Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Aug 29-Sept 4, 2021

Welcome to another week of informal writerly learnings! Notice the change in the title of this curation. After years of writerly goodness found on the interwebz, I thought it was time for a change.

Yuvi Zalkow writes his acknowledgements. Then, Tom Bentley considers purple prose and the word surgeon’s scalpel. Donald Maass is creating character safety zones. Then, Grace Wynter interviews Yasmin Angoe—just one more thing. Liza Nash Taylor shares some event tips ‘n’ tricks for the vain, shallow, and/or insecure. Writer Unboxed

Loki, the MCU, and narcissism. Lindsay Ellis

K.M. Weiland indicates the six archetypal antagonists for each of the six archetypal character arcs. Helping Writers Become Authors

Savannah Cordova explains why reading short fiction is the best thing you can do for your writing. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Main character syndrome: why you should be self-centred. The Take

September C. Fawkes takes a closer look at person vs. fate conflict. Then, Angela Ackerman recommends you tap this powerful source if your story needs more conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Anita Ramirez has a finished manuscript—now what? Angela Yeh: chasing my muse. Cheryl Grey Bostrom says that tone of voice is more than personality. Then, Kim Catanzarite shares five ways to turn your plot into a page-turner. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy lists five ways your story hurts your novel. Then, James R. Preston shares his thoughts about point of view: myth vs. reality. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin Bishop shows you how to structure your book without an outline. Shaelin Writes

Chris Winkle wonders, how can writers make description evocative? Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at five villains with contrived wins. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb challenges you to pitch your entire story in one sentence with a log line.

Shanna Swendson wants you to try these tricks if you’re struggling with writer burnout. Fiction University

Black Swan: a cautionary tale about perfectionism. The Take

Jane Friedman likes Substack, but the PR is getting ridiculous.

Jessica Singer: BookTok’s novel approach to books is helping Canadian authors and retailers reach new audiences. CBC Books

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, 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, Jan 31-Feb 6, 2021

You’ve made it through Monday. Wednesday/humpday is just around the corner. Fortify yourselves with some informal writerly learnings.

Lauren J. Sharkey shares her experience with the negative balance of writing. And here’s my latest Speculations: The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger.  DIY MFA

The fabulous and flirty fight of The Mask of Zorro. Jill Bearup

Greer Macallister bemoans all the things she doesn’t know (about publishing). Sophie Masson explains how to celebrate new releases. Donald Maass wants you to consider hopes and fears in fiction. Later in the week, Rheea Mukherjee is writing real. Writer Unboxed

Race-baiting, queer-baiting, colorism, featurism, and performative diversity in Bridgerton. | Khadija Mbowe

K.M. Weiland offers an introduction to archetypal stories. Helping Writers Become Authors

J.D. Lasica: do stories have a universal shape? Jane Friedman

Emily Zarka introduces us to the werehyena, the terrifying shapeshifters of African Lore. Monstrum | PBS Storied

September C. Fawkes lists the eight points of progress. Then, Becca Puglisi provides an author’s guide to redeeming villains. Writers Helping Writers

The Take explains why we root for Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne.

Janice Hardy shares three steps to grounding your reader in your story world. Later in the week, Janice explains how the opening scene works in a novel. Fiction University

The hipster trope, explained. The Take

Kris Maze helps you sort fact from fiction: “flow” improves the writing life. Writers in the Storm

The magic of childhood in My Neighbour Totoro. Tale Foundry

Chris Winkle explains how to get readers to feel those emotional twists. Then, Kellie Doherty lists six ways to make fantasy travel more interesting. Mythcreants

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you found something to help with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 9-15, 2020

Welcome to another week of informal writerly learnings.

Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until all Black and Indigenous lives matter. Truth.

Dr. Tam has stated that we should prepare for a second wave of infection in the fall and that we’ll probably be living with covid until 2022 (at least). And young people have been out partying without health precautions in the hundreds in BC.

Children and youth have been getting sick more often, and now they’ve confirmed that young people are more likely to be asymptomatic carriers. Provincially, there has been additional money given to school boards to improve HVAC systems and hire more teachers, but, you know, too little, too late. How do they expect all this work to be accomplished in two and a half weeks (and less, for some school boards)?

