Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 25-Oct 1, 2022

Welcome to October! Energize yourself for the rest of the week with some informal writerly learnings.

Tiffany Yates Martin explains why plots fail. Then, Amanda Miller shares five ways to use community marketing for your book. Jane Friedman

Jenny Hansen suggests a strength-based approach to writing. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson explains why rhetorical questions help you go deeper with emotions. Eldred Bird is writing through life’s storms. Writers in the Storm

C.S. Lakin helps you show the world through your character’s senses. Live, Write, Thrive

Angela Ackerman says, if you want lifelike characters, create a character bible. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Sauron wasn’t always evil. What happened? The Philosophy of Tolkien. Hello, Future Me

Vaughn Roycroft talks turning points. Then, Kelsey Allagood shares decision trees, angry bees, and other writer brain hacks. Julia Whelan: I’ve heard such mixed things. Jeanne Kisacky wonders who are you reading now? Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi explains how to reveal a character’s inner conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford encourages you to close off your protagonist’s easy off-ramps.

Richelle Lyn is designing a logo from scratch. Then, Melanie Bell offers five things to think about when writing a coming-of-age story. Barbara Rubin shares how she found balance between capturing joy, sorrow, humor, and rage in her writing. DIY MFA

Tiffany Yates Martin answers the question, how much should you plot your stories? Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle says storytellers must stop dehumanizing prisoners. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five overshadowed characters in popular stories. Mythcreants

How H.P. Lovecraft wrote the unimaginable. Tale Foundry

Nalo Hopkinson has won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction

Sean Wetselaar says Judy I. Lin’s recipe for success is fantasy and a cup of tea. The Walrus

Adrian Daub writes about losing oneself in the geography of fantasy worlds: here at the end of all things. Longreads

Guy Kawasaki interviews Min Kym about her book Gone: A Girl, a Violin, and a Life Unstrung. The Remarkable People Podcast

Jessica Winter explains how E. Nesbit used her grief, her politics, and her imagination to create a new kind of children’s book. The New Yorker

Check out Publishers Weekly’s annual publishing in Canada report. Interesting reading.

Thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope you took away something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 8-14, 2022

Ah, Tuesday. My favourite day of the week, when I get to share my favourite informal writerly learnings of the week with you 🙂 Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland explains the role of the antagonist in story structure (part 2 of 2). Helping Writers Become Authors

Sophie Masson: the hardworking magic of book design. Then, Jim Dempsey considers the creativity of emotions. Juliet Marillier wants a helping hand: supporting your fellow writers. Then, Kathryn Craft gives you six hall passes for grammar un-school. David Corbett is writing wrongs: the color of my low-down, dirty vote. Yuvi Zalkow: gatekeepers and creativity. Writer Unboxed

Does this make my hammer look big? Jill Bearup

Melinda VanLone continues her book cover 101: mystery/thriller. Then, Kathleen Baldwin shares five secret ingredients for writing a killer teen novel. Later in the week, William F. Wu wonders if you’re a plotter, pantser, or … roadster? Writers in the Storm

A quick tip for outliners. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Heather Davis explains the difference between plot and story and why you need both. Anne Carley: your journal as time machine. Jane Friedman

Reading like a writer. Reedsy

Roz Morris: writers, can you feel it? How to use gut feeling to guide your writing. Nail Your Novel

Richelle Lyn shares her insights on when to formalize your business entity. Then, Amanda Polick lists 25 tips for pitching, writing, and being published in magazines. Catherine Drake explains how setting can serve as a catalyst for story. Later in the week, EC Hanes shares five ways to tell enough without telling all. DIY MFA

Ember Randall: self-defense vs. martial arts. Then, Sarah J. Sover is making magic systems stronger with science. Dan Koboldt

How Beauty and the Beast’s Belle launched the bookworm princess hero. The Take

Angela Ackerman says, if you want readers to connect with your character, include this. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin: prioritizing your life. Fox Print Editorial

The crime genre: justice and injustice; stories of mystery and intrigue. The structure genre: arch-plot, anti-plot, and mini-plot. Story Grid

Chris Winkle wants you to use your story’s premise to create novelty. Then, Oren Ashkenazi wonders how useful Pixar’s rules of storytelling are (part 1). Mythcreants

Gaslighting: narcissists and tampering with reality. Kristen Lamb

11 tips to take your short stories to the next level. Shaelin Writes

Bill Sanders: welcome to Greater Sudbury, where art comes to die. The Sudbury Star

Sudbury Theatre Centre not transparent with new direction, say critics. CBC

James Whitbrook announces that Ncuti Gatwa is Doctor Who’s new Doctor. Gizmodo

Thanks for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you found something to support you current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Feb 6-12, 2022

