Month: November 2009 Page 2 of 3

New Twenty-Somewhere episode + links!

First up, from Episode 33 of Twenty-Somewhere:

When Sophie finishes her drink, she turns to set it on the counter. The man turns also, and their eyes meet. His are a greenish-brown, and penetrating.

“I’m Mathieu,” he says.

“Sophie.” She offers her hand and he accepts. He shakes it firmly, American style. For no reason at all, she finds this comforting. “I’m sorry if I’ve been standoffish. You caught me on a weird night.”

“That’s twice you apologize. And yet you say you are fine.” He shakes his head. “You are not fine. But maybe a dance will help.”

“Excuse me?”

“A dance.” He gestures to the crowd. “Do you want to dance?”

Yes, that’s right, another one already! In spite of NaNoWriMo — or maybe because of it? — I have been pushing forward with 20SW. My goal is still to finish through Episode 40 (my temporary stopping point) by the end of 2009, which means one episode a week, plus one week with two. o_O It’ll be a doozy of an effort.

Anyway, be sure to read Episode 33 in full and let me know what you think in the comments!

I also got the previous 4 episodes up in their Amazon bundle, for anyone who wants to read 20SW via their Kindle/iPhone/iPod Touch:


And finally, a couple writerly links/snippets for the week:

Awesome YA authors (and husband/wife duo!) Justine Larbalestier and Scott Westerfield have blogs! News to me, but probably not to them. Full of good stuff, Justine’s especially, including NaNo tips all this month.

Writer T.J. McIntyre talks about 5 things he’s learned so far on his journey to becoming an author. My favorite part:

5) Don’t Get Bitter, Get Better — Not everyone finds success at the same time. Some authors take more time to get to the point where they are publishable than others. Some authors have connections, others don’t. Some live in New York, others (like me) live in the middle of nowhere. Some have a platform (like all those celebrity-authors on the bookstore shelf), while others are destined to struggle with obscurity.  This is okay. It is the way it has always been and will always be. Accept it.

Here’s what matters: Enjoy your work. I wrote long before I started trying to get published, and I will keep writing whether it gets published or not. It is just a part of who I am. It is part of how I process the world around me. Besides, it’s FUN!

And Steven Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance (later a Will Smith movie), has an inspiring series called Writing Wednesdays. Thanks to Aurora for pointing me to that one!

A random thought about love (hearts and keys)

Maybe when we’re born, there is a hole in our heart, and it’s already a certain shape. Meanwhile, our personalities are like uncut keys, but every experience begins to whittle us away. (Leave us damaged?) And so, in our youth, we are able to fit into many hearts, or be fit into by many keys. But as we get older, the grooves and ridges become more unique, and eventually we can only unlock one heart, and be unlocked by one key. The “soulmate,” so to speak.

(Note: Statistically there’s probably more than one person with whom we fit, but still, a small number.)

I dunno, there’s something both comforting and yet also sad about the idea of a “perfect fit.”

Of course, it might all be a bunch of mumbo jumbo, lol.

(Also, can you become someone’s soulmate? Doesn’t love, the good kind, grow? So does it have to be “perfect” right away, or can it evolve into that?)

For me, stories often grow out of these random thought-question seeds. So I ponder these sorts of things all the time — and not just about love, but about everything. Love, greed, forgiveness, justice, death, etc. That’s normal, right?

(Andy says: “No.” Well, normal for a writer, then?)

Say no to life, yes to crap! … Wait, what??

So far, I think the 2 hardest things about NaNoWriMo are:

  1. Saying No — to distractions, to obligations, to cute puppies, to sleep.
  2. Allowing Yourself to Write Crap —  but you have to. And it’s probably not as bad as you think… (And even if it is, that’s what December is for: revising!)


I’m at about 7,000 words right now, which means I’m only… 967 words behind where I should be! Oh wait, I forgot to carry the decimal. So that’s… 9,670!


Well, it’s all right. I refuse to be discouraged or stressed. For me, the goals for this month are to try to get to 50,000 words; to push myself; to create characters I love and a plot that keeps the reader hooked; and most of all, to learn more about myself as a writer. I need to figure out how I work best, and then do it. Simple as that.

