Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, July 3-9, 2022

Summer’s finally taking hold up here in northeastern Ontario. Take a refreshing break from your hot day with some informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland shares a short post about capturing authentic human reactions in fiction. Helping Writers Become Authors

Why Stranger Things season 4 is better than ever. The Take

Yuvi Zalkow says most people don’t give a shit about your thing. Then, Susan DeFreitas explains what happens when story is medicine. Donald Maass reviews three modes of story imagination. Then, Sophie Masson considers tense and tension. David Corbett explores contradiction and character. Writer Unboxed

Um … let’s talk about The Princess. Jill Bearup

Karen DeBonis wonders, do you have a toxic productivity issue? Then, Joseph Lallo discusses the diamonds in the rough draft—writing scenes that matter. Julie Glover wonders, can a new location boost your writing productivity? Writers in the Storm

16 questions to ask while line editing. Shaelin Writes

Becca Puglisi says, if you need conflict, just let your characters talk. Then, Colleen M. Story helps you determine which is better for you—traditional or self-publishing? Writers Helping Writers

Colice Sanders is unpacking cultural appropriation. Then, Disha Walia covers trends in speculative fiction. Melissa Haas explains how to turn your indie book into an audiobook. DIY MFA

What hellhounds reveal about humans’ oldest companion. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Obligatory moments in story and genre. The action genre: how to tell an exciting life and death story. The genres of story: definition, examples, and reader expectations. Story Grid

Heather Davis poses seven questions to design a better arc of change for your protagonist. Jane Friedman

How do fairies see our world? Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin reveals how Katherine Center revises. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle helps you understand character karma. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes six sloppy character arcs in popular stories. Mythcreants

Kat Rosenfield says that sensitivity readers are the new literary gate keepers. I want to clarify one thing: this article is about the misuse/abuse of sensitivity readers by the publishing industry. There are excellent sensitivity readers out there that will help you make your representation more respectful/effective. Reason

And that was tipsday.

Thanks for stopping by. 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, May 8-14, 2022

Ah, Tuesday. My favourite day of the week, when I get to share my favourite informal writerly learnings of the week with you 🙂 Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland explains the role of the antagonist in story structure (part 2 of 2). Helping Writers Become Authors

Sophie Masson: the hardworking magic of book design. Then, Jim Dempsey considers the creativity of emotions. Juliet Marillier wants a helping hand: supporting your fellow writers. Then, Kathryn Craft gives you six hall passes for grammar un-school. David Corbett is writing wrongs: the color of my low-down, dirty vote. Yuvi Zalkow: gatekeepers and creativity. Writer Unboxed

Does this make my hammer look big? Jill Bearup

Melinda VanLone continues her book cover 101: mystery/thriller. Then, Kathleen Baldwin shares five secret ingredients for writing a killer teen novel. Later in the week, William F. Wu wonders if you’re a plotter, pantser, or … roadster? Writers in the Storm

A quick tip for outliners. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Heather Davis explains the difference between plot and story and why you need both. Anne Carley: your journal as time machine. Jane Friedman

Reading like a writer. Reedsy

Roz Morris: writers, can you feel it? How to use gut feeling to guide your writing. Nail Your Novel

Richelle Lyn shares her insights on when to formalize your business entity. Then, Amanda Polick lists 25 tips for pitching, writing, and being published in magazines. Catherine Drake explains how setting can serve as a catalyst for story. Later in the week, EC Hanes shares five ways to tell enough without telling all. DIY MFA

Ember Randall: self-defense vs. martial arts. Then, Sarah J. Sover is making magic systems stronger with science. Dan Koboldt

How Beauty and the Beast’s Belle launched the bookworm princess hero. The Take

Angela Ackerman says, if you want readers to connect with your character, include this. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin: prioritizing your life. Fox Print Editorial

The crime genre: justice and injustice; stories of mystery and intrigue. The structure genre: arch-plot, anti-plot, and mini-plot. Story Grid

Chris Winkle wants you to use your story’s premise to create novelty. Then, Oren Ashkenazi wonders how useful Pixar’s rules of storytelling are (part 1). Mythcreants

