Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 27-Oct 3, 2020

Ah, October. My favourite month of the year 🙂 And this year, it’s even more special. Halloween/Samhain, which is my birthday, is also a blue/wolf moon. I’ll be howling, that’s for sure.

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

President Trump, in a karmic turn of events, got the rona. He was rushed to his private medical suite the next day, given top notch medical treatment, and expects to be released within the next day or so. Of course, he’ll still be in quarantine for a week and a half. Meanwhile, the rest of America, most of whom can’t afford such medical treatment, continue to be infected and die. Almost fifty thousand on September 3rd. Almost seven and a half million to date, and close to two hundred and ten thousand deaths.

Provincially, there have been between six and eight hundred new cases of covid-19 a day for the last week. In Quebec, the daily infection rates have topped a thousand. There have been four new cases in Sudbury since my last tipsday.

Accordingly, restrictions have been increased. Masks are mandatory. Social circles/bubble are gone, though those who live alone can interact with one other household for social and mental health purposes. Phil and I will, thankfully, continue to interact with my mom. Thanksgiving plans will have to be delayed/cancelled.

Please. Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance. Wash your hands. Stay home to the degree possible. You’re not doing this for yourself. You’re doing this for someone you love. Please.

It’s been a week. Now, it’s time to feed your creative side with some informal writerly learnings.

Ellen Buikema: writing humor to heal mind and body. Then, Dr. Miffie Seideman helps you include believable sensory details for unfamiliar experiences. Writers in the Storm

Sarah Z. Sleeper tackles profanity in literature: what the bleep did I write? Then, Sharon Bially shares a hack to get to the heart of your story and stay there. Later in the week, Cathy Yardley harkens back to Monty Python: and now, for something completely different. Writer Unboxed

Meg LaTorre lists the kinds of writing advice you shouldn’t follow. iWriterly

K.M. Weiland explains the link between your story’s hook and its resolution. Helping Writers Become Authors

E.J. Wenstrom shows you how to strengthen your platform during the pandemic. Then, L.B. Gschwandtner shares some myths and truths about writing. DIY MFA

Trans stories, explained. The Take

The independent woman trope, explained. The Take

Colleen M. Story explains how to use your excuses to get more writing done. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold takes a broader view of storytelling conflict.

Shaelin offers ten world building tips. Reedsy

Chris Winkle considers turning points the secret to satisfying conflicts. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists the villains of each Buffy season, from worst to best. Mythcreants

Sara Bareilles – Brave. Why is this in tipsday? “Say what you want to say / let the words fall out … I want to see you be brave.” Every day. Facing the page (or planning, or daydreaming). It’s what every writer does.

Meilan Solly spotlights the women who shaped the last 100 years of American literature. The Smithsonian Magazine

Roger Kreuz explains how covid-19 is changing the English language. Fast Company

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 30-Sept 5, 2020

Welcome to thoughty Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday! Revive yourselves for the weekend by getting your mental corn popping 🙂

Theresa Waldrop shares the latest news about the Portland protest shooting death. CNN

Safia Samee Ali: where protesters go, armed militia and vigilantes likely follow with little to stop them. NBC News

Ashitha Nagesh explains how “hyper-liberal” Portland’s racist past is resurfacing. BBC

The peace reporters. Videos of police violence at #BLM protests with the testimony of the people who took them. Content warning on this one. The videos of police violence are difficult to watch. They’re optional, though. You can just read the words of the people who took the videos and get a sense of what it means to be a witness in these difficult situations. The Verge


Jesmyn Ward waxes on witness and respair: a personal tragedy followed by pandemic. Vanity Fair

Why Tuesday feels like July and sometimes never during covid (how we perceive time). It’s Okay to be Smart

Jessica Stillman: the Greeks had a word for the specific kind of bad you’re feeling right now. Acedia. Inc.

