Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, April 24-30, 2022

Welcome to May! Start off the month right with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Vaughn Roycroft: the applicability of … zombies? Elizabeth Huergo discusses social psychology and the novel. Then, Kelsey Allagood explains why you should embrace the fallow times. Diana Giovinazzo wants us to embrace our literary influences. Kristan Hoffman: revising the stories we tell ourselves. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland lists ten pros and cons to writing every day. Do you have to? (Hint: maybe not.) Helping Writers Become Authors

Princess Weekes discusses Beloved, Toni Morrison’s magnum opus about confronting a terrible past. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Kris Maze shares six ways to fix manuscript problems with an outline. Then, Laura Baker is discovering story magic: the x-factor. Eldred Bird poses ten questions to ask your characters. Writers in the Storm

Jim Denney shares the fast-writing secrets of C.S. Lewis. Live, Write, Thrive

Andrea A. Firth explains how the literary journal landscape is and isn’t changing. Allison K. Williams: writers, stop using social media (like that). Anne Carley wonders is journaling a waste of writing time? Jane Friedman

The hungry goddess. Tale Foundry

Melissa Haas offers some leisure learning for April 2022. Then, Colice Sanders is unpacking racism and colorism in character descriptions. Disha Walia shows you how to create your world with six questions. Then, Krystal N. Craiker provides a copyediting checklist: a recipe for clean, clear writing. Finally, Jeneva Rose goes through the five stages of dealing with rejection. DIY MFA

Becca Puglisi wants to know what’s your character hiding? Angela Ackerman: you wrote a killer love story … but did you romance the reader? Writers Helping Writers

The one thing every antihero fears … The Take

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how to transition into a flashback. Fox Print Editorial

The style genre: set the experience for the reader. The reality genre: realism or science fiction/fantasy. The time genre: how the reader experiences time in your story. Story Grid

The ten worst magic tropes. Jenna Moreci

Chris Winkle provides five tips for avoiding disorientation in your opening hook. Then, Oren Ashkenazi hosts a head-to-head-to-head competition between Antz, A Bug’s Life, and Ant-Man. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb says that lies, deception, and betrayal are the deepest wounds.

Tajja Isen explains how the book industry turns its racism into a marketable product. Literary Hub

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: 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, Jan 2-8, 2022

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

LA Bourgeois explains why you should stop using the word “should.” Then, Jeanette the Writer wonders how much you should pay an editor? DIY MFA

Ellen Brock provides her writing guide for intuitive plotters. This one feels spot on for me 🙂

Greer Macallister expounds on your novel’s two beginnings. Only begin. Therese Walsh: recovery from (something that tastes an awful lot like) shame. Donald Maass: gods, monsters, and murderbots. Julie Duffy lists the five Fs you should give while writing. Beth Havey: the power of place. Writer Unboxed

Bad writing habits to drop in 2022. Reedsy

Karen DeBonis says that in medias res is a very good place to start your novel. Then, Joseph Lallo offers some advice about worldbuilding for sci-fi authors: terraforming. Lori Brown is embracing the mystery of deep POV. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth Spann Craig talks about making mini-plans and mini-goals for the year.

Princess Weekes discusses the women of Jane Austen. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Jane Friedman says that BookTok is a safe haven for young, female readers. Jane Friedman

Colleen M. Story shares four strategies to help writers focus in a world of distractions. Writers Helping Writers

Sympathy for the #pickmegirl The Take

Chris Winkle explains how writing instructors forgo the most vital fiction lesson. Oren Ashkenazi: Way of Kings shows us the damage meta-mysteries can do. Mythcreants

Guy Kawasaki interviews Julia Cameron, queen of change, creative inspiration, and prolific writer. The Remarkable People Podcast

Is Trinity the “real” one? The Take

Jami Attenberg: rejection gave me a fresh start, a new year. “Writing is holy, as my friend Patricia Lockwood says. It is true that it is hard to make it as a writer, or any kind of artist, for that matter. But if you love to write, you should write forever.” The Guardian

Thank you 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: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 1-4, 2021

Aaaaand … tipsday’s back! As December 1st fell on a Wednesday, it’s not its usual honkin’ self, but I managed to fill out the curation with some lovely videos. Enjoy!