Gaslighting: narcissists and tampering with reality. Kristen Lamb

11 tips to take your short stories to the next level. Shaelin Writes

Bill Sanders: welcome to Greater Sudbury, where art comes to die. The Sudbury Star

Sudbury Theatre Centre not transparent with new direction, say critics. CBC

James Whitbrook announces that Ncuti Gatwa is Doctor Who’s new Doctor. Gizmodo

Thanks for stopping by and spending some time with me. I hope you found something to support you current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, March 13-19, 2022

You’ve survived Monday! Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

Sophie Masson helps you use varied narrative forms in your novel. Then, Dave King wonders if you’re drowning your story in imagery. Barbara Linn Probst wants you to write secondary characters with purpose and pizzaz. Porter Anderson: evil and The Age of Madness. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland: how do you know when you’re a successful author? Helping Writers Become Authors

Ellen Brock explains how to write your novel as an intuitive pantser.

Lori Freeland returns with to comma, or not to comma, part 3. Then, Lynette M. Burrows shares even more things she wishes she knew before she published (also, part 3). Eldred Bird tells a modern writing horror story. Writers in the Storm

Tim Hickson wonders if there’s any hope for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series. Hello, Future Me

Lori Walker reviews 1984 by George Orwell—in graphic novel form. Then, Stephanie BwaBwa fills your self-publishing toolkit for authorial success with writing tools. Ashley Christiano helps you beat writer’s block and plot your novel with tarot cards. Brittany Capozzi explains five ways the vagus nerve helps writers focus. DIY MFA

Shaelin explains how to write compelling secondary characters. Reedsy

Ashleigh Renard explains how to make money through social media without being an influencer. Then, Caroline Topperman helps you figure out which social media platform is the best. Jessi Rita Hoffman unpacks children’s dialogue: they don’t talk like adults. Jane Friedman

On her own channel, Shaelin shares how she works on multiple projects. Shaelin Writes

Lucy V. Hay helps you figure out if your story is a mystery, thriller, or horror. Then, Becca Puglisi recommends choosing the right job for your character. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: writing a book is a time game.

Dr. Moiya McTier explains what constellations mean to different cultures. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Story theme: definition and examples for a controlling idea. Story Grid

Chris Winkle examines six types of downward turning points. Then, Oren Ashkenazi discusses five conflicts with weak turning points, and how to fix them. Mythcreants

Angie Hodapp is zeroing in on comps (part 2). Pub Rants

This story will break your heart—The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Tale Foundry

Anna Russell enters the secret life of Beatrix Potter. The New Yorker

Erin Somers reports how editorial resignations at big houses spark reckoning. Publishers Lunch

Jonah Berger analyzes the science of blockbusters: what makes a good story? University of Pennsylvania, Wharton

Why Game of Thrones already feels dated. The Take

Allegra Hyde considers what makes a great opening line. Literary Hub

Anne Delaney unpacks filler words and floor holders: the sounds our thoughts make. JSTOR Daily

Thanks for spending some time with me, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress, whatever stage it’s at.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Jan 9-15, 2022

You’ve made it through Monday! Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings. They’re good for your writerly soul 🙂

Sophie Masson offers her first impressions on book covers. Then, Jim Dempsey considers a fusion of fiction with fact. Juliet Marillier is finding hope in the power of storytelling. Kathryn Craft: determining relevant conflict, or … the curious case of the constipated elephant. Then, David Corbett ponders distraction, focus, silence. Writer Unboxed

Teenage girl makes chaotic life choices. Jill Bearup

Allison K. Williams explains how to get your writing done when New Year’s resolutions don’t work (and they usually don’t). Then, Kayla Kauffman warns, don’t let your characters fall into the daily routine trap. Sharon Oard Warner reveals what can happen when you resolve to write a little every day. Jane Friedman

External conflict vs. internal conflict. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland reflects on the six gifts she gave herself in 2021. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman explains whether you’re languishing or flourishing how to recapture your writing mojo. Kathleen Baldwin: who are your readers and why does it matter? Then, Julie Glover wonders what you need to write regularly. Writers in the Storm

The Fates: Greek mythology’s most powerful deities. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Joanna Penn interviews William Kenower: a writer’s guide to the end of self-doubt. The Creative Penn

Sue Coletta explains how to kill your darlings: writers, get a knife. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford explains how to avoid overcorrecting after receiving feedback.

