Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 26-Nov 1, 2014

K.M. Weiland uses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to show how your characters’ goals can be meaningful.

Why you might be ruining your story’s best scenes. Katie’s weekly vlog.

Roz Morris writes about how to handle the passage of time in prose.

Four ways to write a killer plot twist. There are no rules blog. Writer’s Digest.

Is writing a matter of magic? Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds.

Creativity isn’t what we think it is. Kevin Ashton. Medium.

Bad writing advice explained by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Neil Gaiman reimagines Hansel & Gretel. Brainpickings.

How NaNoWriMo can improve your writing process. Anne R. Allen.

Jaimie Raintree explains how NaNoWriMo can change the way you write throughout the year. Thinking through our fingers.

More NaNo prep from BookBaby blogs.

What really distracts NaNo participants. There are no rules. Writer’s Digest.

Why Jeff Goins will never use Microsoft Word again.

Kurt Vonnegut on the shapes of stories.


Beowulf, read in the original Old English. Open Culture.

And leaping forward a few centuries, here’s what Shakespeare sounded like in Elizabethan English. Open University.


Five examples of how the languages we speak can influence the way we think. TED blog.

Learning new words stimulates the same parts of the brain as sex 🙂 IFLS.

Know an Outlander widower? This post is for him 😉

This short film is a beautiful interpretation of what Rosetta might help us achieve. I put it in Tipsday, because it is awesome storytelling.

The top 100 science fiction themed songs of all time. i09.

SyFy focuses on the genre that made them a specialty channel. i09.




Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 17-23, 2014

I have a feeling that this week might be more along the lines of entertaining rather than thoughty, but we can’t be serious all the time, right?

So have some fun 🙂

Three images that will change the way you think about mental illness. Engage. I like the cartoon myself.

ASAP Science explores the science of depression. Love these videos.


ASAP Science mentioned Laurel Braitman in their wee video, so when I saw Laurel’s TED talk on animal madness, I had to share. She’s quite entertaining. I think she might also have a little stage fright.


Fond of meteor disaster movies like Armageddon? Well, this graphic shows the comparative size of the comet the Rosetta has been sent after. Just to put things in perspective. IFLS.

All right. This oceanic worm is a little creepy, but it’s also pretty cool. IFLS.

Take a look at this transparent solar concentrator. IFLS.

David Brin talks Next Technologies on his blog, Contrary Brin. Lots of linkage.

Captain America and the Hulk, explained by science (kind of). Polygon.

Kid President’s pep talk for teachers and students. Find your awesome.


A young goat is introduced to a litter of puppies. The San Francisco Globe. OMG cute 🙂

P!nk and John Legend in Herbie Hancock’s arrangement of Don’t Give Up. Teh beautiful.


Walk off the Earth covers Am I wrong? by Nico & Vinz.


Time explores the other roles the 12 Doctors have played over the years.

The Nerdist’s Alicia Lutes wonders why actors in fantasy and science fiction series get the Emmy snub.

So . . . were you edutained? Let me know.

See you Saturday with the next instalment of WWC 2014, and a Caturday quickie about the week’s developments. Things are looking up 😉

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Aug 10-16, 2014

Here we go in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1!

K.M. Weiland’s blog tour continues on the community with the ten commandments of reading like a writer.

And on Darcy Pattison’s Fiction Notes with four types of villains.

Here’s Katie’s regular Sunday post with podcast: How to figure out what your character’s arc should be.

Finally, her Wednesday vlog: Characters or ciphers? Which are you casting in your story?

MJ Bush collects 99 essential quotes on character creation. Each entry cited and linked for further reference.

Sarah Callender posts about rumination frustration on Writer Unboxed.

Lisa Cron explains how to get what you need out of a famous author’s talk. Very useful for conferences, conventions, and literary festivals.

And . . . forgetful Mel forgot to catch up on the couple of posts I couldn’t link two Tipsdays ago when WU was experiencing some technical difficulties. So here they are now: David Corbett on the tyranny of motive, and Jane Kisacky on the many dreams of writing.

Becca Puglisi ponders, what makes a good blurb? on Writers Helping Writers.

Jami Gold guests on Anne R. Allen’s blog: Everything you need to know about giving and receiving feedback on your WIP.

Then, Jami had to follow up on her blog with the beta reading worksheet.

