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, July 17-23, 2022

Welcome to the last tipsday of July (!) Is summer really half over? I’ll call for a moment of silence … Half over. Really? Damn. All rightie, then. Console yourselves with some informal writerly learnings.

Disha Walia: ready … set … writing prompts! Richelle Lyn helps you build your brain power. Then, Patrice Gopo explains how the direct address and epistolary essay can energize your writing. Mason Engel provides a reconnaissance report on creativity’s six greatest enemies. Later in the week, Anson Leung shares five tips for writing an emotional piece. DIY MFA

The home that lives in you. Tale Foundry

Jan O’Hara says, I hear sizzling. Where’s the steak? Then, Dave King wonders, how long should your book be? John J. Kelley is getting back to basics—the character arc. Writer Unboxed

Donnie Darko’s meaning of life. The Take

K.M. Weiland shares seven tips for opening your story in medias res. Helping Writers Become Authors

Angela Ackerman explains how to avoid writer’s guilt this summer. Then, Lynette M. Burrows helps you create a compelling plot with what-but-therefore. Ellen Buikema shares satisfying ways to end a story. Writers in the Storm

Aztec mythology and the origins of humanity. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Alexander Lewis shares the secret side careers of successful authors. Then, Sharon Oard Warner says, good scenes require specifics. Jane Friedman

Lisa Hall Wilson explains how to identify your character’s emotional triggers. Writers Helping Writers

Tips for discovery writers. Shaelin Writes

Nathan Bransford says, don’t count on agents and publishers to polish your diamond in the rough.

Tiffany Yates Martin: giving your all for the few. Fox Print Editorial

Genre conventions are the must-have elements of story. Worldbuilding in story: how to create a compelling alternate world. Character development: writing believable avatars that change. Story Grid

How to structure the third quarter. Ellen Brock

Kristen Lamb is experiencing optimism overdose: sometimes life stinks.

Chris Winkle cribs lessons from the appropriative writing of Gemma Doyle. Then, Oren Ashkenazi stages a three-way battle between The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Mythcreants

How to build a world building bible. Reedsy

V.M. Braganza lists ten women writing in the time of Shakespeare. Mental Floss

Mary Ann Sieghart asked Ian McEwen, Salman Rushdie, Richard Curtis, and others to recommend books by women every man should read. The Guardian

Silvia Moreno-Garcia shares her fascination with creation gone awry: on the build-a-humans of 19th-century literature. Literary Hub

And that was tipsday.

Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I hope you took away something too support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, July 10-16, 2022

This week promises to be a hot, humid one up here in northeastern Ontario. Stay cool. Stay well. And use some of your downtime productively perusing these informal writerly learnings.

Barbara Linn Probst takes a closer look at a place to write. Then, Jim Dempsey considers the right decisions to write. Kathryn Craft is seeing through a character’s eyes, literally. The Desmond Hall drops some writerly wisdom on us: lessons from The New Actors Workshop. Writer Unboxed

Sexy schoolgirl scale mail: an armour tier list. Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland is clearing up some misconceptions about in medias res. Helping Writers Become Authors

Lisa Norman explains how to succeed as an author. Eldred Bird: it’s a mystery to me. Then, Jenny Hansen wonders, are writers born, or made? Writers in the Storm

Sue Coletta presents a back cover copy formula. Writers Helping Writers

The seven elements of a strong story. Reedsy

Your world building can captivate readers and never let them go. Kristen Lamb

Nathan Bransford: what happens on and off the page in your novel?

Lauren J. Sharkey says writing is about connecting. Adam Burgess considers Magic’s Pawn a classic LGBTQ+ high fantasy. Then, Lori Walker interviews Natalka Burian about flashbacks, time travel, and multiple mysteries. Later in the week, Lee Bukowski shares five tips for writing about sensitive subjects. DIY MFA

The Handmaid’s Tale—what’s come true and what hasn’t. The Take

The eastern/western genre: stories of subjugation and freedom. Story Grid

Sharon Oard Warner: the building blocks of scene. Jane Friedman

Tiffany Yates Martin goes beyond character goal and motivation—the longing and the lack. Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle shows how you can tell Kamala Kahn has ADHD. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five stories with clashing choices. Mythcreants

Writing 2nd person—the forgotten POV. Shaelin Writes

Brahmjot Kaur explains how Ms. Marvel went from “woke” and “cringe” to the franchise’s highest-rated. NBC News

Emily Zarevich tells the tale of Michael Field: one name, two (women) authors. JSTOR Daily

Nicole Chung interviews Pia Owens about negotiation tips for writers and creatives. The Atlantic

