dark to dark: yes, women have always written space opera. Judith Tarr for Tor.com.

Sarah Mangiola interviews Grand Master Jane Yolen: write the damn book. The Portalist

Lili Loufbourow: Jessica Jones is a shattering exploration of rape, addiction, and control (originally published in November 2015, but still a fabulous analysis). The Guardian

Charlie Jane Anders analyzes Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2: the most popular movie in America is all about toxic fatherhood. Tor.com

And that’s it until next Tipsday, but be sure to come back for your dose of mental corn-popping inspiration on Thoughty Thursday!

Be well until then, my friends.

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 16-22, 2017

And here we are with another week full of informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland: what does it mean to move the plot? Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate shows up with three ways to test your story’s emotional stakes, the latest in her lessons from the Marvel Cinematic Universe series. This post focuses on Doctor Strange.

Parul Macdonald shares six myths and truths about what editors at publishing houses are looking for. Writer Unboxed

Dave King tells you how to wrap it up. Writer Unboxed

Colleen M. Story explains how to use writer’s intuition to strike creative gold. Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen profiles social media personalities for Writers in the Storm.

Laura Drake helps you write a great last line. Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold looks at fixing big problems with small changes.

When is the right time to start building your platform? Kristen Lamb

Gabriela Pereira borrows a pop quiz from Kristen Lamb: are you an aspiring writer? DIY MFA

Stacy B. Woodson: when is a story a romantic suspense? DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews K.J. Howe about writing strong female characters. DIY MFA

Sara Letourneau shares five reasons to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat. DIY MFA

Kris Spisak guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: five commonly confused words starting with A.

Angela Ackerman says, to become a successful writer, you have to develop your intuition. Writers Helping Writers

Adam Haslett examines the perpetual solitude of the writer. Literary Hub

Oren Ashkenazi: five perspective mistakes to avoid. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig shares the wisdom he’s gained over 5 years and 20 books. Terribleminds

Why isn’t Irish mythology more popular? Tale Foundry

 

Kaitlyn Johnson: mastering the dreaded synopsis. Writer’s Digest

Steve Fahnestalk: where do I send the SF/F book I just wrote? Amazing Stories

Charles Chu lists the six strategies Isaac Asimov used to write almost 500 books in his lifetime. Quartz

Nisi Shawl continues her crash course in black science fiction series by revisiting Samuel R. Delaney’s The Jewels of Aptor. Tor.com

Martin Rezny: how (and why) to write realistic magic and aliens. A-MA-zing! Electric Lit

Laura Miller reviews Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne. The New Yorker

Jane Eyre – Thug Notes Summary and Analysis (funny, but fabu)

 

Terri Kapsalis offers a brief history of hysteria, witches, and the wandering uterus. Literary Hub

Emily Temple: The Handmaid’s Tale adapts more than the novel. Literary Hub

The Outlander season 3 trailer (I can’t wait!):

 

Emily Asher-Perrin reviews the series 10 Doctor Who premiere. Tor.com

AutoCrit shares some writing memes.

I hope you picked up some tasty bits that will help you improve you craft, open your mind, or that entertained you in that special, writerly way 😉

Be well until next I blog!

And virtual hugs all around 🙂

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 9-15, 2017

And it’s been another lovely week for the writerly goodness 🙂

K.M. Weiland shows us how storytelling benefits everyone. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate points out three ways to choose the right protagonist.

Roz Morris appreciates The Story of Your Life, on which Arrival was based. Nail Your Novel

Then Roz strolls over to Writers Helping Writers: planning the perfect love triangle.

David Corbett: is your character’s face the window to her soul? [Love the URL title: a face to launch a thousand words, or less. Hopefully less.] Writer Unboxed

Sarah Callender zooms in on third person narration. Writer Unboxed

Liz Michalski says, let your subconscious be your guide. Writer Unboxed

Susan Spann advises you how to request a reversion of publishing rights. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci debunks writer’s block:

 

Bess Cozby shares the tale of how embracing minimalism made her a better (and happier) writer. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Kathleen Audet: finding your authentic image. They even talk semiotics (!) DIY MFA

Kristen Lamb schools us in deep POV: what it is and why readers love it. Later in the week Kristen takes us deeper into deep POV: how to immerse the reader in story.