Don Maass: the static hiss. Grace Wynter gets up close with Vijaya Bodach—Play. Dream. Believe. Liza Taylor Nash explains how to get your work noticed: street cred. Writer Unboxed

Tim Hickson on writing: subtext (and how to use it!). Hello, Future Me

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains how to go deeper into a character’s emotions. Then, James R. Preston shows us why story is important. Writers in the Storm

Not your hero. Khadija Mbowe

Chris Winkle asks, does your villain twirl their mustache? Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at how Max Gladstone writes magic law in Three Parts Dead. Mythcreants

Princess Weekes considers the magical negroes of Stephen King. Melina Pendulum

LA Bourgeois offers strategies for reframing rejection. Then, J.L. Doucette shares five ways to silence your inner critic. DIY MFA

Should all writers begin with short stories? Reedsy

Ben Pearson: here’s why movie dialogue has gotten more difficult to understand (and three ways to fix it). Slash Film

Why you have no motivation (and how to fix it). Shaelin Writes

Ena Alvarado explains how social upheaval gave rise to the picaresque novel. JSTOR Daily

Stop worrying about female characters being likeable. The Take

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday (which is a bit of a runt, this week, I’ll be honest), be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 10-16, 2021

This week’s batch of informal writerly learnings is loaded with writerly goodness 🙂

Stephanie Bwa Bwa shows you how to grow your email list (and your influence). Later in the week, Helena Hunting is finding work-life balance as a full-time author. Then, Brian Leung shares five tips for finding the kind genius writer in your mad genius writer. DIY MFA

Tim Hickson reveals the true ending of Lord of the Rings. Hello, Future Me

Janice Hardy explains how narrative distance affects telling: how far is too far? Then, Dario Ciriello waxes on the importance of commas, meter, and reading aloud for the fiction writer (with help from Cordia Pearson). Fiction University

Jill Bearup takes issue with The Guardian’s list of the top 20 duels.

Tiffany Yates Martin explains why you can’t stop thinking about “Bad Art Friend.” Then, Jim Dempsey is telling the truth in fiction. Kathleen McCleary: when you’re the passive protagonist of your own writing life. Then, Kathryn Craft wants you to make your big issue work through story (part 1). Anne Brown: spiders, snakes, public speaking, and querying agents. Later in the week, Kelsey Allagood explains why you should tackle that ambitious dream project now. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin tells you everything you need to know about publishing your short fiction. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland introduces us to the archetypal antagonists of the mage arc: evil and the weakness of humankind. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sarah Tinsley shares seven ways to create an empathetic antagonist. Live, Write, Thrive

Lori Freeland helps you figure out whether to comma, or not to comma (part 1). Then Piper Bayard lets us peek through a window into the top four organizations (writing spies). Lynette M. Burrows wants you to discover your writing strengths (and weaknesses). Writers in the Storm

On her own channel, Shaelin helps you handle rejection. Shaelin Writes

Angela Ackerman asks: who’s standing in your character’s way? Jane Friedman

Nathan explains how to make your novel un-put-down-able. Then, Christine Pride shares what she learned about writing from being an editor. Nathan Bransford

Piper Bayard shows you how to write the good fight. Then, she provides a writer’s guide to knowing your weapon. Kristen Lamb

The anti-Disney messaging of … Disney movies. The Take

Chris Winkle explains how to create a mysterious atmosphere. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes six magic powers that writers had to ignore. Mythcreants

Kristin Nelson makes the case that content creators deserve a larger slice of the earnings pie. Pub Rants

Maria Tatar discusses her new book Heroine with a 1,001 Faces with Moira Weigel. Harvard Book Store

Wab Kinew reflects on Canada Reads and the meaning of reconciliation. CBC Books

Three northern Ontario writers in the running for the Governor General’s Awards. CBC

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!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 18-24, 2021

Your weekly batch of informal writerly learnings has arrived. Get them while they’re hot!

