Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 1-7, 2018

Were you looking for these? Your informal writerly learnings are here!

K.M. Weiland helps you decide between plain prose and beautiful prose. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman returns to Writer Unboxed: a smarter author platform for the digital era of publishing.

Nathan Bransford offers a guide to social media for authors. Later in the week he offers tips on how to regain your concentration.

Emily Wenstrom explains how to use Twitter hashtags for writers. DIY MFA

Porter Anderson delves into author pay and publishing profits. And then, he looks at the success of Canada Reads as PBS announces a similar competition.

Valerie Francis joins Joanna Penn on The Creative Penn to discuss how to write a scene the Story Grid way.

Donald Maass takes a non-linear approach to middle scenes. Writer Unboxed

Sonja Yeorg is resurrecting a shelved manuscript. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt talks art and social change. It’s a ripping awesome post. Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan is deepening character complexity with the help of psychology. Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman examines the destructive power of the lie your character believes. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold offers some suggestions to help you create a compelling, but quiet, black moment.

Heather Webb shares a writer’s lessons in failure. Writers in the Storm

Do the thing? Chuck Wendig offers a helpful (and hilarious) FAQ. Terribleminds

Kristen Lamb brings the LOLZ with her post on diagnosing the real writer.

Dheolos and Worldbuilding Magazine are creating a mountain setting. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu explores how the women of The Expanse are changing our worldview.

Dan Koboldt is putting the science in your fiction. Writer’s Digest

And some writerly news from the north:

My friend and vice-president of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild Vera Constantineau is interviewed for The Northern Life about her new short story collection Daisy Chained.

Another friend and SWG member Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli announces pre-orders for her first novel, La Brigantessa, forthcoming from Inanna Publications this September.

And that was Tipsday.

Be well until Thoughty Thursday comes around to herald the weekend 🙂

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 26-April 1, 2017

Holy cow, lookit all the informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland covers seven stages of being a writer. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate helps you notch up your scene conflict.

Fred Johnson guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: how to get violence right in your fiction.

Grace Wynter joins Writer Unboxed as a contributor: Look! Up in the sky! It’s a … writer?

Catherine McKenzie: are you tired of writing? Writer Unboxed

Tracy Hahn-Burkett helps you have patience over the long, long haul. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt unpacks the relationship between envy, perfectionism, and the work of writing. Writer Unboxed

Susan Spann: how to avoid pay to play publishing contracts. Writer Unboxed

Jenna Moreci: Show vs. Tell, part 2. When to tell.

 

Kimberly Brock has the blank page blues. Writers in the Storm

Kathryn Craft says we can do it all—but should we? Writers in the Storm

Ruth Harris shares some stress busters and burnout beaters. Anne R. Allen’s blog

Leanne Sowul: how one skeptic became a meditation convert. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jessica Strawser for DIY MFA radio.

G. Myrthil explains why kid lit matters. DIY MFA

Linda Bernadette Burgess shares five ways to manage multiple creative passions. DIY MFA

Emily Temple says that if any literature is going to change the world, it’s going to be young adult. Literary Hub

Fantasy Faction explores sieges and siegecraft. Part one: attackers.

Jeff Lyons returns to Jami Gold’s blog: what is high concept and how can I create it?

Lilith Saint Crow stops by Terribleminds: when a short story won’t stay short for long.

Nina Munteanu: the power of myth in storytelling.

Bonnie Randall wonders, do sensitivity readers hurt or help our novels? Fiction University

Nathan Bransford says that the key to a great query letter is summarizing through specificity.

Barbara Kyle shares ten query letter tips.

Pamela Hodges explains how to edit your novel like a New York publisher. The Write Practice

John Koenig makes another entry in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: morii.

 

S.B. Divya reveals the seed of her novel Runtime. Tor.com

Malka Older’s not predicting the future, she’s just observing the present. Tor.com

Sunny Moraine: resistance through speculative fiction. Tor.com

Leah Schnelbach revisits Nausicaä of the Valley of the Winds, twenty years on. Tor.com

Am I pathetic because I still love Buffy? I guess I’m not alone: Katharine Trendacosta shares pics from the Entertainment Weekly Buffy reunion photo shoot. i09

Three translators respond to Arrival. Susannah Greenblatt for Words without Borders.

Adam Frank explains how great science fiction shows like The Expanse prepare us for the future. NPR

Evan Narcisse shows us the Valerian trailer. i09

Hope you enjoyed the writerly goodness.

See you Thursday for some thoughty 🙂

Be well until then.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 26-March 4, 2017

Ah, another lovely batch of informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

K.M. Weiland: the lazy writer’s six-question guide to writing an original book. Helping Writers Become Authors

Kathryn Craft shares seven ways to get rich from writing (it’s not quite what you think). Writers in the Storm

What a sensitivity reader is and how to hire one. Natalia Sylvester guest posts on Writer Unboxed.

