Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 20-26, 2019

Counting down to Hallowe’en, NaNoWriMo, and Wordstock Sudbury! Be prepared with this excellent selection of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Jan O’Hara helps you avoid a writing cat-astrophe. Sarah McCoy: confession of a lapsed reader. Heather Webb is writing boldly, without fear. Writer Unboxed

Meg LaTorre catalogues filter words you should remove from your manuscript. iWriterly

Becca Puglisi shows you how to use secondary characters to sway the reader. Eldred Bird explains how to create a multi-use logline. Then, Margie Lawson shows you how to make hugs carry power. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland offers a writer’s guide to understanding people. Helping Writers Become Authors

Bonnie Randall: scaredy-pants! Four breeches—er, breaches—that elicit fear in your characters. Then, Janice Hardy shares two tips that make plotting your novel way easier. Fiction University

Jeanette the Writer shares six things editors want writers to know. Gabriela Pereira interviews Nicole Valentine about pacing, world building, and time travel. Savannah Cordova shares five tips for writing nail-biting suspense. Then, Rayne Lacko offers five ways to write what you want to understand. DIY MFA

Chuck Wendig wants you to find the balance of self-care and tough love. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle: Carnival Row shows us the damage a reveal can do. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five slow story openings and explains how to avoid them. Mythcreants

Jenna Moreci shares ten tips for creating magic systems.

Christina Bacchilega: how mermaid stories illustrate complex truths about being human. Literary Hub

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you found something useful for the busy writing months ahead.

Until next time, be well!

Tipsday2019

The next chapter: September 2019 update

Ah, October. My favourite month, mostly ‘cause my birthday 🙂 Yes. I’m a child.

The month in writing

We’re just going to get right to it.

SeptProgress

I made the decision to post only two book reviews this month (though one was of two novellas), and so I was a bit short of my blogging goal. 5,071 words of my 5,600-word goal, or 91%.

I got my latest Speculations written and submitted early because I headed down to Toronto for a day-job learning event. I wrote 1,327 words of my 1,000-word goal, or 133%.

I wrote all of 50 new words on short story number two and revised 41 words on short story number one. Even with a meagre 500-word goal for each, that was 10% and 8% respectively.

I went through the poetry collection again. This one, I decided to track by the number of poems revised. 51 of 51, or 100%. I have one more pass to make before the collection is ready for submission. I hope to get that done this month.

I got my second rejection on my poetry. Will send out more submissions.

In non-tracking projects, the read-through of Ascension continues. I’m almost finished with book three and will move onto book for this month.

I’m also 31 handwritten pages into revision notes for the SF novel that didn’t know what it was. It’s shaping up and I should be ready for my stint as a NaNo rebel next month.

I’ve also critiqued another project for my online critique group and have moved on to another.

One thing I’ve learned in the past few months is that you can still be a working writer, even if you’re not producing a lot of words. Not all writing is writing. Sometimes it’s reading, critiquing, planning, and thinking. You have to make space for all of it.

Filling the well

No writerly events in September, but I did get together with a couple of writer friends for and evening of Thai food and chat. It was just what I needed to refresh and refocus.

No pictures. Sorry.

Here are a few of my random photos from the last month instead 🙂

What I’m watching and reading

This month, Phil and I watched Carnival Row. We enjoyed the gritty, alternate world, the murder mystery wrapped up in a tragic origin story, and cheesy prophecy trope. It was nice how most of the story elements were connected to the main plot and so, as events unfolded, the characters developed and changed accordingly.

The final season of Killjoys came to an end in September as well. I didn’t appreciate all the creative choices that were made in this final season. Several of them felt forced, or worse, contrived. The series has always been more fun than philosophical, though, and things ended well.

I finished watching the first season of The Order. It really didn’t know what it wanted to be. Magical university? Werewolf story? Magical revenge tale? Things were tied together loosely, and the ending was disappointing. The titular order erases the memories of the werewolves and steals all their artefacts and research library. Really, I was left wondering why I should care.

Finally, The OA. The first season kind of ruined me with the second to last episode. When the box of incriminating books was found and everyone basically abandoned Prairie, deciding that she must be crazy/delusional, it completely undermined everything that happened in the final episode. Having broken my credibility, the series could not restore it. I basically went through the motions to finish watching, because I prefer to have a complete picture.

I wasn’t going to watch the second season, but I wanted to see how they could possibly move forward. And, honestly, it wasn’t horrible. The second season suffered from some of the same issues as the first, however. I watched it with a sceptic’s eye, distrusting everything the creators asked me to take on faith. Again, things were building to a climax and then, Pairie/Nina and Hap end up jumping to a universe in which they are Brit Marling and Jason Isaacs on a movie set. Oh, yeah. Though Michelle’s soul was retrieved by detective Karim, there was no real resolution for those left behind in the first universe, or for Homer, who finally remembered who he was but was trapped in the second.

