National Novel Writing Month is going well for me. I wasn’t sure if it was going to. I have so much going on during November, and this is maybe the busiest November I’ve had yet. I basically kicked all this off doing some of my writing on the dang airplane because I didn’t have time to do it any other time.
What’s really interesting about NaNoWriMo for me is that the pacing gives me an excuse to stop.
I’m such a binge writer. When I get into things I just get absorbed and want to finish, and I sacrifice a lot of sleep and attention to do so.
NaNo is supposed to press people into short-term sustainable writing patterns to get them writing, push them to turn off the inner editor, incentivize them to write something so they get some practice and have something to sculpt later if they like what comes out. I haven’t historically had those problems, but the problem I do have is that I know how much writing takes out of me and I have been reluctant to start a project because I’m already overwhelmed and stressed.
But if I write a little bit each day and pace myself, and keep an eye on the word count, and stop when I’m around the goal, I don’t have to make huge adjustments to the rest of my life just to write a book in a relatively short amount of time.
Observations about my book so far:
The word count on Day 8 is 14,001.
I think this is my first third-person novel.
This is a science fiction story set in the distant future. The worldbuilding for it is very quiet, and I’m worrying that the reveals are a little too as-you-know-bob.
Lots of dialogue.
It’s more romantic than I thought it would be–the romance is front and center, and early.
I got the main characters to kiss. It took me 12,798 words to get there.
I’m not good at naming alien places. Who names a continent “Dry Lace”?
I am obsessed with Steven Universe, which has a lot of space lesbians in it. I am also writing about lesbians in space. And yet, it is nothing like Steven Universe.
However, I think I’ve learned more about slow reveals for worldbuilding and character history from watching that show.
I’m reusing concepts and names from the short story I’m basing this book on. The short story was written almost 20 years ago. I’m not sure why I feel a loyalty to the names even though I’ve changed a lot of the specifics of their lives.
I cut and pasted a tiny bit of the original text into an interlude and I didn’t like the flavor, so I won’t do it again.
I like the book so far but I’m not super excited about it. Maybe it will totally surprise me soon.
I haven’t written anything new in a really long time so it looks like I need a kick in the ass. Guess I’m doing NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. Wish me luck.
(And come send a buddy request to swankivy if you want to connect with me. The search function seems to be misbehaving for some people so if you can’t find me, try to send me a message and add me from there.)
I once even wrote a blog post partially about why I will never do National Novel Writing Month, but I guess I never foresaw a future where I would do what I’ve been doing lately: going a couple years without writing any new fiction beyond comics. (Not that the comics are nothing. I keep up my weekly schedule of putting out a new fantasy comic on Fridays, and that’s kept the juices flowing somewhat, but it’s not the same as writing a novel.)
I like to think I’ll handle it the same as I handle any other obligation I’ve ever taken on: I take it seriously and fulfill it, especially if it has to do with writing. But it’s been a while since I banged out a novel and I’m planning to write one for which I’ve done no preparation, except that it’s based on some characters in a short story I wrote eighteen years ago.
I am kinda annoyed about the genres we can choose from for our novels, too. You can’t indicate it’s fantasy AND YA, or YA AND LGBT+. I wish they wouldn’t try to list age categories and subject matter as “genres.” (In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m planning to write about gay teenage aliens.)
As mentioned during the planning stages, I spoke at Wellesley College on October 14, 2018. I had an excellent time being hosted by the Wellesley Wildcards, who showed me incredible hospitality and made me feel very welcome through an overnight stay, a presentation, a lunch and dinner, and a hangout with the students.
It’s been a while since I’ve accepted an invitation for a speaking opportunity, but I’m particularly excited about this upcoming talk!
I have been invited to Wellesley College later this month and will be giving a presentation/lecture entitled “Asexuality and the LGBTQ+ Community: Past, Present, and Future.”
I will discuss asexual- and aromantic-spectrum inclusion in broader LGBTQIA communities, covering a brief history of the asexual movement, ace/aro participation in activist and support spaces, the controversies and benefits associated with ace/aro inclusion, how heteronormativity affects our communities, and the future of ace/aro-friendly activism, education, and media. Plus I will have some social time with Wellesley’s asexual/aromantic organization, the Wellesley Wildcards.
This event is on October 16, 2018, at about 4:30 on a Tuesday.
My talk will be similar in content to the presentation I gave at University of Minnesota Twin Cities, but I will be attempting to focus more on where we’ve come from, where we are now, and where we want to see ourselves in the future. I hope to record my talk in a similar capacity to share it with my YouTube channel. I’ll bring a couple copies of my book to look at, provide “Asexual Bingo” freebies to take, and hopefully have time to do questions and answers at the end.
I’ve got a new video for you here at the end of 2017 . . . and it’s about why you shouldn’t become a writer.
In all seriousness? It’s not a discouraging video. It’s about five elements associated with writing that you’ll have to be able to handle (or learn to handle!) if you’re joining this weird wonderful world.
A topic near and dear to my heart: let’s talk about word count!
In this video, Julie Sondra on Appropriate Word Count, I give you information on what the expected word counts are (approximately) for different novel types, why this matters, and some tips on how to get your book to be longer or shorter depending on what you need.
Just thought I’d gather up 10 disparate myths I’ve heard all around here and there regarding various aspects of publishing and address them in a video. Have you heard these myths? Heard some of your own? Were surprised to hear what parts of them are false and which are based on truth?
I signed with agent Michelle Johnson in 2012, and considered her a friend as well as a literary agent helping me with my project. She gave me a lot of confidence in my work and was willing to discuss issues in depth. She was diligent about sending my Bad Fairy book out and got it in front of very big editors, but the stars did not align and the book didn’t sell.
We had some plans to take the feedback we’d been offered about fairy tale retellings and approach publishers with the second book in my trilogy instead since it has the meat of the fairy tale that everyone knows rather than reading more like a prequel. But that’s where things went a little funny with Michelle. She said she was excited when I delivered the manuscript to her and said it was going to be her top priority, and that’s the last thing she ever said to me.
She seems to have vanished under mysterious circumstances. Follow-ups were unanswered and eventually began bouncing. Her accounts went dark and websites disappeared. Other people represented by her also said they could not reach her. Some authors said they weren’t receiving their royalties because they’d been released to her and never got passed on to the authors.
She’d had some health issues toward the end of when we were talking, so I guess I suspect that she became ill and was no longer able to advocate for herself. I don’t think she would have chosen to just vanish under mysterious circumstances so it’s likely something bad happened to her but I guess I will never really know. She never said anything to me specifically (and no one associated with her ever reached out to tell existing clients what they should do), but there were a few posts around suggesting she’d become seriously ill and couldn’t carry on, and all her agency’s agents moved on.
So I thought I should say something here since I don’t want people to think she is still representing my work. In any case I haven’t been pursuing fiction publication lately and I’m sure I’ll just pursue new representation with a new book when I’m ready to try this again.