Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Jan 15-21, 2023

You survived Monday! Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

And a picture of a cloud that looks like a phoenix. Do you see it?

Jan O’Hara says, if you’re not writing, you may have ego-trapped yourself. Dave King: is prologue past? Desmond Hall drops some writing wisdom on pacing this month. Then, Diana Giovinazzo is learning to love the synopsis—Honey, I shrunk the plot! Writer Unboxed

Angela Ackerman explains how to write a book from start to finish in 13 steps. Then, Lynette M. Burrows helps you make flat characters genuine in eight (sort of) easy steps. Eldred Brid: do you have a story? Answer these six questions to find out! Writers in the Storm

Bad writing habits to stop in 2023. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland shares six lessons from four years of writer’s block. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elizabeth Spann Craig: when you’re stuck as a writer. Anyone see a theme here? Anyone? Bueller?

What critics don’t recognize about Avatar: The Way of Water. Like Stories of Old

Marissa Graff shares five ways to approach your novel like a trial lawyer. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford wants you to infuse your character’s desires into their observations.

Popular writing methods I don’t use and alternatives to try. Shaelin Writes

Tiffany Yates Martin explains why we can’t look away from White Lotus. Fox Print Editorial

Lori Walker interviews Kendare Blake about rebooting a beloved series. Then, Regina Meyer shares five tips on running your own book public relations and marketing. Amy Wallen lists 12 steps to get your book written. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle explains how to describe characters. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with strong ensemble casts. Mythcreants

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

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well.

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, Aug 14-20, 2022

Week four of August is here along with your weekly batch of informal writerly learnings! Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland explains how to write emotional scenes (without making them cringey). Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman reveals how to painlessly generate dozens of blog ideas. Then, Sandy Vaile digs into research: how far will fiction authors go for facts? Laurie Schnebly Campbell wonders how much does genre matter? Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Becca Puglisi about writing conflict. The Creative Penn

How to write a plot summary and a synopsis. Reedsy

Roz Morris considers using real people in historical fiction—how much can you invent? Nail Your Novel

Barbara Linn Probst wonders what does “award-winning author” mean—and does it matter? Then, Marcie Geffner discusses aphantasia and writing fiction with no “mind’s eye.” Writer Unboxed

AJ Harper helps you get in front of your readers’ doubts and objections. Jane Friedman

Good characters are overrated. Tale Foundry

Christina Delay: small focus. Big creativity. Becca Puglisi wants you to use your character’s career to support your story’s theme. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford says don’t outsource your agent search.

Kris Hill considers fairy tales and once upon a time. Manuela Williams: what is the poetry of witness? Then, Daria White proposes an alternative to traditional time management for writers.  Abigail Cutter suggests five ways to get inside your historical characters’ heads. DIY MFA

This fight changed everything … Jill Bearup

Angela Ackerman: does conflict really belong on every page? Jami Gold

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how to write a query letter (without losing your mind). Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb examines the priority parallax: what’s truly important?

Chris Winkle lists ten reasons your characters might stop communicating. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with well-written families. Mythcreants

How to write your first novel. Reedsy

Chris Martin discusses poetry, autism, and the joy of working with neurodiverse writers. Literary Hub

Peter Kafka: the newsletter boom is over. What’s next? Vox

S.L. Huang investigates the ghost of workshops past: how communism, conservatism, and the Cold War still mold our paths to SFF writing. Outstanding essay! Tor.com

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

Until Thursday, keep staying safe and well!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, July 24-30, 2022

Welcome to August! The dog days are here, and so is this week’s batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Kim Bullock offers some productivity lessons from a simpler time: praise, criticism, and self-reflection. Then, Elizabeth Huergo shares readings for writers: on writing (and revising) well. Kelsey Allagood is diagnosing writer’s block: symptoms, remedies, and prevention. Then, Julia Whelan hosts a deathmatch between first and second novels. Porter Anderson: just artificial, not intelligence. Writer Unboxed

