Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 19-25, 2020

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

The biggest covid concern of the moment is school reopening. I really think that they need to stay virtual and that employers and the government need to collaborate to support parents who need to stay home for their school-aged children. The economy is still in bad shape and will continue to be for some time. There are signs of recovery, though. Getting kids back to school and risking them and their teachers and everyone they might come into contact with is not the answer.

Yes, virtual learning is hard. Yes, all learners will not excel in a virtual environment. Yes, it requires more of students and parents. And yes, I do not have kids, nor am I an elementary or high school teacher, but some of my best friends are teachers and I’m listening to their concerns. As the old saw goes, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Covid is not going away tomorrow.

On that cheerful note, please fortify yourself for another week of #pandemiclife with these informal writerly learnings.

Jan O’Hara shares a plotstorming technique. Then, Barbara O’Neal explains how to write during a pandemic even if it feels like you can’t. Later in the week, Heather Webb says, writers, pay yourself first. Keith Cronin has a great writing craft recommendation: the guy who wrote Fight Club just kicked my ass. Writer Unboxed

Princess Weekes offers an introduction to Afrofuturism. It’s Lit | PBS Storied

K.M. Weiland offers four questions that will help you avoid plot holes. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenna Moreci offers her top tips for self-editing.

Angela Ackerman suggests a secret weapon for characterization: the character’s job. Then, Ellen Buikema is creating memorable animal characters. Writers in the Storm

Chrys Fey explains how to create a free book trailer using Adobe Spark. Fiction University

Ginnye Lynn Cubel shares five tips for a mindful writing practice. DIY MFA

Bunny lists seven reasons storytellers should consume bad stories. Then, Oren Ashkenazi examines six sexist themes from the early Wheel of Time books. Mythcreants

Paul Graham explains how to do what you love. Very though-provoking essay.

The Irish language and beauty. Dónall Ó Héalaí | TEDxBerkeley

Joi-Marie Mckenzie lists the 50 most influential books by Black authors in the past 50 years. Essence

Cinema’s racist history. The Take

Amy Sackville: I am not reading. I am not writing. This is not normal. The Guardian

Nathan J. Robinson parses the issue of J.K. Rowling and the limits of imagination. Again, this article discusses TERF-dom. Please avoid if you are triggered by that material, but it is a very considered and thoughtful take. Current Affairs

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

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 17-23, 2020

Another week of #pandemiclife, another batch of informal writerly learnings.

Before we get to those, though, here is my weekly update:

Though Ontario’s efforts at “reopening” have been cautious, numbers of confirmed cases have increased. Some of this is to be expected, but testing has not kept up. The federal government is trying to get the tech companies on board to have 1 tracing app across platforms (Android and Apple). While Phil and I did take my mom and Torvi out for an afternoon of physically distanced fun at his sister’s (she’s worked hard on her back yard this year, increasing the size of her patio to accommodate a gazebo, making a proper fire pit, and various planter boxes) we were careful to stay two metres apart.

Phil made a couple of yard games, a set of lawn dice for outdoor Yahtzee and a Finnish game called mölkky. I’ll let you look the latter up on the interwebz 🙂 We played a couple games and had an enjoyable afternoon.

Onto the curation!

K.M. Weiland strikes a balance between creativity and distraction: 13 tips for writers in the age of the internet. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy is clarifying ambiguous pronouns. Then, Orly Konig wants you to organize the chaos using these five revision tips for pantsers. Fiction University

Gabe lists the four questions every pitch must answer. Bookish Pixie

Marjorie Simmins offers an excerpt of her Q&A with Lawrence Hill: memoir beyond the self. Then, Susan DeFreitas returns with part seven of her developing a writing practice series: engrained. Jane Friedman

Shaelin finishes her series on developing a novel: creating a writing plan. Reedsy

E.J. Wenstrom lists ten ways to connect with readers while physically distancing. And here’s my latest column: mythic storytelling with the tarot, part three. In which I create an outline for a fantasy story using the tarot. Jason Jones shares five tips to get your book on local media. DIY MFA

Dave King goes into the woods. Barbara Linn Probst is learning from Pinoccio how to create a character who’s fully alive. Writer Unboxed

Christina Delay thinks you might as well jump—into the third act. Writers Helping Writers

Ellen Buikema takes a look at body language in writing. Writers in the Storm

The Take looks at the girl next door.

Jami Gold explores the spectrum of third person point of view. Then, she helps you develop a powerful point of view.

