Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 24-30, 2021

This will be the last tipsday until December 7th! Yup, it’s NaNo again. So, stock up for the month and feel free to peruse past weeks’ posts as well. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but this tipsday is jam packed full of writerly goodness. Enjoy!

Kim Bullock faces a fork in the writerly road. KL Burd: “The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.” Elizabeth Huergo discusses genre and its discontents. Then, Milo Todd is losing the magic of writing: The Sweatbox. Heather Webb: Halloween is all about fear; turns out, so is publishing. Writer Unboxed

Racism and horror | Khadija Mbowe

K.M. Weiland poses six questions to help you avoid repetitive scenes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Cooper Ellison says that structure isn’t the Holy Grail you’re looking for. Jane Friedman

Vivek Hariharan shares six tips for expanding a novel into a series. Live, Write, Thrive

Princess Weekes reveals what the f—k happened behind the scenes of Justice League. Melina Pendulum

Kris Maze offers a worry-free approach to double down on your writing goals. Then, Laurie Schnebly Campbell asks, how deep should you go into your POV? Kathleen Baldwin makes the case for “was” and the much maligned passive voice. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin explains how to write a horror novel. Reedsy

Then she follows up with the best and worst horror tropes. Reedsy

Sue Coletta: what are pinch points and where do they go? Then, Colleen M. Story explains how to tell if you’ve found the best book marketing niche. Lisa Hall-Wilson lists five ways trauma makes your character an unreliable narrator. Writers Helping Writers

Kris Hill is creating characters using collaborative storytelling. Then, Manuela Williams explains how to organize a collection of poetry. Gabriela Pereira interviews Debbie Macomber about writing and publishing a Christmas novel. Then, Alison Stine explains how to write a cli-fi novel. Sarah Van Arsdale shares five ways to resist the inexorable forces pulling you from your writing. DIY MFA

On her own channel, Shaelin shares 20 NaNoWriMo tips. Shaelin Writes

Chuck Wendig reviews the worldbuilding in Villeneuve’s Dune. Emmie Mears shares five things she learned building a writing career the wrong way. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle lists five important ways episodic stories are different. Then, Oren Ahskenazi analyzes To Sleep in a Sea of Stars: how Paolini undercooked his setting. Mythcreants

Princess Weekes shares everything you didn’t know about the father of science fiction. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Patricia A. Jackson shares a pantser’s tale: follow the white rabbit. Fiction University

Emily Zarka presents the werewolf’s modern metamorphosis. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Kristen Lamb explains how horror can improve your writing in any genre.

Guy Kawasaki interviews Seth Godin: marketing god, blogger, and author. The Remarkable People Podcast

“Queerbaiting” is a tricky term. Don’t abuse it. The Take

Alan Garner: “You don’t want to have a brilliant idea for a novel at the age of 87.” The Guardian

Ena Alvarado reveals the science and slavery in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko. JSTOR Daily

Hanna Flint says that Dune is an accomplished escape into the realm of cinematic Arab appropriation. The New Arab

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

NaNo Eve Mini-Update

Hallooo, writerly friends! At the last minute, I have decided to NaNo. I am once more a rebel, hoping to make some progress on this next round of Reality Bomb revisions as well as penning some short fiction. The hope is that, between the two, I’ll rack up a reasonable word count.

I am not, however, striving for 50k. I’m not going to stress. This is going to be a casual NaNo this year and my emphasis will be on trying to get back my writing mojo. My practice has been spotty since my burnout and I really just want to get some words on the page. Or revised. Or something. It just doesn’t feel right, not writing.

To facilitate this recapturing of joy, I’m going to hold off on my next chapter update until December. I will not be doing my regular curation beyond this week (because I already have the Tuesday and Thursday posts completed). I will be scarce on Twitter.

I will offer mini-updates every week, however, to make up for the lack of content otherwise.

Then, in December, I’ll do a double update (October and November), resume curation and Twitter, and I’ll let you know if this little experiment works out 🙂

If you want to be my buddy on the NaNo site, I am (unsurprisingly) MelanieMarttila.