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Sara Farmer shares part two of her auto-buy mystery list. LA Bourgeois says that if you want to find your motivation, ask, “How can I make this happen?” Then, F.E. Choe explains how to develop a disciplined writing practice. Lyn Liao Butler wants you to consider writing from your perspective. DIY MFA

How to write first person point of view. Reedsy

Greer Macallister shares what a month of writing every day taught her. “It’s a balancing act, not a limbo stick.” Jim Dempsey: the story of your dreams. Kathleen McCleary wants you to explore the unknown in your writing: the dark side. Then, Kathryn Craft explains how to repurpose your plot. David Corbett tackles explanation vs. fascination—and a woman in the corner opposite. Writer Unboxed

Ellen Brock provides a writing guide for the methodological plotter.

K.M. Weiland wants you to make story structure your own. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sword lady hits ceiling with sword. Happy anniversary! Jill Bearup

Susan DeFreitas says that if you want to write a great novel, be brave. Then, Lisa Cooper Ellison proposes three things to ask yourself before writing about trauma. Janna Marlies Maron suggests three shifts you need to make to finish your book. Jane Friedman

Tuatha dé Danann, the enchanting faeries of celtic lore. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Margie Lawson offers tips to create a bestselling title. Then, Miffie Seideman provides seven steps for healthy emotional endurance for writers. Shirley Jump shares ten ways to reverse engineer your plot. Writers in the Storm

The Little Mermaid as a queer allegory. The Take

Elizabeth Spann Craig: promo for introverts.

Marissa Graff outlines the zig-zag plot arc. Then David. G. Brown offers three considerations for revising scene by scene. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford lists essential computer skills for writers.

Is Arcane a dystopia? Tim Hickson thinks not. Two the Future

Chris Winkle explains how to include thoughts from multiple characters without head-hopping. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyses five stories that spoil their mysteries. Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer explains how to write successful queries for any genre of writing (with lots of examples). From 2019, but it’s a timeless topic 🙂 Writer’s Digest

Simon Usborne: forget Wordle! Can you crack the Dickens code? An IT worker from California just did. The Guardian

Thank you 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, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 1-7, 2021

It is time, once again, to stock up on informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy says, don’t let these plotting errors knock your novel off track. Then, Jodi Turchin touts the benefits of a DIY personal writers retreat. Bethany Henry provides a guide for writing strong female characters. Then, Aly Brown lists three mixed-up writing goofs you might be making. Fiction University

Jill Bearup analyzes Harley Quinn’s bonkers elevator fight scene. One Villainous Scene

Greer Macallister shares three tips for a great cover reveal. Then, Allie Larkin says, don’t finish your book. Donald Maass: the walking stick. Later in the week, Rheea Mukherjee wonders, how absurd can our characters be? Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes presents Demona is alone. One Villainous Scene. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland explains how the antagonist functions in different kinds of character arcs. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elizabeth Spann Craig provides us with a release checklist.

How to write literary fiction. Reedsy

Literary fiction tropes. Reedsy

You may think Jeanette the Writer is being facetious when she explains how to edit an email, but for those important emails (queries, client relations, etc.) do you really want to take the chance of making a critical mistake? Then, Tammy Lough says, historical romance is too hot to handle! Becca Spence Dobias shares five ways audiobooks improve your voice as an author. DIY MFA

Narrative worldbuilding. Shaelin Writes

Stefan Emunds explains the importance of curiosity and tension to storytelling. Then, C.S. Lakin reveals the secret ingredient of a commercially successful novel. Mathina Calliope wonders, should I hire a coach or a therapist? Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford: don’t over-explain “default” objects and gestures. Then Lindsay Syhakhom explains how to rediscover your passion for writing.  

Don’t know much about Beowulf? Princess Weekes is here to help. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Sacha Black points out three mistakes to avoid with your side characters. Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb presents the good, the bad, and the just please stop of description.

John Peragine says, it’s time for a second edition. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle answers the question: do characters need to be likable? Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines five useless characters and how to fix them. Mythcreants

Jami Gold explains the benefits of making your characters take two steps back.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I hope you found 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, July 25-31, 2021

You made it through Monday (and a Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday for my Canadian readers)! Time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy helps you write better descriptions: describe what your readers won’t assume. Then, she warns of the dangers of infodumps (and how to avoid them). Rochelle Melander: what my literary heroes taught me about writing. Then Spencer Ellsworth explains that word count isn’t the only metric of productivity. Fiction University

