Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 26-Oct 2, 2021

Welcome to October, my favourite month of the year 🙂 It’s all informal writerly learning treats and no tricks, all month long.

Erika Liodice explores the creative connection between travel and writing. Then, Robin LaFevers is navigating self-doubt. Jennie Nash recommends seven business books every writer should read. Then, Julie Carrick Dalton advises you about knowing when NOT to write. Deanna Cabinian examines the time vs. productivity paradox. Writer Unboxed

Kristen Lamb shares five simple ways to finish a book by making (not finding) time. Then, Cait Reynolds wonders, is podcasting the new blog? Kristen Lamb

Tim Hickson talks soft worldbuilding. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland introduces us to the archetypal antagonists for the king arc: cataclysm and rebel. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan DeFreitas: can fiction make a difference in the world? Jane wonders whether Black voices in publishing is a trend or a movement. Then, Jane considers what authors earn from digital lending at libraries. Jane Friedman

Shaelin helps you draft a short story. Reedsy

Following up on her last instalment on planting bugs, Piper Bayard explains how to find bugs (writing spies). Then, Kris Maze compares pros and cons of using Scrivener and Plottr for outlining. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth Spann Craig looks at the pros and cons of outlining.

Death worms: fact or fiction? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Joanna Penn and Mark Leslie Lefebvre discuss co-authoring The Relaxed Writer. The Creative Penn

Nathan Bransford explains when to get feedback on your novel. Then, Shalene Gupta reveals how to make and keep writer friends. Nathan Bransford

Richelle Lyn is challenging a genre identity crisis. Then, T.J. Torres offers some advice for committed BIPOC writers. DIY MFA

The “white trash” trope and its hidden agenda. The Take

Sofia Jeppsson clears up seven misconceptions about madness and psychosis. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five movies critics loved but audiences hated. Mythcreants

Richard Marpole says that you’re writing medieval fantasy wrong. Fantasy Faction

Kristin Nelson reveals the connection between velocity, volume, interval, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Then, Angie Hodapp reveals that genre isn’t everything and high concept isn’t king. Pub Rants

How to tell she’s definitely not a Mary Sue. The Take

All the LOLs: the hilarious dictionary of Finnish language and culture. Design You Trust

Allison Flood announces that Laura Jean McKay wins the Arthur C. Clarke Award. The Guardian

Thank you for taking the time to visit, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 6-12, 2021

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂 Get ‘em while they’re hot (and not too old)!

Greer Macallister wonders, can writers still be readers? Then, Jim Dempsey provides a guide to style. Kathleen McCleary says, prove it! Kathryn Craft shows you how to heighten tension with a watcher. David Corbett: on killing 22,000 darlings, part 2. Identifying the dead. Writer Unboxed

This is your brain on language. SciShow Psych

K.M. Weiland covers the flat archetype of the parent in part 18 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan DeFreitas shares six key strategies for emotionally affecting fiction. Then, J. Michael Straczynsky explains why you can’t sell an idea. Ashleigh Renard is selling books on TikTok, no dancing (or crying) required. Jane Friedman

The lotus blossom stereotype. The Take

Jami Gold helps you avoid “talking heads” and other clichés. Then, Jessica Conoley helps you build your triangle of support with part 2: mentorship. Writers Helping Writers

Colleen M. Story lists five signs you have “writer’s DNA.”  Piper Bayard presents seven character lessons from a real-life heroine. Writers in the Storm

Yes, Virginia, the female gaze exists. The Take

Marina Barakatt examines the value of Lumberjanes. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Tasha Suri about crafting conflict in epic fantasy. Later in the week, Elizabeth Sumner Wafler explains how she built her side biz as an editor. Then Rebecca D’Harlingue lists five questions to ask before you write a dual timeline novel. DIY MFA

Kristine Kathryn Rusch continues her fear-based decision-making series with traditional writers.