There are times that being right makes you sad.

I hope the following shores you up.

K.M. Weiland demonstrates four ways to write sequel scenes that grip readers. Helping Writers Become Authors

Laura Highcove helps you develop your awareness. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood discusses diversity in kidlit: better isn’t enough. Later in the week, Sara Farmer interviews Silvia Moreno-Garcia. DIY MFA

The deeper meaning of time travel stories, explained. The Take

Randy Susan Meyers says that if you’re terrified about writing your novel, that’s excellent! Then, Barbara Linn Probst wants you to begin at the beginning … or maybe not. Kathryn Craft introduces us to hook and inciting incident, the power couple of “must read now!” David Corbett explores identity, authenticity, relationships, and our characters. Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes considers what makes good queer representation in 2020. Melina Pendulum

Bi-sexuality stories on screen. The Take

Laurence MacNaughton lists six crucial character relationships. Then, Janice Hardy explains why you shouldn’t edit as you go (for the companion post, why you should, click through). Fiction University

September C. Fawkes shares six tricks to layer on stakes. Later in the week, Chrys Fey answers the question: what is writer’s burnout? Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford offers some tips for non-linear narratives.

Leigh Cheak has some Post-It note tips for plotters and pantsers. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson answers eight questions about deep point of view. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle lists five common problems with metaphors. Then Oren Ashkenazi considers six consequences of poorly thought-out magic systems. Mythcreants

Roger Kruez: what irony is not. The MIT Press Reader

Robert J. Sawyer: we’re all living in a science fiction novel now. The Toronto Star

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 24-30, 2020

Welcome to June! However you’ve been weathering the pandemic, I hope you’re keeping safe and well. It’s time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

But first, my brief weekly update.

#Pandemiclife continues, and I’ve heard some confirmation that my employer will keep up to 90% of staff working from home. So, I’m here for the long haul, as expected. I’m also just coming off two weeks of virtual training and entering into two more. In recent years, training of any kind has exhausted me. Virtual training brings its own complications. Still, I seem to be doing a decent job. The feedback has been positive, in any case.

The added distress of violence against people of colour here in Canada and in the US is depressing. It’s reprehensible and I keep hoping—naively—that we’ve grown past such hateful conflicts. My faith in the human race is crumbling.

Here are some good words from some good people (we can take some comfort in that):

Abigail K. Perry demonstrates a Story Grid scene analysis of Giver of Stars. Then, Brenda Joyce Patterson promotes writing small in viral times. Later in the week, Sacha Black shares five ways to improve your description. DIY MFA

Sacha Black drops by Writers Helping Writers, too: three ways to differentiate your characters.

Shaelin explains how to discovery write your novel. Reedsy

Laurie Schnebly Campbell considers the pros and cons of writing a series. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson offers three exercises to help you dive deeper into character emotions. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland devotes this week’s post and podcast to an editing Q&A. Helping Writers Become Authors

How to stay motivated as a writer. Reedsy

September C. Fawkes stops by Elizabeth Spann Craig’s blog: how to write subtext.

Jessi Rita Hoffman discusses the problem of self-conscious writing: do you torture your metaphors? Jane Friedman

Janice Hardy shares a handy checklist to strengthen the narrative drive in your scenes. Then, Swati Teerdhala explains when to tell rather than show. It’s such a delicate balance! Fiction University

Robin LaFevers wants you to break through writer’s block. Writer Unboxed

Jenna Moreci helps you set the scene.

Jami Gold: what do readers want from a story’s POV? Then, she explains that word choice is about more that picking the right word.

Chris Winkle shares six character archetypes for love interests. Oren Ashkenazi facetiously lists seven reasons it’s definitely okay to ignore storytelling rules. Mythcreants

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

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

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 10-16, 2020

Welcome to week nine of #pandemiclife.

Here in Ontario, the Premiere has authorized some businesses to reopen. Street-facing retail stores that can deliver curb-side service. Veterinarians, groomers, and pet boarding businesses. Essential-adjacent health support services. My mother-in-law will be able to get her housekeeper back—physically distanced, of course. And golf courses. And cottage country (which really doesn’t want to be open, from what I’ve been hearing).