Until tipsday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 17-23, 2021

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

Jan O’Hara receives a wake-up call. Then, Dave King is writing in both directions. Barbara Linn Probst reviews the three aspects of revision: reworking, refining, and revisioning. Later in the week, Desmond Hall drops some more bite-sized writerly learnings on us. Writer Unboxed

Angela Ackerman explains how to make your characters’ choices more difficult. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jill bearup wants to talk to you about your enemies to lovers fixation (see Jenna Moreci, below, for a little writerly how-to).

Jessica Conoley shows you how to use your analyzer switch to increase productivity. Then, Stephanie Bourbon shows you how to fly by the seat of your pants—and win NaNoWriMo. Lizbeth Meredith asks: does the idea of promoting your book make you queasy? Jane Friedman

Emily Zarka recounts the killer origins of the werewolf. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Becca Puglisi reveals how internal conflict fits into the character arc. Live, Write, Thrive

Then, Becca shifts blogs to further discuss failure, conflict, and character arc. Then, Lisa Norman covers publishing dilemmas, distribution, and disruption. Ellen Buikema touts the benefits of writing SMART goals. Writers in the Storm

Jessica Thompson is subverting expectations in satisfying ways. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Louise Harnby answers the question: what is narrative distance?

The “mean girl” trio – three types of bad female leaders. The Take

Nathan explains how to raise the stakes in a novel. Then, Lindsay Syhakhom declares that writing in the library is wonderful. Nathan Bransford

Jeanette the Writer helps you figure out where to put the comma. Tammy Lough: romantic gestures create heat waves. Gabriela Pereira interviews Stephanie Bwa Bwa about world building and the YA fantasy serial. Then, Jessica Vitalis is tackling heavy subjects with middle grade readers. Angela Yeh shares five fun ways to get your butt in the chair (and keep it there). DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci offers her top ten tips for writing enemies to lovers.

J.D. Edwin shares six helpful ways any writer can overcome burnout. The Write Practice

Piper Bayard explains that outside of Hollywood movies, not everything can be “silenced.” Kristen Lamb

Bonnie Randall offers a few foundations of fear in fiction. Fiction University

Chris Winkle explains the problem with multiple viewpoints. Then, Oren Ashkenazi tests how useful Elmore Leonard’s ten rules of writing are. Mythcreants

Shaelin critiques Leonard’s rules, too. It’s interesting to note the differences … Reedsy

Sudbury’s YES Theatre hopes to build new outdoor venue. I remember when this space was open for movie nights and poetry readings and all kinds of artistic events. CBC

A process for the transfer of energy and feeling: George Saunders on the key to great storytelling. Brain Pickings

Kinship: Ursula K. Le Guin’s love poem to trees, the interleaving of life and death, and the eternal flame of being. The Marginalian (formerly Brain Pickings)

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, May 9-15, 2021

Welcome to another tipsday, your opportunity to fill up on informal writerly learnings 🙂

KL Burd helps you incorporate social issues into your manuscript. Therese Walsh: spring thaws and the buzz of the muse. Then, Juliet Marillier wants you to consider your author photo. Kathryn Craft wants you to embrace unapologetic characterization. Later in the week, David Corbett recounts his experience murdering 22,000 darlings. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin guides you through the process of content and developmental editing. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland covers the mage’s shadow archetypes in part 14 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Star Wuerdemann explains how to find compelling comps for your book. Jane Friedman

Joanna Penn interviews Gail Carriger about The Heroine’s Journey. The Creative Penn

Princess Weekes looks at the literary power of manga. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Laurence MacNaughton shares three shortcuts to character-driven stories. Then, Savannah Cordova helps you figure out which story structure is right for your novel. Fiction University

Stephanie BwaBwa explains how to use bookstagram to increase your novel’s visibility. Then, Olivia Fisher is all about short stories. Gabriela Pereira interviews Suyi Davies Okungbowa about layers of world building in epic fantasy. Later in the week, Melanie Gibson shares five tips for writing about your mental health journey. DIY MFA

How the self-aware teen movie almost killed the genre. The Take

Marissa Graff explains how to power up individual scenes with a scene tracker. Writers Helping Writers

Margie Lawson touts the power of quirky-smirky assonance and alluring alliteration. Then, Ellen Buikema explains the relationship between stress and creativity. Writers in the Storm

Kristine Kathryn Rusch starts a new series: fear-based decision-making (part one).

