The State of the WriMo: November 2016

*Insert inspirational speech here*

1f1a36e3e31189c9077d281654cfccc50b5470cdc653f7cf72a259620e3cf5bcAbout this time last year, I wrote a post about meaning to have written a post about National Novel Writing Month at the halfway mark, to share some of my “wisdom” from the work I’d done thus far. Of course, it was intention to do the same this year, as well as perhaps a kick-off post on November 1. For a variety of reasons, neither of these things happened. But I’d still like to say something.

I don’t presume to tell my fellow WriMos how best to go about tackling this most wonderful time of year, but I know that, in my seven (seven??) years of doing this (to varying degrees of success), I’ve learned a lot about myself, my writing habits, and how my ideas seem to come to fruition on the page. And I’ve always figured that sharing some of that new insight might be helpful to those of you who may be struggling right now.

Also, I realize that some advice or a folksy anecdote might have come in handy, say, a week or two ago, instead of in the home stretch. Sorry.

Continue reading The State of the WriMo: November 2016

NaNoWriMo 2015: The Home Stretch

November can be a cruel mistress — I hope she’s treated you well.

AtQpTdUCMAA9UuGI meant to write up a quick post around the middle of November to cheer all my fellow novel-ers onward to victory, so please excuse this extremely delayed love note. But life, as it has a way of doing, got in the way of my carefully laid plans — work got crazy, my WriMo novel got (*gasp*) interesting, “Jessica Jones” dropped on Netflix. But please know that I’m here for you. We’re still going to make it through this. Together — and alive. Continue reading NaNoWriMo 2015: The Home Stretch

Something WriMo this way come

We can will survive November together.

Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiRes
A symbol of hope, opportunity — and fear. Happy November, y’all!

If you’re into reading, writing, editing, publishing, or any other creative writing outlet or profession, you’ve probably heard all about NaNoWriMo. For those of you for whom that it just a strange jumble of letters, that fun little name stands for National Novel Writing Month. And if you have bookish friends, get ready — it’s happening next month.

Every November, millions of would-be novelists leap into the creative fray, pushing themselves to complete a 50,000-word novel in the thirty short days of the month. (It also doesn’t help some American contenders that they’re more or less out of commission at least two of those days, consuming far too much on Thanksgiving and then sleeping off a turkey-hangover the next day.) In the weeks leading up to November 1, and then throughout the month, writers are given email pep talks from WriMo staff and published authors alike. The WriMo site also boasts an extensive system of forums, where writers can let free their plot bunnies, work through a tricky plot device, or just take a breather. The advice and insights gleaned in these safe havens are invaluable.

But the advice can also contradict itself.  Continue reading Something WriMo this way come

How the sausage gets made; or, “Yeah, I still want to write”

Portrait of the Editorial Assistant
Portrait of the Editorial Assistant as a Young Woman

A full year into my Actual Adult Career in publishing (I’m not counting the three months I interned at the company I’ve called home since last June, because I wasn’t getting paid, and Actual Adults get paid), I’ve been asked a few times now if working in publishing has in any way killed my writing dreams. Sometimes, I misinterpret the question and say, “Nah, I’ve realized I can actually be super productive on the commute in and out of the city.” I’ve been reading on the train since I started doing the commute, but I only recently realized I also had a solid hour to get some writing done, and that’s been a game-changer. Even if I’m only listening to music and staring out the window, I’m usually plotting the next phase of a new project. Reading and editing and working all day makes me actually yearn for those train rides, the time when I can let my mind wander. At the end of the day, I want to go home and write something that isn’t a pitch letter or a tweet.

But when I’m pressed, I have to say that working with editors and authors and agents, and being surrounded by digital manuscripts and galleys and finished books all day, has actually been exhilarating. No, I’m not writing as much as I should be some weeks, and some nights I plan to write a magnum opus and I’m lucky if I work up the strength to work on a blog post. But there are also nights — and mornings and weekend afternoons — when I start writing and I don’t stop. And there are mornings I write all the way to work and sit by the East River and read, and I cherish those uber-productive days.

Somehow, someway, I know what’s in your book-sausages, and it’s only made me hungrier. Continue reading How the sausage gets made; or, “Yeah, I still want to write”

On fanfiction and comics writing

Back in the day, I like to think I was something of a cult classic on fanfiction.net. I was an acquired taste. I wrote a Chase/Cameron fanfic for the House, MD fandom that had Chase (or maybe it was Cameron?) getting shot at the end of the second chapter for literally no reason. I think I was just fourteen and I just desperately wanted to daydream about hospital sex.

“R+R no flames plzz!!!1!”

But, I digress. Fanfic took a backseat for me, at least writing-wise, for many, many years. I rode through a lot of lonely high school nights on the accolades of strangers in the form of FF.net comments, but I eventually managed to broaden my horizons a bit. I also managed to convince myself that fanfiction was stupid, and that I was stupid for writing it, and that I really ought to be giving all my time and energy to my original works. At first, the sad “plz update!” reviews on my various incomplete projects made me guilty enough to occasionally crawl back and add another chapter on one of my CSI Snickers fics. But then, even the adoring commentary of my readers couldn’t pull me back. I distanced myself from the world of fic, and ventured in again only when I found a new fandom or pairing.

And then I discovered comic books. Continue reading On fanfiction and comics writing