Jan O’Hara shares a display hack for your story’s outline. Dave King: the non-writing part of writing. Then, Barbara Linn Probst wonders, why was my protagonist so prickly? Juliana Baggott explains when to reject rejection. Yuvi Zalkow wants you to make something terrible (and make it again). Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy says infighting is a lousy way to create conflict in your novel. Then, Bonnie Randall deconstructs Deadly Illusions to explain what not to do with your manuscript. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland explores the queen’s shadow archetypes in part 11 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin Bishop shares her top 12 writing tips. Shaelin Writes

Becca Puglisi shares tips for landing a guest posting gig. Then Barbara Linn Probst shares ten different writing tricks to make your point. Later in the week, Laurie Schnebly Campbell explains when, why and how to show emotion. Writers in the Storm

Jane Friedman explains how the pandemic is affecting book publishing. Jane Friedman

Princess Weekes wonders, what’s in a (pen) name? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Adam W. Burgess touts the magic of queer fiction. Gabriela Pereira interviews C.L. Clark about character, conflict, and world building in fantasy. Janelle Hardy wants you to shift creative resistance using your body. Then, LA Bougeois shares five creativity exercises to fire up your writing muse. DIY MFA

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers four tips for writing your characters PTSD and trauma memories. Writers Helping Writers

The actress trope. The Take

Chris Winkle offers five tips for using an arbitrary magic system. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five novels with bizarre tangents. Mythcreants

Zoraida Córdova explains what it’s like writing Gamora in ‘Women of Marvel’ #1. Marvel

Camonghne Felix interviews Barry Jenkins about bringing The Underground Railroad to TV. Vanity Fair

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 30-Sept 5, 2020

Starting a short week with a Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday is tough. Fortify yourselves with some informal writerly learnings.

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

#pandemiclife is entering its sixth month and there’s no end in sight even though everyone has covid brain and is exhausted by the restraint and safety restrictions.

Today marked the return to schools for most children in Ontario. I wish them well, but I still worry. We’ve been told to expect a bump in infections, like it’s acceptable to sacrifice children’s and teachers’ and their families’ health.

Please wear your masks, respect social distancing, wash your hands, and stay safe.

Nancy Johnson explains what it’s like writing while Black in times like these. Kristan Hoffman hopes you’ll try these ideas to stay active in your writing life. Donald Maass wonders what—and how much—belongs in your novel? Erika Liodice explains how to give an out-of-print book new life through self-publishing. Liza Nash Taylor says she’s late to the party: on being a debut novelist at 60. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares seven considerations for your antagonist’s motivations (which will save you so much trouble). Helping Writers Become Authors

Orly Konig: suspenders for pantsers. Fiction University

James Scott Bell describes hanging upside down and other creative moves. Writers Helping Writers

The feminist trope explained. The Take

Jenn Walton: sweet writing is made of dreams. Then, Brenda Joyce Patterson explains how to establish a literary mentorship. Later in the week, Neha Mediratta wonders, are you giving yourself a chance? Then, A.R. Taylor offers five tips for creating your villain. DIY MFA

What is a motif? How is it different from theme and symbol? And how can you use motif in your writing? Reedsy

Joe Ponepinto advises that if you want to avoid rejection, take the writer out of the story. Jane Friedman

Angie Hodapp says, your protagonist must fail. Pub Rants

Jami Gold considers the black moment: understanding our options.

Shaelin explains how to raise your story’s stakes. Reedsy

Chris Winkle lists nine options for high stakes conflict without violence. Oren Ashkenazi: The Umbrella Academy shows us why it’s important to plan your powers. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb explains how story forges and refines character.

Rahil Sheikh introduces us to Kuli Kohli: “They wanted to drown me a birth—now, I’m a poet.” BBC

Thank you for visiting and I hope that you found something that will support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 26-Aug 1, 2020

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. This is not a political statement. It’s a fundamental truth.

