Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 6-12, 2019

This week’s curation of informal writerly learnings for your consideration.

Julie Glover talks plotting, pantsing, and personality type. [Hehe! I was one of the 87 people on FB who responded to Julie’s question 🙂 ] Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four pro tips for writing the emotional journey in deep POV. [I’m participating in Lisa’s five day deep POV challenge!] Writers in the Storm

Jael McHenry considers the novelist’s necessary evils. Jim Dempsey says, writing is a labyrinth of choices. Sarah Callender forgets to remember that writing can be uncomfortable. Kathryn Craft lists 12 signs that you’re afraid of your work in progress. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy explains how to ground (and hook) your reader in your opening scene. Then, Janice shares lessons learned from a decade in publishing. Fiction University

Meg La Torre visits Jenna Moreci and explains everything you ever wanted to know about literary agents.

K.M. Weiland issues a challenge to write life-changing fiction. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sacha Black helps you embrace diversity by writing the character you’re afraid to write. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson explains how to scare your readers using deep point of view. Writers Helping Writers

Emily Wenstrom explains how (and why) to market yourself. Savannah Cordova shares five highly effective ways to reboot your creative system. DIY MFA

Macy Thornhill shares six ways to stay productive in a creative slump. The Creative Penn

Chris Winkle offers some thoughts on reconciling your character’s choices with your plot. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers five more underutilized settings in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Sabrina Imbler reports that the Merriam-Webster of medieval Irish has just got a major update. Atlas Obscura

Mental Floss presents 30 Harry Potter word origins 🙂

Joolz looks at English idioms and where they come from. ‘Cause language!

And that was tipsday. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found something useful for your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 29-Oct 5, 2019

A nice, compact batch of informal writerly learnings, this week.

Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes list ten character traits of an espionage hero. Later in the week, Janice Hardy stops by and explains what happens when your plot hides behind the details. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland poses five questions to help you choose a protagonist who represents your story’s theme. Helping Writers Become Authors

Nancy Johnson asks, is your book done yet? Donald Maass explores the making of a hero or heroine. Bryn Greenwood talks about what happens after your dreams come true. Cathy Yardley: dare to deliver. Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan dig into writerly procrastination, why it happens, and how to break free of it. Then, Angela Ackerman wonders, how do you know if your protagonist is strong enough? Writers Helping Writers

How to write a strong protagonist. Reedsy

Leanne Sowul explains how to find your writing purpose. And here’s my latest Speculations column: five ways to rock NaNoWriMo. DIY MFA

Robert Lee Brewer sorts out the distinctions between imminent, immanent, and eminent. Writer’s Digest

Chris Winkle: six rape tropes and how to replace them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines siege warfare before gunpowder. Mythcreants

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to help you wrestle your work in progress into shape.

Be well until Thursday!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 21-27, 2019

July is winding down and we’re heading into the dog days of summer: August. We’ve already had more than our share of hot, humid days—fact, I’m not complaining—and I’m trying to make the most of each one. I hope you’ve been making meaningful progress in your creative projects.

It’s time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Janice Hardy offers a Sunday writing tip: reveal something new in every scene. Then she wonders, are you asking—and answering—the right story questions? Fiction University

Alexa Donne talks about nailing your beginnings (first sentence through first act).

Tracy Hahn-Burkett says, if you want to make a difference, tell a story. Heather Webb offers some notes from a book tour. Keith Cronin shares some serious lessons from a fool on a hill. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland explains how to make your plot a powerful thematic metaphor. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenn Walton says, let your imagination run wild. Gabriela Pereira crawls inside the mind of a worldbuilding junkie with Fonda Lee. DIY MFA

Angela Ackerman visits Writers in the Storm to discuss character building for pantsers.

Jenna Moreci discusses some of the differences between flat and round characters.

Justin Attas wants you to create a credible magic system. Writers Helping Writers

Lisa Bell wonders, is your writing plan ready for a crisis? Jami Gold

Chris Winkle explains what storytellers should know about normalization. Choose compassion. Write stories that normalize the positive. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines five stories with premises that don’t suit their settings. Mythcreants

Structuring a chapter. Reedsy

CBC books recommends ten Canadian science fiction and fantasy books you should be reading.

Ada Hoffman is moving towards a neurodiverse future by writing an autistic heroine. Tor.com

Thanks for visiting. I hope you’ve found something for your writerly toolkit.

If you’re looking for some inspiration or research material, be sure to come back on Thursday for some thoughty links.

Until then, be well, my friends 🙂

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Apr 7-13, 2019

Happy Tuesday! Time to reward your hard work this week with some informal writerly learnings.

