Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 24-30, 2016

Another lovely batch of writerly goodness for you!

First some Sudbury poet laureate news 🙂

Adriana Nicolucci interviews Kim Fahner for Our Crater.

More poet laureate goodness: it’s been a busy week at Sudbury’s libraries. Jessica Watts for The Sudbury Star.


K.M. Weiland asks, do you have a writing superpower (and why you shouldn’t)? Helping writers become authors. Later in the week, she helps us understand how to write scenes your readers will rave about.

Roz Morris shares tips on how to blend a parallel, allegorical fantasy plot into your novel. Nail Your Novel.

Bonnie Randall guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: battling the block.

Marcy Kennedy returns with part two of her reading like a writer mini-series.

Chuck Wendig: What I’d like to say to young writers, part two.

Leanna Renee Hieber guest posts on Terribleminds: what to do when the bottom drops out.

James Scott Bell guest posts on Writer Unboxed: how to weave a message without pummelling your readers.

Steven Pressfield: I can’t squeeze my theme in! My favourite bit: “This is why writing (or the pursuit of any art) is, to me, a spiritual enterprise. It’s an endeavor of the soul. The stories we write, if we’re working truly, are messages in a bottle from our Self to our self, from our Unconscious/Divine Ground/Muse to our struggling, fallible, everyday selves.”

Later in the week, Shawn Coyne posts this: the designated driver. I’ve been listening to The Story Grid podcast and Tim Grahl has just finished his first draft.

Nina Munteanu explores the writer-editor relationship: editors preparing writers.

Stephen Stratford writes an essay on the dark arts of editing for The Spinoff.

Query Shark Janet Reid sounds off on why you should avoid querying services.

Author brands: Which kind of influencer are you? Carly Watters.

Martha Alderson guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog and shows us how to use a plot planner.

Jami Gold looks at brain science from the perspective of how we, as writers, imagine.

I may have shared this before, but it’s a good article: how stories change the brain. Paul J. Zak for Greater Good.

This is long as heck, but Tor.com covers (almost) all the science fiction and fantasy adaptations in production and already on the air.

Charlie Jane Anders explores the moment when science fiction diverged from competence porn. i09.

Cassandra Clare created a fantasy realm and aims to maintain her rule. Penelope Green for The New York Times.

The secrets of medieval fonts. Medieval Books.

David Tennant as Puck. Just ‘cause it’s Shakespeare’s 400th 🙂

Shakespeare is dead: six hot takes. Literary Hub.

Rob Brydon shares Shakespearean phrases in everyday use.

 

The Doctor’s Long Story, a fan video with heart. Radio Times.

John Boyega and James MacAvoy to voice Netflix’s Watership Down. Comic Book Resources.

Nathan Fillion joins the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, with more than just a prosthetic-covered cameo. Peoples Choice.

Electric Lit shares an infographic that explains the real history behind Game of Thrones.

Sarah Mesle reviews the first episode of season six for the LA Review of Books.

Until Thursday, be well.

Tipsday

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 21-27, 2016

A yummy week of Writerly Goodness for you:

Roz Morris shares three diagrams that you can use to check your novel’s pacing. Nail your novel.

Becca Puglisi also tackles novel pacing for Writers Helping Writers.

K.M. Weiland offers four tweaks that will help you write original stories and characters. Helping writers become authors.

C.S. Lakin looks at scenes as capsules of time. Live, write thrive. She added establishing your setting to her Scene Structure series later tin the week.

Jami Gold helps us find the right balance in story description.

C.S. Plocher shows us what we can learn from J.K. Rowling’s series grid. The Better Novel Project.

Janice Hardy explores how to build internal and external core conflicts. Fiction University.

Chris Winkle shares some tips about narrating dreams and visions. Mythcreants.

The 49th Shelf shares a round-table discussion about world building.

Oren Ashkenazi offers some tips for writing a diverse story. Mythcreants.

Marcy Kennedy writes about valuing yourself and your work. Remember that thing from last week? Yeah. More of that.