And you know, I used to think I could copy other writers’ habits and routines. I asked my professors, I Googled my favorite authors, I asked every writer I met: HOW DO YOU DO IT? But the truth is, there is no “right way” to do it. (Only a few weird ones…) We each have to find the ways that best suit our individual personalities, you know?

That said, I still like reading about what other writers do. Morning v night, computer v long hand, plot vs pants? The Wall Street Journal recenty surveyed several different authors — including Junot Diaz, Orhan Pamuk, Anne Rice, and Margaret Atwood — about their writing habits (via Jeff Abbott). There are some very interesting answers. (And weird ones!)

Well, since we’re on the topic, what do you do? What’s your optimal writing routine?

Dear agents/editors: find me, love me, sign me!

I don’t know why but lately I’ve had the urge to write fanfic again. I think because you don’t have to do any of the work to set up a world or characters. You just get to dive right in to the “good stuff.”

Sadly, you cannot be a professional fanfic writer. :'(

So instead, I watched Julie & Julia (hey, it’s about a writer!). And worked on Twenty-Somewhere. And read my friend Irene’s poignant yet hilarious new blog about leaving LA and returning to Austin. (She’s an actress/comedienne.) It’s called Les Grandes Changes. Read it.

Julie & Julia was cute, and I’m glad I watched it, but it’s a little long and I probably won’t watch it again. I will, however, play this scene repeatedly until it comes true for me:

That scene happens to take place in NY, but much of the movie is set in France. Do you know what else is set in France? The latest episode of Twenty-Somewhere! Check it out — “Episode 32: Paris, City of Fights”:

The plan is simple: Sophie will use the invite from Forward Fashions to fly Claudia and herself to Paris for Fashion Week. MJ will join them from England. Then the 3 best friends will spend 5 fabulous days together — together! in person! for the first time since graduating! — and it will be a perfect little holiday.

Perfect. That is the plan.

Unfortunately, the reality is anything but.

Quotes and links for the writerly minded

NaNoWriMo update: I’m at about 5,500 words, which puts me like 1.5 days behind, but I think I can make it up. In addition to music without lyrics (or no music at all) I’m finding that NO INTERNET makes me much more productive… I’ve started using Freedom again to carve out little chunks of dis-connectivity.

Somehow in the midst of this NaNo craziness, I’m also working on the next episode/s of Twenty-Somewhere. That is COMING SOON. Ish.

In the meantime, here are some great tips/thoughts on being a writer:

“Big Ass Advice Post” – aka 10 tips for aspiring writers (via moonrat). In particular I think I need to take #1 to heart:

There’s a difference between the craft of writing and the business of writing. At the beginning, your job is to learn everything you can about craft. Don’t obsess about the business until you have an actual product to sell. Educate yourself but don’t get sidetracked from the job of learning how to write well.

“A posteriori” looks at “craft” (Glimmer Train):

So, what then is craft? I might say a distraction, the discourse of the deconstructionist. Writers should work with the original matter, not the tools of the critic.

John Irving talks about his writing process at Big Think, a GREAT new website (a bit similar to TED?) that I stumbled upon today:

I never begin a first draft until there is a plot, until I do know what happens to all of the characters, you might understand why those first drafts are pretty quickly forthcoming, but the rewriting process slows me down and I like everything about the writing process that compels me to slow down, to keep it slow. I write all my first drafts in long hand because you can only write so fast in longhand. And on a keyboard, you can cover too much ground in too fast a time…

And the longer the book you write, the more times you must pass through it because writer’s voices change within a four, five year period of time, you’re actually liking a different kind of sentence five years down the road, than you were four years ago. And one of the tasks of revising a novel of any length is to go back and make the whole thing sound as if it were spoken in one breath, as if your sentence style, your preference for the semicolon or the parentheses or the dash, just was constant, and you got to make it look that way, even though it wasn’t spoken in one breath, it was spoken in very halting little bits, it’s supposed to sound like it’s coming right off the top of your head.

And also from Big Think, Jonathan Franzen talks about what writing should be:

A piece of writing’s not interesting or worth doing if there’s not some personal risk, if it’s not dangerous in some fashion, whether you’re exposing some part of yourself you’d rather not talk about or whether you’re trying to be sincere about something that would be much more comfortable to be ironic about or vice versa, if you’re being sarcastic or ironic about something that people take seriously.

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