Why the Madonna-whore complex still reigns. The Take

Manuela Williams shares her must-read books on the craft of poetry. Then, Gabriela Pereira interviews Leslie Vedder about world building and character friendships in a YA fairy tale retelling. Jeanette the Writer explains how to balance fiction writing with writing for pay. Then, Soleah K. Sadge shares five ways a five-pillar foundation can help build your author brand. DIY MFA

The pandemic onscreen is … The Take

Chris Winkle explains how to keep your favourite character from ruining your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists five ways Arcane could have been better. Mythcreants

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 12-18, 2021

It’s tipsday! That means you’ve made it through Monday 🙂 Celebrate with some informal writerly learnings.

Sophie Masson is cooking up great book buzz. Then, Jim Dempsey explains how to tap into your characters’ emotions. Barbara Linn Probst wants you to go beyond description with story-relevant aspects of setting. Then, Matthew Norman shares the best writing advice he’s ever gotten. Kelsey Allagood says, active protagonists are tools of the patriarchy. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland looks at the archetypal antagonists for the hero arc: the dragon and the sick king. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shang Chi: I can see clearly now … Jill Bearup

Jennie Nash asks, why write this book? Then, Anna David explains why and how she got her rights back from HarperCollins. Jane Friedman

Eldred Bird: everything has a story. Then, Piper Bayard explains how to bug a room (writing spies). Jenny Hansen: what if my [insert person] reads this? Writers in the Storm

John Kerr lists five story structures to use in your writing. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Kellie Doherty introduces us to some autumn deities. Fantasy Faction

How do we criticize our own? (Also, stop calling Lizzo a mammy.) Melina Pendulum

Jami Gold: if your story’s not behaving, try going deeper into structure. Then, Christina Kaye lists the three things you should consider before choosing your fiction genre. Writers Helping Writers

Olivia Fisher recounts her long road to becoming a freelance editor, part 1. And here’s my latest Speculations: one author’s journey on the autism spectrum. Sonia Hartl explains the importance of friendships in YA. Then, Kanh Ha shares five tips on writing fiction. DIY MFA

The Oedipus Complex: Film and TV’s Freudian obsession. The Take

Kristen Lamb considers types of plot twists and why they’re amazing for stories.

Christine Pride explains how a book goes from acquisitions to books store shelves. Nathan Bransford

Chris Winkle explains why you shouldn’t write a masterpiece. Then, Oren Ashkenazi scores WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki on engagement. Mythcreants

Susanna Clarke: I’d really ceased to think of myself as a writer. The Guardian

5X15 presents Neil Gaiman and Susanna Clarke.

Beth Cato: shared pain. Nature

James Whitbrook: Marvel’s Eternals star, Lauren Ridloff, wants movie theatres to be more accessible for everyone. Gizmodo

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. 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, July 4-10, 2021

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Lauren J. Sharkey shares some advice about investments and returns. Then, Adam Burgess wonders if there’s a genre best suited to LGBTQ+ stories (and why it’s historical fiction). Gabriela Pereira interviews Emily R. King about fantasy inspired by Greek mythology. Later in the week, Aaron Poochigian shares a day in the life of a full-time poet. Then, Indiana Lee suggests five alternative tips to boost creativity for writers. DIY MFA

Jill Bearup tested corsets vs. knives (for science!)

Sophie Masson considers physical journeys in fiction. Then, Sarah Penner shares a pre-launch playbook for debut authors. Donald Maass wants you to think about pacing: faster than the speed of thought. Kathryn Craft presents the three Ws of scene orientation. Later in the week, David Corbett provides some advice on writing our country. Writer Unboxed

Kadija Mbowe analyzes Cuties.