Janice Hardy: six ways Netflix can make you a better writer. Fiction University

Later in the week Janice posts about how the wrong tone can change your whole novel.

Jami Gold tells you how to analyze your writing habits so you can improve on the bad ones.

Christine Frazier compares the hero with the secret good guy (and explains why every story needs a secret good guy). The Better Novel Project

Alex Segura explores the moments that keep you going as a writer. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle considers the big problem with uncertain endings. Mythcreants

Everyone (well, Chuck Wendig, Jim C. Hines, and Mary Robinette Kowal, anyway) has been writing about this debacle. I’ll just leave K. Tempest Bradford’s take on it here: OdysseyCon and why serial harassers are safe in out community.

Oh, and this: Bianna Wu offers her perspective on sexism and second chances. Jim C. Hines

Lessons from the Screenplay – Creating the ultimate antagonist in The Dark Knight.

 

The new World Fantasy Award design is revealed.

Helen Pluckrose explains postmodernism and its impact: how French “intellectuals” ruined the west. I have to say I hate postmodernism myself, and it’s probably because I never truly “got” it. Bleargh … AREO Magazine

Kristian Wilson: old books smell like chocolate and coffee according to science. Hey, who am I to argue with science? Bustle

Anna Pitoniak shares the writing lessons she learned as an editor for Random House. Literary Hub

Psyche Z. Ready offers a transgender reading of an ancient folktale. Tiny Donkey

James Whitbrook takes a look at the first Thor: Ragnarok trailer. i09

Brian Raftery shares The Last Jedi official trailer. Wired

Sense8 will be back May 5th!

 

And Orphan Black’s final season begins in June! Andy Swift for TV Line.

That was your informal writerly learnings for the week.

Come on back on Thursday for some thoughty.

In the meantime, be well.

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 2-8, 2017

There’s so much writerly goodness out there, I wish I had more time to devote to curating these informal writerly learnings for you.

Aliette de Bodard guest posts on Terribleminds: in defense of uncanny punctuation. I love semicolons, too!

K.M. Weiland adds number 58 to her most common writing mistakes series: too much description. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate shows you how to write stories your readers will remember.

Then, Kate pops over to Jerry Jenkins’ blog: two ways to find out if a scene deserves a place in your story.

Kathleen Jones guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: six ways to prepare for writing as a second career.

Angela Ackerman shows you how to use timelines to organize story details. Writers Helping Writers

Lisa Preston offers seven strategies for revising your novel. Writer’s Digest

Penny Sansevieri helps us decode Amazon keywords. Writers in the Storm

Fae Rowan shares five tips to get your characters—and you—through adversity. Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy introduces us to a fun way to learn story structure. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle shares five signs your story is ableist. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi looks at six objectively good stories and finds ways to make them better. Fabulous analysis. Mythcreants

Laurel K. Denton guest posts on Writer Unboxed: changing horses mid-stream (or how not to panic over a mid-book structure revision).

James Scott Bell asks, is your fiction big enough? Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass wants you to captivate readers with your opening lines: casting the spell. Writer Unboxed

Bryn Greenwood: write a book, save the world. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie explores this writing life. Writer Unboxed

Emily Wenstrom helps you grow your online platform in real life. DIY MFA

Shameless self-promotion time again: it’s me! Defining speculative fiction. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Susan Perabo for DIY MFA radio.

Bess Cozby offers five tips for revising your trunk novel. DIY MFA

Kristen Lamb: the single best way to become a mega-author. Later in the week, she follows up with how you can make all ads, marketing, and newsletters work better.

Jeff Lyons visits Jami Gold’s blog again: creating a strong moral premise for our story.