Writing advice from Rachel Yoder: take a break, hug a tree. Literary Hub

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay (cool and) safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, June 26-July 2, 2022

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings. And so it goes …

Vaughn Roycroft is living an artist’s life with lessons from Kate Bush. Then, Erika Liodice is finding inspiration in unexpected places. Tessa Barbosa shares some easy tricks for crafting memorable characters. Then, Sarah Callender is writing (and living) in the midst of fear. Barbara O’Neal considers the practice. Writer Unboxed

Tim fixes Legend of Korra season 2. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland offers eight ways to avoid cardboard characters and plot contrivances. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan DeFreitas explains how (and how not) to write queer characters: a primer. Then, Tiffany Yates Martin reveals how to improve your storytelling by studying other people’s. Jane Friedman

That … could have gone better? (Analysis of Luke vs. Vader in Empire Strikes Back.) Jill Bearup

Kris Maze says re-gear your writing career—take risks to revitalize. Then, Jenny Hansen shares Kurt Vonnegut’s ten tips for successful writing. L.A. Mitchell is opening the top-secret client vault on ghostwriting (and how you can find your first). Writers in the Storm

Teresa Conner shares three design secrets for captivating book adds. Hyacinthe M. Miller helps you avoid writing stereotypes of people of color. Writers Helping Writers

Death by misadventure—Passing and the nature of identity. Princess Weekes

LA Bourgeois is battling the guilt monster. Then, F.E. Choe offers a few, humble thoughts on voice. Michael Bourne lists five ways to turn your setting into a fully realized character. DIY MFA

Tiffany Yates Martin points out the main writing skill you may be neglecting. Fox Print Editorial

Moiya McTier—Trickster gods and the mortals who love them. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Chuck Wendig says sometimes writing is finding a place to put all your rage, sorrow, and even joy. Terribleminds

Chris Winkle explains how to write a first-person retelling. Then, Oren Ashkenazi reveals the myth of conflict-free story structures. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb: writing to formula vs. formulaic writing.

Thank you for visiting with me 🙂 I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, June 19-25, 2022

Welcome to the final tipsday of June! Fill up on informal writerly learnings for the last time this month.

Sara Farmer lists more of her favourite Sherlock Holmsian mystery series. Then, Abigail K. Perry analyzes the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Angela Yeh explains why all writers should play with poetry. Then Angela unlocks writer’s block sideways. Later in the week, Lewis Jorstad lists five reasons your novel’s premise is a powerful writing tool. DIY MFA

Nathan Bransford provides a novel revision checklist.

How to write a non-fiction book proposal. Reedsy

Matthew Norman explains how his career in advertising helped shape him as a novelist. Dave King: when worlds collide. Kelsey Allagood wants you to let your words grow wild. Then, Deanna Cabinian wonders, when is obsession a good thing? Victoria Strauss warn about the predatory contracts of serial reading/writing apps. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland helps you understand the new normal world of a story’s resolution. Helping Writers Become Authors

Erica Brosovsky suggests some foreign words we need in English. Otherwords | PBS Storied

Lisa Norman explains why you want people to hate your website. Then, Megan Ganesh promotes diversity and inclusion in writing. Eldred Bird says Chekov’s gun is a double-edged writing sword. Writers in the Storm

Nina Amir reveals how to quickly develop a writing habit. Live, Write, Thrive

Elizabeth Spann Craig points out yet another use for outlines.

Allison K. Williams reveals why agents don’t give feedback—and where to get it instead. Jane Friedman

The curse of creativity. Tale Foundry

Becca Puglisi wants you to go beyond the superficial character talents and skills. Jami Gold

Cheryl Rainfield helps you avoid writing mental health stereotypes. Writers Helping Writers

Tiffany Yates Martin asks, are you writing safe or risking your readers? Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle explains how to make your character novel. Then, Oren Ashkenazi says that the three-act structure is a mirage. (!) Very insightful and something that’s been bothering me about most story “structures.” Mythcreants

Workplace dystopias aren’t fiction. They’re here. The Take

Angie Hodapp talks rhetorical story development. Then, Kristin Nelson asks, can a writer set out to write a bestselling novel? Pub Rants

Kristen Lamb explains why we play “follow the reader.”

Terry Nguyen says we need rituals, not routines. Vox

Cassie Josephs: Murderbot is an autistic-coded robot done right. Did I not nail this in my last next chapter update? Oh, yeah. I did. Tor.com

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

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, June 5-11, 2022

Monday’s in the rear-view and we’re one day closer to the weekend! Celebrate with some informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland helps us understand the adventure world of a story’s second act. Helping Writers Become Authors

Richelle Lyn explains how to build an online portfolio. Kris Hill: doom, hope, and ten candles. Manuela Williams wonders, what is confessional poetry? Then Ashley Christiano returns with part 2 of her tarot for storytellers series: from tarot spread to novel outline. DIY MFA

Start writing your book. Reedsy

Louise Harnby explains how to use parentheses (round brackets) to convey simultaneity in fiction.

