Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 28-March 6, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Time to indulge in some informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland continues her archetypal character arcs series with part four: the queen arc. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sharon Oard Warner advises you to find the ending before you return to the beginning. Jane Friedman

Yuvi Zalkow encourages you to expose your mess. Sarah Penner considers women’s empowerment in fiction from a bookseller’s perspective. Later in the week, Liza Nash Taylor declares, there will be worms. Writer Unboxed

Jill Bearup considers boob armor: four things you need to know.

James Scott Bell wants you to turn envy into energy. Later in the week, Becca Puglisi shares eleven techniques for transforming clichéd phrasings. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer lists eight essential edits for your novel. Later in the week, Emily R. King wants you to find your voice. Then, Ann McCallum Staats shares five hands-on research techniques for spot-on writing. DIY MFA

Shaelin looks at Deus Ex Machina: what it is, why it happens, and how to fix it. Reedsy

Janice Hardy points out six places infodumps like to hide in your novel. Fiction University

Then, Shaelin explains how to write a cliff-hanger that keeps readers turning pages. Reedsy

Janice Hardy asks, does you novel have a problem? (It should.) Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle: Space Sweepers shows us what excellent messaging is. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five common story fragmentations and how to consolidate them. Mythcreants

Emily Zarka examines the Taotie: the mystery of Chinese mythology’s famous glutton. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Nina Munteanu: the semicolon is dead; long live the semicolon.

Harry Potter isn’t a good guy. The Take

Cassandra Drudi encourages you to listen to Waubgeshig Rice and Jennifer David’s new podcast, Storykeepers, an audio book club on Indigenous literature. Quill & Quire

Kyle Muzyka interviews Richard Van Camp on storytelling and its power to combat loneliness. CBC’s Unreserved

John Dickerson interviews Colson Whitehead, the only fiction writer to win Pulitzer Prizes for consecutive works. 60 Minutes

Guy Kawasaki interviews Luvvie Ajayi Jones for the Remarkable People Podcast.

Gabriel Weisz Carrington explains how his mother, Leonora Carrington, used tarot to reach self-enlightenment. Literary Hub

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

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

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Dec 20-26, 2020

It’s the last tipsday of 2020! Quick, get your informal writerly learnings while they last!

Janice Hardy suggests you try this fun exercise to shake up your muse. Fiction University

How to write descriptively – Nalo Hopkinson. TED-ed

Ellen Buikema explains how she moved from pantser to plantser. Then, Kris Maze shares productivity hacks from bestselling writers. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin Bishop makes a craft video on writing experimental fiction: the unity of form and concept. Shaelin Writes

Kristen Lamb considers amazing grace: what do we do when we’re our own worst critic?

Princess Weekes: is Dune the most important scifi series ever? It’s Lit | PBS Storied

Jeanette the Writer reviews the words that shaped 2020. Jo Wnorowski shares five ways journaling improves your life.  DIY MFA

The Becky trope, explained. The Take

And, the sexy vampire trope, explained. The Take

Chris Winkle lists five ways to build your storytelling muscles. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Interview with a Vampire shows the strengths and weaknesses of adaptation. Mythcreants

Emily Zarka considers the Pontianak, the vengeful, violent, vampiric ghost of southeast Asia. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Waubgeshig Rice: Indigenous identity and the responsibility of telling stories. Open Book

Thanks for visiting and 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, Oct 18-24, 2020

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Black and Indigenous lives matter. All lives cannot matter until Black and Indigenous lives matter.

Wear your masks. Maintain physical distance if you can’t. Get you flu shot. We have to take care of each other if we’re going to get through this.

Janice Hardy provides an easy way to find your protagonist’s goal. Fiction University

Becca Puglisi wonders, is compassion fatigue is relevant for your characters? Then, Barbara Linn Probst considers dead and undead darlings. Writers in the Storm

Just in time for Halloween, Jenna Moreci shares her favourite monster tropes in fiction.

And then, Emily Zarka looks at the influence of the Romero zombie. Monstrum | PBS Storied

Finally, The Take considers the final girl trope.

Laura Highcove helps you use your writer’s intuition intentionally. Then, Bronwen Fleetwood considers age categories and wonders who’s being served by them. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Carol VanDenHende about book marketing for busy writers. Savannah Cordova shares five bits of writing advice that actually work. DIY MFA

It has come to my attention that you don’t all love Birds of Prey. Cold Crash Pictures

Dave King says, don’t mess with Mama Nature. Then, Kathleen McCleary advises us about writing an ensemble: can we be a pod? Writer Unboxed

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains what you can learn from rhetorical questions in your manuscript. Writer Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: your writing matters.

Elizabeth McGowan spent nearly two decades writing and revising her book. She finally found a publisher. Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle has some advice for writers using incantations in their magic systems. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains how Red Rising flubs class conflict. Mythcreants

Freytag’s pyramid: the five-act structure, explained. Reedsy

Kathleen Rooney explains how Frank London Brown’s Trumbull Park exposed the brutal legacy of segregation. JSTOR Daily

Dustin Nelson: these are the words that were added to the dictionary the year you were born. Thrillist

Lydia Dishman shares six covid-19 terms that would have made no sense in January. Fast Company

Waubgeshig Rice explains how to engage online (as a writer). Open Book

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to support your current work in progress (or your upcoming NaNoWriMo).

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

The next chapter: February 2019 update

Here we are in March and the goals I set at the beginning of the year are falling apart.

FebruaryProgress

Once again, I managed to meet and marginally exceed my monthly drafting goal for Tamisashki. I aimed for 15,176 words and wrote 15,561, so 103%. Once again, I tried to aim for more production during the week so I could rest on the weekends 🙂

I undershot on the blog again, writing 3,824 of 4,200 words, or 91%.