Michael Everest responds to a provocative post and explains the difference between giving up and giving in. Fantasy Faction

David Barnett responds to the same “failed novelist” post. The Guardian

Alex Brown unpacks Marvel’s “diversity doesn’t sell” argument and explains what diversity really means. Tor.com

The Hugo and Campbell awards finalists announced! Locus

This grammar vigilante stalks the Bristol night putting apostrophes in their right places. Ladies and gentlemen, the BBC gives you, the Apostrophiser!

I hope you learned something tasty 🙂

Be well until Thursday when you can come back for some thoughty inspiration!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 19-25, 2017

Another bumper crop of informal writerly learnings for you!

K.M. Weiland shares nine tips that will help you create opening and closing lines that readers will love to quote. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate helps you determine when it’s a good idea to use a made-up setting.

Shanna Swendson guest posts on Fiction University: is your plot complex, or chaotic?

Vaughn Roycroft is embracing perseverance. Writer Unboxed

Maya Rock helps you prepare for the emotional roller coaster of revision. Writer Unboxed

Dave King takes a look at Stephen King, a master of suspense and suspension of disbelief. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb tackles writing through the soggy, infuriating, anxiety-inducing middle. Writer Unboxed

Dan Blank encourages us to use the magic wand of generosity. Writer Unboxed

Jeff Lyons guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: how to make every story idea the best it can be.

Constance Renfrow lists five story openings to avoid. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Dan Blank on DIY MFA radio.

Kolina Cicero shares five tips for reading like a writer. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci: show vs. tell.

 

Chuck Wendig has some considerations for you, if you want to be a professional writer. Terribleminds

Kameron Hurley guest posts on Writer’s Digest: how to build fantastic worlds.

Amber Mitchell offers six tips for fantasy worldbuilding. Writer’s Digest

Jennie Nash visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: how to rescue a book in danger of dying.

Jody Hedlund suggests three ways to add depth to your novel.

Kristen Lamb helps you evaluate whether or not you have a story (or just 85,000 words). Later in the week she  wonders, do some people lack the talent to be authors?

Jenny Hansen shares some helpful hacks to build a strong brand. Writers in the Storm

As a follow up to Jenny’s post, Jami Gold offers some tips for keeping our sanity while building a brand.

Alice Sudlow offers a lesson on phrasal verbs. The Write Practice

Merriam-Webster explores the history of thon, the proposed and forgotten gender-neutral pronoun.

Grace O’Connell interviews Robert J. Sawyer for Open Book.

Wyl Menmuir shares data from the app that helped him write his Booker long-listed debut. The Guardian

Natalie Zutter shares the full length trailer for Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Tor.com

Hope this gave you something you needed to keep creating.

Be well until Thursday!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 19-25, 2017

And here we are for another week of informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland shares eight ways to master your story’s pace. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft: the significance of small gestures. Writer Unboxed

Jeanne Kisacky shares her experience with post-project depression and recovery. Writer Unboxed

Chuck Wendig says you must write unafraid, without fear of failure. Terribleminds

Jami Gold asks, are there story elements you avoid writing?

Jeanne Cavelos guest posts on Writer Unboxed: the importance of the adversarial ally.

Stephanie O’Brien: how to write a fight scene readers will love. The Write Practice

Kristen Lamb says description is writer’s crack, but you have to find the write balance.

Jamie Raintree: there are no shortcuts. Writers in the Storm

Emily Wenstrom shares five ways to show readers you’re their perfect match. DIYMFA

Dan Blank encourages you to embrace your boundaries. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb considers what fiction trends say about us. Writer Unboxed

Betsy Dornbusch guest posts on Terribleminds: the new relevance of the fantasy novel.

Veronica Sicoe wonders what happens when “professional writing career” isn’t your end-all goal?

Sara Letourneau joins the Writers Helping Writers resident writing coaches: using text-to-speech software as an editing tool.

Gabriela Pereira interviews Brian Meehl on DIYMFA radio: the only way forward is back.