Chris Winkle lists five ways to incorporate dreams into your plot. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five fascinating monsters in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb follows the writer’s journey from total newbie to the joy of mastery.

Vicky Qaio reports that Robert J. Sawyer and Silvia Moreno-Garcia are among the finalists for the 2021 Aurora Awards. CBC

Sagal Mohammed interviews Barry Jenkins about avoiding the exploitation of Black trauma in The Underground Railroad. Buzzfeed

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, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 2-8, 2021

It’s another full week of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

E.J. Wenstrom explains the relationship between engagement rate and your author platform. Then, Sara Farmer says there’s an Eyre for every era, from cozy to cold-blooded. Later in the week, Leslie A. Rasmussen goes from television writing to novel writing. Then, Melissa Haas suggests five items for cats and the authors who live with them. DIY MFA

Obi-Wan vs. Stabby Crab fight analysis. Jill Bearup

Janice Hardy shares five reasons you’re struggling with your revisions (and how to fix them). Timely! Then, Jenna Harte offers some easy tips to incorporate backstory in your novel. José Pablo Iriarte explains how to punch readers in the feels (a case study). Fiction University

Shaelin shows you how to assess your manuscript. Reedsy

Greer Macallister: the responsibility of world building. Then, Sarah Penner shares 100 content ideas for every stage of your writing career. Donald Maass: it’s inevitable. Desmond Hall has a new edition of Desmond’s Drops for May. Writer Unboxed

Erica Brozovsky: can computers really talk? Otherwords | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland examines the crone’s shadow archetypes in part 13 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elizabeth Spann Craig explains what it means to show up as an author.

The age of fanfiction. The Take

September C. Fawkes helps you balance your cast of characters. Then, Angela Ackerman shows you how to set yourself up for success before you write a single word. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy shares five ways to keep your protagonist proactive. Later in the week, John Peragine discusses Vella in part 2 of his serializing storytelling series. Writers in the Storm

Jenna Moreci hosts Iona Wayland to discuss writing mental illness.

Desiree Villena shares five tips for crafting an irresistible first line. Flogging the Quill

Kristen Lamb says that characters are the emotional touchstone readers crave.

John B. Thompson shares an excerpt from Book Wars: the new Holy Grail for traditional publishers is direct-to-reader relationships. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle: your plot s fractal. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five baffling tech explanations in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

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

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 21-27, 2021

Welcome to March! You’ve made it through Monday. Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland presents part three of her archetypal character arcs series: the hero arc. Helping Writers Become Authors

Writing Fat Characters – a conversation with Marianne Kirby | Writing the Other

Tiffany Yates Martin explains the difference between criticism and critique. Then, Tasha Seegmiller asks, are you a whole-hearted writer? Later in the week, Laurie Schnebly Campbell explains why character motivation matters. Writers in the Storm

Tim Hickson talks elemental magic systems. Hello, Future Me

Susan DeFreitas shares four key tactics for addressing backstory and exposition. Jane Friedman

Abigail K. Perry points out some must-knows about picking comparable titles. Then, Sara Farmer recounts crime authors caught up in real crimes, cozy to cold-blooded. Later in the week, Constance Sayers shares four historical fiction writing hacks. Then, Briana Cole offers five tips to get your story written fast. DIY MFA

Shaelin breaks down the Save the Cat plot structure. Reedsy

Janice Hardy offers some tips to understand and control your novel’s pacing. Then, Orly Konig shares some revision tips for pantsers: three steps to a full rewrite. Fiction University

Kasey LeBlanc is learning to say no thanks: standing up for your creative vision. Heather Webb declares that hope springs eternal: hang on, writers. We’re almost there. Then, Julianna Baggott shares the results of a survey on process: that thing you do. Later in the week, Julie Duffy wants you to focus on short fiction. Writer Unboxed

Literary Icons You NEED to Know from the Harlem Renaissance (feat. Princess Weekes). It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Kristen Lamb: tough choices are the professional writer’s daily grind.

