Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 16-22, 2017

This will be my last Tipsday for a few weeks, but it’s a good ‘un 😉

K.M. Weiland delves into writing voice and the six things you need to know to improve it. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sacha Black visits Writers Helping Writers: myths and misconceptions of villains and mental health.

Then, Dario Ciriello drops by to discuss plotting for pantsers. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series with developing your characters. Fiction University

Jerry Jenkins stops by the BookBaby blog: become a demanding self-editor.

Annie Neugebauer explains why thought triggers are the Chekov’s gun of writing tricks. Writer Unboxed

Louie Cronin: stupid advice I have taken about writing. Writer Unboxed

Orly Konig Lopez: the shifting priorities of your writing career. Writers in the Storm

G. Myrthil: when life throws your writing routine off balance, remember these three things. DIY MFA

Linda Bernadette Burgess shares five things to remember when your manuscript hits close to home. DIY MFA

Oren Ashkenazi lists five magic items that break their stories. Mythcreants

Joanna Penn interviews Jeff Goins on the Creative Penn podcast.

Frank Miniter offers a no nonsense guide to marketing your book. Forbes

Kim Fahner talks about the Raining Poetry Project on CBC’s Morning North.

Nicole Brewer speaks of the influence of Anakana Schofield and Miriam Toews. Many Gendered Mothers

Constance Grady rereads Jane Austin’s most romantic scene: “I am half agony, half hope.” Vox

Christina DesMarais lists 43 embarrassing grammar errors even smart people make. Inc.

The 2017 Sunburst Award Shortlist.

Liz Bourke, Sleeps with Monsters: stop erasing women’s presence in SFF. Tor.com

Nikki Vanry lists five SFF novels with badass middle aged heroines. Book Riot

Hillary Kelly: our biggest questions after the Game of Thrones season 7 premiere. The Vulture

Eeeeeee! Emily Asher-Perrin announces the 13th Doctor! Tor.com

And moar eeeee! Leah Schnelbach shares the thrilling new trailer for Stranger Things 2. Tor.com

So much good stuff is coming out of SDCC 🙂 Germaine Lussier shares the latest Thor: Ragnarok trailer. i09

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Until then, be well.

tipsday2016

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 4-10, 2017

It’s another week chock full of informal writerly learnings!

K.M. Weiland wonders, are you a writer, or a storyteller? Helping Writers Become Authors

Julia Fierro guest posts on Writer Unboxed. The three tiers of point of view technique: observation, interpretation, and imagination.

Gwendolyn Womack also stops by Writer Unboxed to write about intuition and writing: what happens next?

Kathryn Craft: early hints of backstory. How to work backstory into your story from the first line. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie explores mind to muscle focus (self-awareness) for writers. Writer Unboxed

Sara Letourneau shares part ten of her developing themes in your stories series: the act II crisis. DIY MFA

G. Myrthil teaches SCBWI conference 101. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira shares her experience at this year’s Book Expo for DIY MFA radio.

Dawn Field shares five ways to improve your verbal imagery. DIY MFA

K. Tempest Bradford writes about WisCon and who is allowed to feel welcome (hint: it’s everyone).

Janice Hardy helps us shift between drafting and editing. Fiction University

Later in the week, Janice wonders, how many settings does your novel need? Fiction University

James Scott Bell explains how to let your characters live and breathe. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold explores Wonder Woman as the essence of a strong female character. [For moar Wondy, see below!]

Sonja Yoerg guest posts on Writer’s Digest: how to treat mentally ill characters in your novels.

Fae Rowan lists eleven writers’ survival tools. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle examines the four critical elements that make stories popular. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb shows us how to remain calm when it all goes pear-shaped.

Tanya Huff shares her experience writing a series: what goes around, shoots back. Unbound Worlds

Jenna Moreci shares her self-editing process:

 

Elise Holland visits Jane Friedman’s blog to offer advice on the perfect cover letter.

Nathan Bransford offers a brief but comprehensive guide on how to research literary agents. Later in the week Rachel Stout visits Nathan’s blog to talk about personalizing your query.

Joanna Penn interviews Orna Ross on the Creative Penn podcast.

Kameron Hurley posts about carrying the weight of the world.

Kate Laity explores Finnish folklore: Louhi, the witch of the north. Folklore Thursday

Nathan Gelgud: how George Orwell’s 1984 almost didn’t get published. Signature

Mary Hines interviews Margaret Atwood on how religion influences utopias and dystopias. CBC’s Tapestry.

Wonder Woman takes over Tipsday:

Charles Pulliam-Moore shares the epic Black Panther teaser trailer. i09

And with that, I shall leave you until Thoughty Thursday!

Be well until then, my friends.