Chris Winkle offers six tips on how to challenge bigotry in your work. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi explores five underused settings in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Pixar and the Khan Academy team up to produce The Art of Storytelling. And … it’s FREE!

Colleen Gillard wonders why the British tell better children’s stories. The Atlantic

Jason Daly reports that ancient Egyptian stories will be published in English for the first time. The Smithsonian Magazine

Michael Livingston shares the tales of his favourite five medieval women warriors (including Lagertha!). Tor.com

Space says that Mary and the Witch’s Flower captures the spirit of Studio Ghibli.

Brain full? Good. Now get writing!

See you Thursday!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 12-18, 2017

All rightie, then! Let’s get to the writerly goodness.

K.M. Weiland shares eight ways to troubleshoot your scenes and five ways to make them fabulous. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jami Gold explores the different ways in which you might approach story structure for a trilogy. Later in the week, Shaila Patel guest posts: creating the right first impression.

Sharon Bially writes about galleys: what are they and why you need them. Writer Unboxed

Leanne Sowul stresses the positive: what stress can do for you. DIYMFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Dr. Sally Parry, Executive Director of the Sinclair Lewis Society, for DIYMFA radio.

Oh! And lookie, lookie, who’s joining the DIYMFA team? Why me and three other awesome genre columnists! Now it can be told!

Joel Eisenberg guest posts on Kristen Lamb’s blog: you’re too smart to go down stupid.

Chuck Wendig wonders, is it time, dear writer, to ditch your literary agent? Terribleminds

Then, he trots over to Writer’s Digest to post 15 ways to earn your audience as a writer.

Becca Puglisi makes another entry in the character motivation thesaurus: realizing a dream. Writers Helping Writers

Oren Ashkenazi examines five cases of unfulfilled foreshadowing. Mythcreants

Andrew Falconer explains why fantasy writers should embrace their heritage. Mythcreants

Jennifer Schaeffer compiles 51 of the most beautiful sentences in literature for Buzzfeed.

How Shakespeare invented thinking on the page. Oxford Handbooks Online

 

Marie Howe: protecting your inner life in times of political turmoil. Literary Hub

Taylor Jones: linguists have been discussing “shit gibbon.” I argue it’s not entirely about gibbons. Hilarious. Insightful. Creative. Inspiring. I now have a new lexicon of swearage to draw upon 😀

Nnedi Okorafor states that The Parable of the Sower is the dystopia for our age, not Nineteen Eighty-Four. Modern Ghana

Philip Pullman announces a companion trilogy for His Dark Materials. NPR

The Legend of Korra continues in Dark Horse comics. James Whitbrook for i09.

Phil Plait writes a not really Bad Astronomy review of Arrival. Blastr

And that was your informal writerly learnings for the week.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Be well until then.

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 15-21, 2017

And here it is, your informal writerly learnings for the week!

K.M. Weiland offers her insight into how to outline a series of bestselling books. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy starts a two part series about finding your voice. First up: how to find your character’s voice. Fiction University

Are you revising? Then check out April Bradley’s tips on pacing and momentum. Writers Helping Writers

Dianna Gunn shares her experience with resistance: letting your story end at the end. DIYMFA

Sloan Tamar: five things psychology can teach writers. Writers Helping Writers

Dave King revisits the power of words. Writer Unboxed

Annie Neugebauer muses on the challenge of finding the balance between dreaming and working. Writer Unboxed

Writer Unboxed obtained permission to reprint this fabulous post by Christie Aschwanden: stop trying to be creative.

Jamie Raintree gives us a productive two-for this week: a different kind of writing productivity and the importance of knowing your priorities and sticking to them.

Jami Gold: what if I can’t find beta readers?

Kristen Lamb says, never tell me the odds—how to get your head right for success.

Jenny Hansen shares Maya Angelou’s writerly wisdom on Writers in the Storm.

A moment of tangency. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (apparently soon to be out in book form!). This guy’s a poet.