Chris Winkle explains how to plot a series. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers the world building of The Expanse. Mythcreants

Kelly Grovier: the women who created a new language. BBC

Deborah Dundas: Amazon hurt them. The lockdown hurt them. Now there’s a painful loss in court. Canada’s book biz — authors, publishers, retailers — is hunting for a new business model. The Toronto Star

Thank you for visiting. I hope you’ve found something to support you with your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 3-9, 2020

Even as various provincial governments consider “opening up,” we are becoming aware of reports from China and South Korea that their attempts to do the same are resulting in another spike in infections and deaths. While I think that, with testing and tracking and sufficient PPE, a certain degree of business resumption can occur, I’m worried that the testing, tracking, and PPE are not in place as yet.

Time will tell.

In the meantime, this week was another rich one for informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

Sara Letourneau explains how your protagonist’s motivations influence your story’s themes. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Helen J. Darling for an inside look at self-publishing. Pamela Gay shares five ways to write about something difficult. DIY MFA

Sonja Yoerg encourages you to give your story the time of day. Donald Maass: the meaning of meaning. Julie Carrick Dalton considers the earned plot twist. Jennie Nash: the secret to more efficient revision is pattern recognition. Writer Unboxed

How to develop a novel, part 3: plot & world. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford shows you how to weave exposition naturally into your story. Later in the week, he suggests giving your protagonist a mini-quest before the plot takes off.

Aziraphale and Crowley share a message with the world.

Tiffany Yates Martin wants you to give your characters agency. Then, Susan DeFreitas serves up the next part of her developing a writing practice series: captivating. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains how to improve your story with action beats. Later in the week, she wonders, do your characters take on lives of their own?

The Take explains the woman-child trope.

Joanna Penn shares her self-editing process. The Creative Penn

Meg LaTorre explains how to juggle writing and parenting. Writers Helping Writers

Fae Rowan show you how small decisions can make big story impact. Julie Glover: in defense of editing as you go. Writers in the Storm

Juliette Dunn profiles five characters coded as autistic. Mythcreants

What English does that no other languages do. NativLang

Eileen Hunt Botting introduces us to Mary Shelley’s journals of sorrow. The Times Literary Supplement

I’ve been trying to avoid a lot of overt covid-19 material, but Kim Stanley Robinson’s article is too amazing not to share. Coronavirus is rewriting our imaginations. The New Yorker

And this: Sabrina Orah Mark. Fuck the Bread. The Bread is over. On making your own fairy tale, embarking on your own epic tasks, and finding meaning. Beautiful and wrenching and ultimately hopeful. The Paris Review

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ve taken away something to support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 26-May 2, 2020

We’re staying the course here. I will likely be working from home for the foreseeable. I could also see our local and regional management making the case that we can and should continue to work from home on a permanent basis.

My current position has been largely virtual since I moved into it eleven years ago. There’s still an element of the surreal to the situation (where does the job end, how do I transition into home/creative life?) but now that we’re closing in on two months of pandemic life and  six weeks (for me) of working from home, I’m finding my way to a workable routine.

Here’s hoping that whatever your circumstances are, that you’re finding your feet, so to speak. Everyone’s dealing with “stuff.” Take a break and peruse some of these informal writerly learnings.

Tasha Seegmiller offers five tips for having hard conversations. Ellen Buikema teaches you how to love your hateful antagonist. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland lists 15 productive tasks you can do when you don’t feel like writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

How to master fight scenes (a follow up from the other fight scene video I shared—as Tim will tell you, please watch that one first). Hello, Future Me

Justin Attas explains the puzzle piece plotting method: using what you know to build what you don’t. Susan DeFreitas is helping you develop your writing practice, part five: neurohacks. Later in the week, C.S. Lakin touts the three Ms of character setup. Jane Friedman

Developing a book, part 2: the characters. Reedsy

Nathan Bransford tells you everything you need to know about inciting incidents.

Related: Jami Gold explains the difference between the inciting incident and the first plot point.

Jenn Walton shares three ways to preserve your creativity. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle lists five reasons tension is missing from your story. Then, Oren Ashkenazi considers six ridiculous cultures in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu uses a walk in the forest to discover hidden character archetypes.

Alison Flood: study shows most authors hear their characters speak. Do you? The Guardian

Keziah Weir says poetry is having its moment. Vanity Fair

Thank you for visiting. I hope you found something to assist you with your current work in progress, even if you’re not actively writing.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe!

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 19-25, 2020

Sunday (April 26th) marked one month since I started working from home and a little over six weeks since covid-19 was declared a pandemic and physical distancing measures were put in place. In that time, several of the small businesses and independent workers whose services I used have shut down operations. This past week, one of those small businesses made the decision to close permanently.

I understand the decision and wish the two wonderful businesswomen all the best, but it makes me sad that they were forced to the extremity. Unfortunately, none of the measures the government offered for small businesses were appropriate for them. I worry that more small businesses will follow suit.