The surprising origins of vampires (w/ Dr. Emily Zarka of Monstum). PBS Origins

K.M. Weiland explains how to structure a novel with multiple main characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

What is a masterwork? Definition and examples in books and film. Story Grid

Are bilinguals smarter? Otherwords | PBS Storied

Michelle Barker tackles the dreaded synopsis. Then, Dr. Natalie Dale shares three medical mistakes to avoid in your story. Writers Helping Writers

Kris Maze suggests you research your novel on a rambling road trip. Then, Lisa Hall-Wilson explains why first person POV is NOT deep POV. Shirley Jump wants you to use impossible choices to empower your conflict. Writers in the Storm

How the “manipulative victim” trope hurts female presenting people everywhere. The Take

Nathan Bransford says, don’t build your scenes around the information you think you need to impart.

E.J. Wenstrom shares lessons learned from joining a new social media network. Then, Sara Farmer lists her favourite mystery games. Later in the week, Erin La Rosa shares five ways to market your book as a debut author. DIY MFA

On world building death. Hello, Future Me

Wendy Sparrow explains how to make your editing process more efficient. Jami Gold

Sharon Oard Warner shows you how to move between scenes with summary and spacers. Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin says failure IS an option. Fox Print Editorial

Seven ways to outline your novel. Reedsy

Chris Winkle says a character goal isn’t a story, but it’s close. Then, Oren Ashkenazi (tongue firmly in cheek) lists six more ways to make your writing cinematic. Mythcreants

Livia Gershon: who made that word, and why? JSTOR Daily

Brian Attebery lists his top ten 21st-century fantasy novels. The Guardian

Thanks for spending some time with me! I hope you found something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, June 12-18, 2022

Welcome to tipsday, you’re opportunity to get your fill of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland helps you understand the underworld of a story’s third act. Helping Writers Become Authors

Ann Marie Nieves: book promotion and marketing questions answered, part VIII. Lisa Janice Cohen recommends a writer’s buddy system. Then, Barbara Linn Probst is walking back to “what do I really want?” AKA the miracle question. Julie Carrick Dalton is seeking the existential, the intimate, and the urgent: essays that model masterful storytelling. Writer Unboxed

Tim Hickson says show don’t tell (is a lie). Hello, Future Me

Ellen Buikema wants you to write a compelling first line. Then, Lynette M. Burrows helps you create compelling scenes with the motivation-reaction unit (MRU). Lori Freeland: to comma or not to comma (part 4). Writers in the Storm

Jodé Millman issues a call to arms against banning books. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Jill Bearup explains how to fight in Versace.

Becca Puglisi helps you avoid writing stereotypes of religious figures. Jami Gold: “They’re all gonna die!” Wait. Why does that matter? Writers Helping Writers

Over on her own blog, Jami follows up with this post: what gives our stories meaning?

Nathan Bransford explains how to write a synopsis for your novel.

Shaelin explains how to submit to literary magazines. Reedsy

Ambre Dawn Leffler suggests three small steps to get your writing back on track. Then, Marina Barakatt introduces us to the comic Shutter. Linda Murphy Marshall offers five words of encouragement for writers. Then, Mary Adkins explains how to use the enneagram to create fictional characters. DIY MFA

Kristen Lamb considers neurodivergence: being different in life and fiction.

Emily Zarka and Josef Lorenzo uncover UFOs and alien abductions. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Tiffany Yates Martin wonders, are you paying attention to your progress? Fox Print Editorial

Jane provides a step-by-step walk-through of Amazon Ads for beginning authors. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle explains how to make your character selfless. Then, Oren Ashkenazi pits Andy Weir against himself in a three-way competition: The Martian vs. Artemis vs. Project Hail Mary. Mythcreants

Shaelin suggests questions to ask while you’re revising. Shaelin Writes

Thanks for stopping by, 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, May 1-7, 2022

Ah, Tuesday. Monday has been endured/survived and we’re one day closer to the weekend. Fortify yourself for the rest of the week with some informal writerly learnings!

