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, May 1-7, 2022

Ah, Tuesday. Monday has been endured/survived and we’re one day closer to the weekend. Fortify yourself for the rest of the week with some informal writerly learnings!

Lauren J. Sharkey is aimlessly acquiring and agent. Then, Adam W. Burgess helps you build your LGBTQ+ summer reading list. Gabriela Pereira interviews Jessi Honard and Marie Parks about using the “loop method” to co-write your novel. Later in the week, Mary Adkins suggests your best writing goal based on your enneagram number. DIY MFA

Five easy ways to get story ideas. Reedsy

Greer Macallister says you can’t do it all. Then, Sarah Penner talks about hiding your villain in plain sight. Donald Maass: it’s simple. It’s complicated. It’s a novel. Keith Cronin offers some tough love from a guy named Francis. Then, Liz Michalski says hello, village. Writer Unboxed

What’s wrong with Calanthe’s armour? Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland explains the role of the antagonist in story structure (part 1 of 2). Helping Writers Become Authors

Brooke Warner says we all need to be protected against predatory publishing practices. Then, Kristen Tsetsi interviews Alan Davis about the benefits of MFA programs. Anne Carley: not a journal person? Post-pandemic might be the perfect time to start. Jane Friedman

Five things I got (very) wrong about writing craft. Shaelin Writes

September C. Fawkes shows you how to use crisis to reveal character. Writers Helping Writers

Lisa Norman explains what to do if you’ve been hacked! Or have you? Later in the week, Kris Maze explains how to create a powerful synopsis to sell your book. Writers in the Storm

Kristen Lamb discusses the mother wound and fiction.

Why has the majestic griffin been forgotten? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how Rochelle Weinstein revises: building grassroots success. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle reveals how to make your craft more pretentious. Oren Ashkenazi: no, social justice warriors aren’t reducing diversity in fiction. Mythcreants

The worldview genre: stories about maturation, disillusionment, and revelation. Story Grid

The quarter life crisis is more stressful than ever. The Take

Clara Pasieka: Cree author, David A. Robertson questions why Durham District School Board removed his book from shelves. CBC

How libraries became a quiet battlefront in the war on Ukraine. CBC

Ukraine’s national poet. JSTOR Daily

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Feb 20-26, 2022

Welcome to March! Celebrate the coming of spring (and daylight savings? Maybe?) by filling up on informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland shares nine ways to approach relationship dynamics in fiction. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman lists five tips for social media detox. Kris Maze suggests some steps to avoid the dreaded burnout, and then she follows up with this: what causes burnout? Writers in the Storm

What is the first quarter debate? Plot structure, pt. 2. Ellen Brock

Elizabeth Spann Craig considers when to stop a series.

Gwen Hernandez shares some Scrivener skills: tag, colour code, and organize with metadata. Then, Kelsey Allagood explains how context influences craft: the rebirth of the author. Deanna Cabinian is letting go of rejection, literally. Then, Victoria Strauss says that if it’s out of the blue, it’s too good to be true: beware solicitation scams. Writer Unboxed

How to write third person limited point of view. Reedsy

Lisa Cooper Ellison: you are not your traumas, but here’s how to write about them. Then, Sangeeta Mehta interviews Laura Zats and T.S. Ferguson: how important is genre when pitching and promoting your book? Catherine Baab-Maguira says that if you can’t stand the sight of your own blood, don’t step into the ring. Jane Friedman

Flashback hack: connecting backstory to the present. Shaelin Writes

Angela Ackerman helps you figure out when to kill a character. Then, E.C. Ambrose explains how to craft a plot out of your historical obsession: spinning a yarn out of history. Writers Helping Writers

Delila S. Dawson lists ten ways to torture people (in fiction). Then, Rob Hart shows us his research toolbox. Terribleminds

How do clichés evolve into memes? Otherwords | PBS Storied

Nathan Branfsord explains how to craft a great mystery in your novel.

Lauren J. Sharkey reveals what MFAs miss about the editing process. Then, Adam W. Burgess reads writer to writer: William di Canzio and E.M. Forster. Gracie Bialecki wants you to learn how to celebrate your manuscript: draft day. Later in the week, Grace Pelley recommends five things to remove from your TBR list. DIY MFA

The imperfect mom onscreen: ending the “selfless mother trope.” The Take

Joanna Penn shares lessons learned for rewriting her first novel over a decade later. The Creative Penn

Chris Winkle explains how to write three types of relationship arcs. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists five common weapon mistakes in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Rasha Ali explains how Octavia Butler’s legacy was born out of a bad science fiction movie. USA Today

Carol Saler explains when to capitalize after a colon. CMOS Shop Talk

Thank you for taking the time to stop 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: Informal writerly learnings, Feb 13-19, 2022

It’s the last tipsday of February! Fuel up on informal writerly learnings for the week.

