Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 30-July 6, 2019

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Jeanette the Writer: forewords, introductions, and prologues … oh, my! Then, Tammy Lough wants to help you create your series bible. DIY MFA

K.M. Weiland wants you to take your writing to the next level: whole-life art. Helping Writers Become Authors

Yi Shun Lai: better your writing by being a beginner—every day. Later in the week, Justin Attis warns against some common pitfalls of trying to make your story “unique.” Jane Friedman

Sophie Masson relates the pleasures and pitfalls of writing a multi-POV narrative. Donald Maass is back to the one-word titles: legendary. Bryn Greenwood explains what a ghost heart has to do with writing fiction. “The difference between the memoir I’ll never write and the novels I can’t stop writing is all about processing personal experience into fiction.” Jo Eberhardt: one story, many paths. Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan is digging deep into the psychology of a layered story. Writers Helping Writers

Fae Rowan writes about lost love and using your young adult voice. Later in the week, Janice Hardy stops by to explain how to write an opening scene that hooks readers. Writers in the Storm

David Safford explains how to apply helpful writing feedback (and how to know what you can ignore). The Write Practice

Chris Winkle shows you how to avoid melodrama in your writing. Then, Oren Ashkenazi writes about water travel before engines. Mythcreants

Cory Doctorow: I shouldn’t have to publish this in the New York Times. The New York Times

Open Culture reveals how Jane Austen edited her manuscripts with straight pins.

And that was tipsday. I hope you found something you need to help with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 19-25, 2017

Another bumper crop of informal writerly learnings for you!

K.M. Weiland shares nine tips that will help you create opening and closing lines that readers will love to quote. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate helps you determine when it’s a good idea to use a made-up setting.

Shanna Swendson guest posts on Fiction University: is your plot complex, or chaotic?

Vaughn Roycroft is embracing perseverance. Writer Unboxed

Maya Rock helps you prepare for the emotional roller coaster of revision. Writer Unboxed

Dave King takes a look at Stephen King, a master of suspense and suspension of disbelief. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb tackles writing through the soggy, infuriating, anxiety-inducing middle. Writer Unboxed

Dan Blank encourages us to use the magic wand of generosity. Writer Unboxed

Jeff Lyons guest posts on Jami Gold’s blog: how to make every story idea the best it can be.

Constance Renfrow lists five story openings to avoid. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Dan Blank on DIY MFA radio.

Kolina Cicero shares five tips for reading like a writer. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci: show vs. tell.

 

Chuck Wendig has some considerations for you, if you want to be a professional writer. Terribleminds

Kameron Hurley guest posts on Writer’s Digest: how to build fantastic worlds.

Amber Mitchell offers six tips for fantasy worldbuilding. Writer’s Digest

Jennie Nash visits the Writers Helping Writers coaching corner: how to rescue a book in danger of dying.

Jody Hedlund suggests three ways to add depth to your novel.

Kristen Lamb helps you evaluate whether or not you have a story (or just 85,000 words). Later in the week she  wonders, do some people lack the talent to be authors?

Jenny Hansen shares some helpful hacks to build a strong brand. Writers in the Storm

As a follow up to Jenny’s post, Jami Gold offers some tips for keeping our sanity while building a brand.

Alice Sudlow offers a lesson on phrasal verbs. The Write Practice

Merriam-Webster explores the history of thon, the proposed and forgotten gender-neutral pronoun.

Grace O’Connell interviews Robert J. Sawyer for Open Book.

Wyl Menmuir shares data from the app that helped him write his Booker long-listed debut. The Guardian

Natalie Zutter shares the full length trailer for Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Tor.com

Hope this gave you something you needed to keep creating.

Be well until Thursday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 2-8, 2016

This week was just yummy 🙂

The Wordstock Sudbury 2016 schedule is up 🙂

Prism International interviews George Elliott Clarke, one of our Wordstock guests of honour.

Your #NaNoWriMo prep posts for the week:

Nina Amir guest posts on K.M. Weiland’s Helping writers become authors: how to get up close with your characters.

Chris Saylor guest posts on Marcy Kennedy’s blog: how to punctuate dialogue.

Roz Morris shares her insights on how to write emotions. Nail your novel

Donald Maass looks at four kinds of pace. Writer Unboxed

Joanna Penn: how to find and capture ideas for your novel. The Creative Penn

Janice Hardy guest posts on Writer Unboxed: a ten step guide to plotting a practice novel.