My latest DIY MFA column was due, and I wrote 1,091 words of my 1,000-word goal, or 109%. Yay there.

My short fiction is where I’ve dropped the ball pen. My intention was to finish my January story and then write a flash piece for February. I didn’t manage to do either. I did write another 1,186 words on my January story and I’m in sight of the end, but then there’s revision, critique, and a final edit to get through before I send it out into the wild.

I ended up writing 47% of my short fiction goal and not even finishing a story. Ah well. I suck at short. It’s something I hope to change, but it’s tough going. I’ve had to cut back the story several times and I keep thinking that sacrificing content makes the story weaker. This isn’t the case, necessarily. It is my perception, though, and probably one of the reasons short is so difficult for me.

I also fell short on the poetry editing. I made it through all the poems that I had previously compiled in the collection, most (but not all) of them previously published and am now in a position of adding in the poems that I have written since I last worked on the project and deciding where they go. I also have to rearrange some of the poems. There is one section that I created that only has three poems in it. I figure I can find places for them elsewhere and make things flow a bit better. Finally, there’s one sprawling poem that I want to restructure. I had done this previously, but I seem to have lost all trace of the document 😦

Because of this change in emphasis, I decided to give it a bit of a break while I rally that part of my writerly brain geared up for the next push. I edited 23 of 28 poems, or 82% of my goal.

Overall, I write 21,662 words of my 22,876-word goal, or 95% for the month. The poetry was the only revision project on my radar right now and so I managed 82% of my revision goal.

Filling the well

I attended the Dbaajmawak Indigenous Writers’ Series on Feb 28, 2019. It was hosted by Greg Scofield in the Brenda Wallace Reading Room at Laurentian University. This session featured authors were Waubgeshig Rice and Rosanna Deerchild.

I’m currently reading Waub’s novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow. I’d picked it up at Wordstock last fall but didn’t have a chance to get him to sign it. Mission accomplished 🙂

Rosanna’s reading of her powerful poetry gave me the shivers several times, prompting me to get her latest collection, calling down the sky, and get her to sign it as well.

I participated in the Writing the Other Building Inclusive Worlds course, and while I didn’t get to several of the writing assignments, the lectures and discussions were great. I’m a newbie in this arena and very hesitant to speak, or write, my thoughts. It was a challenge, but in a good way. I’m finding my way to awareness of my own biases, dismantling my assumptions, and learning to be a good ally, if nothing else.

I also took part in Dan Blank’s Social Media for Writers Facebook group. I enjoy his videos and insights. More than anything else, it confirms that I’m on the right track, though I really do need to put together an author newsletter. It’s work for the future, once I have my poetry collection and short fiction collections out. I’ll probably look at migrating this blog from WordPress.com to a self-hosted version at that time, as well, but again, in the future. And I’ll have to see how other aspects of my life align with these plans.

The month in reading and watching

In terms of books, I finished Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Wild Shore and enjoyed it. I read Bo Bolander’s short story “Our Talons can Crush Galaxies.” I enjoyed it, but it was more for the unconventional form of the story rather than the story itself. I also finished Elizabeth Bear’s Range of Ghosts, which I loved.

I burned through Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Spinning Silver and loved them both, the latter, if anything, more than the former. It was more about the relationships between the young women of the novel and about what one sacrifices for family. Uprooted is based on the fairy tale of Baba Yaga, and Spinning Silver takes on Rumplestiltskin, but Novik takes both is very different directions from the source material.

Sarah Selecky’s Radiant, Shimmering Light was my more literary read of the month. It was interesting. The protagonist, Lilian, is a social media (mostly Instagram) obsessed creative entrepreneur. She paints animal portraits with auras, a talent (to see those animal auras) she’s had since she was a child. Selecky spent part of her childhood in Sudbury, and so I enjoyed the periodic references to my home town in the novel and Lilian’s latest-spoken wish in the book to get a cottage somewhere in the northeast and devote herself to her work.

Lilian is another unreliable narrator and that’s probably why I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I could have. Though there’s also a lot of female friendship in the novel, it all has a thin, unrealistic veneer, much like our social media obsessed age. The book left me with some major questions that I would have preferred more grounding on, but like Lilian, they’re left floating. It reminded me, in part, of Margaret Atwood’s Lady Oracle, which also left me dissatisfied.

Then, I read Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning. Perfection. It’s the only read this year so far that I’ve given five stars to.

I caught The Incredibles 2, and thought the movie a worthy successor. Jak-Jak is hilarious (I did LOL). The characters all aged and had newer problems to deal with and the writers did a good job or resolving those more personal issues in the midst of the continued super-ban and latest global crisis.

Phil and I enjoyed The Umbrella Academy. I was somewhat disappointed when Vanya lost her mind and went all murder-y and apocalyptic. We discussed it, and there were indications that Vanya’s power used her rather than the other way around, but I was still left wondering why the writers made those particular, misogynist choices. I also understand that Vanya’s arc in the series was different than her arc in the graphic novel (which I would have found more dissatisfying—I Googled) but if they wanted to take her character in a different direction, they could have made braver, more original decisions.

I also finished watching the latest season of Frontier, Jason Mamoa’s passion project, on Netflix. It’s a kind of love/hate show for me. The continual tug of war between the same group of people is getting tiresome. It’s dark, but fairly historically accurate, so far as I can tell. I’ll probably continue to watch it.

And that it for this month’s update.

Until my next blog post, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

The Next Chapter