I’m glad there won’t be a season three. At least, that’s the word on the interwebz at the moment.

Reading wise, I finished Mary Robinette Kowal’s Ghost Talkers, in which a corps of mediums help the allies in an alternate WWII. Loved. Kowal has indicated that she would like to revisit the world, but her Lady Astronaut books are demanding her time and creative energy at the moment.

I also finished Matthew Hughes’ What the Wind Brings, which he unabashedly calls his magnum opus. This was historical fiction, and I reviewed it last month.

Sarah Gailey’s A Taste of Marrow was next, and I enjoyed this second novella in her alternate America inspired by a strange-but-true plan to import hippos. This was my second posted book review last month and I looked at both novellas, which have been combined in one volume as American Hippo.

After I finished watching the last season of The Handmaid’s Tale, I finally read the book that inspired the series. I enjoyed the book more than some of Atwood’s others, I have to say, though it does share some of the aspects that I found problematic. June is another unreliable narrator, but why wouldn’t she be? The June of the book is never dependably identified by that name, though there is some speculation in the symposium appended to the end of the novel. She lives in fear, far more fear than Elizabeth Moss portrays in the series. She’s far less empowered. June is, essentially, a slave. It makes for an oddly distanced read.

Finally, I read Sean Carroll’s Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime, which I enjoyed though much of the content was over my head. Frankly, it blew my mind a bit. I read this one for research. It ties into the SF novel I want to revise.

Again, selected reviews will be forthcoming.

And that was September in this writer’s life.

Until next time, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

The Next Chapter

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 25-31, 2019

You’ve made it this far through the week. Reward yourself. Get your mental corn popping!

Jennifer Walter explains that, to our brains, it doesn’t matter whether we read or listen. Discover

Gregory Barber: what science fiction can teach computer science about ethics. Wired

SciShow explains how projects for living on Mars can improve life on Earth (from climate change to affordable and recyclable homes).

Deborah Netburn shows you how the world can cut food waste in half. LA Times

Jeff Goodell wonders, can we survive extreme heat? Rolling Stone

Nithin Coca: as the Amazon burns, Indonesia shows the world how to fight forest fires. Ozy

Caroline Riseboro: why we’re losing ground in the fight for gender equality. TEDXDonMills

Dan Nosowitz says, respect the hammock, one of humanity’s greatest creations. Atlas Obscura

Michael Greshko explains how this “unprecedented” skull reveals the face of a human ancestor. National Geographic

Dr. Becky explains the proof of dark matter’s existence.

SciShow Space considers the propulsive potential of the Hall Thruster.

Then, SciShow Space news announces the collision of a black hole and a neutron star detected by LIGO and VIRGO plus, progress on the Europa Clipper mission.

Emma Taggart shows us artistically arranged time slice photos that display the stages of a total solar eclipse. My Modern Met

M.R. O’Connor experiences a day in the life of a tree. The New Yorker

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found some inspiration to feed into your current of next creative project.

Until next tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 12-18, 2019

And here is your latest curation of informal writerly learnings.

Sophie Masson talks big publishers, small publishers, and contract negotiations. Jim Dempsey wants you to tune out your self-doubt. Julie Carrick Dalton praises the power of writerly kindness. Porter Anderson considers the place of place in our writing. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares five ways writers (try to) fake their way to good storytelling. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Navé and Alegra Huston stop by Jane Friedman’s blog: how to plan a book reading that delights your audience.

September C. Fawkes offers story structure in a flash. Then, Sacha Black wants you to nip and tuck your saggy middle with conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer covers the stages of editing grief. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Sam Sykes about the emotional weight of storytelling. DIY MFA

Jami Gold wonders, are you a pantser, a plotter, or something in between? Click through to the original tweet by Cheyenne A. Lepka—it’s AWESOME! Warmed this old gamer’s heart 🙂

Jenny Hansen shares Brené Brown’s top ten tips for success. Laura Drake follows up on Jenny’s column with this: dare to be vulnerable in your writing life. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle wants you to understand exploitative plots. Mythcreants

Guy Gavriel Kay offers some writing advice: don’t take writing advice. Literary Hub

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to help you with your latest creative project.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

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

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Emily Wenstrom advises what to post on social media when you have nothing to say. And here’s my latest speculations column: why you should follow myth and legend off the beaten path. DIY MFA

Kim Bullock shows you the positive side of envy (it’s great motivation!). Barbara O’Neal is finding the world through reading. Julianna Baggott issues a challenge: if your room has a view, but also wifi, will you ever see anything but a screen? Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland is helping authors become artists. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares the three-act emotional arc for showing shame in fiction. Laura Drake looks at the reality of writing for a living today. Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy points out two reasons your protagonist isn’t driving your plot. Fiction University

Jami Gold wonders whether to revise or start fresh? What’s better when you’re stuck?