Therese Walsh explores dehumanization in fiction using one of my favourite movies, The Shawshank Redemption. Writer Unboxed

Cathy Yardley: just say yes. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle thinks the surprise kiss must go. Why? It’s a matter of consent. Mythcreants

Chuck Wendig offers some good writing (and life) advice: control what you can control. Terribleminds

Later in the week, he shares ten quick story tips to use or discard at your leisure.

Kameron Hurley shares her experience: five years a novelist.

Sarah Waters shares her ten rules of writing fiction. Aerogramme Writing Studio

Last Sunday I spent the day online in a short fiction intensive with Mary Robinette Kowal (!) Here’s one of the resources she shared on critiquing:

 

Carly Watters offers ten ways to personalize your query letter.

Kristen Lamb: what the dreaded synopsis reveals about our writing.

Anna Davis: how to prepare your submission package. Curtis Brown Creative

Awards news!

Ursula K. Le Guin has stopped writing fiction, but we need her more than ever. Zoë Carpenter for The Nation.

When Steven Musil reported that Amazon was cracking down on incentivized reviews, everyone panicked, until it was clarified that this policy change would not apply to ARCs provided for book review purposes. cnet

Sarah Gailey: why we write about witches. Tor.com

Lisa Rosman: what The Girl on the Train is really about. Signature Reads

Angelica Jade Bastièn says the price of fandom can be too high for women of colour. New Republic

Julia Alexander examines sexism in television in the microcosm of Adult Swim. Polygon

Shane Parrish: what you read changes your brain. Medium

If you can correctly pronounce every word in this poem, you speak English better than 90% of English speakers in the world. I must admit, I flubbed two or three <blushes>. The Poke

Ephrat Livni for Quartz: a linguist’s love letter to profanity and why it’s okay to swear in front of kids.

Dark Horse Comics will be producing the next two seasons of The Legend of Korra in print. Rob Bricken for i09. Moar Korra! Eeeeee!

Evan Narcisse talks to Greg Rucka about the reaction to Wonder Woman’s canon bisexuality. i09

Did you see the premiere of Westworld last Sunday? Here are a few pieces about it.

Michael Bennett Cohn looks at Westworld through the lens of the golem story. The Forward

Can Westworld do for science fiction what Game of Thrones did for fantasy? Charlie Jane Anders for Wired.

I’m watching and enjoying it. Phil, not so much, but then, he did see the original movie (which I haven’t) and he just doesn’t see how the writers can turn it into a series and so he’s closed to the possibilities.

Evan Narcisse explores how Luke Cage uses blackness for i09.

Netflix provides a release date (and teaser) for Iron Fist: March 17, 2017.

Outlander casts Marsali and adult Fergus. Entertainment Weekly

The Doctor Who Christmas special features superheroes (!) plus a wee teaser. Katharine Trendacosta for i09.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Sept 18-24, 2016

You want moar informal writerly learnings, you say?

Here they are!

K.M. Weiland shares the secret to writing dynamic characters: it’s always their fault. Helping writers become authors

Later in the week, Kate returns with more lessons from the MCU: stay true to your characters.

Tonia Marie Harris guest posts on Writer Unboxed: confessions of an intrepid mermaid.

Lisa Cron digs deeper into the response to her last Writer Unboxed post, in which she posited an alternative to the plotter/pantser dichotomy. It’s hard to own what you believe.

Dave King: give your characters roots. Writer Unboxed

Lisa Janice Cohen shares the seven lessons she’s learned over five years and six novels. Writer Unboxed

Dan Blank: share your voice. Writer Unboxed

Chuck Wendig: here’s how to finish that fucking book, you monster. Terribleminds
Later in the week, Chuck posts: it’s art that will help us survive.

Susan Brooks returns to Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: the importance of genre specificity, part two. Then, Janice guests on C.S. Lakin’s Live, write, thrive: are you making these three common revision mistakes?

Megan Hannum shares five apps that will help you revise your manuscript. DIYMFA

Laura Drake: nail that first line. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle shares her insights into creating your antagonist’s journey. Mythcreants

W.B. Sullivan shares six ways to cultivate urgency that will captivate readers. The Write Life

Rebecca Smith: what Jane Austin can teach us about building suspense. Literary Hub

Alice Sudlow posts on the proper order of adjectives.* The Write Practice

*It should be noted that I posted about this in past weeks, including Chuck Wendig’s take.

Indigenous or aboriginal, which is correct? CBC

Roz Morris offers her views on writing as a hobby, an art, a profession, a business, or a vocation. Is there a difference and why is it important? Nail your novel

Kimberly Brock embraces her inner weirdos on Writers in the Storm.