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 1-7, 2017

Welcome to your informal writely learnings of the week 🙂

K.M. Weiland continues her common writing mistakes series with part 55: beginning your story too late. Helping Writers Become Authors

Immerse yourself in POV with Donald Maass. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle helps you choose your perspective. Mythcreants

Do you work on your stories character first, or worldbuilding first? Jo Eberhardt says it really doesn’t matter. Writer Unboxed

Zara Quentin guest posts on Fiction University: how to build a world (and why), an evolutionary approach.

Chuck Wendig encourages us to write despite. Terribleminds

Kristen Lamb gives ‘em hell: NYC gooood, self-pub baaaaad. It’s an author animal farm out there!

Janice Hardy guest posts on Writers in the Storm: how bad times and new starts affect our writing.

Writing coach C.S. Lakin offers some tips for weaving romance into your novel. Writers Helping Writers

Blake Atwood shares ten easy ways to self-edit your novel. The Write Life

Gabriela Pereira interviews Alexia Vernon on the art of public speaking for DIYMFA radio.

Joe Fassler compiles the best writing advice of 2016. The Atlantic

Glenn Leibowitz recommends the one book you must read to become a better writer. Inc.

Terri Windling muses upon a parliament of owls. Myth & Moor

Jessica Stillman lists the most misused words according to Daniel Pinker. Inc.

Libby Coleman examines Ken Liu’s body of work so far. Ozy

Cheryl Eddy shares a list of January’s must-read science fiction and fantasy. i09

I’m so excited! James Whitbrook gives us a first look at the live action Fullmetal Alchemist movie (!) i09

Connie Verzak has some fun with the animals of Outlander for her 2017 resolutions. The Daily Record

Beth Elderkin (I lurve her name, don’t you?) shares The Handmaid’s Tale teaser on i09.

I sincerely hope you found something you wanted to learn about among this week’s offerings.

If you’re interested in writerly inspiration, come back on thoughty Thursday to get your mental corn a-poppin’!

Be well until then!

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 27, 2015-Jan 2, 2016

Not off to a raging start in 2016. I have a feeling that there’s lots of Writerly Goodness yet to come, though.

K.M. Weiland shares her five step plan to analyze your favourite books (A.K.A. read like a writer).

And here are five ways Katie says will help you make better writing resolutions in 2016.

Jami Gold talks story beginnings.

Oren Ashkenazi shares six overused tropes and how to avoid them. Mythcreants.

And he returns with six clichés to watch out for. Mythcreants.

The ten self-editing mistakes writers make and how to fix them. These are some excellent pointers 🙂 Cathy Presland for Author Unlimited.

Emergence and depression: an interview with Charlotte Ashley.

Jane Friedman offers five industry issues for writers to watch in 2016.

If you’ve seen SW:TFA, you may remember that island where Ray finds you-know-who at the end. Guess what? It’s a real place: Skellig Michael, in Ireland. Irish Central.

Though Seth Abramson say he loved the film, he still found 40 ‘unforgivable’ plot holes in SW:TFA. BEWARE: HERE BE SPOILERS. The Huffington Post.

See you on Thursday for a wee (and I mean wee) bit of thoughty.

Tipsday

Ad Astra 2015 day 2: Put the pen down and back away slowly

Editing your work

Quick note: My apologies. Last week I mentioned that I would be getting uncanny, but I realized (only today when I opened my notebook) that the panel on the new weird, speculative fiction, and uncanny literature was one that I sat back and enjoyed rather than taking copious notes. I guess I needed a bit of a break (!)

In any case, I did take notes on the self-editing panel. And here they are 🙂

Panellists: Julie Czerneda, Anne Bishop, Monica Pacheco, Kelley Armstrong

Self-editing panel

AB: I used to write a scene because I wanted to follow the path for the story. Now, if I know a scene will likely be cut, I can run through it in my mind without writing it.

MP: Do you edit as you write?

KA: If I edit as I go, I’ll never finish. My first drafts are quick and dirty. The faster, the better.

JC: I just finished two fantasies, two literally, sweeping epics. Now I’m writing science fiction, so I find it easier to write to a word count goal. Still, I like to write quick and dirty, though.

AB: I write my first draft to tell me what the story’s about often. Anything goes at this stage and I use a strange font. It tends to free me up.

MP: Where do you start?

JC: If something is bothering me, I’ll deal with it right away. If it can be left until I edit, I leave myself a signal in the text. I use “OOO” so it’s sure to stand out.

AB: I used to be comfortable making notes outside the document, in a separate notebook. Now I write notes inside the document in different colours.

JC: My computer has defaulted to Canadian English and now I have to make a special pass just for that.