Julia Munroe Martin tells us how to get by with a little help from our (writer) friends. Writer Unboxed

Sarah McCoy: a hard change will do you good. Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass says, impossible odds for everyone! WriterUnboxed

Jo Eberhardt: how to (not) overcome fear. Writer Unboxed

Laura Drake: the angels are in the details. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle lists twelve traits that help create loveable heroes. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi examines five great characters from horrible shows. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig never fails to crack me up (while sharing awesome advice). A very good list of vital writing advice—do not ignore! Terribleminds

Jenna Moreci: how to outline your novel, part 1.

 

Angela Ackerman shares the news about the new worldbuilder tool on One Stop for Writers. Looks amazing. Writers Helping Writers

This feels weird, but also awesome. I’m curating myself! Why I write speculative fiction. DIYMFA

Bess Cozby embarks on an experiment in minimalism. DIYMFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Dale Wiley for DIYMFA radio.

Michelle Chalkey shares five benefits of aromatherapy for writers. DIYMFA

Ruth Harris examines stress and burnout, how they’re different, and why it’s important to know the difference. Anne R. Allen’s blog

Dr. Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein asks us to, um, stop demonizing filler words. Quartz

Check out this year’s Latitude 46 line up. The North Bay Nugget

Stephanie Convery reports on Ali Cobby Eckermann, the unemployed, indigenous poet who just won the $215,000 Windham-Campbell Award. The Guardian

George Saunders: what writers really do when they write. The Guardian

Zen Pencils: Stephen King’s desk.

Hillel Italie: Ursula K. Le Guin among authors inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. SFGate

George Gene Gustines interviews Ta-Nehisi Coates about creating black superheroes. The New York Times

Don Pittis: machine intelligence lessons from science fiction. CBC

Swapna Krishna pits science against The Expanse: is it possible to colonize our solar system? Tor.com

Genevra Littlejohn critiques Iron Fist. The Learned Fangirl

If you liked the movie Arrival, Phil Plait wants a (single) word with you. Blastr

In the latest Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 trailer, Peter gets to meet his dad. Katharine Trendacosta for i09.

And that’s it until next week!

But you can always come back on Thursday for a little thoughty 😉

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Muse-Inks: Honouring my reality and mid-season follies

This week’s DIYMFA question has to do with honouring your reality. The prompt is this: Tell a story about a time when you had to honour your reality. Rather than focus on one time, I’ll address the topic generally, with specific examples.

There are times when you simply have too much going on in your life or are too worn down by circumstances to stick to your writing practice.

It can happen when you’re overloaded at the day job and have nothing left when you return home. Exhaustion can leave you empty. This happened to me last year when I was training out of town for two and a half weeks. Previously, and since, I’ve been able to write while travelling, but, on this occasion, I was flat out of juice.

Burnout, creative or otherwise, can leave you in the same situation. Doing too much can drain your creative well and leave you ‘blocked.’

It can happen when you or a loved one feels ill. Wellness comes first. Still, I have been known to write even when I’m sick.

When my dad was struck with the illness that landed him first in the hospital, and from there into an alternate level of care facility, and then a nursing home, I have to say that my writing practice wasn’t consistent, but I did write.

Even when I was sitting vigil, when Dad suffered the attack of acute congestive heart failure that would eventually take his life, I brought my lap top and notebook with me.

It may sound callous, or selfish, but writing is how I process the events of my life.

It’s not like I sat there writing obsessively while my father died, either. Though he was unconscious for most of his final journey, there was a lot of hand holding, many quiet, one-way conversations, visitors to comfort, and support measures to attend to.

But when I had a moment, I pulled out my journal and committed a few of my swirling thoughts to paper, or opened up the lap top and typed a few lines.

The only time I’ve not written for extended periods was when I’d lost touch with my passion for writing, following my MA. It was something I had to learn to understand before I could overcome it. It involved depression and therapy and meds and a lot of what I call ‘self-work.’

I tried, and failed, to achieve a consistent writing practice for years before I finally found my way to it. Since then, though, writing has been my companion.

The take-away from all this is that dry spells happen, for whatever reason. Every writer, without exception, has them, whether they admit to it or not. Be kind to yourself. This, too, shall pass.

If you’ve been away from your practice for a few days, or a few weeks, or even for a few years, start slow and build slowly on your successes. Forgive yourself for the times you falter. And always, approach the blank page with love in your heart and fire in your soul.

Muse-inks

Mid-season follies

First, a quick and ecstatic anime/animation note: Netflix has added Legend of Korra to its Canadian service. Just the first two seasons, but I’m all a-squee 🙂 Watching now. Giddy.

The mid-season isn’t quite over at this point, with Game of Thrones about to resume this weekend, but I probably won’t have a chance to share my further thoughts until later in the year.

The Expanse

This adaptation of the James S.A. Corey series of novels was gritty and realistic. It had a real noir feel to it and enough twists and turns to keep viewers tuned in week after week.

It was good storytelling, though dark.

I’ll leave it there, because this is a series I think y’all should really watch.