Kirsten Oliphant posts on Jane Friedman’s blog: how to leverage the power of someone else’s platform without being smarmy. Later in the week, Andrea Dunlop shares five questions you should ask yourself when you’re getting ready for a book launch.

So this was a thing that happened:

Writescape profiles Jenny Madore.

Leonard Cohen celebrates his birthday with a present to us. Bob Boilen for NPR.

Buzzfeed lists 28 underused words that you should start using.

Jane Friedman offers her annual state of publishing update.

Publishers Weekly shares the results from their publishing industry salary survey. The trends and disparity are still unsettling.

Susanne Althoff looks at The Bestseller Code and how algorithms could save publishing but ruin novels. Wired

Viet Thanh Nguyen unpacks the complicated issue of diversity in publishing. The Library Journal

Alyssa Wong, Alice Sola Kim, Cat Valente, and Seth Dickenson discuss diversity in science fiction. Leah Schnelbach for Tor.com.

The Fantasy Faction presents part five of their gender and stereotyping in fantasy series: bisexual characters.

Emily V. Gordon says that television writers are doing a better job at portraying characters with mental illness. The New York Times

Keri Walsh: the taming of the bard. Public Books

Watch the PBS trailer for their documentary, Maya Angelou: And still I Rise. The Vulture

More sadness: Terry Jones diagnosed with dementia 😦 The Telegraph

Cinephelia & Beyond takes an in-depth look at Alan Parker’s Angel Heart.

A Nigerian comics startup is creating African superheroes. Lily Kuo for Quartz.

Sarah Gailey posits that Hermione Granger is more than just a sidekick. Tor.com

Watch the Stranger Things kids warm up the Emmy audience with their version of “Uptown Funk.” Entertainment Weekly

And now, I’m a little exhausted.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 5-11, 2016

June already? OMG! Where has the year gone? Oh well, console yourselves with some writerly goodness.

C.S. Lakin explains how writers can bring setting to life through personification. Live, write, thrive.

K.M. Weiland: how to write the perfect plot (in two easy steps). Helping writers become authors.

Chris Ebock teaches us how to develop a great story in three (or four) steps. Fiction University.

Chris Winkle shares seven rules of effective prose. Mythcreants.

All the world’s a book: acting for writers. Allie Larkin on Writer Unboxed.

Write about inner demons without boring your reader into a coma. I love Kristen Lamb’s sense of humour 😀

Chuck Wendig’s inimitable writing advice: what exactly makes a damn good story? Terribleminds. Now when this was shared on the listserv of one of my writing associations, the following was quoted: “A man catches a fish isn’t much of a story, because his problem isn’t a problem.” And responded to: erm, Old Man and the Sea? Moby Dick? Yeah, well. Read it in context.

With Pooh’s demise last year, I’ve been missing the distinct feline voice in writing craft. Welcome Harper Hodges to The Write Practice: Seven steps to write more.

Emily Wenstrom shares some marketing magic with the seven points of contact for authors. DIYMFA.

Janet Reid offers her thoughts on this question: so, how do you know if you’re a good writer?

Susan Spann offers a warning about non-disclosure clauses on Writers in the Storm.

A.J. Hartley: writing people of colour as a white author. Tor.com

Stephen Burt reviews Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland series for The New Yorker.

Kim Fahner shares some of the things she learned at the Alice Munroe Festival of the Short Story.

Kameron Hurley shares an excerpt from The Geek Feminist Revolution on the Tor blog: what are you fighting for?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at the Girls Write Now awards ceremony: fuck being likeable. Jezebel.

Dear broke reader: your sense of entitlement is killing me. Sarah Madison.

The British Fantasy Awards shortlists are revealed. The Guardian.

The Sunburst Society releases its 2016 longlist.

Ken MacLeod for Orbit Books: Is science fiction past its sell-by date?

Molly Mcardle interviews Daniel José Older for Brooklyn.

X-rays reveal 1,300 year-old writings inside later book bindings. The Guardian.

The 1,000 year-old manuscript of Beowulf has been digitized and is now available online. Open Culture.

Shakespeare and the supernatural.

 

Benjamin Dreyer annotates Shirley Jackson’s sublime first paragraph in Hill House. Signature Reads.

Lisa Rosman asks, can a movie about editing be Genius? Signature Reads.

Jamie prepares for the battle of Prestonpans on Outlander. Vanity Fair.