Lauren J. Sharkey is aimlessly acquiring and agent. Then, Adam W. Burgess helps you build your LGBTQ+ summer reading list. Gabriela Pereira interviews Jessi Honard and Marie Parks about using the “loop method” to co-write your novel. Later in the week, Mary Adkins suggests your best writing goal based on your enneagram number. DIY MFA

Five easy ways to get story ideas. Reedsy

Greer Macallister says you can’t do it all. Then, Sarah Penner talks about hiding your villain in plain sight. Donald Maass: it’s simple. It’s complicated. It’s a novel. Keith Cronin offers some tough love from a guy named Francis. Then, Liz Michalski says hello, village. Writer Unboxed

What’s wrong with Calanthe’s armour? Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland explains the role of the antagonist in story structure (part 1 of 2). Helping Writers Become Authors

Brooke Warner says we all need to be protected against predatory publishing practices. Then, Kristen Tsetsi interviews Alan Davis about the benefits of MFA programs. Anne Carley: not a journal person? Post-pandemic might be the perfect time to start. Jane Friedman

Five things I got (very) wrong about writing craft. Shaelin Writes

September C. Fawkes shows you how to use crisis to reveal character. Writers Helping Writers

Lisa Norman explains what to do if you’ve been hacked! Or have you? Later in the week, Kris Maze explains how to create a powerful synopsis to sell your book. Writers in the Storm

Kristen Lamb discusses the mother wound and fiction.

Why has the majestic griffin been forgotten? Monstrum | PBS Storied

Tiffany Yates Martin explains how Rochelle Weinstein revises: building grassroots success. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle reveals how to make your craft more pretentious. Oren Ashkenazi: no, social justice warriors aren’t reducing diversity in fiction. Mythcreants

The worldview genre: stories about maturation, disillusionment, and revelation. Story Grid

The quarter life crisis is more stressful than ever. The Take

Clara Pasieka: Cree author, David A. Robertson questions why Durham District School Board removed his book from shelves. CBC

How libraries became a quiet battlefront in the war on Ukraine. CBC

Ukraine’s national poet. JSTOR Daily

Thanks for taking the time to visit. 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, March 1-7, 2020

Welcome to the second week of March, the week that starts out with daylight savings time and International Women’s Day, proceeds through the full moon, and ends with Friday the 13th!

You’re going to need some informal writerly learnings to see you through.

Greer Macallister says, instead of promotion, try participation. Nancy Johnson: you had me at the title. Donald Maass: it can’t happen here. Bryn Greenwood can’t decide whether it’s a sophomore slump or derailment. Steven James: they just won’t understand. File in writers is weird. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland: creativity vs. the ego, or, the value of unpublishable stories. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Scott Bell: synopsis writing made easy. Writers Helping Writers

Susanne Cokal lists four reasons to spend time with “bad” books. Jane Friedman

Nathan Bransford: you gotta tell the story. No matter what.

Shaelin offers eleven tips for new writers. I think these work for everyone. If nothing else, they’re good reminders. Reedsy

Jenn Walton explains how to deepen characters by assessing their fears. Sara Farmer introduces us to Jo March’s twisted sisters: the thrillers of Louisa May Alcott. Gabriela Pereira interviews Claire Waller about writing an unlikable but sympathetic protagonist. DIY MFA

Eldred Bird is colouring with words. Writers in the Storm

Kassandra Lamb explains the importance of backstory, or, how the brain connects the present with the past. Then, Janice Hardy shares three reasons your perfectly good scene is boring your readers.  Later in the week, Janice offers tips for showing character motivation. Fiction University

Jenna Moreci discusses the breaking point.

Chris Winkle explains how to describe female characters without degrading them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi recommends five questions to diagnose an overpowered hero. Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer extols the virtues of the Oxford, or serial, comma. Writer’s Digest

Sad news for the already small Canadian publishing scene. Bryan Eneas reports on the bankruptcy of Coteau books, closing their doors after 45 years. CBC

Thank you for visiting and I hope you came away with some fabulous resources to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Mar 3-9, 2019

I have a lot of informal writerly learnings for you this week.

