Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 1-7, 2018

Were you looking for these? Your informal writerly learnings are here!

K.M. Weiland helps you decide between plain prose and beautiful prose. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman returns to Writer Unboxed: a smarter author platform for the digital era of publishing.

Nathan Bransford offers a guide to social media for authors. Later in the week he offers tips on how to regain your concentration.

Emily Wenstrom explains how to use Twitter hashtags for writers. DIY MFA

Porter Anderson delves into author pay and publishing profits. And then, he looks at the success of Canada Reads as PBS announces a similar competition.

Valerie Francis joins Joanna Penn on The Creative Penn to discuss how to write a scene the Story Grid way.

Donald Maass takes a non-linear approach to middle scenes. Writer Unboxed

Sonja Yeorg is resurrecting a shelved manuscript. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt talks art and social change. It’s a ripping awesome post. Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan is deepening character complexity with the help of psychology. Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman examines the destructive power of the lie your character believes. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold offers some suggestions to help you create a compelling, but quiet, black moment.

Heather Webb shares a writer’s lessons in failure. Writers in the Storm

Do the thing? Chuck Wendig offers a helpful (and hilarious) FAQ. Terribleminds

Kristen Lamb brings the LOLZ with her post on diagnosing the real writer.

Dheolos and Worldbuilding Magazine are creating a mountain setting. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu explores how the women of The Expanse are changing our worldview.

Dan Koboldt is putting the science in your fiction. Writer’s Digest

And some writerly news from the north:

My friend and vice-president of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild Vera Constantineau is interviewed for The Northern Life about her new short story collection Daisy Chained.

Another friend and SWG member Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli announces pre-orders for her first novel, La Brigantessa, forthcoming from Inanna Publications this September.

And that was Tipsday.

Be well until Thoughty Thursday comes around to herald the weekend 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 18-24, 2018

I give you … your informal writerly learnings for the week. What else?

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to take risks with your writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft asks, how deep the darkness? Writer Unboxed

Dave King is playing on trust. Writer Unboxed

Margaret Dilloway wonders, should your main character be likeable? Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb considers serendipity, zeitgeist, and the interconnectedness of all things (in writing). Writer Unboxed

Angela Ackerman shares three ways to help quieter protagonists steal the scene. Writers Helping Writers

Jennie Nash: characters in cars, thinking, or, how to deal with the passage of time. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford offers his take on how to edit your novel.

Gabriela Pereira guest posts on Writer’s Digest: four basic steps to start building your author blog.

Sara Letourneau provides a case study on isolation as a literary theme. DIY MFA

I plumb the depths of the Baba Yaga fairy tale. DIY MFA

Tamar Sloan lists five powerful strategies to build writer’s grit. DIY MFA

Margie Lawson helps you capture “cliché play” power. Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold explains how to create positive themes despite bittersweet endings. Later in the week, she answers the question, what is line editing and what should line editors do?

Nathan Bransford explains how writing changes the world.

Nina Munteanu: the gestalt nature of passion and success.

Oren Ashkenazi lists five common pitfalls of stories with deep ideas. Mythcreants

Farrah Penn tells the tale of Amy Daws, the first writer-in-residence of Tires, Tires, Tires. Buzzfeed

Emily Asher-Perrin looks at Trish Walker’s evolution in the second season of Jessica Jones: I don’t want to be with him; I want to be him. Tor.com

Michael Moreci: Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is smarter and more insightful than you’ve been told. Tor.com

And that was Tipsday. Be well until Thursday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 4-10, 2018

Your informal writerly learnings for the week, gentle reader 🙂

Marisa de los Santos is writing through the rough parts. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass expounds on high drama and heroism. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft: proving your protagonist has what it takes. Writer Unboxed

Jeanne Kisacky discusses the ups and downs of the supporters in a writer’s life: a well-deserved expression of gratitude. Writer Unboxed

The island of misfit characters. Where intriguing characters go when they’re … not quite right. Kathryn Magendie on Writer Unboxed.

