Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 22-28, 2021

And here it is, the last day of August (!) How did that happen? Get your informal writerly learnings now, before summer disappears!

Susan DeFreitas lists the three strengths and three challenges of starting your novel with theme. Then, Carol J. Michel explains how to market your book without social media. Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin shares the one tool that transforms your writing. Then, Tasha Seegmiller composes a letter to a writer: keep learning. Laurie Schnebly Campbell is tremendous, terrible, triumphant. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth S. Craig is regaining confidence.

C.S. Lakin lists seven sensory elements that writers ignore. Live, Write, Thrive

To kill … To Kill a Mockingbird? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

C.S. Lakin explains how to nail the purpose of your novel’s scenes. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson shows you how to use trauma strategically to create an emotional arc. Writers Helping Writers

David Corbett: the people we think we know (and the characters they inspire). Then, Diana Giovinazzo helps you utilize video games in your writing. Heather Webb says, if you want to be a career author, you have to avoid pitfalls (and a few trips, too). Then, Natalie Hart touts the gift of hunger. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares the main reason your story’s premise is important. Helping Writers Become Authors

Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo: a love letter to the natural world. The Take

Savannah Cordova provides an honest appraisal of Amazon exclusivity for first-time authors. Then, Marina Barakatt considers the merits of The Wicked + the Divine. Leora Krygier considers multigenerational trauma in memoir. DIY MFA

Ann Harth offers a layered method for creating consistent characters. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb considers writer’s block: is it laziness, or a critical part of being a long-time author?

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that neglect tension. Mythcreants

Why super heroine movies don’t empower us all. The Take

K.W. Colyard explains why authors can’t get enough of this little-known fairy tale. Bustle

Vida Cruz declares, we are the mountain: a look at the inactive protagonist. Fantasy Magazine

Clive Thompson explains how data science pinpointed the creepiest word in Macbeth. OneZero

Steve Edwards is misunderstanding Thoreau: reading neurodiversity in literature and in life. Literary Hub

Sebastian Leck reports that a unique literary festival focuses solely on Haudenosaunee storytelling and publishing. CBC

Peter Knegt: the first piece of queer Mauritian literature ever published is by Montreal’s Kama La Mackerel. CBC

Thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 11-17, 2020

Another week, another collection of informal writerly goodness.

Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance when you can’t. Wash your hands. Get your flu shot as soon as you can.

K. Tempest Bradford: World Fantasy, the convention that keeps on failing. The lack of diversity on panels and lack of a properly enforced anti-harassment policy have been ongoing for the better part of a decade and organizers are reluctant to admit there are problems, let alone take action on them.

Princess Weekes breaks down true womanhood and black girlhood in media. Melina Pendulum

Jeanette the Writer: yes, there are different types of English. Later in the week, Jeremy Hance explains how he decided to write a memoir about his hilarious mental illness. Then, Ambre Leffler offers five ways to be kind to your eyes. DIY MFA

K.M. Weiland explores the link between the first and second pinch points. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin shares five fantasy tropes to avoid, be careful with, or embrace. Reedsy

Lori Freeland details the five key elements to layering your scene. Later in the week, Jenny Hansen lists the five fears that spook most writers. Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy explains the difference between a first page that hooks and a novel that hooks. Fiction University

Jim Dempsey wants you to ground your characters with all five senses. Then, Barbara Linn Probst wonders, what is your story about, anyway? Word, phrase, sentence, equation. Later in the week, Anne Greenwood Brown explains how to communicate without words. Writer Unboxed

Alli Sinclair is asking the right questions with character interviews. Writers Helping Writers

Nancy Stohlman extols the benefits of writing flash fiction. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the exposition of Crescent City. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists six signs your story is about the wrong character. Mythcreants

The setting of a story: what is it and how to write it. Reedsy

Thanks for stopping 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, Feb 9-15, 2020

It’s that time of the week again, time for informal writerly learnings!

Melinda VanLone offers a quick guide to image copyright issues. On Valentine’s Day, Julie Glover helps you love your writer self. Writers in the Storm

Rheea Mukherjee is writing in a time of global trauma. Jim Dempsey wants to help you create conflict in your characters. Kathryn Craft lists seven ways to overcome story implausibility. David Corbett: if not love … Writer Unboxed

Something just for fun 🙂 Shaelin shares five false writer stereotypes. Reedsy

And then, she shares five true writer stereotypes. Reedsy

Christina Kaye guest posts on Helping Writers Become Authors: four research tips for writing legal fiction.

