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

It’s time for your dose on informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland continues her most common writing mistakes series with part 60: flat plots. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate continues her series on the do’s and don’ts of storytelling according to Marvel with a look at Guardian of the Galaxy, volume 2: how to ace the first act in your sequel.

As a follow up to her last post on critiquing, Jane Friedman helps you recognize patterns in the way you respond to criticism.

Then, Gary Zenker guest posts on DIY MFA: a new approach to critique.

Larry Brooks stops by Writer Unboxed to discuss the big lie about writing compelling fiction.

As a follow up to Larry’s post, Anna Elliott asks, what’s your truth? Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass explores characters light and dark. Writer Unboxed

Parul Macdonald uncovers the world of a literary scout and international rights. Writer Unboxed

Abigail K. Perry joins the DIY MFA team: how to make you character descriptions do double duty.

Stacey B. Woodson shares five writing lessons from thriller master David Morrell. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Sarah Dessen for DIY MFA radio.

Marielle Orff shares five ways to get to know your characters better. DIY MFA

Emily Wenstrom offers some email marketing tips. The Write Life

Jami Gold gives us one simple trick to avoid the opening page infodump.

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series with testing the idea. Fiction University

Then, Janice visits Writers in the Storm: what do you want your readers to wonder about?

Chris Winkle covers five more dualities that can replace good and evil. Mythcreants

Bryan Hutchinson explains how to become a prolific writer while holding down a day job. Positive Writer

Sophie Playle: where is your budget for book editing best spent? Liminal Pages

Sarah Fox shares seven things editors wish authors knew. Well Storied

Jeremy Szal shares his tips for writing a successful query letter. Fantasy Faction

Caroline Leavitt: when the writing mentor becomes the mentee. The Millions

Anne Lamott: 12 truths I learned about life and writing. TED Talks

Jarred MGuiness says writing is the only magic he still believes in. TEDxEaling

 

Folklore Thursday takes a look at how iron became the enemy of the fairy folk.

Shane Koyczan: the weather.

 

And that is how we Tipsday.

See you on Thursday for some mental corn popping thoughty.

Be well until then!

tipsday2016

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, October 4-10, 2015

Another wonderful week of Writerly Goodness.

Roz Morris takes a snap-shot from her self-editing masterclass: Do you have a plot, or a premise? I’m currently reading Larry Brooks’s Story Physics, and this is one of his big issues 🙂

K.M. Weiland offers seven ways NaNoWriMo can help you be a better writer all year long.

The Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) isn’t just for figuring out who you are. Katie shows how you can use it to analyze your characters. BTW, I’m an INTJ, if you wanted to know.

Katie posted later in the week about ‘the call’ and the questions you want to ask when considering an offer of representation.

It was a good week for Katie: Why weak plot points are like the Bush-Gore vote-counting debacle.

Jordan Rosenfeld and Martha Alderson team up on Writer Unboxed to review master scene types for page-turning plots.

Lisa Cron makes her long-awaited (and triumphant) return to Writer Unboxed with this post. Who knows more about story: writers or The Pentagon?

Catherine Ryan Howard shares her year of amazing productivity. This was the post that got me Muse-Ink last Saturday.

Benjamin Sobieck guest posts on Christine Frazier’s The Better Novel Project to talk about how to write fantasy weapons.

Ben Thompson gives us a two part post in response to the NYT article that reported the faltering of ebook sales in the face of strengthening print sales. Disconfirming ebooks, and Are ebooks declining, or just the publishers?

Kristine Kathryn Rusch takes a look at the latest Author Earnings report.

Jane Friedman shares five observations on the evolution of author business models.

Lachesism. From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

iDiva presents some women science fiction authors you should read.

I’m looking forward to checking out Jessica Jones. Here’s the preview on i09.

Come on back for a short and sweet Thoughty Thursday.

Tipsday

CanWrite! 2013: Open mic, Andrew Pyper, and Cordelia Strube

I already mentioned the welcome reception and the morning creative writing circles, but have since launched into panels and sessions without mentioning what happened the evenings of June 13 and 14.

Back-pedalling now …

Open mic and shortlist readings

On June 13, interested parties were encouraged to sign up for the open mic.  I did and intended to read the revised opening of my novel as I had at Wordstock, then at supper I heard that the readings would be restricted to five minutes.  This was reduced to three by the time I arrived due to the number of last minute sign-ups.

Not having brought my poetry with me that night, I read as much of my opening as I could.  It was well-received.

Other readers offered their poetry and stories (one humorous one was about discovering one was having a heart attack while on the toilet – shades of Elvis) the organizers sticking strictly to the three-minute limit.

June 14 was to have been readings from the authors short listed for the CAA Literary Awards, but again, a last-minute change opened the floor to additional readers.  I signed up and brought my poetry, a much more appropriate genre for the three-minute limit.

I got to hear the end of the Elvis story and some more great poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.

I enjoyed the readings from the short listed works.  With one exception, none of them could show up in person.  The man who did was Michael S. Cross, author of A Biography of Robert Baldwin: The Morning-Star of Memory (Oxford University Press).

