Well, I just won NaNoWriMo this morning. How about you?Continue reading “I am officially a #NaNoWriMo2020 Winner!”
I’ve been struggling.
I know my struggle as a white person pales in comparison with the struggles of People of Color in the United States and other parts of the world. But I am struggling. Because I know I’ve been brought up in a racial world, and I want to be a good person who treats all human beings as if they are equal. Because I know – intellectually – that we are. However, it’s hard to know the “right way” to go about this when you’ve been steeped in racist messaging your entire life.
I want my writing to be inclusive, but I don’t know how to accomplish this. I’m trying to learn how. I’m reading lots of non-fiction books on the subject and fiction by people of color (see brief list of recommended reading at the bottom of this post). I’ve also watched in horror as other white writers have been ravaged on Twitter for doing it wrong. What if I mess up, despite my best efforts? What if that happens to me? Or worse, what if I unintentionally hurt people with my ignorance?Continue reading “I’ve been struggling with race: Inclusive writing for the white writer”
Thursday, August 1st, I had the opportunity to present my very first formal book reading of my new novel, DIY High, at Ryburn Place, the former Sprague’s Super Service on Historic Route 66 in Bloomington, Illinois. If you’re ever in Central Illinois, USA – especially if you’re a Route 66 fan – Ryburn Place is a must-see!
Because I was speaking at a Route 66-themed venue, I tailored my talk to the location. The following is a transcript of portions of the presentation (minus introductions and other extraneous materials regarding the location and timing of refreshments at the event.) In addition to discussing modern life along Route 66, I also read a brief snippet from DIY High, which is also included below. Enjoy!
Working Poor Americans on Today’s Historic Route 66
DIY High isn’t about Route 66, but it does take place in a small town on this iconic highway. It is a small town, much like the central Illinois town where I live, with its busy truck stop and historic Route 66 tourist spots. The Paul Bunyan statue down the road in another town even makes a cameo appearance in this book. Continue reading “DIY High: On the plight of the Working Poor in Small Town America”
I am so excited about my writing right now! I just finished a rough draft of the second of two novel manuscripts that I plan to finish by the middle of this year!
It usually takes me some time to switch from writing mode to revising mode, but it really helps that I set one of the manuscripts aside and moved on to the next one before editing this time. Revisions are already going well, and I hope to have this manuscript ready to share with my creative writing workshop in just a few weeks!
How about I tell you what I’ve been working on so you can share in my excitement?
Project #1: Demons of the Night
I started this book quite some time ago when I had one of those dreams that was too good to not write it into a scene. This novel is very different from my last two. It’s an adult book that includes witches, demons, and philandering preachers. It’s a battle of good and evil, where it’s not always obvious which side is which.
At the center of this battle is Docia, a sheltered young woman whose father and step-mother are determined to keep her sequestered within the “safe” world of her grandfather’s church compound and seem unlikely to ever allow her to move forward into a life of her own choosing. Continue reading “I have two new #novels in the works!”
Yesterday, I glanced at my blog and realized, “I haven’t blogged since May—MAY!” Wow, have I been busy! I guess it’s a good thing though, because I have been busy writing other things. In fact, I am very close to publishing my latest project, a short YA novel titled, F-ing Freddy Fisher.
It’s kinda funny how Freddy came about. I started writing his story in 2013, but then I got distracted and moved on to something else. This spring and early summer, I started another project, which was going great. But then one day, I realized I was at 78,000 words and was hating where my story was going. I needed to take a break and do something else for a bit to let that story simmer.
So, I went through my folder of abandoned projects, and Farley (the name change to Freddy would came later) caught my eye. I opened the Word file, looked it over, and thought, “Huh. This story is almost complete.” So, I went for it. Continue reading “Coming Soon: F-ing Freddy Fisher”
Author Dave King shared an interesting article yesterday on Writer Unboxed titled, Beyond the First Five Pages. In his post, he discusses the importance of writing a good hook that both draws the reader in and leads the reader properly into the rest of the story.
I’m only working on my second novel now (not counting the 872 false starts that I wrote before finally finishing something!), so I’m no expert. However, in my most-humble opinion, I think it is best to worry about your hook after the rest of the story has been written. Continue reading “How to write a hook that offers the promise your #novel will fulfill”
The past few weeks, I’ve been working on my second “real” novel, and it hit me this morning that I’ve finally figured out how to organize my work in the first draft stage so I can keep track of what I’m doing. Because organization can be a key element of being an efficient writer, I thought I’d share my system in case some other writer might find it useful. I think the easiest way to explain my system is to paint a picture of it for you, so I took a screenshot of the first page of my actual document:
And now, I will explain what I have done: Continue reading “How to organize your first draft #novelwriting”
My notes on my new novel have reached 12 pages and 6,500 words. I have come up with a focal point to build my story around. The more I think about it, the more convoluted the story becomes. I think it’s time to start writing!
I seem to have also discovered my main writing genre, despite the fact that there are other genres I would like to write in. The book I originally planned to write next was adult fiction with a little bit of magic and fantasy thrown in. It was going to be dark, and in many ways, devious. I still really want to write that book. However, it seems to make more sense in this moment to maintain the momentum I have built with Valley of the Bees and stick with future-fantastic dystopia.
I also can’t ignore the fact that this new novel is demanding to take center stage at the moment! Continue reading “I think it’s time to start #writing”
My new novel has topped 3,500 words of notes as I freewrite and brainstorm my way into an outline. I had a moment today when a sudden realization about what my novel is really about struck me. A shiver ran down my spine as I realized the possible implications of the totally subversive idea that emerged from the murky depths of my subconscious mind.
“This is big,” I thought.
And then, “This is probably going to piss a lot of people off.”
Not literally, but I was thinking it.
As I typed out the details of my idea, another idea struck me. By “struck me,” what I mean is that it wacked me upside the head like a baseball bat. Continue reading “Reining it in: How to focus your #story so it doesn’t run away with you #amwriting”
As I run down the final stretch of publishing Valley of the Bees, I am itching to get started on my next novel. I don’t want to waste all of this momentum I have built while writing my last novel. After all, gathering and maintaining momentum seems to be half the battle of writing!
My first problem was what to write. Luckily, I had plenty of ideas. I just couldn’t seem to choose one. I was ready to write one novel one day and a completely different story the next. When I finally settled on an idea that held my attention for more than a couple of days, I thought the battle had been won. A vibrant story world has taken shape in my mind, and my main cast of characters is coming to life.
Then I realized: I have no plot! Continue reading “New novel worries: How do you know when an idea is worth #writing?”