K.M. Weiland explains how to use archetypal character arcs in your stories in part 22 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin explains how to write historical fiction. Reedsy

And she follows it up with historical fiction tropes. Reedsy

Karen DeBonis wants you to find your writing rhythm. Then, Janice Hardy lists five steps to creating a unique character voice. Later in the week, Jenny Hansen (inspired by DeBonis) offers confessions of a devoted scene writer. Writers in the Storm

Why film and TV erased asexuality. The Take

Laurence MacNaughton explains how to stay motivated and keep writing. Fiction University

Becca Puglisi helps you change your reader’s perspective. Writers Helping Writers

Rachel Michelberg says, post-book launch depression is a thing. Jane Friedman

How film and Tv misrepresent neurodiversity. The Take

Kristen Lamb: the difference between magnificent and maddening is the burning desire.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch offers part eight of her fear-based decision-making series: fear and the future.

Nathan Bransford: don’t step on your surprises.

Chris Winkle shares five simple ways to make your prose easier to read. Then, Oren Ashkenazi lists six signs of a weak throughline. Mythcreants

Monique Gray Smith curated this list of 45 books that share stories and truths by Indigenous authors who identify as women and/or two spirit. CBC Books

Jane an Koeverden: Cherie Dimaline publishing sequel to The Marrow Thieves in fall 2021. CBC Books

Estefania Velez compiles this list of 15 books to celebrate disability pride. The New York Public Library

Guy Kawasaki interviews Haben Girma, lawyer, activist, and advocate for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. The Remarkable People podcast

Ellen Gutoskey lists the fascinating etymologies of 70 common words. Mental Floss

Thank you for taking the time to stop by. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 25-May 1, 2021

Welcome to the first tipsday of May 🙂 Get your informal writerly learnings while they last (just kidding, the archives are always accessible)!

Kim Bullock: what your protagonist’s Spotify playlist might reveal. Elizabeth Huergo recommends Kathleen Acalá and the extraordinary. Then, Sophie Masson shares her experience writing an exclusive audio novel. With apologies for the earworm, Lisa Janice Cohen says she’s “losing my ambition.” Milo Todd wants you to read outside your lane. Writer Unboxed

Tim Hickson: on writing great character descriptions (and he shares one of Shaelin’s). Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland delves into the king’s shadow archetypes in part 12 of her archetypal character arcs series. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin Bishop shares three great writing tips that no one ever talks about. Reedsy

Janice Hardy explains why you should know who your narrator is speaking to. Fiction University

David Kadavy promotes mind management, not time management. The Creative Penn

On her own channel, Shaelin shares her short fiction writing process. Shaelin Writes

Tasha Seegmiller shows you how to build your own MFA experience. Then, Eldred Bird lists five writing tips we love to hate. Later in the week, John Peragine discusses serialized storytelling (part 1). Writers in the Storm

Yara-ma-yha-who: Australia’s Regurgitating, Blood-Sucking Monster. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Susan DeFreitas shares three key tactics for crafting powerful scenes. Then, Catherine Baab-Maguira wonders, what if it takes 12 years to get an agent? Jane Friedman

The paradox of cottagecore. The Take

Richelle Lyn helps you create your own virtual writers sabbatical. Then, Amanda Polick explains how to ignite tension in your story with food and natural disaster. Gabriela Pereira interviews Rena Rossner about weaving together history, folklore, and fairy tale. Later in the week, Finola Austin lists traps to avoid when writing in first person. Then, Angyne Smith shares five tips to make your writers’ circle sing. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci shares ten self-care tips for when you’re busy AF.

Angela Ackerman explains how to write emotion well: know your character. Writers Helping Writers

Bunny and Svend Phillips collaborate on this list of five tired tropes about teenagers. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Revenger fails at technology. Mythcreants

Kristin Nelson is not a fan of publishing house mergers: a non-love story. Pub Rants

Ashawnta Jackson introduces us to the haiku of Richard Wright. JSTOR Daily

Thanks for stopping by. 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, 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, July 12-18, 2020

Black Lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter. I believe this more than ever. I’m not going to stop putting this important message out there until it’s true.

Regardless of whether your area of the world has never closed, is reopening, or is still under some degree of lockdown, please, for the love of all you hold dear, wear a mask.

As for schools, I sincerely believe the safest way forward is to keep all classes virtual. I know this isn’t a popular stance, but we know how quickly a common cold, or the flu proliferates in a classroom. And this is covid. We still don’t know the long-term effects of this virus.