22 new confirmed cases of covid-19 have occurred in Sudbury over the last week or so, most of them in people under 30. Just because we’ve entered phase 3 of reopening doesn’t mean we’re back to normal. Wear your masks people. Maintain physical distance.

And now, onto the informal writerly learnings!

The Take traces the development of the interracial relationship onscreen.

K.M. Weiland shares seven misconceptions about being a writer. Helping Writers Become Authors

Bonnie Randall explains how to weave setting into a deep point of view. Later in the week, Bethany Henry shares seven ways to deal with burnout. Fiction University

Sacha Black: what “read more to improve your writing” really means. Writers Helping Writers

Abigail K. Perry offers another Story Grid scene analysis: Something Borrowed. Later in the week, Indiana Lee shares five ways to protect your privacy while promoting your writing online. DIY MFA

Shaelin offers some tips about working with critique partners. Reedsy

Then, she helps you deal with rejection. Key takeaway: NEVER give up. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford shares his thoughts on how to spice up relationships in novels.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell reveals the most important reader question. Then, Kris Maze lists five steps to better writer self-care. Writers in the Storm

Jael R. Bakari visits Jami Gold’s blog to discuss writing process: developing a coherent story.

Aiki Flinthart is creating unique voices for multiple point of view characters—and how to show their emotions. Lisa Hall-Wilson

The universal beauty of LGBT+ love stories. Like Stories of Old

Kim Bullock wants you to use uncertainty to enhance your story. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle helps you create a magical atmosphere with this description makeover. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers five cool storylines that went nowhere.  Mythcreants

John Foxwell explains why many writers say they can hear the voices of their characters. The Conversation

Matt Blake lists the greatest literary groups in history. Penguin

Thanks for visiting. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress (whatever state it’s in).

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

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 11-17, 2019

It’s time to dig into another week’s worth of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Elizabeth A. Harvey is remembering Toni Morrison. Then, Nancy Johnson shows us how Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye offers a masterclass in craft. Porter Anderson: murders she didn’t write, a provocation on writers in the context of real world gun violence. Rheea Mukherjee: negotiating social privilege as a writer. Jim Dempsey wants you to explore the wonders of your character’s world view. Sarah Callender forgets to remember that writing is an act of faith. Writer Unboxed

Jenna Moreci helps you get back into the writing habit after a break.

C.S. Lakin visits Helping Writers Become Authors: how to evoke reader emotions with “surprisingness.” Then, she heads over to Larry Brook’s Storyfix to explain how to effectively “tell” emotions in fiction.

Emily Wenstrom offers three tips for creating your author newsletter before you’re published. And here’s my latest column: find storytelling inspiration with the women of the Kalevala. Constance Emmett shares five tips for surviving rejection. DIY MFA

Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four ways to go deeper with point of view. Then, Laura Drake starts with character first. Writers in the Storm

Michelle Barker wants you to remember that the wand chooses the wizard. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy explains why you want nitpicky critiquers. Fiction University

Robert Lee Brewer explains the difference between slight of hand and sleight of hand. Writer’s Digest

Some reassuring advice from Chris Winkle: why you shouldn’t worry about someone stealing your manuscript. Then, Oren Ashkenazi offers advice on choosing naval tactics for your pre-gunpowder world. Mythcreants

Sam Bleicher offers some unusual writing tips on dealing with facts in science fiction. The Creative Penn

Ferris Jabr: the story of storytelling. Harper’s

Thanks for visiting. Come back on Thursday for some thoughty.

Until then, be well!

Tipsday2019

The next chapter: August 2016 update

Let me tell you a story 🙂

Dark season

Over the last couple of years, August has been a bad month for me, emotionally speaking.

I’ve been down. Living with depression, if you do it consciously, means that you can see the signs and take action, or not, whatever is most appropriate for your mental health at the time. Trying to barge through rarely works. For me, anyway.