James Scott Bell: garlic breath for writers (AKA bad first pages). Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman explains how to raise the stakes by making is personal. Writers Helping Writers

A.K. Perry begins a new series on signpost scenes with the disturbance. DIY MFA

Elisabeth Kauffman answers a question about character motive in her new series, ask the editor. DIY MFA

Sierra Delarosa lists five grammar mistakes writers should avoid. DIY MFA

Peter Selgin guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: how your story’s opening foreshadows (intentionally or not) what’s to come.

L.L. Barkat, who bid farewell to blogging years ago on Jane Friedman’s blog, returns to explain why blogging may no longer be such a bad thing anymore.

Chuck Wendig responds to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s tweet defining art and entertainment. Terribleminds

Kristen Lamb: how story forges, defines, and refines character.

Julie Glover asks, are you sick and tired of editing your novel? Writers in the Storm

Oren Ashkenazi explains why the term “Mary Sue” should be retired. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu says, write about what you know.

Sudbury Writers’ Guild member and vice-president Vera Constantineau is interviewed on Morning North about her new fiction collection, Daisy Chained. CBC

Nnedi Okorafor: science fiction that imagines a future Africa. TED Talks

Leah Schnelbach wonders, how could I forget the liberating weirdness of Madeleine L’Engle? Tor.com

Katy Waldman rereads A Wrinkle in Time after a childhood spent enthralled by Madeleine L’Engle. The New Yorker

Alison Flood reports that Shakespeare may have annotated his own source for Hamlet. The Guardian

Be well until Thursday, my friends!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 25-March 3, 2018

Gentle readers, here are your informal writerly learnings for the week:

K.M. Weiland says, don’t write scenes—write images! Helping Writers Become Authors

Christina Delay: the attraction of passion. Writers in the Storm

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares five quick ways to shift description and setting into deep POV. Writers in the Storm

Julia Munroe Martin is getting in touch with the inner magician. Writer Unboxed

Magic cloaks, lucky charms and other writerly superstitions. Sarah McCoy explores writers’ rituals on Writer Unboxed.

Barbara O’Neal wants you to imagine your ideal reader. Writer Unboxed

Sophie Masson examines some of the great last lines of fiction. Writer Unboxed

Kristen Lamb explains how writing a story from the end results in a mind-blowing read.

Janice Hardy warns, over-explaining will kill your novel. Fiction University

Emily Wenstrom tells you how and why to clean your email subscriber list. DIY MFA

Bess Cozby rises to new challenges the DIY MFA way. DIY MFA

Rebecca Monterusso returns to DIY MFA: five reasons it’s time to call an editor.

Chuck Wendig shares three truths about writing and how the writing gets done. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle reveals the one big thing most manuscripts lack. Mythcreants

Jami Gold fills in more blanks in her writing craft master lists: theme development.

Angela Ackerman shares three ways setting can steer your story’s plot. Writers Helping Writers

Mary Robinette Kowal: ask a puppet, episode 4.

 

Ruth Harris lists eight common mistakes readers hate—and how to fix them. Anne R. Allen’s blog

Nina Munteanu: how art reveals truth in science.

Shoshana Kessock compares the feminism of Black Panther to the feminism of Wonder Woman.

Be well until Thursday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 1-2, 2017

Just a short curation this week to get me back in the swing of things after NaNoWriMo!

So here’s a little informal writerly learning for you 🙂

Nina Munteanu explains when and why to write a synopsis.

Colleen M. Story guest posts on Writers in the Storm: why writers need those “never again” moments.

Jim Dempsey joins Writer Unboxed as its newest contributor: three ways to discover your character’s true motivation.

Jo Eberhardt wonders, when is authentic too authentic? Writer Unboxed

Reza Hassanirad offers five eye care tips for writers. DIY MFA

Kristen Lamb explains why pain and wounds are vital for fiction.

Jenna Victoria guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: how to write despite … whatever.

Jenna Moreci busts ten writer myths.