It’s a Shaelin bonanza, this week 🙂 How to write the midpoint. Reedsy

Tiffany Yates Martin explains why writing is like pie. Then, Elizabeth Huergo offers some readings for writers: Judith Ortiz Cofer and the will to write. Milo Todd wants you to know your invisible narrator. KL Burd tackles the topic of writing as restoration. Then, Desmond Hall drops some writing wisdom. Later in the week, Tonia Harris helps you keep a light burning. Writer Unboxed

How to write the rising action. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland: should you edit as you go? Helping Writers Become Authors

Bella Mahaya Carter lists five common mistakes writers make that sabotage their success. Live, Write, Thrive

Kris Maze shares three steps to make time to write. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson peels back the four important layers of deep point of view. Margie Lawson lists ten “not absurd” rules for writing fiction. Writers in the Storm

10 writing tips I don’t agree with. Shaelin Writes

Joanna Penn interviews Roz Morris about writing and publishing literary fiction. The Creative Penn

Nathan Bransford lists three ways “show, don’t tell” can lead you astray.

Stephanie BwaBwa offers some tips about using Instagram to grow your author business. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Veronica G. Henry about intention, agency, choice, and how to write three-dimensional characters. Olivia Fisher helps you revitalize your writing resolve. Later in the week, Brandie June wants you the use the magical reverse outline.  Then, Urszula Bunting shares five yoga poses to boost creativity. DIY MFA

Words invented by authors. Otherwords | PBS Storied

Susan DeFreitas lists three strengths and three challenges of starting your novel with plot. Jane Friedman

The redhead on screen. The Take

Chris Winkle and Fay Onyx draw some lessons from the edgy writing of Blindsight. Mythcreants

Lisa Hall-Wilson unpacks writing trauma in fiction: anniversaries.

Guy Kawasaki interviews Hugh Howey: author, storyteller, dreamer. The Remarkable People podcast

Joanna Lilley’s lyrical and devastating poetry collection, Endlings wins the Canadian Authors Association Fred Kerner Book Award. CBC Books

Tasia Bass introduces us to 11 lesser-known fairy tales. Mental Floss

Thank you for visiting. I hope you found 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, July 11-17, 2021

Welcome to tipsday, your opportunity to reward yourself for making it through Monday and stock up on informal writerly learnings.

Greer Macallister wonders if authors should review books. Then, Jim Dempsey discusses the inherent nature of story structure. Juliet Marillier charts the ups and downs of a writer’s journey. Later in the week, Julie Duffy wants you to choose your own adventure. Then, Kelsey Allagood shows you how to be creative when you’re feeling “blah.” Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup analyzes the Loki ep. 6 fight scene.

Richelle Lyn explains how Creativity, Inc. inspired her. Later in the week, Rachel Smith reveals how to use sensory details in historical fiction. Then, F.E. Choe shares five tips for navigating writing events as an extreme introvert. DIY MFA

Lindsay Ellis reveals the unappreciated women writers who invented the novel. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Janice Hardy offers some advice. Do, or do not. There is no try. Clarifying what your characters do. Then, Kristin Durfee explains how to plot your way back from an unruly idea. Later in the week, Rayne Hall considers 12 story ending twists that don’t work. Fiction University

Why we can’t save the ones we love. Like Stories of Old

K.M. Weiland provides a summary of all the archetypal character arcs. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Hall-Wilson helps you write complex emotions in deep POV: shame.

Alli Sinclair wonders, what is your character’s love language (and why does it matter)? Writers Helping Writers

Why there are so many lesbian period pieces. The Take

Kristen Lamb explains why editing matters (and simple ways to make your work shine). Then, she’s spotting terminological inexactitude syndrome.

Nathan Bransford advises you to avoid naming universal emotions in your novel.

Kathryn Goldman answers the question: are fictional characters protected under copyright law? Then, Jessica Conoley points out the most significant choice of your writing career. Jane Friedman

Why Disney kids take over everything—corporate girlhood. The Take

Eldred Bird presents five more writing tips we love to hate. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle explains how Romanticism harms novelists. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines how Michael J. Sullivan employs the Neolithic in Age of Myth. Mythcreants

Award-winning speculative fiction author (and Damon Knight Grand Master) Nalo Hopkinson joins UBC creative writing faculty. I may just have to invest in another degree! UBC

Thank you for stopping by. 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, April 11-17, 2021

Ah, Tuesday! The day when you get to catch up on your informal writerly learnings of the previous week.

