Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Nov 15-21, 2015

Slightly smaller batch this week. Then again, I was traveling and training and NaNoWriMo-ing last week. Some things must be sacrificed.

Sudbury’s new small publisher releases its first anthology. The Sudbury Star.

K.M.Weiland continues to share her lessons learned from writing Storming with this post-and-podcast combo: How to write can’t-look-away chapter breaks.

Then Katie busts six stereotypes of strong female characters.

MJ Bush explores writing unforgettable characters. Yes. For realsies. Writingeekery.

Jan O’Hara writes about surviving trout syndrome and electric shocks for Writer Unboxed. What it’s really about? Learned helplessness.

Gwen Hernandez shares some Scrivener fundamentals on Writer Unboxed.

Chuck Wendig welcomes you to the midpoint of your novel. Let it not sag like an overloaded clothesline.

What did Veronica Sicoe learn about writing faster? Read on and find out 🙂

Writers & Authors shares this cute infographic about the eight reasons writers make great friends.

The CBC shares Booknet Canada’s infographic comparing Canadian and American readers.

The secrets hidden in the gilt.

 

This might be a bit controversial. Chis Winkle shares lessons learned from the bad writing of Battlefield Earth. Mythcreants.

Barnes and Noble lists its best science fiction and fantasy of 2015.

I may have shared this before, but I am so looking forward to The Shannara Chronicles:

 

And just because: Bustle presents Sesame Street’s eleven best literary moments.

See you next Tipsday for moar Writerly Goodness.

Tipsday

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 24-30, 2015

It’s writer-palooza, er, um. Tipsday. Yeah.

Make sure you include these five factors in your story if you want it to make an impact on your readers. K. M. Weiland.

What’s the trick to creating vivid descriptions? Focus on the obscure details. Katie’s Wednesday vlog.

Harrison Demchick guest posts on Katie’s blog about what to do with your very long manuscript.

Scars and shame: the secrets of female characters. Barbara O’Neal nails this post for Writer Unboxed.

John Vorhaus gets into something deeper on Writer Unboxed.

Heather Webb asks, As writers, what are we worth? Writer Unboxed.

Jane Friedman writes about the age-old cynicism surrounding the book writing dream.

Kazuo Ishiguro and Neil Gaiman debate “genre fiction” on BBC Radio 4.

Phoenix Sullivan digs deeper into the latest Author Earnings report for David Gaughran.

The Authors Guild dumps Author Solutions (yay!). David Gaughran.

Use these five steps to write a killer elevator pitch for your book. Jennie Nash for BookBub.

Bryan Collins posts the ultimate how-to guide to blogging with Scrivener.

Terrorism in Elizabethan England, a post by Barbara Kyle for English Historical Fiction Authors.

Lauren Carter, whom I’ve featured here on the blog for a workshop she delivered in Sudbury, won the 2014 Room Poetry Contest. Here’s their interview with her.

Ten books that will change the way you think about fairytales. i09.

The horrifying origins of your favourite Disney films. Diply.

Mental Floss presents ten Old English words you should be using.

What do you think of this list of 24 brilliant portmanteaus? Ima start using some of them 🙂 Earthporm.

This little bit of awesome is courtesy of Addicting Info: J.K. Rowling slams Westboro Baptist Church’s hate-tweet.

John Doyle writes about Outlander and the triumph of the true female superhero. The Globe and Mail.

Caitriona Balfe’s serves up an insider’s view of Outlander. LA Times.

How Outlander broke the mold with their two-part finale. MTV.

Cute writing comic from The New Yorker.

Have a good week until Thoughty Thursday!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 12-18, 2015

How K.M. Weiland uses Scrivener to outline her novels.

Katie’s Wednesday vlog discusses how to help your readers love an unlikable character.

Roz Morris shares some common errors indie authors make in their self-published work.

Therese Walsh posts about finding the time to write (part 3 of her multitasking series) on Writer Unboxed.

Suzanne Alyssa posts on Sarah Selecky’s blog on the subject of the vulnerability of submission.

A two part post from Delilah S. Dawson on self-promotion: Please shut up, and Wait, keep talking.

Delilah S. Dawson guest posts on Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds with 25 blood-spattered tips for writing violence.

Are these filter words weakening your fiction? Write it Sideways.

Jamie Raintree asks, are artists still allowed to be neurotic? Thinking through our fingers.

Diana Gabaldon interviews Susanna Kearsley at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore.