 

Oren Ashkenazi looks at six stories that covered up major plot holes. Mythcreants

James Davis Nicoll: did we all write a book about space elevators? Why coincidences happen in science fiction. Tor.com

Judith Tarr gets mythological: how Loki birthed the eight-legged Sleipnir. Tor.com

And that was your writerly goodness for the week.

Be well until Thoughty Thursday makes its return 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 20-26, 2017

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week, my peeps 🙂

Vaughn Roycroft delves into the trouble with action. Writer Unboxed

Sarah McCoy: friends, countrymen, take up your words! Writer Unboxed

Elissa Field dissects The Martian on Writer Unboxed.

If you catch yourself asking these questions about your book … just don’t. There are better questions to ask. K.M. Weiland, Helping Writers Become Authors.

Later in the week, Janice Hardy guest posts on Kate’s blog: how to create meaningful obstacles via conflict.

Jennifer Probst stops by Jane Friedman’s blog: writing secondary characters that pop—and sell more books.

Janice Hardy guest posts on Marcy Kennedy’s blog: the difference between conflict and tension.

Chuck Wendig has a simple solution for when your story hits the wall. Terribleminds

Terri Frank goes beyond John Grisham in her guide to legal fiction. DIY MFA

Audrey Kalman shares five tips to keep your writing fresh. DIY MFA

James Preston shares his novel launch experience. Writers in the Storm

Laura Drake knows self-belief is hard—how to do it anyway. Writers in the Storm

Wordstock 2017 organizers reveal literary line up. The Sudbury Star

Kayleigh Donaldson explores the mystery of how this book was bought onto the NYT bestseller list. Pajiba

English translations of obscure medieval texts go online. Allison Meier for Hyperallergic.

Nina Munteanu: resonating with the universe.

Buffy’s legacy does not belong to Joss Whedon. Karen Walsh, Geek Mom.

Sarah Bond: what Game of Thrones gets right and wrong about eunuchs and masculinity. Forbes

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 26-April 1, 2017

Holy cow, lookit all the informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland covers seven stages of being a writer. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate helps you notch up your scene conflict.

Fred Johnson guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: how to get violence right in your fiction.

Grace Wynter joins Writer Unboxed as a contributor: Look! Up in the sky! It’s a … writer?

Catherine McKenzie: are you tired of writing? Writer Unboxed

Tracy Hahn-Burkett helps you have patience over the long, long haul. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt unpacks the relationship between envy, perfectionism, and the work of writing. Writer Unboxed

Susan Spann: how to avoid pay to play publishing contracts. Writer Unboxed

Jenna Moreci: Show vs. Tell, part 2. When to tell.

 

Kimberly Brock has the blank page blues. Writers in the Storm

Kathryn Craft says we can do it all—but should we? Writers in the Storm

Ruth Harris shares some stress busters and burnout beaters. Anne R. Allen’s blog

Leanne Sowul: how one skeptic became a meditation convert. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jessica Strawser for DIY MFA radio.

G. Myrthil explains why kid lit matters. DIY MFA

Linda Bernadette Burgess shares five ways to manage multiple creative passions. DIY MFA

Emily Temple says that if any literature is going to change the world, it’s going to be young adult. Literary Hub

Fantasy Faction explores sieges and siegecraft. Part one: attackers.

Jeff Lyons returns to Jami Gold’s blog: what is high concept and how can I create it?

Lilith Saint Crow stops by Terribleminds: when a short story won’t stay short for long.

Nina Munteanu: the power of myth in storytelling.

Bonnie Randall wonders, do sensitivity readers hurt or help our novels? Fiction University

Nathan Bransford says that the key to a great query letter is summarizing through specificity.

Barbara Kyle shares ten query letter tips.

Pamela Hodges explains how to edit your novel like a New York publisher. The Write Practice

John Koenig makes another entry in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: morii.

 

S.B. Divya reveals the seed of her novel Runtime. Tor.com

Malka Older’s not predicting the future, she’s just observing the present. Tor.com

Sunny Moraine: resistance through speculative fiction. Tor.com

Leah Schnelbach revisits Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds, twenty years on. Tor.com

Am I pathetic because I still love Buffy? I guess I’m not alone: Katharine Trendacosta shares pics from the Entertainment Weekly Buffy reunion photo shoot. i09

Three translators respond to Arrival. Susannah Greenblatt for Words without Borders.

