Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 25-31, 2022

Welcome to 2023, y’all! The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always a little quiet. I still managed to curate some informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

Jeanette the Writer answers the question: when should I start editing? Then, Lori Walker interviews Amy Christine Parker about maximizing your first chapter with great opening lines and characterization. Stephanie Dethlefs shares five things Pixar teaches about cause and effect. DIY MFA

Eldred Bird wonders what separates a good writer from a great writer. Writers in the Storm

Why fantasy isn’t just for kids. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin helps you figure out if an editor is worth the money. Then, Susan DeFreitas poses three questions to ask yourself before you draft (or revise) a novel. Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin discusses rejecting “bests” and resolutions. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle: what is a throughline in writing? Mythcreants

50 words you’ll want to start using. The List Show | Mental Floss

Katrya Bolger engages with textual healing: the novel world of bibliotherapy. The Walrus

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends.

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Oct 2-8, 2022

Fall is in the (very chilly) air! Hope all my Canadian friends had marvelous Thanksgiving weekends, but now, it’s back to the grind. Hello, Tuesday-that-feels-like-a-Monday. It’s time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland explains (very briefly) how to pull off a plot twist. Helping Writers Become Authors

Karen DeBonis recommends you celebrate every writing milestone. Lisa Norman: welcome to the future, part 2. Stefan Emunds shares three principles to make your story experience as real-to-life as possible. Writers in the Storm

Tikbálang, the Filipino nightmare shapeshifter. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Elizabeth Spann Craig shares five tips to make your life easier as a writer.

Greer Macallister: knowing your no. Donald Maass returns with more novels that shouldn’t work but do, and why. Then, Sarah Callender is stealing style, structure, and subject from other writers: imitation and emulation. Susan DeFreitas: I’ll feel what she’s feeling.  Yuvi Zalkow is rewriting the bookstore event. Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup gets creative: the fantasy heroine vs. the writer.

Joe Ponepinto is writing small for a bigger impact. Then, Allison K. Williams says motivation doesn’t finish books. Allison also starts her “Ask an Editor” series answering this question: when should writers stand their ground rather than defer to an editor? Jane Friedman

Tim Hickson fixes the final season of Legend of Korra. Hello, Future Me

E.J. Wenstrom helps you overcome the book promotion scaries. Then, Sara Farmer presents her favourite Jane Austen mysteries. Lori Walker interviews Carol Van Den Hende about finding inspiration and writing purpose-driven fiction. Then, Mason Engel reveals the secret to maintaining the motivation—and discipline—to write: writeforce. Rita Zoey Chin shares five tips for writing dynamic characters. DIY MFA

How to brainstorm effectively. Reedsy

Janice Hardy explains why “the worst that can happen” is terrible writing advice. Fiction University

Becca Puglisi says themes and symbols go together like peas and carrots. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin discovers how Emi Nietfeld revises: writing and real life. Fox Print Editorial

How to structure a short story. Shaelin Writes

Chris Winkle explains when to kill a hero—or not. Then, Oren Ashkenazi hosts another three-way ANTS death match between Three Parts Dead, House of Blood and Earth, and A Master of Djinn. Mythcreants

Emily Zarevich wonders if Mary Wollstonecraft’s Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark was the original Eat, Pray, Love. JSTOR Daily

Justyna Pawlak and Simon Johnson announce that the scrutiniser of self, France’s Annie Ernaux, beats long path to Nobel literature prize. Reuters

And that was tipsday. Thanks for spending some time with me, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress, whatever stage they’re at.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends.

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Sept 11-17, 2022

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Therese Walsh reveals the problem behind the problem. Then, Jim Dempsey offers all the writing advice you’ll ever need. Juliet Marillier loves the magic of a writing retreat. Later in the week, Desmond Hall drops some more writing wisdom on us: escalations 1, 2, and 3. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi offers this simple equation: conflict + choices = character agency. Helping Writers Become Authors

Let’s cosplay like it’s 1499. Jill Bearup

Janice Hardy says that the catalyst for character change is the dark night of the soul. Fiction University

Lori Freeland: not just another post on POV. Then, Colleen M. Story explains how your author platform helps you do more than sell books. Lisa Norman: welcome to the future, part 1. Writers in the Storm

Monstrous plants and the people who invent them. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Lisa Poisso says that feedback and editing are matters of the right eyes at the right time. Jami Gold considers point of view: is deeper always better? Writers Helping Writers

Jami follows up with this post on her own site: is deep POV always the best choice?