Anne Lamott: “Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared.” Salon.

Tim Parks on CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition: Writing in the Margins.

Sherwood Smith offers some thoughts on Heyer and Austin.

Astrophe: The feeling of being stuck on Earth. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

The history behind Orphan Black. The New Yorker.

For the Outlander fans: Interview with Sam Heughan.

The real romance behind Outlander. The New York Times.

Sesame Street’s Game of Chairs:

And that’s your Writerly Goodness for the week.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

The next chapter: November 2014 update

So. Just to get it out there, I didn’t meet my NaNo goal this year. Honestly, I thought it was going to be a tall order writing 50k words while working full time.

If you remember my pre-NaNo post, I said that if everything went to hell and I only got 20k words written, that I’d still be happy.

Well, I wrote 28,355 words on my new novel idea and I’m more than happy with that.

NaNoWriMo participant 2014

I didn’t do more than maintenance housework.

I did try to live as normal a life as possible.

I did not abandon my blog, though I was less present on social media.

I had two birthday celebrations, two weeks of training (which always drains introverted Mellie), two weeks of travel, a workshop on publishing, a Christmas party fiasco, and a new critique group meeting to attend.

I’m surprised I got as much done as I did.

I’m still in recovery.

So here, briefly, is what the month looked like.

November's Writing Progress

5,269 words on the blog and 28,355 on the new novel.

33,624 words total for the month.

Whew!

I’ve taken a few days’ respite so far in December (sorry about the time warp, folks), but I’m getting back on that wee writing horsie next week.

As Chuck Wendig says, I gotta finish my shit. As Kristen Lamb says, life rewards finishers.

Specifically, I’m not only going to work further on Marushka, which is another YA urban fantasy/fairy tale re-envisioning, but I’m also going to get back to my other draft-in-progress, Gerod and the Lions, my MG fantasy, and work on a few short stories for upcoming contests and anthology calls.

I’ve written Marushka in Scrivener, my first project using that program. To be honest, while I can see the value of Scrivener, I’m organized enough, and well-versed enough in Word that I’m content to return to it.

Unless, of course, Microsoft does what it’s threatening to do and make Office into a subscription-based service. If that happens, they’ve lost a heretofore faithful customer and I’m jumping ship to Scrivener.

I don’t know why MS has to go and screw up a perfectly good office suite.

I’ve had the pleasure of being on the launch team for a fellow author for the past few months as well. It’s been an interesting process helping Jane Ann McLachlan choose a title for her novel, a cover, reading the ARC, and writing the review for her.

I’ve also gleaned a few things for my toolbox. I knew that one must place one’s review to Amazon.com (as opposed to .ca) but now I know that I should also find other reviews helpful and click that little button on as many of them as possible.

Apparently that’s another little tip: Amazon will give preference and weight to helpful reviews, as opposed to reviews on which the button has not been clicked. Amazon also prefers it if you have purchased the book or ebook through them prior to posting the review. A verified purchase carries more weight again.

Interesting stuff. And here I thought I was helping people out by posting my reviews of their books. Now I know how to help them even more.

And that was my month.

I got a little present in my inbox this past week. See that lovely Excel spreadsheet depicted above? That was created by the wonderful and talented Jamie Raintree. I got her newsletter, and a link to the 2015 version (happy dancing commences).

You need to subscribe to that lovely lady 🙂

I spent most of today cleaning the house after my month of sloth. Phil helped (bless him) by doing the pots in the kitchen and cleaning the bathroom.

Now Mellie has to toddle off to Bedfordshire. She has five submissions to critique for tomorrow’s meeting and Christmas decorations to haul out of storage and place artfully around the house.

You know what? I love my life 🙂

The Next Chapter

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 19-25, 2014

There is so much Writerly Goodness this week, I don’t know what to do with myself!

Martha Conway says, Forget heroes: Why heroines are important. Writer Unboxed.

Dave King on the wonders of Whedon. Everything I need to know about plot, I learned from Buffy. Writer Unboxed.

Dan Blank says it’s more about giving than receiving. Writer Unboxed.

Karina Sumner-Smith guests on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. Finding rhythm and voice for a beginning that sings.

How many characters do you need? Jami Gold answers reader questions.

Piper Bayard guests on Jenny Hanson’s blog, Cowbell. Little Darlings Anonymous. I need to be a member 😉

Piper stopped by Kristen’s Lamb’s blog, too, to talk about backstory.