Jami also posted on characters both strong and vulnerable.

Bronwyn Hemus of Standoutbooks explains why showing and telling is not an either/or proposition, but a matter of how and when.

Here’s Amy Shojai’s entry in the writing process blog hop: Why I write what I write.

Barbara Geiger’s confessions of an ex-there-are-no-rules-writer.

Rebecca T. Dickson tells us all the crap someone should have told us writers by now.

Julian Friedmann on the mystery of storytelling. TEDxEaling.


Open Culture shares Jane Austen’s unusual editing method.

Fifteen scientists share their favourite science fiction novels and movies. The Huffington Post Science.

As a friend of mine would say, that’s a shite-load of Writerly Goodness.

Enjoy, my friends 🙂


Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 3-9, 2014

It appears to be I Fucking Love Science! (IFLS) week again.

This surfing seal is a cutie. Guess what? IFLS.

Remains of extinct giant penguin discovered. My question: how do they know its head looked like that? IFLS.

The headline could have used a little editorial assistance. 60 years after his death, Alan Turing’s morphogens help solve the mystery of how our digits developed. Yup. Moar IFLS.

Second super moon of the summer showed up on August 10. IFLS.

Theoretically, this means of interstellar propulsion could work. Thinking spacey thoughts yet? IFLS.

The Smithsonian answers the question, what happens to your body in space without a space suit?


Literary link here: Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander connection with newly discovered neolithic ruins in Scotland. National Geographic.

“Backroads” Bill Steer explores northern Ontario’s dolmen stones. CBC.

We had not one, but two earthquakes in Sudbury on August 5th. One was a 3.8 (!) They’re not frequent, but they’re freaky 🙂

This Shai Reshef guy has a really good idea: accessible, affordable education. TED.

LEGO for science geeks girls! Sure wish I had this kind of stuff when I was a kid. Barbie and her friends had to make do (I dressed them up in “costumes” and made them popsicle stick “swords”—maybe the LEGO ladies wouldn’t have attracted me, after all).

Feed your brain. It’ll give you ideas for teh stories 🙂

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz July 27-Aug 2, 2014

Sorry for the late-ish post. Had to go to Yin practice tonight. Yoga was beginning to think I abandoned her 😉

Roz Morris started her Masterclass for The Guardian. This is the first post in her daily reporting on the queries arising from hre students. Catch all of her snapshots. She’s got a clever bunch there.

Part 3 of K.M. Weiland’s negative character arc series: The negative character arc in the third act. Surprise, surprise!

And here’s more Katie, guest-posting on Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi’s Writers Helping Writers. Five important ways to use symbolism in your story is part of Katie’s ongoing blog tour in honour of her new book: Jane Eyre: Writer’s Digest Annotated Classics. It’s the last day to enter her giveaway! Go get ‘em writing tigers 🙂

And . . . Katie’s Wednesday vlogs return with foreshadowing’s number one job in your story. Welcome back, vlogs! We missed you!

Writer Unboxed is experiencing some technical difficulties so The Tyranny of Motive and The Many Dreams of Writing will have to wait until next week.

Shennandoah Diaz writes about three ways to save your backstory from the cutting room floor on the There are No Rules blog at Writer’s Digest.

Laura Drake shares her tale of tragedy and triumph on Writers in the Storm.

Edits, Editors, Editing. Ruth Harris explores the secret weapon of every successful writer on Anne R. Allen’s blog.

Elif Shafak’s TED talk on the politics of story.

Quentin Cooper asks the question, why is science fiction so hard to define, on the BBC’s Future blog.

Crawford Killian looks at three SF&F writers who break the mould in The Tyee.

21 books that changed science fiction and fantasy forever from io9.

Electric Lit shares a lovely list of supernatural collective nouns. Anyone for a fondle of unicorns (I thought that was a blessing)?

CNN Travel features the world’s coolest bookstores. Ok . . . gotta sop up the drool here.

Enjoy the Writerly Goodness, my peeps. See y’all Thursday.


Thoughty Thursday: things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 20-26, 2014

I guess this is the week for controversial stuff. PEN Canada, and other charitable organizations who engage in “political” activism are now under investigation by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Here’s a post by Charity Village on the same subject.

The Winnipeg Free Press offers a list of the organizations under investigation.