Beth Harvey considers the lure of literary symbolism. Then, Tiffany Yates Martin explains how tension and microtension keep your readers hooked. Kathleen McCleary walks the Camino as a creative reset. Then, Kathryn Craft wonders whether to challenge or concede to copy edits. David Corbett is weaving a life: the three levels of dramatic action. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin explains how she got her literary agent. Shaelin Writes

Penny C. Sansevieri shares four ways non-fiction authors can succeed in the “age of free.” Then, Colleen M. Story shares her top seven places to find people to write great blurbs. Piper Bayard helps you write believable driveway crime: carjacking and kidnapping. Writers in the Storm

Meghan Harvey wonders, is hybrid publishing ethical? Then, Kris Spisak says that if you’re looking for beta readers, turn the question around. Jane Friedman

How ancient mythologies defy the gender binary. Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Elizabeth Spann Craig defines who we’re writing for.

The war genre: honor and dishonor in pro-war, anti-war, and kinship stories. The society genre: stories of power and impotence. The status genre: stories of success and failure. Story Grid

Lisa Poisso offers three ways to infuse character voice. Then, Drew Hubbard helps you avoid writing LGBTQ+ stereotypes. Writers Helping Writers

This story is about rabbits, but it will still change your life. Tale Foundry

Nathan Bransford wants you to avoid aimless stage direction.

Tiffany Yates Martin reveals the best character tool you may not be using. Fox Print Editorial

The brainy brunette trope. The Take

Kristen Lamb explains why mastery should matter to authors.

Chris Winkle explains how to make your character sympathetic. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes six important story elements introduced too late. Mythcreants

Danielle Daniel draws on her ancestors’ past in debut novel Daughter of the Deer. CBC’s “the Next Chapter” with Shelagh Rogers

Thank you for taking the time to stop by, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress (whatever stage it’s at).

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 29-June 4, 2022

It’s tipsday! You know what that means. It’s time to get your fill of informal writerly learnings 🙂

LA Bourgeois: victory celebration required. Jeanette the Writer explains the difference between writing and editing. Then, Lori Walker interviews Rebecca Scherm about writing the near future: climate change and big tech. Carol Van Den Hende lists three benefits to speaking at industry conferences. Later in the week, Angela Yeh shares five ways to develop a creative ritual you’ll want to keep. DIY MFA

Fight me! Jill Bearup

K.M. Weiland: understanding the normal world of a story’s first act. Helping Writers Become Authors

Tom Bentley: this pretty much (book) covers it. Kasey LeBlanc provides some tools to help you on your querying journey. Donald Maass: your microcosm, our world. Grace Wynter interviews Mel Todd about going from fanfiction to $150K. Then, Liza Nash Taylor triple-dog dares you to make a pass: revising your draft. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin reacts to writing advice from Twitter. Reedsy

Eldred Bird says that if you’re going mobile, you need a mobile media kit. Then, Janice Hardy shares ten ways to un-stick your novel. James Preston wonders who’s in charge of your story? Writers in the Storm

Becca Puglisi wonders, is compassion fatigue is relevant to your characters? Then, Lucy V. Hay helps you avoid writing stereotyped female characters. Writers Helping Writers

Mapinguari: fearsome beast and protector of the rainforest.  Monstrum | PBS Storied

The horror genre: stories of life and damnation against uncanny, supernatural, and ambiguous monsters. The thriller genre is a blend of action, crime, and horror stories. Story Grid

Kristen Lamb suggests writing fast and furious to outrun Spock brain.

Nathan Bransford explains how to utilize exposition and context in a novel.

Closeted bullies are all over our screens. How real is this trope? The Take

Barbara Linn Probst tells you what to remember, do, avoid, and expect when getting book endorsements (blurbs). Jane Friedman

Chris Winkle explains how to create moral dilemmas that are actually moral. The, Oren Ashkenazi points out the difference between relatable and mediocre heroes. Mythcreants

Ten kids’ books by Canadian Asian authors to read in honour of Asian Heritage Month. CBC Books

David A. Robertson curates this list of 48 books by Indigenous writers to read about and understand residential schools. CBC Books

Emily Pullen recommends new LGBTQ fiction for Pride 2022. The New York Public Library

Thanks for stopping by. 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 22-28, 2022

Wish a fond farewell to May with some informal writerly learnings.