By the way, a couple weeks ago, I decided to group posts by blog/source. Are you liking this slight rearrangement, or do you find it more difficult to read? Let me know, if you wish, in the comments. I can always change things back. More whitespace on the page can be helpful for readers.

Oren Ashkenazi examines six common mistakes in fight scenes and explains how to avoid them. Bunny explains how to use the uncanny in your writing. Mythcreants

Greer Macallister explains what it means to be a working writer. Sophie Masson outlines the options for planning your book launch (‘cause not every publisher has budget for that anymore). Donald Maass eschews his usual concise and pithy titles in this installment: nasty, menacing, and murderous protagonists and why we love them. Alma Katsu offers tips for complex historical research. David Corbett writes about what it means to sink into the bog. Kathryn Magendie wants to thank those who encourage us to write and dig deeper. Writer Unboxed

Joanna Penn interviews Sacha Black on how to create heroes and villains for the Creative Penn podcast. Then Bharat Krishnan stops by to discuss how to write diversity authentically. The Creative Penn

James Scott Bell visits Writers Helping Writers: does every protagonist need an arc? Spoilers: yes, but it doesn’t have to be a positive or negative change arc. Sometimes … it’s flat (no change). Janice Hardy stops by later in the week to point out three ways writers tell, don’t show and how to fix them.

Abigail K. Perry examines another of James Scott Bell’s signpost scenes. This time, #8: pet the dog. Brenda Joyce Patterson takes a deep dive into flash non-fiction. Gabriela Pereira interviews Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams for DIY MFA radio. Rachel Thompson list five ways to celebrate women and non-binary authors on International Women’s Day. DIY MFA

Fae Rowan wants to write the perfect book. Spoiler: it’s not possible. What to do instead 😉 Then, Julie Glover wonders, have you forgotten to have fun writing? Writers in the Storm

Susan DeFreitas: when your query reveals a story-level problem. Jane Friedman

Self-rejection: what it is, why you do it, and how to chuck its ass out an airlock. Chuck Wendig, Terribleminds.

Ammi-Joan Paquette is taming the synopsis with these four steps. Writer’s Digest

Jami Gold says, what makes a story uplifting is more than a happy ending.

Rosa Saba: authors irritated by “smug” defense of the Vancouver website they say is stealing their work. Readers, shun ebook.bike. SHUN! The Toronto Star

And that is tipsday for this week. Come back on Thursday for some inspiration and research resources.

Until then, be well, my 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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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 7-13, 2017

It’s time to get your informal writerly learnings for the week 🙂

Jess Lourey touts the therapeutic benefits of writing a novel. Writer Unboxed

Then, she pops over to Jane Friedman’s blog: classic story structures and what they teach us about novel plotting.

Kristen Tsetsi chats with Jane Friedman about how books become bestsellers.

Then, Susan De Freitas guest posts on Jane’s blog: how to spot toxic feedback.

September C. Fawkes visits the Writers Helping Writers coaches’ corner: complex characters and the power of contradiction.

Sarah Juckes offers a cheat’s guide to writing a synopsis. Writers Helping Writers

Remember that crazy Lionel Shriver keynote and the various responses I shared last fall? Well, Keith Cronin tackles the topic for Writer Unboxed: in which a white guy talks about cultural appropriation.

There’s more to come on thoughty Thursday, and even more, next week. Stay tuned.

Susan Spann tells you when to walk away from a publishing deal. Writers in the Storm

Janice Hardy differentiates conflict from tension and explains how to make it work for you. Fiction University

Later in the week, Janice helps you figure out what to do when you think you have the wrong protagonist.

Maurice Broaddus visits Terribleminds: wrestling with writer’s block.

Leanne Sowul shares three ways to balance writing and exercise. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews K.M. Weiland for DIY MFA radio. Two of my favourite writing women!

