Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 20-26, 2018

You survived Monday, and that’s a good thing! Have a wee treat. Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings!

A.K. Perry explores another of James Scott Bell’s signpost scenes—the argument against transformation. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Kimmery Martin about revising your book and getting it right. DIY MFA

I shared Kate Weiland’s list last week. Great minds think alike 🙂 Lisa Cron busts five writing myths that may be holding you back. DIY MFA

Vaughn Roycroft examines his biases and tropes: warrior women, #MeToo, and one writer’s evolving sensibilities. Writer Unboxed

Liz Michalski advises you to blow it up (where it is a practice that no longer serves you). Writer Unboxed

Julie Carrick Dalton shares her thoughts on finding second life in cast-off words. I might have to try her fire brick idea some day. I’m not craft-inclined enough to try the other stuff 🙂 Writer Unboxed

Janice Hardy helps you edit your novel without feeling overwhelmed. Later in the week, she wonders, how much really needs to be in your novel’s opening line? Fiction University

K.M. Weiland offers five logical steps to grow as a writer. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn helps you find your writing community. The Creative Penn

Kristen Lamb: truth is the door between your greatest fears and your greatest self. Later in the week, Kristen shares five reasons to invest in rest (and avoid burnout).

Nathan Bransford offers a guide to literary agent etiquette.

Shawn Coyne explains how an agent figures out her pitch to publishers. Steven Pressfield

Remember that book that no one had ever heard of that shot straight to the NYT bestseller list? Well, Chris Winkle took one for the team and has some lessons from the rambling writing of Handbook for Mortals. Mythcreants

Then, Oren Ashkenaski shares seven ways to motivate a reluctant protagonist. Mythcreants

Jeanna Kadlec offers this writerly horoscope. Electric Lit

And that was tipsday. Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well, my friends.

tipsday2016

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 6-12, 2018

Here, once again, are your informal writerly learnings:

Jo Eberhardt: writers write, right? Writer Unboxed

Keith Cronin writes a thought-provoking post for Writer Unboxed: when a bad person makes good art. I’ve struggled with this issue myself and there are no easy answers, at least none that satisfy both my need for social justice and my need for quality art to consume.

Related: Another popular and powerful artist proves he can’t even be a decent human being. MIT to investigate allegations of bullying and unwanted sexual contact against Junot Diaz. MassLive

Juliet Marillier examines the angsty writer. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft helps you compose your protagonist’s “I want” song. Writer Unboxed

Grace Wynter offers some tips for creating your novel’s soundtrack. Writer Unboxed

Nina Munteanu wonders, how do you know your story’s finished?

K.M. Weiland returns to her most common writing mistakes series with part 64: POV problems. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenna Moreci reviews the pros and cons of traditional publishing (and busts a few myths).

 

Then, Jenna lists the biggest mistakes writers make.

 

Susan DeFreitas: what it really takes to break through with your first book deal. Jane Friedman

Penny Sansevieri offers six reasons to relaunch your book (in the age of the reboot). Jane Friedman

September C. Fawkes explains how to convey an established relationship quickly. Writers Helping Writers

Becca Puglisi is choosing the right details. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford shares everything writers need to know about pitching their books.

Emily Wenstrom explains what authors should know about Facebook’s “meaningful interactions” update. DIY MFA

Robin Lovett lists seven reasons why being unpublished is hard. You’re preaching to the choir, here, Robin 🙂 DIY MFA

Julie Glover explains when action isn’t a good thing in your novel. Writers in the Storm

Shawn Coyne gives us an insider’s look into the acquisition process: how literary agents target acquisitions editors. Steven Pressfield

Joanna Penn helps you manage stress, anxiety, and burnout. The Creative Penn

Chris Winkle discusses five types of disastrous reveals. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb looks at a trademark issue that hit publishing news this week. Cocky blocked: how to nuke your brand from orbit.

Jami Gold: why we all need a writing community.

And that was Tipsday.

Be well until thoughty Thursday. *waves*

tipsday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 24-30, 2016

Yummy, soul-feeding stuff this week.

The first post of the week for K.M. Weiland was intensely personal. It was also inspirational. It was exactly what I needed to read as the world around me seems to be falling to pieces (though that’s more apparent in my Thoughty Thursday curation posts, of late). Read it, my writerly friends, and take heart. This is why we write: five reasons why writing is important to the world. Later in the week she cautions us: don’t make this mistake with story structure.

Bonnie Randall guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. Once more with feeling: writing emotionally strong characters.

Chris Winkle offers five ways to restore tension in your novel. Mythcreants.

Two of my favourite writerly women: Joanna Penn interviews Roz Morris for the Creative Penn podcast. Finding your author voice.