Rheea Mukherjee explains what it’s like to be the bi-cultural writer. Jim Dempsey helps you discover your characters’ goals. Sarah Callender asks, so you think you can write? Kathryn Craft encourages you to use short story collections as novel prompts. Writer Unboxed

James R. Preston has a conversation about pushing the envelope of first person. Becca Puglisi discusses first pages and character emotion. Julie Glover shares ten things she learned from ten years of writing. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland: what is the relationship between plot and theme? Helping Writers Become Authors

Sara Letourneau provides some exercises for exploring the theme of family in your writing. Later in the week, Jeanette the Writer looks at five famously rewritten novels. DIY MFA

Jami Gold is worldbuilding a series but writing without a plan.

Oren Ashkenazi analyses six unsatisfying character arcs. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu explains how walking in nature helps her write.

Jenna Moreci updates her list of the top ten worst romance tropes.

 

For balance, Jenna also shares her ten favourite villain tropes.

 

Jessica Leigh Hester: for centuries, know-it-alls carried beautiful, miniature almanacs wherever they went. Atlas Obscura

Nicola Davis reports on the latest research indicating that Beowulf was the work of a single poet. The Guardian

Alison Flood: “extraordinary” 500-year-old library catalogue reveals works lost to time. The Guardian

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found something to feed your creative process or craft.

I invite you to return on Thursday for some thoughty inspiration.

Until then, be well!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Mar 10-16, 2019

Another week, another bunch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

There’s not as much as usual, because last week’s Facebook outage sacrificed a whole day’s worth of curation. Sorry, but it’s still the easiest way for me to track my online reading.

Nina Munteanu explains how to stoke the scintillation of inspiration.

Julianna Baggott offers three clues that you may be a more productive writer. Kathryn Craft tells you when to let go of your original inspiration. Writer Unboxed

Christina Delay wants you to invite creativity through meditation. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland says that plot, character, and theme are the greatest love triangle of all time. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elisabeth Kauffman answers a question about character description and POV. Stephanie Jo Harris shares five tips for fearless writing. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle answers a writing question: how do I keep my non-productive immortal race from becoming problematic? Then, Chris teams up with Oren Ashkenazi: five ways your characters can acquire magic. Finally, Oren tackles five more underpowered antagonists. Mythcreants

Jami Gold talks about story threads and fixing the rips in our stories. Victoria Mixon explains how to layer character for believable fiction. Writers Helping Writers

Alexa Donne tries to help you figure out if you’re a good writer.

 

Mary Hynes: when hope is “punk” and grudge is forgiveness. “Tapestry” on CBC.

Ben H. Winters wonders what the make-believe bureaucracies of science fiction say about us? The New York Times

And that was Tipsday. Come back on Thursday for some fuel for your thoughts.

Until then, be well, my friends!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 10-16, 2019

Here we are. How is it already the third week of February? Console yourself with some informal writerly learnings *hugs*

Louise Tondeur guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: the myth of plan first and write later (or, you never only write one way).

Rheea Mukherjee joins Writer Unboxed: writing characters who are “smarter” than you.

Kathryn Craft: your story’s valentine to the world (AKA, your query, synopsis, and pages). Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland critiques a brave writer’s work to show how paragraph breaks guide the reader’s experience. Helping Writers Become Authors

September C. Fawkes says, look forward, not backward, to pull your reader in. Writers Helping Writers

Margie Lawson stops by Writers in the Storm to help you put fresh faces on the page.

Sara Letourneau offers some further reading on the theme of family. DIY MFA

Becca Puglisi visits DIY MFA: five vehicles for showing emotion.

Chris Winkle: optimizing your story ideas for stronger engagement. Then, Oren Ashkenazi reveals six mistakes that can kill a great plot. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig says, your ideas aren’t that interesting. This is less about making you feel bad than about making sure your ideas don’t take the place of, like, actual writing. Terribleminds

In honour of Valentines, Jenna Moreci offers her top ten tips for writing sex scenes. [Features discussion of sex and sexuality. Yeah. Even so, had to be said.]

 

Krista D. Ball rants: why is AUTHOR NAME taking so long to write their next book? This made me wonder if these impatient readers think they own writers? At the cost of $10 to $20 per book? Really? Gear down, people. Reddit

Later in the week, an 11:45 pm amber alert (and subsequent rescind after midnight) in Ontario resulted in a strange outcry of people who didn’t want their sleep disturbed, even after they learned that the child featured in the alert had been murdered. Seriously? Disturb me all night, every night, if it saves a life.

On that boggling note, I leave you until Thursday, when you can come back for some thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends.

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 26-Sept 1, 2018

Ah, September. Did you have to come so soon? Now we say our fond farewells to summer and get back to work and school. Shore yourself up with some informal writerly learnings.