Adam Frank explains how great science fiction shows like The Expanse prepare us for the future. NPR

Evan Narcisse shows us the Valerian trailer. i09

Hope you enjoyed the writerly goodness.

See you Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Be well until then.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 29-Feb 4, 2017

It was another fantabulous week of writerly goodness 🙂

K.M. Weiland helps you find the exact right story hook. Helping Writers Become Authors

Nina Munteanu helps you make your opening count.

Over on Writers Helping Writers, Angela Ackerman writes about describing your character: making every detail count.

Jessica Stawser is acting out of character. Writers in the Storm

Cathy Yardley: writer, know thyself. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass bid us add a touch of romance to our stories. Writer Unboxed

Susan Spann explains how to evaluate a publishing contest. Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson: “… when authors hunker together to kvetch about “writing is so hard,” they’re romancing the career in a profoundly counter-productive way.” Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt: be the encouragement you want to see in the world. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy: how to write a teen voice. Fiction University

Fae Rowan invites us to use the energies of 2017 to jumpstart our writing careers. Writers in the Storm

Naomi Hughes returns to Jami Gold’s blog with her top three scene issues.

Becca Puglisi delves into overcoming mental illness for the character motivation thesaurus. Writers Helping Writers

Gabriela Pereira interviews Shanthi Sekaran about capturing diverse experiences on the page. DIYMFA

Bess Cozby: three questions you should ask before committing to a revise and resubmit. DIYMFA

Michelle Chalkey lists five benefits of the writer-editor relationship. DIYMFA

Brandon Taylor helps you escape the slush pile. Electric Lit

Blake Atwood launches his new column, editorially speaking, with this post: how to find a book editor you can trust. The Write Life

David Robson introduces us to the untranslatable emotions we never knew we had. BBC

Chris Saylor reminds us how to use apostrophes properly. Marcy Kennedy’s blog

Meet the 2017 Canada Reads contenders. CBC

Ursula K. Le Guin writes a letter to the editor, responding to a comparison between “alternative facts” and fiction. Oregon Live

Andrew Postman’s father, Neil, in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, posited Brave New World as our probable dystopic future as opposed to Nineteen Eighty-Four. It turns out, he was right. The Guardian

David Tennant, the eleventh Doctor himself, tells us everything will be all right.

 

Alisdair Stuart believes it’s time for Doctor Who to change television history for the better. Tor.com

And that was your informal writerly learnings for the week!

Stay strong until Thursday!

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Ad Astra 2016, day 2: Common mistakes from an editor’s perspective

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that needs correction or clarification, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com

Panellists: Dominik Parisien, Linda Poitevin, Nina Munteanu

MostCommonMistakes

With this session, I chose a different approach. There was a lot of discussion and insight, with examples from various editing projects, none of which I was able to capture effectively on the page. The editors focused on the three parts of a story, the beginning, middle, and end, and, interestingly enough, they discussed three main problems with each part of a story.

As a result, this is a very point-form summary of the main points of the panel.

So here’s the description of the panel from the program:

Whether it’s easy-to-correct grammatical errors or awkward sentence structure, or more complex issues related to characterization, plot, or research, in this panel you’ll hear real editors share the most common mistakes that they see new or inexperienced writers make and tips on how to avoid them. They’ll tell you the things they encounter that have a simple fix, but also the things they encounter that are warning signs of larger problems.

Problems with beginnings

  • Not starting in the right place. Too early (prologues/backstory) or too late (character in danger immediately/no reader investment).
  • Not hooking the reader. If the reader puts the book down, you’re done before you’ve even gotten started.
  • Not having a distinctive, crisp voice.

Mel’s note: Most of these problems can only be solved by experience, either the author’s own, gained through practice, or by leveraging the experience of others, with the help of good critique partners/beta readers/freelance editor.