Stephanie BwaBwa shares some editing tools for your self-publishing toolbox. Then, Robin Farrar Maass reveals what her MFA taught her and what she learned on her own. Lori Walker lists five ways to deal with burnout. DIY MFA

The psychology of Severance. Like Stories of Old

Vaughn Roycroft considers an Audible enhancement to storytelling. Gwen Hernandez: losing the plot means writing by the seat of your pants. Kelsey Allagood wonders, are your words working hard enough? Danielle Davis: it’s not me, it’s the story. Kathryn Magendie considers painting a chair, when it’s just painting a chair. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland helps you deepen your book’s theme with the thematic square. Helping Writers Become Authors

Princess Weekes thinks Marvel needs to really get Elektra right.

Tiffany Yates Martin poses four questions to ask when writing flashbacks. Then, Laurie Schnebly Campbell wonders, when is your story done? Ellen Buikema is writing memorable character flaws. Writers in the Storm

Colleen M. Story suggests four things to remember when writing about difficult subjects. Elizabeth Spann Craig

Catherine Baab-Maguira presents the Julie & Julia formula: how to turn writing envy into writing success. Then, Sonya Hubers helps you market your book with your values. Jane Friedman

Erica Brozovsky wonders, is gossip … good? Otherwords | PBS Storied

Liz Alterman explains the ins and outs of blurb requests. Then, Becca Puglisi considers subterfuge in dialogue. Writers Helping Writers

The love genre: stories about obsession, courtship, and marriage. Story Grid

Kristen Lamb predicts that boutique books will be the fall of the mega-author titans.

What is xenofiction? Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin wonders, how can writing matter in the face of suffering? Fox Print Editorial

Chris Winkle shares four ways to create a bittersweet ending. Then, Lewis Jorstad introduces us to four supporting characters your hero can learn from. Mythcreants

Why do we love problematic romances? The Take

Claire Handscombe: the one line that’s missing from all writing advice. Book Riot

Michele Debczak lists seven facts about Octavia Bulter’s Kindred. Mental Floss

Oliver Holmes reports that “How to Murder Your Husband” author found guilty of murdering husband. Life isn’t stranger than fiction … The Guardian

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday: Informal writerly learnings, May 15-21, 2022

The penultimate tipsday of May, marked by the serenade of spring peepers and red-wing blackbirds; the scents of crab apple blossoms and lilacs and poplar sap; and thunderstorms that spark and roll overhead. Refill your well with some informal writerly learnings.

Disha Walia wants you to find your motivation for writing speculative fiction. Then, E.J. Wenstrom explains what to do about author platforming when you’re burned out. Sara Farmer lists more of her auto-buy mystery authors. Later in the week, Brittany Capozzi lists five answers we get from writing letters to ourselves. DIY MFA

The psychology of Zuko. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Hello, Future Me

K.M. Weiland recommends six ways to find your best ideas before you start writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Sandy Vaile shares four essential elements you need to create a workable novel. Then, Holly Lasky asks you to guess who’s in the driver’s seat of your creativity? Lynette M. Burroughs explains how the forces of antagonism frame your story. Writers in the Storm

Darn it, you made me care. Jill Bearup

Susan Defreitas wonders, why write when the world is on fire? Jane Friedman

C.S. Lakin: outlining your novel for success. Live, Write, Thrive

Seven character development exercises. Reedsy

Elizabeth Spann Craig: stress and writing.

Dave King is getting to know evil. Then, Barbara Linn Probst gives us three writing exercises for three different points in the writing process. Kristina Stevens wonders how you adapt real life into fiction. Writer Unboxed

How sun mythologies are universal (featuring PBS Space Time). Fate & Fabled | PBS Storied

Christina Delay explains what to do when you feel like a hack. Then, Marissa Graff shares four ways your protagonist is sabotaging you (and how to fight back). Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: breaks, permission, and writing.

Olaseni Ajibade explores mental health in fiction: the monster you feed. Dan Koboldt

This story will save your imagination. Tale Foundry

Tiffany Yates Martin: high praise, big promises … and crickets. Fox Print Editorial

Kristen Lamb says weakness is blood in the water for narcissist sharks.

How the tech villain became the most hated character. The Take

Chris Winkle shares lessons from the summary writing of Illuminae. Then, Oren Ashkenazi critiques the second half of Pixar’s rules of storytelling. Mythcreants

Angie hodapp explains what to do when your entire manuscript turns out to be a prologue. Pub Rants

Guy Gavriel Kay wonders what we lose—and gain—as book tours move online? Literary Hub

Thank you for spending some time with me, and I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress, whatever stage it’s at.

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