Katharine Britton guest posts on Writer Unboxed. On the road to a first draft: when you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.

Marcy Kennedy is back with part four of her reading as a writer series.

Kelly Harms: writing a book takes how long, now? Writers in the Storm.

Jami Gold shares more lessons learned from her recent RWA conference. Do you belong, or are you a fraud?

Shawn Coyne wonders if good enough is good enough . . . This post was a bit controversial for a friend. Yes, we need mentors; we need editors. I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with learning through experimentation, practice, and study, however. The idea that writers aren’t good enough, that they can’t be good enough without the intervention of others can result in sensitive creatives believing that they are inherently worthless. Or, it can result in the following problems, which can be just as bad . . . Just sayin’.

Karen Woodward encourages us to let go of perfectionism.

Kristen Lamb explores stress and burnout . . . and how to get your writerly mojo back.

Heather Webb has some advice on what to do when you feel like you’re treading water. Writer Unboxed.

Kameron Hurley: the wisdom of the grind.

Jane Friedman offers a definition of author platform.

Constance Renfrow writes about the do’s and don’ts of query letters. DIYMFA. AND . . . I had the opportunity to guest post on DIYMFA thanks to my participation in Gabriela’s Street Team! Five things I’ve learned from being on the DIYMFA Street Team.

Camille DeAngelis says that having her book go out of print was a pretty great thing, after all. Publishers Weekly.

Lynn Neary: can serialized fiction turn binge watchers into binge readers? NPR.

Sudburian Matthew Heiti wins the Carter v. Cooper competition! The Northern Life.

Working girls: the Bröntes. Elizabeth Hardwick for The New York Review of Books.

Alex Kulaev for BookBaby: The Jungle Book is a beautiful film with flawed storytelling.

Orange is the New Black’s Samira Wiley joins the cast of Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Amy McNeill for The National Post.

Katherine Trendacosta thinks Christophe Gans’ La Belle et La Bête (Beauty and the Beast) is the most beautiful thing she’s seen in ages. i09

We are not things: shining examples of women’s autonomy in science fiction. Delia Harrington for The MarySue.

Babylon 5’s Jerry Doyle dies at the age of 60. Sadness 😦 James Whitbrook for i09.

And that was your informal writerly learnings for the week.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Ad Astra 2016, day 2: Common mistakes from an editor’s perspective

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that needs correction or clarification, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com

Panellists: Dominik Parisien, Linda Poitevin, Nina Munteanu

MostCommonMistakes

With this session, I chose a different approach. There was a lot of discussion and insight, with examples from various editing projects, none of which I was able to capture effectively on the page. The editors focused on the three parts of a story, the beginning, middle, and end, and, interestingly enough, they discussed three main problems with each part of a story.

As a result, this is a very point-form summary of the main points of the panel.

So here’s the description of the panel from the program:

Whether it’s easy-to-correct grammatical errors or awkward sentence structure, or more complex issues related to characterization, plot, or research, in this panel you’ll hear real editors share the most common mistakes that they see new or inexperienced writers make and tips on how to avoid them. They’ll tell you the things they encounter that have a simple fix, but also the things they encounter that are warning signs of larger problems.

Problems with beginnings

  • Not starting in the right place. Too early (prologues/backstory) or too late (character in danger immediately/no reader investment).
  • Not hooking the reader. If the reader puts the book down, you’re done before you’ve even gotten started.
  • Not having a distinctive, crisp voice.

Mel’s note: Most of these problems can only be solved by experience, either the author’s own, gained through practice, or by leveraging the experience of others, with the help of good critique partners/beta readers/freelance editor.

Problems with middles

  • Solving the character’s problem too early in the narrative. The story ends when the character achieves their goal.
  • Not knowing the story you’re telling/theme.
  • Presenting event after event to get the character from point A (the beginning) to point B (the end).

Mel’s note: Points two and three are related. If you don’t have a handle on your story and its theme, you’re most often going to end up with a series of unrelated events. My recommendation: read Steven Pressfield’s blog and books, and read to Shawn Coyne’s (Steven’s editor) Story Grid book and blog (and now podcast with Tim Grahl—excellent).

Problems with endings

  • Not ending (!).
  • Setting up for a series when the novel is a standalone, or failing to set up for another book when it’s a series.
  • No payoff for the reader/unsatisfactory ending.

Mel’s note: Begin with the ending in mind, even if you’re a die-hard pantser. Endings are torture if you’ve given them no thought until you get there and you’ll likely finish your draft with a hefty case of post-partum depression. Also, one of your editing exercises should be to ‘reverse engineer’ your story from the ending back to the beginning. You can see where important bits of foreshadowing need to be.