Jim C. Hines discusses the importance on not only having anti-harassment policies at cons, but also of enforcing them.

Heather Webb explores how a writer lives with yearning on Writer Unboxed.

Dan Blank advises us to create every day. Life is chaotic. There is no time but now. Writer Unboxed.

And here’s another Dan Blank video. Invest in relationships, not blueprints.

 

Jessie Burton writes about her journey, as a creative, through depression and anxiety.

Kirsten Oliphant guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog on how authors can use Pinterest best.

Then Jane posted on Writer Unboxed about a common misunderstanding authors have about web sites.

Brent Underwood goes behind the scam to discover what it takes to become a “bestselling” author on Amazon. The Observer. The answer? $3 and five minutes.

Jamie Raintree helps you design your writing career from the top, down. Writers in the Storm.

Mark Medley profiles Jennifer Robson, the most successful Canadian author you’ve never heard of. The Globe and Mail.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, read in the original Akkadian. Open Culture.

Just a quick reminder about the importance of the Oxford comma. The Poke.

Electric Lit shares an infographic analyzing the 15 most populated novels. Guess what? A Song of Fire and Ice isn’t the worst offender 😉

An accented tour of the British Isles:

 

How to be a person. Shane Koyczan.

 

A first look at five new character portraits for season two of Outlander. It’s getting closer! Yahoo!

And that’s it until Thursday!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Nov 1-7, 2015

First up: NaNoWriMo:

To temper things, Chuck then wrote that writing advice is bullshit.

The Query Shark CrimeBake 2015 effective queries workshop.

Common writing mistakes, pt. 45: Avoiding ‘said.’ K.M. Weiland.

What Katie learned about writing funny dialogue in the course of writing her novel, Storming.

Donald Maass offers his thoughts on positivity and protagonists on Writer Unboxed.

Marcy Kennedy guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog with five tips for finding POV errors.

Beth Revis builds a great first chapter on Writers Helping Writers.

Therese Walsh shares lessons from Breaking Bad on Writer Unboxed.

Matriarchies, patriarchies, and beyond. Mike Hernandez for Mythcreants.

Delilah S. Dawson writes for the Mary Sue: Everything I love is problematic.

Ellipses can be powerful or annoying. Here’s a guide to using them well. Lexicon Valley.

They’re adding more words to the dictionary again. The Guardian.

What your bookshelf says about your personality. Bustle.

How to judge people by the covers of their books. Bustle.

Literary address quiz, anyone? Ace it, and get a cheeky wink from Simon Pegg :)The Reading Room.

Levar Burton – Problems only book lovers understand:

Monstress: the fantasy comic about race, feminism, and the monster within. The Hollywood Reporter.

I didn’t mind The Golden Compass movie, but a series would probably be better. i09.

Lego Doctor Who? Eeeeee! i09.

Come back next week for more awesome. MOAR I say. Moar.

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 16-22, 2015

Blissfully back to normal!

And Mom’s surgery went wonderfully, thanks.

Now, on to the Writerly Goodness:

Are you protagonist and your main character the same person? K.M. Weiland explains how the answer could transform your story.

The Pixar way to think about conflict in your story. Katie’s weekly vlog.

Chuck Wendig shares his writing process and invites us to share ours. Terribleminds.

He also smells our rookie moves . . . and tells us how we can avoid them.

Marcy Kennedy guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog on the topic of internal dialogue and three story problems it can help us address.

How to become a bestselling, full-time novelist—it’s so easy! Dan Blank takes a facetious look at becoming an overnight success as an author on Writer Unboxed.

Stephen Kings asks, can a novelist be too productive? The New York Times.

Jeff Bollow’s how to write FAST. By the way, that’s an acronym. It’s not about speed or productivity.

Leta Blake highlights diversity in the LGBTQ community for Writer Unboxed.

The Rabbit Box: a strange and wonderful storybook for grownups. Brainpickings.