KA: As I write, I can flag what needs work. I use Scrivener.

MP: Are you harder on your work than an editor?

KA: Yes. I’m my own worst critic. Working with a great editor teaches you a lot, though.

JC: How do we know when to stop?

KA: When the publisher rips it away from you. We do the best we can in the time we have.

AB: I learn from the audio book version of my novels. Where do I need dialogue tags and where can I use an action beat or piece of description?

JC: I learn the most from my editor’s comments. Sheila doesn’t give me any praise, just notes of what to work on.

KA: If you’re critiquing, you have to be positive.

MP: You have to be careful not to crush spirits.

JC: You have to recognize the good in your work. It was a triumph when Sheila called me up in the middle of the night just to tell me she’d cried twice while reading my manuscript. Because she’s not big on praise, I knew I’d nailed it.

AB: You don’t want to edit the heart out of your story, either.

Q: What’s your editing process?

AB: I print it out, read through it, and make notes by hand.

KA: I put my first draft aside for at least two months while I work on something else. I print it out and mark everything up with a red pen from page one.

JC: I also print it out and edit my drafts by hand, but I like to edit in a separate place from where I drafted.

Q: What do you do about editorial comments you don’t agree with?

AB: My editors know I’m fragile. Most of the time, I can come around to seeing things their way, but it I can’t, I find I have to express why I think the scene or line is essential to the story. If I can offer a cogent explanation, the editors come around to seeing things my way.

KA: The majority of the editors I’ve worked with are great. I know them and what they want to see. We’ve developed a relationship. Some are dead wrong, though. You have to be willing to defend your work.

________________________________________________________________________

And that was time.

I learned a lot from these writerly women. I hope you did, too 🙂

My Next Chapter update and another Sundog snippet will have to wait on tomorrow. I have a retirement party to get ready for (!) Not mine (I wish), but two lovely ladies from the BEA hive at work. I’m the comic relief O.o

WWC 2014, Day 1: Doctor your book with Randy McCharles

randymccharlesRandy McCharles is active in Calgary, Alberta’s writing community with a focus on speculative fiction, usually of the wickedly humorous variety, with short stories and novellas available from Edge SF&F Publishing, House of Anansi, and Reality Skimming Press. He is the recipient of several Aurora Awards (Canada’s most prestigious award for speculative fiction) and is short-listed in three categories for the upcoming 2014 Awards. In 2013, his short story Ghost-B-Gone Incorporated won the House of Anansi 7-day Ghost Story Contest. Randy’s first Tyche Books publication, Much Ado About Macbeth, will be available in August 2015.

In addition to writing, Randy chairs the award-winning When Words Collide Festival for Readers and Writers as well as organizing various reading and craft events for writers.


 

As writers, we love our literary children. We are also our own worst critics. We need to find a middle ground, an objective perspective. A peer review or critique groups can be of great value in this respect.

When we write, we see the story in our heads so clearly we may forget to put it all down on paper. We need to learn how to doctor our work.

Self-publishing is another reason. Learning to edit your work can help save costs.

The less work an editor has to do, the better. Also, cheaper. (Mel’s note: even if you think that your work is well-edited, a professional editor will always be able to identify further corrections, whether substantive, copy, or line editing. Also, many freelance editors charge by page or words, so you won’t necessarily save any money if you have 75k well-edited words, or 75k poorly edited ones. With an editor who charges by hour, you might do better.)

Theme will help you keep on track.

Then ensued much discussion regarding the relative merits of David Brin’s The Postman and Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, both books and movies.

Many inexperienced writers choose the wrong place to start the story. Too soon and unimportant events won’t capture your reader’s attention. Too late and the reader won’t be engaged by your character, or you’ll find yourself explaining—telling—events that have just happened. That’s a tell-tale sign you’ve started too late.

Aim for in media res, but don’t misunderstand the technique. Too much action can confuse the reader. Give the reader a reason to care.

Try not to be “married to the line,” that is, if you think you have to start in a particular place because you’ve come up with the “perfect” line, that line may be one of the darlings you have to kill. You have to be willing to set it aside to find the true beginning of your novel.

Other issues are genre-specific. In fantasy or science fiction, you may spend too much time on worldbuilding or on backstory. Sometimes chapter one is just a distraction and your real story starts in chapter two or even three.

Some opening scenes are missing the hook, that story question that will propel the reader through the novel. New York Times Bestselling Authors (NYTBSAs) can get away with this, but not the first time author.

You may also be missing scenes. This comes from writing “in your head” too much.

Unnecessary scenes may be a sign of too much thinking on the page, on the other hand.

We talk about wearing your writer’s hat and your editor’s hat, but what’s missing from the equation is the reader’s hat.