Story concept and story premise. Do you know the difference? K.M. Weiland cites Larry Brooks in this post and podcast combo.

Veronica Sicoe finds a strategy for NaNoWriMo.

Blurb’s Coffee & Quill interview with NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty. There were some audio issues at the start, but there was also a lot of good information about NaNo and what you can do to prepare.

Moar podcasts from Roz Morris and Peter Snell for Surrey Hills Radio. So you want to be a writer? Check them all out!

Mary Robinette Kowal shares her outlines for Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass. I love it when the professionals give us a little peek at how it’s done 🙂

The comma story by Terisa Folaron. Ted.ed.

 

The Oxford comma debate. Ted.ed.

 

Helen Sword says, beware of nominalizations (zombie nouns). Ted.ed.

 

Marlee Neel states the case against good and bad. Ted.ed.

 

Sarah F. Hawkins, lawyer, posts about the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism.

Roz Morris asks, Have we forgotten what science fiction should be?

Project Hieroglyph’s push for positive science fiction. Eoghan.com.

The Wall Street Journal has a book club and Margaret Atwood just chose Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea as the next read.

Tasneem Raja of Mother Jones interviews William Gibson.

The Sword & Laser interview with Delilah S. Dawson. Teh awesome.

 

An interview with Mary Stewart. Off the Page.

 

Jane Austen on men who refuse to hear no. The Atlantic.

J.K. Rowling pens a new Harry Potter story, just in time for Hallowe’en. Buzzfeed.

Sarah Michelle Gellar on how playing a strong female character spoiled her. Perth Now.

Matt Herron returns to the Write Practice to show how to create a setting sketch using Scrivener.

See you on Thoughty Thursday 🙂

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 12-18, 2014

Lots of writerly tools for your kit. NaNoWriMo prep, Scrivener tricks, and moar!

Catherine Ryan Howard gives us a sneak peek of Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing, 3rd Edition. See why Roz Morris thinks of this book as one of her go to references 🙂

Speaking of Roz, here’s here next installment in the novels aren’t movies series: How to write great description in prose.

K.M. Weiland answers the most frequently asked question to come out of her character arcs series of posts: How do you write a character arc over a series?

We all know what a protagonist and an antagonist are (or we should), but what’s a contagonist? Katie answers that question and describes how best to use one in your novel in her weekly vlog.

Becca Puglisi posts eleven novelist-tested (writer’s) blockbusters on Writers Helping Writers.

Janice Hardy continues the NaNoWriMo prep from last week with her post on planning the middle of your novel.

And the third in Janice’s series, planning the end of your novel. Fiction University.

Jami Gold shares her thoughts on NaNo prep as well. Are you ready to start drafting?

Chuck Wendig posts about what you need to know about guns to write them right.

How to create a character sketch using Scrivener, from Matt Herron for The Write Practice.

In related news, Sherry D. Ramsey shows us how to create a submission tracker in Scrivener.

Nina Munteanu explores archetypes in the second part of her hero’s journey series.

See you on Thursday 🙂

Tipsday

The next chapter: January 2014 update

The Next ChapterFor those of you who may not remember, I decided to try out some new programs and templates for my writing this year.

So far, Scrivener and OneNote haven’t seen a lot of action.

I think that if I start a brand new project from scratch, I’ll give Scrivener a proper try. Having attempted to import several different writing projects, I wasn’t very impressed with the result. I’d still have to do a lot of work just to organize the piece of writing (break down the sections and chapters, format it the way I want, etc.).

Since I’m writing around a day job, those are precious hours I could be spending writing rather than figuring out how to import and configure my existing work.

Right now, Evernote is seeing more action than OneNote, so far as researching and organizing my short story submissions, etc.. The Webclipper tool is too convenient not to use.

The third tool that I investigated was an Excel spreadsheet that Jamie Raintree shared with her readers in December.

With a minimum of tweaking, this tool has proved TEH AWESOME for me.

I became aware of the joys of word count when I participated in NaNoWriMo last year. The simple thrill of meeting a daily goal quickly became addictive.

I’ve also been following Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing in Public reporting. That man can pump out the words!

My results are not so impressive when compared to his, as you’ll see in a bit, but just having a record of the accomplishment feeds back into my motivation. It’s a positive energy cycle 🙂

Another thing I decided to try this year was working on several projects, more or less simultaneously. In the past, I’ve been focusing on one WIP and writing short stories and my blog on the side.