Michael’s reading was wonderful.  I didn’t know Robert Baldwin was such a fascinating character.

Another fascinating author was Jane Doe. She read from her book The Story of Jane Doe.  She is an advocate and activist and her story is a compelling one.  I encourage everyone who has an interest in women’s issues, advocacy, or the attitudes of the legal system to victims of rape and violent crime to pick up this book.

Andrew Pyper

Andrew Pyper

Andrew Pyper

Andrew Pyper is the author of six novels, most recently, The Demonologist.

Andrew’s session was on the afternoon of June 14, and it was as much workshop as presentation.

The session, Getting organized, getting started, focused on the essential elements required before an author begins to write a novel.

  1. An Idea;
  2. A Premise;
  3. A Protagonist;
  4. A Hook;
  5. A Structure; and
  6. An Outline.

He also offered six tips for overcoming roadblocks.

One of the most interesting pieces of his presentation was about ideas.  Yes, one must have at least one good idea to propel one’s plot, but the author shouldn’t stop there.

Traditional thought and misconception would imply that one idea must be made big enough to become the basis for a novel.  Andrew suggested that rather than one idea expanding to fit a novel, that a multitude of ideas should funnel down and feed into a single novel.

This made a lot of sense to me, and when I think about it, that’s how I write fiction.  I never write about one thing.

The premise is distinguished from the main idea of the novel because of its scope.  Andrew’s explanation reminded me of Larry Brooks’s.

He offered the following example:

Idea: A modern-day Frankenstein.

Premise: Archaeologists extract DNA from mosquitoes trapped in pre-historic amber and use it to clone dinosaurs. A philanthropist establishes a theme park around the beasts and invites a select group of scientists and family to witness his triumph; then the beasts escape (Jurassic Park).

The key to a premise is “high concept,” a concept that can be evasive.  This is why Larry Brooks is forever explaining the difference between idea, concept, and premise on his site 😉

Andrew had us write our premises for the Rob Ford story.  As expected, we all had different takes on the well-publicized scandal.

I won’t give away the whole of Andrew’s session, but I will say that it was informative and fun.

Cordelia Strube

Cordelia Strube’s session, on the afternoon of June 15, was mostly workshop.  She’d actually had workshops on both afternoons (14th and 15th) and anticipated that conference-goers would attend both, but a miscommunication occurred and the message was never conveyed to attendees.

Cordelia has published eight funny, powerful, sparse, cathartic and critically acclaimed novels, among them Alex & Zee, Teaching Pigs to Sing, The Barking Dog, Blind Night, and Lemon. Her ninth, Milosz was published last year.

Her plan was to have participants from the first session return and revise the work they had started the day before.  Those of us who only came on the second day would have to start from scratch.

Cordelia gave us a framework and some strategies for getting into our focused writing.  She then distributed horoscopes and a number of other prompts: postcards, small items, all of which were to inform our writing project for the afternoon.

After we were sent off to write however and wherever we wished, the class was asked to share the results of their writing.

It was an excellent session.

________________________________________________________________________

I should take a moment to mention that there were a number of sessions happening concurrently on Friday and Saturday afternoons.  I can only report on the ones that I attended.

Specialty sessions, at a nominal additional cost, also took place during the mornings.

There were also agent pitch sessions occurring Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings.  Though I did not opt into these, they were very popular and booked solid.

I like the way in which they were conducted.  Each author was to submit their query letter and first five pages of their novel in advance of the pitch session.  I think that this is a much better way to conduct pitches than to do them blindly.  It’s better for the agents because they have a sense of the author’s work.  It’s better for the writer because they don’t only have their two to five minutes to convey the meat of their novel.

A professional photographer was also on site to take author shots for the attendees.  I happily paid the (again, nominal) fee for this.  I should have the results next week and I hope they will be better than my efforts to date.

Tomorrow: The final panel, Traditional vs. Self-publishing.

G’night y’all 🙂

The best of Writerly Goodness 2012

Well, since I only started blogging (in this incarnation) in March, it’s not been a year yet online, but I’ll give you an idea about what I think has been the best of 2012.

Best movie:  Definitely Cloud Atlas.  I don’t know why, but this movie really had me thinking and feeling.  I know that not everyone shares my inclinations, but Cloud Atlas blew me away.

Kim and I will be going to see The Hobbit tomorrow, but I honestly don’t anticipate that it will impress me as much.  I’ll enjoy the heck out of it, but Cloud Atlas affected me …

Best writing book: (A.K.A writing book porn): The Right to Write.  I’ve had the book on my shelf for years and it wasn’t until the Wordsmith Studio Goodreads group chose it that I actually cracked the cover.  I love Julia Cameron’s philosophy even if I am still struggling with morning pages.  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.

Runners up include Larry Brooks’s Story Engineering and Syd Field’s The Screenwriter’s Problem Solver.

Best fiction: The Hunger Games.  When my Mom read it before I did, I figured I better get around to the dear little thing.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Mind you, Larry Brooks’s 11 part analysis of the book was fantastic too, and made me think that I’d have some substantial writerly lessons to learn from it.