Last year, I was away from home, delivering training, for two and a half weeks in August. I thought London was a lovely city, and I did enjoy myself to the extent I could—I even went shopping (!) and if you know me, you know I hate shopping of any kind with a passion—but it was too far away for me to go home on the weekends, and I had discovered earlier in the year how much more difficult it was for me to write or blog while travelling. So except for curation, I gave over.

Writing on the road isn’t undoable, and I have put on my big girl panties and done it since (I started NaNoWriMo while travelling last year), but, at the time, I was at a low ebb, and sometimes you have to be kind to yourself.

This year, I went to Kansas City for WorldCon and stayed an extra day or so to visit with a friend who’d moved down there several years ago. More on WorldCon in a bit. The bottom line is that health issues and my introvert nature (exacerbated by my emotional low) conspired to rob the trip of some of its joy.

Remembering what had happened last year, I had even planned for the dog-day doldrums. I figured I’d have the first run-through of all my drafted novels done by August (and I did) and that I would need a little break (and I did).

My plan to turn to other projects, though, didn’t work out as well as I’d thought. I worked on some short fiction, made a few submissions (a rejection from one of which was returned within a week), but I never touched the poetry collection or the non-speculative short fiction collection. I just didn’t have the heart.

I journalled, trying to work out what my plan for the rest of the year would look like and trying to find my way back to what is, for me, normal. I also participated in a Nelson Literary Agency workshop on first pages with Angie Hodapp.

Though the initial review of my first five pages wasn’t horrible, I wanted to try something completely different for the revision, see if the advice of the readers would work. It was a spectacular failure, but I learned a lot from the experience.

You really do have to fail to learn, even if it’s painful 🙂

I’m now delving back into Initiate of Stone, working long hand in a notebook. Sometimes you just have to write it out. I find that writing long hand helps give me the time to examine the words and sentences, and get a fresh perspective.

I can now also disclose that I did not succeed with my application to #PitchWars. Reality Bomb was the project I chose for that experience. I didn’t expect to get in this first year of applying, but one pair of mentors, Michael Mammay and Dan Koboldt, was very supportive. They asked for additional materials, a synopsis and first 50 pages.

Our email exchanges in that first week or so were productive and illuminating for me. I now have some great ideas to return to that manuscript with. So, ultimately, #PitchWars was a win.

This brings me to another realization of why this year has been a difficult one for me.

Last year was the year of almost. I got on several long and short lists in contests, had my work set aside for second readings for anthologies, and while it didn’t result in any publications, the nature of the responses was reassuring. I also had a couple of stories accepted into the Sudbury Writers’ Guild anthology, which should be coming out this fall.

This year, with the exception of #PitchWars, has been the year of no. Form rejections all around, whether from querying or from short fiction submissions. Though I have, to some extent, found a way to turn rejection into a positive, when so many pile up, it becomes disheartening.

You begin to question your worth and skill as a writer, to doubt the kind things that have been said about your work (because there are so few of them, relatively speaking, that they must be the flukes, you reason). You begin to look for those opportunities to confirm your negative bias, blow small faux pas into huge incidents. Reasonable lapses in communication become the occasion for self-blame and recrimination.

Fortunately, since my return from Kansas City, I’ve been coming across the most wonderful articles and posts that have given me the encouragement I’ve needed, some of which you’ll see in this week’s curation. Between that, and the long hand work I’ve been doing on IoS, I’m making my way back to the page.

WorldCon

I’d left with the best of intentions and wanted to practice Gabriela Pereira’s method of networking with a number of authors I’d only ever seen online. In the moment, though, I was so nervous, I basically blathered.

I did get to meet and have a couple of nice, brief chats with Mary Robinette Kowal, met Cat Cambo and Foz Meadows at their Literary Beer sessions (informal chats), but otherwise, I just did my usual and took notes in panel discussions.

I was within three feet of George R.R. Martin, but as he was just coming out of the second of two autographing sessions in which fans lined up for the better part of an hour to see him, I just couldn’t bring myself to be that fan. Instead, I smiled, nodded, and moved on without harassing the poor man.