Roz Morris explains how to write a novel with multiple points of view—seven voices. Nail Your Novel

Raya’s queerbaiting of Southeast Asians – the importance of cultural context to queerness (part 3 of SEA critique of Raya and the Last Dragon). Xiran Jay Zhao

Ann Marie Nieves: PR and marketing questions answered, part VI. Dave King recommends cutting your way to freedom. Then, Barbara Linn Probst shares something that might not actually be true. Porter Anderson: ego, “litflation,” and honor(s). Tom Pope is creating without hope and fear. Writer Unboxed

How do we read? It’s Magic (almost)! Be Smart

K.M. Weiland explains how archetypes and story structure are connected. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews C. Ruth Taylor about self-publishing in Jamaica and the Caribbean and the importance of diverse voices. The Creative Penn

On worldbuilding: fallen civilizations. Hello, Future Me

Alexander J. Lewis shares his experience going a year without social media as a freelance writer. Peter Desberg and Jeffrey Davis explain how to pitch like a Hollywood pro. Jane Friedman

Christina Delay takes the measure of a character. Then, Fred Koehler takes you from concept to query in ten months. Writers Helping Writers

Well, THIS seems familiar … Jill Bearup

Nathan Bransford explains how to crystalize the stakes.

Colice Sanders wants you to answer the call for diversity. Then, Disha Walia lists the seven deadly sins of speculative fiction (and how to fix them). Lori Walker: going from preparing to write to actually writing. Alexis M. Collazo shares five reasons to start a morning writing routine. DIY MFA

Dealing with writer burnout. Reedsy

Lynette M. Burroughs: things I wish I knew before I published (pat 2). Writers in the Storm

Angie Hodapp is zeroing in on comps (part 1). Then, Kristin Nelson wants you to dance with the right partner at the publishing prom. Pub Rants

Possibly controversial. Rules vs. Craft. Shaelin Writes

Oren Ashkenazi: how useful are Jonathan Franzen’s ten rules for novelists? Mythcreants

Cory Doctorow reveals that a bug in early creative commons licences has enables a new breed of superpredator. Medium

Promises as a magic system. Tale Foundry

Anne Delaney discusses words on the way in: a retrospective. JSTOR Daily

Ellen Gutoskey shares 11 things you should know about Audre Lorde. Mental Floss

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 7-13, 2021

As you prepare for the coming weekend, don’t forget to get your mental corn popping.

Laila El Mugammar announces that an emotional documentary about Canada’s legendary Black cowboy is streaming free now. Chatelaine

Samantha Kubota reports that the brand formerly known as Aunt Jemima reveals new name. NBC News

Azi Paybarah: KKK member who drove into BLM protesters gets more than three years in prison. The New York Times

Emotional intelligence, racial stereotypes, and the politics of emotional expression | Khadija Mbowe

Michele Debczak: new spacecraft named after Katherine Johnson honors the pioneering NASA mathematician. Mental Floss

How did the Milky Way get its spiral? SciShow Space

WHO says coronavirus unlikely to have leaked from Wuhan lab. CBC

Micheleen Doucleff: extraordinary patient offers surprising clues to coronavirus variants. NPR

Jaclyn Diaz reports that a second person dies of Ebola in the Congo, marking the virus’s return. NPR

Jason Slotkin: tens of thousands rally in Myanmar, protesting military coup. NPR

Eric Levenson, Stephanie Becker, and Dan Simon report that the rise in attacks on elderly Asian Americans in Bay area prompts new special response unit. CNN

Leah Brennan and Josh LaBella report that a Yale graduate student identified as the victim of Saturday’s fatal shooting in New Haven. New Haven Register

Michelle Ghoussoub announces that women’s rights activist Loujain Alhathloul released after 1,001 days in Saudi prison. CBC

Oliver Milman shares that air pollution in US subway systems stuns researchers. The Guardian

Sharon J. Riley explains how a public uprising caused a province built on fossil fuels to reverse course on coal mining. The Narwhal

Sandy Schaeffer compiles all the Joss Whedon abuse and misconduct allegations. #metoo ScreenRant

Deiter Buse: now is the time to ask what you can do for Laurentian. The Sudbury Star

Health Sciences North faces lawsuit over misread breast imaging results. CBC

Why you read slower as you age. SciShow Psych

Brenda Knowles examines imposter syndrome and how it can be a blessing in disguise. Space2Live

Stonehenge may have been first erected in Wales. Aljazeera

Listen to the sweet, soft warble common ravens sing to their partners. Audubon

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you took away something to inspire your next creative project.

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

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.

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