Will we have another spike? Will we have to dial back? I’m maintaining the status quo. Kind of. I’ll be delivering virtual training over the next couple weeks. It’s going to be interesting. And … I’ve already been asked to deliver the next session, which is pretty much back to back, because there aren’t enough trainers who are comfortable with the platform, or even virtual training, to spread out the burden.

There are apparently five such courses to be delivered between now and September. I hesitate to be on the hook for all of them. But this may be my work life, moving forward.

I’ll keep you updated.

In the meantime, please enjoy some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland uses a brave critique volunteer’s work to discuss seven possible hooks for your opening chapter. Helping Writers Become Authors

K.B. Jensen explains how to throw a virtual book launch using Facebook Live. Then, Chantel Hamilton provides a comprehensive guide to finding, hiring, and working with an editor. Jane Friedman

Shaelin Bishop continues her series on developing a novel with part 4: form, style, and voice. Reedsy

Joanna Penn interviews Larry Brooks about how to develop strong fiction ideas. The Creative Penn

Leanne Sowul touts the power of paying attention. Later in the week, Sarah Fraser lists five signs you’re ready to work with an editor. DIY MFA

Jim Dempsey helps you decide, your words, or your editor’s? Juliet Marillier: consolation or challenge? Kathryn Craft shares eight ways to unblock your scene’s potential. Writer Unboxed

September C. Fawkes explains how plotlines add dimension. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold wonders whether breaking the rules is easy or hard.

Jenna Moreci says imposter syndrome sucks, but you don’t.

Nathan Bransford tells you everything authors need to know about dialogue tags.

Aliza Mann explains how to get back on track when all your planning fails. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb wants you to create a story-worthy problem that will captivate an audience.

How the strong black woman trope has evolved. The Take

Barbara Linn Probst lists three motivations to write: artistry, identity, and legacy. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle says, no. “Art” does not entitle you to spread harmful messages. Then, Oren Ashkenazi gets facetious with seven musts for dominating a fantasy battle. Mythcreants

Richard Marpole goes for a walk among the trees: a look at forests in myth and media. Fantasy Faction

Esther Jones: science fiction builds resilience in young readers. Phys.org

Simon Winchester: has “run” run amok? It has 645 meanings … so far. NPR

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ve taken away something to support your current work in progress (or planning/development of same).

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

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 9-15, 2020

It’s that time of the week again, time for informal writerly learnings!

Melinda VanLone offers a quick guide to image copyright issues. On Valentine’s Day, Julie Glover helps you love your writer self. Writers in the Storm

Rheea Mukherjee is writing in a time of global trauma. Jim Dempsey wants to help you create conflict in your characters. Kathryn Craft lists seven ways to overcome story implausibility. David Corbett: if not love … Writer Unboxed

Something just for fun 🙂 Shaelin shares five false writer stereotypes. Reedsy

And then, she shares five true writer stereotypes. Reedsy

Christina Kaye guest posts on Helping Writers Become Authors: four research tips for writing legal fiction.

Laurence MacMaughton offers three rules for raising story stakes. Fiction University

September C. Fawkes explains how premise plays into theme. Brandon Cornett helps you figure out when situational writing works better than plotting. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer answers this knotty question: will an editor steal my ideas? Bess McAllister explains how to make your own writer luck. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews K.S. Villoso about world building in epic fantasy. Anna Thu Nguyenova shares five tips for writing great short stories. DIY MFA

How to write heartbreak. Jenna Moreci

Nathan Bransford suggests you start with the problems before leaping to the solutions in editing.

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the purple prose of The Witcher. Mythcreants

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you’re taking away something that will help you progress in your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 18-24, 2019

Ack! We’re in the last week of August! The weather’s still holding though. I, for one, am going to extend summer for as long as I can.

Whether you’re heading back to school or work, take some time to enjoy these informal writerly learnings 🙂

Vaughn Roycroft talks story endings: happy or sad or something else? Kathleen McCleary considers the values of good fiction. Writer Unboxed

Christina Delay extolls the power of the writing tribe. Then, Jenny Hansen covers the writer hierarchy of needs. Margie Lawson wants you to strive for excellence by using what you learn. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland: how to tell if your story has too much plot, not enough character. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews Cat Rose about being a creative introvert. The Creative Penn

Roz Morris offers seven swift storytelling hacks for backstory, description, dialogue, exposition, point of view, and plot. Nail Your Novel

Victoria Mixon takes a different approach to character motivation. Then, September C. Fawkes shares four keys to a powerful denouement. Writers Helping Writers

Jenna Moreci compares static and dynamic characters.