Shannon Baker and Jess Lourey want you to write what you fear: why, how, and a lifesaving bonus tip. Writer Unboxed

Julia Munroe Martin: confessions of a weary writer. Speaks to me in many ways. I, too, will never give up. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt explores writing, politics, and the fuzzy grey line between. In the end, all writing is political. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to use the enneagram to write better characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

Piper Bayard says, hacking isn’t just for thrillers anymore. Writers in the Storm

Laurie Schnebly Campbell: plot, character, and … what? Writers in the Storm

Roz Morris takes us on a virtual tour of her writing space. The rescued desk—where do you write? Nail Your Novel

Chuck Wendig explains why writing a series (especially as a new author) is really goddamned hard. Terribleminds

Sara Letourneau shares three ways of revising (or avoiding) preachy themes. DIY MFA

Damon Suede stops by Fiction University to talk about comp lit: claiming your place on the shelf.

Lizzie Shane drops by Jami Gold’s blog: how important is talent?

Chris Winkle wants you to account for character identification. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi: five ways gods and the afterlife change a fantasy setting. Mythcreants

And that was tipsday for this week. Come back on Thursday for your weekly done of thoughty.

Be well until then!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 15-21, 2016

Fact and fun, all rolled into one . . . curation post 😉

K.M. Weiland shares strategies for writing faster (and why maybe you shouldn’t). Helping writers become authors. Later in the week she shares her number one tip for writing books readers can’t put down.

Chuck Wendig explodes more writing myths as he invites us to crotch-punch the creative yeti. Terribleminds.

Kristan Hoffman puts forth an argument for letting your creativity rest. Writer Unboxed.

Kameron Hurley writes about fame, publishing, and breakout books: dancing for dinner.

Jami Gold helps us understand how plot obstacles affect character agency.

Dave King continues to explore historical fiction pitfalls with this post for Writer Unboxed: sympathetic characters in unsympathetic worlds.

Carly Watters shares five secrets to publishing your debut novel.

Porter Anderson looks at book prices and writing value. Should we have been careful what we wished for? Writer Unboxed.

Five signs your novel may be sexist – against men. Chris Winkle brings a little balance to the table for Mythcreants.

The establishment has always hated the new kids. Kameron Hurley.

Monica Alverado Frazier wonders, do you know how to use a curandera?

Modern witches are so much more than Maiden/Mother/Crone. Natalie Zutter for Tor.com

Daniel José Older reads from Half Resurrection Blues. This man reads like a poet. I could listen to him all day 🙂

 

John Mullan explores how plots grip us, from Dickens to Line of Duty. The Guardian.

Women swept the 2015 Nebula Awards. Andrew Liptak for i09.

Five science fiction and fantasy novels that treat mental illness with compassion. Barnes & Noble.

This is COOL. Boston’s sidewalks are covered in secret poems. Atlas Obscura.

Lincoln Michel explains why fairy tales are magic for modern fiction. The Guardian.

Dig at the Curtain theatre unearths a Shakespearean surprise. Jill Lawless for Phys.org

Do overused words lose their meaning? Jonathon Sturgeon for Flavorwire.

CBS passes on Nancy Drew adaptation for testing “too female” for line-up (whatever that means). Carly Lane for The Mary Sue.

The BBC shares nine life lessons from Doctor Who.

Two of the shows I liked got cancelled. Fortunately, the end is only the beginning for Supergirl and Marvel’s Agent Carter. Alisdair Stuart for Tor.com

Honest trailers – Game of Thrones, vol. 1 Bewbs!

 

Come back Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty!

Tipsday

Series discoveries: Anime

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while. I’ve basically become an anime junkie.

The backstory part

A number of years ago, I can’t actually remember exactly how many, I’m that old, now (not), I used to stay up late on the weekends, Friday and Saturday nights. Not terribly late, but 1 or 2 in the morning.

As Mr. Science used to say, sleep is the enemy (he’s since reassessed that particular opinion, stopped drinking coffee in the evenings, naps on weekends, and is generally more pleasant for it).

It was my way of trying to make the most of my weekends, but I’d sleep in the following mornings, so I really didn’t gain any time. I’ve since just decided to use the time that I have more efficiently 😉

But one of the things I used to do at the end of those late nights was to watch YTV. At the time, they were playing Inu Yasha, and though it was cheesy in spots, I thought it was great storytelling.

After that series ran its course, they played Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, and then Death Note. I loved Fullmetal and Bleach even more than Inu Yasha, but Death Note not as much.

Even earlier, I’d watched anime movies like Vampire Hunter D, 3 X 3 Eyes, Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed, Akira, and others. A friend of mine owned (and still does) the local comic store, and would order the videos, video discs, and finally DVDs, and brought them gaming nights, parties, and so forth.

So anime was nothing new. Loving it was, though.