Oren Ashkenazi shares five activities to beat writer’s block. Then, Oren lists six pros and cons of the magic school genre. Mythcreants

Cherie Demaline answers the question, who gets to write Indigenous stories? (Yes, it’s from last year, but always a timely reminder.) CBC Books

And that tipsday.

Consider returning on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends.

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 14-20, 2018

Another lovely week filled with informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland explores why writers cherish language. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy stops by Writers in the Storm: plot backward to move forward with your novel.

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers five tips on writing a trauma backstory. Writers in the Storm

Roz Morris explains how to outline your novel without killing the fun of writing it. Nail Your Novel

Lisa Cron tells you how to nail your first three pages. Writers Helping Writers

Barbara Poelle answers another funny you should ask question: how fast-paced should a thriller be? Writer’s Digest

Janice Hardy tells you what you need to know about internalization. Fiction University

Rachael Stephen: how to write when you don’t want to. #preptober

 

Sara Letourneau helps you let go of perfectionism the DIY MFA way. DIY MFA

Dan Koboldt stops by Jane Friedman’s blog to explain how to research your writing to ensure technical accuracy. Also, check out Dan’s new book: Putting the Science in Fiction. I’m a fan 🙂

Kathleen McCleary: it takes a village. Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson wonders, but how much are you reading? Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle presents six wordcraft questions writers fight over. Then, Oren Ashkenazi points out seven common problems with speculative fiction technology. Mythcreants

Cold Crash Pictures debunks the four most annoying scientific inaccuracies in film.

 

Jenna Moreci lists her worst sci-fi tropes ever.

 

And Cold Crash Pictures tackles four more sexist tropes.

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something helpful in this curation.

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 11-17, 2018

Here are your informal writerly learnings for the week:

K.M. Weiland: cohesion and resonance! Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews Becca Puglisi on writing with emotion and depth of character. The Creative Penn

Daeus Lamb: theme made simple. Writers Helping Writers

September C. Fawkes says the key to writing introspection well is to show “just enough.” Writers Helping Writers

Kristen Lamb: conflict is the elixir of the muse, creating timeless stories readers can’t put down.

Sara Letourneau: a case study on love as a literary theme. DIY MFA

Join me over at DIY MFA for my latest Speculations column. The science in your science fiction: conventional space travel.

Rebecca Monterusso lists the five essentials of every scene. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle: using poetic devices. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi shares six tips to make your fantasy setting more immersive. Mythcreants

Jami Gold compiles her master list of line editing skills and her master list of copy editing skills.

Porter Anderson: diversity in international publishing is not so diverse. Writer Unboxed

Michael Harris: I have forgotten how to read. The Globe and Mail

I saw the headline and thought, sweet Jesus, kid lit too? The only way we’ll overcome systemic sexual harassment is to expose it and talk about it. Like human beings. Sexual harassment in the children’s book industry. Anne Ursu for Medium.

Jim C. Hines, ally and sensible human being, writes about #metoo, denial, and backlash.

Related: James Dashner dropped by his literary agent. The New York Times

And then, Penguin Random House drops him, too. Publishers Weekly

Maria Popova remembers Ursula K. Le Guin, not as a product of, but a creator of, her time. Brain Pickings

I hope you found something to help you get to the next level.

Be well until Thursday!

tipsday2016

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

Here, once again, are your informal writerly learnings!

Jessi Rita Hoffman stops by Jane Friedman’s blog to help you prune hedge words and inflation words from your writing.

K.M. Weiland offers four tips for writing to your right audience. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jael McHenry: on commitments, participation, and the writing community. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass shows you what happens when worlds collide. Writer Unboxed

Nancy Johnson joins the Writer Unboxed team: the question your novel answers.

Gabriela Pereira takes her turn in the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner. Writing by design, part two: pattern and repetition.

Back on DIY MFA radio, Gabriela interviews Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi: understanding the emotional wound.

Kristen Lamb: great stories are addictive by design.

Janice Hardy offers seven tips for creating believable fantasy and science fiction worlds. Fiction University

Fae Rowan shares a simple tip to help get rid of saggy middles. [But … will it work on ma belleh—lol?] Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold looks at the editing process and what every writer needs to know to improve.