Junji Ito’s most disturbing story. Tale Foundry

Colice Sanders is rethinking transgender narratives. Then, Disha Wallia explains how to write a hook for speculative fiction. Carol Van Den Hende talks to Deborah Mortimer about intellectual property: copyrights, trademarks, and design marks, oh my! Later in the week, Heather Davis poses five questions that will guarantee you novel has a sturdy structure. DIY MFA

Kristen Tsetsi interviews Kern Carter about how business and creativity go hand in hand. Then, Susan DeFreitas lists three ways writerly grit leads to publishing success. Jane Friedman

How to structure your novel’s climax | Fourth quarter story structure. Ellen Brock

Tiffany Yates Martin wonders how you value your creative worth. Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb lists the seven deadly sins of prologues.

Chris Winkle lists six ways to add emotion to your writing. Then, Oren Ashkenazi hosts a head-to-head-to-head ANTS showdown between Hawkeye, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel. Mythcreants

How to figure out what’s wrong with your story. Reedsy

Guy Kawasaki interviews Elizabeth Gruner about the Zen of writing, reading, and learning. The Remarkable People Podcast

Cait Gordon: the ableism and privilege behind “You must write every day.”

Rebecca Jennings says, in The Rings of Power, it’s not horrifying to be a woman. Vox

Alexi Duggins reports that The Rings of Power stars speak out against racist “threats, harassment, and abuse.” The Guardian

And that was tipsday.

Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I hope you found something to support your current work(s) in progress.

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well, my writerly friends!

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, June 26-July 2, 2022

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings. And so it goes …

Vaughn Roycroft is living an artist’s life with lessons from Kate Bush. Then, Erika Liodice is finding inspiration in unexpected places. Tessa Barbosa shares some easy tricks for crafting memorable characters. Then, Sarah Callender is writing (and living) in the midst of fear. Barbara O’Neal considers the practice. Writer Unboxed

Tim fixes Legend of Korra season 2. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland offers eight ways to avoid cardboard characters and plot contrivances. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan DeFreitas explains how (and how not) to write queer characters: a primer. Then, Tiffany Yates Martin reveals how to improve your storytelling by studying other people’s. Jane Friedman

That … could have gone better? (Analysis of Luke vs. Vader in Empire Strikes Back.) Jill Bearup

Kris Maze says re-gear your writing career—take risks to revitalize. Then, Jenny Hansen shares Kurt Vonnegut’s ten tips for successful writing. L.A. Mitchell is opening the top-secret client vault on ghostwriting (and how you can find your first). Writers in the Storm

Teresa Conner shares three design secrets for captivating book adds. Hyacinthe M. Miller helps you avoid writing stereotypes of people of color. Writers Helping Writers

Death by misadventure—Passing and the nature of identity. Princess Weekes

LA Bourgeois is battling the guilt monster. Then, F.E. Choe offers a few, humble thoughts on voice. Michael Bourne lists five ways to turn your setting into a fully realized character. DIY MFA

Tiffany Yates Martin points out the main writing skill you may be neglecting. Fox Print Editorial

Moiya McTier—Trickster gods and the mortals who love them. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Chuck Wendig says sometimes writing is finding a place to put all your rage, sorrow, and even joy. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle explains how to write a first-person retelling. Then, Oren Ashkenazi reveals the myth of conflict-free story structures. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb: writing to formula vs. formulaic writing.

Thank you for visiting with me 🙂 I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 15-21, 2022

The penultimate tipsday of May, marked by the serenade of spring peepers and red-wing blackbirds; the scents of crab apple blossoms and lilacs and poplar sap; and thunderstorms that spark and roll overhead. Refill your well with some informal writerly learnings.

Disha Walia wants you to find your motivation for writing speculative fiction. Then, E.J. Wenstrom explains what to do about author platforming when you’re burned out. Sara Farmer lists more of her auto-buy mystery authors. Later in the week, Brittany Capozzi lists five answers we get from writing letters to ourselves. DIY MFA

The psychology of Zuko. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland recommends six ways to find your best ideas before you start writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sandy Vaile shares four essential elements you need to create a workable novel. Then, Holly Lasky asks you to guess who’s in the driver’s seat of your creativity? Lynette M. Burroughs explains how the forces of antagonism frame your story. Writers in the Storm

Darn it, you made me care. Jill Bearup

Susan Defreitas wonders, why write when the world is on fire? Jane Friedman

C.S. Lakin: outlining your novel for success. Live, Write, Thrive

Seven character development exercises. Reedsy

Elizabeth Spann Craig: stress and writing.

Dave King is getting to know evil. Then, Barbara Linn Probst gives us three writing exercises for three different points in the writing process. Kristina Stevens wonders how you adapt real life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

How sun mythologies are universal (featuring PBS Space Time). Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Christina Delay explains what to do when you feel like a hack. Then, Marissa Graff shares four ways your protagonist is sabotaging you (and how to fight back). Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: breaks, permission, and writing.

Olaseni Ajibade explores mental health in fiction: the monster you feed. Dan Koboldt

This story will save your imagination. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin: high praise, big promises … and crickets. Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb says weakness is blood in the water for narcissist sharks.