Chris Winkle explains why we have to let go of meta mysteries. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with weak stakes. Mythcreants

I tried Harley Quinn’s elevator flip (as one does). Jill Bearup

Sudbury’s Scott Overton writes about an alien artefact found in a northern Ontario lake. CBC

Mike Fleming Jr. reports that N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy lands at Sony TriStar in 7-figure deal; author to adapt. Deadline

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 23-29, 2021

Tipsday is here! Fortify yourself for the week with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Laura Highcove wants you to use your writer’s intuition to solve a problem. Manuela Williams offers you a tool for your poet’s toolbox: line breaks. Later in the week, Ginnye Lynn Cubel helps you write a villain you love. Then, Disha Walia shares five tips to ace the art of retelling. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy helps you make sense of character wants and needs. Fiction University

Princess Weekes considers purity culture and fandom … issa mess. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland looks more closely at the flat archetype of the child in part 16 of her archetypal character arc series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Can we be heroes again? Confronting the banality of modern evil. Like Stories of Old

Tiffany Yates Martin helps you bring your stories to life with nonverbals. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four ways movement affects deep POV. Writers in the Storm

Then, on Jane Friedman’s blog, Tiffany shows you how to deepen characterization by mining your own reactions. Joe Ponepinto says, don’t tease your reader. Get to the tension and keep it rising. Jane Friedman

Getting feedback from critique partners and beta readers. Reedsy

Gwen Hernandez helps you organize your research notes in Scrivener. Then, Diana Giovinazzo is learning to writer through grief. Heather Webb: being a good literary citizen. Liz Michalski says, right-brained revisers, unite! Writer Unboxed

Nathan Bransford says, don’t start a scene without these four essential elements.

How to write effective description and imagery. Shaelin Writes

Angela Ackerman wants to know if your character has a secret. Writers Helping Writers

Kristine Kathryn Rusch presents part three of her fear-based decision-making series: TV/film.

Chris Winkle lists five common reasons stories screech to a halt. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that suffer from muddled atmosphere. Mythcreants

Spirited Away – Why work is toxic. The Take

James Whitlock: Netflix’s Sandman has cast Death and a whole lot more of the Dreaming. Gizmodo

Evan Narcisse interviews Ta-Nahesi Coates about saying goodbye to Black Panther. Polygon

William Deresiewicz shares a report: stages of grief (what the pandemic has done to the arts). Harper’s

Emily Wenstrom explains how non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can reward authors and readers. Book Riot

Erin McCarthy introduces us to 56 delightfully unusual words for everyday things. Mental Floss

Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 14-20, 2021

You’ve made it through Monday. Time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy explains why rescuing your protagonist might be a terrible idea. Yeah, I have this problem. Then, she lists four mistakes that doom your first page. Confession: first pages KILL me. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Later in the week, Bonnie Randall provides a cheat sheet that will help you write rich characterization. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland covers the maiden’s arc in her archetypal character arcs series, part 2. Helping Writers Become Authors

Princess Weekes: Bridgerton and the problem of pastel progressivism. Melina Pendulum

Vaughn Roycroft explains why we need tragic stories, now more than ever. Dave King is keeping it real. Later in the week, Kelsey Allagood offers the confessions of a conflict-avoidant writer. Then, Porter Anderson makes the case for kindness. Writer Unboxed

Why a bad series finale can ruin the whole show. SciShow Psych

Lori Freeland delves into backstory and how you can dodge the infodump. I’m trying to find the right balance here. Then, Barbara Linn Probst shares four of the best writing exercises EVER. Later in the week, Margie Lawson returns: hugs you’ve got to love! Writers in the Storm

The romance addict trope, explained. Love isn’t all you need. The Take

Kristina Adams explains how building your self-awareness makes you a better writer. Another issue I’m struggling with. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Christina Delay helps you identify your reader. Then, Gilbert Bassey shows you how to master the happy-sad ending. Writers Helping Writers

Princess Diana, according to The Crown. The Take

E.J. Wenstrom shares the secret formula to author newsletter joy. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Ellie Cypher about language as world building in YA fantasy. Then, Sara Farmer interviews Kellye Garrett. DIY MFA

Fay Onyx helps you to rid your monsters of ableism. Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at five antagonists who never stood a chance. Mythcreants

Bulletproof Monk: the worst flirty fight scene ever? Jill Bearup

Lisa Hall-Wilson asks, what’s your character’s emotional Kryptonite?

Chuck Wendig offers some gentle writing advice. Terribleminds

Alison Flood reports that after a year inside, novelists are struggling to write. Some have been struggling all along. Others haven’t. Still others have noticed a distinct lack in the quality of the work they manage to produce. The Guardian

As ever, thank you for taking the time to visit. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, 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