Janice Hardy explains how the wrap up works in a novel. #storystructure Fiction University

K.M. Weiland continues her archetypal character arc series by introducing us to the hero’s shadow archetypes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Wonder Woman 1984: gravity would like a word … Jill Bearup

Kathleen Marple Kalb explains how to navigate a book launch through social media. Then, Sharon Oard Warner wonders which comes first: character or plot? Jane Friedman

Shaelin explains how to write science fiction. Reedsy

Then, she covers sci-fi tropes to avoid or embrace. Reedsy

Nicole Souza shares some tips for creating strong female characters. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Alli Sinclair wants to help you use your fiction skills to earn money. Writers Helping Writers

Jim Dempsey tells you how to cut the cost of a professional editor. Then, Kathleen McCleary explains how regrets reveal and forge character. Later in the week, Porter Anderson is suiting up for serialization. Kelsey Allagood: writer, know thyself. Writer Unboxed

Erica Brozovsky: what’s the longest word? Otherwords | PBS Storied

My latest Speculations column went live on April 13: celebrating Perseverance. DIY MFA

Brannan Sirratt defines nonfiction and fiction dimensions. Story Grid

Queer coding, explained. The Take

Piper Bayard lists 10 common kitchen items to use as weapons. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle explains how to teach world terms without confusing readers. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with unsatisfying endings. Mythcreants

The sympathetic villain. The Take

Kristen Lamb: how to write stories that grip readers and don’t let go.

Thom Dunn explains why it’s harder for neurodivergent people to break into publishing. Boing Boing

Julia Skinner: libraries and pandemics, past and present. JSTOR Daily

And that was tipsday for this week. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 10-16, 2021

Another week, another bunch of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Janice Hardy wonders, is your plot going somewhere readers will follow? Then, Janice offers some guides for using internal conflict that make sense. Fiction University

Brené Brown: Why Your Critics aren’t the Ones Who Count. 99u

Sandra Wendel explains the differences between line editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Jane Friedman

Christina Kaye shows you how to start, build, and grow your email list. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin Bishop demonstrates line editing. Shaelin Writes

Ellen Buikema promotes the value of writing young adult literature. Writers in the Storm

Megan Taylor Morrison shares eight growing pains she had while learning to edit equitably. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Emily Zarka considers the Baba Yaga: the ancient origins of the famous witch. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Jim Dempsey explains what to expect from an editor. Juliet Marillier is writing in wild times. Then, Kathryn Craft presents seven sneaky ways to spotlight story wisdom. Writer Unboxed

Alli Sinclair helps you write better dialogue. Writers Helping Writers

The Simp trope, explained. The Take

Chris Winkle addresses feminists and romance fans: let’s fight our common enemy. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Legendborn created an enthralling love triangle. Mythcreants

The Gold Digger trope, explained. The Take

Judith Herman: eleven words that don’t mean what you think they mean. Mental Floss

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found 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, 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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 3-9, 2020

Even as various provincial governments consider “opening up,” we are becoming aware of reports from China and South Korea that their attempts to do the same are resulting in another spike in infections and deaths. While I think that, with testing and tracking and sufficient PPE, a certain degree of business resumption can occur, I’m worried that the testing, tracking, and PPE are not in place as yet.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, this week was another rich one for informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Sara Letourneau explains how your protagonist’s motivations influence your story’s themes. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Helen J. Darling for an inside look at self-publishing. Pamela Gay shares five ways to write about something difficult. DIY MFA

Sonja Yoerg encourages you to give your story the time of day. Donald Maass: the meaning of meaning. Julie Carrick Dalton considers the earned plot twist. Jennie Nash: the secret to more efficient revision is pattern recognition. Writer Unboxed

How to develop a novel, part 3: plot & world. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford shows you how to weave exposition naturally into your story. Later in the week, he suggests giving your protagonist a mini-quest before the plot takes off.

Aziraphale and Crowley share a message with the world.

Tiffany Yates Martin wants you to give your characters agency. Then, Susan DeFreitas serves up the next part of her developing a writing practice series: captivating. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains how to improve your story with action beats. Later in the week, she wonders, do your characters take on lives of their own?

The Take explains the woman-child trope.

Joanna Penn shares her self-editing process. The Creative Penn

Meg LaTorre explains how to juggle writing and parenting. Writers Helping Writers

Fae Rowan show you how small decisions can make big story impact. Julie Glover: in defense of editing as you go. Writers in the Storm

Juliette Dunn profiles five characters coded as autistic. Mythcreants

What English does that no other languages do. NativLang

Eileen Hunt Botting introduces us to Mary Shelley’s journals of sorrow. The Times Literary Supplement

I’ve been trying to avoid a lot of overt covid-19 material, but Kim Stanley Robinson’s article is too amazing not to share. Coronavirus is rewriting our imaginations. The New Yorker

And this: Sabrina Orah Mark. Fuck the Bread. The Bread is over. On making your own fairy tale, embarking on your own epic tasks, and finding meaning. Beautiful and wrenching and ultimately hopeful. The Paris Review

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ve taken away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday2019