This year, I’m working on the second book of my epic fantasy series, the YA Urban I drafted for NaNo, and the MG fantasy I worked on this time last year while waiting for my content edit. Plus stories and blog. Plus revisions on Initiate of Stone when all my beta readers report back.

Eep!

When it came time to implement my strategy, I just couldn’t see taking the few hours of writing time I have each night and dividing them amongst my projects. I’m good at rapidly changing focus between projects (what most people call multitasking), but not that good.

So I decided to try an experiment.

I focused on one project each week, plus the blog on weekends.

I’m not certain yet whether my experiment has been successful or not. So I’m going to continue in this vein until the experiment proves itself a worthy strategy, or it ceases to work for me. In the latter case, I’ll modify and try again.

Here’s what I’ve discovered so far

I write the most new words in a month for my blog. For January, I wrote 7114 words of Writerly Goodness. Flerkin’ shnit!

Apprentice of Wind clocks in next with 2781 new words written.

Then Gerod and the Lions with 821, my short stories with 609, and finally Figments with 207.

That’s 10,923 for the month. Holy kung pow chicken, Batman!

Keep in mind that these are new words I’m counting. AoW and Figments are already drafted, and I’m mostly realigning and writing in the holes on both of those. GatL had two chapters written, and after revamping them, I’ve gotten into fresh writing with that project. Even with the short stories, the work has been largely revision.

I’m working with the magazine’s editor to bring “Downtime” up to snuff for On Spec, and reworking one of my stories from last year for a submission deadline in February with Bastion.

January's results

January’s results

I’m not setting any hard and fast writing goals each day. I might be setting myself up for failure that way. I’m just seeing what I actually do without putting any pressure on myself.

Still, it’s interesting to see what I’ve been able to accomplish in a month of “normal” writing.

How have your writing projects been going?

Geeking out and gearing up

Last week, I wrote about my accomplishments in 2013.

Now I’m going to write a bit about what I want to accomplish in 2014.

First, I have to tell you about a few things I picked up.

One of the rewards from my NaNoWriMo win was a 50% discount on Scrivener. So I finally bought the software after being on the fence about it for a couple of years. Jack Whyte’s commendation of the program for research purposes was one of the things that tipped the scales in the favour of purchase. The discount didn’t hurt either.

I’m still working my way through the tutorial and sorting out exactly which project(s) I’m going to use it for, but rest assured, I’ll tell everyone about my experiences when I do start using it.  I know I won’t have anything to add to the conversation considering the cajillions who already use Scrivener, but I’ll put in a few words.

A few months ago, Jenny Hansen discussed how she uses OneNote to support her writing. I’m running a Microsoft box, much to my husband’s discontent, and I have the program, so I figured, why not use it? At first blush, it seems that several of the features of Scrivener and OneNote overlap, but we’ll see how they work together, and if they behave themselves.

I have Evernote too, but I find I’m using the webclipper a lot more then anything else. Again, we’ll see how the various programs work together. Or not.

Writing progress worksheet, ready to go

Writing progress worksheet, ready to go

I nabbed Jamie Raintree’s Writing Progress Template. I spent some time customizing it to my projects, and we’ll see how it goes.

I loved the ‘ding’ moment I had when I finished NaNo. I’ve also been following Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing in Public challenge. I think that I write quite a bit and it would be nice to see that progress reflected in concrete form.

I’ve been having fun with the technology. Yes. That’s the geek part.

Finally, I just purchased the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents 2014. Guess what I’m going to do with that?

Now for the goals

I took a bit of a break after November’s triumph. I didn’t stop writing altogether, but I focused on getting my last original short story of the year completed and submitted. Oh! And while we’re on the subject – I managed to write or revise and submit 13 stories (3 of them on Dec 31, but I did it) thus meeting Kasie Whitener’s Just Write Challenge! W00t!

I also kept up with my blogging.

This weekend I’m spending time getting things organized and as of Monday, I’ll be back in the writing swing of things.