I also know that virtual learning presents its own challenges. This will require a sea change for parents, teachers, schoolboards, employers, and governments and I think leaving these important discussions to this late date was naïve on the part of many. Ignoring the issue is not going to make it go away.

Having said that, Sudbury hasn’t had any new cases reported since about June 22 or so. We’ve only had 67 conformed cases and two deaths. It might be more reasonable to consider modified, in-person classes here, but I’d like to wait on the possible impact of phase three of reopening before we go there. Those numbers have yet to be publicized.

Now, onto the informal writerly learnings!

Kris Maze shares seven unstoppable YA plot ideas to make your novel fabulous. Barbara Linn Probst is editing for theme: search and employ. Writers in the Storm

Elizabeth A. Harvey explores a writer’s sense of place: where I ought to be. Jim Dempsey is writing and napping. Sophie Masson shares what she’s learned about presenting online workshops. Then, Juliet Marillier tells a tale about finding resilience: a dog story. Writer Unboxed

Gender and Jurassic Park. Cold Crash Pictures

Janice Hardy explains some story rulez: the two things every novel needs to do. Later in the week, Angela Ackerman stopps by: how emotional wounds can steer a character’s job choice. Fiction University

The female friendship revolution. The Take

Peter von Stackelberg shares an intuitive four-step process for creating vibrant scene structure. Helping Writers Become Authors

Andrew Noakes offers six principles for writing historical fiction. Jane Friedman

Lindsay Ellis looks at Tolkien’s constructed languages. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Leanne Sowul wants you to commit to self-education about racism and anti-racism. And here’s my latest Speculations: ten Black science fiction and fantasy authors to read now. Then, Gabriela interviews Django Wexler: using fantasy to “literalize” the metaphor. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle explains why storytellers fail at grimdark and how to fix it. Then Bunny and Oren Ashkenazi team up: five reasons your story shouldn’t deny that it’s a story. Mythcreants

Deborah Ahenkora is slaying the dragons of hate with words. CBC Books

Aya de Léon: crime fiction is complicit in police violence, but it’s not too late to change. Electric Literature

Jeana Jorgensen describes what happens when fairyland is not for you: on escapism, fantasy, and survival. The Wrangler

Paula Findlen explores Petrarch’s plague: love, death, and friendship in a time of pandemic. The Public Domain Review

Thanks for visiting, and I hope that you found something to support your current work in progress (whatever stage it’s in).

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

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 8-14, 2020

As the covid-19 crisis continues to escalate, keep calm and stock up on informal writerly learnings from the comfort of your home.

Sophie Masson advises us about creating and presenting writing workshops. Jim Dempsey: writing when you’re not writing. Juliet Marillier wants you to tell a tale for our times. Kathryn Craft says, let your protagonist’s light shine. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland uses critique to demonstrate six tips for introducing characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenna Moreci shares her favourite paranormal tropes.

Laurence MacNaughton shares a six-point story checklist for powerful scenes. Then, Janice Hardy offers a three-step plan for returning to a partially finished manuscript. Fiction University

Jami Gold helps you find the right pace for your story. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: everything writers need to know about book series.

Sara Letourneau offers some writing exercises for exploring the theme of man and the natural world. Later in the week, Dave Chesson shares five tips for levelling up your craft. DIY MFA

Some great tips for creating a consistent writing habit. Reedsy

Becca Puglisi shares eights ways to hook readers at the ends of chapters. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five plot twists that are too obvious. He tackles some well-known, bestselling, award-nominated, or award-winning novels and, while I can see and might even agree with the assessments, I’ll note that it did not have a negative impact on my enjoyment of the novels (well, with one exception, but I won’t get into that here). I think many readers enjoy these books regardless of, or despite, these faulty plot twists and that writing something similar won’t necessarily hurt your chances of publication. You can always strive to do better, and I think that’s the point of the article. Still, take it in context (and don’t panic). Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer explains how to daringly and correctly use semicolons. Writer’s Digest

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you took away something to help with your current work in progress.

Now more than ever, be well, my writerly friends.

Tipsday2019