And that is my final entry in Ad Astra 2016 reportage. There were readings and launches and the Guest of Honour Brunch, but I wanted to enjoy those rather than record notes on them 😉

See you on Tipsday!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 24-30, 2016

Another lovely batch of writerly goodness for you!

First some Sudbury poet laureate news 🙂

Adriana Nicolucci interviews Kim Fahner for Our Crater.

More poet laureate goodness: it’s been a busy week at Sudbury’s libraries. Jessica Watts for The Sudbury Star.


K.M. Weiland asks, do you have a writing superpower (and why you shouldn’t)? Helping writers become authors. Later in the week, she helps us understand how to write scenes your readers will rave about.

Roz Morris shares tips on how to blend a parallel, allegorical fantasy plot into your novel. Nail Your Novel.

Bonnie Randall guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: battling the block.

Marcy Kennedy returns with part two of her reading like a writer mini-series.

Chuck Wendig: What I’d like to say to young writers, part two.

Leanna Renee Hieber guest posts on Terribleminds: what to do when the bottom drops out.

James Scott Bell guest posts on Writer Unboxed: how to weave a message without pummelling your readers.

Steven Pressfield: I can’t squeeze my theme in! My favourite bit: “This is why writing (or the pursuit of any art) is, to me, a spiritual enterprise. It’s an endeavor of the soul. The stories we write, if we’re working truly, are messages in a bottle from our Self to our self, from our Unconscious/Divine Ground/Muse to our struggling, fallible, everyday selves.”

Later in the week, Shawn Coyne posts this: the designated driver. I’ve been listening to The Story Grid podcast and Tim Grahl has just finished his first draft.

Nina Munteanu explores the writer-editor relationship: editors preparing writers.

Stephen Stratford writes an essay on the dark arts of editing for The Spinoff.

Query Shark Janet Reid sounds off on why you should avoid querying services.

Author brands: Which kind of influencer are you? Carly Watters.

Martha Alderson guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog and shows us how to use a plot planner.

Jami Gold looks at brain science from the perspective of how we, as writers, imagine.

I may have shared this before, but it’s a good article: how stories change the brain. Paul J. Zak for Greater Good.

This is long as heck, but Tor.com covers (almost) all the science fiction and fantasy adaptations in production and already on the air.

Charlie Jane Anders explores the moment when science fiction diverged from competence porn. i09.

Cassandra Clare created a fantasy realm and aims to maintain her rule. Penelope Green for The New York Times.

The secrets of medieval fonts. Medieval Books.

David Tennant as Puck. Just ‘cause it’s Shakespeare’s 400th 🙂

Shakespeare is dead: six hot takes. Literary Hub.

Rob Brydon shares Shakespearean phrases in everyday use.

 

The Doctor’s Long Story, a fan video with heart. Radio Times.

John Boyega and James MacAvoy to voice Netflix’s Watership Down. Comic Book Resources.

Nathan Fillion joins the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, with more than just a prosthetic-covered cameo. Peoples Choice.

Electric Lit shares an infographic that explains the real history behind Game of Thrones.

Sarah Mesle reviews the first episode of season six for the LA Review of Books.

Until Thursday, be well.

Tipsday

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

K.M. Weiland introduces the Story Structure Database, and excellent new resource for writers. You can contribute to it, too!

Roz Morris shares how writer’s block became an opportunity.

Anne R. Allen shares ten social marketing no-no’s.

Jamie Raintree shares her experience in finding her agent on Thinking through our fingers.

Shawn Coyne explains his second draft that is not a draft theory on Steven Pressfield’s blog.

Janice Hardy’s month-long revision workshop continues with day 15: clean up description and stage direction.

Christine Frazier offers lessons for writers from her analysis of The Dark Knight. The Better Novel Project.

Porter Anderson offers Amish Tripathi’s Shiva series for our consideration on Writer Unboxed.

The series of representation on SFF guest posts on Jim C. Hines’s blog continues with Sarah Chorn’s discussion of disability in SFF.

Need some visual inspiration? Here’s the Fantastical Women site featuring lots of fantasy art by women artists. Gorgeous!

Canva shares this list of 40 books on creativity. When I die, I suspect it will be because I was crushed by my pile of unread books (!)

18 perfect short stories. i09.

Fast Company presents an infographic on banned books and some of the reasons they were banned.

SF Signal interviews Tanya Huff.

Lightspeed interviews Patrick Rothfuss.

What happens when a fundamentalist Christian marries an atheist author? Sally McBride guest posts on WarpWorld.

Now there are some consumable readables! Nom-a-nom-a-nom . . .

See you Thursday!

Tipsday