How the tech villain became the most hated character. The Take

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the summary writing of Illuminae. Then, Oren Ashkenazi critiques the second half of Pixar’s rules of storytelling. Mythcreants

Angie hodapp explains what to do when your entire manuscript turns out to be a prologue. Pub Rants

Guy Gavriel Kay wonders what we lose—and gain—as book tours move online? Literary Hub

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

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, March 20-26, 2022

It’s the last tipsday of March! Three months of 2022 passed, and … what do I have to show for it? Actually, I have a fair amount. I just have to remind myself that just because my head has been in #revisionhell for the past three months doesn’t mean that I haven’t accomplished anything else (!)

In any case, it’s time to stock up on informal writerly learnings for the last time in March.

Disha Walia wants you to appreciate speculative storytelling elements with these book recommendations. Then, Jeanette the Writer suggests when to stop editing: enough is enough. Gabriela Pereira interviews Brian Leung: writing about difficult subjects with a distinct first-person voice. Later in the week, Jessie Kwak explains how to recapture joy in your writing. Finally, Alexis M. Collazo shares five daily practices to stay happy, healthy, and writing. DIY MFA

Damn, you’re ugly: a Witcher armour review. Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland poses three questions to make sure you’re not missing out on important scenes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman introduces you to the invisible reader you don’t want to ignore. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson shares four ways to write the lived experience of trauma. Ellen Buikema is using the sixth sense in writing. Writers in the Storm

Do progressive reboots actually work? Melina Pendulum

Matthew Norman shares what the Beatles taught him about the difficulty of art: a hard day’s work. Then, Erika Liodice lists ten ways to find inspiration in Key West: sunshine and the creative mind. Kelsey Allagood asks, are you an accidental info-dumper? Then, Julia Whelan explains how to write a book without writing a book: what burnout taught her about process. John J. Kelley is rediscovering wonder and wisdom at Planet Word Museum. Writer Unboxed

Know your writing tropes. Reedsy

Tiffany Yates Martin is weaving flashbacks seamlessly into story. Then, Susan DeFreitas shares the secret of successful openings. Jane Friedman

Joanna Penn interviews Nikesh Shukla about Your Story Matters. The Creative Penn

The screwed-up history of English spelling. Otherwords | PBS Storied

Nathan Bransford: writing in times like these (and do click through to Morten Høi Jensen’s Gawker article—it’s excellent).

Inciting incident: how to start a story. Story Grid

A whole dynasty of Bi emperors. Xiran Jay Zhao

Tiffany Yates Martin: what do you do when the worst happens? Again, I recommend clicking through to listen to the podcast Tiffany discusses. Then she tackles the question: how do you write enduring stories? Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb says that SEO is the key to working smarter, not harder.

Becca Puglisi shares nine tension-building elements for character dialogue. Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the empty writing of The Alchemyst. Then, Oren Ashkenazi stages a high fantasy battle royale. Who will win: Name of the Wind, The Fifth Season, or Way of Kings? Mythcreants

Thank you for spending some time with me. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Feb 6-12, 2022

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

Sara Farmer shares part two of her auto-buy mystery list. LA Bourgeois says that if you want to find your motivation, ask, “How can I make this happen?” Then, F.E. Choe explains how to develop a disciplined writing practice. Lyn Liao Butler wants you to consider writing from your perspective. DIY MFA

How to write first person point of view. Reedsy

Greer Macallister shares what a month of writing every day taught her. “It’s a balancing act, not a limbo stick.” Jim Dempsey: the story of your dreams. Kathleen McCleary wants you to explore the unknown in your writing: the dark side. Then, Kathryn Craft explains how to repurpose your plot. David Corbett tackles explanation vs. fascination—and a woman in the corner opposite. Writer Unboxed

Ellen Brock provides a writing guide for the methodological plotter.

K.M. Weiland wants you to make story structure your own. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sword lady hits ceiling with sword. Happy anniversary! Jill Bearup

Susan DeFreitas says that if you want to write a great novel, be brave. Then, Lisa Cooper Ellison proposes three things to ask yourself before writing about trauma. Janna Marlies Maron suggests three shifts you need to make to finish your book. Jane Friedman

Tuatha dé Danann, the enchanting faeries of celtic lore. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Margie Lawson offers tips to create a bestselling title. Then, Miffie Seideman provides seven steps for healthy emotional endurance for writers. Shirley Jump shares ten ways to reverse engineer your plot. Writers in the Storm

The Little Mermaid as a queer allegory. The Take

Elizabeth Spann Craig: promo for introverts.

Marissa Graff outlines the zig-zag plot arc. Then David. G. Brown offers three considerations for revising scene by scene. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford lists essential computer skills for writers.