It’s just disturbing to me that all of these organizations are being audited. It continues the trend of cutbacks, suppression, and outright antagonism toward the sciences, and environmental and arts organizations in this country.

That’s all I’m saying about that.

Carmine Gallo explores the science behind TED’s 18 minute presentation rule. My trainer geek emerged. This is the 90-20-10 rule. People can listen with attention for 90 minutes (think about the timing of your breaks and lunch at work). They can listen and understand for about 20 minutes. The trainer or presenter (in-person) should change things up every 10 minutes. Virtual is a whole different ball game 😉

And speaking of TED, here’s Ze Frank’s very brief, Are You Human?


Frances Caballo offers a concise, yet comprehensive guide to Twitter for writers. The Book Designer.

Elizabeth J. Griffin, MD discloses her struggle with depression and what most people don’t understand.

The relationship between creativity and mental illness, on Brainpickings.

One tree has been grafted to bear 40 different kinds of fruit. IFLS. One of my friends commented: It’s experiments like this that lead to Triffids – LOL!

National Geographic explores what animals do in wildfires.

The 100 best sci-fi movies, as chosen by critics and experts. They’re presented in alphabetical groupings and each delivers their top ten. It’s a fair amount of wading, but there are some interesting choices . . .

Balloon art. Seriously. And I can’t even make a poodle. Maybe a snake 😛

And that be it for the thoughty and fun this week.

I’ll check in again on Saturday 🙂

Thoughty Thursday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz June 15-21, 2014

There’s a little bit of everything this week. A little craft advice, some blogging tips, love for the word nerds and the book worms, writerly brain science, and a couple of thoughtful pieces about women in fiction and making it in the world of fandom.

Part two of K.M. Weiland’s how to write a flat character arc series.

Later in the week, Cathy Yardley wrote a guest post for Katie: Six tips to outline your novel faster.

Jan O’Hara discusses McKee’s four tips on writing a BIG story on Writer Unboxed.

Anne R. Allen’s blogging essentials for authors.

In related news, Roz Morris answers the question, how much time should an author spend blogging and building websites?

10 words that started out as errors from Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty.

Moar wordnerdery from 20 words that used to mean something completely different.

24 quotes that will inspire you to write more from Buzzfeed.

Also from Buzzfeed, 37 books every creative person should read.

Back with, six science fiction and fantasy books for the app generation.

Benedict Cumberbatch reads Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to McCarthy after the burning of (among other books) Slaughterhouse Five.


I just saw Lisa Cron tweet about this NY Times article: This is your brain on writing, by Carl Zimmer.

Tasha Robinson’s post on The Dissolve, We’re losing all our strong female characters to Trinity Syndrome, caused a bit of a furor on the SFCanada listserv, and elsewhere on the interwebz.

Jim C. Hines shares his Continuum guest of honour speech. It’s kick-ass. Then again, Jim’s good at that kind of thing 😉

Enjoy, my writerly peeps.


Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz June 8-14, 2014

Right now, I’m down in Orillia, Ontario, attending CanWrite! 2014. Started the day with a light breakfast and yoga, and I’m going to get Thoughty Thursday out before the sessions start up after lunch. Life is good.

Dame Judy Dench and Daniel Craig explore the question: Are we truly equal? See what you think . . .

What’s new in the war on Alzheimer’s Disease? from the Psychiatric Times.

Why we need creative confidence from

The quest to understand consciousness, a TED talk by Antonio Damasio.

Let these stunning photos of incredible storms inspire you. Also from

More inspirational ideas from i09: 12 futuristic forms of government that could one day rule the world.

All our patent are belong to you (did you catch the pop culture reference?). Tesla Motors makes its patents open source.

The most important sci-fi film never made from the Japan Times. Jodorowsky’s vision of Dune launched the careers of several notables in the field, including Geiger, and influenced moviemaking to the current day. I really want to see this documentary now.

Wired’s absurd creature of the week: the lion’s mane jellyfish. When I visited the Vancouver Aquarium last fall, they were featuring jellyfish. Apparently, they really do like global warming.

This week was pretty thoughty 🙂

Enjoy, my writerly friends, and I hope you garner some inspiration for your writing from this crop of curation.

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz April 6-12, 2014

Thoughty ThursdayShort weeks are often difficult. You seem to have to do your full week’s work in only four days. Hence the lateness of this post.