Neil Gaiman explains why our future depends on libraries, reading, and daydreaming. The Guardian.

Dylan Landis shares her experience with grief and how it affected her. The New York Times.

The BBC talks to Verlyn Flieger, who helped to bring J.R.R. Tolkein’s Kullervo to print.

R.F. Foster on Yeats, faeries, and the Irish occult tradition:

Flavorwire shares this list of 50 books for 50 classes—a curriculum on your bookshelf.

Who won the Hugos and why it matters. Wired.

Noah Berlatsky chimes in with this take on women authors in SF and the Hugo controversy for Playboy.

Gary K. Wolfe writes about it in the Chicago Tribune, as well.

Takeaway of the week: It doesn’t matter whether your write fast or slow, full-time or part-time, only that you write. Don’t go comparing your work or process to anyone else’s. You are you and your novel is something only you could have created. Value yourself and your time.

So get writing.

And we’ll see you in two days.

Tipsday

Why is shifting point of view (POV) problematic?

For the second time in as many weeks, a writer friend has suggested a post to me. This time, it was about POV. In a short story I recently critiqued, the POV (third person, past tense) shifted from a mother to her daughter. I recommended either sticking with one POV, or marking the change with more than just textual cues.

My writer friend indicated that she had a film background and asked if the omniscient POV wouldn’t allow her to shift her focus between characters in a scene.

What follows is my response.

A wee caveat: this is based on my own craft learning to date. I’m happy to lay the burden of expertise at the feet of others 🙂


 

First, you should check out CS Lakin’s blog: LiveWriteThrive

You may have to go fairly far back in her archives, but she did a series on writing based on film techniques last year. She turned this into a book, Shoot your novel, which you can find on Amazon.

This might appeal to your filmic aesthetic.

Now, having said that, film techniques aren’t the same as POV in writing. Parallels can be drawn, but really, they’re two different things.

POV in writing is about who’s telling the story. Whomever the story belongs to is generally the POV you use.

Why is a shifting POV problematic?
I’ll let you do a little research on this yourself. So many people have written about it. It’s called “head hopping.”

Here’s a starter from our friend Google: https://www.google.com/search?q=head+hopping&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

My recommendations? The Write Practice, Marcy Kennedy (she’s Canadian), the Editor’s Blog (Head-Hopping Gives Readers Whiplash), and The Write Editor (The Difference Between Omniscient POV and Head Hopping). Jami Gold and WriterUnboxed are awesome too.

Go ahead. Check them out. I’ll wait while you scan a few of the articles 🙂

In a visual medium, the POV is omniscient, or at most limited third simulated by a voice over. You can’t really “show” the inner thoughts and feelings of a character on screen. So in film, the POV is the camera’s and by extension, the director, producer, and/or editor may have a hand in influencing the final product.

There is such a thing as an omniscient POV in writing, and it used to be used, but it’s not really popular anymore. Further, it’s hard to do well.

In cinematic terms, omniscient translates to the page as a wide shot, interspersed with close ups on various characters, but it’s all external observation. Visually, you have the zoom or cut to give you a clue as to which character or characters are the focus of the scene.

In writing, you have to do something that simulates the zoom to cue the reader that the focus of the scene is now changing. Otherwise, you could end up confusing your reader (who’s talking now? why do I have to hear from this character? why is this important to the scene/story?).

Readers have changed over the last century. This is primarily due to movies and television (where a complete story is told in 30 minutes, an hour, or two hours), video games (complete action smorgasbord), and the internet (e.g. Twitter: describe your day in 140 characters anyone?). Flash fiction and micro fiction now have journals devoted to them. Books have been written in Tweets.

Readers like shorter forms of fiction because they can read a complete story in a limited period of time (think CommuterLit.com).

If the story isn’t short, then the author must continually hook the reader and keep them interested in the story. Part of this is engaging the reader in the story (what’s at stake?) and the character (why should I care?).