Childhood’s End

I wouldn’t recommend this adaptation. It was okay. I know decisions have to be made to present a written work on television, but I didn’t appreciate the decisions made in this mini-series.

‘Nuff said.

The Magicians

Love, love, lurved this series. C.S. Lewis, grown up, turned on its head, and painted black.

I know there were significant variances from Lev Grossman’s novels, from which this series was adapted, but these choices are, well, choice.

Another one I want everyone to watch.

Very well done.

Magical, even 😉

Bitten

This was the final season of Bitten, and warnings were issued that the writers were going ‘off-book’ with this one.

It was ok. They got back to centring the story on the pack and wolf dynamics.

The Russian pack have made themselves comfortable and so Jeremy, fearing a hostile takeover of the worst kind, sends Elena, Clay, and Nick to gather the lone werewolves and bring them into the pack.

A strange wolf and his family shows up and turns out to be Elena’s father.

There’s a lot of what I saw as unnecessary killing in this season, and the pack is decimated, even after Elena becomes Alpha.

The red-eyed wolf was truly terrifying, but when push came to shove, his take-down was unspectacular.

So like I say, ok. I wasn’t even too concerned about getting spoilery.

Marvel’s Agent Carter

I enjoyed it, though I hear that it wasn’t as well-received as the first season. The relocation to LA was a bit contrived, but the story arc was interesting and tied into Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and some of the other Marvel properties.

I appreciated Peggy’s relationships with the various men in her life, particularly Jarvis, and I liked that there were women characters who could hold their own beside our hero.

I wasn’t as taken with Whitney, though I believe the writers did the best they could to create a complex villain in as few brush strokes as possible.

We’re supposed to hear in May whether the series will be back for a third season or not.

You, Me, and the Apocalypse

This was funny! And quirky (and I loves me some good quirk)! Rob Lowe as a Cardinal? That made it for me, right there. The evil twin schtick didn’t feel tired in this series, either.

This is another story told, like How to get away with murder and Quantico, from two ends. One story line follows the lives of several people as they learn that an asteroid is heading on a collision course with Earth, and the other frames the chronological narrative from the perspective of the protagonist (we think—spoiler!) as he sits in a bunker, waiting for the impact.

As the episodes progress, viewer learns how all of the apparently disparate characters are connected. It was very well done.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

Rory Pond gets to be a time master 😉 Yup. This one is another positive-ish DC show that features a number of the supporting characters from The Flash and Arrow, teaming up with time master Michael “Rip” Hunter to defeat Vandal Savage before he destroys the future.

It’s a bit repetitive as Rip and his team travel from time to time hunting Savage, or run from time to time trying to evade the other time masters Rip defied when he went on this crazy quest, but there have been some entertaining episodes.

The series may have a limited time (pun intended).

Vikings

I’m not as happy with this season as I have been with past ones. Ragnar is pretty pathetic this season, but other characters, like his son, Bjorn, and ex-wife Lagertha, are coming into their own.

Rollo has become a Frankish Duke and is actually defending the French against his brother Ragnar.

The intrigues of the courts of Wessex, Mercea, and Northumbria are interesting, but something is definitely lacking since Floki murdered Athelstan last year.

Can I just come back to Ragnar for a moment? Thought to be mortally wounded after the last attack on Paris, he recovers (somewhat), befriends a Chinese slave, becomes addicted, and essentially loses it. He redeems himself by coming up with a crazy idea to portage the Viking fleet past Rollo’s defences, but I’m thinking this may be it for the clever Ragnar I admired.

The season’s not over yet, though.

Orphan Black

This series has only just returned. I’m enjoying the ride, so far, though. Going back to the beginning and delving into the original mysteries around Neolution is a good way to reorient the show.

I’m not so sure I’m keen on Felix’s one-eighty, though. Searching for one’s birth family doesn’t mean you turn your back on the family that you have and get all broody. I suspect there’s more to it than what’s been confessed at first blush, though.

Outlander

We’re only a couple of episodes in, so I don’t have much to report. If the cast, crew, writers, and costume designers keep up with last season, however, I’ll be well-pleased.

The Good Witch

This sweet Harlequin production just returned this past Thursday.

Despite featuring a protagonist who is a witch, this series is really a Christian romance in pagan trappings.

I can’t explain it. My tastes generally run darker and more twisted, but I kind of like The Good Witch.

And . . . just so you know, I don’t watch all of the television that comes out. I can only watch so much without cutting into my writing time. I have to be picky. And there are some shows I just don’t get into. Or they don’t hook me at all.

So there you have it.

The only series I didn’t get to were the Netflix/Shomi series we watch. I may have to recap those in the fall before I dive into the new fall season shows.

As I mentioned before, I’ll be at Ad Astra next weekend. Unless a miracle occurs, I won’t be blogging. The weekend of May 7, I’ll be serving up my April next chapter update, and then I’ll be getting on with the convention reportage, such as it is.

I’ll be back with more Tipsday and Thoughty Thursday for you in the meantime.

Smiles, everyone, smiles! (Don’t ask me where that came from. Seriously, don’t.)