This has been a trying time for everyone for a variety of reasons. Take care of yourselves and take some time to enjoy these informal writerly learnings.

Jan O’Hara: turning points (or, how not to kill your partner during covid-19 lockdown). Dave King discusses the practice novel (also called the shelf novel or trunk novel—scarier words were never writ). Anne Greenwood Brown reveals the science behind the meet-cute. Heather Webb explains how to find and hone your author voice. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi offers nine ways to originalize your story. Writers in the Storm

Shaelin starts a new series about developing a novel. Part one: concept and idea. Reedsy

K.M. Weiland lists four ways writing improves your relationship with yourself. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn talks to Gail Carriger about building a unique author brand. The Creative Penn

Susan DeFreitas continues her series on developing a writing practice with part four: easy. Jane Friedman

Lisa Hall-Wilson explains what emotional context is and why your story needs it. Later in the week, Angela Ackerman shows you how to describe a location you’ve never visited. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold helps you use scene and sequel better.

Chris Winkle lists five common dialogue problems and how to fix them. Then, Oren Ashkenazi digs into the world building of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire. Mythcreants

How the manic pixie dream girl has evolved. The Take

And the crazy woman.

Maria Popova introduces us to The Lost Words: an illustrated dictionary of poetic spells reclaiming the language of nature. Brain Pickings

Kate Yoder considers the words this unprecedented time of change have brought into our lexicon. Grist

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

Until next time, be well and stay safe, my writerly friends.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 12-18, 2020

I hope everyone is staying safe and keeping well. Here’s your weekly dose of informal writerly learnings to help fill some of your time (I know you’re all doing what you can to keep yourselves occupied).

Helen J. Darling says that if you’re finding it hard to write, try keeping a pandemic journal. Sara Farmer considers fiction from Daphne du Maurier to Megan Abbott: the gothic horror of womanhood. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Jeff Garvin about dismantling the stigma of mental illness. DIY MFA

Lori Freeland helps you understand point of view: P-O-What? Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland explains how to get some writing done: discipline vs. enthusiasm. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jim Dempsey offers a simple guide to symbolism in stories. Kathleen McCleary wants you to fuel your writing with feeling. Barbara Linn Probst shares five ways to light the spark of a novel. Writer Unboxed

Sacha Black wants you to breathe life into your prose with the sense of touch. Writers Helping Writers

Specificity and concrete language. Shaelin Writes

Susan DeFreitas shares part three of her developing a writing practice series: important.  Then, Mathina Calliope reveals the easy-to-fix tense problem that might be tripping up your readers. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains the difference between passive and active voice: was and not was. Later in the week, she wonders if pandemic anxiety is forcing everyone to count their spoons.

Chris Winkle breaks down act 3 of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at six magic systems that need stricter limits. Mythcreants

Writing fight scenes. Hello, Future Me

Chuck Wendig writes about being broken in half but wanting to be whole. Terribleminds

Steve Toase confronts the default: portraying homelessness in fantasy and science fiction. Tor.com

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you take away something that will support your current work in progress.

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

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 5-11, 2020

Another week of physical distancing has come and gone. Another week of working from home or unemployment, and increasing numbers of confirmed illness, hospitalisation, and deaths from covid-19. There is also hope that, in some areas, at least, that we’re reaching a peak, beginning to flatten or plank the curve.

Treatments are being investigated while a vaccine is in development, but this new normal may pertain until a vaccine is available. I hope that you’re finding a way to navigate the enforced isolation.

My own humble contribution is this curation of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy.

K.M. Weiland lists seven ways writing saves us when life is hard. Helping Writers Become Authors

Susan DeFreitas returns to Jane Friedman’s blog with part two of her developing a writing practice series: community. Then, Susann Cokal suggests that instead of setting a goal, try a writing dare.

Shaelin Bishop explains show, don’t tell, so you can actually understand it. Shaelin Writes

Over on Reedsy, Shaelin lists the pros and cons of past and present tense so you can choose the best one for your story.

Tamar Sloan shares what you need to know to keep the words flowing in difficult times. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette (the Writer) Smith considers whether you can trust editing software. And here’s my latest column: five books on the tarot for writers. DIY MFA

Jenna Moreci shares her favourite man tropes 🙂

Jami Gold wants you to escape generic storytelling by asking why. Then she helps us understand the past perfect tense.

Janice Hardy helps you identify whether it’s a loss of momentum or writer’s block. Fiction University

Chris Winkle tackles Act II of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explains what Tolkien did right—and wrong—when he built Middle Earth. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb shares the truth about introverts and why isolation is hard on us, too.