Laurence MacMaughton offers three rules for raising story stakes. Fiction University

September C. Fawkes explains how premise plays into theme. Brandon Cornett helps you figure out when situational writing works better than plotting. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer answers this knotty question: will an editor steal my ideas? Bess McAllister explains how to make your own writer luck. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews K.S. Villoso about world building in epic fantasy. Anna Thu Nguyenova shares five tips for writing great short stories. DIY MFA

How to write heartbreak. Jenna Moreci

Nathan Bransford suggests you start with the problems before leaping to the solutions in editing.

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the purple prose of The Witcher. Mythcreants

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you’re taking away something that will help you progress in your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 27-Feb 2, 2019

And here I am, back with your weekly dose of informal writerly learnings.

Kathryn Craft: the story that holds you back. Hint: it’s the one you tell yourself. Writers in the Storm

Kim Bullock advises you to vanquish emotional overwhelm to increase productivity. Writer Unboxed

Elizabeth Huergo honors Mary Oliver on Writer Unboxed: walk slowly and bow often.

Cathy Yardley guides you from cool idea to premise. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt mines her (misspent/not misspent) RPG youth: when your characters have minds of their own. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares her nine writing goals for 2019. Helping Writers Become Authors

Manuela Williams shares five simple SEO tips for authors. DIY MFA

Pamela Taylor explains how to create authentic details: keeping secrets. DIY MFA

Bess Cozby shares her experience going for six weeks without social media. DIY MFA

Sofia Ashdown shares her top ten editing tips. The Creative Penn

Chuck Wendig explains the story about the story, or, how writers talk about their books. Terribleminds

Becca Puglisi guest posts on Jerry Jenkins’ blog. Got subtext? Writing better dialogue.

Janice Hardy explains what writers need to know about hooks. Fiction University

Chris Winkle shares lessons from The Maze Runner’s point of view disaster. Then, Oren Ashkenazi tackles the problem with oppressed mages. Mythcreants

I post about writer’s grief. WarpWorld

Sangeeta Mehta lists 19 diversity-focused writing conferences and events in 2019. Writer’s Digest

I hope you found something you need to fuel your creative efforts this week.

Come back on Thursday to get your weekly batch of thoughty.

Until then, be well.

tipsday2016

Crafting the contemporary genre novel with Jane Ann McLachlan

It’s been a busy weekend for Jane Ann.

After a reading and book signing in southern Ontario Friday night, Jane Ann drove up to Sudbury for a book signing at Chapters.

I went out to visit her, say hi, and meet her daughter, Amanda.

Attracting a new reader

Of course, I have to buy some books as well <chagrin face>.

Jane Ann did well signing and selling 11 copies of The Occasional Diamond Thief, and practicing her schmooze 🙂

Today, she delivered a workshop on crafting the contemporary genre novel.

She started off with some resources.

Her top five blogs for writers:

Her top five writing craft books:

Her top five pieces of advice for beginning writers:

  1. Try writing poetry as well as prose,
  2. Read across genres and analyse what you read (the same goes for movies),
  3. Learn grammar and spelling; these are the tools of your trade,
  4. Join a critique group, and
  5. Think beyond the cliché.

Then, she asked us to provide the top five elements of a good story:

  • Conflict
  • Character
  • Goals
  • Stakes
  • Difficult obstacles

Then, Jane Ann discussed the story idea, which must contain,

  1. a universal theme
  2. an inherent conflict
  3. a perennial premise, which you have twisted to make it unique to your story
  4. gut-level emotional appeal

It should be stated in the following form: What if (protagonist) in (setting/situation) had (problem)?

The discussion progressed to world building and the inevitable research that must take place to make the story world believable, even if the setting is contemporary.

The caveat is that, having done all this research, the writer must then resist the temptation to display all this knowledge in the text of the novel. It’s called info-dumping.

Every story has to have compelling characters who have strong, clear wants and desires. We did another writing exercise, in which we defined our protagonists. Jane Ann advised that this process should be repeated with each of the main characters in the novel, including the antagonist.

We then looked at point of view (POV) and tense, and the considerations writers need to take into account when deciding whether their stories should be told in first person, present tense, as many young adult novels are written, or in deep third person, past, as many adult novels are written.

There was another exercise in identifying lapses in POV that was quite interesting.

Finally, Jane Ann shared with us her outline for novel writing, as well as a couple of other templates that could be used. She confessed to being on the pantsing side of writing, but that she’s never started writing a novel unless she had a clear idea of what the main plot points were.

At the workshop

Then, there was a drawing for two bottles of The Occasional Diamond Thief wine, books were bought, and a brief Q&A ensued where other issues were discussed as time allowed.

Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in the activities and making notes . . . I forgot to take more pictures 😦

Overall, it was a great afternoon, but I think Jane Ann will be happy to get home and put her feet up 🙂 She’s one busy writer, promoting the heck out of her novel.