Omniscient POV requires readers to pay attention and do a little more work than they might otherwise be inclined to do. It’s not personal. You don’t stick with any one character long enough for the reader to become invested in that character and you’re observing like a camera, never delving into a character’s thoughts or feelings.

A limited third POV focuses intimately on one character: She ran to his side and thought, Is he dead? Oh, please, no.

Some writers, for example George R. R. Martin in Game of Thrones, shift between characters in the limited third POV, but you will find, generally, that an entire chapter will be from one character’s POV.

If an author changes POV characters in the middle of a chapter, the POV will change when the scene changes (therefore one POV per scene) and there will often be a visual cue such as an extra line between the paragraphs, or a symbol like # or * set off in the middle of its own line. Barbara Kyle, Canadian author of historical thrillers set in the Tudor era, uses this latter technique.

A lot of young adult fiction uses first person POV (I, me, my) because it sinks the reader immediately into the thoughts and feelings of the character. This can either cement the relationship (he’s just like me!) or alienate the reader (why won’t he stop whining?). Most first person narratives stick with one character through the entire story.

Then you have the experimental authors who will mix third and first person POVs. Deborah Harkness does this in A Discovery of Witches. Diana Gabaldon did it first, however, in her Outlander series. The protagonist is written in first person and all other POV characters are written in third.

Hardly anyone can write well in the second person POV (you look in the closet and find a boy huddling in the corner). It has been done, but it requires a deft hand and mind. If any form is going to use second person POV, it’s likely a short, flash, or micro fiction story.

This gets even more complicated when you add tenses to your POV. Past and present are the usual choices. I can’t think of a novel written in the future tense in any POV. Again shorter forms may take the pressure of future tense but it feels awkward to read no matter what.

For short fiction, I’d recommend figuring out whose story you’re telling and sticking with that character throughout. If you lose the reader, they’ll put your story down.

If that reader is an editor or a contest judge, your chances of publication may be shot.

I’m just saying 🙂


 

Was this post helpful to anyone else? Please let me know in the comments. Also, as I mentioned last week, if you have any burning writing questions, I’ll be happy to do my best to answer them. Or refer you to the experts who answer them better than I ever could 😀

And that’s a wrap for this weekend!

Muse-inks

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 14-20, 2014

I’ve an interesting variety this week.

How to use rewards and punishments to encourage your character to change, by K.M. Weiland.

Katie shares how she learned to write on her Wednesday vlog.

How to plot your novel with mini arcs. Janice Hardy’s Fiction University.

Marcy Kennedy guests on Fiction University, writing about ways to save money on editing.

Jamie Raintree asks, why are you really stuck on your novel? On Thinking Through our Fingers.

Roz Morris discovered that the pebble phone she conceived of for Lifeform Three, is a little closer to becoming a reality.

How Stephen King teaches writing, by Jessica Lahey for The Altantic.

Eight authors who experienced their biggest successes after 50. BookRiot. Take comfort. I did 🙂

Janna Marlies Maron shares how she used writing to heal her depression without taking drugs on Jeff Goins’s blog.

The real link between the psychopathology spectrum and the creativity spectrum. Scientific American.

How Jane Friedman recovered from three years of chronic back pain. It’s an injury that visits most authors at one point or another.

i09 shares 10 lessons from real-life lessons revolutions that fictional dystopias ignore.

Landmarks of feminism in science fiction, from The Cut.

Obsession and madness mark the best episode of Doctor Who in years. Polygon. Not sure if I agree with this assessment. I think I’m still warming up to Capaldi. Mind you, it’s the best episode so far this season.

Good words at you, my friends.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz April 27-May 3, 2014

Tipsday

As I compile this, I’m listening to “Hall of Heads” by They Might be Giants. Just to let you know where I’m at tonight 😉

Last week was a treasure trove of writerly goodies!

Publishing dish of the week: HarperCollins to buy Harlequin, from Publisher’s Weekly.

George R.R. Martin’s Rolling Stone interview.

