Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Aug 21-27, 2022

It’s the last tipsday of August 2022. Where has the time gone?! It was a week jam-packed with informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Sara Farmer investigates some celebrity sleuths. Then, Ambre Leffler recommends the right lighting for your writing life. Tammy Lough: and the Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to … artificial intelligence? Susanne Dunlap tells the tale of how she came to write a novel about Adélaïde Labille-Guiard. Later in the week, Dianne C. Braley shares five tips on character development when writing about starting over. DIY MFA

The real history of Partition in India and Pakistan in Ms. Marvel. Historian’s Take | PBS Origins

Vaughn Roycroft considers the power of generational storytelling. Then, Gwen Hernandez helps you create an epub in Scrivener 3. Kelsey Allagood shares some lessons from the climbing wall. Then, Donna Giovinazzo explains how learning another language turned her into a grammar nerd. Natalie Hart wonders, what if you have what you need? Writer Unboxed

How Cthulu transcended its creator H.P. Lovecraft. Monstrum | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland shares nine signs your story may be too complicated. Helping Writers Become Authors

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how to let readers into your characters’ inner life. Then, Kris Maze helps you fix fluff words — 14 filler words to avoid. Jenny Hansen says your mess is your message (a writing tip). Writers in the Storm

Why kids’ stories should be darker. Tale Foundry

Jim C. Hines makes a point about historical accuracy (in the context of House of the Dragon).

Heidi Ulrichsen announces that works by Sudbury’s 6th poet laureate now up at airport. Sudbury.com

The history of fonts. Struthless

Joni B. Cole says don’t fall for these five writing myths that can set back your writing. Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin discusses handling rejection (and what rejection letters mean—and don’t mean). Fox Print Editorial

How Freaks and Geeks got geek culture and freak culture. The Take

Angela Ackerman explains how to use conflict to target a character’s soft spots. Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle explains why you should theme your world. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with too many characters. Mythcreants

Six signs it’s time to shelve your book. Reedsy

Joshua Hammer wonder was King Arthur a real person? The Smithsonian Magazine

Ed Simon: Mary Sydney and the voice of God. JSTOR Daily

The story behind food names. Otherwords | PBS Storied

Industry news: Jenn Northington wonders what is going on with Barnes & Noble? Book Riot

Thank you for spending some time with me, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well!

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, Sept 26-Oct 2, 2021

Welcome to October, my favourite month of the year 🙂 It’s all informal writerly learning treats and no tricks, all month long.

Erika Liodice explores the creative connection between travel and writing. Then, Robin LaFevers is navigating self-doubt. Jennie Nash recommends seven business books every writer should read. Then, Julie Carrick Dalton advises you about knowing when NOT to write. Deanna Cabinian examines the time vs. productivity paradox. Writer Unboxed

Kristen Lamb shares five simple ways to finish a book by making (not finding) time. Then, Cait Reynolds wonders, is podcasting the new blog? Kristen Lamb

Tim Hickson talks soft worldbuilding. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland introduces us to the archetypal antagonists for the king arc: cataclysm and rebel. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan DeFreitas: can fiction make a difference in the world? Jane wonders whether Black voices in publishing is a trend or a movement. Then, Jane considers what authors earn from digital lending at libraries. Jane Friedman

Shaelin helps you draft a short story. Reedsy

Following up on her last instalment on planting bugs, Piper Bayard explains how to find bugs (writing spies). Then, Kris Maze compares pros and cons of using Scrivener and Plottr for outlining. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth Spann Craig looks at the pros and cons of outlining.

Death worms: fact or fiction? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Joanna Penn and Mark Leslie Lefebvre discuss co-authoring The Relaxed Writer. The Creative Penn

Nathan Bransford explains when to get feedback on your novel. Then, Shalene Gupta reveals how to make and keep writer friends. Nathan Bransford

Richelle Lyn is challenging a genre identity crisis. Then, T.J. Torres offers some advice for committed BIPOC writers. DIY MFA

The “white trash” trope and its hidden agenda. The Take

Sofia Jeppsson clears up seven misconceptions about madness and psychosis. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five movies critics loved but audiences hated. Mythcreants

Richard Marpole says that you’re writing medieval fantasy wrong. Fantasy Faction

Kristin Nelson reveals the connection between velocity, volume, interval, and the New York Times Bestseller List. Then, Angie Hodapp reveals that genre isn’t everything and high concept isn’t king. Pub Rants

How to tell she’s definitely not a Mary Sue. The Take

All the LOLs: the hilarious dictionary of Finnish language and culture. Design You Trust

Allison Flood announces that Laura Jean McKay wins the Arthur C. Clarke Award. The Guardian