 

Charles Chu looks back at Frank Herbert and his definition of success. You don’t write for fame and fortune. You write so you can have more time to write. Medium

Fiona Macdonald peeks at the racy side of Jane Austin. BBC

Punny. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog … after a few tries 😉

 

Alexandra Alter reports on an unfinished Mark Twain fairytale that will soon see the light of day. The New York Times

Swapna Krishna looks at the time travel in Timeless. Is it possible? Tor.com

Spencer Kornhaber interviews Brit Marling about The OA and the dark side of science. As I said when I posted this to FB, I enjoyed the series … until the last episode. Though I called it, that couldn’t compensate for the deep dissatisfaction I felt in the wake of the final episode. Still, it’s nice to find out more about what inspired the series. The Atlantic

Looking forward to this, because Emma. The full set of Beauty and the Beast trailers.

 

Hope this curation gives you what you need to keep creating. The world needs your stories!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 1-7, 2017

Welcome to your informal writely learnings of the week 🙂

K.M. Weiland continues her common writing mistakes series with part 55: beginning your story too late. Helping Writers Become Authors

Immerse yourself in POV with Donald Maass. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle helps you choose your perspective. Mythcreants

Do you work on your stories character first, or worldbuilding first? Jo Eberhardt says it really doesn’t matter. Writer Unboxed

Zara Quentin guest posts on Fiction University: how to build a world (and why), an evolutionary approach.

Chuck Wendig encourages us to write despite. Terribleminds

Kristen Lamb gives ‘em hell: NYC gooood, self-pub baaaaad. It’s an author animal farm out there!

Janice Hardy guest posts on Writers in the Storm: how bad times and new starts affect our writing.

Writing coach C.S. Lakin offers some tips for weaving romance into your novel. Writers Helping Writers

Blake Atwood shares ten easy ways to self-edit your novel. The Write Life

Gabriela Pereira interviews Alexia Vernon on the art of public speaking for DIYMFA radio.

Joe Fassler compiles the best writing advice of 2016. The Atlantic

Glenn Leibowitz recommends the one book you must read to become a better writer. Inc.

Terri Windling muses upon a parliament of owls. Myth & Moor

Jessica Stillman lists the most misused words according to Daniel Pinker. Inc.

Libby Coleman examines Ken Liu’s body of work so far. Ozy

Cheryl Eddy shares a list of January’s must-read science fiction and fantasy. i09

I’m so excited! James Whitbrook gives us a first look at the live action Fullmetal Alchemist movie (!) i09

Connie Verzak has some fun with the animals of Outlander for her 2017 resolutions. The Daily Record

Beth Elderkin (I lurve her name, don’t you?) shares The Handmaid’s Tale teaser on i09.

I sincerely hope you found something you wanted to learn about among this week’s offerings.

If you’re interested in writerly inspiration, come back on thoughty Thursday to get your mental corn a-poppin’!

Be well until then!

tipsday2016

The next chapter: December 2016 update and year in review

My goodness, here we are in 2017 (!) and now it’s time for me to take stock of my year. Did I accomplish what I hoped to at the beginning of the year?

We’ll get back to that in a few.

First, I have to sum up (‘cause there is too much—I live by PB references) December 2016.

I knew when I decided to tackle Wavedancer, the third book in my epic fantasy series, for NaNoWriMo 2016 that I wouldn’t even come close to finishing the draft (it is EPIC fantasy, after all) in November. I was, however, foolish enough to think, initially, at least, that I’d write another 50k words in December and finish the draft by the end of the year.

I should have known better.

This is the fourth year I’ve done NaNo, and my third win. Each year, I enter December in a fog, still half-living in the world of my novel. I work a day job. There’s no way I could keep up the NaNo pace for another whole month.

Accordingly, I adjusted my expectations to 500 words a day and, though there were two days I didn’t write at all and a few assorted low-count days in the mix, there were also five days in which I wrote over a thousand words, so it all came out in the wash.

decemberprogress

To be more specific, of the 15,500 word goal for the month, I wrote 18,859 words, exceeding my goal by 3,359 words 🙂

Blogging 5,610 words brought my writing total for the month to 21,600 words.