Is Arcane a dystopia? Tim Hickson thinks not. Two the Future

Chris Winkle explains how to include thoughts from multiple characters without head-hopping. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyses five stories that spoil their mysteries. Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer explains how to write successful queries for any genre of writing (with lots of examples). From 2019, but it’s a timeless topic 🙂 Writer’s Digest

Simon Usborne: forget Wordle! Can you crack the Dickens code? An IT worker from California just did. The Guardian

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: Informal writerly learnings, Jan 30-Feb 5, 2022

Was it a monumental Monday for you? Well, now it’s time to reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Anita Ramirez concludes her writerly journey with a couple of revelations. Then, Angela Yeh is finding nourishment and joy in daily life through the spirit of haiku. Eliza Jane Brazier explains how to write better by not writing. Then, Heather Campbell shares five sneaky ways perfectionism sabotages your writing. DIY MFA

The existential dystopias of Arcane and Squid Game. Hello, Future Me

Tessa Barbosa presents an introvert’s guide to a public online presence. Donald Maass: back story versus the past. Keith Cronin gets an unexpected gift from covid. Then, Rheea Mukherjee is writing with depression. Writer Unboxed

Rape revenge and Promising Young Woman: realism vs. catharsis. Melina Pendulum

K.M. Weiland explains what conflict in fiction really is and why it’s important to plot. Helping Writers Become Authors

What is white room syndrome? Reedsy

Shannon A. Thompson: yes, writers need to hear the hard truths, but warnings can go too far. Then, Eric Newton discusses making difficult decisions about the work left behind when a writer dies. Joe Ponepinto explains how to use telling details to connect description to character. Jane Friedman

Why are cats mythology’s most popular creatures? Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Diana Clark wonders how much research is enough. Then, Eldred Bird is building a better villain. Ellen Buikema continues her explorations of sensual writing: using the power of taste in your writing. Writers in the Storm

Why the disabled villain trope is so offensive. The Take

September C. Fawkes shares six cheats to “tell” well (when it’s warranted). Writers Helping Writers

Chris Winkle lists nine personality clashes for character conflicts. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains why tossing in calamity won’t make your story exciting. Mythcreants

How writers revise: the relentless resilience of Ruta Sepetys. Fox Print Editorial

Point of view: definition and examples for the narrative path. Story Grid

How Disney commodifies culture – Southeast Asians roast Raya and the Last Dragon, part 1. Long, but well worth your while. Xiran Jay Zhao

And part 2:

Part three … yet to come.

Nina Munteanu touts the benefits of expressive writing: the journal writer.

Susan DeFreitas shares the lessons learned during her year of reading every Ursula K. Le Guin novel. Literary Hub

Weike Wang: notes on work. “There’s a masochistic pride to overworking. How heavy a workload can I truly handle? How many plates can I keep in the air?” The New Yorker

Ena Alvarado: animal teachers and Marie de France. JSTOR Daily

Thanks for hanging out with me. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Dec 19-25, 2021

Ack! It’s the last tipsday of 2021! Where did the year go?

E.J. Wenstrom suggests three author platform resolutions for 2022. Then, Sara Farmer shares her favorite children’s mysteries (so far). J.L. Torres offers a masterclass in short fiction, voice, and opening lines. Then, Carol Van Den Hende considers five 2021 book cover trends. DIY MFA

Tim Hickson shares the seven stories that changed his life. Hello, Future Me

Lisa Norman lists nine keys to being media ready. Then, Ellen Buikema explains how to use sound to make your writing memorable. Writers in the Storm

Tom Scott walked into a bar … and then I threw him out a window. Jill Bearup

Vaughn Roycroft: joy to the (writerly) world! Then, Kelsey Allagood says, keep making art, even if the world is ending. Kasey LeBlanc explains how not to miss the forest for the trees: appreciating the long and winding writing road (and its many detours, pitfalls, and stumbles). Then, Erika Liodice shares the 3-2-1 rule for protecting your work in progress. Natalie Hart recommends you give the gift of a good book gush. Writer Unboxed

Dynamic vs. static characters, and why you need both. Reedsy

Susan DeFreitas wonders, what makes a story feel like a story? Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the vague writing of The Remnant Chronicles. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five movies that audiences loved but critics hated. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig offers his thoughts on The Matrix: Resurrections, or the conversations art has with itself. Terribleminds

Santa’s cruel fairy tale cousin, the demon of frost. Tale Foundry

Nina Munteanu explains why you should keep a journal.

Hua Hsu considers the revolutionary writing of bell hooks. The New Yorker

Emma Cline unpacks Joan Didion’s specific vision. The New Yorker

Toniann Fernandez: Jeremy O. Harris and Samuel Delaney in conversation. The Paris Review

Beginnings at the End of Love: Rebecca West’s Extraordinary Love Letter to H.G. Wells in the Wake of Heartbreak. The Marginalian

Julia Métraux wonders if Trinity’s the real hero of The Matrix. JSTOR Daily

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!