Until next week, cheers!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 28-July 4, 2015

Another bumper crop of Writerly Goodness. I guess you can tell where my head is these days, eh?

Will a newly consolidated Penguin Random House weaken or save Canadian publishing? The Globe and Mail.

Chapters Indigo to carry more lifestyle products. Is this a good thing for our national bookseller? The Province.

Russell Smith writes about how to publish a book in Canada. The Globe and Mail.

Apple loses its appeal and ebook decision is confirmed. Publishers Weekly.

K.M. Weiland shares three ways you can make writing your novel easier.

Level up your fiction with dramatic irony. Katie’s Wedneday post (what, no vlog? Nope, but the post is just as good).

Nina Munteanu writes on the topic of exposition.

How Veronica Sicoe brainstorms her story ideas into working concepts.

What are three signs that your novel has too many characters and what can you do about it? Roz Morris helps you Nail Your Novel.

Donald Maass contributed this piece on openings to Writer Unboxed. Intrigue vs. engagement? As usual, Don argues for a healthy balance of both 🙂

I may have posted this before, but it’s good advice, so here you go: How to know when to stop editing and move on. The Write Practice.

Chris Winkle posts about the differences between writing a short story and writing a novel. Mythcreants.

Steven Pressfield discusses the writer’s skill.

Ruth Harris writes about the care and feeding of your muse on Anne R. Allen’s blog.

Enough is a wretched concept. Delilah S. Dawson.

Are perfectly micromanaged worlds utopian or dystopian? Veronica Sicoe considers the question on her blog.

An interview with Douglas Smith. Fantasy Fiction Focus.

Charlie Gilkey interviews Ali Luke on The Creative Giant podcast.

Which books didn’t change your life? The Guardian.

What Zack Handlen learned from rereading The Stand. i09.

50 years on, how Dune changed the world. The Guardian.

Reading Canada with SFF legends, eh? Beauty in Ruins.

The Wizard of Oz and Age of Ultron mash up you didn’t know you needed. i09.

Advantageous is an insanely good movie that everyone should watch. Katherine Trendacosta for i09.

Check out theses fifteen TV series that reinvented science fiction in the past decade. i09.

Diana Gabaldon shared this two part interview from a few years back on Writer Unboxed. Good stuff 🙂 Here’s part 1 and part 2.

A first look at Outlander season two: Jamie and Claire in Paris. Entertainment Weekly.

Hang in there until Thoughty Thursday, peeps. I’ll be back with more curation for you then.

Tipsday

Why is shifting point of view (POV) problematic?

For the second time in as many weeks, a writer friend has suggested a post to me. This time, it was about POV. In a short story I recently critiqued, the POV (third person, past tense) shifted from a mother to her daughter. I recommended either sticking with one POV, or marking the change with more than just textual cues.

My writer friend indicated that she had a film background and asked if the omniscient POV wouldn’t allow her to shift her focus between characters in a scene.

What follows is my response.

A wee caveat: this is based on my own craft learning to date. I’m happy to lay the burden of expertise at the feet of others 🙂


 

First, you should check out CS Lakin’s blog: LiveWriteThrive

You may have to go fairly far back in her archives, but she did a series on writing based on film techniques last year. She turned this into a book, Shoot your novel, which you can find on Amazon.

This might appeal to your filmic aesthetic.

Now, having said that, film techniques aren’t the same as POV in writing. Parallels can be drawn, but really, they’re two different things.

POV in writing is about who’s telling the story. Whomever the story belongs to is generally the POV you use.

Why is a shifting POV problematic?
I’ll let you do a little research on this yourself. So many people have written about it. It’s called “head hopping.”

Here’s a starter from our friend Google: https://www.google.com/search?q=head+hopping&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

My recommendations? The Write Practice, Marcy Kennedy (she’s Canadian), the Editor’s Blog (Head-Hopping Gives Readers Whiplash), and The Write Editor (The Difference Between Omniscient POV and Head Hopping). Jami Gold and WriterUnboxed are awesome too.

Go ahead. Check them out. I’ll wait while you scan a few of the articles 🙂

In a visual medium, the POV is omniscient, or at most limited third simulated by a voice over. You can’t really “show” the inner thoughts and feelings of a character on screen. So in film, the POV is the camera’s and by extension, the director, producer, and/or editor may have a hand in influencing the final product.

There is such a thing as an omniscient POV in writing, and it used to be used, but it’s not really popular anymore. Further, it’s hard to do well.