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, Aug 8-14, 2021

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Ann Marie Nieves answers your book PR and marketing questions (part 4). Then, Jim Dempsey wants you to enhance your fantasies with a dose of reality. Kathryn Craft hopes you aim for the “extra” in ordinary. Then, Kathleen McCleary says, sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug. Gwen Hernandez helps you create a series bible in Scrivener. Later in the week, Dee Willson connects the dots between research, sex, and related remedies. Writer Unboxed

Tim Hickson is killing characters. Hello, Future Me

Lori Freeland is talking location, location, location! Bring your book to life, part 2. Then, Jenny Hansen says, it’s okay to fall down. Eldred Bird contemplates coming out of hibernation. Writers in the Storm

The messy meaning of zombie stories. Like Stories of Old

Janice Hardy says, if you want a tighter point of view, ditch the filter words in your novel. Then, E.J. Wenstrom is creating creatures for speculative worlds. Ann Harth offers a nine-step plotting path to a stronger novel. Fiction University

K.M. Weiland shares three things to know about the ending of a story. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lindsay Ellis shares nine things she wished she knew before publishing her first novel.

Jane Friedman wonders, should MFA programs teach the business of writing? Then, E.J. Wenstrom explains what to know while you write dual point of view. Jane returns to show you how to harness community to build book sales and platform. Jane Friedman

Stefan Emunds examines eight elements that get readers invested in your story. Live, Write, Thrive

Shaelin Bishop explains why she’s a discovery writer. Shaelin Writes

Manuela Williams offers something for your poet’s toolbox: generate ideas and inspiration. Then, Kris Hill promotes worldbuilding using tabletop games. Tori Bovalino: genre-bending and The Devil Makes Three. Later in the week, Sarah R. Clayville shares five bad habits to quit like a champ. DIY MFA

Fire cat or fire cart? The history of Japan’s Kasha. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Marissa Graff says, don’t let excess baggage bring down your character’s plane. Then Angela Ackerman poses problems and solutions for describing a character’s emotions. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains how to come up with good comp titles for your book. Then, Christine Pride walks you through how an editor at a publisher acquires a book. Nathan Bransford

The “asexual” Asian man. The Take

Kellie Doherty introduces us to some of the mythological creatures of Alaska. Fantasy Faction

Chris Winkle: Project Hail Mary shows when flashbacks work, and when they don’t. Mythcreants

Joanna Penn offers a primer on the metaverse for authors and publishing: web 3.0, AR, VR, and the spatial web. The Creative Penn

Souvankham Thammavongsa shares her feelings about winning the Scotiabank Giller Prize. CBC’s The Next Chapter

What to call that weird thing your pet does. Merriam Webster

Megan McCluskey reveals how extortion scams and review bombing trolls turned Goodreads into many authors’ worst nightmare. Time

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 23-29, 2021

Tipsday is here! Fortify yourself for the week with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Laura Highcove wants you to use your writer’s intuition to solve a problem. Manuela Williams offers you a tool for your poet’s toolbox: line breaks. Later in the week, Ginnye Lynn Cubel helps you write a villain you love. Then, Disha Walia shares five tips to ace the art of retelling. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy helps you make sense of character wants and needs. Fiction University

Princess Weekes considers purity culture and fandom … issa mess. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland looks more closely at the flat archetype of the child in part 16 of her archetypal character arc series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Can we be heroes again? Confronting the banality of modern evil. Like Stories of Old

Tiffany Yates Martin helps you bring your stories to life with nonverbals. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four ways movement affects deep POV. Writers in the Storm

Then, on Jane Friedman’s blog, Tiffany shows you how to deepen characterization by mining your own reactions. Joe Ponepinto says, don’t tease your reader. Get to the tension and keep it rising. Jane Friedman

Getting feedback from critique partners and beta readers. Reedsy

Gwen Hernandez helps you organize your research notes in Scrivener. Then, Diana Giovinazzo is learning to writer through grief. Heather Webb: being a good literary citizen. Liz Michalski says, right-brained revisers, unite! Writer Unboxed

Nathan Bransford says, don’t start a scene without these four essential elements.

How to write effective description and imagery. Shaelin Writes

Angela Ackerman wants to know if your character has a secret. Writers Helping Writers

Kristine Kathryn Rusch presents part three of her fear-based decision-making series: TV/film.

Chris Winkle lists five common reasons stories screech to a halt. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories that suffer from muddled atmosphere. Mythcreants

Spirited Away – Why work is toxic. The Take

James Whitlock: Netflix’s Sandman has cast Death and a whole lot more of the Dreaming. Gizmodo

Evan Narcisse interviews Ta-Nahesi Coates about saying goodbye to Black Panther. Polygon

William Deresiewicz shares a report: stages of grief (what the pandemic has done to the arts). Harper’s

Emily Wenstrom explains how non-fungible tokens (NFTs) can reward authors and readers. Book Riot

Erin McCarthy introduces us to 56 delightfully unusual words for everyday things. Mental Floss

Thanks 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!

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

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