Chris Winkle set out to praise “The Eye of Argon” and all she got were these lousy writing lessons (and a t-shirt?). Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at ten justifications for oppressed mages and why they fail. Mythcreants

Bridgerton is a fan fiction about today. The Take

The Jewish American Princess – beyond the stereotype. The Take

Trey Mangum reports that Ta-Nehisi Coates will write the next Superman film for DC and Warner Bros. Shadow and Cut

Thanks for visiting. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 7-13, 2021

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

Janice Hardy lists four ways to develop character agency. Then, Laurence MacNaughton shares six steps to fast and easy revision. Fast and easy? OMG, this is what I need. Fiction University

Jessica Conoley is helping you build your writing support triangle. Then, Lisa Cooper Ellison helps you fix your story shapes to quickly improve your manuscript. Jane Friedman

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Lizzy vs. Darcy proposal fight. Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland starts a new series: archetypal character arcs, pt. 1. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews David Farland about valuing your books for the long term. The Creative Penn

The Queen’s Gambit – what happens when the genius is female? The Take

Jim Dempsey wonders, what makes a good editor? Then, Kathleen McCleary asks, who are we now? Kathryn Craft examines the power of declaration. Later in the week, David Corbett explains the unique structure of the love story. Then, Desmond Hall drops some writing wisdom. Writer Unboxed

The bimbo trope, explained. The Take

Marissa Graff lists three critical elements of opening scenes. Again, advice I seem to be in desperate need of. Then, Savannah Cordova shares five tips for writing stellar romantic subplots. Writers Helping Writers

Leanne Sowul shares her DIY MFA story: trust your gut. Then, Adam W. Burgess answers the question, what is LGBTQ+ literature? Gabriela Pereira interviews Sharon Harrigan about point of view. Later in the week, Dr. Antonio Gomes helps you write medical fiction. Then, Kendra Beckley shares five effective tips on fiction writing. DIY MFA

Ellen Buikema offers ten self-editing tips. Later in the week, Eldred Bird explains how to write locations as characters. Writers in the Storm

All about structure: how to plot a book. Jenna Moreci

Chris Winkle lists five ways to make a selfish character likable. Then, Oren Ashkenazi discusses five bad habits writers learn from movies and television. Mythcreants

Shannon Luders-Manuel examines the “tragic mulatta” of Bridgerton. JSTOR Daily

Thank you 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, my writerly friends!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 13-19, 2020

Ah! The penultimate tipsday of the year! Time to get your informal writerly learnings 🙂

John J. Kelley helps you stage the scene. Yuvi Zalkow is embracing the I-don’t-know-ness. Porter Anderson hopes you work wonders in 2021. Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy shares three steps to crafting a stronger first draft. Fiction University

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten tips for writing fantasy.

Lori Freeland lists five things every writer needs to thrive. Then, Barbara Linn Probst considers scene coherence from the reader’s perspective. Writers in the Storm

My name is Inigo Montoya: Princess Bride fight analysis. Jill Bearup

Lucy V. Hay shares ten steps to revise your NaNo novel. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains what to expect when you work with a freelance editor.