Abigail K. Perry delves into James Scott Bell’s eleventh signpost scene: lights out. Brenda Joyce Patterson takes a deep dive into playwriting. Then Bethany Henry offers five tips for creating engaging characters. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy explains how to write a scene (and what qualifies as a scene). Fiction University

Jami Gold hopes you take a leap of faith in fiction and in life.

Oren Ashkenazi analyses seven stories with contrived character conflict. Mythcreants

William R. Leibowitz details his research for his latest novel: using facts as the base of science fiction. Writer’s Digest

Laurie Penny says, we can be heroes: how nerds are reinventing pop culture. A story about stories, fanfic, structure, the hero’s journey, and awesome. Wired

Thanks for visiting. I’ll be back on Thursday with some thoughty links for you.

Until then, be well.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 12-18, 2019

And here is your latest curation of informal writerly learnings.

Sophie Masson talks big publishers, small publishers, and contract negotiations. Jim Dempsey wants you to tune out your self-doubt. Julie Carrick Dalton praises the power of writerly kindness. Porter Anderson considers the place of place in our writing. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares five ways writers (try to) fake their way to good storytelling. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Navé and Alegra Huston stop by Jane Friedman’s blog: how to plan a book reading that delights your audience.

September C. Fawkes offers story structure in a flash. Then, Sacha Black wants you to nip and tuck your saggy middle with conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer covers the stages of editing grief. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Sam Sykes about the emotional weight of storytelling. DIY MFA

Jami Gold wonders, are you a pantser, a plotter, or something in between? Click through to the original tweet by Cheyenne A. Lepka—it’s AWESOME! Warmed this old gamer’s heart 🙂

Jenny Hansen shares Brené Brown’s top ten tips for success. Laura Drake follows up on Jenny’s column with this: dare to be vulnerable in your writing life. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle wants you to understand exploitative plots. Mythcreants

Guy Gavriel Kay offers some writing advice: don’t take writing advice. Literary Hub

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to help you with your latest creative project.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 10-16, 2019

Here we are. How is it already the third week of February? Console yourself with some informal writerly learnings *hugs*

Louise Tondeur guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: the myth of plan first and write later (or, you never only write one way).

Rheea Mukherjee joins Writer Unboxed: writing characters who are “smarter” than you.

Kathryn Craft: your story’s valentine to the world (AKA, your query, synopsis, and pages). Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland critiques a brave writer’s work to show how paragraph breaks guide the reader’s experience. Helping Writers Become Authors

September C. Fawkes says, look forward, not backward, to pull your reader in. Writers Helping Writers

Margie Lawson stops by Writers in the Storm to help you put fresh faces on the page.

Sara Letourneau offers some further reading on the theme of family. DIY MFA

Becca Puglisi visits DIY MFA: five vehicles for showing emotion.

Chris Winkle: optimizing your story ideas for stronger engagement. Then, Oren Ashkenazi reveals six mistakes that can kill a great plot. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig says, your ideas aren’t that interesting. This is less about making you feel bad than about making sure your ideas don’t take the place of, like, actual writing. Terribleminds

In honour of Valentines, Jenna Moreci offers her top ten tips for writing sex scenes. [Features discussion of sex and sexuality. Yeah. Even so, had to be said.]

 

Krista D. Ball rants: why is AUTHOR NAME taking so long to write their next book? This made me wonder if these impatient readers think they own writers? At the cost of $10 to $20 per book? Really? Gear down, people. Reddit

Later in the week, an 11:45 pm amber alert (and subsequent rescind after midnight) in Ontario resulted in a strange outcry of people who didn’t want their sleep disturbed, even after they learned that the child featured in the alert had been murdered. Seriously? Disturb me all night, every night, if it saves a life.

On that boggling note, I leave you until Thursday, when you can come back for some thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends.

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