Riding Suzanne Collins’s heals are Hugh Howey’s Wool Omnibus and Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest, both of which I’m still reading, so I’m not sure, strictly speaking, that they count (!)

Best non-writing, non-fiction book: The Happiness Project, by Gretchin Rubin.  Again, still reading it, but it does speak to the control freak in me 🙂

Best writerly experience: The New York comes to Niagara pitch conference.  Fraught, yes.  Learning experience, double-yes.

Best local arts event: Hands down has to be the Launch of Kim Fahner’s The Narcoleptic Madonna, though Jon Bulter’s The LaCloche spirit: The equivalent light exhibit and Scott Overton’s launch of his novel Dead Air are close seconds.  Nor can I forget the 100 thousand poets for change event in North Bay.  Poetic road trips are the bestest.

Best posts
These have been selected due to the number of all-time views.

  1. Do you dress for success?
  2. The cadre … or should that be cabal?
  3. Feminist lunacy from Battle Chant
  4. Why did I call this category Alchemy Ink?
  5. Eight metaphors for persistence and why you’ll want to read this anyway – my very first post!  Awww … you guys 🙂
  6. Character sketches, part 2: Eoghan
  7. Character sketches, part 3: Dairragh
  8. Rethinking my online strategy
  9. Why spoilers are good for writers
  10. An Interview with Kim Fahner
hAPPY NEW YEAR

hAPPY NEW YEAR (Photo credit: Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi)

I’ll wait until New Years Day to post on resolutions.  So have a happy New Year all, and thanks a bunch for all of your support!

Virtual hugs!

Writerly Goodness.

On virtual homework and the reading of books

Dan Blank of We Grow Media

So here we are in week two of We Grow Media’s Build Your Author Platform course.

Week one was about developing focus, and I think I did pretty well.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my post about Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan document, I’ve done a lot of thinking about my life and what I want out of it.  It wasn’t difficult for me to put into words my plans for my creative life.

This week, it’s going to be a little more challenging.  I have to figure out my writerly identity and brand.  I know what I’ve said about myself on this blog and elsewhere, but this week’s assignment will have me digging deeper.

I have this morbid image floating about in my head …  See, a garden spade is pretty sharp, and I can imagine that digging into my tender heart and mind being a bit painful.

One benefit is that my name is pretty unique, and since I’ve bought my domain and all my SoMe is in my name, my blog, Twitter, Facebook account, LinkedIn account, etc. appear at the top of the results in most search engines.  And if my blog isn’t up there, then one of my poetry books, NEOVerse is.  So that’s a win.

I’ll have to let you know how the branding exercises go.  I’m not a tooter of my own horn.  It makes me squirm, actually.  Hence the painfully-sharp-spade-phobia.

On introversion

I’m an introvert, though I work in an industry that has me putting myself “out there” as a trainer.  My friend, Brainy (pseudonym) had this to say about introversion on her blog this week:

Other people in my work environment likely see me as fairly extroverted because I am very outspoken and I address individuals and groups quite confidently when sharing the expertise that I have accumulated in recent years.  I do a lot of online coaching and desktop sharing with collaborative technology but it’s usually one-on-one now.  I can only sustain the energy required for the group stuff once in awhile and with considerable advance preparation.

I can relate.

She also recommends Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.  It’s on my reading list.

What else I’ve been reading lately

Last month, I finished Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games.  I’d had the trilogy since last year when I saw the movie with a couple of friends who had both read the whole series and loved it.  More recently, I was urged to take the plunge for two more reasons: 1) my mom had just read the series and also loved it, and 2) Larry Brooks’s eleven-part analysis of the first book on his Storyfix blog (more on that in a moment).

I too, loved the book.  Having seen the movie, read Brooks’s analysis, and a few other reviews/articles on the novel, I was well aware of the plot and events of the novel.  But spoilers never spoil a book for me.  When I know the major plot points, I only enjoy the book more.  I read to improve my craft.

Collins’s prose is clean, her POV engaging, and her craft extraordinary.  Damned.  Good.  Book.

Mind you, I think I might be the last person on the face of the earth to read The Hunger Games 🙂

Brooks’s analysis of the book also lead me to read his: Story Engineering.  I did get a lot out of his book, but it was despite the author’s ethos.  Brooks comes on a little strong for my liking, and I truly resent having anyone shake a virtual finger at me.

For more of my thoughts on this writing craft book, please check out my review on Goodreads.

Ethos, for those who may not know, is the author’s personality as it comes through in print.

My undergrad was in rhetoric, so I’m pretty adept at reading past ethos.  It’s a good thing too, because Brooks does have some great information to share and I have already implemented some of his lessons.  I do get it.  I’m just not fond of how Brooks got his message out.

Currently, I’m reading Diana Gabaldon’s The Scottish Prisoner, which I’m enjoying quite a bit (though not as much as the main novels in the Outlander series), and A Medieval Miscellany.

Will let you know how all of that goes.

Right now, Writerly Goodness needs a wee bit of rest.  A new work-day awaits!  Egad …