  1. Initiate of Stone. I’m beginning to hear back from some of my beta readers and so I will be revising the old girl once again based on the feedback I receive. That’s going to be a while in coming back from some readers, so I’ll focus on other projects until I’ve heard from everyone. I’ve decided to hold off serious querying until I get the next revision done. I don’t want to ruin IoS’s chances with too many agents by submitting a manuscript that’s less than ready.
  2. Apprentice of Wind. I’m going to start working on book two. It’s mostly drafted, but I have to assemble a few chunks I cut out of IoS, move them into AoW, and stitch everything together with an eye to structure. Revisions for IoS may further inform the work on AoW.
  3. Figments. This is the YA Urban Fantasy I drafted during NaNo. I worked from an outline I had written a few years ago. Beginning, ending and overall structure need some work before I redraft.
  4. Gerod and the Lions. This is the MG medieval I was working on while I waited for my content editor to get back to me last year. I only have a few chapters, but I have an outline to write to.
  5. Short stories. I still want to write a few short stories and attempt to have them published some time this year. I know I can’t always have as banner a year as I’ve had last year, but I can’t win unless I continue to play.
  6. Blog. I still want to revise/revamp, but my efforts from my first week of leave did not continue. I had other writing on my mind. I still have to update posts and pictures (to use my own or something in the public domain) and may actually be looking at a move to self-hosted WordPress, but I’m not going to put a timeframe on the project. The blog seems to be the first writing to get set aside and I hate making promises I can’t keep. I’m going to try to get back on the review and interview track as well.

This is going to be the first year that I’ve worked on so many things at once. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think I’m up to it. I’ve always been pretty good at switching focus between priorities, and I hope that moving between projects will keep the work, and my perspective on it, fresh.

All of the bits and pieces I’ve purchased or obtained (above) will help me on my way.

I think that being so devoted to one project for so long has been a bit of a detriment. I need to diversify.

I’ll let you know how it all goes.

The next chapter: 2013 in review

I think it’s important to recognize all the good things one accomplishes.  With regard to my writing, 2013 has been a banner year.  I haven’t seen its like in … well a very long time.

You may remember way back at the beginning of the year what I wrote about resolutions, how I’m not fond of them, and how I prefer to make reasonable goals so I can have a chance to reach them.

It worked a charm for me.

I wrote four (soon to be five) new short stories this year and revised six others for submission. This has resulted in three fiction publications (one paid), and another three poetry publications.

While the goal of Kasie Whitener’s Just Write Challenge was to write thirteen stories in 2013, I think that eleven was pretty darn good, considering the other things that I’ve accomplished.

I sent Initiate of Stone for a content edit in January and revised the whole thing twice. I’ve now sent the manuscript to select beta-readers and have sent it off to one agent and will ship it to one editor shortly.

In the mean time, I started on a middle grade fantasy, Gerod and the Lions, and drafted Figments, a YA fantasy, during NaNoWriMo.

Since the end of November, I’ve given myself a bit of a break. I’ve written a crap-load this year (because in addition to the 11 short stories, poetry, revisions, and the 50k+ draft, I’ve also tried to keep things rolling with my blog) and felt the distinct need for a rest before diving back into things in 2014.

Though I was not able to meet my goal of revising my blog (reader response seemed to indicate it wasn’t a priority) or moving to self-hosted WordPress, those goals remain on the list.  This time last year, I managed to accrue 100 followers on my blog. Now I’m over 222. While I’m still considering a newsletter, I continue to hold off. Until I have a novel out, I’m not certain a newsletter will have much value.

This year I also attended the Canadian Authors Association’s (CAA’s) CanWrite! Conference (June) and the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (October). Both were amazing experiences, and I learned a huge amount from the sessions at both conferences.

Currently, though my services haven’t been much requested of recent months, I’m sitting on the CAA’s Program Committee, and so putting some of my efforts into not only the CanWrite! Conference, but also, the Literary Awards, the Roving Writers Program, and other events.

As a reward for all my hard work, I’m going to be investing in Scrivener, thanks to the NaNo

Scrivener (software)

Scrivener (software) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

reward discount, and purchasing the 2014 Guide to Literary Agents.

As far as what I’m aiming for in the New Year, stay tuned. I’ll have a post on more reasonable goals coming up next week.

books for sale!

books for sale! (Photo credit: bookgrl)

In the meantime, please share your accomplishments. It really helps to put them down in writing. I think when you see everything you’ve managed over the last year in print, you’ll be amazed. I was.

Then celebrate! You were fantastic! And you know what? So was I 😉

Sorry, couldn’t help the Doctor Who reference. Geek girls rule!

LEGO Doctor Who (Collection)

LEGO Doctor Who (Collection) (Photo credit: ChocolateFrogs)