Backtracking a bit to give you episode 1 of Ask a Puppet (Mary Robinette Kowal). Seriously hilarious.

 

Mary Robinette Kowal shares her writing process in honor of her birthday.

Roz Morris shares three paradoxes of a slow writing process. Nail Your Novel

Chuck Wendig: yes, you can hiss without sibilance. Terribleminds

Breaking their usual pattern of constructive critique, Oren Ashkenazi reviews five novels with strong throughlines for Mythcreants.

Shane Koyczan – Resolution

 

Jessica Stillman: why you should surround yourself with more books than you’ll ever have time to read. Inc.

E CE Miller shares 21 love letters by authors to inspire you on Valentine’s Day. Bustle

Ryu Spaeth: an education through Earthsea. New Republic

Michael Blanding reports on how plagiarism software unveiled a new source for eleven of Shakespeare’s plays. And no, before the histrionics start, Shakespeare did not plagiarize. The New York Times

Jill Lepore explores the strange and twisted life of Frankenstein. Amazing. Truly. The New Yorker

Krista D. Ball revisits Joanna Russ’s “How to Suppress Women’s Writing” after 35 years. Thought-provoking and anger-inducing. Reddit r/fantasy

Jamil Smith writes about the revolutionary power of Black Panther. Time

I hope your week got off to a great start. Be well until Thursday 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 2-8, 2016

This week was just yummy 🙂

The Wordstock Sudbury 2016 schedule is up 🙂

Prism International interviews George Elliott Clarke, one of our Wordstock guests of honour.

Your #NaNoWriMo prep posts for the week:

Nina Amir guest posts on K.M. Weiland’s Helping writers become authors: how to get up close with your characters.

Chris Saylor guest posts on Marcy Kennedy’s blog: how to punctuate dialogue.

Roz Morris shares her insights on how to write emotions. Nail your novel

Donald Maass looks at four kinds of pace. Writer Unboxed

Joanna Penn: how to find and capture ideas for your novel. The Creative Penn

Janice Hardy guest posts on Writer Unboxed: a ten step guide to plotting a practice novel.

Therese Walsh explores dehumanization in fiction using one of my favourite movies, The Shawshank Redemption. Writer Unboxed

Cathy Yardley: just say yes. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle thinks the surprise kiss must go. Why? It’s a matter of consent. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig offers some good writing (and life) advice: control what you can control. Terribleminds

Later in the week, he shares ten quick story tips to use or discard at your leisure.

Kameron Hurley shares her experience: five years a novelist.

Sarah Waters shares her ten rules of writing fiction. Aerogramme Writing Studio

Last Sunday I spent the day online in a short fiction intensive with Mary Robinette Kowal (!) Here’s one of the resources she shared on critiquing:

 

Carly Watters offers ten ways to personalize your query letter.

Kristen Lamb: what the dreaded synopsis reveals about our writing.

Anna Davis: how to prepare your submission package. Curtis Brown Creative

Awards news!

Ursula K. Le Guin has stopped writing fiction, but we need her more than ever. Zoë Carpenter for The Nation.

When Steven Musil reported that Amazon was cracking down on incentivized reviews, everyone panicked, until it was clarified that this policy change would not apply to ARCs provided for book review purposes. cnet

Sarah Gailey: why we write about witches. Tor.com

Lisa Rosman: what The Girl on the Train is really about. Signature Reads

Angelica Jade Bastièn says the price of fandom can be too high for women of colour. New Republic

Julia Alexander examines sexism in television in the microcosm of Adult Swim. Polygon

Shane Parrish: what you read changes your brain. Medium

If you can correctly pronounce every word in this poem, you speak English better than 90% of English speakers in the world. I must admit, I flubbed two or three <blushes>. The Poke

Ephrat Livni for Quartz: a linguist’s love letter to profanity and why it’s okay to swear in front of kids.

Dark Horse Comics will be producing the next two seasons of The Legend of Korra in print. Rob Bricken for i09. Moar Korra! Eeeeee!

Evan Narcisse talks to Greg Rucka about the reaction to Wonder Woman’s canon bisexuality. i09

Did you see the premiere of Westworld last Sunday? Here are a few pieces about it.

Michael Bennett Cohn looks at Westworld through the lens of the golem story. The Forward

Can Westworld do for science fiction what Game of Thrones did for fantasy? Charlie Jane Anders for Wired.

I’m watching and enjoying it. Phil, not so much, but then, he did see the original movie (which I haven’t) and he just doesn’t see how the writers can turn it into a series and so he’s closed to the possibilities.