New toys, new obsessions

Last year, Mr. Science purchased a Roku stick. For those of you who don’t know, a Roku stick will allow you to access all sorts of free and by-subscription content. You can access BBC World News, Canada Film Board shorts, and other nifty stuff for free. You can set up Netflix on the Roku.

You can also set up anime channels like CrunchyRoll and Funimation. Now these require a subscription fee, but it’s quite reasonable.

We wanted to watch something together. I chose Bleach, largely because the run on YTV had stopped in the middle of the second season. We started from the beginning and burned through the entire series somewhere in June or July.

We kind of went into withdrawal and Phil resorted to a Shonen Jump subscription and buying the continuing manga. I’ve read up to date on the manga as well, but it’s not the same as the anime. There’s something about the form that draws me in more so than the manga.

From there, Phil’s watched Attack on Titan, Death Note, and he’s currently addicted to Gintama. There are a few others that he enjoys as well.

We tried Claymore, Souleater, and Spice and Wolf, and didn’t enjoy them. Claymore and Spice and Wolf didn’t hook us in the first couple of eps, and Souleater was aimed at a younger audience. Though we gave it several eps, it just didn’t appeal.

I wanted to watch the newer version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Phil joined in part way through and we both found that we enjoyed Brotherhood more than the original.

We wanted to continue watching other series together, though. So we selected Fairy Tail, which we burned through and are now waiting for the weekly instalments (getting our fix tonight). Next, it was the short-lived enjoyment of Blue Exorcist, which was only one season, and then Log Horizon, which again, we are now watching weekly after having watched all the existing eps.

We’re now watching Akame ga Kill in between waiting for new eps of Fairy Tail and Log Horizon. It’s quite graphic in its violence and main characters get themselves killed all the time.

I don’t want to get all spoilery on you and there are so many anime reviews out there on the web that I’ll let you look into all of these series yourself and you can decide if you want to partake. What I will do is let you know what I’ve learned from watching anime.

The takeaways

  1. The power of friendship trumps everything else.

Though we’re not opposed to dark storylines (the protagonist of Death Note is a right bastard who perpetrates all kinds of evil), Phil and I find we don’t enjoy them as much as the ones like Bleach, in which Ichigo Kurosaki continually learns and grows because he wants to protect the people he loves.

Not that Bleach doesn’t have its dark moments (the revelation about Unohana in the manga blew us away), but Ichigo always manages to make the noble choice. Everyone likes him without things getting too saccharine because he’s a flawed and relatable character.

Other series, like Fairy Tail and Log Horizon focus on the power of friendship in a more obvious fashion. The only thing that bothers me a bit about those two series is that the power of friendship often takes precedence over all other considerations.

Mind you, most of the series we watch are intended for tween and teen boys, and so romantic overtures are often set aside (despite the ample breast size of most of the female characters), even when they (the overtures and the ample breasts) are boldly thrust at the protagonist, as they are in Akame ga Kill.

  1. Story arcs predominate.

They could be as short as two or three episodes, or as long as two seasons, but the writers of anime have their plot shit wired tight. There’s always a payoff and it’s satisfying even if there are aspects of the story arc that I don’t enjoy.

Redemption is a big theme. Heroes become villains, and villains become heroes. Sometimes you’re not sure which is which.

  1. Humour abounds.

There’s always a ridiculous argument or reaction to something. Erza, in Fairy Tail, for example, though she’s an awesome wizard and warrior, is socially inept and often obsesses over silly ideas to extremes that her friends find embarrassing. Even so, they support Erza in her obsession not only because they’re her friends, but also because they all have a healthy respect for her power.

Though I don’t watch it, Gintama is constantly parodying other anime (the protagonist reads Shonen Jump and wants his own Bankai – Bleach), and goes to great extremes with scatological humour. If a weapon can find its way into someone’s ass, it does, people are hit so hard their balls fly off, and shit flinging monkeys often foment chaos.

It’s a bit much for me, but Phil laughs himself silly.

  1. It’s good to be surprised.

Just when you think that the story can’t go anywhere else, it does, and it goes to a completely unexpected place.

The concept behind Bleach is that an otherwise normal boy who can see the spirits of the departed has to assume the powers of a soul reaper. In order to save his friends, he is constantly breaking the rules, achieves greater and greater power, and then, because his enemies are so much more powerful than he is, new dimensions and risks open to him in his quest.

In Fairy Tail, the celestial wizard Lucy, though not very powerful on her own, is the key to a greater adventure that everyone in her guild becomes involved in.

It’s all about the creativity in the storytelling.

For better or worse, I’m addicted to anime now, and happily so. I enjoy it more than most of the television I watch.

I watch it like I watch anything, as a writer looking for lessons that I can take to the page.

Next week: Ima write about my literary mothers 🙂

Be well until then!

Series Discoveries