Problems with middles

  • Solving the character’s problem too early in the narrative. The story ends when the character achieves their goal.
  • Not knowing the story you’re telling/theme.
  • Presenting event after event to get the character from point A (the beginning) to point B (the end).

Mel’s note: Points two and three are related. If you don’t have a handle on your story and its theme, you’re most often going to end up with a series of unrelated events. My recommendation: read Steven Pressfield’s blog and books, and read to Shawn Coyne’s (Steven’s editor) Story Grid book and blog (and now podcast with Tim Grahl—excellent).

Problems with endings

  • Not ending (!).
  • Setting up for a series when the novel is a standalone, or failing to set up for another book when it’s a series.
  • No payoff for the reader/unsatisfactory ending.

Mel’s note: Begin with the ending in mind, even if you’re a die-hard pantser. Endings are torture if you’ve given them no thought until you get there and you’ll likely finish your draft with a hefty case of post-partum depression. Also, one of your editing exercises should be to ‘reverse engineer’ your story from the ending back to the beginning. You can see where important bits of foreshadowing need to be.

And that is my final entry in Ad Astra 2016 reportage. There were readings and launches and the Guest of Honour Brunch, but I wanted to enjoy those rather than record notes on them 😉

See you on Tipsday!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 22-28, 2016

Another wonderful week of writerly goodness!

Roz Morris helps writers avoid this plotting pitfall when writing drafts at speed. Nail Your Novel.

Everyone’s getting into video. Should you? Jane Friedman on Writer Unboxed.

Barbara O’Neal makes the case for journaling. Writer Unboxed.

Dan Blank advises you to invest in yourself. Writer Unboxed.

John Vorhaus tells us how to write like the Buddha. You guessed it. Another great post from Writer Unboxed.

Lawrence MacNaughton guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. Five questions you need to ask if your story is stuck. Later in the week, Janice is back with how to keep your characters compelling beyond the first draft.

Angela Ackerman explains how to deepen your protagonist by challenging her moral beliefs. Writers helping writers.

Sara Letourneau offers part six of the developing themes in your stories series: the inciting incident. DIYMFA. Later in the week Amy Bearce shares five marketing tips for introverts.

K.M. Weiland also wrote about theme this week: how to create a complex moral argument for your story’s theme. Helping writers become authors.

Chris Winkle shares seven great sources of conflict for romances. Mythcreants.

Steven Pressfield offers his advice on drafting: cover the canvas.

Nina Munteanu shares part two of her writer-editor relationship series: five things writers wished editors knew—and followed.

Marcy Kennedy guest posts on Christine Frazier’s Better Novel Project: five times Katniss nailed deep point of view.

Kameron Hurley confesses that she’s thought about quitting . . . but, don’t quit.

Over on Tor.com, she shares an excerpt from the recently released Geek Feminist Revolution. It’s awesome. You should read the post. And then you should buy the book 🙂

All of us toilers need reminders like this: Rick Riordan on his ‘overnight’ success. It’s from 2007, to give context.

Emma Straub was born to be an author. Alexandra Alter for The New York Times.

Kim Vandels shares the secret to writing great science fiction. The spinning pen.

Airship Ambassador interviews Kate Heartfield about her story “The Seven O’Clock Man” in the Clockwork Canada anthology.

BookBaby offers some tips on how to promote your science fiction on social media.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is an Indigogo success story. The Guardian.

Mental Floss explains why reading makes you a better person with an infographic 🙂

Leila Fadel reports on the delicate task of restoring one of the world’s oldest libraries. NPR.

Louisa Young grew up in J.M. Barrie’s house: we longed for Peter Pan to come for us. The Guardian.

Judith Shulevitz reveals the Bröntes’ secret for The Atlantic.

The teaser trailer for Disney’s live action version of Beauty and the Beast. I’m looking forward to seeing what Emma Watson does with Belle 🙂

 

Here’s the Ghostbusters UK trailer.

 

The Little Prince is coming to Netflix August 8 🙂

 

Laura Prudom explains how Outlander created its most powerful and devastating episode yet. Variety.

And that was Tipsday.

See you Thursday. *waves*

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