I had gone to the Tor Party with the intention of meeting John Scalzi, but several people seemed to be running interference and by the time I was able to politely make my excuses, Mr. Scalzi was monopolized by other Tor authors and friends. After that, he turned his attention to his beautiful wife and, again, I could not bring myself to interrupt just to say “hi, and thank you for writing wonderful books.”

Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, or an introvert, or both, but I just couldn’t.

I’m also a total newb and have no clue with regard to what’s appropriate and what’s not in which context.

The Hugo Awards Ceremonies were wonderful, though, and the sad puppies were soundly trounced.

N.K. Jemesin won best novel for The Fifth Season, Nnedi Okorafor won best novella for Binti, Hao Jingfang and Ken Liu (translator) won best novelette for Folding Beijing, and Neil Gaiman (who wasn’t there in person) had a special message for the sad puppies when he won best graphic story for The Sandman: Overture.

Really, you can just go to the Hugo Awards site and check out all the winners. Diversity was the word of the evening.

It was a great event, but at the end, I felt like I needed a vacation to get over my vacation 🙂

I returned home with a whopping case of imposter’s syndrome, though. I’d met and seen and learned from all of these authors, many of whom I read and respect. Who am I, with my two publications in what the Science Fiction Writers Association (SFWA) considers “token” markets, to think that I can get a traditional deal in a market that’s more competitive than ever?

When I confided my doubts to Phil, his response was that print publishing was on its way to extinction and why would I want that, anyway? So not what I needed to hear, but I forgave him instantly. Though he is very supportive of me and my creative calling, he, like most non-writers, will never understand what it’s like to be in my neurotic wee skull.

But, as I said, I’m surfacing now. I have no further conventions I’ve committed to (having used up my budget for such things) and the only challenge I’ve set for myself is to get through another revision of IoS and Apprentice of Wind before I tackle the third novel in the series for NaNoWriMo.

I still want to get back to the poetry collection and the non-speculative short fiction collection, but neither is a big priority for me at the moment.

I’m taking my time with the short fiction. Some of my stories are actually the seeds of novels. I have to set those aside in their own project folders for the future, and then get on with revising and submitting what I have. Who knows? I may even surprise myself and write some more new stories. It has been known to happen.

In the meantime, I’ve applied for my winter leave at work and am crossing my fingers.

Persistent payroll issues may affect my application for another leave with income averaging. Until things are sorted out, the powers that be may recommend against such special considerations. I may have to defer again until next year.

It won’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened, but Phil and I are ready to look for another furry dependent. I need the five weeks for acclimatization and training. We’d rather it be sooner than later, but we’ll be patient if we must.

Having a new puppy in the spring would probably be more convenient (she says, mentally willing leave approval).

And then there are the renovations to consider, but that’s another post. Probably several 😉

The month in writing

August was sparse as far as writing goes. Aside from the blog, from which I took a vacation for WorldCon, the only writing I did was to finish off the one short story I was working on.

AugustProgress

6,451 words on the blog and 901 words on the short story. 7,362 altogether. That’s literally all she wrote.

I didn’t revise a thing. Fortunately, because I met or exceeded my revision goals in every other month so far this year, I’m not that far behind.

I didn’t count the minor revisions I did to the stories I submitted, or any of the journalling or long hand writing I did.

Besides, I wasn’t anticipating (until part way through the year) that I’d return to IoS, so I don’t have a column for that on my spreadsheet. I could make one. I have the skill, but I don’t want to take the time to do it now. Yes. I know. Lazy Mellie.

I’m getting my mojo back. The writing’s the thing.

Science fiction is the literature of ideas. It is the great “what if?” that leads us into the future. Fantasy is the literature of (im)possibility. It longingly wonders “If only . . .” and whispers in our dreams. I write both and I think I’m pretty damned lucky.

And that’s it until next month.

I hope you’re all experiencing great creative breakthroughs and are satisfied with what you’ve done. In the end, that’s all that matters.

Be well!

The Next Chapter