The 12 most pervasive lies about creativity.

Sleep your way to success (get your mind out of the gutter).

20 magical tree tunnels.

Northumberland’s cup and ring rock art.

Rachel Sussman on the world’s oldest living things TED talk.

This professor says he’s photographed fairies. Do you believe?

Smart ways to beat social media burnout.

Yes, this is a commercial, but it’s still a good message. Just ignore the last few seconds.

If social networks were the Game of Thrones houses.

A doggy reunion. Just for the feels.

I may have shared this before, but it’s just so cute, I couldn’t resist. Puppy cover of Pharrell’s Happy.

And that’s a wrap, folks.

Have a happy Easter, everyone!

Four things I learned about project management

1. My biggest take-away

Back in February, I spent five days in Toronto, taking Project Management training.  While this was ostensibly for my day-job, my biggest take-away is that anything can be a project: my novel, a poem, a short story, training, training design, home renovation, a conference or vacation, even going out to celebrate a birthday, all of it.  And anything that can be considered a project can be made more successful by solid project management practices.

Our instructor for the week was Paul  S. Adler of Paul S. Adler and Associates, a certified Project Management Professional through the Project Management Institute (PMI).   In a practical demonstration of participant-centered training in action, Mr. Adler guided the class through content-relevant activities, integrated lecture and video segments, and tied the whole together with practical application sessions that culminated in a presentation of our team projects on Friday morning.

2. The PMBOK and the PMBOX

PMBOK stands for the Project Management Body of Knowledge.  The PMBOK Guide is the Bible of project management and is produced by PMI.

One of the mini-projects that the class had to produce was a commercial for a product.  My group chose the PMBOX, containing everything you would need to manage your next project.  While our tagline was “With the PMBOX, your projects will manage themselves,” there is no magic solution to project management.  The toolkit is in the project manager’s head and reference library, and it will take years of practice to implement, understand, and perfect those skills.

3. The Spectre of Groupthink

While I think Mr. Adler’s video library could stand some updating, each was relevant and elucidating.  In a serendipitous bit of media tie-in, Roger Boisjoly, the central figure of the video on “Groupthink” passed away on January 6, 2012.  His passing was publicized on February 8, 2012 in newspapers across the US.  I found the video challenging and the difficulty of Roger’s position tragic.  Moreover, his story following the Challenger disaster he tried to avert was compelling. 

Groupthink is a phenomenon in which coverconfidence, looming deadlines, and pressure to conform can conspire to silence conscientious dissenters.  In Boisjoly’s case, he warned of the potential failure of the O ring that ultimately resulted in the Challenger disaster.

Groupthink in my workplace (not my team specifically – we’re pretty awesome) is a hazard, and extremely difficult to overcome.  I’m now dreading the possibility of having to confront the beast.  Thankfully, I don’t think it’s imminent, and the projects I might work on would not involve life-or-death decision, but still … it’s both haunting, and daunting.

4. Let’s Talk Again

On Wednesday evening, the day after we discussed Groupthink, I watched the CTV broadcast of Michael Landsberg’s interviews with Darryl Strawberry, Stéphane Richer, and Clara Hughes about depression.  It was significant for me in the context of the course, because Mr. Adler had spent some time discussing stress management that day.  As someone prone to depression, I do what I can to combat negative stress every day.  Walking my dog, or walking home from work, making a physical as well as mental “switch” between work and home lives, and seeking the happy are all important parts of my life and my “process.”

Kim Covert, of the Postmedia News service calls depression in the workplace the “trillion dollar elephant in the room.”   It’s an issue that has a huge impact on both our professional and personal lives and people have been silent with respect to depression for too long.

Bottom line: find your bliss; follow your joy; do whatever you can to find the happy in your life.

In the end

There was too much course to cram into a little blog post like this.  We covered at least ten important topics every day.  That’s a lot of learning!  Project Management isn’t something that can be done, or done perfectly, out of the gate.  As Mr. Adler told us, we just need to start with one thing, practice it, and build on that practice gradually.  Also, he encouraged us to use project management at home.

I’d highly recommend the course, or one like it, to everyone.

As Drew Dudley says so succinctly and so beautifully, leadership in everyday life can change the world.

Have you attended a course recently that has had an impact on you?  What was the course?  What was its impact?  Do share!