Brent Weeks: New writing advice. This is really about process, and you know how much I lurve that stuff! Plus, he has a standing desk with a treadmill.

Mel’s note: I’ve finally placed my order for a standing desk (goodbye tax refund). I won’t have a treadmill, but it could be a future consideration. Good to know I’m in such distinguished company. Jane Friedman uses a standing desk and treadmill, too.

Elizabeth Gilbert on Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating.

 

K.M. Weiland’s back with part 11 of her creating stunning character arcs series: The second half of the second act. As with all instalments of her series, you can read the post, or listen to the podcast.

Are your plot points too weak? Also from Katie.

And here’s another, just for good measure: Why you should bully your protagonist.

Roz Morris on the long and the short of writing novels.

 

And … she shares her experiences creating My Memories of a Future Life audio books with ACX.

Then, Laura Pepper Wu interviewed Roz for The Write Life.

The root of prolific by Julianna Baggott on Writer Unboxed.

What are you doing to improve? All about continuous learning from Liz Michalski, also on Writer Unboxed.

One of my Australian writer friends, Gemma Hawdon, did a guest post for The Write Practice blog on emotional conflict.

Marcy Kennedy’s entry in the writing process blog hop.

Dialog tags of doom on Query Quagmire.

Chuck Wendig ‘splains why he speaks up about diveristy, direct from heteronormative white dude mountain.

Jim C. Hines, also on diversity and cultural appropriation. They were part of the same panel at Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference. Go figure 😉

Then Sword & Laser interviewed Mr. Hines. I met him at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference last year. Such a genuine, sweet man.

 

Kristen Lamb’s series on Flashbacks: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Hangout on Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest. Not only was this irresistible because DotF is one of my favourite books, but the discussion about rape scenes in fiction was also fierce. Very worthwhile.

 

Then Felicia got a tweet. This video was her response:

 

She just posted today that she watched her own video for inspiration 😉

Carly Watters offers her top 8 writing craft books. I’m proud to say I own and have read several of them 🙂

19 jokes only grammar nerds will get.

Gravitas. For the word nerd from Daily Writing Tips.

Enjoy!

My first virtual conference #WANAcon Feb 2014

This has been a week of firsts here at Writerly Goodness.

Yesterday, I posted about my first twitterview experience. Today it’s #WANAcon.

WANAcon

Over the last couple of years, I have attended several excellent online courses through WANA International, Kristen Lamb’s online writer’s university. Each course has been reasonable on the plastic, and I’ve invariably received great value for the money.

So, I thought, for the price of three or four individual courses, I could have the benefit of twelve, plus (!) It was a no-brainer, really.

Also, if I want, I have access to all the alternate sessions that I didn’t attend. Everything’s recorded, and I can view any of them any time I want (for a defined period of time).

I’m not going to give away any of the content, except to say that I recommend #WANAcon to anyone who wants an inexpensive alternative to a traditional conference. No travel, no hotel, no days-on-end of eating out, no time away from family or work. It really is a fabulous deal.

There were even pitch sessions, though I didn’t opt into them.

So here’s a quick rundown of the sessions I attended:

  1. Branding for authors – Kristen Lamb
  2. Self-editing for fiction writers – Marcy Kennedy
  3. OneNote: The solution to organizing your work – Jenny Hansen
  4. Writing effective inner dialogue – Lisa Hall-Wilson
  5. World-building 101 – Kristen Lamb
  6. An introvert’s guide to Twitter – Jami Gold
  7. Backstory: How your hero’s past shapes his future – Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
  8. Creating compelling, unforgettable characters – Shirley Jump
  9. Build an author website without getting burned – Laird Sapir
  10. 7 steps to a stronger love story – Gabriela Pereira
  11. Rock your revisions – Gabriela Pereira and Julie Duffy
  12. Blogging for authors – Kristen Lamb

As you can see, there was a smorgasbord of Writerly Goodness to take in. Added bonus: You can do it all in your PJs 🙂

I’m feeling pleasantly buzzed.