Evan Narcisse explores how Luke Cage uses blackness for i09.

Netflix provides a release date (and teaser) for Iron Fist: March 17, 2017.

Outlander casts Marsali and adult Fergus. Entertainment Weekly

The Doctor Who Christmas special features superheroes (!) plus a wee teaser. Katharine Trendacosta for i09.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 7-13, 2016

Bumper week here at Writerly Goodness 🙂

The week previous, K.M. Weiland shared the reasons she believes writing is important, last week, she collected her readers’ thoughts on the issue. Helping writers become authors

On a related note: what do we write when the world feels insane? Sarah Selecky’s Story is a state of mind.

K.M. Weiland returns with more writing lessons from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with the single best way to write powerful themes.

Roz Morris offers ten eye-opening tips to add impact to your storytelling. Nail your novel

Chuck Wendig lists 25 reasons he stops reading books. Terribleminds

Then Chuck shares ten things he learned about storytelling from Stranger Things.

Related: Janice Hardy shares lessons learned about handling flashbacks from Stranger Things. Fiction University. Nick Wisseman then guests posts on Janice’s blog, explaining how to plot your pants (wait . . . that sounds bad).

Janice then hopes over to Writers in the Storm to post: using internal conflict to create plot.

Finally, Janice guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: if you’re stuck on plot, start at the end.

Lisa Cron writes about getting out of your process comfort zone: there is no safe place. Not plotter or pantser, but seeker. Writer Unboxed

Allie Larkin shows us how to organize a second draft with note cards and Tom Petty. Writer Unboxed

Christine Frazier shows us how to write a fight scene in which the hero fends off an attack to save a friend. The better novel project

Chris Winkle shares what she knows about creating realistic cultures. Mythcreants

Sarah Callender writes about enduring the long road to publication for Writer Unboxed.

The author as busy, busy bee and other bee-filled nightmares. Kameron Hurley.

Phil Stamper-Halpin shares what the editors of Penguin Random House look for in the first page of a novel.

Jennifer Johnson Blalock offers six ways to make comp titles work for you on Carly Watters’ blog.

Susan Spann helps you understand ebook rights. Writers in the Storm.

Robin Lovett shares what she learned from a negative experience: when your book doesn’t sell. DIYMFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Andrew Piper (not the Canadian author) on her DIYMFA Radio podcast. Will an MFA influence your chances of success as an author?

Timothy Beck Werth looks at Djuna Barnes’ 1936 novel Nightwood and what may be the first trans woman in western literature. The Awl

Lorraine Berry: the horror of female adolescence and how to write about it. The Guardian

Michael Newton leads a celebration of Alan Garner. The Guardian

Ursula K. Le Guin writes about the golden age for The New Yorker. “I . . . think it ungrateful in a writer to write science fiction and deny that it’s science fiction.”

BrainPickings looks at Le Guin’s thoughts on aging and the meaning of beauty.

“What the market wants” is code for white stories in science fiction where black writers face universal racism. Amy McNeill for The National Post.

Michael Swanick lists five fantasy novels you won’t find in the fantasy section. Tor.com

Sarah Gailey writes in defence of villainesses for Tor.com.

Writing begins with forgiveness: why one of the most common pieces of writing advice is wrong. Daniel José Older on Seven Scribes.

Every writer’s worst nightmare: Helen Gladwell died before learning that her first book had been accepted for publication. Worse, her body remained undiscovered for months. The Telegraph

I saw this article in many forms over the last week. This one, by Jenn Savedge for Mother Nature Network, was the first. Reading a minimum of 30 minutes a day can extend your lifespan.

Jacob Mikanowski examines the Oneirocritica, an ancient encyclopaedia of dreams and dream interpretation. The Awl

Anthony Jones lists 25 words for other words. Mental Floss

Abraham Riesman interviews Margaret Atwood at San Diego ComiCon. The Vulture

Katharine Trendacosta reports that The Silver Chair, the next film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, is in production. Whee! i09

Germaine Lussier presents a first look at the Arrival trailer. i09

Phil and I are looking forward to September 30 for this reason: Luke Cage. i09

Laura Prudom breaks George R.R. Martin news for Variety: Wild Cards series in development.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer.

 

Thems was some juicy informal writerly learnings, eh?

I’m off to WorldCon tomorrow. Poor Phil’s holding down the fort. Not to worry, my mom’s going to feed him 😀 Thursday’s curation has already been scheduled, but the blog will be silent from the 19th to the 26th. For the sake of sanity, I’m not going to catch up on the curation.

Be well. Be kind.

Tipsday