Patrick Adams wants us to meet Gertrude Elion, the woman who gave the world anti-viral drugs. National Geographic


Heidi Wachter explains why we need to fill the greenspace gap. Shondaland

Studying the brain with quantum mechanics. SciShow Psych

Rachel Kraus wonders, what is an algorithm, anyway? Mashable

Jess Romeo sheds light on the long history of comet phobia. JSTOR Daily

Emily Zarka introduces us to Spring-Heeled Jack. PBS Storied | Monstrum

Daniel Oberhaus: gravity, gizmos, and Jim Woodward’s grant theory of interstellar travel. Wired

The Martian crustal dichotomy. SciShow Space

Carrie Whitney introduces us to the man behind the legend of Sitting Bull. How Stuff Works

Chadwick Boseman, rest in power. New Rockstars

Leah Greenblatt pays tribute to Chadwick Boseman: his life, his legacy, and his iconic roles. Entertainment Weekly

Stan Horaczek explains how cats and dogs see the world. Popular Science

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire your next creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 16-22, 2020

Welcome to another week of informal writerly learnings!

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. This is a fundamental truth.

The EI ERB and CERB have been extended for the third time and three new transitional benefits are being created to support Canadians in this crisis. It’s resulted in chaos at work, but chaos has been the rule since March 15th.

Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Stay within your bubbles and avoid crowded events. Take care and stay safe. You don’t know who you could be putting at risk with careless behaviour.

K.M. Weiland shares five exercises for honing your story instincts. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft explains why he prefers novels with prologues. Dave King is discussing fiction in the time of plague. Then, Sarah Penner shares the results of a working-from-home survey: navigating changes to our work environments. Later in the week, Porter Anderson discusses emergent voices. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin Bishop shares some of her favourite writing techniques. Shaelin Writes

Tasha Seegmiller: every novel needs a village. Then, Barbara Linn Probst advises us to read like a writer and write like a reader. Later in the week, John Peragine explains the vital importance of your writing community. Writers in the Storm

The muse trope, explained. The Take

Rochelle Melander suggests some tools for revision. Fiction University

Christina Delay uses the lyrics of “Yesterday” to look back at the first act. Writers Helping Writers

Helen J. Darling helps you build your author newsletter list. Then, Pamela Taylor helps you figure out whether you’re writing historical fiction, or something else. Later in the week, Chere Hughes describes the key features of a no-fear critique. DIY MFA

Susan DeFreitas explains what your first 50 pages reveal. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford wants you to be very careful with dreams and hallucinations in novels.

Chris Winkle explains why story structures like the Hero’s Journey don’t work. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with anticlimactic endings. Mythcreants

What English can’t do. NativLang

Alexandra Alter: “We’ve already survived an apocalypse”: Indigenous authors are changing science fiction. The New York Times

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 17-23, 2020

Another week of #pandemiclife, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Before we get to those, though, here is my weekly update:

Though Ontario’s efforts at “reopening” have been cautious, numbers of confirmed cases have increased. Some of this is to be expected, but testing has not kept up. The federal government is trying to get the tech companies on board to have 1 tracing app across platforms (Android and Apple). While Phil and I did take my mom and Torvi out for an afternoon of physically distanced fun at his sister’s (she’s worked hard on her back yard this year, increasing the size of her patio to accommodate a gazebo, making a proper fire pit, and various planter boxes) we were careful to stay two metres apart.

Phil made a couple of yard games, a set of lawn dice for outdoor Yahtzee and a Finnish game called mölkky. I’ll let you look the latter up on the interwebz 🙂 We played a couple games and had an enjoyable afternoon.

Onto the curation!

K.M. Weiland strikes a balance between creativity and distraction: 13 tips for writers in the age of the internet. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy is clarifying ambiguous pronouns. Then, Orly Konig wants you to organize the chaos using these five revision tips for pantsers. Fiction University

Gabe lists the four questions every pitch must answer. Bookish Pixie

Marjorie Simmins offers an excerpt of her Q&A with Lawrence Hill: memoir beyond the self. Then, Susan DeFreitas returns with part seven of her developing a writing practice series: engrained. Jane Friedman

Shaelin finishes her series on developing a novel: creating a writing plan. Reedsy

E.J. Wenstrom lists ten ways to connect with readers while physically distancing. And here’s my latest column: mythic storytelling with the tarot, part three. In which I create an outline for a fantasy story using the tarot. Jason Jones shares five tips to get your book on local media. DIY MFA

Dave King goes into the woods. Barbara Linn Probst is learning from Pinoccio how to create a character who’s fully alive. Writer Unboxed

Christina Delay thinks you might as well jump—into the third act. Writers Helping Writers

Ellen Buikema takes a look at body language in writing. Writers in the Storm

The Take looks at the girl next door.