Thank you for visiting, and I hop that you’ve found something here to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 29-April 4, 2020

As we all adjust to the new normal, some things offer continuity. Here are you informal writerly learnings for the week.

K.M. Weiland presents eight challenges (and solutions) to writing at home. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin also offers her advice on how to balance writing and a remote job. Reedsy

Joanna Penn interviews Mark Leslie Lefebvre about getting your book into libraries and bookstores. The Creative Penn

Janice Hardy lists the pros and cons of studying writing craft. Later in the week, she poses five questions that will make your scenes stronger. Fiction University

Gabriela Pereira exposes an internet abomination. How the Internet Archive’s Open Library hurts readers, writers, and the whole publishing industry. Then, Abigail K. Perry wants you to use the Story Grid scene analysis template to read with purpose. DIY MFA

Matthew Norman shares confessions of a former anti-outliner. Donald Maass: the upside of anxiety. Cathy Yardley explains how to strike a balance between productivity and chaos. Writer Unboxed

Susan DeFreitas shows you how to develop a writing practice, part one: stepladders. Then, Lisa Cooper Ellison is writing from the bottom rung. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold considers whether to italicize character internalization. Then, she considers tenses: what is literary past tense?

Tim Hickson explores (and he really does) writing mental illness in video games. Hello, Future Me

Chris Winkle breaks down act one of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It’s a fun web movie. Ideal for these times. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five contrived legal conflicts in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Jonathan Bailey recounts the bizarre history of the copyright symbol. Plagiarism Today

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

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

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 8-14, 2020

As the covid-19 crisis continues to escalate, keep calm and stock up on informal writerly learnings from the comfort of your home.

Sophie Masson advises us about creating and presenting writing workshops. Jim Dempsey: writing when you’re not writing. Juliet Marillier wants you to tell a tale for our times. Kathryn Craft says, let your protagonist’s light shine. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland uses critique to demonstrate six tips for introducing characters. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jenna Moreci shares her favourite paranormal tropes.

Laurence MacNaughton shares a six-point story checklist for powerful scenes. Then, Janice Hardy offers a three-step plan for returning to a partially finished manuscript. Fiction University

Jami Gold helps you find the right pace for your story. Writers Helping Writers

Nathan Bransford: everything writers need to know about book series.

Sara Letourneau offers some writing exercises for exploring the theme of man and the natural world. Later in the week, Dave Chesson shares five tips for levelling up your craft. DIY MFA

Some great tips for creating a consistent writing habit. Reedsy

Becca Puglisi shares eights ways to hook readers at the ends of chapters. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five plot twists that are too obvious. He tackles some well-known, bestselling, award-nominated, or award-winning novels and, while I can see and might even agree with the assessments, I’ll note that it did not have a negative impact on my enjoyment of the novels (well, with one exception, but I won’t get into that here). I think many readers enjoy these books regardless of, or despite, these faulty plot twists and that writing something similar won’t necessarily hurt your chances of publication. You can always strive to do better, and I think that’s the point of the article. Still, take it in context (and don’t panic). Mythcreants

Robert Lee Brewer explains how to daringly and correctly use semicolons. Writer’s Digest

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you took away something to help with your current work in progress.

Now more than ever, be well, my writerly friends.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 26-Feb 1, 2020

Welcome February, Imbolc, Groundhog Day, and the return of the light! We’ve made it through the better part of winter. Reward yourself with some informal writerly learnings.

Janice Hardy: things to consider when adding a point of view character. Fiction University

Jenny Hansen shares tips for Word’s track changes features, her favourite editing lifesaver. Kris Maze: when rejection becomes connection. Writers in the Storm

Kim Bullock: the benefits of sensory deprivation for writers. Ann Marie Nieves says, we need more of that. Writer Unboxed

The Take examines the smart girl trope.

Jami Gold helps you build a bridge from story beginning to main conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Over on her own site, Jami Gold wonders what calls for diversity mean for our writing.

Ellen Brock shares her theory of four types of writers (across two spectra). Very intriguing. I’m looking forward to the next videos in the series.

Nathan Bransford shares his plot framework. Then, he explains why protagonists need to be active.

Emily Wenstrom lists her top 2020 social media trends for authors. DIY MFA

Jane Friedman offers her guide to getting the most out of a writing conference.

Juliette Dunn lists six things writers should know about autistic people. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes six overpowered characters and explains how to fix them. Mythcreants

The Lost Words Blessing – The Lost Words. Don’t think this belongs in tipsday? Listen. Just listen. You’ll understand.

Caught up in the details? Stop overthinking and just write. CBC Books

Thank you for visiting. I hope you take away some great supports for your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well!

Tipsday2019