What courses have you taken recently that were good value for the money? Tried anything new that turned out even better than your expectations?

Do share.

Another great webinar with Marcy Kennedy

This past week, I signed up for another WANA International webinar.

Yesterday, between 2 and 3:30 pm, Marcy Kennedy spoke on the topic of showing and telling.

First, she defined her terms and gave examples, demonstrated the difference between showing and telling, and let us know that she would not only be sharing tips for showing and for detecting when telling isn’t appropriate, but also that she would be discussing instances in which telling actually works better than showing.

She covered several telling ‘tells’ in writing and shared strategies for detecting and eliminating each.  Each of her strategies was accompanied by more examples, which was great, because it’s good to have something solid to base your own efforts on.

She also mentioned that her strategies were suggestions, or guidelines, rather than rules, per se.  There are always exceptions, and she’d be getting to those.

When it came to when telling, while I won’t give away the content of her webinar, I will share one suggestion with you: use telling in your first draft.  This was very interesting and Marcy shared her experience and how she came to this conclusion.

Marcy used to be a slow writer. Her first drafts might have emerged in nearly perfect form, but they took forever to write.  Then she decided to try tactics to write a fast first draft.  Using telling as a way to help her get her ideas down and give her a cue for where to deepen her narrative on the next draft was something she found very effective.

Overall, it was a very insightful webinar and I took away lots of good information.

I’d highly recommend Marcy’s sessions.  Visit the WANA International site to view their course calendar.  Marcy will be giving her pitch, tagline, and logline session again in the fall.  I attended that one as well. Awesome good.  She’s also a Twitter and Google+ maven, so if you want tips for the social media, look for those too!

WANA webinars are very reasonable and many are held at times convenient for the writer with a day job 🙂

I’ll also encourage you to visit Marcy’s site (linked above) and to sign up for her newsletter.  It’s good stuff!

That’s it for this week, my writing peeps.

Sundog snippets: The learning mutt is learning :)

I haven’t made much progress on Khara House’s May submit-o-rama and that’s kind of pathetic given that I only signed up to submit once a week.

I do have two stories due for the 31st, but can’t see getting another story done this month.  My other two submissions will have to be poetry, if anything at all.  I may just have to concede to failing the challenge.

What’s more exciting (for me, anyway) is that I signed up for some excellent courses in the last few weeks.

First was Marcy Kennedy’s logline, tagline, and pitch webinar, through WANA International.

Initially, the webinar was to have been May 11, but had to be rescheduled due to technical difficulties.  We got to complete the webinar yesterday, May 18, and it was very worthwhile.  Marcy knows of what she speaks 🙂

Then Last Tuesday, I signed up for another WANA International webinar with Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus and the minds behind The Bookshelf Muse blog.

That webinar was also very good, and focused on creative ways to show emotion in your writing.  What works and what doesn’t for modern authors.

I’d highly recommend WANA International courses.  They’re reasonably priced, and the presenters are all experts in their respective fields.  Marcy’s and Angela’s/Becca’s webinars weren’t the first WANA courses I attended.  About a month or so ago, I signed up for Jay Donovan’s internet security course.  He’s one of the techsurgeons behind the WANA site.  It too, was a good one, though I had to miss part of it.

The good thing about WANA webinars is that you get the recording on the other side 🙂

My month-long learning effort, though, is my first Margie Lawson course.  Margie Lawson is my kind of writing teacher.  Her method is deep editing and you really have to experience it to understand it.  It’s eye-opening.  She gets into rhetorical techniques and studying the writing of acknowledged masters.

The course will continue until the end of the month  and I’ll blog about it in more detail at that time, but for now, I’ll just say that you have to check out the Lawson Academy.  Once again, the courses are very reasonably priced.

I got hold of Margie through the Writers in the Storm blog.

That’s all I have for you this week, my friends.  I’ll encourage you to check out WANA International and Margie Lawson for yourselves.  They. Are. Awesome.

Until next weekend, the learning mutt is learning.