Jami Gold explores the spectrum of third person point of view. Then, she helps you develop a powerful point of view.

Chris Winkle explains how to plot a series. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers the world building of The Expanse. Mythcreants

Kelly Grovier: the women who created a new language. BBC

Deborah Dundas: Amazon hurt them. The lockdown hurt them. Now there’s a painful loss in court. Canada’s book biz — authors, publishers, retailers — is hunting for a new business model. The Toronto Star

Thank you for visiting. I hope you’ve found something to support you with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

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

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 3-9, 2020

It’s thoughty Thursday, and you know what that means. Tomorrow is Friday! You’ve made it through another week. Now it’s time to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Mary Katherine Keown reports on the little library that’s converted to a free seed distribution point for Sudbury residents. The Sudbury Star

Alex Morrs: how rebel botanists are using graffiti to name forgotten plants. The Guardian

Matthew Taub recounts the life and fiery death of the world’s largest treehouse. Atlas Obscura

Sarah Regan offers a beginner’s guide to reading palms. In case you’ve run out of yeast. Mind Body Green

SciShow Psych explores how physicists are helping neuroscientists understand the brain better.

Erika Hayasaki goes undercover with Marisol Nichols in a child predator sting. Marie Claire

Chi Luu: the linguistics of “cooties” and other weird things kids say. JSTOR Daily

Madison Feller: the youngest person to travel to every country has created your future bucket list. Elle

Murcury is so hot, it’s making ice. SciShow Space

Umair Irfan reports on the arrival of the giant Asian hornet, AKA the murder hornet, and its target is honey bees. Vox

For some perspective, Yvette Brend: “Murder Hornet” risk overblown according to BC’s top bee expert. CBC

Mattie Cook shares all the cuteness: the Miami Zoo’s meerkat pups. Totally the Bomb

Canadian photographer, Dennis Fast, captures polar bears enjoying a summertime field of flowers. The Mind Circle

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you found something to inspire your next creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 3-9, 2020

Even as various provincial governments consider “opening up,” we are becoming aware of reports from China and South Korea that their attempts to do the same are resulting in another spike in infections and deaths. While I think that, with testing and tracking and sufficient PPE, a certain degree of business resumption can occur, I’m worried that the testing, tracking, and PPE are not in place as yet.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, this week was another rich one for informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Sara Letourneau explains how your protagonist’s motivations influence your story’s themes. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Helen J. Darling for an inside look at self-publishing. Pamela Gay shares five ways to write about something difficult. DIY MFA

Sonja Yoerg encourages you to give your story the time of day. Donald Maass: the meaning of meaning. Julie Carrick Dalton considers the earned plot twist. Jennie Nash: the secret to more efficient revision is pattern recognition. Writer Unboxed

How to develop a novel, part 3: plot & world. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford shows you how to weave exposition naturally into your story. Later in the week, he suggests giving your protagonist a mini-quest before the plot takes off.

Aziraphale and Crowley share a message with the world.

Tiffany Yates Martin wants you to give your characters agency. Then, Susan DeFreitas serves up the next part of her developing a writing practice series: captivating. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains how to improve your story with action beats. Later in the week, she wonders, do your characters take on lives of their own?

The Take explains the woman-child trope.