In cinematic terms, omniscient translates to the page as a wide shot, interspersed with close ups on various characters, but it’s all external observation. Visually, you have the zoom or cut to give you a clue as to which character or characters are the focus of the scene.

In writing, you have to do something that simulates the zoom to cue the reader that the focus of the scene is now changing. Otherwise, you could end up confusing your reader (who’s talking now? why do I have to hear from this character? why is this important to the scene/story?).

Readers have changed over the last century. This is primarily due to movies and television (where a complete story is told in 30 minutes, an hour, or two hours), video games (complete action smorgasbord), and the internet (e.g. Twitter: describe your day in 140 characters anyone?). Flash fiction and micro fiction now have journals devoted to them. Books have been written in Tweets.

Readers like shorter forms of fiction because they can read a complete story in a limited period of time (think CommuterLit.com).

If the story isn’t short, then the author must continually hook the reader and keep them interested in the story. Part of this is engaging the reader in the story (what’s at stake?) and the character (why should I care?).

Omniscient POV requires readers to pay attention and do a little more work than they might otherwise be inclined to do. It’s not personal. You don’t stick with any one character long enough for the reader to become invested in that character and you’re observing like a camera, never delving into a character’s thoughts or feelings.

A limited third POV focuses intimately on one character: She ran to his side and thought, Is he dead? Oh, please, no.

Some writers, for example George R. R. Martin in Game of Thrones, shift between characters in the limited third POV, but you will find, generally, that an entire chapter will be from one character’s POV.

If an author changes POV characters in the middle of a chapter, the POV will change when the scene changes (therefore one POV per scene) and there will often be a visual cue such as an extra line between the paragraphs, or a symbol like # or * set off in the middle of its own line. Barbara Kyle, Canadian author of historical thrillers set in the Tudor era, uses this latter technique.

A lot of young adult fiction uses first person POV (I, me, my) because it sinks the reader immediately into the thoughts and feelings of the character. This can either cement the relationship (he’s just like me!) or alienate the reader (why won’t he stop whining?). Most first person narratives stick with one character through the entire story.

Then you have the experimental authors who will mix third and first person POVs. Deborah Harkness does this in A Discovery of Witches. Diana Gabaldon did it first, however, in her Outlander series. The protagonist is written in first person and all other POV characters are written in third.

Hardly anyone can write well in the second person POV (you look in the closet and find a boy huddling in the corner). It has been done, but it requires a deft hand and mind. If any form is going to use second person POV, it’s likely a short, flash, or micro fiction story.

This gets even more complicated when you add tenses to your POV. Past and present are the usual choices. I can’t think of a novel written in the future tense in any POV. Again shorter forms may take the pressure of future tense but it feels awkward to read no matter what.

For short fiction, I’d recommend figuring out whose story you’re telling and sticking with that character throughout. If you lose the reader, they’ll put your story down.

If that reader is an editor or a contest judge, your chances of publication may be shot.

I’m just saying 🙂


 

Was this post helpful to anyone else? Please let me know in the comments. Also, as I mentioned last week, if you have any burning writing questions, I’ll be happy to do my best to answer them. Or refer you to the experts who answer them better than I ever could 😀

And that’s a wrap for this weekend!

Muse-inks

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 12-18, 2014

Lots of writerly tools for your kit. NaNoWriMo prep, Scrivener tricks, and moar!

Catherine Ryan Howard gives us a sneak peek of Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing, 3rd Edition. See why Roz Morris thinks of this book as one of her go to references 🙂

Speaking of Roz, here’s here next installment in the novels aren’t movies series: How to write great description in prose.

K.M. Weiland answers the most frequently asked question to come out of her character arcs series of posts: How do you write a character arc over a series?

We all know what a protagonist and an antagonist are (or we should), but what’s a contagonist? Katie answers that question and describes how best to use one in your novel in her weekly vlog.

Becca Puglisi posts eleven novelist-tested (writer’s) blockbusters on Writers Helping Writers.

Janice Hardy continues the NaNoWriMo prep from last week with her post on planning the middle of your novel.

And the third in Janice’s series, planning the end of your novel. Fiction University.

Jami Gold shares her thoughts on NaNo prep as well. Are you ready to start drafting?

Chuck Wendig posts about what you need to know about guns to write them right.

How to create a character sketch using Scrivener, from Matt Herron for The Write Practice.

In related news, Sherry D. Ramsey shows us how to create a submission tracker in Scrivener.

Nina Munteanu explores archetypes in the second part of her hero’s journey series.

See you on Thursday 🙂

Tipsday