Not 50k, but not bad at all 🙂

Back to my year-end review.

2016 was the first year that Jamie Raintree incorporated separate columns and totals for revision in her Writing Tracker, now called the Writing & Revision Tracker.

Though I’ve looked back at 2015’s and 2014’s trackers, the totals were skewed because in 2014, I didn’t track my revisions, and in 2015, I was tracking my revisions at one counted word for every two words revised. So there’s no real point in trying to compare.

What I set out to do at the beginning of 2016 was to go through all of my written novels to date and start to revise.

I’m happy to say that I accomplished this goal, but things didn’t go quite as I’d hoped. They never do. Quite.

For most of the novels, it was more of a getting reacquainted with the stories and the characters. I didn’t do a lot of revising, but now that I have the lay of the land, so to speak, the next passes will all be more in-depth.

I already mentioned that, having revised my goals post-NaNo, I did write two thirds of Wavedancer. To be specific, I wrote 71,157 words between November and December, and I will continue in that vein until the draft is done in my estimation.

I continued to query Initiate of Stone, but finally got it through my thick skull that it’s not the best project to use when trying to get a deal. So I’m changing gears and going to prepare another project for querying this year. We’ll see how it goes.

How did all this shape up as far as numbers went?

yearend

Of my 138,100 word writing goal, between all projects, I wrote 169,288 words, or 123%. Considering all the revision I was doing, that’s a lovely total.

With respect to revision, I managed 359,114 words of my 375,000 goal, or about 96%.

Some things happened in the year that I didn’t plan on, however.

Though it didn’t happen until July, I wrote a new piece of short fiction. I hadn’t expected that with my focus on the novels. It was a good surprise 🙂

January through March, I participated in the first offering of the Story Genius course created by Jennie Nash and the story genius herself, Lisa Cron. It was something unexpected, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. I had to try to make space for the course in my overall plan for the year and ended up making some poor decisions that didn’t serve me well.

While my experience in the course wasn’t, overall, a positive one, I still love the Story Genius method (and book—go get it!) and I would recommend it highly to anyone who can devote 100% of their time to the work. You will reap the benefits.

I just learned, in the most ego-wrenching way possible, that I cannot learn on someone else’s schedule. Especially while I’m working full time. I also made the decision to use Apprentice of Wind, the second in my epic fantasy series, as the project for my work in the course. Story Genius, in the form I took it, was not intended for novels that are already drafted, or for books other than the first in a series. I understand that strategies and approaches for projects of this type have been developed since.

These issues were entirely of my own creation and should not cast any doubt on the excellence of the course, of Lisa or Jennie, or of their dedicated team of editors.

I signed up for K.M. Weiland’s Character Arcs course through the Digital Freedom Academy. It’s entirely self-paced and Kate has loaded her usual extras into the course materials. Her Creating Character Arcs book also came out in the fall, and I definitely recommend both. I am a fangirl, though.

In August, I signed up for another Nelson Literary Agency course on the first five pages. NLA courses are excellence sources of feedback from professional agents who know what makes a successful submission.

At the end of September, I enrolled in a Mary Robinette Kowal Short Fiction Intensive. Blew my mind.

Finally, as far as courses go, I signed up for a course by Kristen Lamb on writing query letters and synopses.

I also tried my hand at #PitchWars for the first time with Reality Bomb, and while I didn’t make the extremely competitive cut, I did have a positive experience thanks to the team who considered my proposal, Michael Mammay and Dan Koboldt. It’s quite an eye-opener, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to test the waters with one of their novels.

It was a lot of fun and another pleasant surprise.

As far as conferences and conventions, I attended Ad Astra, The Canadian Writers’ Summit, and my very first WorldCon last year.

I was also pleased to participate as a panellist at Wordstock Sudbury 2016.