The strong female character trope, explained. The Take

Abigail K. Perry demonstrates the importance of internal and external value shifts in characters. Later in the week, Amy Ayers offers five ways to talk about writing with nonwriters. DIY MFA

The funny fat girl trope, explained. The Take

Ken Brosky explains how to effectively manage multiple narrators in your novel. Then, Louise Tondeur asks, is your writer’s block really writer’s indecision? Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle does a narration makeover to create tension. Oren Ashkenazi: what The Black Company teaches us about dark stories. Mythcreants

Emily Zarka considers the Nuckelavee, Scotland’s skinless, evil monstrosity. Monstrum |PBS Storied

Mildred Europa Taylor: Cynthia Erivo to star in and produce film about enslaved Yoruba girl who became a gift to the queen of England. Face 2 Face Africa

Stephanie Cram: Darcie Little Badger’s YA debut Elatsoe landed on Time’s list of the best fantasy novels of all time. CBC’s “Unreserved”

A Poem for All The ‘Old Hags’ // Sarah MacGillivray

Tom Grater reports that Charlie Mackesy, author of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, teams up with Bad Robot to produce animated short. Deadline

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

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 1-5, 2020

Welcome to the first post-NaNo tipsday of 2020! Because I don’t watch YouTube during November, I have a lot of videos to catch up on. Expect a fair number of videos in the next two or three weeks 🙂

Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Wear your masks, maintain physical distance, wash your hands, and get your flu shot as soon as they’re available. I say this last because our local pharmacies ran out of flu vaccine almost as soon as they were stocked. We’re hoping to make our appointments, soonish, now that we’ve heard they have more in.

Leanne Sowul dubs 2020 the year of reflection. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Veena Rao: the unexpected female protagonist. Later in the week, Anita Ramirez lists five reasons you’re never too old to launch a writing career. DIY MFA

Princess Weekes explains why the cynical superhero isn’t that interesting (with philosophy). Melina Pendulum

Donald Mass: the beat goes on. Kathryn Magendie talks royalties: what this writer made, once upon one time. Then, Julianna Baggott nurturing the automatic writer. Writer Unboxed

John Peragine shares seven more plot structures for pantsers. Later in the week, James Preston helps you get past the black page. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin explains how to write a character arc. Reedsy

James Scott Bell wonders, do you have a sense of where you are? Writers Helping Writers

Allison K. Williams helps you move from first draft to second draft to publishable book. Jane Friedman

The spicy Latina trope, explained. The Take

Chris Winkle explains how and why you should consolidate your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes the climaxes of Marvel’s phase three (part 2). Mythcreants

Princess Weekes tackles the question, are graphic novels … novels? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Nina Munteanu revisits Darwin’s Paradox: compassion and evolution.

Andrew Liptak: SFWA names Nalo Hopkinson the 37th Damon Knight Grand Master. Tor.com

The Torontonian roots of Doctor Who. The Toronto Dreams Project Historical Ephemera Blog

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

NaNoWriMo 2020, week 1 update

Here we are, my writerly friends. It’s November 8th, week one of NaNoWriMo is over, and Joe Biden is the president-elect. Kamala Harris is the first woman of colour to be elected vice president. The world breathes a sigh of relief … and then one of exasperation as the big, orange baby continues to insist that he “won by a lot.” In the words of the late, great Stan Lee, ‘nuff said.

Week one was a good one for me. I’ve cut almost 4,000 words off my draft, rewritten significant portions of text, but it still feels like I’m cheating when I put the word count of the chapter I’ve just revised into my spreadsheet and into the NaNo site.

I’ve declared myself a rebel. I’m not drafting this year. I’m editing. The point is to get some work done. And work is getting done. I’ve edited 19, 851 words this week. By NaNo stats reckoning, I’ll be done by November 20th. I’ll probably loop around again, though, just to make sure I’ve got the draft as “right” as I can make it at this point.

And then it’s off to the critique group for review and I move on to another project. 2020 has been so messed up, I’m not sure what that will be at this point. I had wanted to go back and rewrite/revise Marushka this year, but the Ascension series is always sitting at the back of my mind. And MageBlood. And Gerod and the Lions. And the half a dozen other ideas that have sprouted up over the years. Projects aren’t the problem. It’s the choosing that’s hard.

I just have to figure out where my energy is best used and go there.

I hope you’re all experiencing success, however you’ve chosen to define it. Every word’s a victory.

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