Then Gabriela hops over to Writer’s Digest to help you create a valuable email list for your book.

And then, there were three. Three [of my] columns published on DIY MFA! How to dream your way to fantastic fiction.

Oren Ashkenazi reviews five anachronisms that fantasy needs. Mythcreants

Colum McCann offers essential tips for aspiring novelists. The Guardian

Danielle Burby offers a few tips so you can tell if your manuscript is ready. Pub Rants

Jim C. Hines writes about traveling with depression.

This is kind of sneaky-bad. Marie Bilodeau tells Ottawa to pay its artists. The next day, Ottawa responded, but Marie’s holding out for proof of their good intentions.

Sudbury author, Kristan Cannon, has just published the fourth book in her post-apocalyptic series. Heidi Ulrichsen for The Northern Life.

Jason Guriel: what happens when authors are afraid to stand alone. The Walrus

Andrew Wilson boggles at the persistence of fake news regarding Agatha Christie’s one real life mystery. The Guardian

Holly Williams reads the startling sex letters of Joyce, Kahlo, and O’Keeffe. The Guardian

Looks like Netflix’s Anne with an E is the best kind of adaptation. Sophie Gilbert for The Atlantic.

I so want to see this movie. Wonder Woman.

 

Aaaaand, we’re done.

Come back on Thursday for some thoughty, won’t you?

Be well until then.

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

And here we are with another week full of informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland: what does it mean to move the plot? Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate shows up with three ways to test your story’s emotional stakes, the latest in her lessons from the Marvel Cinematic Universe series. This post focuses on Doctor Strange.

Parul Macdonald shares six myths and truths about what editors at publishing houses are looking for. Writer Unboxed

Dave King tells you how to wrap it up. Writer Unboxed

Colleen M. Story explains how to use writer’s intuition to strike creative gold. Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen profiles social media personalities for Writers in the Storm.

Laura Drake helps you write a great last line. Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold looks at fixing big problems with small changes.

When is the right time to start building your platform? Kristen Lamb

Gabriela Pereira borrows a pop quiz from Kristen Lamb: are you an aspiring writer? DIY MFA

Stacy B. Woodson: when is a story a romantic suspense? DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews K.J. Howe about writing strong female characters. DIY MFA

Sara Letourneau shares five reasons to attend the Iceland Writers Retreat. DIY MFA

Kris Spisak guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: five commonly confused words starting with A.

Angela Ackerman says, to become a successful writer, you have to develop your intuition. Writers Helping Writers

Adam Haslett examines the perpetual solitude of the writer. Literary Hub

Oren Ashkenazi: five perspective mistakes to avoid. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig shares the wisdom he’s gained over 5 years and 20 books. Terribleminds

Why isn’t Irish mythology more popular? Tale Foundry

 

Kaitlyn Johnson: mastering the dreaded synopsis. Writer’s Digest

Steve Fahnestalk: where do I send the SF/F book I just wrote? Amazing Stories

Charles Chu lists the six strategies Isaac Asimov used to write almost 500 books in his lifetime. Quartz

Nisi Shawl continues her crash course in black science fiction series by revisiting Samuel R. Delaney’s The Jewels of Aptor. Tor.com

Martin Rezny: how (and why) to write realistic magic and aliens. A-MA-zing! Electric Lit

Laura Miller reviews Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne. The New Yorker

Jane Eyre – Thug Notes Summary and Analysis (funny, but fabu)

 

Terri Kapsalis offers a brief history of hysteria, witches, and the wandering uterus. Literary Hub

Emily Temple: The Handmaid’s Tale adapts more than the novel. Literary Hub

The Outlander season 3 trailer (I can’t wait!):

 

Emily Asher-Perrin reviews the series 10 Doctor Who premiere. Tor.com

AutoCrit shares some writing memes.

I hope you picked up some tasty bits that will help you improve you craft, open your mind, or that entertained you in that special, writerly way 😉

Be well until next I blog!

And virtual hugs all around 🙂

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