And I had two stories published in the Sudbury Writers’ Guild anthology, Sudbury Ink, which launched in November.

Complicating all that, Phil had some significant health issues to deal with at the beginning of the year (now resolved), and, from August through to November, he renovated our living room after work and on the weekends.

We’re still waiting for the last pieces of furniture to be delivered, and he’ll be working on building wall-to-wall bookshelves, as the weather allows (he’s working in the unheated garage) throughout the winter. Pictures will be forthcoming in a future post.

Looking at all of that written out, I accomplished a helluva lot last year.

I think I’m going to have to ease back a bit in 2017, work smarter instead of harder.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

What are my plans for 2017?

Well, you know I’m not one for resolutions. I have goals that I work steadily toward and amend as required.

First, I’ve nabbed my copy of Jamie Raintree’s 2017 Writing & Revision tracker. I’m setting up the projects in series this year, and will identify different novels in my Ascension series with different colours so I’ll be able to distinguish them and extract the numbers I need to feed my production geek.

I’ll continue to finish drafting Wavedancer, as I mentioned (way) above. At my current rate, I should be finished by the end of February.

Once drafting is done, I’m going to return to revising. I should be able to get through all of the novels in the course of the year. Again, as I mentioned above, I intend these revisions to be more in depth and to address some of the structural issues, as I see them, in the stories.

I’m going to be working with a coach to get Reality Bomb reworked. It’s something else I’m trying in my quest to improve my craft. My hope is that I’ll be able to query RB later this year.

With the short fiction surprise last year, I’ve actually had another idea I want to work on, and some other ideas for revising a couple of my other stories to improve them. Accordingly, I’ve made some room for these projects in my plan.

For NaNoWriMo, I’m going to tackle the fourth novel in the epic fantasy series, tentatively titled Playing with Fire.

I may also have a new, semi-regular writing gig to tell you about. I don’t want to let the cat out of the proverbial bag yet, but if it materializes, you can be sure I’ll let you know all the tasty deets I can 🙂

I’ve already signed up for the Story Masters Workshop in May. Donald Maass, James Scott Bell, and Christopher Vogler are coming to Toronto. This is a squee-worthy score, in my books. It was another opportunity I couldn’t let pass.

When I heard that the No Excuses cruise was going to be in Europe this year and timed to immediately precede WorldCon in Helsinki, I was seriously considering signing up. Unfortunately some non-writerly priorities make both the cruise and WorldCon impractical. Mellie haz a sad.

In fact, I may not attend any conferences or conventions at all this year. We’ll see how things shape up.

The reason for this dialling back is that Phil, who’s in his 50’s now, wants to proceed with renovations to the kitchen and bathroom this year. Though he will continue to do as much of the work himself as he can, these two projects will require a significant financial investment. And we haven’t paid off the living room renovation yet.

We also want to get another puppy. This will depend on whether my employer sorts out their payroll issues and I can apply for another self-funded leave. I will need the time to train our new dependent, furry quadruped. Again, deets will be forthcoming as I can share them.

On that front, if the payroll issues at work are sorted, I’ll finally see my acting pay from mid-February to the end of September last year, less about a thousand dollars outstanding from my last self-funded leave.

We’ve heard that union negotiations have resulted in an offer, the terms of which look reasonable. If we vote to ratify the new contract, it will mean about two and a half years of retro pay and a signing bonus, again, dependent on when the payroll issues can be sorted.

Our car loan should be paid off in late spring, as well, and so, between it all, we’ll have a little extra money to use to pay down our debts.

Phil got a promotion and raise last year from his employer, so we figure this will be the year to finish the renovations.

As you can see, this is going to be a different kind of year, but I’m hopeful that everything will work out.

Besides, come the end of February, it will be the Chinese Year of the Rooster (I’m a rooster!) and I think the powers that be might finally be aligning in my favour 😉

Here’s to a fabulous and productive 2017 for everyone.

Love and light and loads of good words to you all!

The Next Chapter