Joanna Penn shares her self-editing process. The Creative Penn

Meg LaTorre explains how to juggle writing and parenting. Writers Helping Writers

Fae Rowan show you how small decisions can make big story impact. Julie Glover: in defense of editing as you go. Writers in the Storm

Juliette Dunn profiles five characters coded as autistic. Mythcreants

What English does that no other languages do. NativLang

Eileen Hunt Botting introduces us to Mary Shelley’s journals of sorrow. The Times Literary Supplement

I’ve been trying to avoid a lot of overt covid-19 material, but Kim Stanley Robinson’s article is too amazing not to share. Coronavirus is rewriting our imaginations. The New Yorker

And this: Sabrina Orah Mark. Fuck the Bread. The Bread is over. On making your own fairy tale, embarking on your own epic tasks, and finding meaning. Beautiful and wrenching and ultimately hopeful. The Paris Review

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ve taken 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, April 19-25, 2020

Sunday (April 26th) marked one month since I started working from home and a little over six weeks since covid-19 was declared a pandemic and physical distancing measures were put in place. In that time, several of the small businesses and independent workers whose services I used have shut down operations. This past week, one of those small businesses made the decision to close permanently.

I understand the decision and wish the two wonderful businesswomen all the best, but it makes me sad that they were forced to the extremity. Unfortunately, none of the measures the government offered for small businesses were appropriate for them. I worry that more small businesses will follow suit.

This has been a trying time for everyone for a variety of reasons. Take care of yourselves and take some time to enjoy these informal writerly learnings.

Jan O’Hara: turning points (or, how not to kill your partner during covid-19 lockdown). Dave King discusses the practice novel (also called the shelf novel or trunk novel—scarier words were never writ). Anne Greenwood Brown reveals the science behind the meet-cute. Heather Webb explains how to find and hone your author voice. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi offers nine ways to originalize your story. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin starts a new series about developing a novel. Part one: concept and idea. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland lists four ways writing improves your relationship with yourself. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn talks to Gail Carriger about building a unique author brand. The Creative Penn

Susan DeFreitas continues her series on developing a writing practice with part four: easy. Jane Friedman

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains what emotional context is and why your story needs it. Later in the week, Angela Ackerman shows you how to describe a location you’ve never visited. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold helps you use scene and sequel better.

Chris Winkle lists five common dialogue problems and how to fix them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi digs into the world building of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire. Mythcreants

How the manic pixie dream girl has evolved. The Take

And the crazy woman.

Maria Popova introduces us to The Lost Words: an illustrated dictionary of poetic spells reclaiming the language of nature. Brain Pickings

Kate Yoder considers the words this unprecedented time of change have brought into our lexicon. Grist

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

Until next time, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends.

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 5-11, 2020

This week’s curation is a mix of ways to entertain yourself, covid-19-adjacent articles, and general thoughtiness. It’s time to get your mental corn popping.

Sydney Perkowitz: how to see the invisible universe. JSTOR Daily

Jamie Cater says, your cosmic address is the trippiest thing you’ll learn today. Travel + Leisure

Space germs were a literal thing. Why the Apollo 11 astronauts were quarantined. Vox

Brian Ferguson reveals Scotland’s claim to fame as the birthplace of the f-word (and an interesting BBC documentary to watch if you have access). The Scotsman

Erin Blakemore explains why plague doctors wore those strange beaked masks. National Geographic

Arthur C. Brooks shares the three equations of a happy life. The Atlantic

Livia Gershon explains how people during the Depression managed to laugh. JSTOR Daily

Mary Alice Miller: digital burnout was coming, and the pandemic is expediting it. Vanity Fair

Jonathan Watts shares his journey into the Antarctic. The Guardian

Jessica Leigh Hester wants you to let your mind wander with these gloriously detailed maps. Atlas Obscura

Zoe Baillargeon recommends the best online cooking classes and tutorials. The Manual

Camryn Rabideau suggests six indoor gardening projects for *any* size of home. Food52

SciShow introduces us to the white smokers of The Lost City and how they may have had a role in the origin of life on our planet.

Atlas Obscura shares images of Puzzlewood, the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings movie.

Corinne Segal shares this livestream of the bird library for you and your cat(s) to enjoy. Literary Hub

Jonna Jinton – The Wolf Song

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you took away something to inspire your next creative project, or just to fill the well until inspiration strikes.

Until next tipsday, be well and stay safe, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs you … and your stories!

ThoughtyThursday2019

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